Redrafting the 2014 NFL Draft

We’re back this week with the 2014 NFL Draft needing a do-over. We took last week off to honor George Floyd and the protests surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.

If in 2014 your team needed a receiver, offensive lineman, or an impact defensive player, then you’re in luck in this redraft. This draft proved to be one of the best from this decade. It’s littered with some of the best talent in the league and sprinkled with players who recently have had breakout seasons and could potentially be a top-10 pick in a redraft 10 years from now if they can build on that success.

Soak in the glory that is the 2014 NFL Draft this week, because the 2015 NFL Draft redraft that will be released next week will shock you, and not in a good way. Without further ado, the year is 2014 and the Houston Texans are on the clock.

1) Houston Texans – Aaron Donald, DL, Pitt

(Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina)

Clowney seemed like the clear-cut best prospect in this draft class, and he started off really well in Houston. But it seemed like his game never really improved, while Aaron Donald has proven he’s one of, if not the, best defensive players in the NFL. After winning Defensive Rookie of the Year, Donald has won Defensive Player of the Year twice.

2) St. Louis Rams – Khalil Mack, EDGE, Buffalo

(Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn)

The Rams miss out on Aaron Donald in this redraft (who they actually took at 13), but they still land one of the best defensive players in the league. Greg Robinson never really panned out and now he has off-field problems. Mack can single-handedly change a game, just like Donald.

3) Jacksonville Jaguars – Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

(Blake Bortles, QB, UCF)

I can’t think of a bigger upgrade from Blake Bortles to Odell Beckham Jr. Bortles was a reach to begin with and he busted out of a starting job fairly quickly. OBJ is one of the best receivers in the league, making acrobatic catches as well as clean routes fo gain separation. The Jags would still need to figure out the QB position, but they’d be in much better position with OBJ instead of Bortles.

4) Cleveland Browns – Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State

(Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson)

The Bills traded up to this spot on draft day to grab Sammy Watkins. While Watkins has been a solid number two receiver, he can’t be relied on too heavily. The Browns could’ve stayed here and grabbed another one of the best receivers in the league in Davante Adams. The Brown eventually ended up with OBJ, but drafting Adams here instead of trading back a few spots and sledging Justin Gilbert, would’ve made things much easier.

5) Oakland Raiders – Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State

(Khalil Mack, EDGE, Buffalo)

The Raiders made one of the best picks in this draft, but Mack is already off the board in this redraft. Ryan Shazier’s story is well-known; his horrific injury that has now led to an absolutely miraculous recovery. I hope more than anything that a change of draft-day scenery would result in Shazier not suffering that injury and continuing to dominate in the NFL today.

6) Atlanta Falcons – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

(Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M)

The Falcons made a great pick in selecting Jake Matthews, but he’s not the best offensive tackle in this class. Lewan had some off-field struggles that caused him to slide on draft day, but he’s only missed four games in his career due to suspensions. Of course you’d prefer zero suspensions, but it’s much better than many were predicting.

7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Zack Martin, G, Notre Dame

(Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M)

I can’t complain with the Buccaneers drafting Mike Evans in this spot six years ago. He’s proven to be one of the best receivers in the league. However, Evans can be wildly inconsistent at times. Also, the I can’t remember the last time the Buccaneers had a really solid offensive line. They played well last year, but Zach Martin is the best guard in the league.

8) Minnesota Vikings – Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

(Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State)

The Vikings swapped with the Browns after the Browns traded back to 9 so the Bills could secure Sammy Watkins. It was at 9th that the Vikings selected Anthony Barr, but they’ll be doing that a pick earlier in this redraft. Barr was more of an edge rusher at UCLA, but the Vikings turned him into a true off-ball linebacker, one of the best in the NFL.

9) Buffalo Bills – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

(Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA)

The Bills missed on Sammy Watkins after trading up to 4th overall to get him. In this redraft, they get who they thought Watkins could be, in Mike Evans. Imagine what the big-arm Josh Allen could do throwing to the big-body Evans. I mentioned earlier about Evans’ inconsistency, maybe things would be better in that category without a great receiver next to him like he’s had in Tampa with Chris Godwin.

10) Detroit Lions – DeMarcus Lawrence, EDGE, Boise State

(Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina)

The Lions missed big time on Eric Ebron. He’s had a couple of good seasons, but in drafting a tight end at 10th overall, you want them to turn into a consistent All-Pro. Instead, the Lions can finally fix their issues with getting to the quarterback. They badly missed on Ezekiel Ansah in 2013, but DeMarcus Lawrence is one of the better edge rushers in the league.

