NFL Nation: Draft 2014

Without knowing the Josh Gordon situation yesterday, I praised the Cleveland Browns. They got presumably a high first-round pick from the Buffalo Bills and had lots of receivers on the board.

But I didn’t know the information.

Ignoring weapons for your rookie quarterback is a mistake too many teams make. If they knew Gordon wasn’t going to be there because of this possible suspension, that changes my opinion on everything. They should have taken Sammy Watkins and been thrilled about it. I don’t know how you trade away from Watkins.

I understand you probably love Justin Gilbert, although I thought they overspent on him. If you know Gordon may not be available and you bring in a rookie quarterback, who is he going to throw to? That’s poor planning in my opinion with a ton of picks.

I know they’re high on Andrew Hawkins, and he’s a good pick-up, but he’s a slot receiver and won’t be the featured guy. I doubt they’re super excited about Greg Little.

As far as the second round, I really like Joel Bitonio. I think that offensive line was one player away, and he’s it. He could be a right tackle or play either guard position, maybe center although they don’t need a center. I would assume he’ll be one of the starting guards immediately.

I think Chris Kirksey will be a true second-level defender, and he could be maybe Karlos Dansby's heir apparent. I would think he’ll be an immediate special teams stud.

Nothing against him, but of all the picks they made, to me that’s the one that definitely should have been a receiver. You’re really ignoring wide receiver when there are a lot of guys there who could help. A guy who is still out there and I like a lot is Bruce Ellington. He’s very, very small, but he’s a former point guard and plays that way. Real shifty, real explosive. Surprised he hasn’t gotten picked.

As far as Terrance West, he’s a bigger back, a decisive runner who fits the new blocking scheme well because he runs downhill and gets his pads square. When Ben Tate is your No. 1 back you have to worry about durability. So West may play a lot.

I understand storing away that Bills’ first-round pick. I don’t think anyone thinks the Browns are going to win the Super Bowl, so continue to build for tomorrow. Let’s say Johnny Manziel is a total bust, well they have their pick and the Bills’ pick so they could possibly move up. Nice fall-back option if your rookie quarterback is trouble.

But I can’t get around the fact they’re weak at receiver.
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LAKE FOREST -- The pick: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech.

My take: After investing heavily in free agency along the offensive line, the Chicago Bears needed to shore up their secondary and took the first steps toward doing so Thursday night by selecting Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller with the No. 14 overall pick of the draft.

The Bears spent in free agency to add Lamarr Houston, Willie Young and Jared Allen. So it was time to turn their attention to the secondary. Current starters Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings are 33 and 30, respectively. So the addition of Fuller strengthens the position for the future. It also gives the club another Day 1 starter because there’s a good chance Fuller will begin the season as the club’s nickel cornerback. It’s worth noting how often the Bears operate out of nickel packages given the air attacks of divisional foes such as the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers.

St. Louis took defensive tackle Aaron Donald with the No. 13 pick, and it’s very likely he was among Chicago’s targeted players for the 14th pick. So it appears the Bears took the best player available on their board at a need position.

Fuller started 42 of 50 games at Virginia Tech and is the just the third Hokies defensive player selected in the first round of the NFL draft. Fuller produced 173 tackles, 4.5 sacks and picked off six passes in addition to breaking up 21 others at Virginia Tech. At nearly 6 feet tall, Fuller possesses the size to match up against bigger receivers in the slot, and has proven to be effective as a blitzer throughout his college career, which might serve him well in a nickel role with the Bears.

After all, in giving up a franchise-record 29.9 points per game, the Bears surrendered a league-worst 55.3 percent completion rate on throws of at least 15 yards down the field last season, and defended the second-fewest passes on throws at least 15 yards downfield.

Family ties: Fuller’s brother, Corey, was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the sixth round of 2013. Another brother, Vincent, was selected in 2005 by the Tennessee Titans in the fourth round. Kyle Fuller said he spoke to Corey just after he was drafted Thursday, and they’re already excited about the opportunity to play against one another.

What’s next: The Bears are expected to continue adding to the defense. Having addressed cornerback, the Bears will likely use their second- and third-round picks on Friday to pick up a safety and a linebacker.

McShay Mock 3.0: Chiefs 

March, 6, 2014
Mar 6
11:13
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Todd McShay's third NFL mock draft for 2014 is out on ESPN Insider today.

The Chiefs could use a man-to-man cornerback and a free safety, as well as a defensive end in their 3-4 scheme with Tyson Jackson up for free agency, but adding playmakers on offense is probably Kansas City’s top priority. The No. 1 need for Kansas City is a wide receiver, especially one with deep speed, as the Chiefs completed just seven passes over 40 yards in 2013. McShay had them taking Odell Beckham Jr. in his last mock. Beckham's stock has improved since then, as has Brandin Cooks', but either would be a great fit for the Chiefs.

Whom does McShay have the Chiefs drafting at No. 23? Let’s take a look:

McShay Mock 3.0: Bills 

March, 6, 2014
Mar 6
11:10
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Todd McShay's third NFL mock draft for 2014 is out on ESPN Insider today. The Bills could go numerous directions with this pick and are another team to potentially trade out. Buffalo needs a right tackle and probably a guard as well up front. The Bills also could use an EJ Manuel-friendly option at wide receiver or tight end to add even more explosive elements to what is already a very speedy group of skill players.

