2014 AA Writers’ Mock Draft Final Results


Apr 25, 2013; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (left) introduces Eric Fisher (Central Michigan) as the number one overall pick to the Kansas City Chiefs during the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last week, eight AA writers have undertaken the massive job of “mocking” the first round of the NFL draft. All but two positions are set in stone; we won’t know the order of No. 31 and No. 32 until after the Super Bowl tomorrow.

Each writer took four teams and selected the best player for that pick, based on best player and team needs. It was a massive undertaking and the perfect way to kick off the mock draft season here at AA.

For the first time, here is the final version of the first-ever 2014 AA Writers Mock Draft.

1. Houston Texans
Johnny Manziel
QB, Texas A&M University

The Texans have bought into the hype that surrounds Manziel. They believe he can bring this football team to the promised land with his quick feet and ability to improvise when plays break down. Pairing him with a big-time receiver like Andre Johnson will only help when Manziel throws passes and allows his receivers to go up and get them. ~Jason Seibel

2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington)
Sammy Watkins
WR, Clemson

The Rams’ leading receiver had just 671 yards in 2013. St. Louis is desperately in need of a playmaking pass-catcher to pair with Tavon Austin and Austin Pettis. He caught 101 balls and scored 12 touchdowns for the Tigers last season and will immediately upgrade the Rams’ offense. ~Stacy D. Smith

3. Jacksonville Jaguars
Teddy Bridgewater
QB, Louisville

The Jaguars are finally ready to officially move on from the Blaine Gabbert era. Taking Bridgewater here not only allows them to add arguably the most gifted passer in the draft, but gives them a new face of the franchise to help sell tickets both in Jacksonville and when they go overseas to London. For Jacksonville to fill their need at QB and ends the mistake that was the Blaine Gabbert era. ~Lyle Graverson

4. Cleveland Browns
Blake Bortles

Having missed out on RGIII two years ago, I think there is no doubt that the franchise believes it will have to trade up to get The One in the form of Bridgewater or Manziel this year. The good news is that they only have to move up two spots to swap with the Rams, who want to trade down, as always. But, for the purposes of this draft, Cleveland is left with another QBOTF candidate, albeit one that will need a bit more time to make a major impact. That has to be worrisome for whoever will be Cleveland’s head coach next year after team’s previous staff was jettisoned after just one season, but it’s their best shot. ~Nicholas Clayton

5. Oakland Raiders
Anthony Barr

I selected Anthony Barr for the Raiders because I believe he’s the best defensive prospect in the draft. There’s no doubt that Clowney is impressive and I don’t get too caught up in his supposed lack of effort either. I just believe that Barr is going to blow people away at the draft and I think his ceiling is even higher than that of Clowney. ~Jeff Grasser

6. Atlanta Falcons
Jadeveon Clowney
DE, South Carolina

We feel that the Falcons need to bolster their defense, and Clowney will be a valued asset on our defensive line. Clowney’s passion and speed will help us get back into the playoffs after a disappointing season. ~Nick Floyd

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jake Matthews
OT, Texas A & M University
The new regime here in Tampa clearly understands that the real spade work for this team starts in the trenches. We clearly regard Jake Matthews as the best player available, and believe he is capable of offering us immediate improvement and upside to spare for many years to come. ~Damian Nelson

8. Minnesota Vikings
Derek Carr
QB, Fresno State

Derek Carr is the prototypical pocket passer. He had more than 5,000 yards passing this year alone, and more than 12,000 for his career. His 69-percent completion rate and 50 TDs to only eight INTs was nothing short of astounding. The Vikings were 29th in passing yards over the past three years and you’d hope that new defensive-minded head coach Mike Zimmer would strengthen the weakest link on the team first. So, the Vikings have found their QB of the future… plus, he should come in and make a big difference right away. ~Ladner Morse

9. Buffalo Bills
Greg Robinson
OT, Auburn

In last year’s draft, the Bills made a surprising move and drafted a quarterback in the first round of a draft many said didn’t have first round QB talent. This year, the Bills will look to protect that investment by drafting E.J. Manuel’s personal bodyguard with their first-round pick.

