FOOTBALL NEWS B4 2014 NFL DRAFT FROM THE FUGITIVE COMMISSIONER
Hello Football Fans,
Thought you might want some NFL draft info before the event taking place on May 8th through the 10th this year.
Lots of detailed info/minutia for you draftniks.
The Fugitive Commissioner of the FFHL
(Welcome back, Commish – Ed)
2014 NFL DRAFT COMING SOON
The 2014 NFL Draft will be held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on May 8th through May 10th. The first round will be televised on Thursday, May 8th and begins at 8 pm ET. The 2nd and 3rd rounds will be held on Friday and the 4th through 7th rounds on Saturday will wrap up the festivities.
The draft's traditional time frame in late April will not be available in 2014 due to a scheduling conflict at Radio City Music Hall (bull…..sneeze), and the NFL plans to continue holding the draft in May in future years as part of a permanent offseason calendar change.
The last time the entire draft took place in May was 1984.
Editorial Comment: The NFL brain trust is up to something, and it is probably a play to try to make more money in the future. They had better watch out and not get greedy and not ruin the great situation the league finds itself in right now. “Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.” (just ask Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban).
Overall, this draft class is projected to be the deepest in the last decade (i.e., loaded with talent into the later rounds). Of course, this is to be expected since there were 98 underclassmen who declared for the draft this year, obliterating the previous all-time record of 73 underclassmen set last year.
Each year there seems to be an emphasis on the QB position, which especially makes sense these days as the NFL is becoming a “quarterback-driven” league. That is, the rules have changed in the last decade to make the passing game more dominant over running attacks.
Anyway, the pundits pretty much put three players at the top of the QB draft board, with no consensus as to which one is best: Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville), Blake Bortles (UCF), and Johnny Manziel (TXAM). There is also no consensus as to when they will be drafted. They all could be picked in the top 4 picks, since Houston at #1, Jacksonville at #3, Cleveland at #4 are all looking to upgrade the QB position. And then Oakland at #5 (but the Raiders picked up Matt Schaub in free agency and have labeled him their starter) and Minnesota at #8 may pick up a QB in the first round. On the other hand, some pundits have speculated that one or all of these three QB’s may drop out of the Top 10 or even out of the first round (Mel Kiper has Bridgewater slipping to the 2nd round – see below).
The second tier of QB draftees, projected as 1st or 2nd round selections, are:
Derek Carr (Fresno, brother of David who was drafted #1 overall out of Fresno State by Houston in 2002), and
Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois, an FCS team; alma mater of Tony Romo).
The next tier is generally expected to be drafted in the 2nd to 5th rounds:
The “sleeper” supposedly rising up draft boards: Tom Savage (PITT)
AJ McCarron (ALA)
Zach Mettenberger (LSU)
Logan Thomas (VA Tech)
Tajh Boyd (Clemson)
And then Brett Smith (WYO), Aaron Murray (UGA), David Fales (SJ.St)
The RB position has not been a major focus early in the draft in recent years. Last year, no running back was selected in the first round. 2013 Offensive Rookie of the Year Eddie Lacy (ALA) was the fourth RB selected in the 2nd round by the GB Packers.
This year, the pundits generally think the same thing will happen again this year. The first RB to be selected may come out of this group: Carlos Hyde (Ohio St.), Lache Seastrunk (Baylor), Jeremy Hill (LSU).
Statistically, the productivity of running backs steadily declines after age 27. Of the 177 RB’s under contract with NFL teams right now, 72% are age 26 or younger. Only 8 of the 177 (4.5%) are age 30 or older. So it makes sense that few running backs get big contracts after turning 27. The free agent signings by RB’s this year for the best available players were all in the range of 3 years, $10.5 million (see below).
If you look at the statistics for wide receivers, the same is not true. WR’s generally remain productive into their early 30’s.
Some pundits, including Mel Kiper, are projecting an all-time record for number of WR’s selected in the first round. Seven wide receivers were selected in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft. Mel is predicting eight in his Mock Draft 4.0 (see below).
