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Two NFC teams were hit hardest by injuries last year. One already set the AGL record in 2016, while the other has a coach with the worst AGL since 2002. Also: the Rams' incredible bill of health in L.A., and Tampa Bay's questionable injury reporting.

09 May 2014

Audibles: 2014 NFL Draft Day One

compiled by Andrew Potter

For this year's NFL Draft, we're bringing in our usual in-season Audibles at the Line feature, combining our Twitter feeds with e-mail discussion. Both Friday and Saturday morning, we'll have a selection of tweets from us and a few reader tweets we found particularly insightful. To follow these tweets live during the first three rounds of the draft, or to contribute your own thoughts or a question for the FO staff, you can use hashtag #FOAud. We then also had an e-mail conversation among the staff writers after the first round of the draft was over.

After both Thursday and Friday, we will compile a digest of tweets and e-mails to produce this feature. By its nature, it can be disjointed, not entirely grammatically correct, and dissimilar to the other articles on the site.

Audibles is still being written from our point of view, meaning the comments in this feature are often written from a fan perspective as much as an analyst perspective; in order to properly accuse FO writers of bias, please check our FAQ.


Tom Gower: Weird, the team with the first pick selects the most talented player in the draft.
Rivers McCown: So now that this is settled, what's the trade-up cost for Bridgewater or Manziel?
Scott Kacsmar: Greg Robinson to the Rams. Can't be any worse than Jason Smith, right?
Tom Gower: It's not taking a punter in the third round, but as a Titans fan I'm A-OK with the Jaguars taking Bortles at #3.
Rivers McCown: It's a good thing we gave these teams the extra two weeks to overthink things.
@TCBullfrog: Note to all future mock drafters—always be sure to put in a huge mistake by Jacksonville in your mock
Aaron Schatz: Seriously. If we judge not based on how players develop, but on whether teams get value with picks, Cleveland just won the night.
Aaron Schatz: Oh, I like you Khalil Mack. Please don't fall to the "Raiders first-rounders never develop quite right" curse.
@MilkmanDanimal: I am perfectly OK with the Mike Evans pick in that I am not vomiting obscenities like Manziel would have caused.
@matthew_carley: Gilbert makes CLE a sick pair of corners. Gilbert toys with WRs as he runs downfield, so talented. He clowns about a bit, but he can.
Ben Muth: The Titans want their offense to be a terrible hotel room with great water pressure in the shower.
@matthew_carley: Good lord, the Rams line is Quinn, Brockers, Donald and Long. The second Fearsome Foursome. Terrifying.
Aaron Schatz: Yes, but can they sing?
Danny Tuccitto: identifying teddy bridgewater as best QB in the draft: $100k. drafting johnny manziel instead: priceless.
@MilkmanDanimal: Unless scouts discovered multiple hobo corpses in Teddy Bridgewater's crawl space, this makes no sense.
Scott Kacsmar: Before the season (hell, after too) Bridgewater was the top QB and Clowney was the best defender. Texans could get them both. Damn.
Danny Tuccitto: If all these smart people I follow are right, congrats to MIN for escaping mediocrity.


Aaron Schatz: I think the first round really once again highlighted the value of trading down. I love what Cleveland did, picking up a first-round pick next year to go down five spots. What are the odds Buffalo actually finally puts up a winning record next year? Not really very good. And Cleveland ended up getting the CB they wanted anyway. And Seattle trading out of 32 made a ton of sense. I've got to think that the offensive lineman they need will still be there at 40.

I'm not an expert on the talent quality of these kids but the pick that had me scratching my head was Jimmie Ward to San Francisco. They took a free safety last year in the first round and they just signed Antoine Bethea to play strong safety. I've got to think they're planning to use Ward at nickel some, or else it doesn't seem like the best use of resources.

One other thought: That Minnesota trade has to be killing Texans fans. I don't know if Houston's front office planned on taking Bridgewater 33rd, but I do know they need a quarterback and the consensus best quarterback left is Derek Carr, the player Houston fans absolutely, positively do not want to root for.

Rivers McCown: When I sit down with the Texans FOA chapter, I hope to break the record for number of expletives edited. Just telling you now.

Danny Tuccitto: Agreed. SF using Ward as a slot corner is the only way that pick makes sense...or at least is (perhaps) better than trading down at that spot.

The only opinion I have that I didn't post on Twitter is that it seems like most of the smart punditry out there has concluded that the Browns' QB analysis leak was a smokescreen, and therefore it was Barzini -- err, Manziel -- all along. Yet, if that's true, my thought is "Seriously? Deception-based arbitrage at No. 22 when the remaining 10 teams in the first round (at the time of the leak) are never taking a QB? Seems like being too cute by half."

Tom Gower: I liked Cleveland trading down. I don't like that they paid a higher price to move up from 26 to 22 than New Orleans did to go from 27 to 20.

I liked that Houston and St. Louis didn't overthink themselves with the first two picks.

I liked that Minnesota went up and got the quarterback they wanted with the 32nd pick.

I didn't like that New England paid first-round guarantee money for a major injury risk instead of taking him in the second round where they've taken all their big injury risks (Ras-I Dowling, Rob Gronkowski, didn't Patrick Chung come out as an injury concern, probably others I'm missing off the top of my head as well).

I think the Titans made the weirdest move of the first round when they took a tackle after they already have their two starting tackles. And after signing Michael Oher to a big deal, they won't be benching him. GM Ruston Webster apparently cited Seattle's difficulties replacing Walter Jones as part of the reasoning for the pick. I get Michael Roos is older and 2014 is his last year under contract, but there's a difference between reasonable planning for the future and going overboard in need avoidance and I think the Titans crossed the line.

Beyond that, it's all about how good the players were and where they were chosen. I certainly have my opinion on those things (Ja'Wuan James at 19?!), but insert the old line about the value of opinions.

Cian Fahey: Teddy is clearly the best value for me. I think it will be hard for them to start Matt Cassel over him after watching both in camp. In that offense, with Kalil, Peterson, Rudolph, Patterson, Jennings, Wright, Sullivan, they can immediately become very good.

The Gilbert pick was bemusing and I didn't really like the trade down from the Browns. Obviously they got a great price, but they also passed on a great receiver who would have perfectly complemented Josh Gordon and made their offense so difficult to deal with when you add Manziel.

Picks are great, but acquiring superstar talent immediately is always better.

No idea what the Jaguars are doing. Bortles is going to take a long time to be a quality starter in my opinion and I'm not sure he'll ever be that. Not to mention the other quarterbacks fit their offense much better.

Scott Kacsmar: I like Mack falling to the Raiders, Matthews in Atlanta, Ebron in Detroit, Mosley in Baltimore, Clinton-Dix in Green Bay and Dennard in Cincinnati. A lot of good fits by teams who just stayed where they were and let the pieces fall. Minnesota trading up for Bridgewater was a great ending to the night. I didn't think they could get out of the first round with passing on both Bridgewater and Manziel. They had to get a QB and they did it with the guy most thought was the best one in this draft. The pro day reaction was absurd and I'm happy the kid can say he's a first-rounder. Also good to see Mike Zimmer's not going to be a defensive tyrant and ignore the most important position in the game. Cleveland had a fun night and certainly a great trade with Buffalo, because you just know that 2015 first-round pick is going to be a high one. It's Buffalo, for crying out loud. I don't know if Manziel will translate to the NFL, but should be fun to see him try in a defensive division.

Now for what I didn't like, or downright hated at times. The Steelers seemingly have used the 15th pick in the draft to replace Larry Foote at inside linebacker. I have no clue what they were thinking. They have three first-round picks at linebacker and Jason Worilds was a second-round pick. That should be enough at one unit. You don't need two good interior linebackers, because in an ideal scenario, Worilds and Jarvis Jones would play outside and Timmons is still young and productive. The holes on the defensive line and in the secondary are far more pressing and should have been addressed instead. Notice how four safeties went in the first round. I'm not sure there have been four first-round safeties in the last four drafts combined. That's the Seahawks' success having an impact on the league.

I'm not a big fan of the Buccaneers taking Mike Evans. I'm just not sure we'll ever see him reach his full potential now that he's in a Lovie offense with a WR1 that's basically his prototype in Vincent Jackson. I believe in WR's filling complementary roles and they have two guys who are very similar as their starters now. I think Sammy Watkins in Tampa Bay and Mike Evans in Buffalo actually would make those offenses better. People brought up Josh McCown's success with two big guys (Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery) in Chicago, but I don't think that's the greatest comparison to what a Jackson-Evans duo will bring. Marshall catches a lot of short passes and isn't the greatest deep threat. Tampa Bay basically has the San Diego setup with Jackson and Malcom Floyd, but Evans is far better than Floyd. That offense worked, but it also had a great tight end (TB's lacking here) and Rivers loved to check down to an elite receiving back. So I'm just not too thrilled with where Evans and Watkins landed.

Cian Fahey: Aaron Donald in between Michael Brockers and Robert Quinn = OH MY GOD!

Scott Kacsmar: Agree with Cian that Watkins in Cleveland would have been a nice pick. Again, complementary roles. Patriots had the perfect "high and low" setup with Randy Moss and Wes Welker. You run Josh Gordon deep and intermediate with Watkins underneath and Cameron at tight end, and they could have still got Johnny Manziel later to manage that trio.

Aaron Schatz: Honestly, there's a reasonable chance that Cleveland gets a very good possession receiver when they have, oh, let's say... the ninth and 12th picks in 2015. It's not Watkins vs. Gilbert. It's Watkins vs. Gilbert and a top 12 pick next year.

Danny Tuccitto: I'll go ahead and agree with Cian that Teddy was best value, and with Tom that Lewan pick was a first-round solution to a later-round problem.

Scott Kacsmar: All I know is this is the first time I actually am looking forward to the start of a Cleveland Browns season. Just on building hype and interest alone they've nailed things.

Rivers McCown: Didn't St. Louis announce they were playing Robinson at guard? That seems overthink-ery to me.

I liked the Mike Evans pick. Chris Owusu was No. 2 on the wideout depth chart. That seems like a "kill it with fire"-type scenario, regardless of possible skill set duplication.

Matt Hinton: As a college guy you learn quickly to separate college production from pro potential – you won't hear me fulminating on the fate of, say, Tajh Boyd – but the reality of Teddy Bridgewater bumping up against the second round truly boggles the mind. I had assumed reports of his stock falling out of the top dozen or so picks were silly-season filler, or (at worst) some kind of lame attempt at behind-the-scenes gamesmanship from front offices.

It's one thing to scrutinize a guy's size or level of competition, or even his accuracy after he just finished leading the nation in completion percentage. In this case, though, they seem to have conjured a bear market out of thin air. And it worked, because none of those concerns existed four months ago, the last time Bridgewater played in an actual game. (He was brilliant in that game, too, for the record.) Which is what made them so hard to take seriously until Thursday night.

How does a guy who walked off the field as the presumptive number one pick on December wind up barely slipping in under the gun in May without having taken a single snap in between?

Rivers McCown: Small knees. Not being the "face of the franchise." A bad pro day. Small hands.

Putting aside the fact that I am peeved that the Texans didn't deem him worthy of a trade-up for a second, this is something that Matt Waldman has been harping about for a while now. The standards imposed on him have been utterly ridiculous. I am very curious as to what teams know that we don't that is informing this decision in a rational way. If there is anything like that, anyway.

Danny Tuccitto: Might I suggest the "emperor has no clothes" explanation?

Scott Kacsmar: Right after Mayock put down the Bridgewater pro day, he even brought up how amazing JaMarcus Russell was at his. So Mayock basically gave the foundation for "We're talking about pro days?" in all its Allen Iverson glory, yet he seemed to take it seriously. Bridgewater dropped from his No. 1 quarterback to being tied with Mettenberger at No. 5, all after a pro day and without any further real games being played. He also seems to have used the bad pro day to further scrutinize the tape. I don't know how he could have possibly seen enough to make such a drastic change in his rankings, so either he just does this stuff to drive ratings and attention to NFL Network, or it's true that no one knows what the hell they're talking about when it comes to scouting draft prospects.

Vince Verhei: Biggest winners:

Cleveland, for sure. They got a quarterback and a great defender/kick returner AND they added a high first-round pick for next year.

St. Louis. You could argue they had the league's top D-line last year, and now they are even stronger.

Biggest losers:

Buffalo. You gave up two firsts and a fourth for a wide receiver? In a draft that is filled with quality wideouts? At a position where you don't need a great guy to win a championship? Bewildering.

Biggest winner and loser:

Houston. Picking Clowney was absolutely the right move, and I can't wait to see what the Texans defense looks like next year. But then they got so, so, so close to Bridgewater, only to let him slip through their fingers. It's not like Seattle had kept their plans secret. Everyone knew they were trading down, and it's not as if they couldn't have beaten Minnesota's offer.

Scott Kacsmar: Fixing an earlier stat: there were four safeties drafted in the first round tonight. From 2009-12, there were just two (Eric Berry and Earl Thomas in 2010). After Seattle started getting widespread praise for its secondary in 2012, you saw three go last season (Vaccaro, Reid and Elam). So that's four this year, five in the previous five drafts combined for round 1. We saw a similar push with five in 2006-07 following the success of Pittsburgh (Troy Polamalu) and Baltimore (Ed Reed).

Ben Muth: This was the first year I can remember where I was really beaten down by all the pre-draft coverage. Between the Clowney and Bridgewater nitpicking,the extra two weeks of mock drafts, and everything else that goes into draft coverage in 2014, I just wanted to get the thing over with so I could focus more on the Angels' horrific bullpen. Then of course the draft actually started and I really enjoyed it, so once again the NFL wins.

I was rooting for the Cardinals to get Manziel but I knew it was a long shot because Arians seems to love big QBs. Once they traded down I was happy with the Bucannon pick. I've always liked safeties that can come up and thump when they need to and Bucannon can certainly do that. If he turns out to be 80 percent of the player Adrian Wilson was it will be a great pick.

One thing that surprised me is that I really didn't like any of the OL picks except for Mathews to Atlanta. No. 2 overall is awfully early for a guy that you don't trust to pass block enough to start him at tackle. I had no idea that the Titans felt their roster was so complete that the could take another OL that might not even start.

I know everyone loves Zach Martin, though anything Mayock says about ND kids needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but like I said on twitter, I just don't like a team going OL in the 1st three times in four years. If you're drafting an OL in the 1st round, you're expecting that guy to be around pro bowl caliber within that 1st contract. Martin probably doesn't make their line any better this year (rookies are rarely better than average starters) and after that you probably end up moving him to right tackle which will be another year of adjustment. So if things go really well for him, you finally get an above average starter in year three when Romo will be 36. Then Martin's contract is up two years later and you have a tough decision. You're already paying big money to Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick when Martin becomes a free agent (assuming Frederick fulfills the promise he showed this year), can you afford to spend big money on a third OL?

Rob Weintraub: You guys hit most of it. I wasn't wild about Ebron to Detroit, or Tennessee going Lewan there, and much as I like him personally, Dee Ford at 23 was a bit of a stretch for a one-dimensional player. Vikings made a great move as mentioned, but apparently they were trying desperately to trade up to 22 for JFF themselves. Seems like if they wanted him that badly they could have gotten him earlier. Of course, given the nature of sports, Teddy will be fab and Manziel will not. And the Browns going into Philly's pick prevented the Eagles from taking Dennard, thus leaving him for Cincy, so I'm happy about that. He was reportedly No. 8 on Cincy's overall board, so nice to get him at 24 of course.

Maybe the worst thing to come out of the draft are the tremendously high ratings the show got on ESPN and NFLN. So start planning your Memorial Day weekends around the draft starting soon!

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 09 May 2014

83 comments, Last at 22 May 2014, 6:51pm by liquidmuse3


by Lyford :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 11:02am

...New England paid first-round guarantee money for a major injury risk ...

Is a repaired ACL more or less likely to rupture than a non-repaired ACL? Does anyone know? With Easley having had both knees go, I'm wondering if there wasn't something congenital/genetic that made him susceptible to that injury, that maybe he won't be going forward after having had them repaired.

by akn :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 12:36pm

There's a lot of variability and bias in studies around ACL re-injury, but the general picture (for elite athletes in pivoting sports) is this:

1) Re-injury of the reconstructed ACL is slightly higher (~2x-4x). This has less to do with the strength/mechanics of the reconstructed ACL, and more to do with the way the athlete naturally plays. They are usually more inclined towards high-risk moves and less inclined to protect themselves--it is very hard to change this because it is mostly instinctual. This is even more of an issue with athletes who suffer non-contact tears (I'm not sure if Easley's were non-contact).

2) Injury of the contralateral (non-ruptured) ACL is much higher (~5x-12x). Either the player changes his/her mechanics to compensate for the altered mechanics of the reconstructed knee, or the player fails to rehab the uninjured knee as intensely as the injured knee, putting the uninjured knee at risk. That is why most athletes injure the contralateral knee within a few years of the first injury (like Easley).

3) There are congenital anomalies associated with ACLs (some people don't even have them to begin with), but there's really no way to predetermine risk, and no way to separate that risk from the risk of playing high-level pivoting sports. Presumably, the process of becoming an elite level athlete weeds out those at the highest risk from a congenital issue.

4) The biggest long term concern is arthritis. Most people forget that in addition to stabilizing the knee, ligaments protect meniscus and articular cartilage as well. The worst ligament injuries are those that involve these structures. Every bit of damage that happens to them accelerates the inflammatory processes that eat away the cartilage and leads to arthritic changes. Arthritis is leading cause for retirement. I don't know if either of Easley's injuries involved the meniscus, but having two of them so early accelerates that arthritis clock.

by Karl Cuba :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 1:00pm

I think both of Easely's injuries were non-contact.

by BursaChat :: Mon, 05/12/2014 - 6:24pm
by Lyford :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 8:47pm

Thanks for the info.

by armchair journe... :: Sat, 05/10/2014 - 12:46am

@akn, don't forget the all-too-common phenemenon of "coming back too early"... returning to high-intensity activities before the supporting muscles have returned to full-strength (after the post-op atrophy)


by drobviousso :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 11:13am

With the Shazier pick, I'm willing to bet that Pittsburgh is committing to the 2-4-5 nickle package instead of the 3-3-5. I'd much rather see their fourth LB on the field than their third lineman, given their current roster.

by Scott Kacsmar :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 11:40am

They were in 2-3-6 so much last year it's hard to even think of them as a standard 3-4 anymore. They seem to like Shamarko. Keisel and Heyward were mostly used up front. Polamalu played in the box so much that you might as well say Shazier is a bulkier true LB version of him and Troy can drop back more (which might not necessarily be a good thing since he's prone to bad guesses in coverage).

If Sean Spence (just a third-round pick in 2012) doesn't have that brutal knee injury, then this pick never happens. To me, Shazier just seems like a healthy version of the type of player they targeted in Spence to play inside. He will not be an OLB in this defense.

by drobviousso :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 12:11pm

Right. Its a 2-3-6 if Polamalu is counted as a DB, and 2-4-5 if he's treated as a LB. Whatever the lexicon, this will probably get everyone playing in their natural positions, which is reason #1 that I'm happy with this pick.

The only real criteria I have is that the team doesn't overspend to get an asset (a la Jacksonville), and if the guy they wanted was going to be picked by the Cowboys next, I'm good.

I'm pretty well convinced that trying to judge the quality of a player on draft day is a fools errant, but looking at his phenotype and trying to figure how how it fits with the team is worth talking about. So I'm probably happier with this pick than many Pittsburgh fans. I can see the need for an ILB that can run more than another receiver.

by drobviousso :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 12:21pm

Auto-correct strikes again.

by rageon :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 11:17am

We spent the last month hearing about how pro days mean nothing, but then Bridgewater drops, presumably because of a pro day.

Was looking through Kiper's past "big boards" and positional rankings, and noticed that from October 2013 through April 2014, he had Bridgewater as his top QB and fairly high overall (generally about 10th). Then over the course of the last 2 weeks, he moves him to the 4th QB and 29th overall. Kiper is just one example, but I have to assume there are tons of other "experts" who did the exact same thing. So what happened? Even the pro day argument should have changed opinions back in March if it was actually going to. Is this just media groupthink? Is it people changing their opinions to make predictions of what teams will do (isn't that was mock drafts are for)?

by Will Allen :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 11:46am

It may be an example of how groupthink matures with time. Reportedly, Bridgewater really threw well for Zimmer and Norv in a private workout. Norv Turner knows infinitely more about NFL quarterbacking than I do, and for all his limits as a head coach, the qbs he's had have done well, and speak extremely highly of his qb training. If Turner is excited about working with the guy, then I guess I'll refrain from being a pessimist.

by Noah Arkadia :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 11:52am

I think they change their boards to reflect what they think will happen, instead of what they think should happen. With seemingly the entire NFL (and Will!) down on him, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. Those guys aim to nail the mocks, they don't care what happens five years from now.

Who, me?

by BucNasty :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 2:42pm

I dunno, nailing a mock draft is all well and good, but when you make your living as an expert on assessing the quality of draft prospects it seems far better for your career to be able to say things like "in 2014, I had so-and-so as the top guy on my board" and be right about it than to just go along with the groupthink.

by Jeff M. :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 11:21am

On the Niners picking Jimmie Ward, it seems to me that they like to play a lot of 2-high looks, but Bethea is pretty much a "box-only" player. They may go with a 3-safety package a lot with Reid and Ward deep and Bethea in the box--which would particularly make sense as they can use him to replace some of what Bowman gives them during the time he misses.

by DavidL :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 11:31am

What's the read on the Eagles drafting Marcus Smith with the 25th pick? I know they have to be hating Ted Thompson for taking Clinton-Dix right ahead of them regardless of Smith's merits, but am I the only one here rending my hair over that pick on its own terms? Because I hate it.

by chemical burn :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 3:25pm

It's awful. There literally hasn't yet been a personnel decision made by the Kelly regime that I've been impressed by (not to say I think they only made bad moves, just a mix of bad and fine, almost inevitable decisions) and this might take the cake as the most indefensible move they've yet made. If the Raiders or Jags made this pick, laughing at them would take up a good portion of these audibles. Add in their whiff wasting a Top 5 pick on Lane Johnson last year (whose tenuous ascent to sub-mediocrity for a handful games at the end of last year is inexplicably being hailed in some circles) and I just can't help but loathe this latest pick. I have a bad feeling that Kelly squeaked a team built by Reid into the playoffs by having extreme injury luck in comparison to the 4-12 team, not the least of which was lucking into the QB he deemed a backup being miles and miles better than his anointed starter. Johnson and Smith has the makings of one of those drafting runs that you look at in retrospect and say "no wonder that franchise was underwater for half a decade..." If Smith had been snagged late in the 3rd round, I might have said to myself "awesome, a chance at some nice value there." As it stands, it looks like a classic senile Al Davis move...

by theslothook :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 3:34pm

Are we sure it's kelly making the personnel decisions? Plus, from an outsider, I think Kelly may be to offense what Rex is to defense.

by chemical burn :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 4:09pm

That's why I said Kelly regime. But considering his rep for being a totalitarian in the locker room, I find it hard to believe he's not the loudest voice in the room on almost any possible subject. So I don't blame him directly, you're right we don't know what's what, but since it has no longer been Reid's team, the personnel decisions have been at best questionable. And at worst, franchise-killing.

by mjb :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 3:45pm

From the things Roseman and Kelly are saying in the media is that the 6 players they targeted with the 22nd pick were already drafted by the time they were on the clock. So they traded back and hoped that the top pass-rusher left on thier board slipped to them (he didn't, Kansas City took him with the 23rd pick).

So when they came back around to being on the clock again with the 26th pick they were talking about trading back again. But didn't because they didn't want to loose out on taking the best pass-rusher left on thier board. So they took Marcus Smith, and as an Eagles fan I am fine with that. Because I think that they might be right that Smith would have been taken before they drafted again. Better to get the guy you want when you can, then to pass them by an hope no one else had him rated as highly as you did.

by chemical burn :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 4:21pm

That would be fine, if they had displayed any capacity for talent evaluation: Lane Johnson, Bradley Fletcher, Cary Williams, Patrick Chung, Malcolm Jenkins, letting DeSean Jackson leave for Maclin to be 1A, Trent Cole as OLB, Vick as starter, Nate Allen ever seeing the field - there's not a personnel decision in there that would unquestionable qualify as "good." Several of them are defensible (although I would defend exactly zero of them) so why I should be excited that they swooped in for a guy with a 3rd round grade who was doing the dreaded "late surge up the boards?" The teams has holes all over its defense and a few bigs ones at o-line and arguably at WR - if they didn't have any more guys with first round grades on their list, they SHOULD have traded out of the first round altogether, that's something Reid's crew absolutely would have done. They reached hugely for a pick and the only way you should be comfortable defending that is if they had a good track record with their personnel, which they don't. At all. The one and only first round pick they've made is another "project pick" who verges on being a bust. If they collect 3 or 4 of those, you're looking at something comparable to a classic Jags/Raiders drafting run.

by chemical burn :: Sat, 05/10/2014 - 12:22am

... Aaaaaand now they take a guy in the 3rd round who had mainly 6th round grades. Super. It's not like this is one of the deepest drafts for WR in history and that guy might have still been around later. At least SackSEER and Playmaker score don't like a single one of the Eagles' picks! That's something, right? They must be sitting on 3 JPP"s!

by Sifter :: Sat, 05/10/2014 - 5:32am

Hah, well you're definitely a glass half-empty Eagles fan, but I hear what you're saying. I'm concerned too that the Eagles are spending too much time looking for specific, scheme friendly players rather than just picking talent. eg. Josh Huff fits Kelly's scheme, mainly because he played in it. Marcus Smith is apparently exactly the type of defender that Bill Davis wants, yet Davis couldn't find a way to use Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry, both high draft picks who have both flashed ability in their brief times off the bench. This is meant to be one of the deepest drafts in years with record amounts of underclassmen declaring, yet the Eagles have been so unimpressed with the talent that they've traded back in both the first and third rounds.
This type of drafting requires a lot of faith in the coaching. Chip Kelly's definitely got a pass right now because of last year, but if there is a lull this year then it won't take long for opinion to turn because some of these personnel decisions will definitely be scrutinized. But I have zero faith in Bill Davis as DC, his defensive record is very spotty. I can only find one above average D he's been associated with (ARZ 09) since 2002, as the Falcons LB coach...

by chemical burn :: Sat, 05/10/2014 - 12:02pm

This is a great comment and pinpoints exactly the problem here: Lane Johnson, Marcus Smith and that Oregon WR they took are all the kind of "project picks" that reek of a coach wanting his kind of athlete, which isn't necessarily bad, but this year's draft contains a huge amount of inefficiency. They would have still ben around in the next round and possibly several rounds later. It's baffling to me that Kelly gets a pass and, as you mention, that Davis gets a pass when they've accomplished basically nothing - I'm not a glass half-full fan, I just respect that the success Andy Reid had in Philly is far from a given and am sorta stunned how little criticism is being thrown Kelly/Roseman's way. And you're absolutely right that the underutilization of Vinny Curry on a defense as bad as 2013's squad is troubling - it's another talent evaluation black mark for them. Curry would light it up and all we'd hear from the coaches was "he's not an every down player." Well, guess what the every down players are fielding a pass defense ranked 25th in DVOA, maybe should they all be on the field less and Curry would be hard pressed to make them worse...

by Coaldale Joe :: Sat, 05/10/2014 - 10:36am

What are you smoking ? Andy Reid's middle name is Reach. Jaiquan Jarrett, Curtis Marsh, Daniel Te'o Neisham, Casey Mathews, Trevard Lindley, Chris Gocong, Matt McCoy. Those were all WTF ? picks when Reid made them.

I'll grant you that Fletcher and Williams aren't Pro Bowl players, but they were light years better than DRC and Nnamdi, and they were cheap. Yeah, Patrick Chung didn't work out, but he was a pretty cheap one year deal, who cares. It's way too early to declare Lane Johnson a bust, and I've never heard anyone else even mention that possibility, so I'm not sure where you are coming from on that one.

by chemical burn :: Sat, 05/10/2014 - 11:52am

All the players you listed were third round and lower. You should have at least thrown Danny Watkins in there to make your case. As for Lane Johnson being a bust, watch the final Dallas game again and tell me that's a dude who deserves to be on the field in the nfl. They were flipping Peters to RT by the end of the game! And also do me another favor and watch some highlights of this year's 1st rounder: you will not feel good.

by mjb :: Wed, 05/14/2014 - 11:15am

Dude, you don't know what you are talking about. The Eagles often used Unbalanced line formations (where one of the OTs would shift to the other side of the field, Jason Peters would line up at RT when they lined up heavy to the right, and Lane Johnson would line up between LT Peters and LG Mathis when they lined up heavy to the left). When the Eagles were shifting Peters to the right he still had Lane Johnson lined up next to him (the line being TE-Celek, LG-Mathis, C-Kelce, RG-Herremans, RT-Johnson, RT-Peters). Don't try to use a common formation that the Eagles use multiple times throughout the season to attempt to create mismatches as some sort of justification that Johnson isn't any good.

Lane Johnson is still relatively new to the position and is still learning to play OT. He consistently got better throughout the season, and if this progression continues he is likely going to be better than the two other OTs drafted before him.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 11:40am

Obviously, I hope all you guys are right about Bridgewater, and the Vikings did a good job of picking up a 5th rounder by stepping back one spot in the first, and then swapping their 4th rounder to move up 8 spots to get Bridgewater.

It really seems to me, however, that the bottom of the 1st or top of the 2nd is about Bridgewater's value. I haven't seen him play a ton, but when I did, I saw a somewhat slight qb who doesn't have a great arm when going down field more than 15 yards. Maybe he'll get better with NFL coaching, and maybe he'll be great at the line of scrimmage presnap, and in locating the right guy to throw to. I think it is kind of hard to project that based on his level of college competition, however.

Also, Sammy Watkins better be freakin' great, to justify his price tag.

by BJR :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 12:16pm

Yeah, I think the anti-anti-Bridgewater angle is being a little overdone here; it's not like he's fallen to the third round or anything like that. The discrepancy between Bortles at 3 and him at 32 looks large and will no doubt make for a great narrative throughout their careers, but really very few of those teams picking in between 3 and 32 were in the market for a QB.

I agree that some of the concerns about Bridgewater that have been published recently seem a little contrived, but in reality the principle reason behind him 'dropping' to the end of the first round is a relatively deep QB class with relatively few teams in desperate need at the position. QB hungry teams like the Vikings and Browns knew they could wait.

by bravehoptoad :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 12:20pm

Did you notice Matt Millen was really down on Cleveland's decision to pass on Watkins? Two firsts and a fourth weren't worth such a game changer, in Millen's view.

Considering his record with first-round wide receivers, how could he say that without his ears burning off in shame?

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 12:30pm

Matt Millen has developed quite a psychological defense when it comes to ignoring/forgetting his own incompetence.

by herewegobrownie... :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 11:20pm

Sure enough, Burleson fractures his arm (the pizza-carrying arm? He should be fine by the season, though) and the Browns still ignore the WR position through the late 3rd.

by herewegobrownie... :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 9:17pm

It may in fact have been a bad decision if the rumors on Josh Gordon are true, and doubly a bad decision if Farmer et al knew going into last night (and continued to pass on a WR at 35, and Ebron at 9.)

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 11:52am

Lions fans by and large hate the Ebron pick, and analysts seem split. My question is who else should they have taken? If they drafted for need, it would have been a huge reach at #10. (I suppose they could have tried to trade down). One of the Lions' biggest holes was a complement for Megatron. Golden Tate was a start to close that hole, and Ebron (if he pans out) closes it completely. My only qualm is that they re-signed Pettigrew (I wish they didn't do that no matter who they wanted to take).

by Will Allen :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 12:04pm

Like the Vikings, the Lions might provide a very instructive clinic in the value of coaching. No, I don't think Caldwell is great, but I do think it is distinctly possible that he will get Stafford to take a much more professional approach to his job, and get the other guys to stop playing like idiots. If that happens, then getting a good te to pair with Johnson and Tate, with a fabuloulsy talented, and now disciplined qb, and a roster that no longer does as many really stupid things, may have a huge payoff. Throwing up an average of 24 points every first half, with a physical, now smart, defense to pair with, is a pretty good recipe for 12 wins.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 12:32pm

Agreed on all counts. It became clear to me by mid-2012 that the Lions had a talented team whose potential was being wasted by poor coaching/preparation. As underwhelming as the Caldwell hire may have been, the team might get a significant bump from an injection of professionalism.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 12:56pm

What I think people miss about coaching evaluation is that everybody isn't going to be Bill Parcells in his prime, who can be parachuted into any city, and get guys to play to their potential. A coach who is a horrible or mediocre fit for one roster, can be above average for another. I think it's pretty obvious that is you gave Caldwell the 2004 Cowboys roster that Parcells went 10-6 with, ol' Jim might go 1-15. Give Caldwell a roster with tremendous qb and receiving talent, however, and some talent on defense, and the gap between him and a HOF coach shrinks quite a bit. Caldwell really may have been close to the best available guy for the Lions.

by theslothook :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 3:07pm

I still find that damning with faint praise. Yes the lions have talent and schwartz probably mismanaged it into a bunch of underachievers, but it would take a lot for me to change my view on Caldwell. I mean, I am wholly convinced he did close to nothing in Indy. It's been well documented that Manning essentially ran the practices and Clyde did the majority of the work with the receivers. We know Caldwell's mo is offense so he probably did nothing with the D. And of course, his timeouts and game management were horrendous. Sadly, this is the last line of defense - fatherly motivator.

by akn :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 12:43pm

Will Ebron even play TE? If he does, won't that almost certainly be a giveaway that the Lions are passing? Jimmy Graham is a WR-in-TE's-clothing, but he's been decent enough run blocking when called for. I'm not sure Ebron can get to that level.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 12:56pm

The word is that the offense they will run will feature a ton of 1-2 formations (this was even before the 1st round results). Presumably, Pettigrew will be primarily the blocking TE (a fellow Lions fan posted that his re-signing is less infuriating if you consider him a tackle that can occasionally catch the ball), and Ebron will be the receiving TE (with healthy doses of being split wide). Fauria will be depth/red zone. If you think Ebron lacks in the blocking department, you should see Fauria try to block.

by ChrisS :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 1:48pm

This Lions fan likes it fine. I think of Pettigrew as an offensive tackle that on occasion catches a pass. The two TE look is used by fewer teams so the D's are not as able to counter it as easily. It can also be very flexible in the types of plays called and the ability to get mismatches. They certainly need to get some CB help in the next few rounds

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 1:56pm

I wouldn't mind them getting some depth at safety and linebacker, either. Don Carey and Ashlee Palmer don't inspire much confidence.

by theslothook :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 3:10pm

To be honest, I hated the ebron pick too, but for a few reasons. Firstly, there are only two tight ends in the entire nfl that I would actually spend a high first rounder on and neither was drafted in the first round. Second, so many of these tight ends become nothing more than serviceable. Pettigrew, Greshman come to mind. Finally, at what point does this become overkill on an offense?

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 3:48pm

I acknowledge what you're saying about other highly-touted tight ends only becoming serviceable. This is certainly a possibility with Ebron if he can't adjust to the pro game. Sometimes you swing and miss.

However, I disagree with the overkill comment. Last season, the Lions had literally no other pass-catchers on the roster who could consistently take advantage of attention Megatron diverted from the defense (unless you count the running backs). Golden Tate is a start. They really wanted either Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans. I'm okay with Ebron as a plan C. He's also a perfect fit for Joe Lombardi's offense.

by theslothook :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 3:53pm

Yeah that's true I guess. I think the overkill is partly a reaction to the amount of draft resources they've already spent on that side of the ball. You're probably right that those shouldn't factor into decisions made today. Still, I'm more of the view that, Golden tate with megatron and bush and pettigrew is good enough. I'm not sure how many other teams you could really argue are better.

For instance, if we try and control for qb and take the lions' receiving core as is sans ebron, I think the ones who are better are probably atlanta(maybe?), Chicago, Cincy(again maybe?) and then GB/Denver.

by bravehoptoad :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 4:46pm

Speaking of high-first-round tight ends, I'm pretty happy with the Vernon Davis pick.

by theslothook :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 5:20pm

Yeah that's true, VD is also a good one. Forgot about him.

by armchair journe... :: Sat, 05/10/2014 - 1:03am

Took several years and a regime change for him to start living up to his potential, though..


by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 12:12pm

I would have run laps around the house had the Bucs wound up with Bridgewater. I'm OK with Evans, but just OK. He's VJax part two, which is nice, but I'm not off-the-wall excited like I'd been with Watkins. It's just fine, and if we can get ourselves a guard or DE with the second rounder, I'll continue being fine. If there's another developmental QB reach (seriously, Glennon played pretty well last year, give the kid a chance) I'll be less than happy.

Jacksonville. Seriously. What. The. Hell.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 12:13pm

With the likely level of defensive play that the NFC West will feature each week next fall, and the novelty of seeing Peyton Manning in a different town worn off, I think the overwhelming majority of my NFL viewing habits will be filled with the NFC North and West. Watching the Rams defensive line just smack the feces out of various overmatched opponents is going to be entertaining. Except when the Vikings show up for the season opener in St. Louis. I think I'll send Zimmer a suggestion that he keep Ponder on the roster until September 8th, and give him one start. They may as well get some value out of an otherwise wasted 1st round pick.

by dmstorm22 :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 12:24pm

Oh, you'll still get Manning, as the AFC West is playing the NFC West.

Seeing Manning and Rivers, the two best QBs last year, have to play those defenses should be awesome (assuming the games aren't what the Super Bowl was).

Also, if the Rams pass-rush is as dominant as it can be, the 49ers could easily be the 4th best defense in their own division. Just amazing how quickly that division has turned it around, mostly be embracing what the rest of the league has been turning away from.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 12:28pm

As someone who appreciates good defensive play, Rams games will be watchable in spite of Brian Schottenheimer still being employed by them.

by tuluse :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 1:04pm

Schottenheimer might be the best choice for offensive coordinator. With the lack of talent they have at offensive line and receiver, a dozen 5 yard curls might be the only thing they could do last year.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 1:34pm

Maybe, but it would have been nice if Tavon Austin were featured in more shallow drag routes and bubble screens, at least.

Actually, Shuan Hill is the perfect backup for when Sam Bradford inevitably gets hurt. He's a great ball distributor with the short-medium stuff, and knows his limitations (so won't kill you with mistakes/turnovers). The anti-Kellen Clemons, in other words. With that defense, I think he'll win the Rams a few games in relief.

by CBPodge :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 4:30pm

Disclaimer: Rams fan.

Schottenheimer cunningly makes Rams games more watchable. He reduced the offense to the following concepts:
1. Tiny man running the ball with surprisingly power.
2. Tiny man catching the ball and running with alarming speed.
3. Slapstick.

That ensures that offensive plays should be entertainingly good or entertainingly terrible. That gets the offense off the field quickly, and gets the star (the D-line) back on.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 4:34pm

As a Bucs fan who remembers the Dungy era, this sounds vaguely familiar.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 12:39pm

Shockingly, I know an Aggies fan who thinks Johnny Football is going to be the greatest thing to ever hit the NFL. I asked him to name me three successful NFL QBs in the last 40 years who are (A) under six feet tall and (B) mobile, crazy guys. I spotted him Tarkenton and Russell Wilson. He changed the subject quickly.

That's the bit with Manziel; sure, he's exciting and electric, but lots of people have been exciting and electric. Had he gone to Philadelphia it'd have been fun just because you know Chip Kelly is creative and weird enough to have done something crazy to match his skillset, but no clue if Cleveland is going to be able to do that. I'm just glad he didn't go to Tampa.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 12:58pm

He's the classic high-ceiling, low-floor guy. If Lovie had gotten his hands on him, I think we all know which was more likely.

by Scott Kacsmar :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 1:01pm

FTR, Tarkenton is listed at 6-0. Only seven QBs under 6-0 have hit 1,000 pass attempts: Sonny Jurgensen, Bob Berry, Pat Haden, Jim Finks, Arnie Herber, Doug Flutie and Eddie LeBaron. Russell Wilson will be the 8th.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 1:13pm

Wow. Thought Fran was sub-6', but those numbers make me even gladder the guy's not in Tampa. I did have some worries Tedford might believe in his QB-guru magic enough to take a shot at Bork Borkles, but, thanks to Jacksonville deciding to rely on their well-established history of developing QBs, that ceased to be a concern.

The response from a Jacksonville fan when he saw the Borkles pick:


by bpeterson464 :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 6:14pm

Let's not forget that lots of those players were from a different era where all positions were much smaller, especially offensive line.

by tuluse :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 1:04pm

Depending on the definition of successful and mobile, you could argue for Vick, Brees, and Doug Flutie.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 1:05pm

The Tarkenton analogy doesn't really work, either. Tarkenton scrambled when guys weren't open, but was ruthless about torturing a defense which didn't cover somebody. I've heard too many guys who have watched the coach's tape of all of Manziel's snaps, say that he frequently does not throw to open receivers, and chooses to leave the pocket. Maybe Manziel will change, but that wasn't Tarkenton.

by coboney :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 1:28pm

In the interest of fairness - that would likely be the later career Tarkenton when he'd had a chance to develop - not the Tarkenton raw coming out of college.

Also regarding the 6 foot thing - sometimes teams inflate the height a bit. So tough to say who was 6 feet and who was just under but not many have made it.

The corollary to that could be that QBs under 6 feet who get a chance to play have already demonstrated exceptional other skills to receive that opportunity though.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 1:33pm

Early Tarkenton was largely on bad rosters, with bad coaching. There weren't a lot of guys open, with time to get it to them.

by jacobk :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 1:22pm

So did Marqise Lee kill a guy during the offseason or what? What a crazy slide for a guy who would have easily been a top 10 pick if he had been draft eligible a year ago.

by Rivers McCown :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 2:30pm

He played hurt all season with bad quarterbacks, then came out in one of the deepest wideout drafts in recent memory. It happens.

by Jetspete :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 1:56pm

Since the Jets draft defensive players in the first round every year, at what point can we stop gushing over Rex's defensive coaching abilities? I wanted them to take Johnny, but even if they like Geno why not grab Cooks or another offensive player for a team that has been inept offensively since the end of 2011?

My biggest problem is that if Manziel lives up to his potential, five years from now he's a top 5-7 qb in the league. Geno is never going to be in the top half of quarterbacks.

by BJR :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 2:46pm

Get your point about Rex, but haven't the Jets invested fairly substantially on the offence in free agency this term? Also, pretty difficult to ditch Geno for another rookie after showing signs of improvement last season. And any other offensive skill player would surely have been seen as a big reach in that position?

by Kurt :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 3:01pm

A terrible hotel room with great water pressure sounds like a pretty damn good hotel room to me.

by LionInAZ :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 6:57pm

Not if it smells like dead bodies, is located next to the elevator motor, and is infested with bedbugs.

by theslothook :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 3:15pm

This is going to sound a bit contrarian, but I honestly think people are looking at the draft backwards. Look at any current draft value model and you see that the decline is logarithmic, meaning the drop off is enormous to start and tails off at the end.

Actually, in my draft value model, even this is understated. Either going by expected value or liklihood's, the value drop off is enormous and majorly tails off.

Ignoring the specifics of the players involved, by looking at draft value at face value, the idea ought to be to trade ur way into the top of the first round and then exchange your thirds and 4ths for extra 5ths and 6ths, since the quality of players is essentially negligible, while the quality difference between say, pick 30 and pick 15 is enormous.

All that to say, what buffalo did doesn't look so bad. However, I still don't like it because their future first could be a very high pick and then it doesn't make any sense.

by Scott Kacsmar :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 3:30pm

"while the quality difference between say, pick 30 and pick 15 is enormous."

Are we sure about this? The average CarAV for pick 15 is 33 compared to 29 for pick 30. The problem with the draft is when a player falls to slot X, that doesn't mean Y teams passed on him. A lot of those teams simply had no use for him in the first round, such is the case with Bridgewater in this draft. So while Blake Bortles went 3rd and Bridgewater went 32nd, there's no way the difference between those players was as large as 29 picks. Most people I respect had Bridgewater as the better QB. So this does a lot of damage to the value concept.

Dan Marino went 27th in 1983 while teams were taking guys like Todd Blackledge at No. 7. You could even look last year with Eric Fisher going 1st and Kyle Long going 20th. Is the gap really that big between those players?

Then when you factor in some guys go to better situations than others, that the 12th pick will get more opportunities to play than the 52nd pick, and the whole draft analysis can be one big clusterfudge.

I just want to know the next time a team offers $100,000 to do a study and then go against the results. Please contact Football Outsiders.

by theslothook :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 3:49pm

I guess by Av, that's true. If you went by Danny's Av/yr, it becomes more stark. But, the one I use tries to find a stat that isn't biased by position. And by that metric(which measures things like starts, games played, all pros, probowls, etc); the difference becomes more noticeable. I don't the file where I stored the regressions or likelihoods on this computer, but just going off a basic excel log regression, pick 30 has an expected value of 209 pts(out of 1000), while the 15th pick has an expected value of 278, representing a 30 percent increase in value.

Of course, the more complicated regression I ran controls for factors like number of picks at that position, positional risk etc and the numbers become more stark.

Also, risk as defined by likelihood of finding a bust, a player who essentially accrues almost no value(ie- a player who is out of the league in less 4 years and starts less than 2 years) is lowest at the top of the draft, stagnates for a while till about(I think) pick 25 or so and then starts to increase dramatically.

by coboney :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 5:04pm

Some of that though is merely locational bias in that players picked at the top of the draft - even if they are busts - are given more time to prove they are busts then those picked later in the draft.

That was especially true under the old rookie system where they literally couldn't get rid of those people at the top of the draft due to the hit it would do on their salary cap. Not only that even when the original team gives up unless they are complete 100% busts and have off the field issues.

An example of that is that Blaine Gabbert who the 49ers traded for isn't out of the league despite the 49ers being silly enough to trade for him. A later round QB who had somehow stumbled into starting as badly as Gabbert did would be out of the league and not be taken a risk on for 'rehabilitation of talent'.

by theslothook :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 5:17pm

Agreed - but I've tried to control for that. Of course, one thing you see very quickly is even horrible players drafted early aren't given that long of a leash and most draft picks almost never make it beyond 4 years in the league anyway. Yes 1st rounders by in large do, but they are also more likely to stay in the league longer and be given a 2nd contract.

by DisplacedPackerFan :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 3:21pm

I was surprised Clinton-Dix was still on the board and that the Packers filled their biggest need. I do wonder how he and Burnett will be primarily used. Both seem better suited to be free safeties, but both played mostly strong safety last year. Ha Ha is a little bit bigger and a little bit faster than Morgan, though it's not much of a difference. I just hope they somehow can clean up the communication issues that have seemed to plague their coverage assignments since Collins went down.

I'm very curious about the other picks. Raji is on a one year deal and there are still some potential replacements for him on the board. I would like to see them pick up a WR. I like Boykin and Cobb and Nelson are clearly excellent but without a great TE, 4 WR sets might have more value and there are still some staring WR out there. I would like to see them get a center, and another ILB, especially one who can cover a receiver. I can hope that whatever they plan to do with Neal, Peppers, and Perry works to add some more pass rush because I don't expect there to be any edge rushers of note left by the 53rd pick. Of course having competent safety play again might solve some of that, the pass rush looked a lot better with Collins playing safety because it gave guys an extra half second to get there.

With all that being said, this just feels like one of those drafts that it doesn't matter anymore, I think they got their top rated player for their biggest need. Anything else is just gravy. I know you want 3 or 4 starters a year out of a draft class with how quickly rosters turn over, but I'm actually pretty happy, and there is enough talent that I think they can fill some other needs nicely.

by justanothersteve :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 4:31pm

Burnett doesn't seem as comfortable playing deep like Collins, Sharper, and Butler did. I'm hoping Clinton-Dix can fill that role. Even if they also move Micah Hyde to safety, that means two people vying for one starting slot. That leaves Banjo and Richardson possibly fighting for one roster slot.

Barring injury, the depth chart should Shields and Tramon at CB with Hayward in the nickel, Clinton-Dix and Burnett with Hyde in the dime. Hopefully, House and Bush will only be playing ST.

by DisplacedPackerFan :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 6:01pm

Agree on House and Bush. Bush is what he is in coverage at this stage, House is still young enough that improvement wouldn't be surprising, but his ceiling is "decent nickle back" if he is pressed into service there are issues. I'm pretty happy with corner right now though, Shields, Williams, Hayward are all solid. Hyde works fine in nickel and dime, and even if they do play him some at safety that's OK, he'll be a solid back-up.

You are right that Burnett can look lost in the backfield at times, and he was drafted to be the strong safety next to Collins. 0 ints out of the safety position last year, it's got to be better now.

by justanothersteve :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 4:51pm

Derek Carr may be the consensus best remaining QB, but it wouldn't surprise me to see the Texans draft Mettenberger tonight. I don't think there is a lot of differences between Mettenberger and Bortles other than one having a healthier ACL. I'm not a Texans fan. But I can't imagine a worse scenario for any draft pick than Carr being selected by Houston. I'm guessing for that reason alone, Carr is not on the Texans draft board.

My big question for tonight is which team will make the most questionable draft decisions this year? Miami, where Jeff Ireland seems to be haunting the room, or Jacksonville, where strange draft decisions are a franchise tradition. Late entry Philly is also a contender.

by bobrulz :: Sat, 05/10/2014 - 3:39am

The Texans have not yet taken a quarterback through 3 rounds. Either they're really expecting that Ryan Mallett trade to go through (which looks possible, considering what the Patriots did), or they're taking their lumps with Fitzpatrick and Keenum this year and preparing for 2015.

I think the biggest problem with Derek Carr is just that he isn't that good. The Raiders and Jaguars just made huge mistakes with their quarterback picks. Some things just never change. Although I will admit Bortles COULD be good with time...he's just not worth being drafted so high when the Jaguars had bigger needs. Sammy Watkins or Khalil Mack would've been monster picks for them.

by Boo Cocky :: Sat, 05/10/2014 - 1:30pm

Not one mention of San Diego's pick. That's sad.

by liquidmuse3 :: Thu, 05/22/2014 - 6:51pm

Some comments---

I really didn't understand the Lewan harping at all. Michael Roos is older, & there's no way they're signing him to a huge new deal at that age. If they think Lewan is a good-to-great LT prospect (& your left tackle is halfway out the door), you take him.

Similarly, I don't think Vincent Jackson is long for Tampa Bay. He showed signs of quit last year, & lord knows he wasn't exactly a soldier for San Diego. He's slow & by next year will probably be overpaid (& released?), so the Evans pick was for the future too.

I don't know why really sharp analysts are generally only focusing on the impact of this year with these picks. These GMs (some of them...not looking at you Doug Whaley) are trying to build sustainably competitive teams, not just slam bang for one year.

And I agree with the gentleman who decried the NFL scouting season, i.e., The Underwear Olympics. To me, gametape is god, & it's amazing we're drafting guys not on how they are at football, but how amazing they look in shorts. However, Bridgewater to me was always overrated---accuracy not amazing, yes a bit slight (I have a feeling the RGIII scenario scared some teams, though Teddy doesn't run like Robert), & his arm strength is just ok. However, the biggest problem I had was level of competition---he played some truly rank teams, & yes, he played well against the Florida Gators (back when the Gators were good), but no way in my mind was he a Clowney-level talent, which is what everyone was trying to sell me for the past year. That said, I think Clowney's a touch overrated too, FWIW.

And for people droning on & on about Teddy tanking the pro day---did it ever occur to you that this was a high-pressure situation, & Teddy failed it? I wonder why no one's talking about that aspect of it. Meanwhile, Manziel came out & aced his in every way, which to me was incredibly not surprising.

As for Watkins & Buffalo---heinous in giving up a 1st for a 5 spot move, but obviously that was the GM's "We're getting new ownership next year, & I'm probably not here if we don't make the playoffs" move. And as a Bucs fan, I'll always regret we passed on moving up two spots & giving away our 2 #2 picks to trade up for Calvin Johnson (supposedly the deal on the table), & the more I see Watkins, the more I think he's a top-5-7 receiver THIS YEAR.