Fanspeak’s Writers Featured Mock Drafts: AFC North

NFL Draft

By Staff Writer Matt Pearce:

 

Here are a couple disclaimers on these mocks before you read them:

1) These are mock drafts done using On the Clock by various Fanspeak.com writers. This is for FUN! This is not predicting what will happen, just showing some options that our writers were able to do with On the Clock!

2) Writers used various big boards so the rankings will change. Again, anything can happen in the NFL Draft but you will see players in various places on these mocks because different big boards were used.

3) Its not the same mock draft for all 32 teams. Why do you see the same player going 3 times in a division? Because these are 32 different simulations run, therefore a player can go to various teams depending on how their draft played out.

4) Some GMs used On the Clock regular and some used On the Clock Premium with trades, we used both to show the variability!

5) Some of the writers wrote up descriptions and others just gave their picks. Enjoy and enjoy the NFL Draft!

 

AFC NORTH:

Cleveland Browns:

The 2014 NFL Draft is just a few days away so it is time to post my final mock drafts for all of the AFC North teams using Fanspeak’s On the Clock Mock Draft Simulator. Up first are the Cleveland Browns. For this draft I used the Premium version, but completed no trades. If you want to see how the draft turned out for the other 31 teams, click here.

Sammy Watkins

First Round (#4 overall): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson The Browns will be best off if they pass over a quarterback with their first pick and select one of the elite talents another position. This is because they can get a good quarterback later in the draft. With that being said the best option for them at number four is Watkins. Adding him to their receiving corps that already features Josh Gordon would create a fearsome duo that would not only be über-talented, but also very young as Gordon is still only 23-years old. A second wide receiver is badly needed and adding Watkins would be a great help to the rookie quarterback who will be selected later.

First Round (#26 overall, from Indianapolis): Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State After passing on a quarterback at number four, Cleveland gets their quarterback at number 26 which is the pick their received from Indianapolis in the Trent Richardson trade. This year the quarterback position is filled with uncertainty and nobody knows if the quarterbacks will fall or if there will be a run on them early. Here the Browns get the signal caller who has been linked to them the most throughout the draft process. If Cleveland can add Watkins and Carr to their offense with their first two picks, they will be heading in the right direction.

Second Round (#35 overall): C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama Moving to the defense in the second round, the Browns have a need at inside linebacker next to Karlos Dansby (who will be 33-years old in November). This draft class has little depth at inside linebacker and there is a drop off after Mosley, who is the best in the draft. If Cleveland is serious about addressing this position, they will target him as he is clearly the best in the draft. Considering the lack of depth at the position in the draft and the lack of quality players at this position for the Browns in their 3-4 defensive scheme, an inside linebacker could be taken early.

Third Round (#71 overall): Bashaud Breeland, CB, Clemson Another need on the defensive for Cleveland is a number two cornerback to play next to All-Pro Joe Haden. Breeland is a cornerback who has been underrated throughout the draft process due many other good cornerback prospects in this draft. Schematically, he will fit in playing opposite of Haden in Cleveland’s aggressive defensive that features much blitzing. Due to great depth at the cornerback position, expect the Browns to wait until the second day of the draft to select one.

Third Round (#83 overall, from Pittsburgh): Trai Turner, G, LSU The three main needs on offense for Cleveland are quarterback, wide receiver and guard. Having addressed the first two in the first round, it was time to address guard by taking Turner. At 6-foot-3 tall and weighing 310 pounds he looks the part of a road grading guard, but has surprising athleticism which would allow him to succeed in offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s zone-blocking scheme.

Fourth Round (#106 overall): Charles Sims, RB, West Virginia While this is the same pick that my previous Browns’ mock draft had, it makes too much sense to change if Sims is on the board. He is a perfect fit for the zone-blocking scheme that the Browns will run this season. Also, he is is complete running back who can catch the ball and pass block as well as run. He will be the number two running back behind Ben Tate, but will complement Tate well.

Fourth Round (#127 overall, from Indianapolis): Justin Ellis, DT, Louisiana Tech Defensive line isn’t much of a need for the Browns, but a backup nose tackle could be taken. At 334 pounds, he fits perfectly as a 3-4 nose tackle who stuffs the run and takes up blockers. Defensive line is one of those positions where teams can never have enough depth, so expect Cleveland to add one in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft.

Fifth Round (#145 overall): Brock Vereen, S, Minnesota In free agency the Browns signed Donte Whitner to a four-year contract to play strong safety, but competition is needed at the other safety position. Vereen may not be the ideal free safety, but he has the versatility to play both free and strong safety as well as contributing on special teams which is what teams should be looking for in the later rounds.

