Dan Pluta (@DPluta08) has put together his latest 2014 NFL Mock Draft and things continue to evolve in this mock draft. The Jaguars and Bucs continue to move away from the top of the draft board as the Texans, Redskins and Falcons begin to solidify their top picks.
This edition of the mock draft is based on current NFL standings using win/loss and strength of schedules as the tie-breakers. For playoff teams, the same tie-breakers are in place. This list is subject to change and will throughout the NFL season and subsequent offseason. Underclassmen who have not indicated any intent to forgo their NCAA eligibility have not been included.
2014 NFL MOCK DRAFT Volume 7.0 (2 Rounds)
1.) HOUSTON TEXANS: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville – They just don’t stop losing. This is an interesting place to predict because nobody thought the Texans would be in this position, and they don’t need to make a pick here – a trade is very possible here given the value of the #1 overall pick. The Texans on paper don’t seem to be a bad football team, but they are playing like one. They’re not a good team though, either. One of the reason the Texans have struggled is their QB play. Houston is 29th on offense averaging just 18.0 pts/game with the 25th ranked defense allowing nearly 27 pts/game, not a winning recipe. Matt Schaub played terribly and Case Keenum is an admirable backup. Schaub is also due $14.5 Million next season, more fuel that he could be on his way out. That would also free up a lot of cash to re-sign Antonio Smith to a new long-term deal. A new franchise QB makes sense here, and for now, Bridgewater is the top guy. Although Bridgewater’s stock has been declining and until any other indication is made, he will be the pick.
2.) ST. LOUIS RAMS: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M – This pick keeps getting better for the Rams, who receive this selection via the RG3 trade. I expected more out of the Rams defense this year. I’m not giving up and rebuilding quite yet, they have a foundation there which just needs some glue. I find it hard to believe Jake Matthews would be looked over at this pick, he’s perfect for St. Louis who have Rodger Safford headed to Free Agency along with Chris Williams and Shelley Smith. The offensive line will need to improve, and Matthews is the best in this year’s class. I think the Rams will consider a guy like Clowney or Barr, but the reality is that DE is not a need and OT is.
3.) OAKLAND RAIDERS: Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA – Matt McGloin? Trade? Oakland has been suffering on offense averaging 21 pts per game while allowing 28 per game. DMC and Rashad Jennings also hit the market this offseason. Oakland is in dire need of offensive help and will have several holes to fill. Terrelle Pryor might not be the answer, but Brett Hundley hopefully will be. Hundley, like Bridgewater, has begun to fall on many boards, but he’s still a solid QB pick.
4.) JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina – This pick has been reserved for a QB for some time, but Jacksonville is now in a different position drafting 4th instead of 1st. There’s too much talent on the board to draft another QB. With all the Jaguars woes, a trade could happen here. But, for the sake of making a pick for the Jaguars, Clowney now seems to be a great fit at #4 considering the situation. The Jaguars do need pass-rush help as they are 31st in the league in sacks, just 1 ahead of the Bears. Clowney can come in right away and help a team that will see Sen’Derrick Marks and Brandon Deaderick hitting the open market. The front 4 in this 4-3 Defense could be in need of a near total upgrade.
5.) ATLANTA FALCONS: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA – This team is awful when you look past all the enormous offensive skill position players. The Falcons haven’t exactly been the healthiest team either, Julio Jones (Out), Roddy White (missed time), Jackson (missed time), Gonzo, Matty Ice… all big names. But, there’s no pressure on opposing QB’s. Geno Smith looked comfortable in that Monday night game against the Jets in Week 5, he was a rookie on the road and wasn’t under any pressure. Yeah, he was sacked 4 times but when a rookie comes into your house and completes 80% of his passes… Anthony Barr will help immediately with this problem. He can line up in the front, he can drop back into coverage. Barr can hit and he will only get better. The Falcons should take Barr and run with this pick. Aside from Matthews, Barr is one of the safer top picks in the draft and the Falcons need more help on a defense allowing almost 28 pts per game. This pick could also go to Jadeveon Clowney (if available) or Louis Nix (somewhat of a stretch), the top rated Defensive Linemen on the board, with Peria Jerry, Jonathan Babineaux and Corey Peters all looking for new contracts, but Barr is a much better pick than Clowney/Nix here, and in my opinion, the top player in this draft.
