The 2014 NFL Draft is two weeks later than when the event traditionally took place in late-April.
That means two more weeks of mock drafts.
With all the information buzzing around, it’s hard enough to predict which players will go to what team. It’s even harder to predict trades. These deals can blow up even the most meticulous mock drafts. All those climbers and sliders can make the draft resemble a game of Chutes & Ladders.
We try to stay a step ahead of the wheeling and dealing general managers by including trades in our latest mock draft.
No. 1: Cleveland Browns (trade with Houston Texans)
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
“Draft Day” comes to life as the Browns trade up to No. 1 to take a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. Since drafting Tim Couch No. 1 overall in 1999, the earliest the Browns have taken a quarterback is No. 22 (Brady Quinn in 2007). The Browns also have the No. 26 pick in 2014, but this franchise has gone through quarterbacks like socks. The new regime swings for the fences and just hopes that Manziel is better as a quarterback than “Draft Day” is as a movie. Or at least that he’s better than Couch.
No. 2: Atlanta Falcons (trade with St. Louis Rams)
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
With Clowney still on the board after the first pick is made, Rams general manager Les Snead’s cell phone lights up enough to be seen from space. Every team can find a place for Clowney, but Rams defensive end Robert Quinn was second in the NFL with 19 sacks in 2013 and Chris Long added 8.5. The Rams are better off collecting picks later in the draft. The Falcons, on the other hand, were 29th in the NFL with 32 sacks and 27th in yards allowed. They need Clowney, and they don’t have to trade all the way to No. 1 to get him.
No. 3: Jacksonville Jaguars
Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
The Jaguars shipped Blaine Gabbert off to San Francisco after he want 5-22 as a starter. Chad Henne is keeping the seat warm right now. He threw 13 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions in 13 starts last season. In his career he’s thrown for 55 touchdowns and 62 interceptions. He’s not the answer. Back in October, Bortles led UCF back from a 28-7 deficit and out-dueled Teddy Bridgewater in a 38-35 win at then-No. 8 Louisville. On draft day, Bortles beats Bridgewater to the podium.
No. 4: Houston Texans
Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
Here’s how important it is to get to the quarterback in the NFL. Of the four teams with the fewest sacks in 2013, three of them are drafting in the top six. The Texans take themselves out of the running for Jadeveon Clowney but still get a feared pass rusher. Mack set NCAA records for forced fumbles with 16 and tackles for loss with 75 to go with 28 career sacks. Like the Falcons, the Texans registered 32 sacks last season, tied for 29th in the NFL.
No. 5: Detroit Lions (mock trade with Oakland Raiders)
Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
The Lions trade into the top five because they’re not sure Gilbert will last until No. 10. Detroit was 23rd in the league in passing yards allowed in 2013. The Lions took Darius Slay in the second round last year, but haven’t drafted a cornerback in the first round since Terry Fair in 1998. They re-signed Rashean Mathis, but he’ll be 34 next season. Gilbert returned two of his seven interceptions for touchdowns last year and breaks into the top five with his added value as a kick returner. He returned six kickoffs for touchdowns at Oklahoma State.
No. 6: St. Louis Rams (trade with Atlanta Falcons)
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
The Rams trade away their No. 2 pick and take someone they might have drafted at No. 2 anyway. St. Louis has drafted six wide receivers since 2011. None of them have caught more than 42 passes in a season. Watkins caught 240 passes in three years at Clemson, including 101 last season. Last year, a wave of hype lifted Tavon Austin into the top 10, and the Rams took him at No. 8. This year, instead of taking a 5’9″ speedster, the Rams take the 6’1″ Watkins and hope he can be their go-to receiver right away.
No. 7: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Tampa Bay upgraded its defense in free agency with defensive end Michael Johnson and cornerback Alterraun Verner. Now it’s time to work on an offense that was last in the NFL in total yards and 30th in points scored last year. Vincent Jackson caught 78 passes last season, but the rest of the receivers on the Buccaneers’ roster combined for 25 receptions in 2013. The 6’4 3/4″ Evans and the 6’5″ Jackson would give new quarterback Josh McCown a pair of tall targets, and according to this draft Evans would reunite with Manziel on Nov. 2 in Cleveland.
