The final one-fourth of the 2014 National Football League regular season is about to kick off, and plenty about the current state of the league remains unknown. Only four teams in the AFC are technically out of the playoff race heading into Week 14. The AFC North has four teams above .500, and any of those sides could end up winning the division. Meanwhile, the NFC South doesn't have a single team with a winning record. Odds are that a NFC South team with a 7-9 record will end up hosting a Wild Card Weekend game in January 2015, possibly versus a 10-6 side.
Fans and analysts alike have, since the start of the first training camps on the league calendar, had about half of a year to evaluate rookies that were acquired by teams during the May 2014 NFL Draft. Somewhat surprising is that not a single first-year quarterback, not even a certain phenom who came out of Texas A&M, has yet proven himself to be a legitimate franchise QB. The wide receiver class, however, could be the best that has come out of any NFL draft in history. One player, in particular, looks to be a superstar in the making, the next great wide receiver to rival the likes of Calvin Johnson and Josh Gordon.
There was one big question swirling around the NFL heading into the night of May 8 and the first night of the NFL Draft: Was there any way that the Houston Texans could possibly pass on prospect-for-the-ages defensive end Jadeveon Clowney? The Texans could not, as it turned out, and the pick hasn't worked out for the club...yet. It is early days into his pro career, of course, and Clowney still has freakish physical qualities that make him a player who could, if he can remain healthy and if he decides to put in the necessary work, be a game-changer. That said, the Texans would likely go another route were the draft to be held today.
20 Houston Texans: LB Khalil Mack
19 St. Louis Rams: QB Derek Carr
18 Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Blake Bortles
17 Cleveland Browns: WR Mike Evans
16 Oakland Raiders: DE Jadeveon Clowney
15 Atlanta Falcons: OT Greg Robinson
14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: WR Sammy Watkins
13 Buffalo Bills: WR Odell Beckham Jr.
12 Minnesota Vikings: LB Anthony Barr
11 Detroit Lions: DT Aaron Donald
10 Tennessee Titans: OT Taylor Lewan
9 New York Giants: OT Jake Matthews
8 St. Louis Rams: LB C.J. Mosley
7 Chicago Bears: CB Kyle Fuller
6 Pittsburgh Steelers: WR Kelvin Benjamin
5 Dallas Cowboys: G Zack Martin
4 Baltimore Ravens: LB Ryan Shazier
3 New York Jets: CB Justin Gilbert
2 Miami Dolphins: OT Ja'Wuan James
1 Arizona Cardinals: S Deone Bucannon
Arizona fans fearing the worst with quarterback Carson Palmer lost for the season (torn ACL) may want the club to grab a QB here who can, after sitting behind Palmer for several months, take the field in place of Palmer and of Drew Stanton. Bucannon has been a perfect fit in the Arizona defense, playing more as a linebacker than as a safety. NFL teams live and die on quarterback play, which puts Manziel and Bridgewater in-play here. Bucannon has performed well enough for the Cardinals to stick with the original plan and hope that Stanton can limit mistakes in the final month of the regular season.
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