Buffalo would surely love to land local product in Khalil Mack or could go in several directions to add to the back half of their defense. Trading down a few slots and just taking what is remaining might make the most sense for the Bills.

Whom does McShay have the Bills drafting at No. 9? Let's take a look :

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McShay Mock 3.0: Chargers 

March, 6, 2014
Mar 6
11:00
AM ET
Todd McShay’s third 2014 NFL mock draft is out on ESPN Insider today.

Cornerback is a huge need for the San Diego Chargers and McShay had them selecting Florida cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy in his second mock. There should be several quality cornerbacks to pick from at this point of the draft, and it seems like a logical position for San Diego to address at No. 25.

This defense could use work at almost any position besides inside linebacker, and passing on a quality defensive prospect wouldn’t be prudent for the Chargers. Wide receiver is also an option, and in a deep receiver class, there should be several attractive wideouts at this stage in the first round. This roster isn’t as strong as their draft position would indicate.

Whom does McShay have the Chargers drafting at No. 25? ?Let's take a look Insider:


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McShay Mock 3.0: Saints 

March, 6, 2014
Mar 6
11:00
AM ET
Todd McShay’s third 2014 NFL mock draft for 2014 is out on ESPN Insider today.

For the New Orleans Saints, cornerback is the top need. They have very little salary cap wiggle room to help that spot in free agency, so it is quite possible that they use their first-round pick to find a partner for Keenan Lewis. Drafting a safety to team with last year’s promising first-rounder, Kenny Vaccaro, also makes a lot of sense if Malcolm Jenkins moves on in free agency, which seems likely.

On the other side of the ball, the offensive line might need a right tackle and/or center when the draft rolls around, but Sean Payton understands where his bread is buttered and it wouldn’t shock me if the Saints just can’t pass on a promising wide receiver in Round 1.

Whom does McShay have the Saints drafting at No. 27? Let's take a look Insider:


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McShay Mock 3.0: Titans 

March, 6, 2014
Mar 6
11:00
AM ET
Todd McShay's third NFL mock draft for 2014 is out on ESPN Insider today. The Tennessee Titans are another team that should have great interest in a tackle, as David Stewart's replacement at right tackle and possibly someone to eventually replace Michael Roos on the left side. Running back is a need position, assuming Chris Johnson is on his way out, but that isn't going to happen with the 11th overall selection and maybe not even in Round 2.

The most likely situation is the Titans selecting the best available defensive player. Tennessee's defense could really use a true star at any level, which is something they lack currently.

Whom does McShay have the Titans drafting at No. 11? Let's take a look Insider:

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McShay Mock 3.0: 49ers 

March, 6, 2014
Mar 6
11:00
AM ET
Todd McShay’s third NFL mock draft for 2014 is out on ESPN Insider today. The Niners just resigned Anquan Boldin, giving them a nice core of pass catchers in Boldin, Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree, the latter of whom should be back to full health in 2014 as quarterback Colin Kaepernick's go-to receiver. But this area of the draft is loaded with exciting wide receivers, and adding a young one to the squad could pay off huge for San Francisco. A speed wideout in particular should be coveted.

The 49ers also should add an interior offensive line prospect at some point, and love collecting defensive linemen with upside. Donte Whitner probably will not be back, so adding a high-end safety prospect next to last year’s first round pick, Eric Reid, could be the move here.

But right now, cornerback is San Francisco’s top need, and the 30th overall pick could be a nice spot to land a new cornerback. Also, considering that this is a very talented team without too many huge holes to fill, they could move up for the guy they covet, as they did for Reid; San Franciso has more picks in this draft than any other team.

Whom does McShay have the 49ers drafting at No. 30? Let’s take a look Insider:

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McShay Mock 3.0: Cowboys 

March, 6, 2014
Mar 6
11:00
AM ET
Todd McShay's third NFL mock draft for 2014 is out on ESPN Insider today.

Much like the Chicago Bears, the Dallas Cowboys must dedicate this offseason to the defensive side of the ball. The Cowboys covet up-field athletic defensive linemen and are presently very thin up front. This pick also could be where the first safety comes off the board, as was the case in McShay's most recent mock draft in which he had Dallas taking Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. The Cowboys have all kinds of salary-cap issues and will not be buyers in free agency.

Whom does McShay have the Cowboys drafting at No. 16? Let's take a look Insider:


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McShay Mock 3.0: Texans 

March, 6, 2014
Mar 6
11:00
AM ET
Todd McShay's third NFL mock draft for 2014 is out on ESPN Insider today.

The whole key here for the Texans is just not missing. This organization can rebound quickly if they land the right player with the first overall pick, whether that is Jadeveon Clowney or their choice of the top three quarterbacks.