No. 8: Minnesota Vikings
Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
New head coach Mike Zimmer, a defensive coordinator for 14 years, uses his first pick as a head coach on the best remaining defensive player. Barr moved from running back to linebacker in 2012 and notched 23.5 sacks in two years. The Vikings’ AFC North rivals all have established quarterbacks, and Zimmer wants to put pressure on Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler. Sure, the Vikings need a quarterback, but they address the defense first after allowing a league-high 480 points last season.
No. 9: Buffalo Bills
Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
The Bills can’t believe Robinson fell this far. Buffalo’s offensive line allowed 48 sacks last season, fourth-most in the NFL. Left tackle Cordy Glenn allowed only two of those sacks, according to Pro Football Focus. So the Bills don’t really need a left tackle, and that works out fine because Robinson’s strength is run blocking. He’s still raw as a pass blocker, but if he develops in that area it would help keep E.J. Manuel healthy. Manuel missed six games in his rookie season.
No. 10: Oakland Raiders (trade with Detroit Lions)
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
The Raiders need a left tackle after losing Jared Veldheer in free agency. They drafted Menelik Watson in the second round last year and signed Austin Howard, but Lewan could overtake them both. NFL Draft Scout uses terms such as “mean streak” and “nasty” in describing Lewan. That makes Lewan the most Raider-like of the Big Three offensive tackle prospects.
No. 11: Dallas Cowboys (trade with Tennessee Titans)
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
The Cowboys have a history of draft-day trades. Two years ago, they went from No. 14 to No. 6 to take cornerback Morris Claiborne. With 11 picks in this year’s draft, they have the ammunition for another aggressive move up the board. The Cowboys defense yielded 415 yards in 2013. In the last 10 years, the only team to give up more was the Bountygate-sanctioned New Orleans Saints in 2012. The loss of DeMarcus Ware leaves a void, but this is the Cowboys’ only chance at one of this class’ two elite safety prospects. This deal moves them ahead of a couple of other safety-needy teams.
No. 12: New York Giants
Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
The Giants lost defensive linemen Justin Tuck and Linval Joseph. Jason Pierre-Paul is still around, but has just 8.5 sacks over the past two seasons. He was banged up last year and started just six games. Donald was a frequent visitor in opponents’ backfields in 2013 with 11 sacks and an NCAA-leading 28.5 tackles for loss. The 285-pounder is a perfect fit for a 4-3 defense and can help restore the Giants’ front four.
No. 13: St. Louis Rams
Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was just about married to the Rams at No. 13 in many mock drafts back in February and March. That won’t happen here because the Cowboys made the deal to snap him up. A March mock draft seems as old as the Dead Sea Scrolls, anyway, with the two extra weeks before the draft. After trading down from No. 2 to No. 6, the Rams are torn between Watkins and an offensive lineman. Here, they still get one of the top three tackles at 13 as Matthews unexpectedly slides out of the top 10.
No. 14: Chicago Bears
Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
The Bears scored 445 points in 2013, second in franchise history only to the storied 1985 Bears. The problem was they gave up 478 points, most in franchise history. They have to go defense in the first round. Safety is a possibility here with Calvin Pryor sitting there. But the Bears are graying at cornerback, Charles Tillman is 33 and Tim Jennings and Kelvin Hayden both turn 31 before the end of the year. The 2013 Thorpe Award winner as the nation’s top defensive back can bring physicality to the Bears defense.
No. 15: Pittsburgh Steelers
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
A folding chair or two might get tossed at Steelers headquarters when Dennard is picked. History repeats itself here. The last time the Steelers had the No. 15 pick was 2007. Darrelle Revis was on their radar, and the Jets traded up to take the cornerback at No. 14. It worked out fine for the Steelers. They took Lawrence Timmons. The Steelers hope it turns out just as well this year. At 5’11”, Beckham isn’t the tall receiver Ben Roethlisberger has been pining for. But at the very least, the 2013 SEC leader in kickoff return yards would be an upgrade in that role over Felix Jones.
No. 16: Tennessee Titans (trade with Dallas Cowboys)
Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
No chair throwing in Nashville. Ken Whisenhunt was Ben Roethlisberger’s first offensive coordinator. He coached Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals to Super Bowl XLIII. He wants a high-flying offense, and Jake Locker isn’t the guy for that. The Titans pick up a few extra draft picks by trading down, and get the 2013 NCAA leader in passing yards (5,083) and touchdowns (52). Carr threw 113 touchdowns and 24 interceptions at Fresno State.
