Oct 19, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Bulls linebacker Khalil Mack (46) against the Massachusetts Minutemen at University of Buffalo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft: Hits and Misses From Round 1


The first round is in the books and the assessments have begun.  Which teams hit and which teams missed so far in the 2014 NFL draft?

Hits

Buffalo Bills – Sammy Watkins

They gave up a nice chunk of picks to get him but the Buffalo Bills succeeded at one of their top off-season objective by going to get Sammy Watkins.  Thanks to that deal and the one for Mike Williams, E.J. Manuel has perhaps the most prolific arsenal in the AFC with loads of speed everywhere.  If they can protect him better, this team could get interesting.

Oakland Raiders – Khalil Mack

It was a surprise the Jacksonville Jaguars passed on Khalil Mack and the Oakland Raiders didn’t make the same mistake.  They did a good job in free agency loading up the defense with veteran talent and leadership but needed a young stud with superstar potential to bring it all together.  Mack is that type of complete player.

St. Louis Rams – Aaron Donald

Games are won and lost in the trenches and Jeff Fisher knows that better than any coach.  That philosophy was put in practice for the St. Louis Rams, and wisely so when they took Aaron Donald at #13.  He is the best interior pass rusher in the 2014 NFL draft and now he gets chance to showcase that between Robert Quinn and Chris Long.  The lives of Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick are about to change.

Cleveland Browns – Johnny Manziel

This pick will be dissected and analyzed for years to comes.  There are plenty of doubters regarding Johnny Manziel but the word that keeps coming up with him is “playmaker.”  Several draft experts had him going somewhere around the top ten.  To get him at #22 has to be considered a great triumph for the Cleveland Browns who were in dire need of a face for their franchise.

Misses

Jacksonville Jaguars – Blake Bortles

It’s not the player himself that I consider this a miss.  Blake Bortles has all the physical tools to succeed coming out of the 2014 NFL draft.  What I question is where the Jacksonville Jaguars took him at #3.  I genuinely feel they could’ve moved back for extra picks and still gotten him.  He’s not ready to start yet anyway.

Detroit Lions – Eric Ebron

I completely understand why the Detroit Lions made this pick.  Jim Caldwell wants another weapon for Matthew Stafford to use in order to take heat off of Calvin Johnson.  Eric Ebron is the best tight end in the draft but I never viewed tight end as a big need for them.  Brandon Pettigrew and Joseph Fauria aren’t stars but they are nice role players and with Odell Beckham and Taylor Lewan still on the board, not to mention some quality corners, I wonder if they got locked in too much.

Pittsburgh Steelers – Ryan Shazier

First of all, Ryan Shazier is a great player.  He’s so fast for his size and simply makes the tackle all day long.  I understand why the Pittsburgh Steelers took him but I don’t see the fit.  Shazier made a name for himself in a 4-3 style defense at OhioState as an outside linebacker.  The Steelers employ a 3-4.  Unless they have hopes he can rush the passer, which is not his strength, then they must envision a move for him inside which is a bit of a reach considering he’s never played there, doesn’t have the ideal bulk for it and that there was stills some secondary help available.

San Francisco 49ers – Jimmie Ward

This move reeked of a team “getting cute” with their pick.  The San Francisco 49ers didn’t need a safety.  They already have Eric Reid and signed Antoine Bethea in free agency.  Yes, Jimmie Ward has the best potential in coverage of any safety in the 2014 NFL draft class but that is not his style as yet.  Perhaps the running idea that he projects better as a corner was the reason they took him, but if that were the case they could’ve easily solved their problems by taking Ohio State standout Bradley Roby, who universally rated ahead of Ward.

Tags: Buffalo Bills Cleveland Browns Detroit Lions Featured Jacksonville Jaguars Oakland Raiders Pittsburgh Steelers Popular San Francisco 49ers St. Louis Rams

  • KloverJane

    Big Mack attack coming

    • Erik Lambert

      Seems that way.

    • Grammar NotZee

      Silver & Black Mack Attack

      • KloverJane

        Yes I’ve used that too. And will continue.

  • SDAZT.STEEL66

    Thank God someone else listed Shazier as a “miss.” Nice work, Erik.

    • Erik Lambert

      Not a bad player. Definitely a bad fit.

      • SDAZT.STEEL66

        Awful fit, overrated player, and going to a defensive system where ILBs must have strength to fight off blocks of interior linemen if D-Line can’t get job done. Pittsburgh’s D-Line was not spectacular last season outside of Cam Heyward.

        • Erik Lambert

          Maybe they’re thinking they can get Nix in round 2. That might help, though I’m not convinced.

  • Scott

    Agreed-big whiff by Corbett and Tomlin. Needs could have been addressed (CB-WR-OL) and they take an OLB to turn into an ILB? Worst case trade down and get more picks if you’re going to reach for Shazier.

    • Erik Lambert

      I think somebody panicked in that war room and overthought the pick. I would’ve settled for Dennard, filled the need and moved on to the next round to get that linebacker.

  • Rick Talley

    The Donald pick was FABULOUS! Stop the run, generate a dominate running game, is THE recipe for success. GO RAMS! PS – Marqise Lee would look awfully good in a Rams uniform. You the man, Erik!

    • Erik Lambert

      As a Bears fan I was a little upset they took Donald but they should’ve and they did. That defensive front is going to wreck havoc.

  • Paul Kawalerski

    I live in the New England area and all they’re saying down here is that Doug Whaley must have lost his mind giving that much to move up 4 spot; But, I completely understand Doug Whaley’s decision to get Watkins. This is the real test as to whether EJ can run Hackett’s offense. I fully expect the Bills to get an OT in the next two picks. With that done, EJ have a full arsenal for the coming season with serious talent. It’s just a meter of whether they can put it all together for a winning season. Let’s hope so. This year is looking promising. Go Bills!!!

    • Paul Kawalerski

      One side note, I find it really strange that NE fans would be saying the Bills made a bad move when their 1st round pick was wasted on a 2 time ACL problem DT that was projected to be a 3rd or 4th rounder. That sounds crazy to me.

      • Erik Lambert

        Bills fans have to understand there is no tip-toeing when building a team. They committed to E.J. Manuel and now are executing a plan to arm and protect him the best they can. It might seem reckless but it’s not stupid.