Night two of the NFL Draft came with its fair share of surprises and storylines, albeit not at the shocking levels of round one (which I covered here). Day three was less dramatic… right up until the history-making moment in the seventh round. Let’s get into the bigger news and notes of days two and three of the NFL Draft.
Day Two Notes
-Oakland took Derek Carr in the second round, who reportedly was the top quarterback on their board. Carr can sit and develop behind Matt Schaub for a year, safe from the criticism and humiliation that can (and usually does) come from being the Raiders’ starting quarterback. To have such a logical plan in place seems very un-Raiders-like. Though I’m glad to know that when they evaluated him, they thought “he could definitely throw the ball.” Yeah… isn’t that a requirement for a quarterback?
-The breaking news before the second night of the draft started was certainly the impending suspension of Browns wide-out Josh Gordon. The Cleveland Browns loaded up in this draft, but oddly enough, not at receiver. Their front office knew about this possible suspension a couple weeks ago, but they didn’t change any of their draft plans. Mike Pettine and GM Ray Farmer stuck to their draft board rankings, deliberately ignoring every available receiver for the rest of the draft. That’s cool. Don’t give Johnny Manziel anyone to throw to. He’ll be fine, I’m sure. (They’ve since signed Miles Austin and Earl Bennett, a couple of possession receivers.)
– Captain Trade-Down Pete Carroll finalled picked a player for his Seahawks squad in the second round, taking Paul Richardson out of Colorado. All I can say is:
After Richardson, the Seahawks selected Kevin Norwood, the 6’2″ receiver out of Alabama. Pete Carroll came out of this draft with a burner and a possession receiver, both of which can make an impact this season.
-Washington tight end Austin Sefarian Jenkins went to the Bucs in round two. This marks the third huge target for starter Josh McCown. Jenkins is 6’5″ along with veteran Vincent Jackson and fellow rookie Mike Evans, whom they picked in the first round. When you add third round running back Charles Sims to the mix, it’s clear Lovie Smith is trying to give his offense (and veteran quarterback) every chance to succeed.
-So the Jaguars are in a similar situation to the Browns in that they can’t depend on their “top receiver” to stay out of trouble and therefore on the field. Justin Blackmon has been rockin’ that gonge, yo. But instead of doing nothing like the Browns, the Jags had a plan. They drafted Marquise Lee in the second round, taking a chance on a skilled receiver with questions about his durability. But they didn’t stop there, selecting Allen Robinson in the third round. GM Dave Caldwell made a concerted effort to give eventual starter Blake Bortles all the necessary tools to succeed.
-In the second round, Chip Kelly took Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews, a big body pass catcher with 4.46 speed. With a returning Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper, along with third round receiver Josh Huff, Kelly has done his damnedest to fill the void created by releasing DeSean Jackson. I’ve also decided there are too many Matthews in this league now.
-It took until the 54th overall for the first running back to come off the board in Bishop Sankey. Not surprisingly, the Titans were the team to start the movement. They needed to make up for the production of Chris Johnson.
-At pick 55 overall, the Bengals selected a running back in the second round for the second straight year, adding LSU’s Jeremy Hill to their roster. Partnered with Giovanni Bernard, the Bengals can keep a fresh body in at running back at all times.
-Fresno State Wide receiver Davante Adams went to the Packers in the second round, eliciting a “Love it” tweet from Mr. Aaron Rodgers. (Who I just learned is dating Olivia Munn. Well done Aaron.) Adams is a bigger receiver that can help ease the absence of James Jones if can help this season.
-Continuing to stock up a loaded position, the Niners took Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde. Hyde joins a crowded backfield that already has the veteran Frank Gore, Marcus Lattimore, who just sat out all of last season, and the disappointing LaMichael James. I’d assume James is on the way out.
-The New England Patriots ignored other key needs and selected EIU quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round, riling the crowd. Jimmy is now in line to be the next back-up to Tom Brady, as Ryan Mallett is entering the final year of his contract. Mallett’s been linked to Houston via a possible trade, but the Patriots weren’t about to give him up without an insurance plan. But that’s no guarantee they’ll trade Mallett. They could just as easily keep all three quarterbacks and take them into camp. Because Bill Belichick DON’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK.
-Houston took Louis Nix in the third round, just STACKING that defensive line. Nix will hop into that defensive front with J.J. Watt, with Clowney likely going into the linebacking unit as an outside pass rusher.
-Also in the third round, the Pittsburgh Steelers snapped up Dri Archer, the running back out of Kent State. If you didn’t watch the combine, Archer is the ‘back who caught the eyes of scouts thanks to his 4.26 time in the 40 yard dash. That ludicrous speed GIF from above? It can also go right here.
Before we move onto the festivities of day three of the Draft, we (mostly I) need a slight intermission.
