The 2014 NFL Draft will get rolling on Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall, but before any of the real stuff begins, Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN released his final mock draft (Insider subscription required).
Kiper, who has been covering the draft since 1984 for the Worldwide Leader, believes Jadeveon Clowney will be the first overall pick to the Houston Texans. The only other name being thrown around at that spot is Buffalo's Khalil Mack, but Kiper has him coming off the board to the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 3.
The final mock draft
•SBNation.comThe buildup to the NFL Draft is complete with the first round finally beginning tonight. Matthew Fairburn and Dan Kadar offer up their final first-round predictions.
Farther down in the first round, Kiper mocks Johnny Manziel to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the seventh pick. Tampa Bay has second-year quarterback Mike Glennon and a veteran in Josh McCown, but Manziel remains the first signal-caller off the board in this draft scenario. Manziel is also the third consecutive former Aggie taken, behind Mike Evans to the Oakland Raiders and Jake Matthews to the Atlanta Falcons.
From picks 13-15, Kiper sees a trio of defensive backs being drafted. The St. Louis Rams take Alabama safety Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix with their second first-round pick. The Chicago Bears followed with cornerback Kyle Fuller. Michigan Sate corner Darqueze Dennard then finds a home with the Pittsburgh Steelers at 15th overall.
LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is off to the New York Jets in Kiper's mock, giving Rex Ryan and Co. another option on the outside to compliment Eric Decker. At the 20th spot, the Arizona Cardinals take the second quarterback off the board with Blake Bortles out of Central Florida. With Carson Palmer up there in age, Bortles would be an great option for coach Bruce Arians.
At Nos. 22 and 23, Kiper sees receivers Brandin Cooks and Marqise Lee go to the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs respectively. Both teams need a receiver and are coming off playoff campaigns.
Finally, at No. 26, Teddy Bridgewater finds a home with the Cleveland Browns. Bridgewater has fallen down the boards of many teams in the past couple of months after a disastrous pro day, but could prove to be a nice steal.
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Notable players left out of the first round include Notre Dame defensive linemen Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix, Minnesota's Ra'Shede Hageman and Florida State's Timmy Jernigan.