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Fresh on the heels of our Mock Draft of the first 10 picks in the 2014 NFL Draft, here’s our take on selections 11 though 20. Remember, draft order is based upon current standings (pre-Week 12) and all those who are eligible (and who haven’t already confirmed they will be staying on at school) declaring for the draft.
11. Baltimore Ravens – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Safety, Alabama
There are some big unanswered questions in Baltimore this offseason, with Dennis Pitta, Eugene Monroe and Michael Oher all in contract years, so there’s potential needs at both offensive tackle and tight end. That being said, tight end can be addressed further down the draft if needed, and Kouandjio could be a viable target, but Clinton-Dix gives them a player who can develop into ball hawk in the secondary, something they have lacked since Ed Reed left town. This would allow Matt Elam to move over to strong safety, a position more suitable to his skill set, and potentially give Baltimore a very exciting tandem at the safety positions. Receiver is another need, but with the emergence of undrafted rookie Marlon Brown, it is a position they could address in the second or third round instead.
12. St Louis Rams – Marqise Lee, Wide Receiver, USC
Conventional wisdom suggests St Louis should go in the direction of a big bodied receiver to complement Tavon Austin, but with the addition of Lee, they would have the makings of one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. They have already shorn up the offensive line with the addition Jake Matthews thanks to the pick they received from the Washington Redskins, and doubling up on offense in the first round would not be a bad move, as they still seek to determine whether or not Sam Bradford is the long-term answer in St Louis.
13. Cleveland Browns – Derek Carr, Quarterback, Fresno State
As a pure passer, Carr is second to perhaps only Bridgewater in this year’s draft (and some would argue he even surpasses Bridgewater), and is as good fit for the quarterback-desperate Cleveland Browns. He will be well protected by Joe Thomas on the blindside, and has talented targets in Josh Gordon, Jordan Cameron, and the painfully inconsistent Greg Little. Carr would be an immediate starter in Cleveland, and could make a significant early impact too.
14. Tennessee Titans – Cyrus Kouandjio, Offensive Tackle, Alabama
Bolstering the offensive line in the first round of consecutive drafts is a brave move, but will certainly keep Head Coach, and former offensive lineman, Mike Munchak happy. Ageing offensive tackles, a devastating running back who needs his lineman to create holes, and a talented but injury-prone quarterback, mean that picking Kouandjio at this point makes sense, even if it doesn’t inspire the fan base.
15. New York Giants – Ryan Shazier, Linebacker, Ohio State
The Giants have struggled with linebackers for some time now, and although the arrival of Jon Beason is a welcome addition, it is still a glaring weakness in New York. Shazier is the archetypal 4-3 linebacker, and potentially could have the same impact for the Giants, that Alonso had for the Bills this season. If the Giants fail to secure Hakeem Nicks to a new contract, receiver could be an alternative, but at this point, they would arguably be reaching for any of the remaining receivers.
16. Green Bay Packers – Jace Amaro, Tight End, Texas Tech
It’s rare that tight ends get taken this high, but with Jermichael Finley currently suffering from a serious injury, and in a contract year, chances are we won’t see him back in Green Bay next year. This makes their need at the position high, and the prospect of giving Aaron Rodgers a reliable safety blanket in Amaro, could be too tempting for the Packers to turn down.
17. Miami Dolphins – Antonio Richardson, Offensive Tackle, Tennessee
Given the current situation surrounding Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito, and the advancing years of Bryant McKinnie and Tyson Clabo, the Dolphins’ offensive line could be a real mess next year. Richardson would most likely be more comfortable at right tackle in his rookie season, but has the potential to play the left tackle spot, and play it well, at the NFL level. Need at guard could be equally pressing, but finding a franchise left tackle will probably sway the Dolphins into taking Richardson over any other lineman.
18. Dallas Cowboys – Cyril Richardson, Guard, Baylor
The Cowboys have struggled at the guard position for some time now, and Richardson is an immediate solution to that problem. By and far the best guard in the 2014 class, Richardson could start immediately for Dallas, and make a big difference alongside current center Travis Frederick. Bolstering the defensive line is another option, particularly with Anthony Spencer in a contract year, but they will be hopeful they can find a defensive tackle and/or end further down the draft.
19. Arizona Cardinals – Louis Nix III, Defensive Tackle, Notre Dame
Arizona could go in a number of different directions here, including replacing quarterback Carson Palmer with a younger option, attempting to find that elusive left tackle, or even adding talent at the running back or tight end positions, but may be reaching with all of those selections. Nix gives the Cardinals a superb prospect to play the nose, and one that could go on to replicate the impact Dontari Poe is having with the Kansas City Chiefs.
20. Chicago Bears – Timmy Jernigan, Defensive Tackle, Florida State
For the first time in years, the Bears can say that their most pressing need is no longer to strengthen the offensive line. With no guarantees that Henry Melton will still be in Chicago next season, finding his successor is of paramount importance. Even if Melton stays, the partnership that he could create with Jernigan should help the Bears put a lot more pressure on quarterbacks than they’re currently managing, which should help their ageing corners remain effective for a few more seasons.
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