6.) CLEVELAND BROWNS: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF – It wouldn’t be a total shock to see the Browns use their volume of draft selections to move up and grab the QB they want. I think Brett Hundley is the safe pick here for a QB and one Cleveland would like, but he’s gone. Last edition the Browns would have been forced into taking a QB too early, but since then they’ve lost and moved up 2 spots and UCF’s QB, Blake Bortles, has leaned more towards entering this year’s Draft and has a lot of hype. I think the Browns have the foundation to be strong on D, and I like the offensive line (Mack will need to be signed). I think the play is QB and build around him now. The Browns have 2 picks, they’ll be QB and playmakers, but it’s too early to go after someone like Sammy Watkins. I’d be really excited for this pick if the Browns snag the right playmakers with their next few picks to help Bortles out. I’d prefer seeing Hundley here, though.
7.) TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame - This pick really hinges on whether a new regime comes in to take over for Greg Schiano and Co. after this season. Mike Glennon was a Schiano pick (and playing pretty well), the new coach would need to be a fan of Glennon for this pick to be something other than a QB. The Bucs have a young, but decent defense. If Schiano remains at the helm, this pick goes to Louis Nix, arguably one of the top defensive players on the Board. If Schiano is fired, this could be Derek Carr or (depending on who they bring in) Johnny Manziel. I think Schiano gets another year if the Bucs play well in Week’s 16 & 17, and if that’s the case – Louis Nix will be lining up next to Gerald McCoy next year which will be a formidable duo.
8.) MINNESOTA VIKINGS: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State – Could be that trading partner for one of the teams listed above them on the draft board as a QB is needed after Ponder, Cassel and Freeman have shown they aren’t the right guy. Albeit, Cassel played well in Week 15, but it was against a poor Philly defense. Surprisingly, the offense hasn’t been as bad as most people might think as they’re actually 8th in points scored. But, the defense is ranked 31st allowing over 30-points per game. Minnesota needs to stop the ball. To make matters worse, Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Fred Evans and Everson Griffen are all pending free agency. I really like Butkus award-winner, C.J. Mosley, but it might be too soon for him, plus a QB is needed in this draft. With that said, Derek Carr has been nothing short of dominant this season while completing over 70% of his passes and 48-7 TD-INT ratio. He leads all QB’s with 4,866 yards and has only taken 11 sacks. Right now – Carr is the pick, but I don’t anticipate this pick sticking in the upcoming weeks.
9.) BUFFALO BILLS: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama – A run on QB’s before this pick is ideal for the Bills who will look to solidify their offense and defense with the final few pieces. I’ve been mocking Ha Ha Clinton-Dix here since Day 1, but this is just too early in the draft for him. The Bills defense allow over 25 pts per game, which is 18th in the league. I think the offense has the foundation to improve and grow, it’s possible to go with Taylor Lewan here to protect E.J. Manuel, and that would be a great pick, but there’s too much talent to pass up on defense. Unfortunately, the Bills won’t benefit much from drafting Jernigan or Tuitt here and could really use a DB with this pick. I like the Bills trading back as well, but for the sake of mocking a player, the Bills stick with Alabama and take C.J. Mosley to help fill the possible voids left by pending free agents Alan Branch, Alex Carrington and Arthur Moats in their front seven.
10.) TENNESSEE TITANS: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan – It’s possible that QB is in play here given the run on signal callers, but I just don’t see the talent being there for so many QB selections on Thursday. Bernard Pollard is hitting free agency, might be possible to snag a DB here too. But, Taylor Lewan is the top player on the Draft Board and fills a need in Tennesssee. Michael Otto hits the market this offseason and after next season, Michael Roos and David Stewart become free agents.
