Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 NFL Draft - Projecting The Top 10

Trying to predict how an NFL front office might operate on draft day is extremely difficult.  However, you can try and break teams down to figure out what they need and what they want.  Keith's mock draft was post on New Year Days and it's a good one, but my thought process is slightly different.  Here is how I see the Top 10 picks in the 2014 NFL Draft going down:


1. Houston Texans - Teddy Bridgewater (QB - Louisville)

  • Selecting #1 is never easy. You can have your choice of any player in the draft, and there's a lot of pressure to pick the right guy. It's even tougher when there is no stand out #1 like this year.
  • Originally I thought the Texans could make a deal to bring in Jay Cutler, but that went out the window once the Bears signed Cutler to a 7 year extension.
  • Bridgewater is most likely the safest pick for the Texans because they are searching for an identity on offense and the fans have made it clear that it's time to move on from Matt Schaub.
  • If the Texans are able to make a move to bring in a starting QB, then I can see them going after Jadeveon Clowney and pairing him up with J.J. Watt to form one of the most dangerous defensive lines in the NFL.

2. St. Louis Rams - Jake Matthews (OT - Texas A&M)

  • A lot of professionals covering the draft believe Matthews is the best player in the draft. However it's very rare that an offensive lineman go #1.
  • The Rams offensive line will take a hit with Rodger Saffold becoming a free agent and Jake Long just suffered a torn ACL and MCL.
  • Matthews will fill a void, and once Long is healthy, they will form a very solid offensive line for Sam Bradford and Zac Stacy.
  • I personally think the Rams will trade this pick as they also pick at #13, but it's impossible to predict draft trades.
  • This move makes plenty of sense for the Rams, who if they keep it, can solidify their offensive line, and then take a WR at #13 (Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins, Marqise Lee)

3. Jacksonville Jaguars - Blake Bortles (QB - Central Florida)

  • With Maurice Jones-Drew leaving after 8 seasons in Jacksonville, the Jaguars are ready for a complete makeover, and this pick makes sense for so many reasons.
  • The Jaguars need a QB in the worst way. Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert (22 TDs in 28 games) are not franchise quarterbacks. 
  • Bortles can become the face of the franchise, and if Justin Blackmon returns to the team then they can become an awesome duo. Providing fans with a pass game is something they haven't seen in a long long time.
  • Fans will absolutely love Bortles as most are already probably fans of him. He's a Florida kid from Oviedo, and he played his college ball at Central Flroida.

4. Cleveland Browns - Johnny Manziel (QB - Texas A&M)

  • Just like many teams in the NFL, the Cleveland Browns are a team desperate for offense and an identity on offense.
  • Drafting Manziel is risky as he's undersized and his style of play is very similar to Robert Griffin III, and we already saw what happens when a young QB takes a lot of hits. So there is a high risk of injury.
  • Aside from his injury risk, the fans in Cleveland need a franchise QB that they can love as they've been through the worst of the worst in the past decade. (Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn, Colt McCoy, Jake Delhomme, Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer, Jason Campbell).
  • Manziel will bring an excitement to the Browns offense that has failed to be exciting for a long time. With his ability to throw the deep ball, and having arguably a top 5 WR in Josh Gordon, the Browns could have the ability to torch some defenses.

5. Oakland Raiders - Brett Hundley (QB - UCLA)

  • Continuing with the QB trend, the Raiders will also look to find a franchise QB with the #5 pick with Brett Hundley.
  • Just like the Jaguars selecting Bortles, it makes sense for the Raiders to take Hundley who is a west coast guy and played his college ball at nearby UCLA.
  • There is no guarantee Hundley will even enter the draft as he was just a redshirt sophomore.
  • Hundley is extremely talented and has good size at 6'3 220.
  • Not only did he throw for 3,000 yards and 24 touchdowns, but he got it done with his legs as well, rushing for 750 yards and 11 touchdowns.
  • He fits in well with the Raiders and could provide them a stable QB.

6. Atlanta Flacons - Jadeveon Clowney (DE - South Carolina)

  • It's hard to believe that Clowney could potentially fall all the way to 6, when I believe he has enough talent to be the #1 overall pick.
  • The Falcons defense was awful in 2013, as they ranked 31st against the run and 21st against the pass.
  • Clowney will help rush the quarterback, as the Falcons had just 32 sacks, second worst in the league.
  • It would be an easy transition for Clowney as he wouldn't have to go far, moving from South Carolina to Georgia, and I would think he would be more motivated to play for a good team like the Falcons, who have a very good offense when healthy.

7.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Sammy Watkins (WR - Clemson)

  • When your team ranks dead last in pass offense, you go out and take the best offensive player on the board, and that's WR Sammy Watkins from Clemson
  • It seems like the Bucs will stick with Mike Glennon at QB for 2014, and it's a good idea to just surround him with weapons. The run game will be back as Doug Martin returns from injury and Watkins will be part of a very talented trio with veterans Vincent Jackson, & Mike Williams.
  • Adding Watkins play making ability will do wonders for the Bucs next season.

8. Minnesota Vikings - Derek Carr (QB - Fresno State)

  • When you waste $3 million on Josh Freeman because you are in dire need of a QB, I think it's a good idea to just go and draft a new one.
  • Carr has one of the biggest arms in college, and that's what the Vikings missed in 2013. Using Freeman, Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel, none of them have the ability to sling the ball down field with any accuracy. Carr has a cannon and posses great accuracy.
  • Yes his brother is David Carr, but he's not going to an expansion team and he'll be have Adrian Peterson to handle the majority of the load. It will be fun to see him throw it deep to guys like Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson.

9. Buffalo Bills - Cameron Erving (OT - Flroida State)

  • Having to replace Erik Pears, the Bills can do that at #9 with selecting Cameron Erving from Florida State.
  • At 6'6, 310 lbs he certainly has the size to be an excellent offensive tackle in the NFL.
  • He's done an amazing job all year long protecting Heisman winner Jameis Winston and is a main reason the Florida State offense has been firing on all cylinders.
  • With his size, people are surprised to see how quick he actually is, and FSU has plays drawn up for him to block for receivers and running backs up the field.

10. Detroit Lions - Mike Evans (WR - Texas A&M)

  • If the top 9 teams allow Evans to go to the Lions, then they should expect a nearly unstoppable Lions offense in 2014.
  • We all know how good Calvin Johnson is, adding Evans is like making a clone of Megatron but he's only 20. Evans is 6'5, 225 and will win every jump ball.
  • Matthew Stafford was awful down the stretch for the Lions as they lost 6 of their final 7 games. I think a lot of that had to due with Calvin Johnson not being 100% healthy and Stafford not having another trustworthy guy in the pass game. Adding Evans will give him exactly what he needs.
  • Defenses will no longer only game plan to shutdown Johnson, they'll also need to figure out how to slow down Evans as well.
  • Already having an excellent run game with Reggie Bush and Joique Bell, the Lions offense could be just as good as Denver next season.

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