Status check on the 2014 draft order & a new projection

December 16th, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

According to ESPN, if the season ended today, this is what the top-15 would look like:

#1 Houston Texans
#2 St. Louis Rams (via Washington)
#3 Oakland Raiders
#4 Jacksonville Jaguars
#5 Atlanta Falcons
#6 Cleveland Browns
#7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
#8 Minnesota Vikings
#9 Buffalo Bills
#10 Tennessee Titans
#11 New York Giants
#12 Pittsburgh Steelers
#13 New York Jets
#14 St. Louis Rams
#15 San Diego Chargers

It’s easy to forget the Texans started the season 2-0. They’re currently on a 12 game losing streak.

Anyone concerned the Rams will end up with the #1 pick can breathe easy (although in fairness, the #2 pick looks like a shoe-in). Houston hosts Denver and then goes to Tennessee to close out the year. The Redskins seem a little more competitive with Kirk Cousins under center — and face two divisional games against Dallas (H) and the New York Giants (A).

Without wanting to go over old ground, I still think the Rams would’ve been better off drafting Robert Griffin III in 2012. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. So is an opinion on the NFL draft. Mine is that they should have found a way to move on from Sam Bradford and built around their new quarterback.

Sure, RGIII is having a tough time right now. And it’s almost all down to the way Dan Snyder runs his franchise. Without his presence in St. Louis — and with a genuinely good coach in Jeff Fisher — I think he would’ve really thrived with the Rams.

Multiple first round picks look great on paper, but they have to turn into a winning formula on the field.

Michael Brockers, Tavon Austin and Alec Ogletree were all solid picks, but they haven’t had a major impact for the Rams. They’re still a 6-8 team — and how much better would they truly be with Bradford healthy? It’s still early, but compare those early picks to Seattle’s deuce in 2010 — Russell Okung and Earl Thomas. Both players became franchise cornerstones almost immediately.

It’s interesting that there’s been talk Les Snead, the Rams GM, could be in trouble after just a couple of years on the job.

This really is St. Louis’ last chance to prove they did make the right call. If they end up with two top-15 picks, they’ve got to make it count. What do they do with Bradford? Do they finally cut loose? Or keep the faith?

If they do replace him, there’s going to be a lot of pressure to get it right. It’s one thing to bring in the much vaunted, Heisman winning RGIII as the replacement. But is Teddy Bridgewater any better than Bradford? Arguably not. That’s a big call for the Rams, who know they’ll have to either re-sign or cut Bradford sooner rather than later.

With the #1 pick I still think the Texans will struggle to justify picking any of the 2014 quarterbacks ahead of Jadeveon Clowney. Yes — quarterback is their biggest need. It’s why they’ve struggled this year. But you can’t force this.

There will be guys available later in the first round that they can move up and select. Maybe they just sit tight at #33? For me they should take Clowney, put him next to J.J. Watt and enjoy.

It’ll be really interesting to see what Cleveland and Minnesota do. The Browns will get an extra first round pick from the Colts via the Trent Richardson trade. They’ll almost certainly take a quarterback in round one. But will they do it in the top ten? Or will they wait until later, leading to a possible mid-to-late first round rush on QB’s?

The Vikings will have to decide whether to make coaching changes before choosing their next move at the same position. Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel aren’t the answer. If they aren’t stashing Josh Freeman for the long haul, why is he even on the roster? Freeman’s presence in Minnesota makes me think they might give him a shot in 2014, despite a disastrous debut against the Giants earlier this season.

The Jets are also an interesting case. I genuinely think Rex Ryan is a great defensive coach, but the way that team has run its offense the last two years has been shambolic.

Drafting Geno Smith looks like a complete waste — he just doesn’t look good enough. They have no weapons to build around. And what is it they’ve tried to do schematically? Any ideas?

This could be a landing spot for Darrell Bevell next year, with a brand new offensive vision. They have the defensive personnel to be very, very good. But they have no identity on offense. They won’t compete properly in the AFC East until they get it.