11.) NEW YORK GIANTS: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State – The G-Men are 28th in total offense averaging just over 311 yards per game. Part of the reason is that Eli Manning has no protection. The Giants went out and got FA Brandon Myers who’s been blocking instead of receiving. To make matters worse, Hakeem Nicks likely will be gone this offseason as could be Andre Brown. I think DB and a pass-rusher is also badly needed, but someone needs to help take the pressure of their franchise guy in Manning. I think this pick falls to Cyrus Kouandjio or Justin Gilbert. Gilbert would be the first DB off the board and would fit as a replacement for the potentially departing Terrell Thomas. I could also see this going to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to replace a potentially departing Stevie Brown as well.
12.) PITTSBURGH STEELERS: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson – The Steelers have gaps to fill on both sides of the ball. They also are in dire need of playmakers and will be losing a lot on defense this offseason. They’ll need to address the need at OT where Beachum, Gilbert and Adams (plus Ramon Foster will be a UFA) can’t get the job done allowing sack after sack on Roethlisberger. If Lewan is still around he’s the pick. The Steelers could also benefit from someone like Nix, Tuitt or Jernigan with Ziggy Hood and Brett Keisel pending FA. Given the availability here, the Steelers would need to go with Sammy Watkins, who’s by far the top player available and fills a huge need on offense which has struggled moving the ball and will be losing Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery this offseason to the market. Watkins can line up across from Antonio Brown to give Roethlisberger two strong options to pass to.
13.) NEW YORK JETS: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M – The Jets were a playoff team a few weeks ago, now they’re picking earlier in the 2014 NFL Draft. I can see the Jets trading up to get their playmaker. I think the defense has been outperforming themselves, and it’s not because they’re a fluke. Wilkerson is dominant and provides an anchor on a hard-nosed defense. Sheldon Richardson will continue to develop and hopefully Dee Milliner turns things around. I think the Jets are conservative in the draft on defense and focus on improving the other side of the ball around rookie Geno Smith. With that said, I love the possibilities here. I think someone like De’Anthony Thomas would be frightening on the offensive side, but I think WR is the bigger need and Thomas can be found on Friday. The Jets could also sway towards the O-Line given Austin Howard, Willie Colon, Vlad Ducasse and TE Jeff Cumberland will all be Free Agents, but Mike Evans is the best player on the board for the Jets right now and will provide size and reliability for their young QB.
14.) ST. LOUIS RAMS: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama – St. Louis gets the best OL in the Draft with their first pick. This takes care of a huge need for protection of Sam Bradford, and I think Bradford is the long-term guy in St. Louis. Next, the Rams need to shore up a strong, youthful defense which could use a DT or DB. With that said, the top options available are likely to be Timmy Jernigan or Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. I think Clinton-Dix is the better player and would provide a young, long-term tandem in the secondary with T.J. McDonald.
15.) SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida – This is obvious, the Chargers need someone to stop the Quarterback from completing passes. A shutdown corner is badly needed for the 29th ranked pass defense and Loucheiz Purifoy is the top DB available and is going to be that guy. Afterall, the Chargers need someone to cover all the Bronco receivers.
16.) DETROIT LIONS: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina – The Lions go with the best player available. Brandon Pettigrew is a pending free agent as will be Nate Burleson the season after. Calvin Johnson needs a counterpart in the worst way. Eric Ebron is a rare talent and will make an immediate impact on the field.
17.) DALLAS COWBOYS: Stephon Tuitt, DL, Notre Dame – Jay Ratliff was let go due to injury, Anthony Spencer will be a Free Agent along with Jason Hatcher, The Cowboys’ guy could be Notre Dame’s Tuitt. Help is needed up front on the line and Tuitt can provide a lot for a defense that is allowing over 27 pts per game and an NFL worst, 427.3 yards per game. Tuitt is versatile and can move around the defensive front. I could see Timmy Jernigan landing here as well.
