While we pick our way through the Fansided Local and Extra’s 2014 NFL Mock draft, currently at pick #14, Mel Kiper of ESPN has posted his first mock draft of the year (insider, $).
4Blake Bortles *
Cleveland Browns (4-12)COLLEGE: UCF
AGE: 21HT: 6-4
WT: 230POS: QB
Analysis: Suffice to say, no coach in Cleveland makes this a pretty difficult projection. While there’s plenty of debate in NFL circles regarding which QB in this class has the most upside in terms of overall ability, from a physical standpoint Bortles is at the top of the list. At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, with not elite but good arm strength, and the ability to move both in the pocket and to make plays down the field as a runner, he has a chance to add value and eliminate negative plays with his mobility as he develops as a passer. It goes without saying that Cleveland will look to address its QB situation through the draft or via a trade, and this is potentially a good fit for Bortles. He’s still somewhat limited as a progression passer and struggles with ball placement, and can also be rigid with his mechanics, but the presence of Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron gives any new QB here matchup threats to exploit. Cleveland is, for the first time in a while, a really attractive environment for a young QB to grow and succeed.
For this mock Kiper has Johnny Manziel getting drafted #1 overall and Teddy Bridgewater falling down to the Vikings. Bortles is a interesting prospect with his frame, mobility and arm. If the Browns are truly high on Manziel then Bortles may be the backup plan. Remember that last year at this time Geno Smith was the “consensus” #1 pick but fell to the second round come draft time.
26Carlos Hyde *
Cleveland Browns (4-12) (From IND)COLLEGE: Ohio St.
AGE: 22HT: 6-0
WT: 240POS: RB
Analysis: A couple things about this pick. For one, I think this is a good spot for the Browns to move down and allow a team that really wants a QB to move up and grab one. This is a good spot to go and get a player like Derek Carr. So while it might seem crazy that Cleveland would trade a running back for a first-round pick, then go out and take one with the pick it got in return, it also reflects the fact that this becomes a pretty mobile spot on the board for the Browns, and they do need to get a starting-level RB at some point, perhaps in Round 2. It’s also important to realize that trading Trent Richardson reflects how the organization feels about the player. Hyde is certainly no lock here, but this does reflect where I think the league will value him.
Interesting pick here by Kiper. Hyde is a power guy, with experience in the spread system. Hyde showed the ability to break long runs, catch the ball out of the backfield and pick up tough yards, all things the Browns needs. Saying all that the Browns most likely will avoid taking a running back in the first round. Kiper mentions possibility of trading out of this spot which is very possible. It becomes even more likely if the Browns pass on a QB with the #4 pick. If so they could look to move this selection for a 2015 first rounder and a pick later in this draft. Again stockpiling picks for a QB in next years’ vaunted class, and trusting Brian Hoyer in 2014.
What do you think of Kiper’s draft? Would Bortles and Hyde be enough in the first round for you, given the other players selected before the Browns pick? Does Bridgewater have enough upside to be considered if he falls to #4? Tell us below.