If they do go the route of a Bevell (and remember, NYJ’s GM is John Idzik — formerly of the Seahawks) then for me they have to be prepared to draft a quarterback early. A better quarterback. And then they need to get him some weapons.

Can anyone else see Bevell coaching Johnny Manziel in New York? That comes across as suitably dramatic enough for the Jets.

And Manziel can have plenty of fun — just like this — in NYC.

Here’s a quick top-15 projection… just for the hell of it and to bring some different ideas to the table…

#1 Houston Texans — Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina)
#2 St. Louis Rams (via Washington) — Jake Matthews (T, Texas A&M)
#3 Oakland Raiders — Anthony Barr (DE, UCLA)
#4 Jacksonville Jaguars — Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M)
#5 Atlanta Falcons — Cyrus Kouandjio (T, Alabama)
#6 Cleveland Browns — Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson)
#7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Greg Robinson (T, Auburn)
#8 Minnesota Vikings — Re’Shede Hageman (DE, Minnesota)
#9 Buffalo Bills — Antonio Richardson (T, Tennessee
#10 Tennessee Titans — Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Louisville)
#11 New York Giants — Cameron Erving (T, Florida State)
#12 Pittsburgh Steelers — Taylor Lewan (T, Michigan)
#13 New York Jets — Johnny Manziel (QB, Texas A&M)
#14 St. Louis Rams — Darqueze Dennard (CB, Michigan State)
#15 San Diego Chargers — Eric Ebron (TE, North Carolina)

So here I’ve got Clowney going at #1 as discussed. Jake Matthews is the Rams pick — purely to try and max out the value there. Replacing Bradford with Bridgewater looks like a sideways step. It could happen, it really could happen. But not in today’s projection. They could start Matthews at left or right tackle, depending on how they view Jake Long. They need to solidify that offensive line for the long haul — although Fisher isn’t really one for drafting O-liners in the first round.

The Jaguars — I just have a hunch that they’ll keep building rather than jumping feet first into a non-spectacular quarterback who won’t have any weapons. I could’ve given them Bridgewater here, but I’m brainstorming (I think?). So in this scenario I have them taking Mike Evans as a reliable, jump ball specialist in the mould of Vincent Jackson. For Evans to go this early he’d have to run well at the combine, but it’s not impossible. He ran away from Alabama.

The Jags mimic the Bengals in 2011 by going dynamic receiver early, then quarterback in round two (A.J. McCarron?).

I have Bridgewater dropping to #10 with teams like Oakland and Cleveland going in different directions. This possibility doesn’t get discussed too often, so let’s talk about it here. Teddy hasn’t had a 2013 season that cements his place among the top 2-3 picks. So here he drops to Tennessee, who will likely make major coaching changes, cut Chris Johnson and possibly move on from injury-prone Jake Locker.

The Jets go for Manziel at #13, potentially usurping the Rams if they do want to move on from Bradford.

Just some scenarios. Discuss away.

81 Responses to “Status check on the 2014 draft order & a new projection”

  1. Colin says:

    I haven’t watched enough Brandon Coleman tape, but the couple I have watched it doesn’t seem like he gets off the ball particularly quick- he needs a clean release to get his speed up and going, and he could be very susceptible to press coverage. That could be a real deal breaker.

    What do you think, Rob?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think if his knee clears and he runs as well as he’s capable of — we’re looking at a huge upside guy. He has some technique flaws — the biggest for me being the ability to high point the football consistently. But I’d love the challenge of getting him to do that, because the upside is so big.

      I’m actually going to take the Coleman-to-Seattle line out of the piece, because I suspect it will dominate everything else. No doubt we’ll come back to Coleman many times before the 2014 draft.

  2. AlaskaHawk says:

    I’m thinking two QBs taken in top 10 and 3 in top 15. Not a chance that Houston will pass up the QB prize. As good as Clowney may become, it doesn’t make any difference when the opposing team is shredding your secondary.