No. 17: Baltimore Ravens
Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
The Ravens go safety in the first round for a second straight year. While an unconventional draft strategy, it will look like a stroke of genius if Pryor can pair with Matt Elam for the next decade or so. Pryor is the more physical of the two elite safeties in this class, which makes him a good fit in the black-and-blue AFC North. The Ravens lost James Ihedigbo and signed Darian Stewart. That’s a net loss at the safety position.
No. 18: New York Jets
Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
The Jets signed Eric Decker but still could use a deep threat at wide receiver. But when the top tight end on the board falls to No. 18, wide receiver can wait. Fifth-year veteran Jeff Cumberland and his 58 career receptions tops the Jets’ depth chart at tight end. Ebron can be a security blanket for Geno Smith as he tries to keep his starting job. In a weak class for tight ends, this is the Jets’ best chance to grab one.
No. 19: Miami Dolphins
Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
Ryan Tannehill was sacked 58 times in 2013, more than any quarterback in the NFL. The Dolphins have Tannehill’s blind side covered (signing Branden Albert from the Chiefs) but need a right tackle. Martin comes into a locker room that’s a little friendlier toward young offensive linemen than it was in the past, even if he’s not related to Jonathan Martin.
No. 20: San Francisco 49ers (trade with Arizona Cardinals)
Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
A team that’s reached three straight NFC title games doesn’t need 11 picks. The 49ers can give up a third-rounder and a fifth-rounder to move up 10 spots. Anquan Boldin led the team with 85 catches last season. Next was Michael Crabtree with 19, although they all came in the last five games after he came back from an Achilles injury. The 49ers need depth at the position and someone who can stretch the field. Cooks led all receivers with a 4.33-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. The Philadelphia Eagles at 22 and the Kansas City Chiefs at 23 also have their eye on him, which is why the 49ers make this move.
No. 21: Green Bay Packers
C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
This is a safe, best-player-available pick characteristic of one of the league’s most stable franchises. A.J. Hawk ranked 48th out of 55 inside linebackers in 2013, according to Pro Football Focus. Mosley won two national titles and was the Crimson Tide’s leading tackler in 2012 and 2013. The banged-up Packers defense ranked 25th in the NFL in yards allowed last season. They added Julius Peppers, and Mosley can compete for a spot in the interior of the defense.
No. 22: Philadelphia Eagles
Marqise Lee, WR, USC
The Eagles’ receiving corps needs replenishing after the departure of DeSean Jackson. In two games against Chip Kelly-coached Oregon teams, Lee caught 20 passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns. Kelly makes sure Lee is on his side now. Lee led the NCAA with 118 receptions in 2012 before battling injuries last season. After hurting his leg against then-No. 5 Stanford, Lee came back into the game and made a fourth-down catch to set up the game-winning field goal in the Trojans’s 20-17 upset.
No. 23: Kansas City Chiefs
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
A lot of mocks have the Chiefs taking a receiver, but with the top five off the board the Chiefs decide to take advantage of this draft’s depth at receiver and take one in the later rounds. Offensive line is a more urgent need. Left tackle Branden Albert and guards Jon Asamoah and Geoff Schwartz left as free agents. Eric Fisher, last year’s top overall pick, is slated to move to left tackle. But he had an uneven rookie season. Kouandjio is a mauler who can compete with Fisher on the blind side.
No. 24: Cincinnati Bengals
Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Terence Newman turns 36 next season. Leon Hall will turn 30 in December and is recovering from a torn Achilles. Dre Kirkpatrick, the Bengals’ first-round pick in 2012, finally cracked the starting lineup for the final three games of the 2013 season. He intercepted two passes in the season finale, a 34-17 win over the Ravens. Even if Kirkpatrick picks up where he left off, the Bengals need reinforcements at cornerback.
No. 25: San Diego Chargers
Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State
Keenan Allen worked out well. The 2013 third-rounder caught 71 passes, including eight touchdowns. However, he was only third on the team in receptions. Tight end Antonio Gates led the way with 77 catches and running back Danny Woodhead added 76. No other Chargers receiver caught 50 passes last season. Adams caught 131 last season, most in the NCAA. He’ll give Philip Rivers another vertical target.
No. 26: Houston Texans (trade with Cleveland Browns)
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Bridgewater’s green room humiliation ends here. Along with the No. 4 pick, the Texans get the No. 26 pick from the Browns in exchange for the No. 1 pick in this mock deal. The Texans drafted the brother of the No. 16 pick in this mock draft first overall in 2002, and David Carr didn’t pan out. Owner Bob McNair said the franchise learned a lesson by starting him too soon, according to Pro Football Talk. Expect a sweepstakes among Case Keenum, Ryan Fitzpatrick and T.J. Yates until Bridgewater is ready to start.