18.) GREEN BAY PACKERS: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington – The Packers allow Aaron Rodgers to get hit way too much and now Rodgers is out with a collarbone break. The Packers struggle to win without Rodgers, it’s as simple as that, they need to protect him. B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett are also FA this offseason, but should be signed back up, if not – Timmy Jernigan or Stephon Tuitt fit well here. Jermichael Finley is also a free agent and injured. Seferian-Jenkins was at one point a Top 10 pick, and will help fill the void left at TE by Finley’s departure (Andrew Quarless & Matt Mulligan are also UFA’s).
19.) MIAMI DOLPHINS: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama – The Dolphins lost Jake Long in free agency last year, Jonathan Martin most likely won’t be back and now Richie Incognito is gone. This pick will be whoever the best lineman is on the board, right now it’s Kouandjio but could be La’el Collins if he continues to develop and declares for this year’s draft. Morgan Moses has also been rapidly climbing the board along with Greg Robinson. In other words, the Dolphins have options here. Unless they reload on the line through free agency, I don’t see this pick being anything other than OL. Oh, John Jerry, Will Yeatman and Danny Watkins hit the market too.
20.) ARIZONA CARDINALS: Cameron Erving, OT, Florida State - The Cardinals have been better on both sides of the ball, but could use help moving the ball more consistently. The Cards are 19th in total offense and 17th in total defense and is 8th in the league with points allowed per game. They invested in Jonathan Cooper at Guard last year and now Eric Winston is a pending free agent. I could see the Cards tabbing a TE here, but OT looks to be the fit, and Cameron Erving (if he declares) would be the top OL on the Board.
21.) BALTIMORE RAVENS: Marqise Lee, WR, USC – The Ravens need help at WR bad. Torrey Smith is essentially alone out there and Marlon Brown has been tremendous while subbing as a #2. But, the Ravens need a clear-cut option out there to complement Smith, and Lee can extend the field and move the chains as we’ve seen for two seasons now.
22.) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon - This team doesn’t need much more in terms of offensive weapons, they can wait to get that extra WR they could use, and maybe they don’t need one after Riley Cooper’s break-out the past few weeks, albeit Cooper is also a pending Free Agent. The offense has shown it can be explosive, and at this point, they need to figure out a way to stop the ball on defense as they sit over 24-points per game. I think Chip Kelly goes to one of the top DB’s on the board with Kenny Phillips, Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman and Colt Anderson all heading into Free Agency, and one of the top DB’s available is one Kelly is familiar with in Ifo Ekpre-Olomu from Oregon.
23.) CHICAGO BEARS: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State – This is going to be a tough pick to forecast right now. The injured Henry Melton as well as Corey Wootton are going to be free agents, both CB’s (Jennings/Tillman) also pending free agency along with Jay Cutler, who is now oft-injured. I think the offense is much improved, especially at the line, and Trestman is comfortable with Cutler. I see the Bears bringing Cutler back on a conservative new deal and you’d have to imagine one of those corners will return. For that reason, the top DL on the board comes to Chicago. Timmy Jernigan will have a huge upcoming opportunity to showcase his skills in the BCS Championship and that should bode well for him here, so Jernigan is the pick.
24.) CLEVELAND BROWNS: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State – I thought for the longest time De’Anthony Thomas might be the pick here given the offense and several early selections. But, the Browns can now wait to get Thomas in the 2nd or maybe even 3rd rounds given Thomas’ durability issues. The Browns have some speed with Travis Benjamin and Josh Gordon. Kelvin Benjamin has declared for this year’s Draft and brings a bit of a different element given his massive size at 6’5 and 230+ pounds. Kelvin Benjamin can stretch the field and presents mismatches with the defense.
