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NFL Guru William Elam’s 2014 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

 1.      Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney DE, South Carolina – The Texans are envisioning a front seven featuring future hall of famer J.J. Watt, Clowney and his 4.5 wheels, Brian Cushing and emerging pass rusher Whitney Mercilus. Some experts believe the Texans will select a QB the likes of Teddy Bridgewater, I disagree. New Head Coach Bill O’Brien will develop Case Keenum, sign a veteran free agent (I.E. Mark Sanchez) and select a developmental QB in the third or fourth round.
Pro Comparison: Aldon Smith

 2.      St. Louis Rams – Greg Robinson OT, Auburn – The Rams need to evaluate if Sam Bradford is the long term answer at QB. The best way to Greg Robinsonassess Bradford is to provide him with maximum protection. Robinson could be the next Orlando Pace in St. Louis or he could be the next Jason Smith (2009 Draft bust, #2 overall). In my opinion, Robinson will be a Pro Bowl talent and should assist Bradford in taking the Rams O to the next level.
Pro Comparison: Orlando Pace

 3.      Jacksonville Jaguars – Teddy Bridgewater QB, Louisville – At number three this pick will be a no brainer for the Jags. The Florida native has a lot of similarities to Russell Wilson and Donovan McNabb. The struggling franchise cannot afford another year of the Henne-Gabbert musical chairs of 2012-2013. Bridgewater will start immediately and will be a steady QB for the Jags organization for 6-8 years.
Pro Comparison: Russell Wilson

 4.      Cleveland Browns – Blake Bortles QB, UCF – Trading down to improve multiple positions would be the best option here. However, a Big Ben clone such as Bortles will accelerate the Browns long awaited resurgence to the playoffs.
Pro Comparison: Ben Roethlisberger

 5.      Oakland Raiders – Sammy Watkins WR-KR, Clemson – The Raiders have many needs on both sides of the ball. The Raiders will use this  sammy watkinspick to gain a dynamic number one weapon alongside an emerging offensive line. Watkins gives the Raiders a speed threat with elite return capabilities alongside an above average possession receiver, Denarius Moore
Pro Comparison: Andre Johnson

 6.      Atlanta Falcons – Taylor Lewan OT, University of Michigan – 2013 was obviously a major disappointment for “Dirty- Bird” fans. Lewan would be the most intelligent draft pick for the Falcons due to his ability to provide time for Matt Ryan to locate his elite target Julio Jones.
Pro Comparison: Jake Long

 7.      Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Anthony Barr OLB/DE, UCLA – The Bucs defense is full of talent. A premier outside pass rusher appears to be the only missing piece. I also see Khalil Mack and DT Aaron Donald as strong possibilities as well. Trading down for more picks would be a serious option. If the Bucs do decide to keep the number seven pick, Barr will provide the Buccaneers with much needed pass rush assistance.
Pro Comparison: Jason Pierre-Paul

 8.      Minnesota Vikings – Khalil Mack DE/OLB, University of Buffalo – With the anticipated departure of Jared Allen in Minnesota, the Vikings will look to replace their most accomplished DL since John Randle retired. Mack provides a defensive tool for the Vikings for the next decade with pro bowl potential.
Pro Comparison: Terrell Suggs

 9.      Buffalo Bills – Eric Ebron TE, UNC – The Bills need to provide young QB EJ Manuel with a dynamic weapon to help him progress. Ebron is a poor man’s version of Jimmy Graham. I expect 7-9 touchdowns as a rookie for Ebron.
Pro Comparison: Jermichael Finley

 10.   Detroit Lions – Justin Gilbert CB, Oklahoma State- In a division featuring star receivers such as Brandon Marshall, Jordy Nelson, Alshon justin gilbertJeffrey, Randall Cobb and emerging Cordarrelle Patterson, the Lions will need to compete in the secondary. With a front seven featuring Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, Ziggy Ansah and DeAndre Levy, a skilled corner like Gilbert could be the piece the Lions have been coveting.
Pro Comparison: Joe Haden