    • House says:

      Teams have proven that a DOMINANT front 7 can help an even-mediocre secondary better…

      • House says:

        If HOU takes a QB and its a miss, their in even more trouble than they are now…

        • Miles says:

          If you’re Houston, why not try to go get Jay Cutler on a large contract? He’s proven and he’ll come to a place with a top target in Andre. Seems like it would be mutually beneficial, then go get Jadeveon Clowney. I side with Rob here; that’s a player that’s impossible for Houston to pass up, particularly for an uncertain quarterback prospect. With Cutler and Clowney in the mix, Houston would be a playoff contender again, I feel.

          But oh yeah they also need a coach.

          • Alex says:

            Texans are capped. They won’t be making any major moves in FA.

            I’m personally in favor of
            R1: Clowney (a unique talent)
            R2: QB.
            R3: Right Tackle

            • glor says:

              well purely because they are capped, wouldn’t that mean the cheapest way to get good fast is to take a QB #1? (5 years locked up)

              • Alex says:

                Problem is, who is worth it? There is some depth to the QB class, but it’s not particularly top heavy. If there was an Andrew Luck in this class, then shoot, go ahead and pick him ahead of Clowney. Unfortunately for the Texans, the best they can pick is probably Bridgewater who is nowhere near the prospect that some are claiming him to be. And speaking of Bridgewater, there’s some rumblings now that he isn’t even going to declare.

                For me, the Texans can maximize the value of their picks by getting the sole unique talent in this draft (Clowney) at #1 and then go all in at QB with the 2nd round pick.

        • Brian says:

          We’ve argued this on the blog for years. The two basic points.

          1) The success rate for 1st round QB’s is about 45%. (Assuming that success means making at least one pro bowl.)
          2) The success rate for later round guys is way worse.

          There is no easy, guaranteed way to find an elite QB. But you HAVE to at some point.

    • Rob Staton says:

      In fairness though, the Houston pass rush and defense was playing at an elite level to start the year. As the wheels fell off offensively, the defense has been basically screwed.

      Just drafting any QB with a #1 pick won’t be the answer to their problems. It has to be the right guy. If they think that guy exists, they take him. But they have to be careful because passing on potentially the Calvin Johnson of defense for just an average QB would be a mistake, especially when the drop off from Bridgewater to the QB’s going in the late first/early second isn’t that big.

      • Nolan says:

        I like the idea of Cutler in Houston, that division is ugly Indy is winning by default if they get Clowney and Cutler they probably get a home playoff game next year. Of course cutler might not really be on the way out in chicago. This could be a spot for the Aj Macaron they have weapons to help him on offense and a potentially devestating defense.

        • Alex says:

          Can’t afford him. The Texans just extended Arian Foster, Cushing, Matt Schaub (facepalm), Duane Brown, Chris Myers and they still have Jonathon Joseph, Andre Johnson (10 million plus) under contract. A few years ago, they have to restructure AND cut players (e.g. Right Tackle Eric Winston) just to fit some of the current players in. As a matter of fact, they had to straight up let Mario Williams go because they couldn’t pay him.

          After all the extensions, I believe the Texans are maybe a million or two under the cap. There is no way they can fit in Cutler without nuking the team.

          • Nolan says:

            Interesting didn’t think about that.

            • JW says:

              Is the Matt Schaub we see now the real Schaub? I think not.

              He’s not great, but he’s not this bad, either. They were a contending team with him.

              Houston might do well to restructure existing contracts, right the ship on the coaching staff and move forward with the best talent they can place around Schaub, with a young development guy behind him.

              I just don’t believe Schaub went from “useful QB on a SB contending team” to “totally useless QB, Do not Touch!” in the span of 9 months.

              To me their best play is to move forward and write off what is more than likely an outlier season for Schaub.

              • Alex says:

                Schaub has shown to be resourceful at various times. The problem in 2013 is that his confidence was completely shot. I believe there was a streak of about 4 or 5 games of consecutive pick 6’s (new record). After the 4th one, he looked completely broken.

