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Round 1 2014 NFL Draft Recap

Let’s get started! As always, I’ll be using my Draft Pick Value Calculator and the JJ Trade Value Calculator to analyze all trades (well, all trades except for one).

1. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

Little drama at the top. Clowney’s been expected to be the first overall pick in the 2014 draft for about three years.  He’ll be joining J.J. Watt to create a scary front seven in Houston. The Texans need to do something to counter the Colts landing Andrew Luck, and this isn’t too bad of a plan.

2. St. Louis Rams – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

Not much of a surprise here, either, at least according to most mocks. Robinson is an incredible athlete and a dominant run blocker. The early word, though, is that he’ll play left guard right away, as Jake Long remains on the left side (Robinson could play the right side, but the Rams may be happy with Joe Barksdale).

3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Blake Bortles, QB, UCF

Surprise! I had the Jaguars taking a quarterback, but Bortles was the first real shock of the draft. That’s a risky move by the Jaguars: Bortles seems to have pretty high bust potential and this pick means the clock is now beginning to tick on the rebuilding project.

4. *** TRADE *** Buffalo Bills – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

The Bills traded the 9th overall pick and next year’s 1st and 4th rounders to move up to the 4th spot! Wow. This is a massive overpay unless Watkins turns into a Pro bowl receiver; we can’t use the trade value charts for this trade because Buffalo gave up two future picks, but trading future first round picks is usually a bad idea. But in the short-term, this is an exciting move for an often dull franchise. With EJ Manuel, C.J. Spiller, and Marquise Goodwin, the Bills have some of the fastest players at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver. Now the offense adds the best receiver in the draft. Watch out.

5. Oakland Raiders – Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo

According to sources, Oakland wanted to add Mack in 12 years, but settled for taking him in the draft.

6. Atlanta Falcons – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

With Clowney and Mack off the board, this was a pretty easy decision. Matthews had been considered a top-5 pick for over a year, and the Falcons desperately needed to draft a tackle. A great fit and value for the Falcons. Matthews is the 7th member of his family to make it to the NFL, which is pretty crazy. Will Sam Baker or Matthews move to right tackle?

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

One of the few team/player pairings that people have been predicting for weeks. I’m still not quite sure that this is a great fit, as he’s such a similar player to Vincent Jackson. The Bucs could really benefit by adding a good slot receiver.

8. *** TRADE *** Cleveland Browns – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State 

The Browns trade up from 9 to 8 by giving up the 145th pick. According to my draft value calculator, the Vikings got 110 cents on the dollar with this move, while the JJ trade value chart says Minnesota got 99 cents worth of value. By adding Gilbert to a secondary that already has Joe Haden, the Browns are going to be in a position to catch a lot of Joe Flacco/Andy Dalton/Ben Roethlisberger interceptions.

9. Minnesota Vikings (from Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo)) – Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA

Minnesota’s pass defense was atrocious last year, so adding a pass rusher like Barr makes sense.

10.  Detroit Lions – Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Reggie Bush, and now Ebron? Detroit is making life very easy for Matthew Stafford, which is probably a very good thing. Add in Joique Bell and Brandon Pettigrew, and the skill position talent in Detroit is outstanding. Stafford could already put up the counting stats, but can he get his efficiency numbers up in 2014?

11. Tennessee Titans – Taylor Lewan, OT Michigan

Here’s what I wrote in my mock draft:

The Titans are actually pretty set at offensive line, with Michael Roos, Andy Levitre, Michael Oher, and 2013 draft picks Chance Warmack and Brian Schwenke. A tackle is not out of the question, as Roos is a free agent after the season and Oher is well, not very good.

Offensive tackle it is, but it does not seem to be a pick that will make the Titans any better in the short term.

12. New York Giants – Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

The Giants needed to add weapons for Eli Manning; Hakeem Nicks is now in Indianapolis and Adrien Robinson is the top tight end on the depth chart. But by teaming Beckham with Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle, New York at least has the wide receiver position figured out.

13. St. Louis Rams – Aaron Donald, DT Pittsburgh

The Seahawks secondary might be the best position unit in the league.  If not that, maybe it’s the 49ers linebackers. Or perhaps the Rams defensive line? Donald, my combine MVP, joins Robert Quinn, Michael Brockers, and Chris Long to create a ridiculously scary defensive line.

14. Chicago Bears – Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

Chicago’s defense was embarrassing to watch last year, so literally any defensive player here was going to be a good pick.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State

A year after taking Jarvis Jones, the Steelers take another super fast, super light linebacker. Yay? Shazier is an inside linebacker in a 3-4, but a pretty similar player to ILB Lawrence Timmons. I’m not sure I follow this line of thinking, and I also think the statute of limitations of just assuming Pittsburgh knows what its doing in the draft has passed.

16. Dallas Cowboys – Zack Martin, OT Notre Dame

As always, the Cowboys do the sexy thing, this time taking a Notre Dame offensive lineman. Martin probably projects as a guard in 2014, but he is one of the most versatile linemen in the draft. Instead of drafting Tony Romo’s replacement, Dallas continues to build his protection. That seems pretty smart.

17. Baltimore Ravens – C.J. Mosley, LB Alabama

Ozzie Newsome’s Ravens taking an Alabama defender? Yeah, I’m not too surprised by that one. The Ravens have now drafted dominant college inside linebackers in consecutive years, with Mosley coming a year after Baltimore drafted Arthur Brown.

