As a Fansided site we are participating in an on going 2014 NFL Mock Draft with some of the Local and NFL sites of Fansided. You can follow the ongoing draft here to see all of the picks leading to our selection below. Follow along as we complete all 32 teams first round picks.
Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina, Defensive End – The Oakland Raiders select Jadeveon Clowney with the fifth pick. Clowney, the SEC’s career leader in sacks and tackles for a loss, is expected to come in and make an immediate impact on the Raiders’ defensive line. Clowney will give the Raiders a true star on their defense and provide a huge spark to their pass rush and run defense. The other players considered were Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr and UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr, but Clowney’s once-in-a-generation physical abilities make him the no-brainier selection for general manager Reggie McKenzie.
The Raiders have a lot needs on their roster and with nearly $60 million in cap space they can fill a lot of those with free agents, but key building blocked need to be drafted. Ideally, the Raiders would love to get their hands on one of the top quarterbacks or Sammy Watkins to be the star of their offense, especially in the offense oriented shift in the NFL. They also have their choice of defensive playmakers, as well. They need help in their front-seven to provide help with stopping the run, as well as providing the ability to rush the passer.
With Watkins and the top three quarterbacks off of the board, it looks more likely that the Raiders will turn to the defensive side of the ball. They could shock a lot of people and fall in love with the arm talent of Derek Carr, but he would need some time to grow and would not give the Raiders an immediate boost. The Raiders need help with their pass rush and the top three prospects are among the best in the country at getting after the quarterback.
Clowney has been on the NFL radar since high school, as his blend of size and athleticism are absolutely insane and he can be an absolute game-changer on the defense. There are concerns about his character and work ethic, which could scare off some teams.
If the Raiders are looking elsewhere, outside linebacker Khalil Mack could be the impact pass rusher they are looking for from the edge, but he is seen as tweener and will he be an end or linebacker. UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr is a true linebacker that can do it all and has an unlimited ceiling, but he is still learning the linebacker position and would need coaching to develop his skills and instincts.
Ultimately, Clowney’s unmatched physical skill set and game-changing ability makes it hard to pass on him. The concerns are legitimate, but he should come in determined to prove his detractors wrong. He will quickly become the face of the defense and the player that defensive coordinators must plan around, which will open things up for his teammates in the front-seven.