After previewing the first half of the 2014 draft in my previous post now it’s time to look at the second half of this draft. With the teams at this end of the draft being far less needy they have a lot more flexibility in terms of their selections. First up in the second half of the 2014 NFL Draft are the Baltimore Ravens.
17th Pick: Baltimore Ravens – Despite it being a re-building year for the Ravens after winning Super bowl 47 the team were still disappointed to miss out on the play-off’s with an 8-8 season. Therefore the team have been very active in the free agency period to improve going into next season. Another key opportunity for them to upgrade is with the draft of which GM Ozzie Newsome is famous for finding talent in all rounds of the draft. With the 17th pick I see them taking the best player available, who just happens to fill a need for them too. If he’s still on the board at 17 of which I predict he will be the Ravens would be crazy not to pick Tight end Eric Ebron. He’s by far the standout Tight end in this draft and would challenge Pro bowler Owen Daniels for the next few seasons.
18th Pick: New York Jets – The Jets are a team that are almost play-off calibre they simply need a few more impact players to make it into the post-season. Although they’ve already added a dynamic Wide Receiver in Eric Decker I feel they’ll go in for another receiver with this pick. I see them taking Odell Beckham JR from LSU. They seem enamoured with the guy and clearly believe he can be another impact player alongside Decker.
19th Pick: Miami Dolphins – After a tumultuous year it seems fairly apparent which position the Dolphins will be upgrading with this pick. After the bullying scandal of last season the Offensive line is depleted and in serious need of improvement if their to compete for the play-off’s. With already a decent run on Offensive tackle’s so far I still feel they’ll go this way and select Cyrus Kouandjio from Alabama. He’s a talented player who will immediately strengthen the Offensive line going into the 2014 season.
20th Pick: Arizona Cardinals – The Cardinals go into the 2014 with the luxury of having very few immediate needs with their roster. The team can therefore think to the future with this draft and it seems they’ll look to inject some youth into their most important position of all with this pick . There seems a lot of buzz that the Cardinals will select University of Central Florida Quarterback Blake Bortles with this pick. He’s a very talented young signal caller who can immediately learn from the ageing Carson Palmer before he takes the starting reigns himself.
21st Pick: Green Bay Packers – The Green Bay Packers are a team that struggled when Aaron Rodgers was out injured last season. It was at this time that the defensive unit was exposed as they also showed weakness throughout the year. Therefore I sense they’ll rectify this starting with their defensive backfield and the Safety position. From the Safeties left available I think they’ll go with Deone Bucannon from Washington State. He’s a underrated Safety who will bring immediate improvements to the position for the Packers.
22nd Pick: Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles have enjoyed a relatively quiet free agency period aside from the Desean Jackson saga. Now with that in their rear view mirrors they can focus on simply selecting the best available player for their franchise. Based on my previous selections I feel the best player available is Inside Linebacker C.J Mosley from Alabama. He’s the best Inside Linebacker in this draft and the fact he’s around at 22 will be enough for the Eagles to quickly snap him up.
23rd Pick: Kansas City Chiefs – After a unexpectedly good season for the Chiefs which saw them go from the worst team in the NFL to the play-off’s in one season was remarkable to watch play out. Yet this team still has needs going into the 2014 season and a quiet free agency period clearly means their looking to the draft to get their upgrades. With this pick I’m going to go along with what the fans want and predict they’ll take a Wide receiver with this pick. Which one is a lot harder to call yet I sense they’ll go with the best available on most boards and select Brandin Cooks out of Oregon State. He’s a great player in a deep receiver class which explains him only being taken at 23.
24th Pick: Cincinnati Bengals – After a decent season which saw them into the play-off’s the team is looking solid going into 2014. Yet solid doesn’t mean there’s not room for improvement which is what the Bengals will be looking for with this pick. It seems their most pressing concern is with the Cornerback position, something which can immediately be solved with this deep class at the position. Whilst the top Corner’s will be off the board by now I sense they’ll go with the best available at the position in Bradley Roby from Ohio State. He’s a talented player with limitless potential for this team at Cornerback.
25th Pick: San Diego Chargers – As with many teams at this end of the draft the Chargers already have a play-off calibre roster, giving them plenty of freedom to select the best player available. In my estimations the Chargers will be thrilled at this point as they will be able to take one of the best available players whilst also filling a need for their team. I predict they’ll select Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan from Florida State. He’s a beast of a player and can easily be a game 1 starter for the Chargers.
26th Pick: Cleveland Browns – With their second first round selection from the Indianapolis Colts in a previous trade I predict the Browns will again improve their Offence. After selecting QB Johnny Manziel with their 4th pick I sense they’ll use this pick to give him another weapon to throw to in Wide receiver Marquise Lee from USC. He has injury problems yet when he’s healthy he will instantly energise the Browns Offence.
27th Pick: New Orleans Saints – The Saints are a very talented team with explosive players at almost every position. Yet their always looking to upgrade and I sense they’ll use this 27th pick to snatch Defensive End Stephen Tuitt from Notre Dame. If he’s still available here the Saints will feel like they’ll got a steal by selecting a player predicted to go 10-18 with the 27th pick.
28th Pick: Carolina Panthers – The Panthers have an explosive offence under QB Cam Newton yet the flip side to that is the importance of him receiving good protection from his Offensive line as the Panthers would be lost if Newton was out injured for a significant portion of the season like the Packers struggled when Rodgers was out last season. Therefore I think they will want to add some youth at this position by selecting Morgan Moses from Virginia, then letting him learn from the elder statesmen before eventually taking over on the Offensive line himself.
29th Pick: New England Patriots – The New England Patriots are always in play-off contention every year as long as they still have Tom Brady under centre, however the defensive unit is in need of slight improvement going into the new season. With their offence looking potent I feel they will want to use this pick to improve their defensive unit. Therefore if he’s still on the board I can’t see them looking past Minnesota’s Defensive tackle Ra’shede Hageman. He’s a player that could immediately come in and challenge for a starting role from day 1.
30th Pick: San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers offense seems to need very little improvement, at least in comparison with their defence. Whilst it’s still a good unit some cracks have appeared in it over the last few seasons. Therefore with no other pressing needs I sense they’ll deal with this with this 1st round pick by taking Cornerback Jason Verett from TCU. In any other year he’d be a top 3 rated Corner easy yet the deep talent pool this year at the position has pushed him back to the 5th rated and therefore 30th selection.
31st Pick: Denver Broncos – After their humiliating loss in Super bowl 48 this February the Denver Broncos will be looking to solidify a defence that conceded 43 points in that game. Their biggest defensive need is their Pass rushing attack which is why I feel they’ll go with highly rated Outside Linebacker Ryan Shazier from Ohio State. Whilst he may not immediately start for them some day soon he will be a top rated pass rusher for the Broncos.
32nd Pick: Seattle Seahawks – Whilst the Seahawks are the current Super bowl champions they have seen a lot of talented players leave in this free agency period for pastures new, meaning they will be looking for immediate starting talent in this draft to replace them. Their biggest need is on the Offensive line which struggled with poor play and injuries last season, therefore it seems if he’s still available they’ll select the top rated Guard in UCLA’s Xavier Su’a-Filo. He would bring some youth to the line and could be a potential day 1 starter for the team.
Of course with this mock draft I haven’t taken into account any trades so I would be very surprised if the draft even goes half the way I predicted but what is for certain is that every NFL fan will be eagerly watching to see which potential starter their team selects in this first round. We have an exciting night in store.