NFL mock draft 2014

Jadeveon Clowney of the South Carolina Gamecocks prepares

Jadeveon Clowney of the South Carolina Gamecocks prepares for his team's game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Williams-Brice Stadium. (Aug. 29, 2013) (Credit: Getty Images)

With the 2014 NFL Draft just days away, Newsday.com draft analyst Nick Klopsis takes a look at how the first round may play out in the final installment of his mock draft.

1. TexansJADEVEON CLOWNEY DE, South Carolina

The Texans need a quarterback but aren’t sold on taking any of the top guys here. Instead, they take Clowney, who would pair with J.J. Watt to give opposing quarterbacks nightmares. Don’t count Buffalo OLB Khalil Mack out as an option either. [Previous picks: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville (1.0, 2.0); Blake Bortles, QB, UCF (3.0)]

2. Rams (via Redskins): GREG ROBINSON, OT, Auburn

It’s still likely that the Rams will auction this pick off to the highest bidder. If they choose to stay at 2, they net a mauling run blocker who could become one of the league’s top tackles in a few years. [Previous picks: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M (1.0, 2.0); Robinson (3.0)]

3. Jaguars: KHALIL MACK, OLB, Buffalo

Jacksonville could go quarterback here, but head coach Gus Bradley would have a very tough time passing on Mack, a very well-rounded linebacker who would instantly become the “Leo” in the Jaguars’ defense. [Previous picks: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina (1.0, 2.0, 3.0)]

4. Browns: JOHNNY MANZIEL, QB, Texas A&M

The Browns use the first of their two first-round picks on Manziel, the undersized yet dynamic signal caller who would add a jolt of excitement to a moribund franchise. [Previous picks: Manziel (1.0, 2.0); Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville (3.0)]

5. RaidersSAMMY WATKINS, WR, Clemson

The Raiders luck out and have Watkins fall into their laps at No. 5. Whoever is under center for the Raiders – whether it’s Matt Schaub or someone they draft later on – gets a playmaker who excels at creating space with his great speed and acceleration. [Previous picks: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF (1.0, 2.0); Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M (3.0)]

6. FalconsJAKE MATTHEWS, OT, Texas A&M

The Falcons continue to rebuild their offensive line with Matthews, a polished technician and the son of Hall of Fame lineman Bruce Matthews. He’s the safest pick in the draft and can play either tackle position. [Previous picks: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo (1.0, 3.0); Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn (2.0)]

7. BuccaneersMIKE EVANS, WR, Texas A&M

The Bucs went on a free-agent spending spree but can use a No. 2 option across from Vincent Jackson. The 6-5 Evans would give new QB Josh McCown two big, physical receivers and essentially recreate his situation last year in Chicago, where he had a career revival. [Previous picks: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA (1.0); Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo (2.0); Sammy Warkins, WR, Clemson (3.0)]

8. VikingsBLAKE BORTLES, QB, UCF

The Vikings need a long-term answer at quarterback. Bortles is a little raw, but he has prototypical size for an NFL quarterback and Ben Roethlisberger-esque athleticism. He can start right away, or he can sit and develop behind Matt Cassel. [Previous picks: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State (1.0, 2.0, 3.0)]

9. BillsTAYLOR LEWAN, OT, Michigan

The Bills have their quarterback in E.J. Manuel. Now they need to protect him. Lewan plays with a nasty streak and is very athletic. He can come in and immediately play right tackle, then shift over to the left side as Cordy Glenn’s eventual replacement. [Previous picks: Eric Ebron (1.0); Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA (2.0); Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M (3.0)]

10. LionsODELL BECKHAM JR., WR, LSU

A surprise pick? Maybe. But the Lions could use more playmakers on offense to help take some heat off Calvin Johnson. Beckham is a smooth athlete with a great catch radius to help him make tough catches. [Previous picks: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson (1.0, 2.0); Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama (3.0)]

