EA SPORTS Game Changers - 2014 NFL Mock Draft
On Thursday, prospective rookies will gather at Radio City Music Hall in New York City to impatiently wait for their names to be called. EA SPORTS Game Changer “OneEighth” gathered the members of the program to put together a first-round mock draft of the 2014 NFL Draft, with each team’s pick in the first 32 selections assigned to one member. The Houston Texans are on the clock; let’s begin!
All screenshots courtesy of Kevin Harley at GoodGameBro.com
1. Houston Texans
Jadeveon Clowney (DL, South Carolina)
The most talented defensive end prospect in years and best available player on the board is too much for the Texans to pass up. Clowney is a unique player that will be expected to line up at multiple positions for the Texans defense. Alongside J.J. Watt, Clowney will anchor the most feared defensive line in the NFL.
2. St. Louis Rams
Khalil Mack (LB, Buffalo)
With two first round draft picks, Jeff Fisher and Co. go defense. Mack is 6'3, 250 lbs., and has the size and strength to play LB and rush off the edge. He will quickly draw comparisons to Von Miller with pure explosiveness and will help the emerging Rams defense.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
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Johnny Manziel (QB, Texas A&M)
After striking out with Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville needs to address their quarterback situation. An even bigger obstacle for them has been putting fans in the stands, and Manziel will be that solution. After signing multiple free agents on the defensive side of the ball, the Jaguars go big in the first round and bring in Johnny Football.
4. Cleveland Browns
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Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson)
The offensive overhaul continues as the Browns add Watkins, who many consider the most dynamic player in the draft. Watkins will start opposite the talented Josh Gordon and combine with Jordan Cameron, Travis Benjamin, and Andrew Hawkins to form one of the most formidable receiving corps in the NFL.
5. Oakland Raiders
Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M)
With Denarius Moore on the trade block, losing Jacoby Ford to the Jets and failing to sign DeSean Jackson, the Raiders need to land some talent at WR. With Sammy Watkins falling to the Browns, the Raiders take Mike Evans. With size (6'5, 230 lbs.) and speed (4.5 40), Evans is a huge target for newly acquired QB Matt Schaub that can also help the running game as well.
6. Atlanta Falcons
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Greg Robinson (OT, Auburn)
It’s simple: Matt Ryan needs more time in the pocket. Last year, he looked nothing like a franchise quarterback and was under pressure way too often. By adding Greg Robinson, who is not only athletic but also 6’5, the Falcons could turn it around quickly
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jake Matthews (OT, Texas A&M)
When the Buccaneers hired Lovie Smith, an emphasis was placed on the war in the trenches. Even though Tampa Bay signed Anthony Collins this past offseason, Lovie and Co. know the only way to win games is to control the line of scrimmage. Collins can move inside to Guard while Matthews starts at Tackle, letting Jake learn from an experienced offensive lineman next to him.
8. Minnesota Vikings
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Blake Bortles (QB, UCF)
The Vikings, believe it or not, aren't that far away from being a playoff team. With explosive players like Adrian Peterson and Cordarrelle Patterson already onboard, the Vikings need a quarterback to take the next step on offense. Bortles fits the bill nicely. The Central Florida product has ideal height, weight and arm strength, and few draft projections had him falling this far -- the Vikings are delighted that he did.
9. Buffalo Bills
Taylor Lewan (OL, Michigan)
The Buffalo Bills have many issues to correct this year, and the biggest is the ground game. The Bills must improve their offensive line to protect EJ Manuel and pave the way for C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. Taylor Lewan will play RT and provides size, strength, and (4.8) speed needed to take Buffalo's offense to the next level.
10. Detroit Lions
Justin Gilbert (CB, Oklahoma State)
The Lions must improve their 23rd-ranked passing defense. Signing James Ihedigbo is a nice addition to play across from Glover Quin, but Detroit needs a skilled corner that can make a solid impact day one. Standing at 6’ and 200 pounds, Gilbert is an aggressive, yet pure covering press corner with the size to deal with the bigger receivers in the NFC North. His kick return skills are a nice bonus too.
11. Tennessee Titans
Anthony Barr (LB, UCLA)
While the departure of Alterraun Verner opens a need for a corner, the Titans stand to benefit the most by making a choice to synchronize with new defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s hybrid 3-4 defense. Anthony Barr will fit nicely in this new scheme by showing up with his pass-rushing athleticism. At 6’5 and 255 lbs. with lightning speed, he should be able to pressure QB’s and grab a few sacks.
