On the Beat  

 

2014 NFL Draft: Team-by-team first-round scenarios

NFL.com Illustration

MOCK DRAFTS: Bucky Brooks 6.0 | Daniel Jeremiah 6.0 | Charles Davis 6.0 | Mock Draft Central

Every NFL team has to prepare for the best-case and worst-case scenarios when it comes to their picks in the draft. We asked Bucky Brooks, one of our NFL Media resident scouts, to walk us through the first round of the 2014 draft, drawing up real scenarios each team could face on May 8, based on their needs and what the teams picking around them might be thinking.

17. Baltimore Ravens

Top needs: OT, WR and safety

Players in the mix: OT Taylor Lewan, OT Zack Martin, WR Odell Beckham, WR Marqise Lee, FS Calvin Pryor

Best-case scenario: New offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak wants to install a zone-based running game, which requires athletic offensive linemen with exceptional movement skills. Lewan and Martin are ideal fits for the scheme, with exceptional athleticism and technical skills to blend perfectly into Ravens' system. If the Ravens are unable to land the top remaining OT prospect on the board, the thought of adding a playmaker on the perimeter could intrigue.

Worst-case scenario: The Ravens are unlikely to strike out on draft day due to their biggest needs (offensive tackle and wide receiver) coinciding with the deepest positions in the 2014 draft class. Thus, the Ravens can simply pluck their highest-rated prospect at either position and walk away as winners.

Bucky's pick: The talent disparity between the first and second tier at offensive tackle is more significant than the drop-off at wide receiver. Thus, the Ravens should take the top offensive tackle at pick No. 17, and circle back to snag a receiver on Day 2. If Lewan is on the board at this selection, he's a no-brainer pick for GM Ozzie Newsome.

Other analyst picks: Daniel Jeremiah (Eric Ebron), Charles Davis (Ha Ha Clinton-Dix)

18. New York Jets

Top needs: WR, TE, OLB and CB

Players in the mix: WR Odell Beckham, WR Marqise Lee, WR Brandin Cooks, TE Eric Ebron, CB Darqueze Dennard, CB Kyle Fuller

Best-case scenario: The Jets would love to select an explosive offensive weapon with this pick. Ebron would be an ideal fit due to his ability to create so many mismatches, but the team couldn't go wrong with Beckham, Lee or Cooks. Each brings speed and playmaking ability to the passing game, which will help Geno Smith or Michael Vick perform better from the pocket.

Worst-case scenario: Rex Ryan's fascination with upgrading the defense could lead the team to take a long look at a talented pass rusher or cornerback with this pick. Although the team definitely needs an upgrade at both positions, the thought of bypassing a dynamic offensive playmaker would drive Jets fans crazy.

Bucky's pick: Beckham. The Jets would take either Beckham or Lee with this selection because both are returner-receivers with outstanding home-run potential. Beckham gets the nod in this scenario due to superior size, but the team would gladly take either prospect.

Other analyst picks: Daniel Jeremiah (Beckham), Charles Davis (Cooks)

19. Miami Dolphins

Top needs: OL, safety and CB

Players in the mix: OT Taylor Lewan, OL Zack Martin, G Xavier Su'a-Filo, FS Calvin Pryor, CB Bradley Roby, CB Kyle Fuller

Best-case scenario: The Dolphins would like to address their offensive-line woes by selecting a starter at No. 19. Lewan would be an ideal right tackle, while Martin offers positional flexibility as a guard-tackle prospect. If Lewan and Martin aren't on the board, Su'a-Filo would be a nice fit as a rugged interior blocker.

Worst-case scenario: The Dolphins would hate to settle for a perimeter player despite having a need at cornerback and safety. Although a savvy defender would help a defense on the verge of becoming elite, the team needs to build a cocoon around QB Ryan Tannehill in the pocket.

Bucky's pick: Martin. The Notre Dame standout is a versatile blocker capable of playing inside or outside on the Dolphins' line. He is an upgrade at guard or tackle and would complete an extensive makeover of an offensive line that struggled a season ago.

Other analyst picks: Daniel Jeremiah (Ryan Shazier), Charles Davis (Martin)

20. Arizona Cardinals

Top needs: Pass rusher, safety and QB

Players in the mix: DE Dee Ford, DE Kony Ealy, FS Calvin Pryor, QB Blake Bortles, QB Derek Carr, QB Teddy Bridgewater

Best-case scenario: The Cardinals need to find an eventual replacement for John Abraham on the edge. Ford and Ealy appear to have the athleticism and quickness to develop into disruptive pass rushers as pros. Either defender would add some explosiveness to a defensive lineup that needs some juice on the edge.

Worst-case scenario: GM Steve Keim will eventually address the quarterback position, but he doesn't need to spend a top pick on an apprentice for Carson Palmer. Although it would be tempting to take a young quarterback like Bortles, Bridgewater or Carr at No. 20, the team would be wise to snag a blue-chip prospect and circle back for a developmental QB on Day 2 (Rounds 2-3).

Bucky's pick: Ford. Ford is ideally suited to play in the Cardinals' version of the 3-4. The Auburn standout is an explosive pass rusher with the first-step quickness and burst to wreak havoc off the edges.