If it is Clowney, he needs to be a dominant player, which of course is very possible, and team with J.J. Watt, the league's best defensive player, to form a simply nasty defensive front. If it is one of the quarterbacks, that player doesn't necessarily need to develop into a future Hall of Famer, but he does at least need to be a franchise quarterback on the Joe Flacco/Tony Romo tier of NFL signal callers. Also, do not forget that after round one, the Texans own the subsequent selection … and there are going to be plenty of great prospects to consider in just a loaded draft class.

That 33rd overall pick could be a great bargaining chip.

Whom does McShay have the Texans drafting at No. 3? Let's take a look Insider:


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McShay Mock 3.0: Rams 

March, 6, 2014
Mar 6
11:00
AM ET
Todd McShay's third NFL mock draft for 2014 is out on ESPN Insider today.

This is an intriguing draft for the St. Louis Rams, as they have two picks in the top half of the first round at Nos. 2 and No. 13, respectively. I view offensive line as a huge need for the Rams, and locking up two of their own, Rodger Saffold and Shelley Smith would be prudent free-agent moves after some cap maneuvering. Independent of that I could see them going with one of the top tackles with the second pick (McShay had them taking Auburn's Greg Robinson in his second mock) or after trading back.

The secondary is another need area for the Rams, because though several of the Rams' young lesser-known members of their secondary showed some promise last season, adding one high-end guy could go a long way toward completing a potentially great defense. Many consider wide receiver a huge need for this team, but to me, addressing that issue in free agency makes much more sense considering how many early picks they used on wide receivers recently and how young this position group is right now.

I am also in the camp that using a second- or third-round pick on a quarterback would be a wise move for the Rams.

Whom does McShay have the Rams drafting at No. 2 and No. 13? Let's take a look Insider:


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McShay Mock 3.0: Bucs 

March, 6, 2014
Mar 6
11:00
AM ET
Todd McShay's third NFL mock draft for 2014 is out on ESPN Insider today. McShay projected Khalil Mack (whose stock continues to rise) to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in his second mock draft. He would be an excellent every-down addition to the Bucs' defense in a similar mold to how the Broncos use Von Miller and would address a major need. Edge pass-rush is probably the Buccaneers' biggest area of weakness right now.

Even if Tampa Bay upgrades at defensive end in free agency, Mack should still be strongly considered with the No. 7 pick. No one would argue Mack in this spot, but the Bucs could really use quite a few things, including a dynamic wide receiver like Watkins, one of the top three offensive tackles or even a quarterback if one falls.

Personally, I would stick with Mike Glennon, but the new Tampa Bay regime inherited Glennon and might disagree. Tampa Bay is sitting in a great spot to land a very strong prospect at a need area and also should be plenty busy in free agency.

Whom does McShay have the Buccaneers drafting at No. 7? Let's take a look Insider:

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McShay Mock 3.0: Panthers 

March, 6, 2014
Mar 6
11:00
AM ET
Todd McShay’s third 2014 NFL mock draft for 2014 is out on ESPN Insider today.

There might not be a team that is in store for a rougher offseason than the Carolina Panthers. After placing the franchise tag on Greg Hardy, Carolina has plenty of salary-cap issues. Look at what defensive backs, wide receivers and offensive linemen (now minus the retired Jordan Gross) are presently under contract for the 2014 season ... and these weren’t strong areas last season. Carolina is going to have to be very aggressive and thorough in all three of these areas on draft day. McShay had the Panthers selecting receiver Kelvin Benjamin in his second mock.

Whom does McShay have the Panthers drafting at No. 28? Let's take a look Insider:


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McShay Mock 3.0: Bears 

March, 6, 2014
Mar 6
11:00
AM ET
Todd McShay's third NFL mock draft for 2014 is out on ESPN Insider today. The Bears are mostly set on the offensive side of the ball. This is going to be an extremely defensive-heavy offseason for Chicago in an attempt to restore a once-proud defense that was among the worst in the league in 2013.

Every defensive position group needs major work right now but a defensive tackle upgrade would be a very welcome addition. If the Bears re-sign Henry Melton, another 3-technique, such as Pitt's Aaron Donald, might be off the table because he is a very similar style of defensive tackle. Julius Peppers is very likely going to be released, but there isn't really a defensive end option for Chicago at No. 14, even though that too is a huge area of concern.

A dynamic young linebacker also would be enticing, keeping the Bears' great run of linebackers going strong. Chicago's secondary is in far-from-ideal shape right now as well and they might have had the worst safety play in the league in 2013. Defense. Defense. Defense.

Whom does McShay have the Bears drafting at No. 14? Let's take a look:

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McShay Mock 3.0: Jets 

March, 6, 2014
Mar 6
11:00
AM ET
Todd McShay's third NFL mock draft for 2014 is out on ESPN Insider today.

For a team picking 18th overall, the New York Jets sure have a lot of needs right now. That is a testament to the job coach Rex Ryan did with a limited talent base and an erratic rookie quarterback in Geno Smith.

This is another roster that will look much different on draft day than it does right now, but the only positions I can't see New York considering with this pick are quarterback, running back, center, left tackle and the defensive line. There is still much rebuilding to be done, but with the extreme strength of this draft, the Jets should find a very useful piece with the 18th pick.

Whom does McShay have the Jets drafting at No. 18? ? Let's take a look Insider:


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