2014 NFL Draft Recap: 5 Best, 5 Worst Team Drafts
The 2014 NFL Draft is finally in the books, and the longest draft season we’ve ever been forced to endure mercifully has come to an end. Truth be told, the draft behind pushed back into May did make for extra drama, giving new life to insane rumors and major fluctuation in player stock.
Interesting, sure. Exhausting, definitely.
With that said, it was still an enjoyable three-day event, and quite possibly the best part was marveling at how fantastic some teams did in the draft. From trades to value picks and late round hidden gems, there were probably five teams that stood head and shoulders above the rest. In that same breath, there were at least five teams that probably should have just not even bothered showing up.
Let’s take a look at the five best and five worst drafts from the 2014 NFL Draft:
Atlanta was a playoff team that endured a laundry list of injuries in 2013, as well as poor play on both lines. They went to work early to fix their biggest issues, snagging stud offensive tackle Jake Matthews with the sixth overall pick and then addressed the defensive line and running back position by grabbing defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman and running back Devonta Freeman. Hageman should end up being a major steal that can help Atlanta’s pass rush, while Freeman offers some fresh legs and versatility behind an aging backfield.
The Jaguars already had some success in free agency, but knew they still needed a franchise passer and some key depth adds in this year’s draft. They accomplished the former immediately, as they snatched up UCF product Blake Bortles with the #3 overall pick. Bortles will be their quarterback of the future, and while he probably won’t play much (if at all) in his rookie season, when he does hit the field he’ll have plenty of weapons. Jacksonville made sure of that by also drafting wide receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson back to back with two second round picks. Just like that, a once lethargic offense has hopes to be special in a couple of years.
Oakland took the best player available with their first round pick, giving them a stud defensive player in Khalil Mack. Mack should instantly help upgrade their defense, while the team also made a splash on the offensive side with potential franchise quarterback Derek Carr in round two. While those two picks certainly made the most noise for the silver and black, Oakland actually drafted extremely well the rest of the way, snagging very solid depth pieces at corner, defensive tackle and offensive guard.
A year after having easily one of the league’s best drafts, the Vikings were at it again last weekend, snagging a stud pass rusher in Anthony Barr early and trading back into the bottom of round one to steal franchise passer, Teddy Bridgewater. Neither guy is a lock to do major damage as a rookie, but both are long-term answers to two huge needs. The Vikes didn’t stop there, though, as they proceeded to add excellent value picks like guard David Yankey and defensive end Scott Crichton.
Houston was the worst team in the league a year ago. Perhaps with their stellar draft, they’ll be in for a quick turnaround. Houston wasted no time landing the draft’s top player with the #1 overall pick (Jadeveon Clowney), and then went on to take a stud guard, a solid tight end and a high upside quarterback in Tom Savage. Their best pick in terms of pure value might be nose tackle Louis Nix III, however, who can slide right into the middle of their 3-4 and dominate as a rookie.
Arizona got a potential stud tight end and a high upside quarterback to work with down the road, but they reached heavily for safety help in round one and didn’t make any other high impact additions in this draft. Logan Thomas has the size and arm to fit Arizona’s offense perfectly down the road, but if he’s one of their biggest bright spot, you can probably see how weak this draft really was.
The Lions had to get another weapon for their passing game one way or another, but drafting tight end Eric Ebron gave them a log-jam at the position, while they ended up waiting until round six to draft an actual wide receiver. Kyle Van Noy was an excellent add in round two and center Travis Swanson was a value pick in round three, but the rest of their draft is underwhelming.
Kansas City drafted for need early, as Dee Ford is potentially an awesome pick. However, he lacks size and is not necessarily a perfect fit for outside linebacker in their 3-4 defensive system. He’s a potential bust because if that, while the team failed to add any talent at wide receiver or tight end – two positions that sorely needed some more talent. Aaron Murray is an interesting long-term option under center, but overall KC fell a bit short in this year’s draft.
Philly’s draft started with them trading down and yet they still reached for day two prospect, Marcus Smith. Smith looks to fit their 3-4 scheme on defense as an OLB but he wasn’t really a first round prospect. The Eagles did well to add two solid talents at wide receiver and also caught a sliding value at corner in Jaylen Watkins. Unfortunately they waited until the fifth round to add a safety, a position they really should have tried to address much earlier.
Another draft, another offensive lineman for the ‘Boys. Zack Martin was a good pick and Dallas did need some o-line, help, but anyone could tell you that safety or just about any position on a sad sack defense would have been a better way to go. Dallas did add a solid defensive end prospect in the next round, but they didn’t address safety until the final round and the other defensive additions just weren’t that impressive. They could have done more with their nine draft picks.
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