While the Bills looked good on defense, their offense needs some help and specifically their line. They’re hoping Robinson can help anchor that position group. ~Jason Seibel

10. Detroit Lions
Darqueze Dennard
CB, Michigan State

The Detroit Lions are in need of a playmaker in their secondary. The four-year man out of Michigan State gives them a well-rounded corner who flashes shutdown ability and, in some circles, compares favorably to Darrelle Revis. Dennard is under 6 foot, but he’s got a solid, muscular 197-pound frame. He plays the position physically and is an asset in run support. ~Stacy D. Smith

11. Tennessee Titans
Khalil Mack
LB, Buffalo State

With Ray Horton now on board as the defensive coordinator, there is a chance that he will employ the same 4-3 under defense as he ran in Arizona under head coach Ken Whisenhunt. That hybrid scheme uses both 4-3 and 3-4 looks and a playmaker like Mack could excel in both types of packages. Mack is the rare defender that can wreak havoc in the backfield and drop back and cover. He’s a steal at #11 and I think the Titans would jump all over him if he made it this far. ~Lyle Graverson

12. New York Giants
Justin Gilbert
CB, Oklahoma State

The Giants have needs all over their defense, none more so than at linebacker. But, unless Khalil Mack is still on the board, I don’t think they will pull the trigger there. They were torched in the passing game all year, and need to continue to rejuvenate their defensive backfield by getting a big CB to play alongside Prince Amukamara. ~Nicholas Clayton

13. St. Louis Rams
Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix
Safety, Alabama

Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix. He’s the next best secondary prospect available and the Alabama pedigree doesn’t hurt. ~Jeff Grasser

14. Chicago Bears
Louis Nix
DT, Notre Dame

Despite having season-ending knee surgery, Nix has the size and the strength that the Bears are looking for. Their defense is aging, so bringing in a young talented lineman will give the Bears a much-needed upgrade and allow them to get back to being a fierce defense. ~Nick Floyd

15. Pittsburgh Steelers
C.J. Mosley
ILB, Alabama

The Steelers desperately need upgrades at many positions, but those needs are most pronounced on the defensive side of the ball. Taking the draft’s best ILB in the middle of the first round is almost always a safe, smart bet and in Pittsburgh’s case, it puts a key piece of the puzzle in place. It also doesn’t hurt that C.J. Mosley is a run-stuffing, ball-sniffing, counter-quarterback, play-making, field general of a man. ~Damian Nelson

16. Dallas Cowboys
Kony Ealy
DE, Missouri

DE Kony Ealy is 6-foot-5, 275 pounds and runs the 40 in 4.67 seconds. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of anyone that size running that fast. Well, not on the defensive side of the ball, anyway. The Cowboys are in desperate need of help on the defensive line and specifically the DE position so Ealy will be a perfect fit for them. ~Ladner Morse

17. Baltimore Ravens
Marqise Lee

After winning the Superbowl in 2012 and making quarterback Joe Flacco one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL, the Ravens missed the playoffs this year, largely because of the fact that their QB didn’t have anybody to throw the ball to. The Ravens need help all over the field, but bringing a top-tier receiving talent like Lee who has 2,864 receiving yards and 25 TDs in his career at USC is a good start to score points. ~Jason Seibel

18. New York Jets
Mike Evans
WR, Texas A&M University

Second-year quarterback Geno Smith needs legitimate pass-catching options on that Jets offense. His top receiver, Jeremy Kerley, had just 523 receiving yards in 2013. Evans had a monster year for Texas A&M last season, posting 1,322 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. ~Stacy D. Smith

19. Miami Dolphins
Taylor Lewan
OT, Michigan

Given the Dolphins’ absolutely abysmal offensive line situation, if the Dolphins don’t select a lineman here, Ryan Tannehill may file assault charges against his own front office.  I think they will be thrilled to find Lewan still available. ~Lyle Graverson

20. Arizona Cardinals
Cyrus Kouandjio
OT, Alabama

Arizona’s O-line problems are right up there with Miami’s. With Carson Palmer only under contract for one more year, I’m sure they would love to get a QBOTF here, but there just isn’t one worth the spot. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them trade back here as there are still some worthy tackles left, and they would realize at this point that they are getting their QB in the 2nd round. ~Nicholas Clayton

21. Green Bay Packers
Trent Murphy
DE, Stanford

It’s been understood by many that the Packers would want to find a replacement for Jermichael Finley in the first, but sources have said recently that they desperately want to improve their defense’s playmaking ability. Clay Matthews and Nick Perry provide a decent pass rush but are often injured and the 6-foot-5, 252-pound Trent Murphy led the NCAA in sacks this season with 15. Green Bay will keep Finley or find a serviceable tight end later on in the draft. ~Jeff Grasser

