The long awaited first round of the NFL draft has finally come to an end and it is time to look forward to day two. I cant remember an NFL draft in recent memory that had as much build up and suspense as the 2014 NFL draft. It seemed almost definite that the Texans were going to take Jadeveon Clowney, but it was not as certain as recent number one picks have been.
There were a good number of trades Thursday night that caused intrigue through the “twittisphere” after a draft last year that was not as entertaining with movement. I’m not going to grade every single team here, but I will grade teams with selections that stood out to me whether good or bad.
St. Louis Rams A++
The Rams were the winners of the first round out of any team in the NFL. There was serious debate on what direction Jeff Fisher was going to go with the second selection. Fisher had never taken an offensive lineman in the first round until now. Greg Robinson, who I really like, is the top rated tackle in the draft. He fills a need while Jake Long recovers from a serious injury.
Robinson will help a lot in the run game while he takes more time to better develop as a pass blocker. So they got better in the trenches on one side, but weren’t done there.
I have been praising Aaron Donald’s name for months and the Rams selected him with the 13th pick. I cannot stress enough how great of a pick this is for the Rams organization. Adding the caliber of player like Donald to the defensive line alongside Quinn, Long and Brockers is beyond dangerous. You could be looking at the premier defensive line of the league and Donald could be your Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Cleveland Browns A-
Ray Farmer got his first crack at the draft as the Browns GM and he came away as a winner from day one. Addressing a need while also adding a playmaker to an already good defense.
Trading down to the 9th pick seemed at first like a Manziel move down selection, but that was not the case. I was in shock hearing Justin Gilberts name instead of the quarterback, but it was a good selection. Gilbert has such a high ceiling as a corner and pairing him alongside Joe Haden is potentially scary.
Then the Browns traded up from the 26th spot to 22 and finally got their guy. Getting Manziel at 22 was big for Cleveland for a number of reasons. He addresses a need and gives a franchise hope as Manziel has star potential. I am not huge on Johnny as a pro, but I will say he has a good chance at succeeding in Cleveland. He has the weapons surrounding him, a good defense and a solid offensive line. Manziel has a good chance at success now in the NFL.
While getting a good corner and a polarizing figure at QB, Farmer also acquired another future first round pick. Robbing the Bills of a first round pick turned out to be the Browns best move of the draft. Buffalo is a solid team, but it is almost certain that first rounder next season will be a top 15 selection. Good job Cleveland.
Minnesota Vikings C
One of the very few picks I had mocked correctly which still came to me as a tremendous surprise was the Vikings selecting Anthony Barr in the top ten. Barr is a raw talent that has a lot of upside as a pass rusher. They needed to find a way to lessen the blow of losing Jared Allen and this was a good start.
Mike Zimmer is a defensive mastermind and getting a talent like this is encouraging since he is used to working with players similar to Barr. Adding Barr to some of the young defensive player’s drafted last year is solid.
Minnesota was not done after Barr, they decided to trade back up into the first round in front of the Houston Texans. With the trade up, the Vikings selected Teddy Bridgewater. I have made it no secret that I am not big on Bridegwater, but it is a solid pick. I like Carr more than Teddy, but the coaches probably felt that Teddy has a better understanding of running a pro-style offense than Carr. That is a fair assessment and Teddy has a decent arsenal of weapons to work with.
Detroit Lions C-
Eric Ebron is my favorite offensive player of the draft and he will for sure be putting up big numbers with this offense in Detroit. My grade might come as a surprise with how much I like Ebron, but Detroit did not address defense. I cannot get my head around to why they did not draft a defensive player.
The lions had a chance to take the drafts second rated corner or even the best safeties of their picking. Now the cream of the crop of the secondary is off the board and it leaves Detroit with limited options. I guess Caldwell just hopes with the addition of Ebron that the offense will be able to outscore the opponent.
Baltimore Ravens B-
Was there any doubt when the Ravens were on the board with two Alabama players left that Ozzie was going to take one from the alma mater? Newsome had his choice between safety and linebacker both from the Crimson Tide. He chose CJ Mosley with the 17th selection to sure up the inside.
