Deseret News 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Where are the quarterbacks going to go? (33 items)

By Brandon Judd, Carter Williams, Trent Christiansen, Jay Yeomans, Lafe Peavler, Nate Gagon, Andrew VanCampen and Andrew Aragon

April 23, 2014

Soon, the speculating of who's going where and the breakdown of players' strengths, weaknesses and combine numbers will be over when the NFL Draft commences on May 8.

Until then, though, there will be plenty of prognosticating about how the draft will shake out.

In honor of when the NFL traditionally holds its draft, the Deseret News sports staff broke down how it thinks the first round will play out in late April. Here's a look at what the staff had to say then, and it still applies now.

Will BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy come off the board on Day 1? Could former Timpview lineman Xavier Su'a-Filo find himself taken in the first round?

This year, unlike last year with BYU's Ezekiel Ansah and Utah's Star Lotulelei, there are no surefire first-round prospects from Utah, adding intrigue for the Beehive State.

The NFL's eight divisions were divided up with each writer taking a division. We drafted over the course of two days using email. Here's how it went down and why. Did we make the right picks? Let us know in the comments section.

1 of 33. 1. Houston Texans — Jadeveon Clowney, defensive end, South Carolina

The Texans have plenty of holes to fill after a 2-14 record in 2013, but the defensive line isn't the most glaring. That spot appears to be at the quarterback position.

However, the thought of having Clowney playing next to J.J. Watt is just too good to pass up. Even though Clowney didn't have a great junior season with the Gamecocks, he still managed 11.5 tackles for loss and three sacks while consistently being double-teamed because Clowney is an athletic freak who can really pressure the quarterback.

When you factor in that none of the quarterbacks in the draft are considered a sure thing, you can see why Clowney is the only real choice for the Texans if they decide to keep the pick.

— Jay Yeomans

2 of 33. 2. St. Louis Rams (via Washington) — Greg Robinson, offensive tackle, Auburn

Robinson is arguably the best offensive lineman in the draft. He has great size, athleticism and was durable throughout his college career. The Auburn alum would be a great addition to a line that has failed to keep quarterback Sam Bradford healthy in past years and filling a need in the offensive line is especially important in the NFC West. The Rams’ division opponents (Seattle, San Francisco and Arizona) were three of the top six defenses in the NFL last season in total yardage allowed.

The Rams are in a prime spot with the second overall pick, acquired from Washington in the R.G. III trade in 2012. Still, there are questions whether St. Louis will hold on to this pick come draft day. They have needs in the offensive line, safety, linebacker and receiver areas, and the Rams also have the 13th pick in their arsenal. The Rams could trade down for more picks to fill those needs. If they keep the pick, they could go with Jadeveon Clowney (if available), Sammy Watkins or even Khalil Mack, but Robinson is probably the safest route with this pick.

— Carter Williams

3 of 33. 3. Jacksonville Jaguars — Khalil Mack, outside linebacker, Buffalo

For a team that needs help just about everywhere, you have to take the best player available, and that player is Khalil Mack.

Mack was as dominant a defensive player as the MAC conference has ever seen. As a senior, Mack recorded 100 tackles, including 19 for loss, 10.5 sacks and scored touchdowns on two of his three interceptions. He finished his career at Buffalo as the NCAA's all-time leader in tackles for loss (75) and forced fumbles (16) while totaling 28 sacks and four interceptions. With his speed and knack for finding the football, Mack's skill set should easily translate to the speed of the NFL which will allow him to be an effective pass-rusher for the Jaguars.

— Jay Yeomans

4 of 33. 4. Cleveland Browns — Sammy Watkins, wide receiver, Clemson

It's time to channel some inner Sonny Weaver Jr. here.

Watkins is one of the most dynamic talents in this year's draft — the wideout showed his versatility by averaging a whooping 7.13 yards per carry on more than 40 carries his first two years at Clemson — and he is too hard to pass up at the No. 4 spot. He can make plays almost anywhere on the field.

Yes, the Browns need to draft a quarterback somewhere in the top part of the draft. But by teaming Watkins with Josh Gordon — who broke out with a 1,646-yard, nine-touchdown receiving season in 2013 — and tight end Jordan Cameron, the Browns would take giant strides towards forming the best receiving group in the AFC North.

Last season showed just how much potential Watkins has. Despite being the main focus of defenses after fellow Clemson receiver DeAndre Hopkins headed to the NFL — he's with the Texans now — Watkins caught 101 passes for 1,464 yards and 12 touchdowns.

— Brandon Judd

5 of 33. 5. Oakland Raiders — Blake Bortles, quarterback, Central Florida

The Raiders need somebody they can build into a franchise quarterback. They just traded Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin isn't the man for the job.

Enter Blake Bortles.

Bortles has the ideal size at 6-foot-5, and in many ways resembles the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger. He’s big, mobile and has great touch on his passes. He’s great at extending the play with his legs while keeping his eyes downfield looking for a receiver to get open.

Yes, the Raiders picked up veteran quarterback Matt Schaub from the Texans, and he’ll likely get the start for the Raiders in 2014. Still, he’s a quarterback headed downhill as his 14 interceptions to just 10 touchdowns last season attest. It would be unwise for Oakland to count on Schaub as a long-term solution.

While the Raiders’ can’t expect Bortles to emulate “Big Ben” right away, he can spend some time as Schaub’s understudy and improve his game. The potential is there for Oakland to build an offense around Bortles. This pick will pay off for years to come.

— Lafe Peavler

1. BYU Fan in DC
Washington, DC,
April 23, 2014

Van Noy in the early second round to the Chargers. Imagine a LB core in SD with Van Noy and Teo!

2. Wally West
April 24, 2014

Miami will not take a WR in the 1st. It will be Zack Martin or Ebron.

3. patriot
Cedar Hills, UT,
April 24, 2014

the NFL is a black dominated league. Not as much as the NBA but getting close. Look at the first round and you see 75% black to 25% white. Obviously blacks are better athletes than whites but I wonder if liberals will file a discrimination suit against the NFL in behalf of whites? NOT A CHANCE!! Perhaps have quota's where every team must have so many whites on it? NOT A CHANCE!! Where is Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and the other race hustlers? The ACLU? No where to be found. I'm not suggesting that any law suit be filed - quite the opposite. Let the market decide who the best most talented players are. If they are all black - so be it. I just wanted to point out the complete hipocrisy in liberlism in America. Completely one-sided. The phony racism used in this country by the left is always one sided.

4. UtahBruin
Saratoga Springs, UT,
April 24, 2014

I don't know who put this list together, but my opinion is that it is way off.

5. ajweston
Murray, UT,
April 24, 2014

With the exception of Miami's pick, why do I feel like I've seen this EXACT mock draft before?? Miami needs OL help and a LB. Maybe substituting 1 pick and 31 of someone else's allows you claim this as one's own.