22. Philadelphia Eagles
Ryan Shazier
OLB, Ohio State

The Eagles seem pretty set on offense that really got its strides in the second half of the season. They are selecting Shazier to help secure the middle of the defense in hopes that his addition will bring a boost to a defense that had trouble stopping drives and creating turnovers. ~Nick Floyd

23. Kansas City Chiefs
Eric Ebron
TE, North Carolina

A successful West Coast offense thrives upon, among other things, dominant TE play. At 6-foot-4, 245 pounds, with soft hands, quick moves, and 4.6-ish speed, Ebron fits the bill. Ebron also features versatility in his game, with the ability to line up not only as a TE, but also as an H-Back or in the slot. People need to keep in mind that Travis Kelce represents a third-round selection who hasn’t played a real football game since college. Ebron is an elite player with the talent and ability to contribute right away while Kelce is still a question mark. If Kelce works out, the Chiefs might even be able to parlay Sean McGrath for an extra mid-to-late round pick. Win-win. ~Damian Nelson

24. Cincinnati Bengals
Jason Verrett

Cincinnati could use another solid corner. Earlier this season I thought Jason Verrett was the best CB in this draft, and he may turn out to be yet. His cover skills are excellent and his technique is textbook. The best things about Verrett is that he also knows how to hit so chalk one up for the Cincinnati defense—as if they really needed to get much better. ~Ladner Morse

25. San Diego Chargers
David Yankey
OG, Stanford

The Chargers picked DJ Fluker in last year’s draft and he performed admirably on the right side of the line. I believe the Chargers will attempt to continue to solidify that line with Yankey, who grades as a guard or left tackle into the NFL. With the revolving door that was the Chargers’ offensive line, Yankey should plug in nicely for years to come to protect Phillip Rivers. ~Jason Seibel

26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis)
Zack Martin
OG, Notre Dame

Martin played at left tackle his entire collegiate career, but with less-than-ideal arm length, he’s probably headed for the offensive interior in the NFL. Cleveland has a need already, but that might become a priority if Shawn Lauvao, slated for free agency, isn’t re-signed. ~Stacy D. Smith

27. New Orleans Saints
Calvin Pryor
Safety, Louisville

Malcom Jenkins is set to become a free agent and has never really lived up to his draft position. Taking Pryor here allows Rob Ryan to pair him with the talented Kenny Vaccaro giving them a fearsome safety duo similar to Seattle’s Thomas/Chancellor. ~Lyle Graverson

28. Carolina Panthers
Kelvin Benjamin

Carolina will be overjoyed if Benjamin stays on the board this long. They ended 2013 strong on both sides of the ball with a power running game, a nasty defense and a rising start at quarterback. The one thing missing was someone for QB Cam Newton to throw to. ~Nicholas Clayton

29. New England Patriots
Jace Amaro
TE, Texas Tech

It’s a safe pick but I’m going to say that the Pats continue with their dual offensive tight end schemes and draft Jace Amaro. Jace fits the prototypical size/production that the Pats like and with Gronk being so injury prone as of late, they need at least one playmaking tight end. ~Jeff Grasser

30. San Francisco 49ers
Bradley Roby
CB, Ohio State

Keeping with the defensive side of the ball, Roby from Ohio State will help secure the secondary. He is fast and plays with passion, which is exactly the kind of player Jim Harbaugh wants on his team. ~Nick Floyd

31. Denver Broncos
Timmy Jernigan
DT, Florida State

Because of Peyton Manning’s consistent ability to keep opposing defenses on their heels, there is an inherent pressure placed upon opposing offenses to either keep Manning off the field with the run or to otherwise try and keep pace with the pass. Jernigan possesses the ideal combination of size, speed and aggressiveness to make both tasks considerably more challenging. ~Damian Nelson

32. Seattle Seahawks
Morgan Moses
OT, Virginia

Like most other NFL teams, the Seahawks need help along the offensive line and Morgan Moses should take no time at all to help with that. In 2013, Moses started every game and only gave up two sacks in more than 500 passing attempts by his QB. Moses is big (6-foot-6, 325 pounds) and strong, plus nfldraftscout.com cites his quickness off the ball, fluidity and straight line speed. Moses has too much upside to pass here and ESPN (Mel Kiper) has him ranked as the 23rd best prospect overall in this year’s draft. It’s win-win for Seattle. ~Ladner Morse