Raiders Derek Carr QB A
Carr has been labeled as the best arm talent in the 2014 NFL draft and the Raiders wasted little time making him their quarterback of the future. Matt Schaub was brought in which prompted the subsequent release of Terrelle Pryor. Schaub will certainly serve as a stopgap player for the Raiders until Carr is given the keys to the offense. At this juncture the offense is lacking playmakers on the perimeter. Hopefully they are able to acquire a couple young promising wide receivers with their remaining picks.
#81 Raiders Gabe Jackson OG A
Last year, the Raiders couldn’t protect a single one of their quarterbacks they inserted into their starting lineup. They took one step toward addressing their issues along the offensive front by drafting one of the better talents at guard in the 2014 NFL draft. Jackson exhibits a ton of strength in the run game, as he’s very difficult for defensive players to disengage from. He has continued to improve upon his footwork in the passing game. The Raiders picked up an excellent player in Jackson who will be responsible for protecting the Raiders’ quarterback of the future, Derek Carr.
#50 Chargers Jeremiah Attaochu OLB B+
Attaochu has played both DE and OLB in his collegiate career but figures to play outside linebacker for the Chargers. Attaochu has a high motor and only seems to get more active as the game goes along. Attaochu has outstanding closing speed to the quarterback in passing situations and he’s also very stout against the run. Due to his versatility Attaochu has never focused on one position, which has resulted in him being relatively inexperienced at his current position, outside linebacker. With that said, his natural physical gifts have gotten him this far and he will continue to hone his skills at the next level.
#89 Chargers Chris Watt OG B
Watt is a fit for the Chargers as his sound footwork makes allowances for them to better execute inside zone principles. While he doesn’t have ideal arm length, it’s not going to matter as much along the interior. He plays with good knee bend and is able to deliver a very good initial punch. Watt is going to contribute to the Charger’s offensive line sooner rather than later. His impact is going to be felt most in the run game.
#87 Chiefs Phillip Gaines CB B
Phillip Gaines has impressive measurables. At 6-foot-0, 193 pounds, he ran 4.38 in the 40-yard dash. He has impressive ball skills and has potential to become a starter in the NFL. Gaines will need to improve upon his footwork as he lacks hip fluidity in his transition. He will instantly come in and contribute on special teams and will have an opportunity to compete for playing time at cornerback as the season goes along.
#95 Broncos Michael Schofield OT B
Schofield is definitely a pick that provides depth but he is not a starter at this point. He will need to continue to work on his kick-slide motion and getting in his sets more quickly, as he is susceptible to being exposed by quick-twitch edge rushers in the division. He does a solid job in the run game as he’s able to locate and finish moving targets regularly. While he fits the Broncos’ scheme, I would not trust him to consistently protect, Peyton Manning’s neck at this juncture.
#35 Browns Joel Bitonio OT/OG A
With the Browns going from a gap scheme to a zone-blocking scheme in Kyle Shannahan’s offense, it was a given that the Browns would need to address the trenches. With the news that Josh Gordon is facing a season-long suspension, the Browns remained true to their board and drafted the versatile Bitonio. In pass protection, he will need to continue to improve upon his footwork and getting in his sets more quickly, but in the run game he is a punishing blocker who loves finishing his opponents and diminishing their will.
#71 Browns Christian Kirksey ILB A
Kirksey is a high-energy linebacker who was responsible for covering the overhang of opposing offenses for the Hawkeyes. His collegiate experience covering receivers and running backs out of the backfield is going to help him immensely with the Browns. Kirksey is going to be forced to play in coverage a lot in coach Pettine’s system. Surprisingly he has very good instincts and does very well disengaging from blockers against the run despite his size.
#94 Browns Terrence West RB C+
West is a draftnik favorite for a myriad of reasons. He has exceptional wiggle and seems to only get stronger as the game goes along. West also has soft hands and is capable of catching the football out of the backfield. With that said West is merely a backup at this point as the Browns acquired Ben Tate this offseason. Tate is slated to be the bell cow for the team at running back. The Browns would’ve been better served had they opted for a running back that gives them something a little different than Tate. The Browns have yet to acquire a running back that can make defenders miss with regularity in the open field and can split out wide on occasion. There are three backs on the board at this juncture that could’ve fulfilled this role and the Browns neglected them all.
Who they should’ve taken: Dri Archer RB Kent State
#46 Steelers Stephon Tuitt DE
Tuitt is a very good fit in the Steelers defense. Clearly a solid athlete Tuitt is very strong at the point of attack. He also does well getting off of blocks. If he can stay healthy this is a solid pickup for the Steelers, but that’s a big if. Tuitt will play will play the five technique for the Steelers and his skillset suggest that he should have a long career in the NFL.
#97 Steelers Dri Archer A+
Since the loss of Chris Rainey the Steelers have been looking to find a player with a similar skill set and they found that and then some with Dri Archer. Archer will be that moveable chess piece that the Steelers will be able to put on the field at the same time as Le’Veon Bell. With this pick the Steelers offense just got that much more unpredictable. Versatility enables an offense to dictate to a defense and Archer gives the Steelers just that, versatility.
#48 Ravens Timmy Jernigan DT C+
The Ravens selection of Jernigan has many perplexed and rightfully so. Jernigan is a “tweener” whose body composition suggest he would be better suited to play three technique in a 4-3. The Ravens run a 3-4 and Jernigan’s skillset is not exactly a fit for the Ravens. With Terence Cody and Haloti Ngata lined up in the zero and five technique respectively in the Ravens base 3-4, it’s difficult to place Jernigan in their scheme. It is possible that Jernigan fits in as a five technique. If they were in fact looking for a five technique, there are other players that likely would have been better fits.
Who they should have taken: Jay Bromley DT Syracuse
#99 Ravens Terrence Brooks FS A
Brooks will partner up with Matt Elam on the back end of the Ravens defense. While he occasionally takes false steps and does not always read his keys correctly, he has the God-given ability to recover in an event his execution is suboptimal. His size and speed combination is rare at the position. His range will allow the Ravens to employ a lot of single-high-safety looks, which enables Matt Elam to play closer to the line of scrimmage where he is most comfortable.
#55 Bengals Jeremy Hill RB A
With BenJarvus Green-Ellis getting older, the Bengals realize it’s time to bring in his eventual replacement. With Giovani Bernard firmly entrenched in the Bengals future plans, acquiring a big bruising back to compliment Bernard for years to come would go a long way toward protecting the longevity of his career. Hill is capable of catching the football out of the backfield and he is a willing blocker with regards to pass protection as well. This is excellent selection for the Bengals.
#88 Bengals Will Clarke DE B
Bengals have needs along their defensive front, especially at defensive end where they lost one of their most consistent playmakers in Michael Johnson. The vision for Clarke is to eventually step into the position vacated by Johnson, but it won’t be that easy. While there are physical similarities with Clarke and Johnson, that’s where the comparison ends. At this time, Clarke is not as explosive or as powerful as Johnson was. With that said, he’s done a good job shedding blockers and he also has some athleticism. Michael Johnson was also very raw upon his arrival to the Bengals and developed into the player he is today. The Bengals might have very well struck gold again with Will Clarke.
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