With the hype of Day 1 of the 2014 NFL Draft in the books, it is time for the scouts and general managers to earn their keep and build out their respective team’s depth.
Seattle Seahawks – After trading out of the first round, the Seahawks continued to trade down and were left with a pair of second round picks. Seattle traded the 40th pick they got at the end of Day 1 to Detroit for the 45th pick. Seattle put them to good use with wide receiver Paul Richardson from Colorado and offensive tackle Justin Britt. Richardson is a 4.4 40 speedster that caught 83 passes for 1343 yards and 10 touchdowns last year. While his straight speed is pretty good, his agility is sluggish. Britt is a bit of a project with low end agility and raw strength. Some NFL training should be able to help with that.
San Francisco 49ers – San Francisco had a very busy Day 2 with four picks between the two rounds after a slew of trades. In an interesting twist, similar to Cleveland yesterday, San Francisco traded down from 56 to 63 in a deal with the Denver Broncos only to trade back up to 57 with the Miami Dolphins. They also traded down from 61 to 70 with Jacksonville. With their lone pick in the second round, the 49ers made another curious move in drafting running Carlos Hyde from Ohio State. Hyde had a strong season last year, running for 1521 yards and 15 touchdowns on 208 carries. With Marcus Lattimore selected last season, this could be an insurance policy for him as well as someone who could soon take over for Frank Gore. In the third round, San Francisco helped bolster their line with Marcus Martin from USC. The team has high hopes for Martin, who currently plays center. The Niners used their 2nd third round pick on linebacker Chris Borland from Wisconsin. Like their first round pick, they went with a player that is a bit undersized, but has a lot of raw power. Borland excelled last season with 102 tackles and 4 sacks. They closed the third round with another lineman in guard Brandon Thomas from Clemson.
Arizona Cardinals – The Cards started on offense, using their second round pick on 6ft6 tight end Troy Niklas from Notre Dame. Niklas hauled in 32 catches for 498 yards and 5 touchdowns for the Irish last year and will be a big target for Carson Palmer. Niklas isn’t very athletic, but his size makes up for it. In the third round, the Cardinals went big with 6ft5 defensive end Kareem Martin from North Carolina. Martin is very athletic leading all defensive ends in the broad jump while posting strong numbers in the other categories he competed in. Martin had 78 tackles and 11 sacks last year. Arizona’s other third round pick was for small school speedster John Brown from Pittsburg State. As a receiver and returner, Brown posted the 2nd fastest time at the combine this year with a 4.34 40 yard time. His agility is decent, but it is all about his raw speed. At only 5ft10, he looks a lot like Ted Ginn Jr.
St. Louis Rams – After trading up from 44 to 41 with the Buffalo Bills, the Rams decided to spend Day 2 on the BCS National Championship Game. In the second round, they selected defensive back Lemarcus Joyner from Florida State. At only 5ft8 and posting the worst 20 yard shuttle time at his position at the combine, that’s not a combination to instills confidence. However, Joyner is very skilled blitzing the quarter back, getting 5 sacks last season. In the third round, the Rams got running back Tre Mason from Auburn. Mason is dealing with some offseason medical issues, which pushed his stock down. Mason did run 317 times for 1816 yards and 23 touchdowns last year, so the potential is there. St. Louis is primed to have a very busy Day 3 with 8 picks.
Carolina Panthers – In Day 2, the Panthers focused on speed and agility in out of big men. In the second round, they drafted defensive end Kony Ealy from Missouri. Ealy had the best 3 cone drill time at his position and registered 7 sacks last season. The Panthers added guard Trai Turner from LSU in the third round. Turner had the best 40 yard time in his position and gives the Panthers good depth on the offensive line.
New Orleans Saints – New Orleans had only one pick on Day 2 and used it to help their defensive backfield by bringing in cornerback Stan Jean-Baptiste from Nebraska. While not one of the faster or agile defensive backs at the combine, Jean-Baptiste has an amazing leaping ability to go with his big 6ft2 frame.
Atlanta Falcons – Atlanta got a great physical specimen in defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman from Minnesota. Aside from becoming the highest pick out of the University of Minnesota, Hageman has very strong leaping ability and raw strength to go with decent speed. The Falcons also added 6ft safety Dez Southward from Wisconsin. Southward is a great tackler in open space and can shed blocks to make a play.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – In Day 2, Tampa Bay decided to go with big skilled players. Their second round pick was used to get 6ft5 tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins from Washington. With the addition of him and Evans to go with Tim Wright and Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay has a huge height advantage over opposing defensive backs. The Bucs will need to work with Seferian-Jenkins to improve his strength to be a better run blocker. After the issues the Bucs had at running back last year, they drafted Charles Sims from West Virginia in the third round. Sims is pretty strong and deceptively quick, running 208 times for 1095 yards and 11 touchdowns. While his team struggled, he was one of the few bright spots.
Host of The College Cram, NFL and NCAA writer on the National Gridiron Network
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