The consensus #1 WR is Sammy Watkins (Clemson), and he most likely will be picked in the Top 5. After that, each receiver has a different skill set that may benefit one specific team more than the others, depending on a team’s offensive scheme:
Mike Evans (TXAM) Tall at 6’5” and skilled, but not a blazer
Marqise Lee (USC) Fluid & quick; durability concerns
Kelvin Benjamin (FSU) At 6’5”, a smallish TE; not great route runner
Brandin Cooks (OR.St) Little guy, speedy with separation skills
Odell Beckham Jr (LSU)
Jordan Matthews (Vandy)
Cody Latimer (Indiana) Sleeper moving up the draft board
Not in first round projections for Mel Kiper, but still highly touted:
Jarvis Landry (LSU)
Allen Robinson (Penn State)
Paul Richardson (Colorado)
Donte Moncrief (Ole Miss)
Davante Adams (Fresno)
Eric Ebron (UNC) should be picked in the Top 20, and Jace Amaro (Texas Tech) may also get selected in the first round. It is not a deep TE class this year. Others expected to be drafted are: Austin Seferian-Jenkins (UW), C.J. Fiedorowicz (Iowa), Troy Niklas (ND), and Xavier Grimble (USC).
Last year, three of the top four picks in the first round were offensive tackles (#1 Eric Fisher, C. Mich to KC, #2 Luke Joeckel, TX A&M, to JAX, and #4 Lane Johnson, OKL, to PHI).
This year, there are two and maybe three OT’s that may get picked in the Top 10. The consensus top two are:
Greg Robinson (AUB) and Jake Matthews (TX A&M), and both will be selected before #10 Detroit selects, unless there is a huge run on QB picks at the top of the draft.
After that, consensus third best is OT Taylor Lewan (Michigan), followed closely by Zach Martin (ND), probable OG or center in the NFL.
The next tier that are projected to be drafted in the late 1st or 2nd round:
Morgan Moses (UVA) Left or right tackle
Cyrus Kouandijo (ALA) Probably right tackle
David Yankey (Stanford) Probably guard
Xavier Su’a-Filo (UCLA) Probably guard
Last year, seven DL were selected in the first round, including Sheldon Richardson out of Missouri. He became the 2013 Defensive Rookie of the Year for the NY Jets, who selected him #13 overall.
This year, DE Jadeveon Clowney (S.CAR) is the consensus best defensive player to come out of the college ranks in the last five years. Most pundits project him to be selected #1 overall. After that, up to seven additional defensive linemen could be selected in the first round, with each player having specific strong points that a particular team may like:
DT Aaron Donald (PITT)
NT Louis Nix III (ND)
DT Timmy Jernigan (FSU)
DE Kony Ealy (Missouri)
DE Scott Crichton (Oregon State)
DT Ra’Shede Hageman (Minnesota)
DE Stephon Tuitt (ND)
Outside LB Khalil Mack (Buffalo) is the consensus 2nd best defensive NFL prospect behind DE Clowney, and will be drafted in the Top 10, and maybe as early as #2 overall. He is a pass-rushing marvel, having forced 16 fumbles (mainly strip-sacks of QB) in his 48-game college career.
After Mack, several other LB’s will likely be drafted in the first round:
OLB Anthony Barr (UCLA)
ILB C.J. Mosley (ALA)
Followed closely as projected 1st or 2nd round picks:
OLB Ryan Shazier (Ohio State)
OLB Dee Ford (Auburn)
OLB Kyle Van Noy (BYU)
I’m probably missing a few 2nd rounders, since there were a total of 10 LB’s selected in the first two rounds last year.
Secondary – Cornerbacks and Safeties
There are two cornerbacks and two safeties that stand out above the rest this year, and all four will be drafted in the first round:
CB Darqueze Dennard (Michigan State)
CB Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma State)
S Calvin Pryor (Louisville)
S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (ALA)
After that, Mel Kiper has two other cornerbacks projected as 1st rounders:
CB Bradley Roby (Ohio State)
CB Jason Verrett (TCU)
Last year, twelve defensive backs were picked in the first two rounds of the draft, so I’m missing some players that will be selected in the 2nd round.
Iowa State’s Kirby Van Der Kamp is the top-ranked punter in the draft, and should get drafted in the late rounds on Saturday, May 10th.
There are no “phenom” place kickers this year. A couple of possible draftees are: Chris Boswell (Rice) and Anthony Fera (Texas).