11) Tennessee Titans – Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

(Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan)

The Titans miss out on their left tackle in Taylor Lewan in this redraft, leaving their offensive line a little weak. However, their secondary was also very weak at this time. Kyle Fuller took a couple of years to acclimate to the NFL, but he could’ve more than filled the role that Adoree Jackson is in now.

12) New York Giants – C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama

(Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU)

The Giants are big losers in this redraft in missing out on OBJ, but then again they traded him away last offseason. Instead, they can fill the hole at middle linebacker that has been there for a very long time. The Giants don’t like drafting linebackers in the first round, but Mosley has to be an exception.

13) St. Louis Rams – Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State

(Aaron Donald, DL, Pitt)

I can’t really call the Rams losers in this redraft. They went from Greg Robinson and Aaron Donald to Khalil Mack and Allen Robinson. Robinson burst into the scene in Jacksonville, but a bad knee injury took him out for almost a year and then he was slow to get back up to speed. He had a great second half of 2018 and phenomenal year in 2019. Robinson is on his way to becoming a top receiver in the NFL.

14) Chicago Bears – Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

(Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech)

The Bears miss out on Kyle Fuller in this redraft, but they get a good consolation prize in Jadeveon Clowney. Assuming the Bears don’t end up with Khalil Mack in this alternate universe, they desperate need pass rushers. Somehow Clowney is still currently a free agent, and while he hasn’t lived up to his very high draft expectations, he’s still a game-changing pass rusher.

15) Pittsburgh Steelers – Dee Ford, DE, Auburn

(Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State)

As mentioned above, if Shazier didn’t suffer his horrific injury who knows how good he would be now. In 2014, and even now, the Steelers needed an upgrade at pass rush. Just imagine T.J. Watt and Dee Ford coming off opposite sides of the field and meeting at the quarterback play after play.

16) Dallas Cowboys – Trai Turner, G, LSU

(Zack Martin, G, Notre Dame)

Before creating one of the best offensive lines in the league, the Cowboys just had a really good left tackle and a rookie, but promising, center. They then added Zach Martin, forming a fantastic trio that didn’t require much at the other two positions to make the unit very special. While missing out on Martin here, the Cowboys can still add a great guard in Trai Turner.

17) Baltimore Ravens – Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State

(C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama)

Yet another great draft pick that the team who originally drafted them unfortunately misses out on them in this redraft, it’s the Ravens selecting C.J. Mosley. The Ravens had a problem at middle linebacker after Ray Lewis retired in 2012. However, they also had a problem at running back at this time. Freeman is currently still a free agent, but when he cane into the league he was instantly one of the best.

18) New York Jets – Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU

(Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville)

The first miss in a long line of hits, Calvin Pryor didn’t turn out to be the player the Jets thought they were drafting. On the other hand, Jarvis Landry has been one of the best and most consistent receivers since entering the league. He’s somehow flown under the radar, although he’s made the Pro Bowl almost every year.

19) Miami Dolphins – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

(Ja’Wuan James, OT, Tennessee)

The Dolphins got the position they needed, but the wrong guy. Jake Matthews is a steal this late even in a redraft. That just shows how good this class is in retrospect, even in just 6 years later. Matthews is a franchise left tackle who the Dolphins have had difficulties in obtaining/keeping.

20) Arizona Cardinals – Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

(Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State)

Starting Quarterback (at-the-time) Carson Palmer was aging and expected the team to draft his replacement. I was surprised that Derek Carr fell out of the first round in 2014. Instead, the Cardinals traded back to the 26th pick which they used on Deone Bucannon. We’ve heard recent rumblings that the Raiders might not be satisfied with Carr anymore, but he’s still an above average QB in the NFL.

21) Green Bay Packers – Shaquil Barrett, DE, Colorado State

(Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama)

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is an average safety who’s had some pretty good seasons. But the Packers didn’t bring him back after his rookie contract for a reason. Shaquil Barrett led the league in sacks this past season, but that’s pretty much all he’s done. One great season is the reason he’s still on the board here.

22) Philadelphia Eagles – Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

(Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M)

The Browns traded to this spot to select Johnny Manziel, which was just another terrible QB decision to be added to the Browns’ list. The Eagles were rolling with Nick Foles before he got injured, so I don’t see them needing to draft a QB here. Instead, they can address CB, a position that plagued them through the 2019 season. Jason Verrett is a great player, with a horrible history of injuries. Since entering the league he’s missed 10, 2, 12, 15, and 15 games in each season, respectively.