25.) CINCINNATI BENGALS: Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson – The Bengals have a solid defense, 6th in the league, but can improve. Leon Hall has injury concerns and although strong/deep at DB, the Bengals all of a sudden are getting thin. Hopefully Geno Atkins returns healthy next season as Michael Johnson will be owed a huge sum if he is re-signed, if not the Bengals could look at pass-rush options here and Vic Beasley fits this need.
26.) NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech - The Patriots need help on offense, it’s no secret. Gronkowski returned and boosted the offense a bit for Brady, but now he’s out with a knee injury. To make matters worse, Aqib Talib will be a UFA along with Brandon Spikes. With Julian Edelman also pending the market, the Patriots must ensure Tom Brady has enough weapons to work with. Texas Tech TE Jace Amaro has been flying up boards, and I think he’s a 2nd Round pick, but the Patriots might opt to go with him early to fill in where Aaron Hernandez was which should bode well for Belichick’s offense.
27.) CAROLINA PANTHERS: Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee – The Panthers are the surprise team (for the positive) in the NFL and strong on defense (#2 at 14 pts/game allowed). But, on offense, Steve Smith is really the only WR worth noting on this roster and he’s aging. Cam Newton certainly would love to have another weapon . With Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn, Jr. pending free agency, WR is needed, but I think the Panthers could afford to wait until Round 2 to get their guy. Jordan Gross will be 34 next season and a free agent. Garry Williams and Travelle Wharton will also hit the market. Antonio Richardson is one of the SEC’s top OL and proved his talents against some tough pass-rushes.
28.) SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State - Khalil Mack & Dominique Easley are by far the best players available and possibly Top-20 talents, so those are options. But, the 49ers could lose Donte Whitner, Tarell Brown,
Tramaine Brock and Eric Wright to Free Agency leaving holes in the secondary. Dennard has been hot lately and could help fill those holes and step in right away to play.
29.) NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo – The Saints will be in a bit of a pickle this offseason with Malcolm Jenkins, Jonathan Vilma, Zach Strief, Brian De La Puente, Jimmy Graham and more headed to Free Agency. On top of that, Will Smith has a massive club option he could take and Marques Colston, Ben Grubbs and Brodrick Bunkley all get huge boosts in 2014. We have to expect Jimmy Graham will sign a big deal and others will restructure, but the Saints will need a solid draft to make up for those they will lose. The first one to address will be with the pass-rush, the best pass-rusher on the board is Khalil Mack. I also like Trent Murphy here.
30.) KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota – I think Andy Reid just goes with the best player available, but Brandon Albert will be owed a big chunk of money if he’s re-signed in Free Agency and Tyson Jackson as well. I don’t think the Chiefs can sign both to new contracts and Jackson will probably be the odd man out here. Hageman can come in and play on the defensive front right away.
31.) DENVER BRONCOS: Gabe Jackson, G, Mississippi State - If it’s not a defensive player it’s an offensive lineman. Wesley Woodyard and DRC hit the market this offseason (as does Eric Decker), but more importantly, J.D. Walton, Zane Beadles, Winston Justice and Dan Koppen will hit the market leaving holes on the inside of the O-Line. Jackson is the best Guard in the draft. If La’el Collins or Xavier Su’a-Filo declare, any of them could fit too.
32.) SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Dominique Easley, DE, Florida – I think Pete Carroll goes with the best option on the board with Easley. It might not be the most critical need, but Easley can play right away and add a boost to front D-Line which will lose Michael Bennett to the market this year and Chris Clemons after next.
33.) HOUSTON TEXANS: Cyril Richardson, G, Baylor – This could be a variety of picks. Andre Johnson is due a large sum of money and could be with a new franchise in the offseason. If that’s the case, WR makes sense here. If not, Wade Smith will be a free agent and the Texans could use a replacement if he departs. O-Line definitely makes sense to protect their new QB, one of the top Guards in the draft is available, Cyril Richardson from Baylor won’t have to go too far to Houston.
