2014 NFL Draft: Looking at each team's best value pick
Introducing the top value pick in the 2014 draft for all 32 teams.
Go to any flea market and it is easy to see that value is difficult to determine. Usually it is relative, a point of view, perception or simply a matter of personal preference.
After the 2014 college player flea market known as the NFL Draft, teams are giddily evaluating what they selected. Real bragging rights go to the teams that managed to get the best value for what they spent.
For some, that is snagging an almighty quarterback, regardless of where. For others, it is getting a player in a middle or low round who can step right in and help.
Certainly the Cleveland Browns hope they made a valuable selection when they used the No. 22 overall pick on Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. The Houston Texans hope just as much that they filled perhaps an even more dire need at quarterback when they somehow waited patiently to take Pittsburgh's Tom Savage in the fourth round with the 135th overall selection.
The fact that the Texans didn't take a quarterback in the first round probably caused indigestion for respected beat writer John McClain. He made good on his promise to eat the front page of the Houston Chronicle if the team did not take a quarterback in the first round.
The Oakland Raiders hope to realize value in Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr, round two, No. 36 overall, and Alabama's two-time BCS champion quarterback AJ McCarron wants to darn well prove that the Cincinnati Bengals got a deal way down there with that 164th pick, y'all.
Beyond quarterbacks, if the Denver Broncos ' needy defense gets the jolt it needs from LSU middle linebacker Lamin Barrow, then that may be one of the best value picks in the draft in the fifth round, 156th overall.
The real value of all the selections will be determined over the years. But just hours after the completion of the 2014 draft, coaches on each team are smiling because they believe these players listed by The Sports Xchange writer network were great value selections (information includes round selected, overall pick, player, position, size, school and a comment):
Round 3/84 -- Kareem Martin, DE/OLB, 6-6, 272, North Carolina
--The Arizona Cardinals targeted a need: a young pass rusher. Martin could play in passing situations and on special teams right away. He could develop into end Darnell Dockett 's eventual replacement. The Cardinals wanted to get taller and more athletic at defensive end, and they did with Martin.
Round 3/68 -- Dezmen Southward, S, 6-0, 211, Wisconsin
--The Atlanta Falcons released starting free safety Thomas DeCoud over the offseason and are counting on the athletic Southward to win the starting spot. He has a 42-inch vertical and ran a 4.39 40-yard dash. He had a 31 Wonderlic score. The Falcons are fine with his medical reports after he was excluded from the combine because of wrist and spine injuries.
Round 2/48 -- Timmy Jernigan, NT, 6-2, 300, Florida State
--Disruptive inside, Jernigan fell due to concerns about a diluted drug specimen. The Baltimore Ravens checked into it and felt comfortable enough to draft Jernigan. He provides a stout presence.
Round 3/73 -- Preston Brown, LB, 6-1, 251, Louisville
--Brown should be able to come in and become the primary backup at middle linebacker behind Brandon Spikes . The Bills really don't have a true middle linebacker on the team other than Spikes, so Brown will get plenty of reps in training camp at the position. However, he also played some outside linebacker in college, and he can be a useful member of the special teams, so the Bills likely will get some mileage out of Brown in his rookie season. His production was certainly high at Louisville, as he made 301 tackles, all but 10 of those in his final three years.
Round 2/60 -- Kony Ealy, DE, 6-4, 273, Missouri
--General manager Dave Gettleman said he was shocked Ealy was still on the board when the Carolina Panthers were on the clock at No. 60. Many considered Ealy a first-round pick, and Carolina was more than happy to stop his curious fall even though it wasn't for a position of need.
Round 4/117 -- Ka'Deem Carey, RB, 5-10, 207, Arizona
--A hard runner who lacks breakaway speed but was extremely durable and productive, Carey was the Pac-12 offensive player of the year in 2013 with 1,885 yards on 349 carries. He finished four years with 4,239 yards on 743 carries, averaging 5.7 yards. He will fit in as Matt Forte 's backup and possibly will get short-yardage assignments. It was the role Michael Bush had last year before being cut for salary-cap purposes.
Round 5/164 -- AJ McCarron, quarterback, 6-3, 220, Alabama
--The Bengals got their developmental quarterback behind Andy Dalton . McCarron is a proven winner, and it wouldn't be insane to see him competing to start next season should problems arise with Dalton.
Round 3/94 -- Terrance West, RB, 5-9, 225, Towson
--The Browns sent the San Francisco 49ers fourth- and sixth-round picks to move into the third round for West. He is a power runner who picks up most of his yardage between the tackles. West rushed for 84 touchdowns in three seasons -- 41 as a senior in 2013.
