Top-10 Mock Draft: Projections for 10 worst teams after Week 14
Almost another full week of NFL action in the books means more movement among the 2014 NFL draft order.
The latest full mock draft here on Audibles had Teddy Bridgewater leading four top-10 quarterbacks. How have things changed with some shake-up in the early picks?
1. Houston Texans: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
The Texans are starting to pull away in the race for No. 1 overall -- they have 11 losses, Atlanta and Washington have 10, and no other team has more than nine. The new coach here will get a shot to draft his go-to quarterback right away, even if having Jadeveon Clowney or Anthony Barr is a tempting proposition. Bridgewater remains at the head of the QB class.
2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington): Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
There definitely is an argument to be made here for a quarterback. Sam Bradford is coming off a major knee injury and is owed a ton of money over the next two seasons. If the Rams do not go that route, there are ample alternatives available -- OT or WR, for starters. But getting another sensational DE to add to Chris Long and Robert Quinn would set St. Louis up to be dominant on defense for years.
3. Atlanta Falcons: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Clowney probably would be the pick here if he makes it to Atlanta's spot. So, Anthony Barr ought to be under consideration as well. But Barr doesn't seem like as much of a fit for Atlanta's D as Clowney ... and Matthews is plenty acceptable as a backup plan. This may not be the sexiest pick, but the Falcons are in rough shape on the offensive line.
4. Minnesota Vikings: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
Carrying this pick over from Mock 3.1. The Vikings are almost certain to look QB at some point in the draft. Having a player like Barr still on the board at this point would make it tough to pull the trigger on Carr, but the Fresno State product likely could slide in as the starter from Day 1.
5. Oakland Raiders: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
The Raiders could fit Barr in somewhere if they had to; a player as talented as him can dictate complete changes in scheme and approach. The need for a dynamic receiver is so high here, though, that it really would be hard for Oakland to pass on either Evans or Sammy Watkins. I had Watkins ahead of Evans in Mock 3.1 (the former to Tampa Bay, the latter to the Jets). Here, I'm flip-flopping that order, especially if the Raiders have any plans to use the ad-libbing Terrelle Pryor in the future -- Evans has done some of his best work at A&M freeing himself while Johnny Manziel scrambles.
Also, I had Johnny Manziel mocked to the Raiders last week at No. 8 overall. That's a move that I'd consider very much possible even in the top five, but each additional decent Matt McGloin outing makes it less likely in my mind.
6. Jacksonville Jaguars: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Merry Christmas. The Jaguars miss out on the top two quarterbacks -- a disappointing outcome given their need there -- but they land instead a player that might be this draft's best when all is said and done. Barr's athletic, multi-dimensional abilities off the edge would fit nicely in Gus Bradley's system.
7. Cleveland Browns: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Another spot where Manziel (or Brett Hundley) could land. Watkins has been a sensational deep threat throughout his time at Clemson, which should make him very appealing for Cleveland's vertical passing attack. Plus, current No. 1 WR Josh Gordon is but one slip-up away from being suspended for an entire season. Cleveland cannot gamble on him without some semblance of a Plan B.
8. Buffalo Bills: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
Another copycat pick out of Mock 3.1, though the Bills are a spot higher now than they were in that endeavor. Mack has the potential to soar in a defense like the one Mike Pettine wants to play, even more so with Kiko Alonso next to him in the linebacking corps.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
A major adjustment for the Buccaneers, whom I had selecting Sammy Watkins at No. 5 overall when last we spoke of such things. Four spots lower, the focus is the same: A field-stretching weapon to pair with Vincent Jackson as QB Mike Glennon develops. Ebron may not add a ton as a blocker in the run game, but he can work up the seams and out of the slot, expanding the Bucs' capabilities on offense.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame There are two ways the Steelers could go, as it stands here: Taylor Lewan to bolster an offensive line that basically fell apart in 2013. Or Nix, perhaps the type of piece missing from a D-line that's often overmatched. There will be potential offensive line starters later in the draft, but I'm not sure that's the case up front at the 3-4 DT spot. Nabbing Nix here would help the Steelers rebuild in the trenches (as well as possibly give them more flexibility in how they utilize Steve McLendon).