Do I like Mosley, yes. Do I love Mosley, no. He has a slight history of injury and the history of Alabama players at the linebacker position is something not to rave about. This pick was a clear indication that Ozzie still has a best player available approach to the draft.
If it were me, I would have drafted Clinton Dix at this spot for a couple of reasons. Safety is more of a need than linebacker for one. Two, the Ravens do have Daryl Smith as their main guy. Smith is getting older that is no secret, but they could have selected his successor next year. It also does not speak volumes in a positive manner of Arthur Brown, who was last years second round pick.
New York Jets A+
Rex Ryan always has a good defense and it was a large part of why the Jets won 8 games with such a talent-depleted offense. The secondary was the only weak link to a stellar defense and the Jets hit a home run Thursday night. Dee Millner was one of their first round picks last year, but the secondary still needed a boost.
Getting a playmaker like Pryor to add to that defense is downright scary for Jets opponents. Pryor can make plays in the box and in center field as a ball hawk. His versatility being paired with Rex Ryan is a good problem to have as a Jets fan.
Miami Dolphins B-
An offensive line that allowed 58 sacks to Ryan Tannehill and an inept running game needed a boost. The top tier offensive linemen were off the board at 19, so the Dolphins needed to choose from the second class. Ja’Wuan James is a good selection at right tackle for a team desperate for starters on the line.
James has been healthy throughout his career and has started over 40 games in the Southeastern Conference, the best of the best. A lot of experts have bee criticizing this pick and calling it a reach. A team that was so horrific at blocking needed this so badly. Hard to call such a dire need a reach.
I remember calling Kyle Long last season a reach at 20 for the Chicago Bears. I liked Long a whole lot, but he had a second to early third round grade for me. The experts called it a reach then and the Bears were drafting a key need. Long went on to make the Pro Bowl as a rookie, so that was quite the “reach” wasn’t it? Miami would be thrilled if their reach came close to playing at that level.
Kansas City Chiefs D
Dee Ford is one of the more talented pass rushers in this draft and I really like him. This grade is not on Ford, it is on the Chiefs selection when it comes to position. They already have Houston and Hali, so why another pass rusher?
They lose three offensive linemen to free agency and have a need at wide receiver. This draft is deep with wide outs so they can address that need later if they want, but the second tier linemen are likely to go quick in round two. Why would they not take a Moses or Su’a-Filo at this spot? I feel bad for Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles.
Philadelphia Eagles C-
I’m pretty sure that all NFC East fans took a huge sigh of relief when the Eagles did not take a wide out with the 26th pick. Marqise Lee was still on the board and it almost seemed certain that Lee was coming to Philly.
Instead they selected pass rusher Marcus Smith from Louisville, which came to be a shock. They needed a pass rusher, but Smith could have been there in round two when they pick again. Lee would have been a great value pick at this spot and it is a questionable decision from this front office.
That is it for my grades of the first round as those are the teams and selections that stood out to me the most. I felt that the majority of the teams in the first round did a good job with their selections except the select few. There is still a lot of good talent left for the second day of the draft. I’m going to give the second round a shot here and hopefully I do much better this round than I did in the first.
33. Houston Texans- AJ McCarron QB Bama
I like McCarron at this spot and I like him probably more than most people do in the draft world. I feel that he is sometimes overlooked because of the talent that surrounded him. AJ is a winner and this is the kind of QB Houston should take. He has been through it all as a QB and can deal with all kinds of pressure.
34. Washington Redskins- Joel Bitonio OL Nevada
They finally get a selection! Washington has to better protect RG3 as last season the injured QB was beaten too much. Washington has very good choices at this spot so picking this late as their first pick does not hurt them as much as originally thought. Bitonio could play guard or tackle so his versatility would be a good choice here for new coach Jay Gruden. Moses or Su’a-filo could also warrant consideration here.
