The 2014 NFL Draft is right around the corner, and teams are figuring out their big boards. We at the UC Irvine Sports Analysis Collective thought we would try our hand at predicting all the action.
1. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Houston could take a quarterback, but doesn’t miss the chance to take the most gifted pass rushers in years.
2. St. Louis Rams – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
St. Louis has committed to Bradford for another year, and improving the offensive line is key to ensuring Bradford’s success.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
Jacksonville is getting Seattle’s former coordinator and will emphasize defense.
4. Cleveland Browns – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
This gives Cleveland an extra weapon opposite of Josh Gordon, who is battling personal issues and will be serving a suspension.
5. Oakland Raiders – Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
The Raiders need a franchise QB and they cannot afford to pass one up again.
6. Atlanta Falcons – Jake Matthews, OL, Texas A&M
With an offense loaded with weapons, all Matt Ryan needs is time to pick apart a defense.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Tampa Bay has committed to QB Josh McCown for two years, so adding an offensive weapon across Vincent Jackson is key.
8. Minnesota Vikings – Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Minnesota does not have enough firepower at WR to take pressure off Adrian Peterson.
9. Buffalo Bills – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Despite the legal issues in the off-season, it seems like it won’t trouble him at all. He was once exalted as the top OT, there’s still something there and Buffalo needs help for EJ Manuel.
10. Detroit Lions – Ha-Ha Clinton Dix, S, Alabama
Lions biggest issue is in the secondary. They go with it here and Dix is probably the highest rated safety.
11. Tennessee Titans – Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Tennessee needs some edge rushers, and Barr can do it all as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
12. New York Giants – Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
With the loss of one of their WRs and the overall mess of a passing game, Giants need a legit TE like Ebron.
13. St. Louis Rams – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
With the key departure of Finnegan in the secondary, this fills a a key need for the Rams.
14. Chicago Bears – Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
The Bear’s secondary was sloppy this season, so they fill a key hole in the 30th ranked defense last season.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
The Steelers need to consolidate their defense, especially the secondary after a slip in production last year.
16. Dallas Cowboys – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Texas. Johnny Football. Enough said.
17. Baltimore Ravens – Darqueeze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
The Ravens need a cornerback who step in right away and provide depth in the nickel package.
18. New York Jets – Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
Regards of whether Vick or Smith start QB, this offense is sorely lacking at WR and needs to improve from being the 31st ranking passing offense last season.
19. Miami Dolphins – Zack Martin, OG, Notre Dame
Offensive line is the biggest weakness for the Dolphins, and Martin could fill a spot with no proven veterans.
20. Arizona Cardinals – Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
Arizona has its offense solidified, so they go defense with this one.
21. Green Bay Packers – Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois
After getting torched by opposing wide receivers, Green Bay needs to make a splash in the secondary.
22. Philadelphia Eagles – CJ Mosley, LB, Alabama
Philly gets a steal by getting its top target late in the first round.
23. Kansas City Chiefs – Odell Beckam Jr, WR, LSU
KC finally gets more help for Alex Smith to put pressure off of Jamaal Charles and add another dimension to their offense.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
Cincinnati adds a potential franchise QB to either compete with or learn behind Dalton.
25. San Diego Chargers – Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Cornerback is the biggest need for this team after losing two in free agency.
Cleveland talked to Bortles extensively during his visit, and they take the QB with the biggest upside in this draft.
27. New Orleans Saints – Kony Early, DE, Missouri
With Rob Ryan’s defensive style, adding another pass rusher will be key. The Saints will look to add a WR and Safety later in the draft.
28. Carolina Panthers – Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
With the run on wide receivers already taking place, the Panthers cannot fill their biggest need with their first round pick. So they take the best player available and improve upon an already stout run defense.
29. New England Patriots – Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
The Patriots have missed the on field presence of Aaron Hernandez. Amaro, just like Hernandez, is a tight end who is big, but plays like a wide receiver, exactly what the Patriots need. Plus, with Gronk’s injury woes, they take the safe route and have another tight end ready.
30. San Francisco 49ers – Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
The corners the 49ers would target are gone and Matthews has what it takes to be a solid contributing WR on this roster.
31. Denver Broncos – Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State
After losing two centers in free agency, the Broncos need to shuffle their offensive line and add depth.
32. Seattle Seahawks – Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson
The loss of Tate means Seattle needs to reload at the WR position.