The 2014 NFL Draft is over, but it left a trail of tears in its wake. Some good, a touch of bad, and lots of ugly. Dan Salem and Todd Salem debate in part one of this week’s TD Sports Debate. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate the NFL and sports.
Last week, we touched on some immediate thoughts from the first round of the 2014 NFL draft. Now it’s time to look at the entire picture and say what we liked and didn’t like. I’ll start.
My first reaction actually comes from other people’s reactions. Certainly some teams are better at drafting than others. However, everyone misses. In fact, every franchise misses a LOT. No one should be given the benefit of the doubt on picks simply because they have had good drafts in the past. Sure the Seattle Seahawks have turned a number of late-round picks into contributing players in recent years. That doesn’t mean they are smart to reach for players or we should just assume every pick they make will bring similar consequences.
Entering the draft, Seattle only had one major weakness, that being depth along the offensive line. Instead of grabbing the best interior lineman in the draft, UCLA’s Xavier Su’a Filo, the Seahawks traded back and passed on the opportunity. Terrible teams are supposed to trade back, compile picks and try to add as many impact players as possible. Super Bowl champs are supposed to patch any holes they have. Seattle could have patched and instead attempted to acquire more covers for holes that didn’t exist yet.
The same logic is why the Cleveland Browns had the right idea during draft weekend, even if their execution was off. Trading back and grabbing another first-round pick next year was smart. Passing on Sammy Watkins and taking Justin Gilbert, not even the best corner in the draft, was not as smart. Maneuvering at the back-end of the first to land Johnny Manziel was smart. Having five of the first 94 picks and failing to add any weapons for Manziel to throw to was not as smart.
Cleveland’s failure to add a position of dire need could be its downfall. The Houston Texans were facing a similar situation but at least added a piece. Pitt quarterback Tom Savage may not turn into anything. However, scouts liked him entering the draft, and in the fourth round, the selection seems smart to me. Houston now has a bevy of options at QB, and while none of them seem like franchise-changers, the rest of their draft was so good it may have been the way to go. I am tired of organizations forcing a QB selection just because their current options aren’t Pro Bowlers. Houston decided to shore up the entire rest of its roster instead.
In the face of a team like Jacksonville, Houston’s drafting seems like the correct move here. If Blake Bortles flames out, where does that leave the Jacksonville Jaguars? They will be picking in the top three again next season. In fairness, I did love the Marqise Lee selection. It’s just hard to imagine Bortles excelling anytime soon when the rest of this team is so poor, which is the main argument against the Jags’ draft technique and in favor of Houston’s.
What I loved and hated about the 2014 NFL Draft is simple. Much like an anxious male teen on prom night who finishes before things get started, this NFL draft lost me early on. The drama near the top of the draft was excellent and the two late first round quarterback moves added some spice to a night that had begun to flame out.
Round one lived up to the hype, but I hated what happened afterwards in rounds two through seven. Maybe it’s because it was spread across two more days. Maybe it’s because much of the talk was on the negative side regarding the selection of running backs or Michael Sam. Or maybe I no longer enjoy watching NFL teams pretend to get excited about drafting players they know won’t start. Regardless, few teams actually got better over draft weekend. Phew; now that I got that out of the way, let’s talk team building.
Your pro/con with the Cleveland Browns is really the epitome of that organization. For everything they do right, they manage to do something wrong. Because they are the Browns, they don’t deserve benefit of the doubt and won’t be getting it from me. The Houston Texans don’t deserve it either. That team needs a lot of help, but are you being serious in regards to their quarterback? I’m not saying they should have taken one with the first pick, but passing on all of the top rated guys leaves them with a sure-fire hole at the league’s most important position. No matter how good your defense is, or your running game, or your wide receivers, if your quarterback stinks you are not making the playoffs. There have been one or two exceptions to this, mainly by all-time great defenses like the Baltimore Ravens with quarterback Trent Dilfer. Houston’s defense is looking stout, but they are not jumping from zero to one hundred and ten in a single off-season.
One team that has earned the benefit of the doubt is the Seattle Seahawks. Winning the Super Bowl earns you that right, so I’m giving them a pass on trading back for picks. But on the flip side, what the hell is the big hubbub surrounding the San Francisco 49ers’ draft haul? Yes they had eleven picks, but I don’t see anyone going crazy over the twelve men the New York Jets selected? I’m just putting it out there, but one or both of those teams is going down in history as having an all time great and/or awful 2014 draft. I like numbers, and from a pure numbers standpoint how many of their picks have to become NFL starters for the draft to be a success? Life isn’t fair and neither is the public perception of the 49ers and Jets organizations. Here’s how I see it breaking down:
Excellent draft guys!
– Four of eleven 49ers’ picks become NFL starters
– Six of twelve Jets’ picks become NFL starters
All time great draft!
– Four of eleven starters and two pro bowlers for San Francisco
– Six of twelve starters and three pro bowlers for New York
Piss poor draft…
– Eight or more of San Francisco’s eleven picks play less than half a season
– Six or more of New York’s twelve picks play less than half a season
Whether fair or not, the media is going to fight tooth and nail to look back favorably on this draft for the Jets. But in San Francisco, as long as Jim Harbaugh is there that team poops gold.