The NIT Nati Mock Draft 2014

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29.  New England Patriots – Ra’shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota.  Ra’shede Hageman is a classic boom-or-bust scenario.  A monstrous 6’6”, 310 lbs converted tight end with a basketball background, Hageman is still raw at the defensive end position.  However, if a franchise has the coaching, the veteran mentor, and the tradition for excellence to mold such a prospect, it is New England.  Behind (or beside?) Vince Wilfolk, Hagemen can hone his skills, maximize his pass rush, and be given the maximum opportunity for success.  This is a great pick that the Patriots are uniquely capable of capitalizing upon. 

30.  Baltimore Ravens – Jimmie Ward, SS, Northern Illinois.  Shorter than scouts prefer with less-than-ideal speed, the Ravens will likely target Jimmie Ward with the design of moving him to free safety and pairing him with last year’s first rounder, strong safety Matt Elam.  Comparable to the Lion’s Grover Quin, Ward is a fluid athlete with a keen ball-hawking sense.  In 2013, he lead the Huskies with 92 tackles, 62 were solos.  Additionally, Ward netted 7 interceptions and 10 pass break-ups.

31.  Denver Broncos – Jason Verrett, CB, TCU.  Scrappy.  Feisty.  Undersized.  All these words have been used to describe and criticize the 5’9”, 189 lb Jason Verrett.  However, a similarly built 5’10”, 180 lb Adam “Pacman” Jones is still locking down receivers in man coverage at 30 years of age.  Verrett does not allow separation and has shown a tenacity to play bigger than his size.  With Champ Bailey lost to age and free agency, Aqib Talib is just one player and someone who can use some help across from Tony Carter.  Verrett adds much needed depth to this defensive unit.

32.  Seattle Seahawks – Joel Bitonio, OT, Nevada.  While departures in free agency warrant potential upgrades on both sides of the ball, overwhelmingly the fan base in Seattle is clamoring for offensive line help, especially inside at guard.  This makes sense for a team that just won a championship with a smash-mouth ground game and solid quarterback protection.  Joel Bitonio is probably a better fit at guard, but a strong combine showed that he could stay at tackle if required.  Grading out as a run blocker with a mean streak, Bitonio solves one concern for the Seahawks and marks a good start on getting back to the Super Bowl.