Sixth Round (#180 overall): Xavier Grimble, TE, USC Jordan Cameron had a breakout season last year at tight end, but behind him there isn’t much depth at tight end. Another tight end should be added in the draft and Grimble is another massive target (6-foot-5) who scored 11 touchdowns on just 69 career catches in college.

Seventh Round (#218 overall): Nevin Lawson, CB, Utah State In the seventh round teams should just look to select the best player available and that happened to be Lawson. While he would have to fight for a roster spot, he fits the defensive scheme and played well against the lower competition he faced at Utah State.

Pittsburgh Steelers:

The 2014 NFL Draft is just a few days away so it is time to post my final mock drafts for all of the AFC North teams using Fanspeak’s On the Clock Mock Draft Simulator. Up next are the Pittsburgh Steelers. For this draft I used the Premium version, but completed no trades. If you want to see how the draft turned out for the other 31 teams, click here. Justin Gilbert

First Round (#15 overall): Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

In the first round, the Steelers should be looking to address their aging defense unless wide receiver Mike Evans somehow falls to their pick. With that being said, this pick should be the best defensive player available and that was Gilbert. Generally considered to be the number one cornerback in the draft, the Steelers would be doing good to get him at number 15. He would instantly come in and help shore up their cornerback position where multiple players are needed. A ballhawk, he intercepted seven passes last year. Whenever he touches the ball he is a threat to score as he had eight touchdowns in college (six on kick-off returns and two on interception returns).

Second Round (#46 overall): Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame

Continuing to add to the defense I took Tuitt here to address the defensive line since I went cornerback in the first round. If the Steelers opt to go defensive line in the first round, then they would likely go cornerback in round two. If Tuitt was in the draft last year, he would have been a top pick as he had a dominant season. However, this year was different as he had weight problems which stemmed from an offseason surgery. Due to this he wasn’t this same player––which will make him fall in the draft. A team like Pittsburgh will overlook an issue like this and select him. They have done this in the past and have been rewarded greatly.

Third Round (#97 overall, compensatory pick): Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee

Another player who was considered to be a first round prospect entering the year, Richardson didn’t play as well as he was expected to this season. Due to this, and a lackluster pre-draft process, he has been falling down draft boards. Pittsburgh has been needing offensive line help for years now, so seeing a player of this caliber fall to them in the third round is something they would pounce on. He could come in an play left or right tackle for the Steelers depending on where they would prefer him to play.

Fourth Round (#118 overall): Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers

With a need at wide receiver and their top three receivers being under 6-foot tall, the Steelers are likely looking for a bigger target for quarterbackBen Roethlisberger. At 6-foot-6, Coleman fits the bill perfectly. Not only does he have outstanding size, but he knows how to use it. Receivers this size don’t come around all the time so the Steelers would be smart to grab him in the mid-rounds to add to their receiving corps and give Roethlisberger a big target to throw to.

Fifth Round (#157 overall): Jordan Zumwalt, LB, UCLA

While not as big of a need as the defensive line or cornerback, the Steelers need an inside linebacker to play next to Lawrence Timmons. They may not be able to find that in the fifth round, but Zumwalt could fight for the job at the very worst. If he doesn’t win the job he has the ability to become a core special teams player. He already possesses a nastiness to him that would fit in well on the Steelers’ defense.

Fifth Round (#173 overall), compensatory pick): Josh Mauro, DE, Stanford

More than one draft pick is needed to address the defensive line as there is not only a need for starters, but a need for depth. Enter Mauro, who played in a 3-4 defensive in college at Stanford which was similar to the Steelers run. He may be a bit undersized at the moment (271 pounds), but at 6-foot-6 he has a good frame to build upon.

Sixth Round (#192 overall): Russell Bodine, OL, North Carolina

The only pick that is the same from my last Steelers’ mock draft, Pittsburgh needs interior offensive line depth and Bodine can provide that. Playing both guard and center in college, he would be a backup who can play all three interior spots. Depth is needed in the interior and considering the Steelers have suffered numerous injuries on their line, it would be a good idea to add some depth late in the draft.

Sixth Round (#215 overall, compensatory pick): Jake Murphy, TE, Utah

Heath Miller has been the Steelers’ tight end for a while now, but he is starting to get old and there isn’t much depth behind him. Murphy is 6-foot-4 and weighs 249 pounds while possessing massive 10 inch hands. He could sit behind Miller for a few years and then take over as the starter.

