Reax: Day 1 of the NFL Draft

A couple of quick reactions to the Day 1 activity:

-The Jaquars, a convenient whipping boy in recent years, capitalized on their opportunity.  They took the (likely) best available, despite any perceived “lack of need” (with Eugene Monroe on the roster).  It’s a new day in Jacksonville. But just one pick later…

-The Dolphins, picking in a draft that was just about 15-deep in terms of upper-tier talent, decided they just couldn’t bear the thought of a risky pass rush talent going off the board nine spots ahead of them, and gave up a second-rounder to go get Dion Jordan.  They gave up the opportunity to select two Day-1 starters, including one in that tier of really good ones, for a roll of the dice.  If Jordan can capitalize on his talent, its a moot point. But it’s an unnecessary risk, which leads to bad outcomes in the long run.

-The Jets made two good selections…and their fans still booed.  Yes, the Jets have needs on offense.  But they have humongous holes on defense, too!  They needed to pick the two best players on the board, and more or less did so.

-Apparently Buffalo’s pick of EJ Manuel should indicate that they’ll implement “the Pistol” offense, and needed a replica of Colin Kaepernick to run it.  Kaepernick can throw the ball on a line 20 yards downfield!  This could end up costing a very good personnel man his opportunity as a GM…

-The top half of the round went more or less according to plan, at least if my Most Valuable 50 (and many others’) means anything.  After that, things went completely haywire.  That’s when draft talent traditionally drops off, and the draft seemed to hold form here, but even I didn’t anticipate the wild moves we saw.

-I don’t know what Ryan Grigson did to earn messiah status in this League, but his moves this offseason really don’t speak to me.  He threw guaranteed money — not the fake stuff that Jeff Ireland and Mark Dominik ponied up — at risky free agents like Gosder Cherilus, LaRon Landry, and Erik Walden, and now he picks Bjoern Werner in the first round.  Werner may pan out, but it’s not because he showed consistent pass rush ability at Florida State.  He can get off the ball quickly, but he was absolutely stoned at the line of scrimmage for long stretches of games.  There were better picks in Grigson’s spot — even at defensive end — in my opinion.

-I continue to experience mixed emotions about the Rams’ personnel decisions.  I thought they extracted the absolute maximum they could for the second pick last year — and promptly blew a few picks on odd selections.  This year, they did really well to get Tavon Austin and Alec Ogletree in the first round.  They had to climb to #8 to get Austin, part of a select group of standout talents in the 2013 class.  But man they paid a steep price.  It was savvy to trade back and still get Ogeltree, though.  All in all, I think they made off well last night.  Their defense will be very tough against run and pass, and their offense is taking on an impressive dimension.

-I usually don’t factor in prior trades in assessing teams’ draft performance — the Viking traded Percy Harvin for a late 1st rounder, that’s behind us — but the Vikings’ haul is really impressive.  Harvin was a great talent, but he didn’t have a long track record of success in the League.  The Vikes basically swapped an injury-prone, somewhat petulant receiver and four later draft picks for a younger but similar skill set in Cordarelle Patterson; a solid (although I predict, not transcendent) defensive tackle, in Sharrif Floyd; and an awfully attractive cornerback prospect in Xavier Rhodes.

-Either the Leauge’s hate on running backs has gone too far, or Eddie Lacy signaled some serious character concerns during the run up to the draft.  He will be a bigger contributor than guys drafted ahead of him, if he stays committed.

-Manti Te’o is what he thought he was: a second round draft pick.

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