35. Cleveland Browns- Allen Robinson WR Penn State
I am such a huge fan of Allen Robinson in this draft, he is definitely on my man crush list of draft prospects. There was rumor of the Browns going with a wide out at #4, but they traded down and have not drafted a wide out yet. Robinson has size at 6’3 and has playmaking ability. Some say he is not the fastest running a 4.6 40, but he looks faster when he plays. Marqise Lee could be the pick here as well, but I do like Robinson more than Lee. I do like Lee though for the record.
36. Oakland Raiders- Derek Carr QB Fresno St.
Mocks had Carr potentially going to Oakland at five, but now he is still on the board here. Carr would be a good selection to learn under Schaub for a year. I like Carr as a QB because he does have an NFL arm. Oakland could have hope here.
37. Atlanta Falcons- Kony Ealy DE Missouri
Falcons had buzz surrounding them that they would potentially trade up for Clowney, but that did not go through. They bolstered the defensive line through free agency, but they need another piece. Ealy is a good defensive end and would be a good body to add to the rotation.
38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Tom Savage QB Pitt
The Bucs are interested in adding a new QB despite having Mike Glennon still on the roster. He had a solid rookie year with 19 TD’s to 9 Interceptions, so I don’t quite get why they want to go that direction. Savage is the late riser of the QB’s and could be the pick here. I’m not a huge fan of Savage like a lot of other people are.
39. Jacksonville Jaguars- Marqise Lee WR USC
Jacksonville started the shock of the draft by taking Bortles at three. I like Bortles as a QB, but he needs serious help with surrounding cast. They are uncertain with what is going on with Blackmon, so getting Lee here would be an excellent value pick at such a positional need.
40. Seattle Seahawks- Cody Latimer WR Indiana
The Super Bowl champs do not need a lot of help for a chance at a repeat. They lost starting receiver Doug Baldwin to free agency, so replacing him is one of their only necessities. Latimer is raw, but a lot of scouts love his potential.
41. Buffalo Bills- Austin Seferian- Jenkins TE Washington
Buffalo made the splash by trading up to the fourth pick for Watkins and they still need more. Watkins, Woods and Williams make for a solid young receiving corps assuming Johnson is on the outs. Adding another tight end with Chandler would give Manuel a good set of weapons. Jenkins is a big target in the red zone.
42. Tennessee Titans- Carlos Hyde RB OSU
Hyde is a first round pick is this draft took place five years ago. This day and age, he is a second rounder due to the deteriorated role of running back. The Titans need a stud back and Hyde gives him that. Now with Lewan and last years pick Warmack blocking, Hyde might have holes to run through.
43. New York Giants- Morgan Moses OT UVA
I really like Morgan Moses and the Giants need to protect Manning a lot better. This draft’s focus is to help Eli anyway they can. Taking Beckham helps replace Nicks, but offensive line needs help. Moses would be a good selection here.
44. St. Louis Rams- Terrence Brooks S FSU
The Rams won the first round and they continue to load up in round 2. They had interest at a safety in round one, but went with Donald instead. They get their safety in this round here.
45. Detroit Lions- Lamarcus Joyner CB/S FSU
Detroit went offense first round even though their defense was in dire need of help. The secondary needs help all over and Joyner would be worth the selection here. He is a good talent, but size kept him out of round one. He could play both corner and safety in the NFL, so versatility is good value here.
46. Pittsburgh Steelers- Ra’Shede Hageman DE Minnesota
The Steelers need to continue building the defense and they went linebacker with the first pick. They could use secondary help here, but the value with Hageman is too hard to pass up.
47. Dallas Cowboys- Louis Nix DT ND
Dallas was very smart in drafting Martin first round instead of the sexy name Manziel. Jones made a good choice, but now its time to fix the dreaded defense. Nix is a start in fixing the middle of the defense and giving the injury-ridden Lee room to roam.
48. Baltimore Ravens- Cyrus Kouandjio OT Bama
Can Ozzie Newsome help himself here? Another Bama player at a position of need, I don’t know if Ozzie can pass on him. Cyrus is very talented, but his medical issues are a concern. Cyrus at right tackle would be a good fit if he remains healthy.