 11.   Tennessee Titans – Jake Matthews OT, Texas A&M – How beautiful would it be if Matthews can join the original organization in which his father Bruce Matthews played his Hall of Fame career. Matthews fits a need for the Titans, as well being the best player still available at 11. Matthews will anchor the Titans offensive line for the foreseeable future.
Pro Comparison: Joe Thomas

 12.   New York Giants – Mike Evans WR, Texas A&M – It appears to be almost a guarantee Hakeem Nicks’ tenure with the Giants is coming to an end. Evans is a great option here and gives Eli a huge target within the red zone. Evans will have an opportunity to become offensive rookie of the year, if he finds himself in Giant blue on draft day.
Pro Comparison: Plaxico Burress

13.   St. Louis Rams – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix S, Alabama – Dix is a rangy safety and will be the final piece to an emerging elite defense. With talents such as Robert Quinn, James Laurinaitis and Janoris Jenkins, the Rams are building a Top 5 defense. Nix will provide a physical presence and intelligence to what will be an improved Rams secondary.
Pro Comparison: Michael Griffin

 14.   Chicago Bears – Louis Nix III DT, Notre Dame – The Bears run defense was pitiful in 2013 to say the least. Nix will help the middle of the Bears D-line stand strong against the run and provides additional pass rush for the aging Bears defense.
Pro Comparison: Kevin Williams

 15.   Pittsburgh Steelers – Darqueze Dennard CB, Michigan State – Quite frankly, the Steelers secondary is old and slow. The time has come for younger replacements. Dennard will learn from the veterans for a year or two before becoming the Steelers next great shut down corner.
Pro Comparison: Ike Taylor

16.   Dallas Cowboys – Calvin Pryor S, Louisville – After passing on Pro Bowl Rookie Safety Eric Reid a year ago, the Cowboys can begin to right the wrongs amidst their calvin pryorsecondary. Pryor is a heavy hitter with good hands and range. He’ll provide a presence in the middle of the field that Dallas has lacked since the days of Darren Woodson.
Pro Comparison: Earl Thomas

 17.   Baltimore Ravens – CJ Mosley LB, Alabama – Mosley is a smart and instinctive linebacker who will be making plays in B-More for many years to come. I would love for the Ravens to select a big WR, however with Evans off the board, FSU Kelvin Benjamin wouldn’t be a value selection at this position.
Pro Comparison: Sean Weatherspoon

 18.   New York Jets – Brandin Cooks WR, Oregon State – This guy is amazing, lost in the college ranks within the Pacific Northwest. Cooks is a Steve Smith clone, who will be extremely productive. The Jets need playmakers for an offense, which was quite offensive to 2013 Jets fans. Adding Cooks along with a free agent wide out such as Jeremy Maclin or Eric Decker will pay major dividends.
Pro Comparison: Steve Smith

 19.   Miami Dolpihins – Zach Martin OG/OT, Notre Dame – The Dolphins simply don’t have enough bodies on the offensive front. Martin can play all positions on the O- Line and helps Miami pick up the pieces on the heels of the Jonathan Martin bullying case.
Pro Comparison: Bryan Bulaga

 20.   Arizona Cardinals – Johnny Manziel QB, Texas A&M – Despite many experts believing Johnny Football to be a top pick, a lack of size and questionable decision making will ultimately harm his draft stock. However, Manziel will be immediately given the keys to the Cardinals offense and relied upon to be the future. Head Coach Bruce Arians will slowly develop Manziel and look for O- Linemen in the 2nd and 3rd round.
Pro Comparison: Post-prison Michael Vick

 21.   Green Bay Packers – Aaron Donald DT, Pittsburgh – Donald really helped himself at the combine. Donald won all the major defensive linemen awards in 2013 and is extremely productive. Some teams see him as undersized, but his speed and strength are elite for his position.
Pro Comparison: Jurrell Casey

 22.   Philadelphia Eagles – Marquise Lee WR, USC – Lee is an all-around receiver which the Eagles can utilize in 2014. With D- Jax asking for more 1528486_sp_usc_utah_state015_LSmoney, Riley Cooper being an upcoming free agent, and Jeremy Maclin coming off season ending knee surgery, Lee would be the best option here. Expect a productive rookie season for the USC product who Chip Kelly had a first-hand look during his time in the Pac-10/Pac-12.
Pro Comparison: Torrey Smith

