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2014 NFL Draft

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2014 NFL Draft
Pick Team Player Shutdown Corner Commentary
1 (1) Houston Jadeveon Clowney

After dangling the No. 1 pick for a trade at an expensive price, the Texans have a decent fallback: taking the most talented player in the draft. They’ll find ways to keep Clowney motivated and hungry.

2 (2) St. Louis Greg Robinson
Greg Robinson
T
School:
Auburn

The Rams couldn’t pass on the most destructive run blocker in the draft. Robinson is the most talented offensive lineman the Rams have had since Orlando Pace. He will start off at right guard and get them back to being more of a power-blocking team.

3 (3) Jacksonville Blake Bortles
Blake Bortles
QB
School:
UCF

Our first stunner of the night. The Jaguars needed a quarterback, but no one really had them taking Bortles here, even though the franchise sent a huge contingent to his pro day and quietly have praised him behind the scenes.

4 (4) Buffalo Sammy Watkins
Sammy Watkins
WR
School:
Clemson

The Bills make an aggressive move up five spots and land a great wide receiver, but the cost (first- and fourth-rounders in 2015, plus the No. 9 pick this year) is insanely high. The Browns had to make this move, no question.

5 (5) Oakland Khalil Mack
Khalil Mack
OLB
School:
Buffalo

The Raiders wanted one of two players to be on the board at No. 5: Khalil Mack or Mike Evans. They had both and chose Mack, who was a big fish in a small pond at Buffalo but will now help energize the Raiders’ pass rush.

6 (6) Atlanta Jake Matthews

By standing pat, the Falcons were able to solidify their offensive line — still a big need — with as safe a pick as there is in the draft. Matthews has the positional versatility to play any of the five O-line positions and is as tough, smart and committed as they come.

7 (7) Tampa Bay Mike Evans
Mike Evans
WR
School:
Texas A&M

All the Johnny Manziel talk was guff, but his teammate — the guy who bailed him out on many a jump ball — will give the Bucs, Lovie Smith and Josh McCown a very Bears-ish WR duo with Vincent Jackson and Evans both standing 6-foot-5.

8 (8) Cleveland Justin Gilbert

The Browns sent a fifth-round pick to the Vikings to move up one spot — Vikings GM Rick Spielman has done this before — for Gilbert, perhaps the best pure cover guy in the draft. Still, Browns fans wanted a QB.

9 (9) Minnesota Anthony Barr
Anthony Barr
OLB
School:
UCLA

Mike Zimmer needs a pass rush with Jared Allen gone, and Barr and Everson Griffen can be a really nice pair to get after Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler. Barr might be raw and in need of positional instincts, but he is too gifted to let slide.

10 (10) Detroit Eric Ebron

The Lions have made it clear they want to help Matthew Stafford any way they can, and he and new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi now have a true seam splitter in the Vernon Davis role in Ebron. Lombardi had Jimmy Graham in New Orleans and will ask Ebron to play in a role similar to Graham's.

11 (11) Tennessee Taylor Lewan

The Titans took the best-rated player in Lewan, but this is an odd pick. They have Michael Roos and Michael Oher at tackle, Andy Levitre and Chance Warmack at guard, and Lewan isn't a center. So someone has to go, right? We shall see.

12 (12) NY Giants Odell Beckham Jr.
Odell Beckham Jr.
WR
School:
LSU

Odell Beckham has been the hot name the past few weeks, and if he were an inch or two taller he might have been considered as good as Sammy Watkins. Now the Giants have three strong receivers for Eli Manning, whom they hope has a bounce-back season.

13 (13) St. Louis Aaron Donald

The rich get richer. The Rams have a defensive line that rivals some of the best units we’ve seen in a long time, with Donald joining Chris Long, Robert Quinn, Michael Brockers, Kendall Langford and Alex Carrington. Try to block that.

14 (14) Chicago Kyle Fuller

The Bears had a bad rush defense last season but also a secondary that needed addressing. With Peanut Tillman on for one more season, the Bears can groom Fuller, who fits GM Phil Emery's mold: loaded with athletic ability and natural cover skills.

15 (15) Pittsburgh Ryan Shazier
Ryan Shazier
OLB
School:
Ohio State

This is a bit of a stunner because of how Shazier might fit in the Steelers’ defense. Can he play on the edge in a 3-4? One way or another, Mike Tomlin and Dick LeBeau will find a way to get that sub-4.4 speed on the field as much as they can.