49. New York Jets- Jordan Matthews WR Vanderbilt
New York made a very good selection first round and now its time to add to the outside for whoever the QB will be this fall. Matthews has good size and was very productive in the SEC.
50. Miami Dolphins- Xavier Su’a-Filo G UCLA
I don’t know how Su’a-Filo is still here on the board at this point. I have my doubts he will be, but this is the way my mock is going. This would be a stellar pick here and is too good to pass up for Miami. With James and Xavier, their offensive line would be in very good position.
51. Chicago Bears- Stephon Tuitt DT ND
The addition of Fuller in the first round begins the rebuild of the Bears defense. It was hard to watch last season and they continue to add pieces here. Tuitt on the inside is another good selection.
52. Arizona Cardinals- Zach Mettenberger QB LSU
Bruce Arians is very good at developing young QB’s and it is time they try to groom a future starter. Mettenberger is injured, but he has a lot of talent. This is a great situation for Mettenberger as he will be sitting for a season most likely.
53. Green Bay Packers- Jace Amaro TE Texas Tech
Jermichael Finley got hurt and the Packers need a productive tight end. Amaro put up all kinds of numbers in the Texas Tech spread offense. His production would be a good addition to this offense.
54. Philadelphia Eagles- Stanley Jean-Baptiste CB Nebraska
Philly needs to continue to revamp the defense after getting a pass rush in the first. Another corner is a need and having Jenkins on the back end would make life a little easier for a rookie corner.
55. Cincinnati Bengals- Aaron Murray QB UGA
My ultimate man crush at QB, here he finally goes. It is time to challenge Andy Dalton since he continues to fail when it comes playoff time. New offensive coordinator in town makes sense for a new QB. Murray can make all the throws, but is still recovering from injury. Make this happen Cincy, Murray is your guy.
56. San Francisco 49ers- Donte Moncrief WR Ole Miss
San Fran went safety round one and have expressed interest in adding a wide out. Moncrief remains the best available at that position here and that’s the direction they could go.
57. San Diego Chargers- Kyle Van Noy OLB BYU
Van Noy would be a big time pick here for the Chargers. The defense needs to keep adding pieces and Noy adds a different dimension. He would be a nice compliment piece in the blitz package to Melvin Ingram.
58. New Orleans Saints- Gabe Jackson G Miss St.
Loved the first round pick with Cooks in that offense. Continue to protect Drew and help the running game by adding a good guard on the inside.
59. Indianapolis Colts- Trai Turner G LSU
Protect Andrew Luck! That’s the only concern the Colts should have here. It wouldn’t hurt to create holes for Richardson either, especially since you gave up your first round pick for him.
60. Carolina Panthers- Antonio Richardson OT Tennessee
I was a bit surprised when Carolina actually went wide out with their first pick. They need to now protect Cam Newton’s blindside, so getting the large Richardson addresses a need.
61. San Francisco 49ers- Phillip Gaines CB Rice
They added a safety first round and a wide out this round. They need depth at corner and Gaines has a good frame for coner at 6’0.
62. New England Patriots- Troy Niklas TE ND
Niklas is also on my man crush list if you will at the tight end position. His size at 6’7 is crazy, but he is also athletic to go with it. No telling what the future holds with Gronks health so the Patriots need more help at tight end. This is a huge pick for the Pats.
63. Denver Broncos – Dakota Dozier G Furman
Roby was a good addition to the secondary, but now its time to replace Beadles. Dozier would be a good start to fixing the void.
64. Seattle Seahawks- Jack Mewhort OT OSU
The Hawks got their wide out this round and depth at o-line is definitely a target. Seattle got away with some patchwork offensive line work last season and adding Mewhort would be a good addition to the squad.
That is my best attempt at the second round of the 2014 NFL draft. I’m sure as it begins tonight, it will be destroyed like everyone else’s mock drafts were last night. If I come away with some correct selections it will be a moral victory. The draft is so difficult to predict, that is what makes it so fun and interesting. So enjoy this and the draft tonight, it will be crazy once again.