2014 NFL Mock Draft

Mock draft 4.0: No quarterbacks selected

By Bucky Brooks |

NFL Media analyst

Published: March 25, 2014 at 01:18 p.m.



The perception of the NFL being a quarterback-driven league has prompted several teams to push quarterbacks up draft boards in recent years. As a result, we have seen a number of developmental quarterback prospects emerge as top 15 selections despite the presence of more pro-ready position players on the board.

My colleague Albert Breer deftly outlined the danger of this approach in a recent article examining the failures of the 2011 quarterback class.

With the 2014 draft loaded with Pro Bowl-caliber position players and full of question marks at quarterback, I believe we could see more teams pause before selecting a developmental prospect at the top of the draft. Although this would require teams to stick with the premise of taking the best player available, it's an approach that could result in a quarterback failing to come off the board in the first round for the first time since 1996.

Now, I know it's unlikely to happen, but let's take a look at how the draft could shake out if teams avoid reaching for a quarterback at the top of the draft. (Keep in mind that I didn't make any trades in this version of the mock draft.)
  1. Pick No.
    1
    DE
    South Carolina
     
    Bill O'Brien doesn't see much difference between the first and second tier of quarterbacks, leading him to take the best available player in the draft.
  2. Pick No.
    2
    OT
    Texas A&M
     
    Jake Long's injury prompts Fisher to add insurance to an offensive line that needs to handle the formidable frontlines in the NFC West.
  3. Pick No.
    3
    OLB
    Buffalo
     
    Gus Bradley has watched Pete Carroll build a Super Bowl champion with the quarterback playing a secondary role. He could opt to add a defensive playmaker to the mix to help the Jaguars compete against the Indianapolis Colts and Andrew Luck.
  4. Pick No.
    4
    WR
    Clemson
     
    Surrounding a quarterback with explosive weapons is never a bad option. GM Ray Farmer could add Watkins to an offensive lineup up that features Pro Bowl-caliber players in WR Josh Gordon and TE Jordan Cameron.
  5. Pick No.
    5
    OT
    Auburn
     
    Matt Schaub lacks athleticism and mobility. Thus, Reggie McKenzie could opt to build a fortress at the line of scrimmage to help his franchise quarterback thrive in the pocket.
  6. Pick No.
    6
    OLB
    UCLA
     
    Taylor Lewan could be in play at this selection, but the need to add an explosive 3-4 edge rusher is a bigger priority in this scenario.
  7. Pick No.
    7
    OT
    Michigan
     
    Jason Licht and Lovie Smith have fortified the defense through free agency. Adding a stout offensive tackle on the right side should stabilize an offense that has tremendous potential.
  8. Pick No.
    8
    DT
    Pittsburgh
     
    The re-signing of Matt Cassel gives Rick Spielman plenty of options on draft day. He could replace Kevin Williams with a Geno Atkins-clone who is an ideal fit in Mike Zimmer's aggressive scheme.
  9. Pick No.
    9
    TE
    North Carolina
     
    Doug Marrone is "all-in" on EJ Manuel, so adding weapons to the passing game is a priority. Texas A&M WR Mike Evans would fit the bill, but the Bills could opt for a big, athletic tight end to exploit voids in the middle of the field.
  10. Pick No.
    10
    NT
    Florida St.
     
    GM Martin Mayhew issued a warning shot to Nick Fairley by refusing to pick up the option year on his rookie contract. Adding Jernigan would increase depth and competition at defensive tackle, while giving the Lions options if they need to part ways with Fairley or Ndamukong Suh down the road.
  11. Pick No.
    11
    CB
    Oklahoma St.
     
    The presence of the three top quarterbacks on the board could entice Ken Whisenhunt to make a move considering Jake Locker's struggles. But adding Gilbert gives the team the lockdown corner that's needed to match up with the talented No. 1 receivers in the AFC South.
  12. Pick No.
    12
    WR
    Texas A&M
     
    The loss of Hakeem Nicks elevates Rueben Randle in the rotation, but it could prompt GM Jerry Reese to make a play for a prototypical No. 1 receiver like Evans at this point.
  13. Pick No.
    13
    FS
    Alabama
     
    Despite public sentiment favoring the addition of an explosive wide receiver, Fisher could elect to fill the biggest need on defense by taking the top free safety in the class.
  14. Pick No.
    14
    DT
    Minnesota
     
    Taking Hageman at this point would be considered a reach by some, but the Bears' porous defense desperately needs size and athleticism along the frontline.
  15. Pick No.
    15
    CB
    Michigan St.
     