18. New York Jets – Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville

The Jets added Eric Decker in free agency, which made wide receiver less of a black hole. Most mocks had the Jets taking either a wide receiver or a cornerback, but safety was a need, too. Coming into the draft, Antonio Allen and Dawan Landry projected as the team’s starting safeties, so Pryor — a big-hitting safety — should upgrade the back end of the defense.

19. Miami Dolphins – Ja’Wuan James, OT, Tennessee

James is a monster of a right tackle, but this pick feels like a bit of a reach. James probably didn’t have a top 20 grade on most boards, and it seems like it was a “draft the best offensive tackle available” pick. Miami probably would have been better served trading up, but it likely would have cost next year’s first to take Lewan.

20. ***TRADE*** New Orleans Saints – Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

The Cardinals trade down from 2o to 27 and pick up the Saints 3rd round pick, the 91st overall. According to the JJ chart, Arizona got only 96 cents on the dollar, but Arizona picked up 126 cents according to my chart.

Cooks is ridiculously fast and quick: he’s typically compared to players like Randall Cobb, Tavon Austin, and Antonio Brown. Putting him on the Superdome turf with Drew Brees seems a little unfair.

21. Green Bay Packers –  Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama

Perhaps the best safety in the draft falls to the Packers, who had a huge need at safety. Nice for Green Bay.

22. *** TRADE *** Cleveland Browns – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

The Browns trade the 83rd and 26th picks to Philadelphia to move up to 22. According to my chart, the Eagles received an ROI of 137%, and even the JJ chart likes the Eagles move, thinking Philadelphia picked up 112 cents on the dollar.

The Browns, after rumored to be taking Manziel at 4, then 8, trade up for him at 22. It’s a polarizing pick, of course, but give Cleveland credit for playing the board very well. Exiting day 1 with Gilbert, Manziel, and the Bills 2015 1st round selection is an incredible haul.

23. Kansas City Chiefs – Dee Ford, DE, Auburn

The Chiefs found the perfect player to ensure that Alex Smith can be a game manager who just wins in 2014.

24. Cincinnati Bengals – Darqueze Dennard CB Michigan State

Marvin Lewis made no secret of his desire to grab a cornerback in the first round. Lewis puts a premium on the position, and Dennard joins Terence Newman, Leon Hall, Pacman Jones, and Dre Kirkpatrick as first round cornerbacks on the roster.

25. San Diego Chargers – Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

The Chargers needed a corner, and the 5’9 1/2 corner should be an immediate starter. At a minimum he looks to be a very good nickelback, but his size shouldn’t prevent from him playing on the outside, either. Value meets need for the San Diego.

26. Philadelphia Eagles (from Cleveland Browns) – Marcus Smith, OLB, Louisville

I didn’t see any mock drafts that had the Eagles taking Smith here, but he may have been the top pass rusher available.  Philadelphia is trying to trade Brandon Graham, Connor Barwin has a $6M cap value in 2015, and Trent Cole turns 32 in October, so adding Smith makes sense for the long-term.

27. Arizona Cardinals (from New Orleans Saints) – Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State

Apparently the NFC West is only allowed to draft defensive players. Patrick Peterson, Antonio CromartieTyrann Mathieu and Bucannon is a pretty fascinating secondary.

28. Carolina Panthers – Kelvin Benjamin, WR, FSU

Cam Newton gets his wide receiver.

29. New England Patriots – Dominique Easley, DT, Florida

If it’s not Newsome taking someone in Crimson, it’s the Patriots taking a player from Florida. Easley may have been a top five pick if not for injuries, but two ACL tears dropped him to 29th overall.

30. San Francisco 49ers – Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois

The 49ers have totally revamped this position in the last 15 months. Last March, Dashon Goldson signed a huge contract and went to Tampa Bay, so San Francisco traded up to draft Eric Reid in the first round a month later. Donte Whitner signed with Cleveland this offseason, and San Francisco responded by signing Antoine Bethea. Ward gives the team three competent safeties, so expect to see more Big Nickel in San Francisco in 2014.

31. Denver Broncos – Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

If you can’t beat them, start drafting cornerbacks.

32. *** TRADE ** Minnesota Vikings – Teddy Bridgewater QB Louisville

The Seahawks traded the 32nd pick for the 40th and 108th picks. That gives him only 92 cents on the dollar according to the JJ chart, but a 127% ROI according to my chart. That’s a nice haul for Seattle, but what a deal for the Vikings.

Bridgewater may sit behind Matt Cassel (or Christian Ponder) for a little bit, but he should be the Quarterback of the Future in Minnesota. He may not get much time with Adrian Peterson, but Bridgewater and Cordarrelle Patterson should be a great pairing for years. I’m a big fan, and think the Vikings may look really, really smart a few years from now.

Some top names entering day two: Marqise Lee, WR, USC, Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State, Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State, Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech, Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota, Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri, Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame

  • I just want to add my agreement to Bortles/Bridgewater. Getting the previous consensus #1 pick at #32 is a great value for the Vikings and could be a huge win. I think Bortles is a likely addition to other QB flops at #3 (Akili Smith, Joey Harrington, Heath Shuler).