                Also, I can’t pinpoint the exact reason, but I noticed that his arm strength in 2012 and 2013 suddenly evaporated. Before that (i.e. early 2012 and 2011), I wouldn’t say that he had a killer arm, but it was sufficient. He could accurately throw a deep route with little air. Since the 2nd half of 2012, his intermediate throws started to flutter (very bad sign…). I can genuinely say that his current arm strength is a straight up liability. For some of the old timers, it’s like comparing Joe Montana’s arm strength in 1989 when he threw deep ball after deep ball to Taylor and Rice and in 1993 when all of Montana’s deep ball had air (well, Schaub’s sudden drop in arm strength is even worse).

                As for the rest of the team, it’s clear in my mind that the defense was affected. At one point in the season, they had the best scoring defense in the league and even 7 or 8 games into the season, they still had the #1 Defense (yards). Talent wise, the defense is fine. The main issue Texans are having is QB (Schaub) and the Right Side of the OL (started Derek Newton who is an utter disaster). Foster is injured so there’s nothing they can do about that. The WR’s and TE have proven resourceful. I believe the team just needs a new Head Coach, a new QB (1st or 2nd round pick), and then shore up the right side of the line (you can get a good RT in the 3rd round).

                • JW says:

                  The pick six record is mostly a statistical anomaly and bad luck. I am not convinced Schaub with a new coach is worse than any QB in the draft this year. Of course there’s the political element here in terms of PR.

    • Phil says:

      I live in a Redskins dominated market (Virginia) and there is some growing media speculation about what the Redskins future plans are at QB. A growing number of fans actually want to see Cousins at #1 instead of RGIII. In any event, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Redskins shopping Cousins to see what they could get in return for him. I think he’d be a surer bet than Bridgewater for either St. Louis (particularly with St. Louis second 1st round pick) or Houston.

  3. Sam Jaffe says:

    I think Manziel will go way higher. You draft for potential and Manziel has the potential to be the next Russell Wilson (I so much wanted to write a poor man’s Russell Wilson). He also has the risk of being out of the league and in rehab in three years. But you draft for potential. If he realizes his potential, whoever drafts him will be regaled as genius of the century. That’s why I think the Rams will pick him. If he does get farther, I say there’s no way that Cleveland will miss out on taking him. The rest of the qb’s, including Bridgewater, Carr, Mettenberger and Bortles, are all on the same level of “good-but-not-great”, which to me means they will be late first round, early second round picks. The last piece of the chess board that has to fall into place will be where all the veteran qb’s land: Where will Bradford go? Vick? Cousins (traded)? Hoyer? Mallett? Cutler? Each one will be picked up by a qb-needy team and thus eliminate a contender for the good-but-not-great qb’s in the draft. Thus I think that only Manziel will go in the top 10.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think a QB you can’t ignore the quite obvious and blatant character issues though. Your guy has to be the leader, he has to lead by example. Aside from Manziel’s arm strength questions (legit questions too) he will only ever be the next Russell Wilson if he does all the intangible stuff — which I highly doubt.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        I think Manziel is definitely a leader onfield and in practice. He seems like he can fight through adversity and rally the guys around him. Off the field, I’m not sure. He reminds me of Joe Namath, I think.

        • Colin says:

          I’d agree with the Joe Namath reference. And in today’s NFL, I’m not sure that’s a compliment, considering Namath made a career out of slinging the football around carelessly.

          • AlaskaHawk says:

            He was really inaccurate passing in the games I watched. He could bust if he doesn’t sharpen his skills.

            • Alex says:

              From the game I watched, his accuracy was good. I thought the ball placement in the Cotton Bowl was great. The difference between him and Landry (OU QB) was day and light.

              • JW says:

                If “potential” was the only factor in drafting, guys like cordarrelle Patterson would go #1 overall every year.

    • Nolan says:

      Funny if he gets drafted where you predict he will be the poor mans Russle Wilson making a ton more $ then the actual Wilson.

      • Rob Staton says:

        Well, only for one season. Because in 2015 Wilson is probably going to be signing a contract worth around $100m.

