Wow! After much waiting and over-evaluation, we have finally completed the 2014 NFL draft. Most teams did well and I think every team has a fan or two that will insist their team took at least three future Hall of Famers. The teams of our two divisions are not exempt from these overreactions, so I’m going to rate each team’s draft starting with the best.
Ozzie did it again. Man that guy sure can draft (just don’t ask him to re-sign one of those guys…). The Ravens picked up two, possibly three 2014 starters in this draft and a few solid depth guys as well. C.J. Mosley is a smart player and has a real shot to break the tradition set forth by Rolando McClain and the other Alabama MLBs that have become true stars in the league. In round two, the Ravens got what could very well be the steal of this year’s draft- Timmy Jernigan. Timmy J is an absolute beast and will probably be a starter week 1 throughout the next ten years. In the third, Ozzie followed one FSU stud with another. Terrance Brooks is a ball hawk and may not be Ed Reed, but he’s head and shoulders better than the scrub they took last year. Cruising through the rest of the Ravens draft shows some good depth. A fat guy from the Big 10 is usually a good idea and a giant TE with flowing locks from Colorado and a name like Crockett is sure to bode well for the Ravens.
Next up, we have the Cleveland Browns. Wait, am I typing this right? The Browns did something right? Yes, I believe they did. The Browns first savvy move was trading the #4 pick to their brethren from the shores of Lake Erie. The Browns picked up an extra first next year (most likely in the top 10), and after a bit more wheeling and dealing, got themselves what looks like a pretty decent defensive back in the process. So that brings me to the first of the Browns first round picks- Justin Gilbert. Gilbert is a talented young CB, and pairing him with (the newly supremely wealthy) Joe Haden could give AFCN QBs fits for at least five years (the minimum time he will be forced to call Cleveland home). Next up, Brown Town got themselves the highest profile (according to Browns owner Jimmy Haslem) backup QB in the league (now that the Time Lord is an E!SPN employee). John Q. Football Esq. (as we must now call him after his legendary Wonderlic score…) is as polarizing of a player we’ve seen come through the draft in a few years and he’s sure to bring scores of skanks and STD’s to First Energy Stadium. Jimmy Jam has already declared that Hoyer is still the starting QB, so we can rest assured that John and his band of hooligans will be under center (well, taking shotgun snaps) come September 7th. I don’t think John is going to pan out as an extremely successful NFL QB, but I like the conviction the Browns showed in the first round. In the second round, the Brown-Eyes picked up an angry looking giant to sure up their offensive line. I can tell you this; offensive line picks are boring, but keeping your QB upright and healthy is a key factor to success in the league and seeing as the new QB that the Browns drafted is about 170 pounds soaking wet, having a good line is imperative. The Browns took three guys in the third and fourth rounds, I don’t know anything about any of them, but LBs from Iowa seem like they should be tough dudes, and small school RBs and CBs have in the past been good ideas.
Next up, the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals did incredibly well themselves. Darqueze Dennard is awesome. He might be a little slow by NFL terms, but he is an up-in-your-face CB who will leave any WR that lines up across from him bruised and battered by games’ end. Dennard appears to be a stronger and smarter version of his cousin (who has been reasonably successful with the Pats), so I expect the 2.0 version to be even better. In the second round, the Queen City Cats snagged a guy that, if this was 2009 or earlier, would most likely have been a top 20 pick (you know, back when teams valued the running game). Jeremy Hill is a solid back that should complement Gio and replace Benny nicely. Now he will be replacing “The Law Firm” so let’s hope that he doesn’t have any relapses of the July incident outside a bar and keeps his fists to himself so he doesn’t need a real one. In the third, the Cats picked up Will Clarke, a defensive end that probably will end up being as vanilla as his name, but what the heck; Pacman needs another Mountaineer to relive the old days with. Their fourth round selection was a guy that may or may not be able to read based on recent reports coming out of Chapel Hill, but who knew he could be the one that was reading the comics to his teammates? Now; the guy that I wanted the Patriots to take in one of the later rounds – A.J. McCarron. I think this was a brilliant move by the Bengals, they have a QB that performs at an incredible level during the regular season, but can’t find his helmet come playoff time. So why not bring in a QB that is an expert at riding the coattails of more talented teammates but never makes mistakes in the big games? I foresee the Red Rocket starting 16 games, then A.J. coming in to clean things up in the playoffs (I know that would never happen, but it would probably be the best scenario). After this pick, Marvin Lewis & Co. rounded out a solid weekend’s work with a few guys that should fill out the special teams and practice squads nicely.