OFFSEASON FREE AGENT SIGNINGS AND TRADES
(approx order by contract amount in millions (MM); “G” represents guaranteed money, if known)
PLAYER Team Team CONTRACT/COMMENTS
S Jairus BYRD NOR BUF 6 years, $56MM ($28MM G);
big deal and instant upgrade on “D”
OT Branden ALBERT MIA KC 5 YR, $46MM ($25MM G)
DE Michael JOHNSON TB CIN 5 YR, $44MM ($24MM G)
CB Dominique RODGERS-CROMARTIE (“DRC”):
NYG DEN 5 YR, $39MM max ($15MM G)
CB Vontae DAVIS IND IND re-signed 4 YR, $39MM
OT Eugene MONROE BAL BAL re-signed 5 YR, $37.5MM ($19MM G)
WR Eric Decker NYJ DEN 5 YR, $36MM ($15MM G); too much?!?
OLT Jared VELDHEER AZ OAK 5 YR, $35MM
DE Lamarr HOUSTON CHI OAK 5 YR, $35MM
DE Arthur JONES IND BAL 5 YR, $33MM ($10MM G)
OT Rodger SAFFOLD STL STL 5 YR, $32MM ($20 G); signed by Raiders,
then “failed physical” kicked him back to Rams
DE Jared ALLEN CHI MIN 4 YR, $32MM ($15.5MM G)
DT Linval JOSEPH MIN NYG 5 YR, $31.5MM
WR Golden TATE DET SEA 5 YR, $31MM ($13+ G)
DE DeMarcus WARE DEN DAL 3 YR, $30MM ($20 G); any gas left in tank?
OT Austin HOWARD OAK NYJ 5 YR, $30MM ($15 G);
OL Zane BEADLES JAX DEN 5 YR, $30MM
OLT Anthony COLLINS TB CIN 5 YEARS, $30MM ($15MM G)
DE Julius PEPPERS GB CHI 3 YR, max $30MM ($7.5MM G)
S Donte WHITNER CLE SF 4 YR, $28MM
CB Aqib TALIB DEN NE 3 YR, $27MM ($12MM G) + incentives
CB Alterraun VERNER TB TEN 4 YR, $26.5MM
S Mike MITCHELL PIT CAR 5 YR, $25MM
WR DeSean JACKSON WSH PHI 3 YR, $24MM ($16MM G)
LB Karlos DANSBY CLE AZ 4 YR, $24MM
S T.J. WARD DEN CLE 4 YR, $23MM ($14MM G)
LB D’Qwell JACKSON IND CLE 4 YR, $22MM ($11MM G)
O(L/R)T Michael OHER TEN BAL 4 YR, $20MM ($9.5MM G);
May not be blocking the “Blind Side”
DE Chris CLEMONS JAX SEA 4 YR, $18MM + incentives
WR Emmanuel SANDERS DEN PIT 3 YR, $15MM+incentives ($6MM G)
WR Andrew HAWKINS CLE CIN 4 YR, $13.6MM (front-loaded)
CB Darrelle REVIS NE TB 1 YR, $12MM; or 2-yr, $32MM if extended
RB Dexter McCLUSTER TEN KC 3 YR, max $12MM
OLB Lamarr WOODLEY OAK PIT 2 YR, max $12MM
WR Steve SMITH BAL CAR 3 YR, max $12MM ($3.5MM signing
bonus, and $3MM stilled owed by CAR)
WR Jacoby JONES BAL BAL re-signed to 4-year deal, $12MM
WR James JONES OAK GB 3 YR, $11.3MM
DE Justin TUCK OAK NYG 2 YR, $11MM (Giants offered about ½)
RB Toby GERHART JAX MIN 3 YR, $10.5MM
RB Donald BROWN SD IND 3 YR, $10.5MM
RB Darren SPROLES PHI NOR 3 YR, $10.5MM ($5.5 G);
traded for 5th round pick
QB Josh McCOWN TB CHI 2 YR, $10MM
OLT Donald PENN OAK TB 2 YR, $9.6MM
DE Antonio SMITH OAK HOU 2 YR, $9MM
RB Chris JOHNSON NYJ TEN 2 YR, $9MM
KR Devin HESTER ATL CHI 3 YR, $9MM
QB Matt SCHAUB OAK HOU 1 YR, $8MM + $3MM incentives;
traded for 2014 sixth round draft pick
WR Branden LaFELL NE CAR 3 YR, $9MM ($3MM signing bonus)
RB Maurice JONES-DREW OAK JAX 3 YR, $7.5MM ($1.2MM G)
RB Ben TATE CLE HOU 2 YR, max $7MM
CB Champ BAILEY NOR DEN 2 YR, $7MM max
DE Shaun PHILLIPS TEN DEN 2 YR, $6MM
CB Brandon BROWNER NE SEA 3 YR; $16.8MM ($1MM G);
four-game suspension to start 2014
WR Mike WILLIAMS BUF TB Signed 6-yr, $40MM contract last year;
Bills on hook for only $1.8MM this yr.
