We made 4 bold predictions for the 2014 NFL Draft, Round 1. Nailing 3 of those 4 predictions was nice, but Houston could have helped us out by trading away the #1 overall pick. That didn’t happen, as they drafted arguably the best raw physical talent in the entire draft, and some say of the past few years, in Jadeveon Clowney, the All-World defensive end out of South Carolina. Johnny “Football” Manziel was another big name going into the first round of the 2014 National Football League Draft Thursday, but he slipped, slid and tumbled all the way to … the team that wanted him and the team he wanted to play for anyway. The Cleveland Browns originally had the #9 overall pick, and they traded up from there to #8 to ensure they would get CB Justin Gilbert out of Oklahoma State. (Draft Trivia: the Browns got Manziel in a trade with the #22 spot. The last two picks at #22 for Cleveland were also QBs, Brady Quinn in 2007 and Brandon Weeden in 2012, two failed projects. Deja Vu all over again?)
The Jacksonville Jaguars got what looks to be a solid 8 or 10 year quarterback in UCF’s Blake Bortles at #3, and the Rams used the #2 overall to help protect QB Sam Bradford when they grabbed OT Greg Robinson. The Buffalo Bills were very high on WR Sammy Watkins, high enough to trade all the way up to the #4 spot and grab the explosive play-maker out of Clemson. The three predictions we did get right out of the four we made included a) at least four first-round trades (there were five), b) 4 safeties drafted in the first round and c) no running backs chosen in the first round. The Atlanta Falcons with the #6 overall pick got exactly who they wanted without having to move up, in OL Jake Matthews. He should be locking down the left side of the line for the next 10 to 12 years in Atlanta, keeping Matt Ryan upright, something that did not happen last year.
Winners on the day had to include Clowney (whenever you go #1overall, that is a huge financial and emotional win), the Jags and the Giants (who grabbed the speedy Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU). And although a case can definitely be made that Watkins is the best WR in this year’s draft class, wideouts are deeper this year than in the last couple of decades. The Bills paid an awful lot to move up and grab him in the #4 spot. That move would have to be considered one of the losers on the day, as well as the Lions selecting talented TE Eric Ebron with the #10 pick overall. That team needs drastic help in the defensive backfield, they also need at least one pass rusher, and already have one TE that likes to drop the ball. Why add another pass-dropper, and why so early?
The Rams are looking super solid so far, getting their second pick at the #13 spot and selecting one of the best defensive players in the entire draft. They nabbed Aaron Donald, DT out of Pittsburgh. As far as Round 2 previews, there is still some incredible talent left out there. Notre Dame’s Louis Nix and Minnesota’s Ra’Shede Hageman are 2 monster DTs that probably will not last very long in the second round. The same has to be said for USC WR Marqise Lee, a talent admired by many teams at the combine. The speedster was predicted to go in the middle of the first round, and it is amazing he is still available. Another big surprise is the fact that Derek Carr, QB , Fresno State, is still waiting to hear his name called. Many scouts had this prolific touchdown passer as the best overall quarterback in the entire draft this year.
Look for RBs to continue to slide, but a couple at least will go in the second round. The Houston Texans get things started once again in Round 2, and may look to add Ohio state’s Carlos Hyde as an RB to spell Arian Foster. Next up are the Redskins and Browns, who could go OT Morgan Moses and WR Marqise Lee respectively. The Oakland Raiders are desperate in many positions, but our choice here is QB Carr. The Falcons will probably be looking for defensive help with the fifth pick in the second round, but could also replace HOFer Tony Gonzalez with Texas Tech’s TE Jace Amaro. The St. Louis Rams have the 12th pick in the second round, making a very desirable three overall picks in the first 44 spots. If Carr is still out there, look for the Rams to add the Fresno State signal caller, but if not, they would be ecstatic with QB Jimmy Garoppolo of the Eastern Illinois Panthers. NFL Draft Round 2 kicks off at 7 PM EST Friday, May 9th.