34.) WASHINGTON REDSKINS: Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida – It’s too bad the Redskins don’t have a 1st Round selection to make, because they badly need picks. LB is a need with London Fletcher, Nick Barnett and Brian Orakpo heading into free agency, it’d be shocking not to see Orakpo back. Fletcher could head into retirement, but he is a work-horse. On offense, Josh Morgan, Santana Moss, Dezmon Briscoe and Fred Davis will all hit the market. Also the secondary will be thin with Josh Wilson, Reed Doughty, EJ Biggers and DeAngelo Hall possibly departing. With all that said, the Redskins need to go with the best need player available. The offense isn’t playing great but shows improving signs, but the defense is horrendous, and unable to stop teams from moving the ball. Secondary help is needed and Roberson is the best player on the Board, and a need.
35.) JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson – The Jags need a lot. Maurice Jones-Drew is a pending free agent who will be owed big money still and want out of Jacksonville. The Jags do have bigger worries than a running game, but will need to replace MJD. They also will be in need of a new signal-caller as Chad Henne will hit the market and I can’t imagine anyone paying him to stay. Tajh Boyd is the best available as I’m not a Johnny Manziel believer.
36.) ATLANTA FALCONS: Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia – Joe Hawley and Jeremy Trueblood will be hitting the market and Tony Gonzalez will be hanging up his spikes. If Ebron, ASJ or Amaro were available, the Falcons might consider them, but OL is a need to protect Matt Ryan. Morgan Moses has shown he can hold up against the competition and should be able to take over for an unreliable Trueblood.
37.) CLEVELAND BROWNS: David Yankey, G, Stanford – Bortles will need to be set up to succeed. He has Kelvin Benjamin now and Josh Gordon, Travis Benjamin and Jordan Cameron will be targets on offense. Protection will be key. David Yankey is the top interior lineman available and can even move outside to tackle. This will help solidify a strong O-Line anchored by Joe Thomas and Mitchell Schwartz at the Tackle positions and when Alex Mack is re-signed, this would be one of the best lines in the NFL. This makes way for a RB to be drafted at the top of Round 3.
38.) TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado - The Bucs have been playing fairly well lately with Mike Glennon. Doug Martin returning off his injury will be a boost and Vincent Jackson could use another receiver on the other side of the field, Mike Williams won’t be the long-term answer. The Bucs could really use a TE for Glennon, but with none available at this juncture of the draft, WR will be the pick. Paul Richardson just declared his eligibility for the 2014 Draft and could find his way to Tampa.
39.) OAKLAND RAIDERS: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin – The Raiders got a new signal-caller in the 1st Round and have the budget to do a lot in the offseason if they open their pockets up a little more. One thing they’ll need to address is replacements (on an already bad pass rush) for Vance Walker, LaMarr Houston, Pat Sims and Kevin Burnett. They’ll also need to find an answer at RB. Melvin Gordon and Ka’Deem Carey are battling for the top RB spot.
40.) MINNESOTA VIKINGS: Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford – One of the NFL’s worst defenses went with a QB in Round 1. Jared Allen will most likely be gone as he’s due a huge contract and Minnesota won’t be able to afford it. Harrison Smith’s return from injury will be a huge boost in the secondary but the Vikings will need to compensate for the loss of Allen and possibly Evans, Griffen and Williams too. The top pass-rusher on the Board here is Stanford’s Trent Murphy, a solid 1st Round talent.
41.) TENNESSEE TITANS: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU – Tennessee went with OT in Round 1. The defense has been adequate and will be losing Pollard and Verner in free agency. Another DB would boost the defense and Jason Verret is the top guy available.
42.) NEW YORK GIANTS: Zack Martin, G, Notre Dame –The G-Men need a lot of help to right their ship. One of those items they badly need is offensive line. Chris Snee is on the IR as is David Baas, to make matters worse – David Diehl is a pending free agent. With Brandon Myers also on just a 1-Year deal, help will be needed to protect Eli Manning. Given the run on OL talent, the G-Men grab Zack Martin out of Notre Dame.