Seventh Round (#230 overall): Kendall James, CB, Maine

A small school cornerback, it wouldn’t hurt to take a flier on James in the seventh round. Pittsburgh needs youth at the position and he has the potential to develop into a contributor in a few years.

 

Baltimore Ravens:

The 2014 NFL Draft is just a few days away so it is time to post my final mock drafts for all of the AFC North teams using Fanspeak’s On the Clock Mock Draft Simulator. Up next are the Baltimore Ravens. For this draft I used the Premium version, but completed no trades. If you want to see how the draft turned out for the other 31 teams, click here.

Odell Beckham Jr

First Round (#17 overall): Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU Despite adding veteran Steve Smith in free agency this offseason, the Ravens still have a need at wide receiver. While that need may not be as important as before, Baltimore doesn’t pass up talented players when they are on the board and that is the case with Beckham Jr. here. With this pick the Ravens would have him, Torrey Smith and Marlon Brown at the position in the future with Steve Smith in the picture for a year or two. This would be a significant upgrade over what the Ravens had last year. So far this offseason has been dedicated to improving the offensive around quarterback Joe Flacco and this draft pick would continue this.

Second Round (#48 overall): Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois In the draft last year the Ravens selected safety Matt Elam with their first round pick, but another safety is needed this year as well. Elam was playing out of position last year at free safety and the Ravens. This offseason the Ravens haven’t really addressed the free safety position which makes me believe they will in the draft with a player like Ward. Ward can come in and be the ball-hawking free safety the Ravens have been missing since Ed Reed left. Ward can also move down and play slot cornerback at times. With Elam and Ward at safety the Ravens would have a young duo and could disguise coverages well as both have experience playing the other safety position.

Third Round (#79 overall): Billy Turner, OT, North Dakota State While Baltimore has addressed left tackle and center this offseason, right tackle is still a need. Turner––who played left tackle for the Bison––can come in an compete with last year’s fifth-round pick Ricky Wagner for the starting right tackle job. Turner may need some time to develop due to playing in the FCS, but he has the raw tools needed to develop into a NFL-caliber offensive lineman. He also the versatility to move inside to guard if need be, and the Ravens are known to like offensive linemen who can play multiple positions.

Third Round (#99 overall, compensatory pick): Terrance West, RB, Towson The third-straight small school selection here, West could come in and compete for snaps at running back right away. General manager Ozzie Newsome is known to like small school prospects. While three in a row may be a bit of overkill, they all make sense. West is a local prospect playing at Towson which is very close to Baltimore. Therefore, the Ravens will have been paying close attention to the FCS star who carried the Tigers to the FCS Championship Game where they lost to North Dakota State.

Fourth Round (#134 overall, compensatory pick): Taylor Hart, DE, Oregon With the loss of Arthur Jones to Indianapolis in free agency, the Ravens need some depth on the defensive line. Hart could challenge DeAngelo Tyson for the starting spot which Jones vacated. Hart has experience in a 3-4 defense as Oregon used this scheme as well. They also were an aggressive, blitzing team so the transition from one defense to another shouldn’t be too tough.

Fourth Round (#138 overall, compensatory pick): Terrance Mitchell, CB, Oregon Another free agent who left and wasn’t replaced was cornerback Corey Graham who left for Buffalo. Baltimore may believe that Chykie Brown can replace Graham, but I have my doubts. Therefore, I think the Ravens will draft a cornerback early in the draft to fill their third cornerback spot. Mitchell possess great ball skills in coverage and can line up throughout the secondary.

Fifth Round (#175 overall, compensatory pick): Crockett Gillmore, TE, Colorado State This offseason the Ravens re-signed Dennis Pitta and signed Owen Daniels to fix their tight end position, However, they still only have two on the roster so another should be added in the draft. Neither of those two are above-average blockers so a tight end like Gillmore who is an excellent blocker will likely be added in the later rounds of the draft.

Sixth Round (#194 overall): Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina The Ravens have made it known that they are looking for competition for Tyrod Taylor at their backup quarterback position. They haven’t signed any free agent quarterbacks though which means Baltimore will be looking for one in the draft. A three-year starter who saw action in all four of his years at South Carolina could be that guy.