No. 27: New Orleans Saints
Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech
This would be the seventh straight year the Saints have chosen a defensive player with their first pick. There hasn’t been a bust in the bunch, and the Saints bore those fruits in 2013 with the NFL’s fourth-ranked defense in yards per game, points allowed and sacks. Outside linebacker Junior Galette had 12 of those sacks, but Parys Haralson had just 3.5 on the opposite end. Attaochu increased his sack numbers in each of his four years at Georgia Tech, finishing with 12.5 last season.
No. 28: Washington Redskins (trade with Carolina Panthers)
RaShede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
The Panthers are thin at receiver and have one in their sights, but they take a gamble and make this deal figuring their guy will still be there at No. 34. The Redskins move into the first round to prevent the Patriots from taking Hageman. They made their splash on offense with DeSean Jackson and need to concentrate on a defense that was tied for 30th in the NFL with 478 points allowed. The Redskins signed defensive lineman Jason Hatcher from the Cowboys. So they can afford to take a chance on the versatile but risky Hageman.
No. 29: New England Patriots
Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
Jernigan is a steal here. The Patriots have to prepare for life after Vince Wilfork. He’ll turn 33 next season and is recovering from a torn Achilles. At 299 pounds, Jernigan isn’t nearly as bulky as Wilfork, but he fits well in a 4-3 scheme. Jernigan registered 11 tackles for loss in 2013, his only season as a full-time starter. He played with the flu in the BCS national championship game and made nine tackles to help Florida State defeat Auburn.
No. 30: Arizona Cardinals (trade with San Francisco 49ers)
Tom Savage, QB, Pittsburgh
Savage’s meteoric rise from virtual unknown takes him all the way to the first round. Savage sat out two years because he transferred twice. He went from Rutgers to Arizona to Pittsburgh. Then he put himself back on the map with a 21-touchdown, nine-interception season in 2013. The Cardinals will try to squeeze another year out of Carson Palmer so Savage can watch and learn. Jimmy Garoppolo is a possibility here, too. But Savage played at a higher level of competition in more pro-style offense, even if it was for only a year.
No. 31: Denver Broncos
Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
The Broncos signed Peyton Manning to win a Super Bowl. They don’t want his years in a Broncos uniform to be remembered for Super Bowl XLVIII. They took care of their defense in free agency. Now they provide Manning with another weapon. The Emmanuel Sanders signing doesn’t completely make up for the loss of Eric Decker. Robinson is a gritty receiver who matches Decker’s size and can turn short passes into long gains.
No. 32: Seattle Seahawks
Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
The Seahawks could use a receiver after losing Golden Tate, who led the team with 64 receptions last season. But they also need more production from the tight end spot. Zach Miller caught just 33 passes last year. The 6’5″, 265-pound Amaro hauled in 106 passes in 2013. He can be mismatch nightmare at tight end and make opposing defenses feel like they need a 12th man to stop him.
No. 1 (33): Houston Texans
Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
Arian Foster is coming off back surgery and it’s time to start grooming his successor. The Texans have three picks in the first 33 spots, and use this one to take the first running back off the board.
No. 2 (34): Carolina Panthers (trade with Washington Redskins)
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
The Panthers’ gamble pays off. Benjamin is still available at 34 and they get an extra pick from the Redskins.
No. 3 (35): Cleveland Browns
Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson
Two straight 6’5″ receivers hear their name called as the undersized Manziel gets a big target.
No. 4 (36): Oakland Raiders
Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado
The Raiders continue their tradition of reaching for speedy receivers.
No 5: (37): St. Louis Rams (trade with Atlanta Falcons)
Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois
The Rams pass on a safety in the first round when Matthews falls into their lap, so they get one here.
No. 6 (38): Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
Tampa Bay signed Anthony Collins at left tackle. Moses can compete on the right side as the Bucs continue to build up the offense.
No. 7 (39): Jacksonville Jaguars
Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State
The Jaguars couldn’t get Alex Mack, so they’re the first team to draft a center.
No. 8 (40): Minnesota Vikings
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois
Matt Cassel completed 153 passes in 2013. Christian Ponder completed 152. Quarterback is not a “by-committee” position.
