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Steve Shoup’s 2014 NFL Mock Draft

Updated: 5/8

NFL DRAFT PREVIEW:

 

Picks 1-16 17-32 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 | Round 5 | Round 6 | Round 7

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About Steve Shoup, Fanspeak’s Resident NFL Draft Expert

Steve has been a diehard football fan and obsessively watching the NFL Draft since 1992 (when he was just 9 years-old). But Steve is more than just a fan who likes to follow the draft. He studies game video, analyzes players and has truly made this his calling. Besides being the Content Manager for Fanspeak.com and our resident NFL Draft expert, he has been credentialed media at the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Game, has been a guest on several FAN and ESPN Radio Affiliates for interviews, and a guest on other Draft related Podcasts.

Follow Steve on Twitter or Google + for news about Steve’s 2014 NFL Mock Draft picks, East-West Game Coverage and coverage of the 2014 Senior Bowl.

1. Houston Texans: DE Jadveon Clowney, South Carolina

-This pick could go one of three ways: A top defensive player, a quarterback, or a trade back. With no trades in this scenario, it’s down to a quarterback versus a top defensive player. If the Texans believe that one of the top quarterbacks will become an elite talent that is the direction they should go, but if they don’t feel confident in that regard, they have to take the best player on the board. Clowney is that best player on the board, and he has the athleticism to play a rush linebacker in the Texans scheme and make an instant impact in their system.

2. St. Louis Rams (From Washington Redskins): OT Greg Robinson, Auburn

-This is a prime trading spot, but for the purposes of this pick the Rams will have to choose between an Offensive tackle, a wide receiver or possibly one of the top defensive player With Jake Long’s status up in the air and Roger Saffold capable of playing inside, this pick makes a lot of sense.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo

-I think the Jaguars are looking at three real options here: Grabbing Clowney if he falls, taking Mack as a fall back or going offense and nabbing Sammy Watkins. With Gus Bradley being a defensive guy and there being a lot of WR depth, I can see the Jaguars waiting here for a WR and taking an impact pass rusher here.

4. Cleveland Browns: WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson

-The Browns will need to make the decision between WR Sammy Watkins and a quarterback with this pick. It’s a similar decision that the Bengals made in 2011 when they chose A.J. Green at the 4th pick over some of the top QB’s on the board. I think Cleveland goes the same route here and takes Watkins here, while hoping they can land a QB at 26.

5. Oakland Raiders: WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M

-The Raiders can go in just about any direction with this pick and they will likely consider all the top guys left on the board and all trade down options. If they keep the pick though I think they could grab Mike Evans to add a playmaker to build around on this offense. They could go OT, but they spent a 2nd rounder on the position last year and gave some really good money to Donald Penn and Austin Howard this offseason. Aaron Donald could be an option as an impact DT, but I think they look to boost their offense a little bit more.

6. Atlanta Falcons: OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M

-The Falcons top two guys are off the board here in Clowney and Mack, so I think they change directions and take the best OT available. Jake Matthews would be an instant upgrade at LT and give Matt Ryan the protection that has been desperately lacking in Atlanta.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh

-Though the decision is made easier given that Mike Evans is off the board, I really believe this could be the landing spot for DT Aaron Donald. Lovie Smith loves smaller, quick defensive tackles who can get up the field and disrupt a ton of plays in the backfield. He’s already got one of those guys in Gerald McCoy, but when Smith was in Chicago he didn’t mind having two undersized defensive tackles and I can’t imagine he’d have an issue with it here. Donald and McCoy would be the best tackle combination in the league and would be a nightmare scenario for opposing offenses.

8. Minnesota Vikings: QB Blake Bortles, UCF

-The Vikings want a quarterback, and I think if Blake Bortles is on the board they make him the first quarterback selected in this draft. Bortles has the size and potential that OC Norv Turner likes and would be a very tempting target here.

9. Buffalo Bills: OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan

-The Bills could go one of three ways with this pick: Take a top OT; Take a Safety; take a TE (Eric Ebron). While a safety or taking Ebron could be tempting I think they don’t let a top LT like Lewan slip past them. Adding Lewan to a this line would be a major addition that would dramatically improve the protection for QB E.J. Manuel.

10. Detroit Lions: CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State

-The Lions could go a couple different directions with this selection, and there is a good chance they look for a defensive player with this pick. With the top cornerback still on the board I think that is the way they end up going. Gilbert has shut down potential and could be a major asset in this division.

11. Tennessee Titans: OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA

-The Titans are moving to a 3-4 defense and need to find a rush linebacker, if they want to be successful. Anthony Barr has the potential to become that impact pass rusher, and would be a great fit for the Titans at this pick. Barr is a little raw still overall, but he should still generate a good bit of pressure as a rookie.

12. New York Giants: TE Eric Ebron, UNC

-The Giants could go a couple different directions, but it could be tough for them to pass up a pass catching TE like Ebron. New York has gotten a good bit of production on the cheap from the Tight End position of late, but right now they are extremely thin at the position. Ebron could be an impact guy for the Giants and give Eli Manning a key weapon to threaten defenses with.

13. St. Louis Rams: QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

-This may be a shock, but with the extra first round pick the Rams can take a bit of a risk here. Bradford’s play has been erratic, he’s now missed significant time in two seasons due to injury and his contract is extremely high. Manziel could be the future of this franchise and would give Jeff Fisher a QB of his choosing.

14. Chicago Bears: S Calvin Pryor, Louisville

-The Bears would love a defensive tackle here, but with Donald off the board there isn’t one worth taking. Taking a top safety is the next best thing and I think they pull the trigger on Calvin Pyror here.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech

-The Steelers could look to use this pick to get younger on defense, but with a potential franchise LT available in Taylor Lewan, that should be the Steelers pick. Pittsburgh has had too many issues at that spot in recent years and if they can lock that position down, they have to do so.

16. Dallas Cowboys: S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama

-The Cowboys really need defensive line help, but there really isn’t anyone worthy of this selection left on the board. OL Zack Martin could be an interesting option, but it’s tough to imagine that the Cowboys would spend a 1st round pick on an OL 3 of the last 4 years (particularly because they went so long without doing so). Clinton-Dix could give the Cowboys the help they need on the back-end of their defense and hopefully help keep some of those points off the board.

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