Day 1 of the 2014 draft is in the books. The top 10 by position were mostly on the offensive side of the ball – 4 skill players, 4 protection players. There were only 2 defense players taken. Of the top 10, 2 players, including the only QB, were from small conference schools. The other 8 are from major conferences. Let’s look at who were the top 10 players and where they landed.
1) Jadeveon Clowney, DE from South Carolina by the Houston Texans. This is one of the most explosive defensive players in college football. He will be a solid compliment to JJ Watt.
2) Greg Robinson, OT from Auburn by the St. Louis Rams. Sam Bradford will have a little more protection on the offensive line. Will it make enough of a difference for him to be the QB he was at Oklahoma? Can the Rams move beyond mediocre now?
3) Blake Bortles, QB from the University of Central Florida by the Jacksonville Jaguars. This was by far the biggest and shock of the night. Johnny “Football” Manziel was expected to be the first QB pick, but instead, he intently looked on as Blake walked on the stage. Jacksonville now has a quarterback, and a Floridian – this should bring some fans back, for at least the first month. Side note: Discussion on the radio has been that Johnny didn’t want to go to Jacksonville because there’s not much to do in the town. Really. Perhaps the Jags didn’t want the circus to come to town.
4) Sammy Watkins, WR from Clemson University by the Buffalo Bills. Sammy will join fellow Clemson Tiger and Floridian, RB CJ Spiller, and will be catching the ball from his former Florida State foe, EJ Manuel. Buffalo fans, look for this to be a year building on last year’s positive play.
5) Khalil Mack, OLB from SUNY Buffalo by the Oakland Raiders. Mack should give the Raiders’ defense a much needed boost. It’s not enough to give them a winning team. Sorry Mack, but you have a rough few years ahead of you.
6) Jake Matthews, OT from Texas A&M by the Atlanta Falcons. YAY for Matty Ice! He will have some great protection on his offensive line. Just ask Johnny Football. Jake, call Cousin Clay for some advice on today’s NFL.
7) Mike Evans, WR from Texas A&M by Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs are in need of a play maker. If you ever watched Evans play in A&M, he definitely made Johnny Football’s play better. A close 2nd to Watkins, Evans will be exciting to watch this fall. Tampa area residents – go to some games next year!
8) Justin Gilbert, DB (Cornerback) from Oklahoma State by the Cleveland Browns. The Browns need defense, but the talk on the radio is that he’s only OK. Let’s see how he shows up. Cleveland is hanging on the edge of good and crappy, so here’s hoping this kid will be an impact player.
9) Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA by the Minnesota Vikings. It’s great that they added some protection to their offensive line, but I’m not convinced this will help the real problem of the Vikings offense – their lack of having a quality quarterback. However, by picking up Bridgewater at the end of round 1, the Vikings may make use of Barr’s skills.
10) Eric Ebron, TE, University of North Carolina by the Detroit Lions. Perhaps someone with some power and great hands will be the compliment to Megatron that Matt Stafford needs to finally lead Detroit to success in the playoffs.
Other notable picks:
- #21 Ha Ha Clinton Dix to the Green Bay Packers. Listening to his name will add another layer of fun to watching the Packers.
- The Cleveland Browns traded up to pick Johnny Manziel at #22. So will he beat out Hoyer for the starting job or will he be the fans favorite bench warmer?
- With the last pick of the night (#32), Minnesota shows a spark of life drafting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater out of Louisville, one of the favorites of NFL analysts.
Will any of this matter? When I look at the top 10-12 players in the draft classes of the last 3 years, I would say yes. Take a look and you’ll see some names we hear often and many teams who have improved in the last 3 years.
Ultimately, drafts are about the offensive linemen and building a defense. Skill players (QBs, WRs, RBs) transferring from college to pros are unique and hard to find, with quarterbacks being the hardest. When you look at the draft classes of the last 10 years, there are 2-3 QBs still playing or who contributed much. The exception could be the 2012 class. Andrew Luck, #1 overall, is so far playing very well in Indianapolis and of course, Russell Wilson, #75 overall, led the Seahawks to a Super Bowl win and NFL Championship, proving to everyone that where you are drafted doesn’t matter nearly as much as how you play. However, their draft classmates are maybes: RG3 is a maybe in Washington, Ryan Tannehill is a maybe in Miami, Brandon Weeden is a maybe in Dallas; he didn’t make it in Cleveland, but still has a small chance backing up constantly injured Romo. Nick Foles did well last year in Philadelphia. Will he next year? Maybe. Kirk Cousins is still a maybe, although he appears to be destined for life as a back up to his draft classmates. The biggest unknown is Brock Osweiler because he is still sitting on the bench…next to Peyton Manning.
Round one of the draft is in the books. Six more rounds to go and then the clock is on for the NFL season opener!
Source on past draft classes: www.nfl.com/draft/history/fulldraft