No. 9 (41): Buffalo Bills
Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
The Bills continue to get good value in this mock draft as Shazier slips out of the top 40.
No. 10 (42): Tennessee Titans
Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU
The Titans need a featured back to replace Chris Johnson. Shonn Greene isn’t the answer.
No. 11 (43): New York Giants
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
This big (6’6″, 262) target should help Eli Manning bounce back from his worst year since he was a rookie.
No. 12 (44): St. Louis Rams
Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Their mock deal with the Falcons gives the Rams four selections in the top 44. They dedicate the second round to their secondary.
No. 13 (45): Oakland Raiders (trade with Detroit Lions)
Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLA
Guards have a tendency to tumble, and the Raiders snap up Su’a-Filo to go with Lewan on the offensive line.
No. 14 (46): Denver Broncos (trade with Pittsburgh Steelers)
Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington
The win-now Broncos make a bold move up and give up their third- and fourth-round picks to replace Knowshon Moreno, or at least back up Montee Ball.
No. 15 (47): Dallas Cowboys
Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
Dallas tries to replace DeMarcus Ware. The sliding Dee Ford is tempting, but Crichton brings more bulk.
No. 16 (48): San Francisco 49ers (trade with Baltimore Ravens)
Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame
Nix falls far enough for the 49ers to swing a deal and get him. Jim Harbaugh gives up later picks because his brother needs them more.
No. 17 (49): New York Jets
Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
The Jets took Dee Milliner in the first round last year and make another early-round investment in the position.
No. 18 (50): Miami Dolphins
Tre Mason, RB, Auburn
The 5’9″, 207-pound Mason can be a nice complement to newly-acquired Knowshon Moreno (5’11”, 220).
No. 19 (51): Chicago Bears
Stephon Tuitt, DT, Notre Dame
The Bears signed Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young, but that doesn’t help the interior of the defensive line.
No. 20 (52): Arizona Cardinals
Cameron Fleming, OT, Stanford
Jared Veldheer was brought in at left tackle. Now the Cardinals start filling out the rest of the line.
No. 21 (53): Green Bay Packers
Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State
The Packers shore up the secondary on a defense that allowed the eighth-most passing yards per game last season.
No. 22 (54): Philadelphia Eagles
Terrence Brooks, S, Florida State
The Eagles shore up the secondary on a defense that allowed the most passing yards per game last season.
No. 23 (55): Cincinnati Bengals
Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina
The Bengals have to fill the void left by Michael Johnson. Dee Ford and Kony Ealy are sitting there, but they can’t replace Johnson’s size like this 6’6″, 272-pounder.
No. 24 (56): Baltimore Ravens (trade with San Francisco 49ers)
JaWuan James, OT, Tennessee
This probably won’t be a scene in any “Blind Side” sequel, but the declining Micheal Oher is gone (even though he was at right tackle) and Ryan Tannehill was the only quarterback sacked more than Joe Flacco last year.
No. 25 (57): San Diego Chargers
Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
Jean-Baptiste had four interceptions last season. No Chargers cornerback had more than one.
No. 26 (58): New Orleans Saints
Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
The Saints haven’t drafted a receiver this early since they took Robert Meachem in the first round in 2007. But Latimer is underrated and could be a steal.
No. 27 (59): Indianapolis Colts
Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
A best-player-available pick. The Colts don’t have a first-round selection, but land a player who they thought would be gone in the first round.
No. 28 (60): Carolina Panthers
Keith McGill, CB, Utah
The Panthers’ secondary took a big hit in free agency. Carolina lost cornerback Captain Munnerlyn and safety Mike Mitchell.
No. 29 (61): San Francisco 49ers
Marcus Martin, C, USC
Guard-center hybrid Daniel Kilgore is penciled in as the 49ers’ starting center. San Francisco gets a more natural center.
No. 30 (62): New England Patriots
Terrance West, RB, Towson
The Patriots offense developed some smashmouth characteristics last year. They get a 5’9″, 225-pound bruiser who they hope can make up for the loss of LeGarrette Blount.
No. 31 (63) Pittsburgh Steelers (trade with Denver Broncos)
Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice
The Steelers get their cornerback, and will try to find that tall receiver with the mid-round picks they’ve gained in this mock trade.
No. 32 (64): Seattle Seahawks
Donte Moncrief, WR, Mississippi
Two rounds, two new weapons for Russell Wilson. The Seahawks hope Moncrief compensates for the loss of Golden Tate.