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Steelers Universe
2014 NFL Mock Draft V3

First Round Draft Projections

April 27, 2014

Houston Texans1. Houston Texans (Team needs: QB, OT, S) - DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
I think Houston would like to trade down...but with no one willing to take the #1 overall pick, the Texans appear to be prepared to take the #1 talent on the board. Clowney didn't set the world on fire last year like teams thought he would., but seems to have redeemed himself at the combine and his pro day. Some will be worried that he is a pay-and-dash player with no motivation other than money. Others will see him as the best player in the draft who only needs a little guidance. Houston sees him as one half of an intimidating duo with J.J. Watt.

St. Louis Rams2. St. Louis Rams (Team needs: OL, WR, S) - OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
St. Louis is going to need an offensive tackle at some point in the first round. Robinson seems to have cemented himself as the #1 tackle and in truth, the only weakness that I see in Robinson's game is his kick slide. If he gets it under control he will be a force. If not, he may either draw a ton of holding calls or be relegated to the right side. Nice first step and shows power in his initial punch.

Jacksonville Jaguars3. Jacksonville Jaguars (Team needs: QB, DE, OT) - QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida
I originally had Bortles as the best player in this draft and he still sits on top of my big board, so Jacksonville gets value here at #3. He is a quick thinking QB with good field awareness and a great arm. 71 career touchdowns (56 passing, 15 rushing) and an .815 winning percentage as a starter (22-5 career record).

Cleveland Browns4. Cleveland Browns (Team needs: QB, RB, OG) - WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson
I had originally thought Cleveland may go with a QB, but it makes more sense for them to grab the best WR in this draft and then look at QB with their second overall pick. Watkins has above-average ball skills and is a polished route runner, but seems a bit thin for the pro game. He will need to bulk up if he expects to beat the jam from NFL cornerbacks. His character will be questioned due to some immature decisions in his past, but if he puts in the time and shows that he has learned his lesson he has incredible potential.

Oakland Raiders5. Oakland Raiders (Team needs: QB, WR, OT) - QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
With Schaub on the roster, the Raiders might be better served to wait until the second round where either Derek Carr or Jimmy Garoppolo should be available. Manziel is dangerous outside of the pocket when plays break down, but who wants to predicate their offense on that scenario? If Sammy Watkins falls, the Raiders will snatch him up.

Atlanta Falcons6. Atlanta Falcons (Team needs: DE, OL, TE) - OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
The Falcons may go in a different direction, but I think they will take the safest pick. Players like Matthews do not come around very often. He has the pedigree, the size and the drive that NFL teams love. Good work ethic and he "gets it," which is invaluable. Perennial Pro Bowler.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Team needs: DE, TE, OT, LB) - WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
The Bucs fill their biggest need in the draft in the form of 6'5" WR Mike Evans. Evans is a huge red zone target with a 37-inch vertical and good speed The loss of Mike Williams makes this pick necessary. Detroit is enamored with Evans so there is an outside chance that the Lions trade up to this slot.

Minnesota Vikings8. Minnesota Vikings (Team needs: QB, LB, DE, OG) - QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
Bridgewater and Manziel are both candidates to take a take a draft day tumble. Personally (as I said in the first Steelers Universe mock draft version), I have always liked Bridgewater better than Manziel. Bringing Norv Turner on as their offensive coordinator means that the Vikings will be looking to stretch the field. Bridgewater seems more pro-ready and is much more poised in the pocket, though scouts are in disagreement as to his pocket awareness and ability to check down on his receivers.

Buffalo Bills9. Buffalo Bills (Team needs: LB, TE, RT) - OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
Great range and good burst to the ball. May need to be coached up on coverage and wrapping up while tackling. Excellent run stopper who knows how to sort through the garbage and get to the QB. Fast enough for coverage and strong enough to break through blocks.

Detroit Lions10. Detroit Lions (Team needs: CB, WR, S) - CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State
Gilbert is an exceptional CB with elite speed and instincts. He is a fantastic athlete who also excels as a returner. He does have some fundamental issues but with the right coaching, Gilbert should be able to tighten up his technique. His freakish athleticism will make QBs fear his side of the field.

Tennessee Titans11. Tennessee Titans (Team needs: S, OT, DE, QB) - OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA
Barr didn't have the combine that many thought he would have, but there is no denying the fact that he had 41.5 tackles for loss and 23.5 sacks in the last two years. Barr slides out of the top ten, but won't slide far.

New York Giants12. New York Giants (Team needs: LB, CB, interior OL) - OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
I think that Lewan is "probably" a mid-to-late first rounder most years, but fully expect for him to be overdrafted. In his defense, he had a very nice combine which will justify this draft slot in many scouts' minds. His presence will allow The Giants to shuffle their lineup and actually upgrade at a few positions.

St. Louis Rams13. St. Louis Rams (Team needs: OL, WR, S) - FS Hasean Clinton-Dix, Alabama
The Rams upgraded their offensive line with their first pick and now find a defensive back that can play day one of the upcoming season. This draft doesn’t have a safety that possesses elite size and speed but it does have a few that are definitely football players. The Rams will have their choice of Clinton-Dix or Pryor, and I think they go with the Alabama prospect.

Chicago Bears14. Chicago Bears (Team needs: DL, S, interior OL) - FS Calvin Pryor, Louisville
The Bears are in dire need of a playmaker in the defensive backfield. Wright and Conte were both players that could be upgraded. Pryor plays the run and the pass equally well. Though not a burner, he is fundamentally sound.

Pittsburgh Steelers15. Pittsburgh Steelers (Team needs: CB, S, OT, DE) - CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
The Steelers have to upgrade a very poor defensive backfield. Steelers fans would love to see Dennard still on the board at this point. He ran faster at his pro day, as I anticipated. He has the size that Verrett lacks and the technique that Gilbert is going to have to work on. In the long run, Dennard will probably be the best CB in this draft.

