The 2014 NFL mock draft has been a difficult proposition this year with no Andrew Luck or Cam Newton to serve as a clear No. 1 pick, but the latest versions of the draft have quite a surprise.
In the past few years, the NFL draft has seen the rise of the quarterback. Teams looking to turn around their fortunes have been increasingly willing to gamble first-round picks on quarterbacks in the hopes of landing a franchise star. Players like Jake Locker, Tim Tebow, and E.J. Manuel, who previously would have been second round picks or lower, have been snagged in the first round.
That trend has affected the 2014 NFL mock draft from many pundits, who have at various points pegged Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel as the top pick.
But now a new name has emerged, climbing the draft boards from a mid to late first round pick to the No. 1 slot.
Shaun King of Yahoo Sports believes the Houston Texans will select UCF quarterback Blake Bortles with the top pick, even though King himself places Bridgewater as the best quarterback in the draft.
In his 2014 NFL mock draft, King wrote:
“Teddy Bridgewater is still my No. 1 QB, but based on the information I’ve attained, barring a trade of this pick, Houston is most comfortable with Bortles. He has done the best among the QBs in the walk-up to the draft, checking off all the boxes for teams. His long-term outlook is excellent.”
Manziel, who rose from a mid-round projection to the top of mock boards, remains most polarizing players of the 2014 NFL mock draft. While some, including Sports Illustrated’s Doug Farrar, have placed him No. 1 overall, others believe he isn’t even worthy of the first round.
Shaun King believes that Manziel will be drop below the first round because of the risk he brings.
“And in case you’re wondering where I have Johnny Manziel going, take note that like in my first mock draft, I don’t have Manziel going in the first round,” King wrote. “The first 32 picks are about minimizing risk and nothing about Johnny Football is without risk. From his size, to his commitment, a lot of question marks surround the former Heisman Trophy winner.”
But with weeks left until the draft itself, the 2014 NFL mock draft is likely to change a few more times, and Johnny Manziel could rise again.