Recapping and grading the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Houston selects Jadeveon Clowney.
Houston didn't shock anybody when they took the 6'6 defensive end with the first overall pick on Thursday Night.
The Texans have a ton of needs, and one of the most glaring holes was another pass rusher to compliment J.J. Watt. While he wouldn't have been my choice, and there are questions about his work ethic, scouts love the kid, and he was considered to be "must have" talent.
St. Louis selects Greg Robinson.
I expected the Rams to go Watkins or trade down here, but you can't hate the Robinson pick. They add a mauler to a talented offensive line and gives Bradford a little more protection in a division full of fierce pass rushers. Football is won on the line of scrimmage, and the Rams really seemed to get that this year.
Jacksonville selects Blake Bortles.
Look, I know the Jags need an answer at quarterback...
But Blake Bortles? At number three?
Didn't anybody want to trade up?
I've never been a fan of Bortles. Even though he has great size and a gorgeous girlfriend, he lacks arm strength. And I'm not just saying that he doesn't have the big arm, I'm saying that he can't make all the throws.
You can work around that if you're a smart enough coach, but you don't draft a project in the first round, let alone the top 5.
Buffalo trades up, selects Sammy Watkins.
I actually like the pick.
Sammy Watkins is a playmaker, and could really put some points on the board for the Bills.
However... They paid too much for him. They gave up their 9th this year, as well as their first round and fourth round pick from next year. For a team that had Mike Williams, Stevie Johnson*, Marquise Goodwin, and Robert Woods... Wide receiver wasn't really a need. If you were going to trade up for a franchise player, why not Khalil Mack or Jake Matthews? Watkins would be great on any team, I'm just not sure why the Bills paid so much...
*Stevie Johnson was traded to San Fransisco for a conditional fourth round pick in the 2015 draft.
Oakland selects Khalil Mack.
This pick has grown on me.
My only issue with Mack in the scouting process was that he reminded me too much of Aaron Curry, the "can't miss" linebacker from the 2009 draft.
Curry was "great in space" when he played in college, but the same was far from true in the pros. He was awkward and bumbling behind the defensive line, and couldn't keep up with the slowest of tight ends.
Or the last linebacker that the Raiders drafted in the first round, Rolando McClain.
Yeah. He didn't turn out to be Ray Lewis either.
Mack just seems too good to be true.
The fact that he came from a small time school doesn't help his cause. True, he has the NCAA record for forced fumbles, and he tied the record for tackles for a loss, but against what talent?
If he can play the way that he did in college in the pros, he'll be a regular at the pro-bowl.
But there's a big difference between facing off against Ohio State and staring down Peyton Manning.
Atlanta selects Jake Matthews.
I love this pick. Let the plethora of weapons that the Falcons have get healthy, and get the best tackle in the draft in to protect Matt Ryan. Love, love, love it. I haven't been this impressed by the Falcons in years. I don't have anything else to say about this pick.
Tampa Bay selects Mike Evans.
I guess I expected the Bucs to go QB here.
Josh McCown had an exceptional season last year with the Bears, but there's a reason that Chicago re-signed Jay Cutler. McCown simply isn't a franchise quarterback. With Manziel, Carr, and Bridgewater still available, it's weird that they went wide out. Unless Lovie Smith believes that Mike Glennon will be a franchise player in a couple of years.
Evans was easily the second best wide receiver in the draft, and a weapon is a weapon.
In all reality, Mike Evans reminds me of Bucs wide receiver, Vincent Jackson.
Evans has a very similar build to Jackson, if not a little slower.
That's a fun 1-2 punch and makes it easy for whoever is under center in Tampa.
Cleveland trades up, selects Justin Gilbert.
Cleveland traded a fourth round pick to swap spots with Minnesota, and I have to say, I think they god played.
Other than that, Gilbert is a solid pick.
Decent size, great speed, played well enough in college.
Corners are hard to predict.
The position is all about action and reaction.
The best corner in the NFL was a fifth round pick.