Round 5/146 -- Devin Street, WR, 6-3, 198, Pittsburgh
--Street is a big, athletic receiver who can high point the ball. There are concerns about his speed, but he was very productive in college. He played in 49 games during his collegiate career, starting 40 and totaling 202 receptions for 2,901 yards and 16 touchdowns. The Dallas Cowboys had a third-round grade on the playmaking receiver from Pittsburgh and got him in the fifth round. He will give them insurance for outside receivers Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams . He also can play inside.
Round 5/156 -- Lamin Barrow, MLB, 6-1, 237, Louisiana State
--The Broncos hope Barrow is an eventual answer at middle linebacker, but he could find an immediate role as one of the two linebackers in the nickel sub package. His skill set compares with that of incumbent weak-side linebacker Danny Trevathan . Barrow was a priority Broncos target; general manager John Elway said that coach John Fox "made about 18 laps" around the Broncos' draft room while nervously waiting to see if he fell to their spot.
Round 5/158 -- Caraun Reid, DT, 6-2, 302, Princeton
-- The Detroit Lions see the Ivy League defensive player of the year as a developmental player but one with great upside. They had success drafting a similar defensive tackle from a smaller program a couple of years ago -- Sammie Hill of Stillman College. Reid is going to need a year to gain weight and strength, but his football skill set is NFL-ready.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Round 2/53 -- Davante Adams, WR, 6-1, 212, Fresno St.
--With wideout James Jones leaving as a free agent, and with free agent tight end Jermichael Finley unlikely to return, quarterback Aaron Rodgers was left without a full deck of pass-catching targets. The arrival of Adams should fill a big void, giving Rodgers another inviting receiver to stretch the field and complement Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. All the jump-happy Adams did the last two seasons in Fresno State's pro-style attack triggered by Derek Carr, taken 17 picks earlier in round two by the Oakland Raiders, was catch and run with the football in great numbers.
Round 4/135 -- Tom Savage, QB, 6-4, 235, Pittsburgh
--The well-traveled Savage was outstanding as a true freshman at Rutgers and exceptional as a senior at Pitt. He went 1,024 days without playing because he missed three seasons while transferring. Good size, big arm, solid mechanics. He will be coached hard and won't be rushed into the lineup.
Round 3/90 -- Donte Moncrief, WR, 6-2, 224, Mississippi
--Indianapolis filled a need for a big, strong, physical receiver with speed to get downfield. The former Ole Miss standout should give the Indianapolis Colts much-needed depth at the position. Viewed as a diamond in the rough, Moncrief left college after his junior season. He has a big upside in terms of being a player who will grow with the Colts' offense.
Round 2/39 -- Marqise Lee, WR, 6-0, 192, Southern California
--The Jacksonville Jaguars coveted the Biletnikoff Award winner in his sophomore season, when he caught 118 passes for 1,721 yards. The numbers dropped off considerably a year ago to 57 catches and 791 yards, but he was slowed by a knee injury. The Jaguars think he is the playmaker they were lacking the last couple of years. He could show it as both a receiver and kick returner.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Round 6/200 -- Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, T, 6-5, 321, McGill (Canada)
--LDT was a mystery to the Kansas City Chiefs before last January's East-West Shrine Game. That is where the guy that goes by the Americanized name of Larry caught the eye of NFL scouts with his athletic ability, especially his quickness, speed and flexibility for someone his size. Due to the competition level in Canadian colleges, just how high he can rise in the NFL is in doubt, so he is considered a project. However, given that Duvernay-Tardif is in his third year of medical school in Montreal, he won't be held back by being unable to handle the mental side of the game.
Round 2/63 -- Jarvis Landry, WR, 5-11, 205, Louisiana State
--Landry is regarded as a go-get-it receiver. He said he s played the slot as well as the outside position, so he should get on the field plenty. Landry isn't a speedy receiver, but he is tough and possesses good hands.
Round 5/145 -- David Yankey, G, 6-4, 314, Stanford
--Yankey is known as a physical player who is a strong run blocker with average foot speed. He will compete at left guard, where the Minnesota Vikings are looking to replace Charlie Johnson in 2015, if not this season. Yankey also will compete with guard Jeff Baca , a sixth-round pick in 2013.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Round 4/130 -- James White, RB, 5-10, 195, Wisconsin
--With both starter Stevan Ridley and third-down back Shane Vereen heading into the final year of their rookie contracts, New England clearly wanted to add depth and developmental talent to the backfield committee. White, who opened and closed his four-year college career with 1,000-yard campaigns, is a guy familiar with sharing the load for the Badgers, and unlike Ridley, his two fumbles in 754 career touches show the kind of ball security that coach Bill Belichick demands.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Round 5/169 -- Ronald Powell, OLB, 6-3, 237, Florida
--Powell returned to the field in 2013 after two anterior cruciate ligament surgeries in 2012. He is valued for his pass-rush abilities and measurables.
