If you have been preparing and/or studying mock drafts prior to March 11, 2014, The Machine’s here to tell you’ve wasted your time (do you hear us McShay and Kiper?). Why? Because mocking before free agency starts is worthless. Teams will first fill their needs through free agency, then the Draft. Need proof? Check how many pre-March 11 drafts had the Patriots taking a corner. Almost all of them. Now that Revis Island is heading to Foxboro, do you think the Pats will address that in the first round? Same with Detroit. Everyone had them taking a WR, but now that they have Golden Tate to play opposite Megatron, they will also fill other needs.
But we digress. Anyway, here is The Machine’s first official mock draft of 2014. We will be updating as free agency continues and pro-days are held, so check back for the latest updates in our award-winning Drafts.
Update [3/19/2014]: Can you imagine a world ruled by gingers? Scary thought, right? It would probably look something like this:
A ginger-only mock draft is almost as frightening! That’s why Roid Rage is here to add a bit of sanity to this mock draft. I’ll play the Lone Ranger to GK’s Tonto! Saddle up…..
|Pick/Team||Ginger King||Roid Rage|
|1. Houston||Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina): QB is tempting (and a need), but is there a QB worthy of begin #1 overall? No doubt Jadeveon is the best athlete in the draft. There’s also no doubt defense wins championships (see Seahawks, Seattle). In the end, Houston cannot pass up the once in a generation DE.||Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina): We’re in agreement with the first pick. Pairing Clowney with JJ Watt is a match up nightmare for every offense in the league. If not Clowney, then Bortles.|
|2. St. Louis||Jake Mathews (OT, Texas A&M):
St. Louis is in a prime spot to trade this pick (we’d be surprised if they didn’t). They have two first round picks (thanks to the steal of a trade they made with Washington). Apparently, St. Louis is looking to give Sam Bradford one more shot at being “the guy.” If they stay put, Jake Mathews is a safe pick that will provide instant protection for Sam.
|Greg Robinson (OT, Auburn): While I agree with Ginger that OL is a priority, I prefer the upside that Greg Robinson offers. Much like the 2010 Draft, when (pre-draft) everyone had Russell Okung as the “top tackle” only to see the “higher upside” Razorback Williams go 4th overall, two spots ahead of Russell.|
|3. Jacksonville||Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Louisville): The Jags are in a familiar spot, with their sixth consecutive Top 10 pick. The Blaine Gabbert Experience has ended, and QB is the most pressing need. Question is: which one? My money’s on the one that’s the most NFL ready. And that’s Teddy Bridgewater.||Blake Bortles (QB, UCF): Gus Bradley will be pounding on the table for Clowney (should he fall) or Khalil Mack (should he fall). But given the state of the franchise, QB has to be the pick. Bortles has the size, arm talent, awareness and willingness to hang in the pocket to be cornerstone pick. Plus, Lindsey Duke! God. Damn.|
|4. Cleveland||Johnny Manziel (QB, Texas A&M): Cleveland’s in the same boat in Jacksonville (as if Cleveland needed another reason to be depressed). The Brandon Weeden Experience is over, and this organization needs a spark. Who better than man-whore Johnny Football?||Johnny Manziel (QB, Texas A&M): I actually like Brian Hoyer, but his largest support (Mike Lombardi) was chased out of town along with the rest of the coaching staff and front office. Johnny Football makes this franchise relevant. Welcome to Cleveland.|
|5. Oakland||Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson):
Sammy Watkins stock continues to rise. Mark my words: he’s going to be a Top 5 pick. I could really make an argument for St. Louis taking him #2. But if he’s here at 5, Da Raiders will not be able to pass him up. The ghost of Al Davis lives on.
|Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson): Ginger has been on this kids bandwagon since his high school days; mainly because he has a thing for high school boys, but also because Watkins is a freak! He’ll have a tough time developing into a #1 WR, but that has everything to do with Oakland and nothing to do with Sammy. This pick is Al Davis approved.|
|6. Atlanta||Anthony Barr (DE, UCLA): Atlanta must go defense here. They were exposed last year…big time. Christ, Geno Smith led a game winning drive against them. They need to get younger quick. Khalil Mack is tempting, but their bigger need as at the ends.||Khalil Mack (LB, Buffalo): Mack is the superior prospect to Barr. Hell, you can debate the merits of Mack with Clowney if you’d like. UB’s finest!|
|7. Tampa Bay||Khalil Mack (LB, Buffalo):
If Mack is still on the board, Tampa takes about 3 seconds to make this pick. Hitler Youth Man of the Year Greg Schiano is gone, as is Darrelle Revis (we told you that trade was awful). Anyway, Mack will remind everyone of Derrick Brooks, and will instantly become the leader on defense.
|Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Louisville): This pick seems weird, right? But this could be the perfect landing spot for both player and team. The Bucs can role with Josh McCown as the steady veteran and give bridgewater a year of grooming (and weight training). Or, a dark horse (Tennessee, Arizona, KC) could move in front of the Vikings to grab perhaps the best QB of this class.|
|8. Minnesota||Blake Bortles (QB, UCF): Resigning Matt Cassel is not the long term answer, but he does give the Vikings time to bring someone in to groom. The man would be Blake Bortles. He has the prototypical size for a QB, and the hottest girlfriend in the Draft.||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (S, Alabama): Last years draft proved that Rick Spielman is a slave to his board. He’ll take the best player available, either Clinton-Dix or Anthony Barr. Don’t be surprised to see HHCD go this high. Playmaking safetys with good range are highly valuable in today’s league. Mar Barron went #7 overall in 2012. The Saints just gave Jarius Byrd $50 million.|
|9. Buffalo||Greg Robinson (OT, Auburn):
Robinson is giving Mathews a run for his money as the top offensive lineman. As the Draft gets closer, it’s very likely that Robinson will be gone by now. But Buffalo could sure use an upgrade on the line.
|Jake Mathews (OT, Texas A&M): The Bills land a stud OT in my mock too. Matthews paired with Cordy Glenn should provide the Bills with stud bookend tackles for the next decade. Although the Bills probably won’t pay either when their rookie deals expire.|
|10. Detroit||Justin Gilbert (CB, Oklahoma St): The Lions need a shutdown corner. This is a perfect need/value pick, as Gilbert is the consensus top corner in the Draft.||Darqueze Dennard (CB, Michigan St.): Not only do we differ on the top OT, but also the top rated corner. Dennard’s game tape is too impressive; he’ll be the first corner taken this year.|
|11. Tennessee||Timmy Jernigan (NT, Florida St.):
If one of the Top 3 QBs slide, the Titans will think long and hard about ending the Jake Locker Experience. Shoring up the interior of the defense isn’t a bad consolation prize, as Jernigan is a beast.
|Justin Gilbert (CB, Oklahoma St): And the Cornerback run is on! This CB class is deep, so it could come down to the type of scheme the team plays on running. Gilbert has the make-up of a number one corner. The Titans just happen to need one of those!|
|12. NYG||Taylor Lewan (OT, Michigan):
Lewan really raised his stock with his solid performance at the Combine. The guy’s a mauler, and is the definition of a “play through the whistle” player. Sure, he’s Richie Incognito 2.0, but the G-Men need to get mean and nasty on the line. Defensive line is also a need (after losing Tuck in free agency) but the Giant’s recipe for success is clear: Protect Eli = win. Don’t protect Eli = lose. Sometimes, it is that simple.
|Anthony Barr (DE, UCLA):
Sorry Eli, but Jerry Reese won’t be able to help himself. First-round DE’s are this thing.
|13. St. Louis||Eric Ebron (TE, North Carolina)||Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M)|
|14. Chicago||Aaron Donald (DT, Pittsburgh)||Louis Nix (DT, Notre Dame)|
|15. Pittsburgh||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (S, Alabama)||CJ Mosley (LB, Alabama)|
|16. Dallas||Marquise Lee (WR, USC)||Dominique Easley (DT, Florida)|
|17. Baltimore||CJ Mosley (LB, Alabama)||Aaron Donald (DT, Pittsburgh)|
|18. NYJ||Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M)||Eric Ebron (TE, North Carolina)|
|19. Miami||Zach Martin (OT, Notre Dame)||Taylor Lewan (OT, Michigan):|
|20. Arizona||Darqueze Dennard (CB, Michigan St.)||Timmy Jernigan (NT, Florida St.):|
|21. Green Bay||Jace Amaro (TE, Texas Tech)||Ryan Shazier (LB, Ohio State)|
|22. Philadelphia||Calvin Pryor (FS, Louisville)||Dee Ford (DE, Auburn)|
|23. Kansas City||Brandon Cooks (WR, Oregon St.)||Odell Beckham (WR, LSU)|
|24. Cincinnati||Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio St.)||Jason Verrett (CB, TCU)|
|25. San Diego||Louis Nix (DT, Notre Dame)||Zach Martin (OL, Notre Dame)|
|26. Cleveland||Tre Mason (RB, Auburn)||Ra’shede Hageman (DT, Minnesota)|
|27. New Orleans||Vic Beasley (DE, Clemson)||Brandon Cooks (WR, Oregon St.)|
|28. Carolina||Odell Beckham (WR, LSU)||Jace Amaro (TE, Texas Tech)|
|29. New England||Kony Ealy (DE, Missouri)||Kelvin Benjamin (WR, Florida St.)|
|30. San Francisco||Carlos Hyde (RB, Ohio St.)||Will Sutton (DT, Arizona)|
|31. Denver||Ryan Shazier (LB, Ohio St.)||Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio St.)|
|32. Seattle||Kelvin Benjamin (WR, Florida St.)||Marquise Lee (WR, USC)|