Round one of the 2014 NFL Draft was full of exciting battles won and lost. War room decisions were a bit nuts and we have all the gory details. Dan Salem and Todd Salem debate in part two of this week’s TD Sports Debate. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate the NFL and sports.
There were some incredibly interesting GM/war room decisions that took place during round one of the NFL draft on Thursday.
The most prominent was everything the Cleveland Browns did. The Browns could have taken Sammy Watkins fourth, paired him with Josh Gordon and had the most fearsome corp of young receivers in the league. Instead, Josh Gordon is now facing a season long suspension and Cleveland traded back and reached a bit for a cornerback that wasn’t even the consensus top guy at the position. Later on in round one they traded back up to eventually grab the player everyone thought they might reach for at four in Johnny Manziel. So was this a good job by Cleveland, a bad job, or did the two moves balance each other out? I suppose what might put it over the top in favor of “good job Cleveland” was the extra first-round pick they added in 2015.
Also, I must say, bang-up job by the Browns brass to figure that 22nd pick out. How did they know Manziel wouldn’t get taken at 20 or even 16? They made the swap with Philadelphia to hop right in front of Kansas City after those other teams passed on the option.
Some of the other first-round surprises included:
- Minnesota taking Anthony Barr, a huge risk-reward player, at ninth overall
- St. Louis grabbing Aaron Donald at 13, to fit in between Chris Long and Robert Quinn to form the best pass rush in the league
- Pittsburgh grabbing Ryan Shazier with C.J. Mosley still on the board
- New Orleans doing WORK on the offensive side, fitting Brandin Cooks into the hole left by Darren Sproles
What stood out to you as odd or awesome war room decisions in round one? A ton of defensive backs got taken, and Minnesota made a late surprise by trading back into the first to grab Ted Football.
I have to address the Cleveland Browns first and foremost. They did as I expected, drafting Johnny Manziel. And it was a very slick maneuver to grab him later in round one. They need a lot of help on both sides of the ball and turning Johnny into a value pick instead of a potential reach was excellent war room execution. Then there’s Josh Gordon’s pending suspension.
The Brown’s must have known something was coming with Gordon, and as you noted, to pass on any number of top wide receivers in exchange for a reach at cornerback now feels foolish at best. Who is Manziel going to throw to now that Gordon is out? As is customary with Cleveland, they managed to negate a good decision with an equally poor one. I like Johnny in Brown, but he better hope Gordon gets back on the field real quick
As to the other war room decisions from round one, I need to point a finger at the Houston Texans for a moment and wag it in disgust. Who is quarterbacking this team in 2014? Keenum and Yates are decent players, but neither are long-term answers for Houston. The Texans struck out big time by not drafting a quarterback in round one.
You only have to look to the Minnesota Vikings to see what Houston could have and should have accomplished. The Texans made a solid decision by drafting Clowney first overall. It was either pick him, or trade down. But after that pick happened and Bortles went to Jacksonville, it wasn’t until the 22nd pick that another quarterback was taken. What happened to Houston? Did they think a quarterback would be still on the board for them with the first pick in round two? Did they have that much faith in Keenum and Yates to not trade up for Bridgewater, Manziel, or Carr? We’ll get to the rest of the draft this coming week, but Houston should have done what the Vikings were smart enough to execute. Trade up for a potential franchise quarterback. You can’t win without one, let alone make the post season.
One awesome move to wrap up my round one thoughts was what came out of the St. Louis Rams’ war room. Jeff Fisher finally drafted an offensive lineman in the first round by taking Greg Robinson second overall. Woo! Go St. Louis! They desperately needed help up front and Fisher had the balls to finally do something different on draft day. They followed this up by drafting a defensive linemen later in round one, another solid decision. They aren’t glamour picks, but the offensive and defensive fronts are what separate the winners from the losers in the NFL.