2014 NFL Mock Draft: Where Will Johnny Manziel Fall?

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Tyler Nickel gives his take on how the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft will pan out.

Hello there, everyone. Long time, no write. It's great to be back here on ROTB and I thank Jess for allowing me to come and voice my thoughts on the 2014 NFL Draft. More specifically, I want to jot down some of my thoughts on how the first round of the draft will go with this mock.

For me, this is one of the more unpredictable drafts in recent memory. We have no idea who is going first overall, let alone who the Arizona Cardinals are going to select with the 20th overall pick. There are so many polarizing figures in this draft from top to bottom. Will Johnny Manziel be a superstar or an epic draft bust and yet another Heisman trophy winner to fall off the face of the earth? Will Jadeveon Clowney's talent outweigh the perceived lack of work ethic that he has? Do the Cardinals go offense or defense with their coveted first round pick? These are all questions that will be answered in a week's time, but I am going to give my best shot at answering them right here.

  1. Houston Texans- Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina. I think the talk regarding his poor work ethic is completely overblown. The guy is a stud, plain and simple. The idea of pairing Clowney with JJ Watt will be too intriguing to the Texans and they will look to pick up a QB at the top of the 2nd round. Even though the Texans plan on keeping their 3-4 defense, I think Clowney can be used as a 3-4 DE or an OLB. He will excel no matter where he is.
  2. St. Louis Rams- Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn. Jake Long looked like a shell of his former self last season and the 19 year old Robinson could be just the remedy. He is a dominant player in both pass protection and run blocking and is the best tackle prospect since Matt Kalil, if not better.
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M. The hype is real, folks. There are so many questions surrounding Manziel pertaining to his size, his off-field habits and whatever else you want to heap on the poor kid, but his talent cannot be denied. The Jaguars need a shot of adrenaline and Manziel is the perfect man for the job.
  4. Cleveland Browns- Blake Bortles, QB, UCF. In my opinion, Bortles is the 4th best QB in this draft, but that won't stop the Browns from taking him in the fourth spot. They are currently in a position in which taking any player besides a quarterback will be devastating to Karlos Dansby's playoff hopes. Write it down in pen, this team drafts a QB come next Thursday night.
  5. Oakland Raiders- Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson. While I really wanted to mock Dri Archer here, no longer can this team continue drafting the fastest player on the board. That said, Watkins isn't exactly lacking in the speed department. He is the best receiver on the board and will give new QB Matt Schaub a day-one ready target.
  6. Atlanta Falcons- Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo. The consensus among many is that the Falcons will look to grab offensive line help early in this draft. My personal opinion is that a pass rush is more important for their team. Mack is the second best defender on the board and this guy knows how to get to the opposing quarterback.
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh. Donald continues to make a meteoric rise up draft boards, and for good reason. He would be a perfect fit in Love Smith's 4-3 defense. His combination of speed, size and on-field violence justify his top 10 selection.
  8. Minnesota Vikings- Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State. I am not buying into the belief that Matt Cassel is this team's plan at starting QB and we all know that Christian Ponder isn't that guy. Yes, this is a bit of a reach for Carr at this position, but the Vikings need to make some sort of attempt to stay in the NFC North QB race.
  9. Buffalo Bills- Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina. I think this is a match made in heaven. EJ Manuel won't be worth the first round selection that was used to take him last year if the Bills don't get some more weapons around him. Ebron is the perfect person to start with. A true weapon by nature, Ebron could be the next Jimmy Graham in this league.
  10. Detroit Lions- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama. I am not super high on Calvin Pryor and I am not entirely sure the NFL is either. To me, Clinton-Dix is the best secondary player on the board. He can play in any scheme and excel as a free safety.
  11. Tennessee Titans- Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M. Similar to when Coach Ken Whisenhunt took Michael Floyd at #11 in Arizona, I think he will take a similar path by selecting Evans in that same spot for the Titans. Kenny Britt is gone and the Titans need another weapon across from Kendall Wright if they want Jake Locker to have a chance.
  12. New York Giants- Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M. The cliche of "running to the podium" starts here. Matthews was long considered the best offensive line prospect in this draft before Robinson burst onto the scene. Eli Manning was sacked 39 times last season (the most of any season in his career) and Matthews will be the second consecutive first round selection the Giants will use to help solve that problem.
  13. St. Louis Rams- Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville. The Rams need some help in the secondary and hiring a big hitter like Pryor would be a step in the right direction. While he does have a tendency to make mistakes, his aggressiveness and law enforcer style of play will always be welcome in the NFL.
  14. Chicago Bears- CJ Mosley, LB, Alabama. DJ Williams isn't the long term answer at MLB for the Bears, so they decide to shore up that position with the selection of Mosley here. It wouldn't hurt him to add more weight, but when that happens, his unparalleled instincts for the ball will make him an imposing defender.
  15. Pittsburgh Steelers- Odell Beckham, WR, LSU. Beckham combined with speedster Antonio Brown is a pretty scary thought. If Ebron was still on the board, I think he would be the pick, but Beckham is a more than worthy consolation prize.
