2014 NFL Re-Draft


Samuel Fung, Staff Writer

The rookie class of the 2014 NFL Draft is now entering their (supposed) primes. The class is best known for a load of pass rushers and wide receivers, as well as the major quarterback talk that led up to the draft. Some teams hit on most of their picks, some did not, and the Jets completely flunked it. A re-draft could lay out how good this class was and how much better a team could have been if they took a specific player.

Doing a re-draft means looking at the original draft order and redoing all of the first round of the draft. The original draft order was decided by the team’s performance in the previous season. Here were the four worst teams in the league in 2013, in order.

Houston Texans (2-14)

Washington (3-13)

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12)

Cleveland Browns (4-12)

A month prior to the 2012 draft, the Rams obtained Washington’s first-round pick in 2014 so that the latter could make the ill-fated move up to #2 overall in 2012 to get Robert Griffin III. That trade is part of the original draft order we are doing. However, the Browns’ trade down with Buffalo to pick nine, as well as the subsequent trade up to pick eight with Minnesota, happened on draft night, so that trade is going to be thrown out. So the top four re-draft order will be Texans, Rams, Jaguars, and Browns. Anyway, now that that’s out of the way, let’s go!

1. The Houston Texans select Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo: The Texans did the right thing going with Jadeveon Clowney, but Khalil Mack was simply miles better. Mack has made every Pro Bowl from 2015 onwards and recorded four seasons of 10 or more sacks, against Clowney’s none. It’s safe to say the Bears would not have given up as big a package in trading for Clowney as they did for Khalil Mack.

2. The Los Angeles Rams select Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh: While some will say Aaron Donald was the best player in the class, he simply was not needed by Houston. Thus, the Rams will take him while they can, retaining their best defensive player of the last decade, who has several accolades, including the always highly-touted Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year award. 

3. The Jacksonville Jaguars select Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State: The QB position is valuable, so while Derek Carr may not be a top-five player overall, he goes at #3 because he has been a great QB. The Jaguars had already dropped their trust in Blaine Gabbert by then, so they had to take a franchise quarterback. This is the man they were looking for.

4. The Cleveland Browns select Zack Martin, G, Notre Dame: As stated earlier, the Browns traded down to 9, then up to 8. With pick #8, they took defensive back Justin Gilbert in an ill-fated move. They could have taken Zack Martin at any of those three spots but they passed. In the re-draft, the dysfunctional franchise rights their wrong here, taking a world-class talent in the interior of the offensive line to join forces with future Hall of Fame tackle Joe Thomas.

5. The Las Vegas Raiders select Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State: You can tell that Fresno State had a good draft this year (see 3). The Raiders needed to get a true number one receiver, and Davante Adams has been that and then some. He has spent his time catching almost everything that comes his way, carrying Aaron Rodgers’ offense for the last few years as their number one wideout.

6. The Atlanta Falcons select Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: Jadeveon Clowney was one of the most highly touted prospects in recent memory. Whilst he has been good in the NFL, he simply could not match the sky-high expectations set before him. However, he has made several Pro Bowls, and would certainly have taken the Falcons’ defense to another level.

7. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M: Amidst the turmoil that was the Bucs in the second half of the 2010s, Mike Evans came in, balled out, and stuck around for Tom Brady’s arrival. Now he has cemented his status as a top receiver in the league, and, as of 2021, has yet to record under 1,000 yards in a season.

8. The Minnesota Vikings select Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA: The Vikings expected a top-tier linebacker when they drafted Barr after trading one spot down, and they got what they wanted. Barr has made some important plays and has helped to cement the Vikings as playoff contenders on some level.

9. The Buffalo Bills select Odell Beckham Jr, WR, LSU: About four years ago, Odell would have been the first receiver off the board, but his recent regressions since his departure from New York have dropped his stock. Still, the Bills save their draft picks and upgrade on the injury-prone Sammy Watkins in the process.

10. The Detroit Lions select Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan: The Lions’ primary need was to protect Matt Stafford, and, instead of Eric Ebron, the Lions fill that major need with Taylor Lewan. Despite a decent amount of penalties on him, he has been solid nonetheless, and with Ryan Tannehill and Marcus Mariota, you can see what Lewan’s blindside protection has done for the Titans’ recent success.

11. The Tennessee Titans select Corey Linsley, C, Ohio State: This may be high for some, but Corey Linsley is currently the best center in the class. He was solid to start, but, as time passed on, he became a giant rock in the middle of Aaron Rodgers’ offensive line. He deserved his 2020 All-Pro selection and his massive contract with the Chargers. The Titans needed a center at the time, so taking Linsley means taking a guy who can be plugged into the hole and keep it plugged for the long-term.

12. The New York Giants select Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU: No Odell, no problem. Despite being picked much later than Odell, Jarvis Landry carries practically the same Pro Bowl qualities. He has gone to the Pro Bowl more times than Odell, though simply has not matched Odell’s early production with the Giants. The Browns certainly value the experience he carries. 

13. The Los Angeles Rams select Joel Bitonio, T, Nevada: The lineman originally taken by the Rams was Greg Robinson. An athletic tackle, he ultimately was not the right choice. And, whilst Joel Bitonio is not as athletic, he is quite versatile. Being listed as a tackle, being able to play tackle, and excelling as an offensive guard with the Browns represents a worthwhile upgrade for the Rams. 

14. The Chicago Bears select Kyle Fuller, DB, West Virginia: At his best, Kyle Fuller has been a force at cornerback. The Bears foresaw that, drafted Fuller, and made the most of his talents. Such a statement can be justified by his 2018 season, where Fuller’s ball production was stellar. He tallied seven picks and twenty-two pass breakups, helping Matt Nagy’s elite Bears defense to the playoffs. 