    Dennard is the hard-nosed, gritty defender that the Steelers have coveted for years. He is a perfect fit in Dick LeBeau's system as a tenacious press-man corner.
  16. Pick No.
    16
    DE
    Missouri
     
    The departure of DeMarcus Ware forces Jerry Jones to look for a viable replacement in the draft. Although Ealy is a developmental prospect at this stage of his career, he possesses all of the athletic attributes needed to become a standout pass rusher as a pro.
  17. Pick No.
    17
    OT
    Notre Dame
     
    Gary Kubiak's arrival in Baltimore will change the core traits the Ravens' personnel department looks for in offensive linemen. Martin's athleticism, balance and technical skills are ideal fits for the Ravens' new zone-based blocking scheme.
  18. Pick No.
    18
    WR
    USC
     
    Eric Decker gives the Jets offense a steady presence on the perimeter, but the passing game still lacks an explosive playmaker. Lee is a dynamic receiver with the speed and running skills to thrive in New York's version of the West Coast offense.
  19. Pick No.
    19
    No one will blame new GM Dennis Hickey for expending a top pick on an offensive guard after witnessing the Dolphins' offensive line woes a season ago. Su'a-Filo is a standout blocker with the toughness and physicality to take on the big-bodied defensive tackles that dominate the AFC East.
  20. Pick No.
    20
    DE
    Auburn
     
    Bruce Arians could always pull a fast one and select a quarterback at this point, but the need to keep up with the stellar defenses in the NFC West makes a move to add Ford a better play for the Cardinals.
  21. Pick No.
    21
    FS
    Louisville
     
    Safety has been a huge weakness in the Packers defense since Nick Collins' injury. Pryor would give the Pack a thumper between the hashes to discourage opponents from taking shots down the middle.
  22. Pick No.
    22
    CB
    Ohio St.
     
    The Cary Williams signing should be viewed as a disappointment based on his inability to lock down top receivers. Roby would give the team a young, athletic cover man with the swagger to compete with elite receivers on the perimeter.
  23. Pick No.
    23
    WR
    LSU
     
    Andy Reid's offensive scheme is fueled by "catch-and-run" playmakers with the potential to turn short passes into big gains. Beckham is a spectacular offensive weapon with the potential to emerge as a force in an offense that feeds him the ball on the perimeter.
  24. Pick No.
    24
    OLB
    Ohio St.
     
    If Teddy Bridgewater is available at this point, it would be hard for Marvin Lewis to ignore the Louisville standout despite Andy Dalton's success in the Queen City. However, the thought of moving on from a quarterback with three playoff appearances under his belt in three seasons could prompt Lewis to add another playmaker to a dynamite defense.
  25. Pick No.
    25
    CB
    Virginia Tech
     
    The Chargers are intent on adding a big, athletic corner to the lineup to match up with the big-bodied receivers terrorizing the AFC. Fuller has flown under the radar for most of the process, but coaches and scouts are starting to fall in love with his athleticism, length and competitiveness on the perimeter.
  26. Pick No.
    26
    CB
    TCU
     
    With the top three quarterbacks still on the board, GM Ray Farmer could elect to take another position player and take the best available quarterback at the top of the second round. Verrett would likely rank as the top cover corner in the draft if he was a few inches taller, so the addition of the TCU standout would give the Browns a formidable nickel package with Joe Haden and Buster Skrine on the perimeter.
  27. Pick No.
    27
    ILB
    Alabama
     
    The Saints could use another big body on the offensive or defensive line, but Mosley's versatility meshes well with Rob Ryan's defensive scheme.
  28. Pick No.
    28
    OT
    Alabama
     
    The recent retirmement of Jordan Gross will force the Panthers to scrap their plans of adding a pass catcher early in the draft. Kouandjio is raw and unrefined at this point, but his size, strength and length should make him a capable starter at left tackle.
  29. Pick No.
    29
    NT
    Notre Dame
     
    The Patriots are notorious for trading away picks, so this could be the landing point for one of the top three quarterbacks. If not, Nix is a viable option with Vince Wilfork chirping about a possible release.
  30. Pick No.
    30
    WR
    Oregon St.
     
    The 49ers have a pair of big-bodied pass catchers in Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin, but the receiving corps needs an explosive slot receiver to add diversity to the unit. Cooks is the most polished receiver in the 2014 class, with a game that fits in nicely with the 49ers' scheme.
  31. Pick No.
    31
    C
    Arkansas
     
    The Broncos have won the free-agency sweepstakes by all accounts, but the team still needs to tweak the offensive line. Swanson is a smart pivot with superb skills and instincts.
  32. Pick No.
    32
    WR
    Florida St.
     
    The loss of Sidney Rice and Golden Tate leaves a void in the Seahawks' receiving corps. Benjamin is a big, athletic pass catcher with the potential to wreak havoc in the red zone.
  33. 2014 NFL Mock Draft Central

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