Other analyst picks: Daniel Jeremiah (Bortles), Charles Davis (Bortles)

21. Green Bay Packers

Top needs: LB, TE and safety

Players in the mix: ILB C.J. Mosley, LB Ryan Shazier, TE Eric Ebron, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, FS Calvin Pryor

Best-case scenario: GM Ted Thompson is a big believer in taking the best player available regardless of position. This could result in the Packers taking a player that doesn't fill a huge need, but he doesn't mind accumulating talented guys on his roster. In this scenario, Mosley and Shazier could be sitting on the board when the Packers are on the clock. Both players are blue-chip prospects and good fits in the Packers' scheme.

Worst-case scenario: The Packers would love to find a replacement for TE Jermichael Finley, but Seferian-Jenkins might not represent the right value for the pick. While he is a good player, the Packers would potentially bypass a couple of blue-chippers to add the big-bodied tight end to the roster.

Bucky's pick: Mosley. The Packers would love to bring in a three-down linebacker with speed, athleticism and instincts. Mosley's versatility could make him a huge asset in passing situations as a nickel linebacker in Packers' exotic sub packages.

Other analyst picks: Daniel Jeremiah (Seferian-Jenkins), Charles Davis (Shazier)

22. Philadelphia Eagles

Top needs: CB, WR and pass rusher

Players in the mix: CB Bradley Roby, CB Kyle Fuller, WR Odell Beckham, WR Marqise Lee, WR Brandin Cooks, WR Kelvin Benjamin, DE Dee Ford, LB Ryan Shazier

Best-case scenario: Chip Kelly would love to find a suitable replacement for DeSean Jackson. Although he could opt to add a big-bodied target like Benjamin, the need to replace Jackson's speed and playmaking ability could put Beckham, Lee and Cooks in play at the pick.

Worst-case scenario: The Eagles' defense needs a little attention after struggling at times last season, but the team might be forced to settle for secondary options at cornerback and pass rusher at pick No. 21. Fuller, Roby, Shazier or Ford certainly aren't bad options, but it's hard to convince the Eagles' fan base that the team is better served by focusing on defense despite lacking a speed receiver in the lineup.

Bucky's pick: Fuller. There's a lot to like about the Virginia Tech standout when taking a closer look at his game. Fuller is big, athletic and physical with a knack for making plays on the ball. Factor in his potential to play multiple positions in the back end, and Fuller is an ideal selection for a team looking to upgrade its secondary.

Other analyst picks: Daniel Jeremiah (Ha Ha Clinton-Dix), Charles Davis (Darqueze Dennard)

23. Kansas City Chiefs

Top needs: WR, CB and safety

Players in the mix: WR Odell Beckham, WR Marqise Lee, WR Brandin Cooks, CB Bradley Roby, CB Kyle Fuller, CB Jason Verrett, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, safety Calvin Pryor, safety Deone Bucannon

Best-case scenario: Andy Reid would love to draft an electric playmaker to add some juice to the passing game. Lee, Beckham and Cooks qualify as explosive "catch-and-run" playmakers with exceptional speed, quickness and running skills. The Chiefs would be thrilled to land any of the aforementioned speedsters to the mix because they would immediately upgrade the speed and big-play ability of the unit.

Worst-case scenario: If the top receivers are off the board when the Chiefs are on the clock, the team would likely take the top defensive back to bolster a secondary that struggled down the stretch in 2013. Roby and Fuller would rank as the top options, but Verrett could fill a role as a nickel corner.

Bucky's pick: Lee. Lee's magnificent running skills and playmaking ability would make him an impact player in Reid's offense. Just as DeSean Jackson shined in the playmaker role when he and Reid were in Philadelphia, I can see the USC standout putting up ridiculous numbers as a designated home-run hitter in the Chiefs' version of the West Coast offense.

Other analyst picks: Daniel Jeremiah (Cooks), Charles Davis (Lee)

24. Cincinnati Bengals

Top needs: DE, OLB and CB

Players in the mix: DE Dee Ford, DE Kony Ealy, LB Ryan Shazier, CB Bradley Roby, CB Kyle Fuller, CB Jason Verrett

Best-case scenario: The Bengals' roster is loaded at every position, but the team needs to replenish depth at a few key spots, particularly on defense. The loss of Michael Johnson to the Bucs in free agency makes it imperative to add a speed rusher off the edge. Ford and Ealy are intriguing options due to their speed and athleticism. If Marvin Lewis wants to address concerns in the secondary, Roby and Fuller would be terrific fits as athletic cover corners with solid ball skills.

Worst-case scenario: The Bengals' loaded roster gives them tremendous flexibility on draft day. Thus, the team could consider taking a talented quarterback prospect like Teddy Bridgewater if he is on the board at pick No. 24. Andy Dalton has been good enough to get the Bengals to the playoffs in each of his three seasons, but he has yet to win a postseason game and the jury is still out on whether he is a franchise quarterback. Bridgewater was regarded as the most pro-ready quarterback in college football for most of the 2013 season, which makes him a candidate to be a first-year starter in the right system.

Bucky's pick: Roby. The Bengals can't continue to play with Adam Jones, Terence Newman and Dre Kirkpatrick manning the cornerback position against elite receivers. Roby would give the Bengals an athletic playmaker with outstanding ball skills. If he is locked in and focused, he could be a perennial Pro Bowler.

Other analyst picks: Daniel Jeremiah (Roby), Charles Davis (Roby)

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop

NFL News
CONTENT
15