16 (16) Dallas Zack Martin

It's not the pick the fans wanted, but Martin will be a terrific addition for the Cowboys — at any of the offensive line positions. He's a proven, smart lineman who will keep Tony Romo (sorry, not Johnny Manziel) and his twice-operated-on back upright.

17 (17) Baltimore C.J. Mosley
C.J. Mosley
ILB
School:
Alabama

This was a no-brainer for GM Ozzie Newsome, a 'Bama alum, to take a defensive player who did just about everything for the Crimson Tide. Is he Ray Lewis? No, but Mosley's a top-10 talent who simply was too good to pass up at this point in the draft.

18 (18) NY Jets Calvin Pryor

The Jets, like the Cowboys, were faced with the Manziel Conundrum, but they passed to help out the defense with a missile of a hitter in Pryor, who had a three-game streak of knocking out players last season. The Louisville Slugger is a perfect Rex Ryan-type safety.

19 (19) Miami

Without any suitable options to trade down apparently, the Dolphins stay put and take a fascinating prospect in Ja’wuan James, who was overshadowed by other linemen at Tennessee but was regarded by scouts as the best prospect at right tackle. He is regarded as having incredible toughness and character, but needs to improve his footwork.

20 (20) New Orleans Brandin Cooks

The Saints trade ahead of the Eagles to land Brandin Cooks, who has been regarded as the best true deep threat in the draft. Do the Saints need this? Well, with Jimmy Graham’s contract a distraction and Marques Colston slowing down, Cooks and Kenny Stills can keep Drew Brees slinging.

21 (21) Green Bay Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

The Packers land a Day One starter at safety in Clinton-Dix, who was never a huge playmaker at Alabama but was very effective in a pro-style defense with some of the best coaches in the nation. This fills a need at a shallow position. Nice work.

22 (22) Cleveland Johnny Manziel

The slide ends. Johnny Football, amazingly, is a Brown. The city plagued by bad quarterbacking for two decades now has the most polarizing and exciting QB prospect to enter the league in some time. It had to happen, right?

23 (23) Kansas City Dee Ford
Dee Ford
OLB
School:
Auburn

This is a surprise, but the Chiefs have to protect against Justin Houston hitting free agency and Tamba Hali declining. They get a great edge bender in Ford, who lit up the Senior Bowl practices and can smoke tackles one-on-one.

24 (24) Cincinnati Darqueze Dennard

The Bengals didn't have any major needs, so sitting back and taking Dennard is a smart play. He can add talent and toughness at a position where there were a few age and injury questions.

25 (25) San Diego Jason Verrett
Jason Verrett
CB
School:
TCU

The Chargers catch a break and are able to upgrade one of the worst cornerback groups in the NFL. Verrett is a top-five corner prospect, and there is a big drop-off, in some folks' minds, in the players ranked behind him. He's tough and feisty, and can man up on slot receivers.

26 (26) Philadelphia
Marcus Smith
LB
Height:
6-3
Weight:
252
School:
Louisville

Remember Jon Harris in 1997? OK, Smith is not quite the same level of reach as Harris was, but a surprise nonetheless. He's an edge rusher who can fit in multiple fronts, but is he long or strong enough? A "hmm" pick.

27 (27) Arizona Deone Bucannon

After trading down, the Cardinals still are able to land a potential starter in Bucannon, who hits like a truck and was the biggest impact safety in this draft. Was it a reach? Perhaps, but the safety class falls off soon after him.

28 (28) Carolina Kelvin Benjamin

The Panthers go with a tight end-sized wide receiver in Benjamin, who is 23 and needs refinement in his game. But he's a red-zone weapon who could be special with the right coaching. The Panthers badly needed receiving help, and they got it.

29 (29) New England Dominique Easley

The Patriots gamble on greatness with Easley, who could have been a top-10 pick had he not torn both ACLs in the past few seasons. It's rare to see a defensive lineman of this talent go this late, but the injuries and questions about Easley's love for football pushed him down.

30 (30) San Francisco Jimmie Ward

When the Cardinals took Deone Bucannon, it raised the price for safeties because after Ward there's a massive dropoff. But the 49ers might have reached, even with their plethora of picks, on a third-round talent whose size is a concern.

31 (31) Denver Bradley Roby

The Broncos clearly were not concerned about any potential character questions with Roby, who can defend the slot, help support the run and might have more upside than some corners who went above him. Interesting pick.

32 (32) Minnesota Teddy Bridgewater

The Vikings tried and failed to trade up for Johnny Manziel. Instead they get a fantastic consolation prize, sliding up eight spots to get Bridgewater, who can put his pro day nightmare behind him. He has the intangibles and ability to be a star in Minnesota.