        • SunPathPaul says:

          I agree w Sam, I think some team will take a chance on Manziel. I have watched him and his ‘arm strength’ seems fine. He also seems to have an ESP sense that can’t be taught with regard to avoiding sacks, etc. He may be smaller, but I sense he won’t fall to that…he will succeed…

          What a risk/reward choice! We shall see… I do hope he finds a better place than the Jets(NY might crush him both due to the teams crazy, and the NY nightlife…) ; )

          • Rob Staton says:

            I think arm strength will be an issue for Manziel unless he gets stronger. He doesn’t drive the ball downfield — quite frequently he throws it up for Mike Evans to make a play. Which is fine, if you have Mike Evans. But at the next level there are going to be times when he has to generate more velocity than we’re seeing at the moment. Even in his better games (Alabama) this year there’s evidence of this.

            And I’d urge people to watch the LSU and Mizzou tape for a counter to some of the Manziel hysteria.

          • Kenny Sloth says:

            Brett Hundley has some ridiculous pocket presence. But I wanna say his arm is almost garbage. Really not a fan of what he does with the ball.

        • Nolan says:

          140 million less the Robbie cano

          • Hawkspur says:

            For a deal half as long. I’m sure that Wilson earns a similar amount to Cano over the next 10 years.

            • Michael M. says:

              Russell Wilson is not terribly likely to match Cano’s contract over the course of his entire career, let alone the next decade. Remember that this is the NFL, and only ~50-60% of any given contract is “guaranteed money” and much of the reported value is wrapped up in incentives and escalators.

              Russell will be at least 26 before he even gets his first big contract. If everything goes according to plan, and he proves himself as durable and capable as we all hope, he gets one or maybe two more big paydays after that. Either way, even the best case scenario has him done between 36-40 years old. So assuming he ages better than Marino, Elway, Aikman, Montana and Young did, he has 14 years to do the necessary earning and would have to average more than $17MM per season. On the more conservative side, we give him ten years and expect him to average $24MM over that time. Even if he hits every single incentive and escalator in every deal he ever signs (Many of which are written to be nearly impossible) he probably doesn’t get there.

              Of course this is just talking about money paid directly from the NFL. Lucky for Russell, he is going to be a Seattle legend after he wins our first ever Superbowl, (not to mention the additional 5 or 6…) and will be getting endorsement deals until the day he dies. So from that perspective he will do a little better than Cano.

    • cade says:

      I am not a Manziel fan. QB in the NFL is about taking exceptional skills AND more importantly great decision making to the ballpark consistently.

      In the small sample size I have seen, Manziel throws up passes into crowded traffic and gets away with it because of that one badass WR whats his name (evans?).

      He scrambles around madly with a devil may care style of play that I don’t think will translate to the NFL. Precision, accuracy, timing, professionalism are all important facets of NFL QB.

      Saying Manzeil has the potential to be the next Russell is an insult to Russell.

      • Colin says:

        I think expecting Manziel to come in and be the guy to lead your team from day one is a disaster waiting to happen. He’s pretty clearly a 2nd round guy who I believe will go in round 1 off the hype/gimmick production/he’s a playmaker BS. The ideal situation is like Colin Kapernick- ride the pine for a year and learn the system and fly under the radar.

        I can’t see handing him 1st round money and status working out very well.

  4. Miles says:

    Is anyone else watching the Raiders’ draft pick due to the fact that we have their fifth rounder? We have the third pick in the fifth round, currently. That’s almost like a fourth round pick. And I don’t see the Raiders winning either of their last two games (@ Chargers, Vs. Broncos).

    Just thought I’d see if anyone else actually thinks that way.

    • SunPathPaul says:

      Thanks for the info there Miles, forgot about that one… Thank you Flynn!(who seems best back in GB)

    • Michael M. says:

      Haha, I had completely forgotten about that. That makes me feel a little better about not having out own 3rd rounder (Harvin). If everything goes according to plan, those picks will only be ~35 picks apart. Ha!

