SB Nation came out with their weekly 2014 NFL Mock Draft. Ours comes out on Fridays, and you can see last weeks here, but does not currently include trades. SB Nation did include trades in their Mock Draft including the Cleveland Browns trading up to the #1 position.
1. TRADE Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans) – Johnny Manziel, Quarterback, Texas A&M
*Browns trade picks four and 26 to the Houston Texans for the first overall pick.
Trying to guess where Johnny Manziel will wind up on draft day is quickly becoming one of the hardest parts of mocking the 2014 NFL Draft. The Cleveland Browns are reportedly high on Manziel, but with three months between now and draft night, so much can chance. On a conference call last week, Mel Kiper Jr. said Manziel is the consensus top quarterback in this draft based on people he has talked to. For now, we’ll trust Kiper Jr.
In this hypothetical, the Browns trade picks four and 26 to the Texans to move up and get Manziel. Having two first-round picks gives Cleveland more ammo than any other team trying to move up in this draft. If Manziel really is their guy, they shouldn’t hesitate to move up and get him, even at this cost.
Obviously they are going off the rumors that the Browns love Manziel. The trade in and of itself is not a bad one for the Browns or the Texans. While many would not be happy giving up the first round pick gained by trading Trent Richardson, if the front office believes that one of the QBs is significantly better then the others they should make this deal. What makes this deal even more interesting is who is drafted #2 and #3:
2. St. Louis Rams – Blake Bortles, Quarterback, Central Florida
Here’s where the 2014 NFL Draft could get weird. Are the St. Louis Rams committed to Sam Bradford at quarterback? At this point, we have no reason to be sure one way or the other. For now, St. Louis has to be considered a possible candidate to draft a quarterback.
Blake Bortles is still a bit of an unfinished product at quarterback. His size and mobility make him an enticing prospect. Many have linked the Texans to Bortles, and it appears more and more likely that he will come off the board somewhere in the first eight picks of the draft. It’s time for a new direction at quarterback in St. Louis.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Teddy Bridgewater, Quarterback, Louisville
The Jaguars luck out here. For whatever reason, Teddy Bridgewater seems to be getting nitpicked, and may not be the lock for the first overall pick we once thought he was. Regardless, if he’s on the board for the Jaguars at No. 3 they would be foolish to pass on him. He’s head and shoulders above Manziel and Bortles as a passer and still has room to grow. The upside with Bortles and Manziel may get them drafted higher, but the idea that Bridgewater is done improving is off base. He’s skilled at sensing and avoiding pressure and throws just about every route in the book with accuracy and anticipation. There’s no reason he should fall to No. 3, but it seems like a plausible scenario at this point.
If the Texans, Rams and Jaguars all select quarterbacks the Browns would be left at #4 with big questions to answer. Do they draft Clowney and put him at defensive end in their 3-4 scheme? Do they draft a offensive lineman to shore up that unit on the right side? Do they draft the gifted receiver in Sammy Watkins? Or do they try to trade down with someone trying to get one of those players?
If the Rams are looking to move on from Bradford would the Browns, especially in this situation, instead look to move their second first rounder, or their second rounder, for Bradford and then add one of the top level, non-QB players with the #4 pick? Does Bradford’s injury and inconsistent history make him too big of a risk? Does his contract scare off teams? Does adding Bradford, Watkins and Carlos Hyde immediately make the Browns an offensive force or just another team limited by their QB?
It would make drafting at #4 very difficult for the Browns if all 3 QBs are off the board. If they make the trade they miss out on adding two or more talents instead of just one quarterback. As the SB Nation draft falls the following players that could interest the Browns would be available at pick #26:
Jimmie Ward, Safety, Northern Illinois
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma St.
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Carlos Hyde, RB, The Ohio State
What would you do if you were the Browns? What if you feel certain 3 QBs will be off the board before you pick? What if you just think its possible? Do you risk moving up? Do you risk staying put? What do you think of Bradford?