Dallas Cowboys16. Dallas Cowboys (Team needs: DE, CB, S) - DE Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
Dee Ford may have wowed us during the Senior Bowl, but it was Donald who drew the most attention during the week of Senior Bowl practice. He showed elite speed and strength throughout the week and his first step is absolutely lethal. I had Donald at the end of the first round at one point, but his combine cemented a top 20 consideration.

Baltimore Ravens17. Baltimore Ravens (Team needs: OT, C, WR) - OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama
Athletic tackle who excels as a run blocker. Shows the ability to slide either to his right or left but sometimes has lapses in technique. Strong, willing blocker but not a road grader. The Ravens may go with a WR here, but the draft is deep at that position and Kouandjio fills a need.

New York Jets18. New York Jets (Team needs: WR, TE, OG, CB) - TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina
Very athletic TE with smooth acceleration and soft hands. Finds the soft spot in coverage and takes advantage of it. Needs to add bulk and strength as a blocker. Very good position to draft down for those teams whose needs at TE are greater than the Jets'.

Miami Dolphins19. Miami Dolphins (Team needs: OT, OG, RB) - OT Zach Martin, Notre Dame
There is probably a joke in there somewhere about drafting a lineman with the last name of Martin. Versatile lineman who can play guard or tackle. Showed he was athletic enough to play outside while at the Senior Bowl.

Arizona Cardinals20. Arizona Cardinals (Team needs: OT, CB, D-line, OLB) - DE Kony Ealy, Missouri
The Cardinals could go with a QB but I look for them to find a versatile defensive lineman early on. They may consider trading down, but if they stand pat, a defensive lineman makes all the sense in the world to me. Ealy is position versatile and has all the makings of a future Pro Bowler.

Green Bay Packers21. Green Bay Packers (Team needs: TE, DT, S, LB) - ILB C.J. Mosley, Alabama
Mosley has an incredible ability to diagnose plays. Good tackler with elite instincts. The Packers need some speed and aggression on defense and Mosley fits the mold. Great value if Mosley slips this far and he goes to a team that knows how to get the most out of their linebackers.

Philadelphia Eagles22. Philadelphia Eagles (Team needs: OLB, S, CB) - WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
Cooks has moved up my draft board and I now believe he is the third best receiver in this draft. Lightning speed and good hands. The Eagles also need help at several defensive positions but I'm gambling that they go with the offensive playmaker from Oregon State.

Kansas City Chiefs23. Kansas City Chiefs (Team needs: WR, DL, ILB) - WR Odell Beckham, Jr., LSU
Tough receiver with good vision and quick twitch athleticism. Good vision and a double threat as a returner. Beckham has very good if not elite speed and he is shifty and dangerous. Might need to add some bulk for the pros.

Cincinnati Bengals24. Cincinnati Bengals (Team needs: CB, OLB, S) - CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech
Big corner with pretty good quickness and speed. Loves to get physical, and has above average field awareness. Studies film and is versatile in that he has played safety, cornerback, and linebacker.

San Diego Chargers25. San Diego Chargers (Team needs: CB, OG, OLB) - DT Louis Nix, Notre Dame
Huge DT who will demand the double team. Sometimes doesn't use his strength with enough leverage to collapse the pocket and may want to work on more of an arsenal other than his signature swim move. Might slip in the draft due to offseason knee surgery, but fills a need for the Chargers who are very thin at defensive tackle.

Cleveland Browns26. Cleveland Browns (Team needs: QB, RB, LB, OG) - QB Derek Carr, Fresno State
After taking Watkins with their first pick, I think the Browns look towards the future at the QB position and draft the Fresno State product with the big arm. This could be a perfect situation for Carr, who would have incredibly talented WRs to target.

New Orleans Saints27. New Orleans Saints (Team needs: OT, OLB, CB) - DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
Incredibly strong DT, with relentless motor. Needs to work on his snap anticipation and technique but once he starts going he is often too much for one blocker. May be a draft day riser.

Carolina Panthers28. Carolina Panthers (Team needs: WR, CB, OL) - WR Marqise Lee, Southern California
If you want to see what Lee is capable of, look at 2012 when he won the Biletnikoff Award with 118 receptions for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns. His 2013 season was marred by durability issues. Good route runner with soft hands.

New England Patriots29. New England Patriots (Team needs: TE, OL, DL, CB) - TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
Amaro broke the NCAA all-time record for receiving yards in a season by a tight end with 1,352. The Patriots have had issues at the position and would love a tall, athletic TE to add to their arsenal.

San Francisco 49ers30. San Francisco 49ers (Team needs: WR, DL, CB) - DT Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame
Versatile Defensive lineman who can play tackle or end. Showed impressive feet for someone who is 6'5" and 305 pounds. Tuitt ran a sub-5.0 40-yard dash. Impressive physical specimen.

Denver Broncos31. Denver Broncos (Team needs: OT, CB, DL) - CB Jason Verrett, TCU
Underrated player with 38 passes defended over the last two years. Verrett is a ball hawk who also has no problems in supporting the run. His 5'9" height may hurt his draft status a bit, but he is a player.

Seattle Seahawks32. Seattle Seahawks (Team needs: WR, TE, OL) - OG Xavier Su'a Filo, UCLA
I wanted to go WR with this pick, but I think the Seahawks' biggest need may be OG. Su’a Filo can drive block and zone block and is powerfully built. Even though the Seahawks brought home the Lombardi in an impressive manner, they got some pretty poor play from their interior at times.

For any questions/suggestions you may have regarding this mock, please feel free to contact our resident draftnik LLT directly via Twitter at @PBiggerstaff

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