12. New York Giants
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Eric Ebron (TE, North Carolina)
Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning has made multiple value TE's effective in New York's offense. However, last year’s addition of Brandon Myers was a flop. New York added veterans on defense during free agency and now must focus on offense in the draft. Ebron brings an explosive ability to rack up yards after the catch and help stretch the middle of the field. Ebron would be the Giants first TE selected in the 1st round since the dynamic Jeremy Shockey, who made a big splash as a rookie.
13. St. Louis Rams
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (S, Alabama)
Clinton-Dix is 6'1 with speed to cover the slot receiver or tight end. He is a playmaker who is not afraid to come down into the box for run support and make the big hit, something the Rams are lacking. The NFC West teams are building defenses to win big games; if the Rams hope to keep pace, they’ll have to follow a similar blueprint.
14. Chicago Bears
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Aaron Donald (DL, Pittsburgh)
Chicago continues to fortify it's rotation in the front four. Aaron Donald wowed scouts at the Senior Bowl, having what most considered to be the best week of all the seniors. He continued to surprise scouts at the combine, posting a 4.68 40-yard dash and 35 reps of 225 lbs. His ability to explode and disrupt from both the 2 and 3 techniques will make for an easy transition as the Bears starting "disruptive 2-technique" in Mel Tucker's 4-3 defense.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers
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Kelvin Benjamin (WR, Florida State)
In the choice between needs of receiver or cornerback for Pittsburgh, Kelvin Benjamin is the best option at #15. In today's NFL the big WR is a proven commodity and Benjamin (6’5, 243 lbs.) is big, physical, and has proven himself on the big stage. He might not be the fastest guy at his position, but his skillset is exactly what's been missing from the Steelers passing game.
16. Dallas Cowboys
Calvin Pryor (S, Louisville)
The guy that stands out here after dominant defenders like Clowney, Mack, and Donald have come of the board is safety Calvin Pryor. Pryor possesses great instincts when it comes to playing the ball. He is a strong tackler, and will dominate the middle of the field at the point of attack. He does seem to struggle some in man-to-man, but makes up for it with excellent zone coverage skills. Look for him to make a huge impact in the Cowboys variation of the Tampa 2 defense.
17. Baltimore Ravens
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Zack Martin (OL, Notre Dame)
With their first pick in the NFL draft, the Baltimore Ravens attempt to strengthen a low-performing offensive line by drafting Notre Dame OT Zack Martin, a smart, athletic, durable, high-character leader who will fit nicely into Gary Kubiak's new zone blocking scheme. A stable line will help the transition of new weapons Steve Smith, Sr., Owen Daniels, and Justin Forsett, as well as the return of Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce out of the backfield.
18. New York Jets
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Marqise Lee (WR, USC)
With the Jets focusing on bolstering their offense this year, Marquise Lee can be the other option at wide receiver opposite Eric Decker. Lee can also fill in as a returner. With Lee coming out of a pro-style offense at USC, he shouldn't have too much of a problem adapting to Marty Mornhinweg's version of the West Coast Offense. If he can fend off injuries that plagued him this past year, many NFL front-office personnel say he could end up comparing favorably to Victor Cruz.
19. Miami Dolphins
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C.J. Mosley (LB, Alabama)
Though Miami may be tempted by trade offers at this position, they fill an immediate hole in their defense with the draft’s most instinctive player in C.J. Mosley. Scouts argue that Mosley may be the most NFL ready prospect in the draft and he is a tackling machine. The SEC is run-heavy, and Mosley knows what it takes to get off blocks and blow up the running game, something the Dolphins need him to do immediately.
20. Arizona Cardinals
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Kony Ealy (DL, Missouri)
Kony Ealy has freakish size for a DE: 6’5 and 275 lbs. His burst off the ball is impressive, and he is very agile and powerful. Ealy never quits on pursuit and is relentless from the backside. Several of his pass rush techniques are at an NFL level. The pass rush is a big need for the Arizona Cardinals, and the team will look for immediate impact with this pick.
The Packers spent most of the 2013 season trailing their opponents due to the poor showing by the defense. This was partially due to injuries, but also had a lot to do with not having enough on the defensive front. Dee Ford is arguably the best DE in the draft, coming off of his MVP performance in the Senior Bowl that showed he has the size, technique and speed to be a force in the NFL for years to come.
