The NIT Nati Mock Draft 2014

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25.  San Diego Chargers – Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State.  The most glaring need for the Chargers is cornerback.  The Bolts finished 29th in pass yards allowed and boasted one of the least efficient defensives in 2013.  Some of this was due to key players like Melvin Ingram suffering a torn ACL in Week 4, but with Shareece Wright and Richard Marshall being the only veteran corners left on the current roster, the indication is that Bradley Roby will be too much talent to pass on at twenty-five.  Roby comes with many red flags, ranging from mixing it up with fans, to a bar fight last summer (for which he still may be suspended games in 2014), and a disputed run-in with the law this offseason.  Still, the choice for San Diego seems easy here.

26.  Cleveland Browns – Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville.  Possibly the most intriguing pick in the whole draft, the Browns go ahead and pull the trigger on quarterback.  With the Cleveland fan base near full-scale rioting this past offseason, there is a feeling of ‘mandated stabilization’ in the immediate future.  Interestingly, this does not necessarily mean Teddy Bridgewater would start right away.  Rather, Brian Hoyer is the probable starter come Week 1, which will provide Bridgewater insulation from media as well as offer time to slow the game down around him.  Remember, based on tape, Bridgewater was considered a viable number one overall pick just a few months ago.  With a little grooming, the Browns may finally rise in the AFC North.

Jan 4, 2014; Newport Beach, CA, USA; Auburn Tigers cornerback Dee Ford (30) answers questions during Media Day at Newport Beach Marriott. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

27.  New Orleans Saints – Dee Ford, DE/OLB, Auburn.  The Saints have a few roster soft-spots, which affords them options this late in the round.  Certainly, a new center to replace the departed Brian De La Puente will be in order at some point, but Dee Ford is an interesting pick at this juncture.  Though Ford played defensive end at Auburn, he is better suited for a rush linebacker role in the NFL, which is perfect for New Orleans who needs options than just Junior Galette.  If Rob Ryan can keep Ford’s high-octane motor running, then the Saints may find something special in this prospect.

28.  Carolina Panthers – Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State.  A bit of a surprising slide for Brandin Cooks, the receiver-needy Panthers luck out with the twenty-eighth pick.  Perhaps this year’s version of Tavon Austin, Cooks is a dynamic slot receiver capable of making big plays in space.  A much needed target for Cam Newton this year, critics of Cooks suggest that he could be overwhelmed in man-coverage due to a smaller stature and limited potential growth.  Still, Carolina cannot afford to be choosey with their abysmal receiver corps.