      • Miles says:

        Yeah, but that’s before compensatory picks. I still think it’s a pretty sweet deal we got for Flynn. We very well could have gotten nothing.

  5. Nolan says:

    I think Clevland def goes QB that’s there biggest need outside of running back.

    • SunPathPaul says:

      Hi Nolan, would you see them going for Manziel? With Josh Gordan and Cameron, draft another WR and they could be on fire! What u think?

      • Nolan says:

        I think they would like a more traditional QB

        • Kenny Sloth says:

          Could definitely see Mettenberger at the end of the first round for them. After taking someone like Watkins early. If I’m not mistaken, they need help at the safety position, yeah?
          Calvin Pryor is a mufckn savage and reminds me a lot of ET coming out. Maybe a step slower and a synapse less cerebral, he could be a target. Him and Joe Haden could be a great duo for years.
          I have a hard time not looking past any safety that isn’t just a total burner, ballhawk, or cruise missile.

          • Rob Staton says:

            I think it’ll be a big upset if Mettenberger goes in round one. ACL injury to end the season and just didn’t play anywhere near well enough down the stretch.

          • Nolan says:

            I’m not and expert on there roster but in madden they have TJ Ward and he is rated like an 88 I know that it’s just a video game but still

  6. Norm M says:

    I would have to disagree about the Rams being better off drafting RGIII, nothing to do with his lack of talent. On the right team he could be incredible. I look at where the Rams are and can see similarities to where Seattle was Carrols first year. He picked a safety to build his defense around and a starting left tackle who despite injuries has become one of the better in the league. With the Rams d-line I can see them building on a blossoming defense and adding an O lineman to protect Bradford. They are developing some weapons and are showing they can beat the elite teams in the league…. with a back up journeyman QB. I still think they under performed this year but have the talent to be a problem in 2014.

    • Brian says:

      It all depends on whether they can figure out their situation at QB.
      – If they draft Bridgewater and he turns into an elite quarterback then it a fantastic trade.
      – If they stick with Bradford and he is expensively mediocre for another 5 years then they would have been better off with Griffin.

    • Rob Staton says:

      In fairness though — they had a great D-line before Fisher arrived in STL. They already had Quinn and Long to build around, plus Laurinaitis.

  7. Matt says:

    I think Houston would be dumb to not draft Clowney. You have the chance to pair Clowney with Watt. Watt would be all over Clowney making he sure he isn’t slacking off. Clowney wouldn’t take any plays off. Maybe we see a similar bond like Marshal and Jeffery in Chicago. There should be plenty of solid QBs later in the draft if they decide Keenum isn’t their guy. In the past two draft you have seen better QB play from rounds 3-7 than the first two rounds. Luck and Tannehill seem to be franchise QBs, and even RG3 depending on if his knee fully recovers. Weeden and Smith seem to be busts and i’m not a huge fan of Manuel. Round 3 has been the best round to get a QB. Wilson, Foles, and Glennon all seem to be franchise QBs (Glennon still has a lot to prove but I think he heading in that direction). Even Cousins Keenum, and McGloin have a shot to impress and maybe even earn starting jobs. It doesn’t really matter what round a QB in drafted, it matters if that’s the right QB for their system and organization. If he falls in the 3rd round then wait and get him then. I don’t believe in being force to draft a QB in round 1. That’s how you build consistently bad teams. same thing with Jacksonville, go get yourself some talent to build around your team. Get a good solid foundation going before you get that franchise QB. He was here in Seattle helping build our team and he learned, what is in my opinion, the correct way to build a good franchise. Maybe he goes Watkins/Evans round 1 and McCarron in round 2, who I am a huge fan of. Watkins/Evans would go really well across from Blackmon as well as being a long term backup plan if Blackmon can’t stay out of trouble. There are so many different types of QBs projecting to go in all rounds. It’s really who fits your scheme and who has the makeup you want leading your organization. There could be crams at the top of the draft, towards the end of round 1, beginning of round 2, and even round 3.

