Nearly 100 underclassmen have declared for the 2014 NFL draft, which is shaping up to be a very solid group of talent throughout. The draft is May 8, and much can (and will) change after free agency and the combine (way over-rated in my opinion), but here is what I see as of now.
With a focus on what each team wants and not projecting any trades (although I see one at #2), I tried to match up player with team more than player with draft slot, so keep that in mind when reading.
1. Houston: QB: Teddy Bridgewater: Not the guy I’d pick, but I think this is the “safe” pick for a team that needs a QB. I don’t see them passing over a QB for Clowney (who would be my fall-back pick)
2. St. Louis: DE: Jadeveon Clowney: This pick screams trade, but it is almost impossible to project those. I see them taking probably the most “pro-ready” defensive player available. I am not a huge Clowney fan, but he has the potential to be a stud for them. Knowing Jeff Fisher’s philosophy, they tend to take the “ugly” pick over the “sexy” choice. I thought about Sammy Watkins here, but don’t see them taking another high pick at WR.
3. Jacksonville: QB: Brian Bortles: Again, not a guy I choose, but a Florida team taking a Florida kid makes sense. He has the tools to be great, but it is very risky in my opinion to take a “potential” guy at #3 in the draft. We will see if they learned from the Gabbert disaster.
4. Cleveland: QB: Jonny Football: I love this pick for Cleveland. Him paired with Josh Gordon and James Cameron will make Cleveland football actually watchable. High-risk and high-reward with this pick, but if it hits it would pay off big time.
5. Oakland: WR: Sammy Watkins: I’d suggest offensive line here, but I don’t see Oakland passing on a premier skill player if you have watched any of their last drafts.
6. Atlanta: OT: Jake Matthews: Great value here at #6 for a premier offensive lineman. I think Atlanta (getting White and Jones back from injury) would love to have the best OL in the draft at this point.
7. Tampa Bay: OLB: Khalil Mack: Getting the projected top pass rusher in the draft is a steal at the #7 pick in the draft. I think they Bucs will stay with the Mike Glennon experience (although that is not the wise decision) so they feel no need to reach for a QB and no offensive skill player is worth it at this pick.
8. Minnesota: QB: Derek Carr: Way too high for this guy, but I remember a few years ago when everyone was saying Miami “reached” for a guy at 8. Working out pretty well for us, and this QB may be as good as the three taken ahead of him.
9. Buffalo: WR: Marqise Lee: I hate mocking him to Buffalo as they already have some pretty good weapons on offense, but I feel this guy would be a huge move for them to increase their offense. Hopefully, he won’t be as good as I think he will be.
10. Detroit: OL: Greg Robinson: This guy is flying up draft boards and Detroit would be lucky to get him at this point. Thought about mocking a WR to Detroit in the first round…where have we seen that before?
11. Tennessee: OLB/DE: Anthony Barr: Thought the Titans would go pass rusher here to help their defensive front and this guy is a good one.
12. New York Giants: OL: Taylor Lewan: A guy a lot of Miami fans would like us to get. Don’t see him lasting that long with the Giants and Pittsburgh needing OL as bad as we do.
13. St. Louis Rams: DB: Justin Gilbert: Not a bad haul for St. Louis if they are to get the best Defensive Lineman and the best DB in the draft. Jeff Fisher is big on building around his defenses and they will need it in the NFC West.
14. Chicago: LB: CJ Mosley: The Bears were not so great on defense last year and need some youth to compliment their dynamic offense they seem to be building.
15. Pittsburgh: OL: Cyrus Kouandjio: I really hope the Steelers take this guy, because in my mind he is seriously over-rated. They do need offensive line help though and think they take in their opinion best OL left.
16. Baltimore: WR: Mike Evans: It was painfully obvious that Baltimore needs some help on offense. With most of the best OL gone, they go with a guy that I wanted Miami to have in Mike Evans. Plays the ball a lot like former Raven: Anquan Bolden.
