I’ve counted: every 2014 first-round NFL draft pick has garnered accolades from the media. (Even Blake Bortles!) Complete list below.
Is it possible that every pick was good? If Eric Ebron was a great choice by the Lions at 10, for example, didn’t the teams just ahead of the Lions make a mistake by passing on Ebron? Or was each selection marginally better than all of the remaining players, meaning every team should come up roses?
There were choices of varying quality last night, although you wouldn’t know it from the draft coverage. Take NFL Network, for example. Matt Millen was asked whether he had ever drafted a big, athletic cornerback, and responded, “I never got the chance.” True — only if he means that he’d already cashed in his picks on such household names as Joey Harrington and Charles Rogers. Um, maybe if you’d passed on those stiffs, Matt? So, the analyis is coming from questionable sources.
Some teams can objectively be called winners. The Browns, for example, fleeced the Bills into coughing up two first-round picks and a fourth to move up five spots. The Browns could afford to coast from there, although they stopped high-fiving one another long enough to turn in a card for the aforementioned athletic corner (Justin Gilbert) and maneuver to take Johnny Manziel with the infamous Trent Richardson Pick.
Other teams made more questionable moves. In a forthcoming piece, I detail how the current Jaguars regime has essentially conceded that it drafts for ‘need’ — and how the organization is paying the price. Blake Bortles fits their emerging approach.
So go into the draft reviews and previews with a bit of a critical eye.
The Best of the Best in the NFL Draft’s First Round (as compiled from various media sources)
Grantland: Jadeveon Clowney (1), Aaron Donald (13), Zack Martin (16), Brandin Cooks (20), Deone Buchanon (27), Eric Ebron (10)
NFL.com: Johnny Manziel (22), Clowney, Khalil Mack (5), Ryan Shazier (15), Teddy Bridgewater (32), Cooks
NFL.com again: Justin Gilbert(8), Manziel, Anthony Barr (9), CJ Mosley (17), Matthews, Mike Evans (7), Darqueze Dennard (24), Odell Beckham (12), Fuller, Martin, Calvin Pryor (18), Jason Verrett (25), Jimmie Ward (30), Bradley Roby (31), Taylor Lewan (11), Dee Ford (23), Marcus Smith (26)
CBS Sports: Blake Bortles (3), Jake Matthews (6), Kyle Fuller (14), Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (21), Manziel, Dominique Easley (29)