11. Titans: ANTHONY BARR, OLB, UCLA

The Titans are moving to a 3-4 defense under new coordinator Ray Horton. Barr is raw, but he has the physical tools that teams look for and would be a formidable threat on the edge. [Previous picks: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn (1.0); C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama (2.0); Barr (3.0)]

12. Giants: ERIC EBRON, TE, North Carolina

After a rare splurge in free agency, the Giants are in a position to take the best player available. In this case, it just so happens that the best player available also fills a big need. Ebron gives Eli Manning a mismatch all over the field and a huge target in the red zone. [Previous picks: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama (1.0); Ebron (2.0, 3.0)]

13. Rams: HA HA CLINTON-DIX, FS, Alabama

After going offense with the second overall pick, the Rams focus on building their secondary here. Clinton-Dix has great range and ball skills in centerfield and would be an instant starter in St. Louis. [Previous picks: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M (1.0, 2.0, 3.0)]

14. Bears: AARON DONALD, DT, Pittsburgh

There has been a lot of chatter about Donald going in the top 10, which is a strong possibility – he has incredible talent and proved in workouts that his stellar senior season was no fluke. The Bears luck out here and land a three-technique who compares favorably to Geno Atkins of the Bengals. [Previous picks: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State (1.0); Donald (2.0, 3.0)]

15. Steelers: DARQUEZE DENNARD, CB, Michigan State

The Steelers’ secondary is aging. Dennard isn’t the most athletic cornerback in this year’s draft, but his aggressive, physical style of play would be a good fit in Pittsburgh.  [Previous picks: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame (1.0); Dennard (2.0, 3.0)]

16. Cowboys: CALVIN PRYOR, FS, Louisville

The Cowboys gave up the third-most yards in NFL history last year and could use help in centerfield. Pryor is known for being a hard hitter, but he does have experience as a single-high safety, which is what the Cowboys would need from him. [Previous picks: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama (1.0, 2.0); Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri (3.0)]

17. Ravens: ZACK MARTIN, OT/OG, Notre Dame

The Ravens averaged a league-worst 3.1 yards per carry and surrendered 48 sacks in 2013. Martin is undersized at 6-4, 308 pounds, but he can play right tackle or slide inside to guard. [Previous picks: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan (1.0, 2.0, 3.0)]

18. Jets: JUSTIN GILBERT, CB, Oklahoma State

Why no wideout here? Opportunity cost. This wide receiver class is incredibly deep, and the Jets could find excellent value there in rounds 2-4. So they can spend their first-rounder to address other needs, such as finding Antonio Cromartie’s replacement. Yes, the Jets drafted Dee Milliner ninth overall last year, but adding the talented and athletic Gilbert gives them a very good 1-2 punch in the secondary for years to come. [Previous picks: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech (1.0, 2.0); Gilbert (3.0)]

19. Dolphins: C.J. MOSLEY, MLB, Alabama

With all of the top-tier linemen off the board, the Dolphins bolster the heart of their  defense with Mosley, an instinctive inside linebacker who can do a little bit of everything. [Previous picks: Zack Martin, OT/OG, Notre Dame (1.0, 2.0, 3.0)]

20. Cardinals: TEDDY BRIDGEWATER, QB, Louisville

The Cardinals have more pressing needs, most notably adding another safety and bolstering the pass rush. But the chance to draft arguably the most NFL-ready passer in this draft as Carson Palmer’s eventual replacement may be too good to pass up. [Previous picks: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama (1.0); Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State (2.0); Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech (3.0)]

21. Packers: JIMMIE WARD, FS/SS, Northern Illinois

The Packers allowed 12.6 yards allowed per completion in 2013, second-worst in the NFL. Ward is very rangy and makes plays with a great mix of athleticism, ball skills and smarts. He also can play nickel corner or in the box if needed. [Previous picks: Ward (1.0, 2.0, 3.0)]