Day Three Notes
– In a move that signified Buffalo’s need for running back depth, the Bills acquired Bryce Brown from Philly, swapping 7th rounders in 2014 and sending a conditional fourth round pick in 2015 in return. (Certain criteria being met would turn it into a 3rd round pick in 2016.) If you don’t remember (because you don’t watch ALL THE FOOTBALL like Joe does), Bryce Brown has a fumbling problem. But he’s got two years left on his rookie deal, whereas incumbent Buffalo backs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson are both entering the final year of their contracts.
-The Cardinals made Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas the first signal-caller to be taken in the fourth round. There are questions about Thomas’ accuracy and footwork, but Bruce Arians is as trusted a “quarterback whisperer” as they come. And Carson Palmer can help out as he enters his twilight. The reason Thomas went in the fourth round? The dude is athletic as hell and blew up at the combine with his measurables. He was among the top of the quarterbacks in every category. He’s 6’6″ and 248 pounds of raw ability.
-The Texans avoided quarterbacks like the plague during this draft until round four, when they picked up Tom Savage out of Pittsburgh. Savage has a cannon for an arm and at 6’4″ has the size you like to see in a pocket passer. He only had 28 career starts, but they were spread out over four years, as he say out in 2011 and 2012 because of the NCAA’s stupid transfer rules. He’s under-developed, but he’s got a great tool set which with the Texans can work.
-In the fifth round the Cincinnati Bengals drafted AJ McCarron, the quarterback of Alabama’s national title teams in 2011 and 2012. His fall was a bit surprising to me, but apparently he rubbed people the wrong way during the interview process. That being said, the Bengals got a steal in the fifth round. McCarron is the type of quarterback that can come in and quietly challenge Andy Dalton after a year of grooming. If the coaching staff does their job, they won’t have to worry about paying Dalton crazy starting QB money.
-In the sixth round, LSU QB Zack Mettenberger was picked up by the Tennessee Titans, who still have no idea if Jake Locker is their quarterback long-term. Mettenberger had an ACL tear in college, which certainly dropped him a round or two on teams’ boards. But he also had a diluted urine sample, which his doctor attributed to the hydration required by his rehab. So he’s clearly a gem. He’s got a powerful arm, but needs to work at his pocket awareness and accuracy.
-Instead of yapping, I’m going to let this video start this next section.
I cannot watch that without misting up HARD. I’ve seen so many draftees and their reactions over the past decade that I’ve forgotten what a perfect, unbridled joy it is for them. These men have worked nearly their whole lives in order to arrive at this moment, and Sam is no exception. I was so excited for him and proud that we, as a nation, got to see his exuberance. There was some explosive vitriol on Twitter from offended viewers when footage was shown of Sam kissing his boyfriend, and to those people I can only say this: you are going to have to grow the fuck up. I don’t care if it bothers you seeing two men kiss. I’m glad ESPN showed that footage repeatedly throughout the day, because you need to get used to it and evolve past your stale “I’m not gay but just keep it out of my face” attitude. I don’t like seeing prejudiced hillbillies kiss either, but I’m not about to tell you its “sickening” and that “my kids shouldn’t be exposed to it.” You have a right to express your love and happiness just like Michael did. There wasn’t anything wrong with it. The whole scene was lovely. Everyone move along now.
Moving on from the draft emotion, there’s something I need to stress to those of you who might not be NFL fans: this isn’t a great situation for Sam in terms of being able to stick on St. Louis’ roster. This was a luxury pick for the Rams, who already have a wealth of talent along the defensive line. If Sam can prove in training camp and the preseason that he can add more moves to his pass rush repertoire and sack the quarterback, he’ll stay on the team. But that’s an uphill battle, one that Sam is certainly anxious to start. As a 7th round pick, it’s extremely possible that he gets cut at some point before the season starts, rendering those recently-purchased Michael Sam jerseys obsolete. Just understand that it’s a distinct possibility and that you could be making a sad face come August. And just by the way, I’m not thrilled about the reality show idea yet. (But I’m not gonna crap all over Sam for it either.)
No matter what the outcome, I became a Rams fan on Sunday.
-I don’t like “grading” drafts just because its impossible to know three days later how much impact these rookies will have in the NFL. Still there are a few teams which are notable for how they handled their drafts. I’m personally a fan of the Rams, Niners, Raiders (gasp), Texans, Bengals, and Packers’ selections. The Seahwawks (eventually they should try and make a first round selection) and the Browns (no receiver drafted despite the glut of picks) managed to confuse me, but that doesn’t mean they did anything “wrong.” In fact, I’m a fan of the players they picked. The Seahawks just believe in quantity. The Browns got value in their picks, but just avoided a key area of need. And I’m still gonna hate on the Lions and Cowboys’ draft picks. It seems like these teams just don’t get it. It makes sense that the Cowboys’ haven’t learned because it’s still the same guy making the calls. But the Lions’ new front office/coaching staff shouldn’t be this befuddled.
Okay, that’s the last NFL Draft-specific posting! Thanks for waiting for this mediocre analysis. Did you have any specific questions? Do you want my take on your team’s selections? Let me know! It’s why we have a comments section. If you want a well-organized way to view all of your picks, NFL.com’s Draft Tracker is surprisingly robust.