Cincinnati Bengals:

The 2014 NFL Draft is just a few days away so it is time to post my final mock drafts for all of the AFC North teams using Fanspeak’s On the Clock Mock Draft Simulator. Up next are the Cincinnati Bengals. For this draft I used the Premium version, but completed no trades. If you want to see how the draft turned out for the other 31 teams, click here. Darqueze Dennard

First Round (#24 overall): Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Cincinnati has two major needs on their defense: cornerback and defensive end. With that in mind, I set out to try and fill those needs in the first and second round while still getting good value with the selections. In the first round Dennard was one of the top players still on the board and the clear cut best player at either cornerback or defensive end. He is a press-man cornerback who should excel in the Bengals’ scheme. At cornerback the Bengals need some help. Leon Hall is going to turn 30 during the season and is coming off his second torn Achilles tendon, Terence Newman will be 36 in early September, Adam Jones will turn 31 in season and Dre Kirkpatrick was drafted with the 17th overall pick in 2012, but has dealt with multiple injuries and when he has played it hasn’t gone well. With all that in mind, expect cornerback to be addressed early and don’t be surprised if the pick is Dennard in the first round.

Second Round (#55 overall): Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville

Having addressed the need at cornerback in the first round, I turned to defensive end in the second round with Smith. While Teddy Bridgewater received all of the press, Smith quietly had an excellent season recording 14.5 sacks in 13 games including two sacks in their bowl game against Miami (FL). He may not have a perfect fit in either 4-3 or 3-4 defense due to his size (6-foot-3, 251 pounds), but his pass rushing ability is unquestioned. The Bengals will be hoping he can take over the starting job and replace Michael Johnson who left for Tampa Bay in free agency.

Third Round (#88 overall): Marcus Martin, C, USC

On the offensive side of the ball, the Bengals only glaring need is at center. In my previous Bengals’ mock draft I selected Martin with this pick and seeing that he was on the board here, I saw no reason to change it. A 35-game starter for the Trojans, he started as a guard in his freshman and sophomore seasons, but transitioned to center as a junior. Since the Bengals are a team without many major needs, don’t be surprised if they draft a center in the first three rounds as they try and shore up the positions that need help the most.

Fourth Round (#123 overall): Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina

In free agency the Bengals lost wide receiver Andrew Hawkins to the Cleveland Browns as Cincinnati declined to match his restricted free agency offer sheet. He was the Bengals’ explosive slot receiver. Drafting Ellington would allow the Bengals to replace Hawkins with a very similar player. At 5-foot-9, Ellington is limited to the slot, but he is a quick receiver who had 49 catches last year. While at South Carolina he also played point guard for the basketball team. Now that he is focusing on just one sport, he is sure to get better.

Fifth Round (#164 overall): Kelcy Quarles, DT, South Carolina

Back-to-back South Carolina players here with Quarles after Ellington. Some more depth could be used at defensive tackle as nobody really stepped up last season when starter Geno Atkins went down with a torn ACL. Quarles plays the three-technique defensive tackle position like Atkins, so he would be a good player to bring in as a backup. Having played in the SEC, he will have played against the best competition available.

Sixth Round (#199 overall): Preston Brown, LB, Louisville

Releasing James Harrison this offseason, the Bengals could stand to add some depth at the linebacker position. Brown would be a good addition here in the sixth round. In 2011 he played strongside linebacker and moved to the middle in 2012 and led the Cardinals in tackles the next two seasons. He is also a Cincinnati native so this would be a homecoming of sorts for him.

Sixth Round (#212 overall, compensatory pick): Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami (FL)

With many picks and few needs, the Bengals can afford to take a risk or two on a prospect. Henderson has all the physical tools that offensive tackles need in the NFL. However, he was never able to put it all together at Miami after being the number one prospect in the country as a high school senior. Depth is always needed on the offensive line. It wouldn’t hurt the Bengals to try and develop him.

Seventh Round (#239 overall): Aaron Lynch, DE, South Florida

Going along with the last pick, Lynch has some severe off-the-field issues, but has undeniable talent on the field. There are questions about his attitude and work ethic as well as some off-the-field stuff. As a true freshman at Notre Dame he flashed great potential. If a coach can sort him out, he could be a late-round steal for a team. Cincinnati has never shied away from players like this so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them take a flier on him.

Seventh Round (#252 overall, compensatory pick): Lorenzo Taliaferro, RB, Coastal Carolina

A big running back (229 pounds), Taliaferro played a big role in Coastal Carolina making it all the way to the FCS quarterfinals this year. BenJarvus Green-Ellis will be a free agent at the end of the year so the Bengals will be looking for a bigger back to compliment the explosive Gio Bernardnext year. It would make sense to try and draft one this year and see what they can do.


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