2014 NFL Draft: Shocking picks and slips highlight Day 2
A total of 68 selections were made during the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the 2014 NFL draft and there were plenty of head-scratchers among them. What were the most shocking developments? The Patriots taking investing a second round pick in a QB makes the list... but just barely.
After three quarterbacks came off the board in the first round, it was surprising to see only two get selected over the next 68 picks. That said, I like the players -- Fresno State's Derek Carr and Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo -- and their fits with the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots, respectively.
Showing the patience the Raiders haven't exactly been known for, general manager Reggie McKenzie waited for Carr to fall into his lap at No. 36 overall. The strong-armed Carr had been rumored as a potential trade-down candidate for Oakland in the first round and is an intelligent passer who has been successful in both pro-style and spread attacks. How quickly Carr develops could go a long way in helping McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen (and his staff) retain their jobs, as Matt Schaub is not much more than a Band-Aid at the position.
The Patriots' selection of Garappolo probably caught a lot of people off-guard, but New England spent a lot of time investigating the quarterbacks in this draft class and the Eastern Illinois' product is a terrific fit in the Patriots' shotgun-heavy attack, which is based on quick decisions, timing and a quick release -- Garoppolo's strengths. No one is saying that Garoppolo is a threat to Tom Brady but the 36 year-old future Hall of Famer isn't going to play forever and incumbent backup Ryan Mallett has been the subject of trade rumors.
Three other "shocking" developments from Day 2 of the 2014 NFL Draft:
3. The first round of the NFL Draft generates most of the buzz but the real building blocks are generally selected in the second and third rounds, when teams focus on filling needs rather than gambling on elite athletes -- at least most of them.
The Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers took the Best-Player-Available strategy on Day 2, apparently satisfied with either their in-house options or hoping to fill needs at receiver and offensive tackle, respectively, in rounds 4-7.
It is a philosophy that certainly can be effective but if young quarterbacks Johnny Manziel (or incumbent Browns' starter Brian Hoyer) and Cam Newton are going to be lead their franchises to success, they need help.
A record 12 receivers were nabbed in the first rounds, but Browns' general manager Ray Farmer apparently didn't like one enough to help fill the void left with the anticipated suspension of star wideout Josh Gordon (and the broken arm suffered by Nate Burleson). Similarly, Carolina's Dave Gettleman is showing a great deal of confidence that former right tackle Byron Bell is going to suddenly develop into a better pass blocker while making the jump to the left side to replace retired Pro Bowler Jordan Gross.
2. High profile defensive linemen were cheap on Day 2 with several recognizable names falling much lower than anticipated.
Arizona State's Will Sutton and Notre Dame's Louis Nix were, perhaps, the most surprising given the way each had consistently re-set the line of scrimmage during their respective collegiate careers. The All-American defensive tackles went back to back to the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans at No. 82 and 83 overall, respectively. Sluggish 2013 seasons due to weight gain were a red flag cited by scouts for both players leading to the draft.
The surprising slips could ultimately pay off for Sutton and Nix, however, as each certainly has reason to be motivated and there is no denying their talent.
Further, Chicago and Houston each boast plenty of talent already on their respective defensive fronts, easing the transition for Sutton and Nix to the NFL.
1. If defensive tackles can be characterized as cheap, running backs might as well be on a 2-for-1 sale with the value teams place on them in today's NFL.
Every draft in the history of the league had seen at least one runner get selected among the first 40 picks, but this year we had to wait until No. 54 overall for the first back -- Washington's Bishop Sankey -- to get picked, heading to Tennessee to play with another former Husky in Jake Locker.
Sankey is a similarly effective three-down back as the surprise first back selected a year ago, Giovani Bernard but, ironically enough, the Bengals -- who took Bernard -- supplemented the former North Carolina star with another running back one pick after Sankey with LSU's Jeremy Hill.
Sankey, Hill and Ohio State's Carlos Hyde (who went three picks later to San Francisco) are just the latest examples of how teams view running backs as commodities to be used and discarded.
My CBSSports.com colleague Pete Prisco remarked Friday night during our Draft Grades Live show that we've seen the end of running backs getting drafted in the first round.
He may very well be right.
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