Traded for 2014 sixth round pick
WR Hakeem NICKS IND NYG 1 YR, $3.5MM to $5.5MM
RB Darren McFADDEN OAK OAK re-signed for 1 YR, $4MM
S Roman HARPER CAR NOR 2 YR, $4.5MM
DT Henry MELTON DAL CHI 1 YR, $2.25MM plus 3-year option &
Incentive-laden; could earn $29MM
CB Antonio CROMARTIE AZ NYJ 1 YR, $3+MM
QB Michael VICK NYJ PHI 1 YR, $4MM (Mark Sanchez was cut)
QB Mark SANCHEZ PHI NYJ 1 YR, $4MM max
RB LeGarrette BLOUNT PIT NE 2 YR, $3.85MM
RB Knowshon MORENO MIA DEN 1 YR, $3MM max
WR Kenny BRITT STL TEN 1 YR, $1.4MM to $2.9MM
CB Carlos ROGERS OAK SF 1 YR, $2.5MM ($1MM G)
OT Jonathan MARTIN SF MIA traded for conditional 7th rounder 2015
OG John JERRY NYG MIA accessory to bullying of J. Martin
QB Blaine GABBERT SF JAX traded for 2014 sixth round draft pick
QB Brandon WEEDON DAL CLE 2 YR, $1.2MM; still owed $2.1MM by CLE
QB Josh FREEMAN NYG MIN 1 YR
QB Terrelle PRYOR SEA OAK 1 YR, $700K; traded for conditional 2015
UPDATED 2014 MOCK DRAFT
Let’s compare Mel Kiper’s 1st round mock draft from February to his revised mock draft just last week in mid-April. Column #2 is Mel Kiper’s February mock draft (from #1 to #32), and in Column #1 are his current mock draft rankings for those 32 players as of mid-April. Column #3 is Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network projections in February, just for another perspective.
APRIL February February
Mel Mel Jeremiah
PLAYER/SCHOOL/POSITION KIPER KIPER NFL Net
Johnny MANZIEL/TXAM/QB #4 CLE #1 HOU #4 CLE
Jake MATTHEWS/TXAM/OT #9 BUF #2 STL #11TEN
Jadeveon CLOWNEY/S.CAR/DE #1 HOU #3 JAX #1 HOU
Blake BORTLES/UCF/QB #8 MIN #4 CLE #8 MIN
Sammy WATKINS/CLEM/WR #3 JAX #5 OAK #2 STL
Anthony BARR/UCLA/LB #25 SD #6 ATL #3 JAX
Khalil MACK/Buffalo/OLB #5 OAK #7 TB #7 TB
Teddy BRIDGEWATER/LOU/QB OUT!!!!! #8 MIN #5 OAK
Greg ROBINSON/AUB/OT #2 STL #9 BUF #6 ATL
Justin GILBERT/OKL.ST/CB #11TEN #10 DET #12 NYG
Taylor LEWAN/MICH/OT #6 ATL #11TEN #13 STL
C.J. MOSLEY/ALA/LB #19 MIA #12 NYG #9 BUF
Mike EVANS/TXAM/WR #7 TB #13 STL #10 DET
Timmy JERNIGAN/FSU/DT OUT! #14 CHI #14 CHI
Louis NIX III/ND/DT OUT! #15 PIT #30 SF
Eric EBRON/UNC/TE #12 NYG #16 BAL #18 NYJ
Ha Ha CLINTON-DIX/ALA/S #10 DET #17 DAL #21 GB
Marqise LEE/USC/WR #23 KC #18 NYJ #16 BAL
Cyrus KOUANDIJO/ALA/OT OUT! #19 MIA #20 AZ
Zack MARTIN/ND/OT #16 DAL #20 AZ #19 MIA
Calvin PRYOR/LOUIS/FS #17 BAL #21 GB #17 DAL
Kelvin BENJAMIN/FSU/WR #22 PHI #22 PHI #15 PIT
Stephon TUITT/ND/DE #32 SEA #23 KC not 1st Rd
Darqueze DENNARD/MI.ST/CB #13 STL #24 CIN #22 PHI
Bradley ROBY/OH.ST/CB #24 CIN #25 SD not 1st Rd