 23.   Kansas City Chiefs – Tim Jernigan DT/DE, Florida State – Jernigan is a top 10 talent who fits perfectly into the Chiefs 3-4 scheme as a DE. Teaming Jernigan with Pro Bowl Nose Tackle Dontari Poe can be a scary combination for the years to come.
Pro Comparison: Sheldon Richardson

 24.   Cincinnati Bengals – Bradley Roby CB, Ohio State – Roby is a talented young man with good speed. He will need time to develop however I can see him being a starter by season’s end. The Bengals should consider themselves lucky to get Roby this late in the draft.
Pro Comparison: Tim Jennings

25.    San Diego Chargers – Scott Crichton DE, Oregon State – The Chargers struggled against the run in between the tackles in 2013. Crichton provides a tough presence in the trenches for a finesse defensive team.
Pro Comparison: Justin Smith

26.     Cleveland Browns – Ra’Shede Hageman DT/DE, Minnesota – Hageman adds much needed beef upfront for the Browns. He will be a serviceable DE in the 3-4 for an underrated Browns defensive unit.
Pro Comparison: Muhammad Wilkerson

27.     New Orleans Saints – Kony Ealy DE, Missouri – Ealy is a serviceable DE whom I expect to produce 8-11 sacks for a long time. Not an elite prospect at DE, however he will be a valuable piece to what the Saints do defensively for years to come. Look for him to fill the void that recently cut Will Smith has left in New Orleans.
Pro Comparison: Trent Cole

28.      Carolina Panthers – Lamarcus Joyner CB/S, Florida State – Joyner is a versatile DB whom I envision playing the slot as well as lining up at free safety. He will help the Panthers defense immediately.
Pro Comparison: Tyrann Mathieu

29.       New England Patriots – Stephon Tuitt DE, Notre Dame – Tuitt is perfect for the Patriots 3-4 scheme and will be an effective DE for years down the line. Tuitt will add much needed strength upfront to help Chandler Jones sack the opposing QBs.
Pro Comparison: Darnell Dockett

30.       San Francisco 49ers – Jason Verrett CB, TCU – Verrett is a gifted all-around corner who will become Carlos Rogers’ replacement. Verrett will succeed in the 49ers system due to the elite pass rush from the front 7.
Pro Comparison: Brandon Browner

31.       Denver Broncos – Odell Beckham Jr. WR, LSU – Meet Eric Decker’s replacement. Fantasy gurus be alerted that 900 yards and 11 touchdowns odell beckham jris within reach in a potent Broncos attack. Beckham fits the mold of what Peyton Manning likes at receiver and will be productive for as long as Manning is at the helm.
Pro Comparison: Dwayne Bowe

32.      Seattle Seahawks – Austin Seferian- Jenkins TE, Washington – The two elements currently missing from Seattle’s offense are big red zone WRs and athletic TEs to keep the defense honest. The 12th man gets the TE needed to help Russell Wilson put up more points than last year.
Pro Comparison: Julius Thomas

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    Seahawks Fullback Derrick Coleman has overcome a lot to get to Super Bowl XLVIII. Coleman is the first offensive player in NFL history who is deaf. His story has been an inspiration to many, particularly resonating with two hearing-impaired nine-year-old twins from New Jersey who wrote Derrick a letter expressing their support. Coleman followed-up to their letter with one of his own on January 22nd, but Derrick’s reciprocated support didn’t stop there.

    Coleman surprised the two identical twins with a surprise of a lifetime: tickets for their whole family to attend Sunday’s big game.

    It’s stories like these that remind us that sports are much more than what we see on the field.

    Enjoy the tear-jerker of a video, below.

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    Eight days after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had guaranteed immunity for his pair of coordinators, both suffered demotions on Tuesday. marinelliThe Cowboys promoted their defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, to defensive coordinator in the wake of demoting Monte Kiffin to an assistant head coaching role. Marinelli excelled in the role under Lovie Smith in Chicago from 2010-2012, as the Bears were one of the most efficient defensive units during that span. However, Marinelli will have a more difficult time in Dallas without the services of guys like Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Julius Peppers, and Charles Tillman.