15. The Pittsburgh Steelers select Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame: In the second round, the Steelers took a chance on Tuitt after taking Ryan Shazier. Both gambles paid off for a while, with the bad luck of an injury ending Shazier’s career. As for Tuitt, he has been a sort of an unsung hero for Pittsburgh. He and Cameron Heyward have made an elite tandem of interior pass rushers, and the addition of elite edge guys has only helped them apply more pressure on the QB.

16. The Dallas Cowboys select DeMarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State: The Cowboys had a great 2014 draft. With one of their guys now off the board, they will take the other guy. DeMarcus Lawrence plays lights out when he is healthy, as can be explained by his 2017 and 2018 Pro Bowl seasons.

17. The Baltimore Ravens select CJ Mosley, LB, Alabama: It is clear the Ravens found a gem in CJ Mosley. The four-time Pro Bowler held down his spot on the defense for five seasons, playing almost always at a high-level when healthy. It is unfortunate that he missed two full seasons with the Jets, because he would have made their defense that much better.

18. The New York Jets select Shaquil Barrett, LB, Colorado State: In recent years, Shaq Barrett has been arguably the best pass rusher in the league. His time with the Bucs says it all, because in one season, he instantly led the league in sacks. Knowing Quinton Coples did not last long, Shaq Barrett supplanting him would have elongated the Jets’ era of elite pass rush talent.

19. The Miami Dolphins select Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State: The Dolphins needed a running back at the time, but did not fix the need right away. Had they done so with Freeman, they would have been happy with their choice. Prime Devonta Freeman was an elite, multi-talented running back that helped spur the Falcons’ offense to its peak level, which culminated in their quite infamous Super Bowl appearance.

20. The Arizona Cardinals select Adrian Phillips, DB, Texas: When given play time, Adrian Phillips, a versatile defensive player, can be amazing. With the Cardinals trading down and taking Deone Bucannon, a similar player in terms of position, taking Phillips just seems right. His 2018 season with the Chargers, as well as his time with the Patriots, has shown the best of the versatility and quality he has. And, bear in mind, he went undrafted.

21. The Green Bay Packers select Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, DB, Alabama: The Packers took a chance on Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix and they got repaid heavily. Clinton-Dix became a top-class free safety, dethroning Micah Hyde as the starter at that spot. It is interesting to know that the man is currently unemployed, and to me, he is a bit unlucky based on his talent and production as a Packer.

22. The Philadelphia Eagles select Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State: After releasing DeSean Jackson, Nick Foles needed a top pass-catcher. If he had someone like Cooks, a multi-time 1,000-yard receiver with several teams, including his current one, the Houston Texans, Foles would have been able to keep up the consistency of his 2013 season for the whole of his career.

23. The Kansas City Chiefs select Dee Ford, DE, Auburn: When healthy, Dee Ford can do a lot for your defense. In his 2016 and 2018 full seasons, he recorded 10+ sacks. If he were healthier, he would definitely have been a multi-time Pro Bowler by now.

24. The Cincinnati Bengals select Jason Verrett, CB, TCU: In a similar case to Ford, only injuries have stopped Jason Verrett from going higher than he currently is. He stands out when he is healthy, which simply has not happened often enough.

25. The Los Angeles Chargers select Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State: The Chargers could have found a partner for Keenan Allen. Robinson is quite a threat in the air, especially on jump balls, which would go well in a Chargers’ offense with a young, developing Keenan Allen, a talented route runner himself.

26. The Cleveland Browns select Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: If any pre-Baker Mayfield Browns QB could combine the talent and mobility of Teddy Bridgewater with good quality, their QB crisis would have ended. Bridgewater has been hampered by knee injuries, but his time with the Saints and Vikings have displayed signs of what he could have done if he had game time on a team who needed him.

27. The New Orleans Saints select Bradley Roby, DB, Ohio State: Bradley Roby went to the Broncos 31st overall, and left five seasons later having made his mark. Roby’s production was at its best throughout those five seasons, which ultimately concluded with the Broncos winning Super Bowl 50 in February 2016.

28. The Carolina Panthers select Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M: If Cam Newton were to flourish, he would need protection first. Jake Matthews, who went 6th overall, has been solid, but nothing too stellar. However, he would be an upgrade for the 2014 Panthers line. Maybe the Panthers would have gotten a winning record instead of the 7-8-1 record that barely won them the division that season.

29. The New England Patriots select Malcolm Butler, DB, West Alabama: It just had to be. Malcolm Butler is the man who picked off Russell Wilson and won Super Bowl 49. He was an unknown rookie at the time. He retired prior to this season with more accolades, including another couple Super Bowl appearances and a Pro Bowl nod.

30. The San Francisco 49ers select Jimmie Ward, DB, Northern Illinois: Ball production stats do not say everything about a player. Jimmie Ward is a good example of that. He is a solid safety who has not consistently had exceptional ball production, but is more than serviceable at safety on any team, like he has been for the 49ers his whole career.

31. The Denver Broncos select Brandon Linder, C, Miami: The Broncos took a chance on a center in the sixth round in Matt Paradis, but he is upgradeable. Brandon Linder edges him in terms of quality. As well as center, he did play some guard at Miami, making potentially flexible along the line.

32. The Seattle Seahawks select Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina: The Seahawks trade for Jimmy Graham in 2015 slightly backfired. Thus, getting a young tight end would be a good idea. Eric Ebron would be another weapon, another dimension in the pass game for an offense with prime Doug Baldwin, prime Golden Tate, prime Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson.