No Quarterbacks drafted in the top 10. That’s my prediction. I see the draft falling away from the QBs that have been hyped. Each one of the top three who i classify as Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater have a unique issue. Problem with the three is they all have one thing or another that will keep a shrewd GM from popping on them too quick. Lots of fear in the draft for GMs and coaches. The amount of second guessing and monday morning analysis is insane at best. I can see many GMs saying to themselves, “hell, if I don’t take so and so, I wouldn’t get flamed in every article by every no name ESPN reporter with a byline”. Each one of these QB prospects have an asterisk next to their name. Manziel is undersized, bit erratic and doesn’t fit the mold for NFL pocket passers. Bortles needs a year as an understudy according to most NFL scouts and some time to mature to be an NFL QB. Nothing wrong with that considering we see the result, Aaron Rodgers, that sitting can make great stars one day. Teddy Bridgewater is probably the best suited for an NFL team coming out of Louisville and their NFL like system but the talk on him has been underwhelming and the Wonderlic score didn’t help his ranking. Safer to choose one of the other positions so lets look at the way the draft falls if the top ten teams ignore the QB position.
The 2014 NFL Draft Top 10
- The Houston Texans–Jadeveon Clowney, DE University of South Carolina A simple no brainer here. Who isn’t gonna take this once in a decade prospect. The hell with the bench reps and the “work ethic” issue. These types of players change teams.
- St. Louis Rams–Greg Robinson OT Auburn No team can ever have enough Offensive Tackles that are elite. No way for the Rams to pass on him but we could see them making a trade down to Atlanta. GM Snead loves to move the pieces around the board. I am kinda neutral to either decision.
- Jacksonville Jaguars–Khalil Mack OLB Buffalo An excellent choice for the Jaguars to get a playmaker ready to make an impact from day one. Most likely candidate to get 130 to 150 tackles his first year.
- Cleveland Browns–Sammy Watkins WR Clemson Cleveland found a diamond in Josh Gordon and Watkins is the perfect compliment for him. Will force defenses into more man to man and Over and Unders and the Browns can’t afford NOT to draft this guy looking at their WR depth chart.
- Oakland Raiders–Jake Matthews OT Texas A&M Yes, The Raiders signed 30 year old left tackle Donald Penn, but c’mon, with the trade for Matt Schaub and a possible QB pick in the later rounds, An elite Offensive tackle like Jake Matthews from a football family pedigree is as close to a no miss pick that Reggie Mckenzie will ever come near. Would solidify that position for many years to come.
- Atlanta Falcons–Eric Ebron TE North Carolina With Tony Gonzalez retired, the need for a Tight End is glaring. Yes the Falcons have some defensive issues but this guy fits their team like a glove. With the accuracy of a Matty Ice and the return of a healthy Julio Jones,and Roddy White and the emergence of Harry Douglas, Atlanta will be stocked with a ton of aerial weapons. If you are gonna pay Matt Ryan this type of money, let him throw the ball in an air friendly dome. Eric Ebron gives them an instant red zone threat and that has always been the biggest challenge for the Falcons.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers–Mike Evans WR Texas A&M With Mike Williams being traded to the Bills, and the free agent signing of QB Josh McCown, the Bucs badly need a mirror for Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans is perfect for a Lovie Smith type of team. 6’5″ 230 pound sure handed receiver that runs a 4.45. A GM would have to be crazy to pass on a player like him. This is almost a duplicate to the Brandon Marshall Alshon-Jeffery tandem in Chicago. With a healthy Doug Martin, the emergence of Mike James and Bobby Rainey, the Bucs are in position to be a very potent offense that can hurt a team with many weapons. If Lovie Smith is looking for balance on his offense, Evans is the perfect fit.
- Minnesota Vikings–Justin Gilbert CB Oklahoma State Vikings were ranked 31st in pass defense in the league and 28th in QBR against. They drafted Xavier Rhodes in the first round last year. Perfect time to get the other CB. Faced with two choices here, Gilbert or Kyle Fuller. If I was Viking’s GM, I choose Gilbert. He is quicker, posted a 4.37 40 against Fuller’s 4.49. He is a lot stronger, 20 bench presses to 12 and he is 10 lbs heavier at the same height.
- Buffalo Bills–Taylor Lewan OT Michigan He is a versatile lineman and Marrone gets the ability to start him on either side, which could mean a switch with Cordy Glenn getting Right Offensive tackle duties. Marrone himself is a former offensive line coach and he loves these no nonsense guys like Lewan and considering the injuries that Manuel sustained last year. An elite OT just can’t be overlooked.
- Detroit Lions–Anthony Barr OLB UCLA Many will question this pick and it is very open to argument as all are. My thought process was that the LIons need a few things. Of course they need a WR, but that can wait till later. Deep draft and lots of talent. I thought of a Safety here or a CB, the Lions were horrific in the secondary but I couldn’t justify the picking of a safety knowing the history of drafting safeties in the top 15 since 1991. No team has reached the Super Bowl who did and only two safeties drafted in the top 15 since 1991 were studs, Sean Taylor RIP, Washington Redskins in 2004 and Eric Turner in 1991 by the Cleveland Browns. I also know that history shows that a top 15 safety draft pick doesn’t help the win/loss record. Combined record, 242-284 (.460) doesn’t move the needle so I can’t pull the trigger on a Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or a Calvin Pryor. If Justin Gilbert was on the board, I would choose him but I don’t rank Kyle Fuller or a Darqueze Dennard in the same class so I pass on them. That led me to the next thing the Lions need. They need a blitzing Linebacker and Anthony Barr is perfect for that. Some say he is only going be a third down situational pass rusher because that was his college function, but that is just limited thinking. He was originally recruited by the Bruins to be a Running Back and converted to defense. First year, he was second in the nation in sacks. Jim Mora the coach of UCLA and the former Saints head coach had amazing things to say about his work ethic, his leadership and that in his 28 years coaching he wouldn’t select any player above him. Now, he is a bit prejudiced being his coach, but thats a bold statement.
That’s my top 10. Many ways any draft can go, but this is my argument that teams will pass on the QBs. Look at the talent, look at the needs of teams and you can see from my pairings that this could very well be the results on Thursday May 8th 2014. Look for my picks 11 to 21 in the next week and I promise to finish round 1 before the end of April. Thanks for reading.