NEW YORK GIANTS
Round 4/113 -- Andre Williams, RB, 5-11, 230, Boston College
--With David Wilson 's future in jeopardy, the New York Giants continued to protect themselves at the running back spot by adding Williams, who last season averaged 6.1 yards per carry (355 rushes for 2,177 yards) and scored 18 touchdowns. While not much of a pass receiver -- he had just 10 catches out of the backfield in his four-year collegiate career -- Williams believes he can rise to the occasion not just as a tough inside runner but also as a pass-blocker.
NEW YORK JETS
Round 4/137 -- Dakota Dozier, G, 6-4, 313, Furman
--Dozier played at FCS Furman but has big-time measurables. He was a four-year starter at left tackle before moving to guard for the East/West Shrine Game. The New York Jets took a similar player last year in Brian Winters , a four-year starter at Kent State who struggled in transitioning from left tackle to guard. Fortunately for Dozier, he likely won't have to contribute right away with Winters and Willie Colon ahead of him, but a solid first season -- even of the redshirt variety -- could put him in line to start in 2015.
Round 2/36 -- Derek Carr, QB, 6-2, 215, Fresno State
--The company line is Carr will come to camp and play behind Matt Schaub while he learns the pro game. That could change if Schaub carries the struggles of his final year in Houston to Oakland. One problem: Carr has taken only a handful of snaps from under center the past two years.
Round 4/101 -- Jaylen Watkins, CB, 5-11, 194, Florida
--Watkins played both corner and safety at Florida, but the Philadelphia Eagles plan to play him at corner. The Eagles had a second-round grade on him, but he slid to fourth round mainly because of an unimpressive 40 time at the combine and his Pro Day. Watkins is the half-brother of wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who was drafted in the first round by the Buffalo Bills . The Eagles like his corner-safety versatility.
Round 3/97 -- Dri Archer, RB/WR, 5-8, 173, Kent State
--Offensive coordinator Todd Haley always has a small, quick, do-it-all back for a change of pace and to add some intrigue to his unit. Archer's announced 40-yard time at the combine was 4.26 seconds, but one official timer had him at 4.16, the fastest clocking at the combine this century by any method of timing. The Pittsburgh Steelers plan to use him all over the place, including on kick returns.
ST. LOUIS RAMS
Round 6/188 -- E.J. Gaines, CB, 5-10, 190, Missouri
--An undersized playmaker, Gaines shut down Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Adams last season, holding him to four catches for 8 yards. He is good against the run, and he plays a physical game with aggressiveness. Gaines is a good zone corner who loves to compete. He believes he possesses the versatility to help at corner, in the slot or even safety.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
Round 7/240 -- Tevin Reese, WR, 5-10, 163, Baylor
--Like speed? Then you will like Reese. He is not going to dazzle anyone with his solid hands or nifty routes, but what he can do is run, and run fast. Consider that of his 25 touchdown catches at Baylor, 22 of them went for at least 40 yards. He is a burner, something the San Diego Chargers lack.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Round 4/106 -- Bruce Ellington, WR, 5-9, 197, South Carolina
--Ellington gives the 49ers a much-needed deep threat and slot receiver. The two-sport star also played basketball for the Gamecocks, so he brings exceptional athleticism. He plays faster than his 4.45 40 time indicates, giving San Francisco another option for kickoff and punt return duties. A playmaker, Ellington has starter skills in a compact frame.
Round 4/123 -- Kevin Norwood, WR, 6-2, 198, Alabama
--Norwood didn't put up huge numbers in Alabama's balanced offense, but the Seattle Seahawks were intrigued by the way he always seemed to come up big in big games and think he can contribute quickly. Playing for the Crimson Tide meant that he caught just 81 passes in his career, and never more than 38 in a season. Norwood has the skill set and measurables of some of the players taken ahead of him.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Round 2/38 -- Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, 6-5, 260, Washington
--Seferian-Jenkins was the second tight end off the board, and the Bucs had a top-20 grade on him. He had eight touchdowns last season despite playing above his normal weight at 280. Seferian-Jenkins also gives the Bucs a tight end who excels at run blocking as well as receiving.
Round 6/178 -- Zach Mettenberger, QB, 6-5, 224, Louisiana State
--When Mettenberger tumbled into the sixth round because of character and injury issues, the Tennessee Titans spent their seventh-round pick to move up to obtain him. Mettenberger fits the mold of quarterback that coach Ken Whisenhunt likes (big, strong-armed pocket passer), and he could be the quarterback of the future if Jake Locker doesn't pan out in a make-or-break season.
Round 4/102 -- Bashaud Breeland, CB, 5-11, 197, Clemson
--Athletic, quick and willing to play the run, Breeland, who came out a year early, seems like incumbent Washington Redskins free safety Brandon Meriweather in that he sometimes plays out of control. With several veteran corners on the roster, Breeland will have to earn a job on special teams. He can play safety in a pinch.
--Frank Cooney, founder and publisher of The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com, covered the NFL and the draft since the 1960s and is a selector for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
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