  16. Dallas Cowboys- Marqise Lee, WR, USC. Anthony Barr would be an extremely attractive pick right here, but with Miles Austin no longer around and not much depth behind Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams, I think the Cowboys look for yet another receiver early on to give Tony Romo every opportunity to get Dallas back into the playoffs.
  17. Baltimore Ravens- Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA. Mosley would be the perfect fit here, but since he is no longer around, Barr would be a nice player to have once Terrell Suggs starts inevitably slowing down.
  18. New York Jets- Zack Martin, OL, Notre Dame. As a guy that can play at almost any position along the line, the Jets can start Martin day one at guard instead of Willie Colon and use him at tackle should they desire to do so.
  19. Miami Dolphins- Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State. The Dolphins will come to realize pretty quickly that Cortland Finnegan, the corner that is slotted to start across from Brent Grimes, is a shell of his former self. Bringing Gilbert in gives them insurance in case he starts outside in year one while also giving them someone to groom for the long term given his amazing raw ability.
  20. Arizona Cardinals- Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota. If we are to truly believe that Cardinals GM Steve Keim is going to take the best player on his draft board, then Hageman becomes an easy pick here. Again, this is a big man that has had questions about his drive, but his abilities make him a guy that will be a fantastic replacement for Darnell Dockett when the time comes.
  21. Green Bay Packers- Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech. While Sam Shields and Tramon Williams are fine players, Fuller has the potential to be an all out star. Some even see him as the best secondary player in this draft. He is an immediate impact player, which is exactly what Ted Thompson will want.
  22. Philadelphia Eagles- Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State. Dennard is a physical man-to-man cover corner that will immediately add talent to a porous Eagles secondary.
  23. Kansas City Chiefs- Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State. While there aren't a ton of glaring holes on this Chiefs team, a consistent wide receiver might be one. Dwayne Bowe is playing on a bloated contract and Donnie Avery is not a reliable #2 receiver. Cooks immediately adds credibility to the Chiefs offense.
  24. Cincinnati Bengals- Dee Ford, DE, Auburn. With the departure of Michael Johnson, the Bengals look to fill the void with an excellent pass rusher in Dee Ford. He will wreak havoc for years to come across from Carlos Dunlap, whom the team recently extended.
  25. San Diego Chargers- Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State. This pick makes too much sense for San Diego. Their starting corners are Shareece Wright and Steve Williams. Roby would probably be the #1 corner right away with his coverage skills. Enough said.
  26. Cleveland Browns- Jason Verrett, CB, TCU. Some are concerned about Verrett's lack of size, but there is no questioning his production. The Browns get a great value pick here to pair up with Joe Haden for the foreseeable future.
  27. New Orleans Saints- Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech. I absolutely love this guy and think he would be a great fit in Rob Ryan's defense. The Saints undoubtedly could use more pass rush help and a replacement for Parys Haralson. Attaochu is the guy that can bring both of those things.
  28. Carolina Panthers- Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan. Again, this isn't a team with a ton of holes and it would be too predictable and easy to mock them a wide receiver here. With Jordan Gross' retirement, they need a young tackle to take the reins. Lewan might take a stumble down to the bottom of the first round due to some off-field issues come draft day, but from a sheer talent standpoint, this would be a dream come true for Carolina.
  29. New England Patriots- Ryan Shazier, LB, OSU. As some of us Cardinals fans discussed on a podcast recently, there is no solid position for Shazier. He isn't a true outside or inside linebacker. He is a playmaker. And if anyone can find the best way to get the most talent out of his abilities, it's Bill Belichick.
  30. San Francisco 49ers- Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri. I think Ealy is big enough with room to add more mass to become the heir apparent to Justin Smith at defensive end. And, at worse case scenario, he becomes a replacement for the embattled Aldon Smith. His versatility will definitely garner some attention from the 49ers here.
  31. Denver Broncos- Xavier Su'a-Filo, OG, UCLA. Orlando Franklin just announced he is moving to left guard and is scheduled to be a free agent after this upcoming season. He may bolt for where he can earn a starting tackle job and, thus, more money. Su'a-Filo can step in and fill his spot seamlessly.
  32. Seattle Seahawks- Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State. Cliff Avril is entering the final year of his two-year pact with the Seahawks. I don't envision the Seahawks re-signing him given all the money they just committed to Bennett and the money they still have yet to pour out to Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson. Sacrifices have to be made somewhere. Or do they? Crichton is an ideal fit as a 4-3 defensive end and, given that many feel he should have returned to school, he will get that much needed experience while also not being forced into a starting role right away in Seattle.
One quick note-You may have noticed Teddy Bridgewater isn't in this mock. I think a team will inevitably trade up into the first round (Bucs? Titans?) to grab him. The plummet he has taken over the past few weeks is absurd in my mind. He is the best signal caller in this draft. But if people are hearing that he is going to fall, then you have to stay true to the mock, no matter how bad you want to slot him in the top 3.

So please, take your thoughts to the comment section and tell me what you think. I look forward to speaking with you guys after a long hiatus!
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