23) Minnesota Vikings – Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

(Dee Ford, DE, Auburn)

The Vikings traded back into the first round to 32nd overall to grab Teddy Bridgewater. He ended up suffering a gruesome knee injury that made his future in the NFL unclear. Since then, Bridgewater has proven he’s a starting QB in this league, most recently signing with the Panthers to be their presumptive starter for at least the next three years. I loved Bridgewater coming out of college and I constantly wonder what he’d be like today if he hadn’t suffered that injury.

24) Cincinnati Bengals – Malcolm Butler, CB, West Alabama

(Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State)

We all know the story around Malcolm Butler’s time with the Patriots: Super Bowl XLIX hero, to sitting on the bench in Super Bowl LII. Rumors continue to swirl around the very strange benching, but it appears to be something we may never truly know. Butler is still one of the better CBS in the league, while Darqueze Denmark has fallen flat.

25) San Diego Chargers – Joel Bitonio, G, Nevada

(Jason Verrett, CB, TCU)

The Chargers miss our on Jason Verrett here, but they might not mind due to his numerous injuries. Instead, they can address their offensive line, which they still can’t really figure out. Bitonio is a great guard who surely could’ve done a much better job protecting Philip Rivers and opening running lanes for Melvin Gordon than others on the Chargers during this time period.

26) Cleveland Browns – Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois

(Marcus Smith, LB, Louisville)

Finally, the Browns can make a smart QB decision. Honestly we have no clue if Garoppolo’s skill is due to his time spent with Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and Josh McDaniels. So it’s entirely possible that he just wouldn’t be any good on another team, like the Browns, to start his career. But taking his skill right now, I think the Browns would’ve signed up for it in 2014 instead of going on one of the worst runs in NFL history a few years later.

27) New Orleans Saints – Telvin Smith, LB, Florida State

(Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State)

The Saints currently have one of the best rosters in the NFL, from top to bottom. Two areas that have fallen behind are linebacker and wide receiver. Pre-Michael Thomas, their receiving corps lacked any real threat, until they traded up to draft Brandin Cooks. He was shortly shipped away, so we’re not going with him here in this redraft. Instead, they can improve the linebacker position with Telvin Smith. Unfortunately, Smith retired last year due to personal problems, but before that he was one of the most promising young players in the league.

28) Carolina Panthers – Charles Leno, OT, Boise State

(Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State)

Kelvin Benjamin is already out of the league, while the Panthers have had a hole at left tackle until they just traded for Russell Okung, but trading away Trai Turner in the process. Charles Leno has been a big surprise for Chicago after being selected in the 7the round. A huge year in 2018 ended with Leno getting a big contract. You can’t overdraft a good left tackle.

29) New England Patriots – Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU

(Dominique Easley, DT, Florida)

Kyle Van Noy ended up being drafted by the Lions, underperforming, and then traded to the Patriots two years later with a seventh rounder for a sixth rounder. After performing really well for the Patriots for one and a half years, he signed a small contract for two more years. He then erupted on the field for the Patriots and signed a huge contract with the Dolphins this offseason, surely landing the Patriots a high compensatory pick. All of that certainly worked out very well for the Patriots, but things will have to go much differently for both sides after this redraft.

30) San Francisco 49ers – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

(Jimmie Ward, S, NIU)

I really like Jimmie Ward, but he’s just not worth a first round pick in this redraft. Instead, the 49ers can get a receiver they’ve been searching for. I’m not sure how differently this year’s Super Bowl would’ve been with Sammy Watkins on the other side of the field for the 49ers, but it could’ve made things a bit more difficult for Mahomes’ and company, and maybe Watkins would’ve been able to reach out for that overthrown Garoppolo pass (of course if this redraft did actually occur Garoppolo wouldn’t be on the 49ers. And that’s not even taking into account my previous mock drafts containing players like Travis Kelce. But that’s a discussion for people in Hollywood making time travel movies to figure out).

31) Denver Broncos – Christian Kirksey, LB, Iowa

(Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State)

Danny Trevathan and Brandon Marshall made a great duo, but Trevathan left in free agency two years later and while Marshall is a great second linebacker, he shouldn’t be looked at as the first guy on the depth chart. The Broncos have fallen into a middle linebacker abyss since Trevathan left. Kirksey could’ve been in the rotation for two years and then taken over the top spot in 2016.

32) Seattle Seahawks – Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

(Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville)

In the original draft, the Vikings traded up to get Bridgewater while the Seahawks traded out of the first round and ended up selecting a WR (Paul Richardson). Seattle has the right idea in drafting a receiver, and they kick out in this draft with Cooks still on the board. Cooks is a very talented receiver, but for some reason he’s being passed around the league in trade deals for first or second round picks every other year. Cooks has the talent to be a featured receiver, maybe Seattle would’ve given him the chance to become one for them.

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