Carlos HYDE/OH.ST/RB OUT #26 CLE #26 CLE
Antonio RICHARDSON/TENN/OT OUT #27 NOR not 1st Rd
Brandin COOKS/OR.ST/WR #18 NYJ #28 CAR not 1st Rd
Jace AMARO/TX.TK/TE OUT! #29 NE #29 NE
Odell BECKHAM JR./LSU/WR #15 PIT #30 SF not 1st Rd
Scott CRICHTON/OR.ST/DE OUT #31 DEN not 1st Rd
Allen ROBINSON/FSU/WR OUT #32 SEA not 1st Rd
New entries into Mel’s 1st round:
Aaron DONALD/Pitt/DT #14 CHI not 1st Rd not 1st Rd
Derek CARR/Fresno/QB #20 AZ not 1st Rd not 1st Rd
Ryan SHAZIER/OH.ST/OLB #21 GB not 1st Rd not 1st Rd
Kyle FULLER/VA Tech/CB #26 CLE not 1st Rd not 1st Rd
Cody LATIMER/IND/WR #27 NOR not 1st Rd not 1st Rd
Morgan MOSES/Virginia/OT #28 CAR not 1st Rd #31 DEN
Ra’Shede HAGEMAN/MINN/DT #29 NE not 1st Rd #24 CIN
Jordan MATTHEWS/Vandy/WR #30 SF not 1st Rd not 1st Rd
Jason VARRETT/TCU/CB #31 DEN not 1st Rd not 1st Rd
All of these guys are out of Mel’s first round as well:
Kony EALY/MIZZU/DE not 1st Rd not 1st Rd #27 NOR
Paul RICHARDSON/COL/WR not 1st Rd not 1st Rd #23 KC
Lamarcus JOYNER/FSU/CB not 1st Rd not 1st Rd #25 SD
Jarvis LANDRY/LSU/WR not 1st Rd not 1st Rd #28 CAR
Davante ADAMS/Fresno/WR not 1st Rd not 1st Rd #32 SEA
Kyle VAN NOY/BYU/OLB not 1st Rd not 1st Rd not 1st Rd
Billy TURNER/ND.St/OT not 1st Rd not 1st Rd not 1st Rd
David YANKEY/STAN/OG not 1st Rd not 1st Rd not 1st Rd
Xavier Su’a-Filo/UCLA/OG not 1st Rd not 1st Rd not 1st Rd
QB Teddy Bridgewater had a bad workout on his Pro Day and has dropped significantly in some of the pundits’ mock drafts (including Mel Kiper’s, as you can see above; Mel has Teddy being drafted by Houston with the first pick of the 2nd round).
And Mel now has nine different players projected as 1st rounders, as compared to when he “mocked” in February; this is obviously not an exact science.
Mel bumped up the top two cornerback prospects in the draft, which brought other CB’s into the picture in the first round.
Mel is projecting 8 wide receivers to be picked in the first round; that would be an all-time record.
DE Michael Sam (Missouri) finished his 4-year career with the Tigers and is eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft. He “came out”, and if drafted, will the first openly gay player in the NFL.
He is projected as a 4th or 5th round pick. According to www.bovada.lv, you can bet on when he will be drafted. The over/under was 125.5 (back in February), meaning that if he is drafted within the first 125 picks (middle of 4th round), the winning bet is “under”; if he is drafted #126 or later, the winning bet is “over”.