17. Dallas: DL: Ra’Shede Hageman: Dallas has to pick defense here…right? Surely Jerry Jones sees how awful they were up front. If he does this is the pick. If not… Who knows what he is likely to do.
18. New York Jets: DB: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix: Pairing him with ex-teammate Milner would make the Jets formidable in the pass game again. Not a good sign for Miami in the future. Most people see the Jets going TE/WR, I think they try to get the best safety in the draft at this spot. (wish they would go WR)
19. Miami: OL: Zack Martin: This is the pick most of you skipped to see. I hate going boring and I am not an advocate of “need” picks, but in my mind this guy is a very under-rated OL that starts as a rookie and has a long solid career. Mean and quick is the kind of guy I want protecting Tannehill. Only negative is the last name, but he makes up for it with his first name.
20. Arizona: TE: Eric Ebron: If Miami does some work in free agency this is a guy I’d love to see us get. Since we don’t take him, AZ thanks us and grabs playmaker at TE spot.
21. Green Bay: TE: Jace Amaro: Many have him falling to 2nd round. I don’t see it with GB needing to replace Finley or at least prepare for a good partner to go with him.
22. Philadelphia: DB: Calvin Pryor: Offensively Philly is solid, now they need to start stopping people more.
23. Kansas City: DL: Kony Ealy: After getting shell shocked at Indy, I think KC knows they need more on defense. This is a steal for a quality pass rusher so low in 1st round.
24. Cincinnati: DT: Timmy Jernigan: They would be wise to trade back at this spot, since I don’t see them needing skilled offensive players and that run is about to start. Instead they go with a solid DL.
25. San Diego: DB: Darqueze Denard: At this spot SD opts for one of best cover guys in the draft. Not a bad choice.
26. Cleveland: OL: David Yankey: With a new QB and good skill spots, Cleveland takes a guy who can protect them. Don’t be shocked if they look at taking the top RB in their mind here either.
27. New Orleans: DL: Louis Nix: Great fit for the Saints and shores up the middle of their defense for a great 3-4 Nose Tackle.
28. Carolina: WR: Kelvin Benjamin: They need a guy for Cam to work with. He will thrive in that offense.
29. New England: DB: Marcus Roberson: Could see them going a lot of ways here, but I think they don’t reach for a WR and instead pick up a very solid DB that they need.
30. San Francisco: DB: Loucheiz Purifoy: Another Gator off the board. Most will say reach, but SF needs some help at the DB spots (one of the few weaknesses they have).
*31. Denver: DE: Stephon Tuitt: Best player available type pick. This guy will be a solid starter for Denver to develop.
*32. Seattle: OL: Antonio Richardson: They only area I see some need is at OL spot for Seattle. Although I could see them looking at a WR here….
*order determined by playoff results
Other Picks for Miami:
While it is impossible to gauge who will be left I’ll put guys that I think will be available and who Miami would look to target at those spots with picks 2-7:
2: I see RB all over this pick. Any of the top guys that would fall here: Carey (AZ), Hyde (OSU) or Williams (BC) would be very solid picks.
If not an RB: The safety from FSU may fall to this spot and I’d be cool with picking him also.
If a WR fell out to this spot (Jordan Matthews) would be a nice pick, although I don’t see Miami spending a pick at them at this spot.
3: Best OL available if we are not seriously reaching (I could see us trading around some to get in a spot to pick the best OL we like in the 3rd round).
4: Taking LB/DB/OL: Best available.
5: If Murray or LSU kid fall to this spot, take them. If not build depth, LB/DB/OL.
7: Jordan Zumwalt: I trade up to get this kid if I have to. I think he is at worst a special teams demon. At best he is a guy that will push Wheeler (although that is not saying much).
Let me know how awful I did in the comments below. I wanted to go TE for Miami (that would be my personal pick). But I think we need OL and the Martin kid is going to be a good one. I would be seriously disappointed if we took the kid from Alabama at that spot.