Mel Kiper is an ESPN draft expert and his predictions in NFL mock drafts for 2014 has a number of first round projections from his top 10 Big Board, including Johnny Manziel and Jadeveon Clowney as potential top five picks and names like Blake Bortles, Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr are targets for teams like the Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders and Minnesota Vikings.
Kiper has made his bones as a draft expert for years and after starting off his mock drafts this year with Johnny Manziel to the Texans, that has shifted a bit and now he thinks that the team could go defense with their number one overall pick in 2014. Manziel still could be the number one overall pick, but the Texans have not ruled out trading the pick or opting to take a quarterback later in the draft, as reports have the team grading Derek Carr highly and they also have met with David Fales. Other names include AJ McCarron, Aaron Murray as well as Tajh Boyd and they all could be options later on in the draft and the third or fourth rounds.
The last time that the Texans had the number one overall pick they went for defense with Mario Williams over Reggie Bush and now the team could do that again. If they opt to pick someone like Khalil Mack or Jadeveon Clowney over Bortles and Manziel, they still could get a solid quarterback later on and that would mean the Jaguars and Browns will be fighting over the top three names in the draft. Bill O'Brien has worked with Tom Brady in the past and that is why many see him picking Bortles or Bridgewater over Manziel, but the Texans so far are not giving anything away and all options appear to be on the table.
The Browns are in an interesting spot as well and if they fall in love with Blake Bortles or Manziel, they could look a trading up with the St. Louis Rams to jump ahead of the Jaguars at three, since they are likely to draft a QB as well. Cleveland got rid of both Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell this offseason and that means it's nearly guaranteed that they pick a quarterback in the draft, but the big question now is when in the draft they do it.
The Browns have two draft picks in the first round after making the Trent Richardson trade and that puts them in great position if they want to trade, but it also is a fine position if they stay put, as they should be able to get one of either Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles or Teddy Bridgewater, even if the Texans opt to take a QB. The Rams are a dark horse at number two, but they aren't expected to take a thrower there, while the Jaguars could opt to take a QB late for an impact defensive player as well.
Kiper speculated that Manziel and Bortles could drop, but it's very unlikely that the two will fall out of the top 10 even if the Browns and Texans pass up. The Vikings and Buccaneers are in the market for QBs and the Raiders could surprise everyone and do that as well despite trading for Matt Schaub.