Only time will tell if it pans out, but if Gilbert is as good as he can be, he'll be a great #2 corner opposite of Joe Haden.
Minnesota selects Anthony Barr.
The Vikings needed a pass rusher to replace Jard Allen, so they went with UCLA's talented linebacker, Anthony Barr.
The only thing that I question about this pick is that Barr was originally Clowney's main competition in this draft. There were rumors that he could've been first overall. But a crummy combine performance and a deeper look into his film really weighed his draft stock down and actually had him in the second round of a few mock drafts. Seems a little high for a team with so many needs, but definitely not a bad pick.
Detroit selects Eric Ebron.
For some reason, Detroit really struggles to find other weapons for Matt Stafford. It shouldn't be this difficult for a team to find a good #2 target when the #1 is Calvin Johnson.
Ebron was the number one tight end in a very thin class, and with Watkins and Evans gone, they took who they could. Hopefully Ebron, along with Reggie Bush and Golden Tate, will take some pressure off of the best wide receiver of all time.
Tennessee selects Taylor Lewan.
This was an obvious pick. The Titans love running the ball and the small-ball game. If they're sticking with Jake Locker for another year, they're going to need to bulk up on the offensive line. Taylor Lewan is a great addition.
New York (Giants) select Odell Beckham Jr.
I'm shocked the Giants didn't go offensive line here. They need to be able to protect Eli so he won't throw so many damn interceptions. I guess they needed another target to partner with the recovering Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz but... Still.
St. Louis selects Aaron Donald.
As I said earlier, the Rams have learned that you win games on the line of scrimmage. You add Donald to a defensive line that already features Chris Long and Robert Quinn? Sheesh!!! Good luck Mr. Wilson.
Chicago selects Kyle Fuller.
I didn't like this pick.
Chicago needs to get younger on defense, I get that, but at what cost?
A slow, undersized corner in the first round?
They do realize that he'll have to cover the likes of Calvin Johnson, Flash Patterson, and Randall Cobb. C'mon Bears.
Pittsburgh selects Ryan Shazier.
I really like this pick. The Steelers have been getting old on defense, and while they have an heir apparent for Polamalu in Shamarko Thomas, they've been looking for help in that front seven. He's a little inexperienced, and needs to clean up his game, but he's got the build and the intangibles to be a great linebacker for years to come.
Dallas selects Zack Martin.
They scared everyone with this pick... We really thought they were going to take Manziel.
I would've preferred that they take a defensive player, but protecting Tony Romo and his ludicrously expensive contract seemed like a pretty logical priority.
Baltimore selects C.J. Mosley.
I love Ozzie Newsome.
He might be the most boring general manager in history because unlike most managers, he always takes the best player available.
Jeez man. Mix it up from time to time. Trade up for Sammy Watkins, trade the first pick away, do something!!!
Kidding. It always works out well for him.
New York (Jets) select Calvin Pryor.
Iffy pick. I'm not really sure what's going on in the Jets front office, but I haven't liked a single personnel decision they have made over the last two years.
Pryor is no different.
He reminds me a lot of Bob Sanders.
If you don't remember Bob Sanders, he was a safety from Iowa who played for the Colts during their run as the best team in the AFC.
Good cover ability, and a ruthless hitter, but took a lot of damage.
I see Pryor like that. He's a great hitter, but he launches.
While he could clean up, and become the new Kam Chancellor, he might also be somebody who gets flagged often or whiffs on big hits.
Unless he's going to play that enforcer roll, you don't want a safety taking big risks.
The safety is back there to prevent big plays from happening, not to allow them.
Miami selects Ja’Wuan James
Thank God they addressed this. Whether it was all of the off-the-field drama or just a lack of talent, that Dolphin offensive line couldn't protect Ryan Tannehill to save their lives... or his. Solid tackle, should come in and start right away, and hopefully give the passing game a chance to flourish.
New Orleans trades up, selects Brandin Cooks
I'm bored with the Saints offense.