    As for the other side of the ball, the merry go ’round of offensive play callers has a new horse: Scott Linehan. Linehan served as Matthew Stafford’s liason from 2009-2013 and wasn’t shy about letting ‘Staff air it out, as Stafford compiled an average of 4,885 yards and 675 pass attempts over the last three seasons. While that may be good news for Tony Romo’s fantasy ceiling, it doesn’t exactly add up to getting the Cowboys out of the basement, where they have missed the playoffs each of the last four years.

    Last year’s offensive coordinator, Bill Callahan, suffers a demotion to the offensive line after just one year as OC. Need I say that’s linehantypical Jerry Jones-Cowboys culture. Callahan is obviously not pleased and is reportedly set to seek work elsewhere.

    Think of the Cowboys franchise like a game of Jenga. They both begin by stacking piece by piece, while the rest of those watching can’t help but brace for the inevitable collapse.

    The only real difference between a game of Jenga and the Cowboys is that in a game of jenga you use wood blocks to build a foundation, whereas the Cowboys seemingly use weightless objects that float away into the wind after the pieces crumble.

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    Case Keenum still has a lot to prove if he wants to earn the title of Houston’s prodigal son. If the college ranks account for anything, Keenum should Case-Keenum-roll-Texans_002738consider himself halfway there. During his senior season at the University of Houston, Keenum threw for a gawdy 5,631 yards along with 48 TDs and only 5 picks. After signing with the Texans as an undrafted free agent, the erratic play of Matt Schaub has landed Keenum in the driver’s seat of the Texans offense. Keenum has impressed in his first three starts, passing to the tune of 822 yards and 7 TDs. But what is even more impressive is that he has yet to throw an interception, a maneuver that plagued the Texans offense with Matt Schaub at the helm.

    Despite being undrafted, Keenum has already proven the NFL isn’t too big of a stage. There’s absolutely no reason I would expect the Texans to pull the plug on Keenum moving forward. As long as he continues to minimize the mistakes, he’s a solid source of production in 12+ team leagues. Even those of you at the top your leagues can afford some insurance heading into the fantasy playoffs, and while Keenum looks more the part of an insurance salesman, he is the insurance going forward at the QB position.

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    When the Browns sent Trent Richardson to the Colts for a future 1st round pick, many thought the Colts committed highway robbery. However, it’s been Donald+Brown+Indianapolis+Colts+v+Pittsburgh+YInspttlSVQlanything but smooth sailing in Indianapolis for the former 3rd overall pick of the 2012 draft. The production in the Colts backfield has instead come from the former 29th overall pick in the 2009 draft, Donald Brown.

    Brown has been both fantasy and real life irrelevant during his 5 year NFL career, but this year he’s chipped in as a steady contributor in an offense that has lacked any sort of consistency on the ground. With T-Rich continuing to post absolutely anemic numbers, Brown has stepped up to outproduce Richardson, a consensus 1st round pick in fantasy drafts earlier this year.

    While Brown has only totaled 243 yards on the ground this year, Richardson’s horrendous display has solidified Brown’s role moving forward. Brown is averaging a stout 5.9 yards a carry vs. Richardson’s meager 3.0. While Head Coach Chuck Pagano may wind up being stubborn with balancing the workloads between the two, the Colts ultimately recognize that Brown deserves 12 + touches in their offense.

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    Coming into fantasy drafts this year, Texans RB Arian Foster was one of the most controversial 1st round picks. Combine his heavy workload over the lastarian-foster few years with his injury situation in training camp and Foster’s status as a first-round pick was far from a guarantee. Now Foster’s season has come to an end, just 10 weeks in, after he sustained a back injury in last week’s game that will require season-ending injury.

    It’ll be hard to imagine Foster regaining his elite fantasy status moving forward as his tires continue to accumulate wear and tear. There was some speculation that the Texans would let Ben Tate walk next off-season, but that notion is surely to be second-guessed with Foster’s health in question. With the uncertainty at the QB and RB positions heading into the future, the Texans will be hard-pressed to duplicate their dominance from recent years.