43.) BUFFALO BILLS: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State – The Bills will most likely need to pick up a Safety this draft since Jairus Byrd seemingly will be elsewhere. Even so, the Buffalo secondary has struggled and will need to find depth. Safety is weak in this year’s draft after Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Bradley Roby is still available leaving the Bills taking CB here to complement Stephon Gilmore.
44.) NEW YORK JETS: James Hurst, OT, North Carolina – The Jets will need to address the Offensive Line when Vlad Ducasse, Austin Howard, Willie Colon and TE Jeff Cumberland and FB Lex Hilliard all hit the market. The best OL available is James Hurst.
45.) ST. LOUIS RAMS: Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State – The Rams picked up two strong players on both sides of the ball in Round 1. If St. Louis wants Sam Bradford to be successful, they’ll need to give him more weapons but it’s difficult to justify that after drafting Austin and Bailey last year and bringing in Jared Cook. Cortland Finnegan is owed a big chunk of dough and underperforming, another DB could be taken. The top player available is a 1st Round talent and pass-rush need for the Rams. So, Crichton is selected.
47.) PITTSBURGH STEELERS: Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU – Ziggy Hood and Brett Keisel will both be facing free agency as will Jason Worilds. I can see this going to a front seven guy or OL. The best player available is Ryan Shazier but he needs to add weight and won’t fit Pittsburgh’s need. Anthony Johnson has the size the Steelers will want up front at 300-pounds.
47.) DETROIT LIONS: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri – Dominic Raiola and Jason Fox will be free agents along with Leroy Harris, but now’s not the time to stretch for OL when plenty of options to boost the defense are available. The Lions snagged Ziggy Ansah last year in the draft, but Willie Young will be a free agent and Nick Fairley will be a UFA in 2015. Kony Ealy is a physical pass-rusher who can play a variety of spots on defense.
48.) DALLAS COWBOYS: Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU – Dallas has scored points this season, but has struggled to stop opposing teams from scoring. The Cowboys are 32nd in Pass Defense and 28th in Rush Defense. Tuitt was picked in Round 1 to help alleviate any pain from a possible loss of Spencer or Hatcher to free agency, but help is still needed. Kyle Van Noy is a 1st Round talent and tackler who will fit in great in the Cowboys defense.
49.) SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A – This pick could find its way to a QB, Philip Rivers will be 32 at the start of next season and has only 2 more years left on his contract. The biggest free agency concerns for the Chargers are with the injured Larry English and Charlie Whitehurst. Manziel could sit and learn a year or two behind Rivers and take the job over in 2016 when Rivers hits the market.
50.) GREEN BAY PACKERS: Ego Ferguson, DT, LSU – The Packers do need to find help on the offensive line. Unfortunately, there’s no real talent worth taking at this pick. Ryan Pickett and B.J. Raji are both hitting free agency and I imagine only 1 with be signed in Raji as he is younger (Pickett is 34) and more talented. The Packers will need to find help up front on D, Ego Ferguson is still available and a 1st Round talent.
51.) MIAMI DOLPHINS: Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma – The Dolphins will face a tough offseason having lost a large portion of their offensive line and with Paul Soliai and Randy Starks hitting the market. Brent Grimes, Chris Clemons and Nolan Carroll will all be UFA’s also leaving the Dolphins with several players to sign and limited dollars. The secondary could use help anyway and Randy Starks will probably be back, Aaron Colvin fits the need and is one of the top players available.
52.) ARIZONA CARDINALS: De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon - The Cardinals would benefit from taking an offensive weapon here. Rashard Mendenhall will be a free agent along with Andre Roberts and Jeff King. Carson Palmer has been good enough to be the starter in Arizona but he’s certainly not the answer or a long-term option. I think the Cardinals go with the most dynamic weapon in the player pool and snag De’Anthony Thomas.