All the dink and dunk small-ball gets boring. New Orleans' stats would lead you to believe that they're a fast paced, exciting offense, but they just aren't. I was at Century Link Field this post-season when they lost to the Seahawks, and I didn't see Brees throw the ball further than ten yards once. Cooks is just another wideout who will be wasted in this system.
Green Bay selects Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
I actually hate this pick. This guy played on a great team and got wayyyyy too much hype. He's scrawny, struggles against bigger players, doesn't hit very well, doesn't catch the ball naturally. He'd fit in better on Key & Peele then in the first round. He hasn't done enough to impress me, and I wince just thinking about him behind the Green Bay front 7.
Cleveland trades up, selects Johnny Manziel.
Welp, someone finally brought the circus back to Cleveland. And who else but LeBron's best pal, Johnny Football. Look, nobody knows about this pick.
He could come out and light up the league like Michael Vick did in Atlanta, or he could get broken in half the first time he leaves the pocket.
There's no question that Manziel has holes in his game, or that he's exciting to watch.
Cleveland took a calculated risk and we'll have to wait and see what happens.
Kansas City selects Dee Ford.
Dee Ford stole the Senior Bowl this year, and was a force for Auburn.
Rumor has it that pass rusher, Tamba Hali is on his way out in KC, and they were able to steal his replacement late in the first round. Solid pickup.
Cincinnati selects Darqueze Dennard.
This pick scares me because it reminds me of the Raiders taking D.J. Hayden last year. Talented corner with a history of being injured. His hip movement leaves a lot to be desired, and struggles in man vs shiftier receivers. However, that's nothing that can't be fixed if he stays healthy or is in the right scheme.
San Diego selects Jason Verrett
Don't like this pick either.
I'm actually not fond of most of the defensive backs in this draft.
Verrett is too small, misses tackles, and has injury concerns. He's only 5'9.
You can't start at corner in the NFL at 5'9 anymore. Could you imagine this kid facing off with Calvin Johnson?
Yeah, he's fast and has good ball skills, but taller receivers are going to embarrass this kid.
Philadelphia selects Marcus Smith.
Hated this pick. This is a guy who had a fourth round grade from most analysts because of his size, his inexperience, and his inability to show up in big games. Good god. Why not draft Marquise Lee and replace DeSean Jackson? Boneheaded pick.
Arizona selects Deone Bucannon.
He's decent... Good speed and size, doesn't overcommit to hits, buuuuut definitely struggles in coverage. He's wildly inconsistent and gets burned by the bigger, faster guys. He plays the ball a lot better when it's in front of him... Which would be great if he was a linebacker.
Carolina selects Kelvin Benjamin.
Thank God the Panthers finally got a weapon for Cam Newton.
We were all getting pretty nervous.
He's a little inconsistent, but has good speed for his size.He's not very quick, and doesn't win passes at the highest point, but he'll be serviceable in the Panthers simple offense.
New England selects Dominique Easley.
This was a solid pick. Good player, well drafted, and it fits a need. Far from the best player available, but somebody to come in and replace Wilfork/Tommy Kelly and finally shore up that defensive line.
San Francisco selects Jimmie Ward.
They got a partner for Eric Reid. Following the philosophy of their NFC West rivals, they're building their own secondary and doing a pretty good job so far.
Denver selects Bradley Roby.
Good speed, undersized, inconsistent film. The Broncos had to replace Champ Bailey and try to bandage that flimsy defense. They needed bodies, and they got a speedy one.
Minnesota trades up, selects Teddy Bridgewater.
I like this pick.
Bridgewater is far from perfect, but he's still much better than anything else the Vikings had.
I mean... You couldn't pay me to watch Christian Ponder play football.
Bridgewater has some arm strength and accuracy issues, but he sees the field well and understands the game. He's got "Flash" Patterson and Greg Jennings catching passes for him and a pretty good running game (If you like 2,000 yard rushers). He doesn't have to be amazing, he just has to game manage.