And on to the Steelers. In my pre-draft predictions, I almost nailed the Steelers’ first couple of picks perfectly. They started their weekend by doing what the Steelers do best; taking a Middle America linebacker in the first round. Shazier went to Ohio State, so he’s either going to just plain suck or he’ll do exceptionally well for a couple of years until the steroids tear the muscles right off his bones or he goes to jail. Next up, Stephen Tuitt from the Golden Domes; I like Tuitt and think he’s the second best DT in the draft, so getting him where they did was a great stroke of good fortune. He will fit well in the Steelers 3-4 defense and should be a productive player for a solid decade or so. Now, you all thoroughly lambasted me for even suggesting that the Steelers would pick a running back after all of the success we saw from Le’Veon “I’m still looking for the truck the hit me” Bell last season. Oh look, the Steelers took a running back from a school in the Mid-West. I said it would be in the second round and be a bruiser, but still you were wrong and I was right- never question the crystal ball again. Dri is a burner and should be a decent kick returner until he shatters into a million pieces. In the fourth they got a choking dog WR in Bryant, but hey; at least they didn’t trade up to #4 to get one…in the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds, the Steelers picked up a handful of players that may contribute in some form at some point. A center from Vanderbilt is typically a good idea (although adding an intelligent person to that locker room could cause some dissent among the current group of Rhodes scholars) but drafting guys from UMass is a bad idea, so don’t count on Blanchflower making the team (Victor Cruz was a UDFA so I’m right, you’re wrong).
Notice that we haven’t seen anything on the AFC East teams yet? That’s because they suck at drafting. You know how I know that? The New York Jets had the best draft of the four teams in the division- and when the Jets did the best, everyone else does poorly.
The New York Jets got a very good safety with their first pick in Calvin Pryor. Pryor is a solid hitter that should make some receivers think twice about going over the middle. He has a tendency to get himself out of position, but a big hitter with his head at least partially up his rectum is right in the Jets’ wheelhouse, so good job. In the second round, the Jets got what could be their biggest need- a big guy that can catch the ball. Jace Amaro may not be the best blocker in the world or the sharpest tool in the shed, but there is no denying his skills as a pass catcher. He should be a thorn in Belichick’s side for at least a couple of games in his career. Dexter McDougle is awesome, just because his name is Dexter McDougle so that’s a win for Idzik, and the trio of Saunders, Evans and Enuwa will at the very least be as productive as Stephen Hill was for the Jets. The rest of the Jets’ picks were fairly uneventful; they got their LB from Iowa, a guard named Dozier- which is also an awesome name – and a handful of small school guys that may or may not pan out.
What, you think I was going to forget the Elephant in the room? Tahj Boyd sucks. He sucks so bad that he should change his name to Tahj Dyson. Any Jets fans that are excited about this guy are as delusional as the ones that think Geno Smith is elite or Vick will play 16 games.
The second, third and fourth best drafts in the AFC East could be listed in any order, so we’ll just go alphabetically.
The Bills did a very Bills thing and traded their #1 pick in next year’s draft (and a 4th inthis year’s) for the biggest choking dog in the 2014 NFL Draft. Watkins has talent, but his sphincter tightens up so much in big games that it takes him three weeks to take a dump afterwards. Sammy will take one or two reverses 50+ yards this year, but if C.J. Spiller has been a disappointment for you guys, you are going to hate Watkins. Their second pick was a giant man named Cyrus; never a horrible decision, but there is some risk there so E.J. should check his knee braces before the preseason starts. The rest of the Bills’ picks are a hodgepodge of mediocre guys that will stick around in some shape or form for a few years giving the residents of the Falls hope and optimism for a couple more seasons. It’s playoffs or bust for the Bills this year; well, maybe not this year, but definitely next.