Johnny “Football” Manziel doesn’t fit into a normal draft evaluation process, as his skills are so unique and may or may not translate to being successful as an NFL quarterback. He could be drafted #1 overall, or maybe even drop into the second round (not likely; some team will take a chance on him). He is only 5’11-3/4”, but he has big hands at 9-3/4” (same size as 6’5” Cam Newton’s hands), supposedly a great asset as a QB (and according to the legendary myth about extremities, this may be why he smiles a lot).
OT Greg Robinson could be drafted #1, but if not the top pick, most likely will get picked within the Top 9. He is 6’5” and 320 lbs. (plus), but still ran the 40 yard dash in under 5 seconds.
The best 40-yard time at the 2014 NFL Combine was turned in by RB Dri Archer (Kent State) at 4.26 seconds (next best was 4.33). That is the second-fastest all-time since the electronic clock was implemented in the year 2000. #1 is RB Chris Johnson (in 2008 at 4.24), who recently signed with the NY Jets. Bo Jackson holds the all-time hand-timed record at 4.12 seconds.
Did you know? The origin of the 40-yard dash as an NFL measure comes from the average distance of a punt being 40 yards.
More on the NFL Combine:
Center Russell Bodine (no relation to Jethro) out of North Carolina (310 lbs.) bench-pressed 225 pounds 42 times to beat all other participants by at least six reps. Plus, he had a 29” vertical jump. His physical “weakness” is his short arms at 32.5”, which helps for the bench press but is generally detrimental for blocking.
One more on the NFL Combine:
The best overall performance at any position based on raw athletic ability was Georgia Southern QB Jerick McKinnon, who worked out with the RB’s at the Combine. He is 5’9” and 209 lbs.. He ran the 40 in 4.41 seconds, his vertical jump was 40.5”, his standing long jump was 11 feet, and he benched 225 lbs. thirty-two times.
Back on March 10th, I just happened to note the current odds for how many games each NFL team was projected to win in 2014. Of course the odds change all the time, and I’ll be updating the numbers before the season starts, but here’s what I picked up from CG (formerly Cantor Gaming). These are over/unders – bet that the team will win more or less than this total:
At 11 wins: SF, DEN, SEA
At 10 wins: GB, NE
At 9.5 wins: NOR
At 9 wins: CIN, IND, PIT
At 8.5 wins: CHI, PHI, CAR, BAL, HOU
At 8 wins: SD, KC, DAL, ATL, DET
At 7.5 wins: MIA
At 7 wins: AZ, NYG, WSH
At 6.5 wins: BUF, CLE, TB, NYJ, STL, TEN, MIN
At 5 wins: OAK
At 4.5 wins: JAX
You may have noticed that three teams are projected to win at least 3 games less than last year (2013 season) – AZ, KC, CAR.
COMING IN AUGUST BEFORE 2014 SEASON STARTS
I’ll be sending out rule changes for both NFL and college in August, as well as another summary of the coaching changes at both levels. Plus, if I remember, we’ll take a look at how the new replay system in Major League Baseball is working out.
FOOTBALL QUIZ QUESTION
This is a question (as revised below) from my previous newsletter after the Super Bowl in February. I butchered the question (left out the winners in the 1970’s), as pointed out by FFHL’er MOORE MONEY. Let me give it another try.
QUESTION: Seattle LB Malcolm Smith was named the MVP of the Super Bowl. For the other 47 Super Bowls, there were eight defensive players named Super Bowl MVP. Name them.
HINT: The years (based on regular season, not year in which Super Bowl was played) and teams were: 2002 (TB), 2000 (BAL), 1995 (DAL), 1985 (CHI), 1977 (DAL; Co-MVP’s), 1972 (DAL), 1970 (DAL).
In the last 30 years (my previous answer):
1985 -- DE Richard Dent (Chicago)
1995 -- CB Larry Brown (Dallas)
2000 -- LB Ray Lewis (Baltimore)
2002 -- Safety Dexter Jackson (Tampa Bay)
Before that (excluded previously):
1977 – DT Randy White and DE Harvey Martin (Dallas)
1972 – S Jake Scott (MIA)
1970 – LB Chuck Howley (Dallas)
And for the 1996 season, Desmond Howard won the Super Bowl XXXI MVP as a kick/punt returner for Green Bay.