22. Eagles: KYLE FULLER, CB, Virginia Tech

The Eagles bolster their secondary with Fuller, a well-rounded corner who can play zone, man-to-man, help in run support and even blitz. [Previous picks: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State (1.0); Jason Verrett, CB, TCU (2.0, 3.0)]

23. ChiefsBRANDIN COOKS, WR, Oregon State

The Chiefs don’t have an established No. 2 wideout across from Dwayne Bowe. Cooks is explosive and does a lot of damage in space, similar to what Percy Harvin or Tavon Austin bring. [Previous picks: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU (1.0, 2.0, 3.0)]

24. Bengals: DEE FORD, DE, Auburn

Ford has an explosive first step and was impressive in both the BCS title game and the Senior Bowl. His pass-rushing skills would help ease the loss of Michael Johnson, who left for Tampa Bay in free agency. [Previous picks: Ford (1.0, 2.0, 3.0)]

25. Chargers: LOUIS NIX III, DT, Notre Dame

The Chargers could use a good nose tackle to anchor their defensive line, and the 6-2, 331-pound Nix fits the bill. As an added bonus, drafting Nix reunites him with Manti Te’o, recreating the core of Notre Dame’s strong 2012 defense. [Previous picks: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State (1.0); Nix (2.0, 3.0)]

26. Browns (via Colts): MARQISE LEE, WR, USC

After drafting their franchise QB in Manziel, the Browns' next step should be to give him a new toy to play with. The speedy Lee would make for a good No. 2 across from Josh Gordon. [Previous picks: Lee (1.0, 2.0, 3.0)]

27. Saints: RYAN SHAZIER, OLB, Ohio State

Rob Ryan could always use more playmakers on defense. Shazier is an every down player with sideline-to-sideline speed, good instincts and solid coverage skills. He’s also a sure tackler. [Previous picks: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri (1.0, 2.0); C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama (3.0)]

28. Panthers: DAVANTE ADAMS, WR, Fresno State

The Panthers released Steve Smith and lost Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn and Domenik Hixon to free agency. They’ll need someone to catch Cam Newton’s passes, and Adams gives Newton a red-zone target with a good catch radius and the ability to win at the catch point. [Previous picks: Adams (1.0, 2.0, 3.0)]

29. Patriots: JACE AMARO, TE, Texas Tech

The Patriots’ offense last year wasn’t as dynamic as it was when they had two mismatches at tight end. Rob Gronkowski should be healthy in 2014, but adding the 6-5, 274-pound Amaro gives New England another “joker” tight end who can play in-line, in the slot or as a flanker. [Previous picks: Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame (1.0, 2.0, 3.0)]

30.  49ers: BRADLEY ROBY, CB, Ohio State

After losing Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers in free agency, the 49ers need to bolster their secondary. The 49ers have 11 picks and are a prime candidate to trade up for a top-tier cornerback, but staying at 31 would net them Roby, who has great speed and is scheme-versatile. [Previous picks: Aaron Donald, DT, Florida State (1.0); Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt (2.0); Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State (3.0)]

31. Broncos: JASON VERRETT, CB, TCU

The Broncos went all-out in free agency, signing DeMarcus Ware, T.J. Ward, Aqib Talib and Emmanuel Sanders. They don’t really have too many glaring holes, but they could use another corner opposite Talib. Verrett makes up for his lack of size (5-9, 189 pounds) with excellent ball skills and aggressiveness. [Previous picks: Verrett (1.0); Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville (2.0); Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota (3.0)]

32. Seahawks: XAVIER SU’A FILO, OG, UCLA

For all of the talent and depth the Seahawks have, their guard play was average in 2013.  Su’a-Filo is a balanced guard who plays well when asked to block on the move or get to the second level. [Previous picks: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt (1.0, 3.0); Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State (2.0)]

DROPPED OUT OF THE FIRST ROUND: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State; Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri; Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame; Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota; Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt.

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