On to the Marine Mammals. Wow, what a job they did this year. One of the best offensive linemen was available as the Fins’ pick drew nearer, but they decided to stand pat and pick a guy with the last name James. Unfortunately for them, he’s not good like the James that plays another sport in town, so if we don’t hear from Dynamite Dawn or Mr. Jones for a few weeks, there is a good chance that Lauren has pistol whipped them to death and dumped their bodies in a swamp. Next up, the Fins got Jarvis Landry, a big slow WR that should complement the Fins no-move offense nicely. In the third round, the brain trust that makes up the Dolphins front office decided that since they whiffed so hard on the first tackle they took, they should try again. This time they may have actually gotten a guy that will last more than three years in the league, but he’s certainly not going to be considered an All-Pro anytime soon. The rest of the Fins’ picks were mediocre at best, but they did get a man named Hazel, so Mr.’s Pouncey and Jones can haze and fear equally.
Last and certainly least, we have the New England Patriots. I think it’s nice that the Pats always lose on draft weekend- it makes it easier to stay humble when they dominate on Sundays in the Fall. Bill Belichick decided to look at one of the deepest drafts in recent memory and get maybe one player that will see the field in the next five years. I hope I’m wrong, but Dominique Easley will probably go down as the worst pick of Darth Belichick’s career. I’m guessing that he starts the season on PUP and finishes it on IR. I don’t know why Belichick refuses to understand that injury prone guys get hurt in the NFL. And don’t give me the Patriots fanboy line that I keep hearing out of everyone here in Boston, “Bill has a great track record picking D-Linemen in the first.” That’s a load of crap. The last truly dominant D-Lineman that Bill drafted was Vince Wilfork, who was actually drafted back in the days when Bill did not have total control. The only one he picked on his own is Chandler Jones and he is in the top five of most overrated players in the NFL (I guess that does make him elite…). The 29th pick is closer to a second rounder than any other D-Lineman the Pats have taken in recent memory, and the carcasses of scrubs like Ron Brace and Jermaine Cunningham are all Bill has to show for his second round d-line picks. In the second, there were still a number of guys on the board that could have made an impact on the Pats. So what do they do? Take a guy that, if he ever sees the field in the four years of his rookie deal, will be a disaster. Jimmy Garoppolo is a perfectly serviceable QB, but it’s pretty stupid to spend high draft collateral on a guy that you hope never plays for you. The Pats then decided to take the third round off, because there were still some good players around, but in the fourth, they finally got a player that will see the field. Bryan Stork is a smart guy that was voted the best center in college football last year. He’s a Seminole, so hopefully he plays well and convinces Bill to abandon his horrible addiction to horrible players from UF and starts taking guys from the state school in Florida that produces good players (I wouldn’t even mind guys from Miami, just stop with the Gators, they suck). The Pats took another couple of decent players in the fourth (this is Bill trying to prove that he’s smarter than everyone else by taking good players in the fourth round while the rest of the fools in the league worry about the first). James White looks like he might be capable of being the Pats next BJGE, as he only fumbled twice in 754 career touches at Wisconsin. Cameron Flemming is a smart guy from Stanford who may someday fill in for an injured Sebastian Vollmer when he undoubtedly hurts his back again. Next up, Bill grabbed another Gator, but at least this one is a lineman, so he may not be horrible. The last three picks by the Pats were your typical Pats late-round guys; one of them will end up being a starter by year’s end, perform well, then suck in year two.
There it is, my predictions. Pretty close to reality, but reality is much worse. Get ready; next week, I think, will be the right time for the first predictions of 2014.