22. Philadelphia Eagles
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Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio State)
The best value at this spot for Philadelphia is going to be at cornerback, especially if the top two safeties are off the board. Roby's size, speed, athleticism and playmaking ability make him capable of developing into a shutdown corner on the outside. Even more importantly, Roby’s versatility as a special teams contributor makes him even more valuable.
23. Kansas City Chiefs
Kyle Fuller (CB, Virginia Tech)
The Chiefs are in need of cornerbacks. The depth at this position is something of major focus, and Fuller would be a great fit as a team captain out of Virginia Tech. Fuller is projected to go somewhere in the first two rounds, and his durability and instincts makes him a pick worth making here by Kansas City.
24. Cincinnati Bengals
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Darqueze Dennard (CB, Michigan State)
This might be the steal of the draft as Dennard is the fourth CB taken in the first round, but rated first in some rankings. Dennard's instincts on the field are second to none, and it shows by the hard work he puts into the film room. He's rarely out of position on the field and when it comes to one-on-one coverage, he mirrors the WR better than anyone in the draft.
25. San Diego Chargers
Brandin Cooks (WR, Oregon State)
Giving Philip Rivers some offensive weapons could really benefit this team. With Eddie Royal being injury prone and Malcom Floyd recovering from a severe neck injury, the Chargers would could use a WR across from the emerging Keenan Allen. Brandin Cooks out of Oregon State fits this bill perfectly with his speed and explosiveness. Cooks’ 4.33 speed and 36" vertical brings in the playmaking ability this team needs.
26. Cleveland Browns
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Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Louisville)
Cleveland would be elated to see Bridgewater fall this far in the draft. Starting QB Brian Hoyer may be a short term answer, and could allow Teddy to learn the system until he is ready to take over. Matching him with earlier pick Sammy Watkins, superstar WR Josh Gordon, breakout TE Jordan Cameron and newly signed running back Ben Tate gives the Browns a potentially explosive offense to go with their already stout defense.
27. New Orleans Saints
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Jason Verrett (CB, TCU)
New Orleans will look to fill a need at DB and select Verrett. The Saints need help in the secondary even after the addition of Champ Bailey. The Saints will put up points, so they need a young DB like Verrett to lock down opposing WRs and allow more time for Rob Ryan to dial up pressure.
28. Carolina Panthers
Odell Beckham, Jr. (WR, LSU)
The Panthers parted ways with veteran WR Steve Smith while also losing Brandon LaFell. I feel as if the offense was already the weaker link last year when it came to the Panthers and it only got weaker. By drafting Beckham, you get a versatile playmaker at WR that can add some electricity to the offense. The Panthers have to address the offense in the draft to give Cam Newton more weapons.
29. New England Patriots
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Stephon Tuitt (DL, Notre Dame)
After adding secondary help in Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, the Patriots address a defensive line that nearly lost anchor Vince Wilfork in a free agency dispute. The Patriots have needed help in the pass rush for a few seasons now, and Tuitt can help address that need and place him in the starting mix for years to come. Tuitt also shows flexibility as DE or DT, making him a useful tool regardless of formation.
30. San Francisco 49ers
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Lamarcus Joyner (CB, Florida State)
Despite numerous CB's were picked ahead of him, the 49ers still needed a corner to replace the departed Terrell Brown and Carlos Rogers. Joyner is undersized, but plays much larger, showing versatility at almost any position and hitting like a truck in run support. Joyner has an impressive burst and aggressiveness that will be sure to help the Niners as a ball-hawking nickel player, as wel as spy mobile QB's. Joyner also has good hands and speed, making him a perfect fit to install into the struggling Niners return game.
31. Denver Broncos
Ryan Shazier (LB, Ohio State)
While the Broncos came in needing a corner, they were all gone by this stage of round one. Shazier is fast, athletic and can help out at the linebacker position with his explosiveness and ability to disrupt the run and pass. He does lack in some areas like anticipation, over running plays and zone reaction but improvements will come in time. This is the best player available that makes sense at 31; Denver cannot not pass on him here.
32. Seattle Seahawks
Ra’Shede Hageman (DL, Minnesota)
Riding the high of the franchise’s first Super Bowl victory, Seattle ends the first round by adding Hageman. The Minnesota defensive tackle might be a bit of a boom-or-bust prospect, but the potential upside the pick brings to the table—not to mention his chance to learn from the established players—provides enough reason to add him to the title defense team.
What do you think of the EA SPORTS Game Changers picks? If the picks played out this way, which team would you want to use first in Madden NFL 15? Would you have selected a different player for your team instead? Let us know your thoughts by tweeting us!