53.) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt - It appears that the Eagles have found their franchise QB (for now) in Nick Foles. With Michael Vick hitting free agency, money will be available to spend to upgrade facets of the team. The Eagles will go out and land a young talented receiver to “grow up” in the NFL with Foles, Matthews just happens to be the best player available and is a big, reliable receiver who will fit in well with the speed of DeSean Jackson.
54.) CHICAGO BEARS: Lamarcus Joyner, CB, Florida State – The Bears will look to boost their secondary which will probably be down Peanut Tillman or Jennings this offseason. Lamarcus Joyner fits the type of DB that Chicago likes.
55.) BALTIMORE RAVENS: Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas – The Ravens hit a home run with Marqise Lee, now they need to ensure the ball can get to him. An upgrade on the O-Line is desperate and this will help rejuvenate Ray Rice’s running game, which has struggled as a result of poor OL play. Michael Oher will also be a free agent along with all 3 TE’s in Pitta, Dickson and Clark. The best lineman available happens to be Travis Swanson, the Center from Arkansas.
56.) INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU - The Colts traded away their first pick to Cleveland for Trent Richardson, they could be regretting that now. Antoine Bethea will be 30 next season and a free agent. The Colts also may lose Donald Brown, Ahmad Bradshaw and DHB to free agency. Right now, Andrew Luck has to rely a lot on T.Y. Hilton and Coby Fleener and that’s not enough, and in turn is hurting the running game. The Colts will nab Odell Beckham, Jr. and create one of the most frightening and fastest WR duos in the NFL.
57.) CINCINNATI BENGALS: Damian Swann, CB, Georgia - The Bengals would need to shore up secondary weaknesses this offseason. Vic Beasley boosts the pass-rush in Round 1. Damian Swann is the top DB available and underrated. This could also maybe see going to Craig Loston.
58.) CAROLINA PANTHERS: Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss – Cam Newton got protection in Round 1 in the passing game, now he needs more weapons. Donte Moncrief is big and provides Newton with improving, reliable hands.
59.) SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers - The 49ers will need to re-sign Anquan Boldin and/or Mario Manningham in order to keep Colin Kaepernick happy and productive. Assuming one or neither of them are signed back, San Francisco will need a receiver, and Coleman is a big physical guy who can move the chains. If the Niners look for that playmaker to stretch the field more – Jared Abbrederis is available.
60.) NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Bryan Stork, C, Florida State - The Patriots will need to extend contracts to several key players this offseason. Aqib Talib likely will not be back. Neither will Ryan Wendell, a new Center could be the pick here.
61.) NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami (FL) – The Saints grabbed an outstanding pass-rusher in Mack in Round 1. Now the Saints need to find help on the OL as Zach Strief and Brian De La Puente are pending free agents. Either Corey or Greg Robinson would be great if they declared, but no definitive word is out yet on that. Seantrel Henderson is the top OL on the Board.
62.) SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona - The 49ers grab this pick from Kansas City in the Alex Smith deal. With all the talent on the Board and an aging Frank Gore, the Niners snag a RB in Ka’Deem Carey.
63.) DENVER BRONCOS: Craig Loston, S, LSU - Denver could use a lot of help on Defense. One of the positions they’ll be hurting at will be DB with DRC, Mike Adams, Quentin Jammer all heading to free agency and an aging Champ Bailey at the end of his career. The Broncos will take the best DB on the board, and that happens to be Craig Loston, the safety out of LSU.
64.) SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State – What else do you need when you boast the 2nd best defense and the 2nd best offense in the NFL? Golden Tate will be hitting the open market this offseason as will be Giacomini and McQuistan on the OL. Also, the troubled Browner and Thurmond will be hitting the market and unlikely to return. The Seahawks can’t pass on Ryan Shazier, who’s the top player on the Board.