The 2014 NFL Draft is just around the corner, with the first round starting at 8pm ET Thursday. Between now and then, we will have plenty to discuss as mock draft after mock draft are released all over the internet. Last night, Monday Morning Quarterback's Peter King released his projection of the first round, giving us another look at how Thursday could unfold.
King starts with a little different pick than most people are predicting at this point, with the Houston Texans not taking South Carolina defensive end Jedevon Clowney, but rather adding Buffalo outside linebacker Khalil Mack. King sees the Texans trying to find a trade partner, but coming up short and having to make the pick.
Behind the Texans, King predicts the St. Louis Rams grabbing Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson, followed by the Jacksonville Jaguars' selection of Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins. The first trade of the draft involves the Atlanta Falcons jumping up to the fourth overall selection, swapping picks with the Cleveland Browns, along with giving Cleveland their third-round pick, to grab Clowney. The move gives the Falcons the pass rusher they need, and adds another pick for Cleveland who are looking to rebuild their franchise this year.
Jumping to the 19th pick with the Miami Dolphins, King takes the best available offensive tackle, a position of need for Miami and a move they may have to make if they are unable to either trade up or trade back on Thursday. In this case, the Dolphins select Alabama tackle Cyrus Kouandjio. King explains the pick:
Not the tackle the Dolphins wanted, but at this point, beggars can't be choosers. The Dolphins' need is so big that new GM Dennis Hickey just had to do this. I expect Hickey to try to move up for Zack Martin, but I also expect he'll find the price way too high.
The pick is not ideal for Miami, though it is becoming a popular mock draft pick as of late. Kouandjio has medical concerns, though those have been alleviated somewhat recently when Dr. James Andrews cleared the big lineman's knees, and looked incredibly stiff during the NFL Scouting Combine. His stock fell drastically after the Combine, but seems to be rebounding right now. He's not the pick I would want to make here, preferring to wait until the second round if the choice is Kouandjio or someone like Joel Bitonio later.
Kouandjio does answer one of Miami's biggest needs, but it seems like a reach at this point - though it may be one we all need to be prepared to see the Dolphins make.