    I also think the Darrell Bevell to the Jets is very interesting. I will say this, something the whole organization was intrigued by with Wilson, his hand size, something both Wilson and Manziel have in common.

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/college-sports/texas-aggies/20130112-townsend-texas-am-s-johnny-manziel-may-lack-true-nfl-size-but-other-qbs-proving-that-s-not-a-problem.ece

    • Matt says:

      When I said he was here in Seattle helping rebuild I meant Gus Bradley

      • SunPathPaul says:

        If the Jets add Manziel and Bevell, they would be a totally different looking offense. If their Defense kept up with its’ potential, then they would be team to be reckoned with…

        I hope Bevell stays, and Manziel goes to the Jags, Browns, or Vikes… Imagine him w AP behind him…serious

    • Brian says:

      This is an abnormality based on the small sample size.

      Look at quarterbacks from the past 20 years taken in the third round. You have to go back all the way to Joe Montana to find another guy as good as Wilson.

      • Matt says:

        The game has evolved and changed so much since then. If I’m trying to find a QB to win with I’m not going to look 20 years ago, I’m going to look at what’s helping teams win now. You also have to look at the fact that all the NCAA teams are better now than they were 5-10 years ago. You can find find talent at smaller schools, which makes it easier to find QBs that can be effective in the later rounds.

        • Alex says:

          Perhaps scheme wise, the NFL has evolved, but the characteristics has hardly changed at all in the last 20 years. Andrew Luck, who was anointed as the quintessential QB prospect, fits all the exact same checkmarks as the checkmarks scouts were looking at 20 years ago.

          In the perfect world, you want your QB to be a
          – 6’2-6’6 tall because he can see over the linemen
          – Accurate with his throws. Or great ball placement in tight windows.
          – Great vision/reading ability
          – Good decision maker (less interceptions)
          – Throw a catchable ball (Touch)
          – Good arm strength and good velocity on the throws.
          – Good pocket presence.
          – Leadership
          – Mobility is a plus

          Today, half of the teams (i.e the QB needy teams) are looking for players with these exact characteristics. It’s the case now and the case 20 years ago. In the case of Russell Wilson, he was a player who slipped through the cracks because of his height. Aside from that, all the analysts consider him a 1st rounder. I specifically remember hearing that one analyst said (before the draft) that if Wilson was just a few inches taller, he would be a 1st rounder and truthfully, that is because he checked all the marks except for height.

          Unless a team is lucky that a player slips through the crack, the general best bet is still to take the QB in the 1st round. In the Texans case, I wouldn’t choose a QB with the 1st pick just simply because there is one unique talent in the whole draft (Clowney) and by picking Clowney then QB, you’re thereby maximizing value. Now if the Texans somehow won a few games and are picking #2 (with St Louis picking Clowney), then I would go all in QB with the #2 overall pick.

    • Hawkspur says:

      If Houston team Clowney to Watt et al we can be grateful that we probably don’t play them for another 4 seasons.

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      I definitely don’t believe in A.J. McCarron. He has terrible accuracy deep. I’m not sure if I even prefer him to Aaron Murray. He probably has a bigger arm, but Murray goes through reads faster which is pretty much the only thing that has consistently translated to the NFL. But this is tangential to what you were talking about.

  8. Stuart says:

    Kirk Cousins. That guy is good. He is being auditioned right now. So far, so good. Washington will want a 1st round pick for him.

    Houston steps up and offers their 2nd rounder (which will be pick #2, 34th overall). Close, but Washington wants more. Houston then offers a conditional pick in 2015. Based on Cousins performance etc, the conditional 2015 pick could be as high as a 3rd rounder.

    Cousins is in his 2nd year and has shown success many times in the NFL. You cant guarantee that with any of the QB’s in the 2014 class will be better than Cousins. Cousins is younger, cheaper and may be better than Jay Cutler.

    Like KC this year, Houston will have an EASY schedule (last place schedule) next season. Clowney and Cousins, Houston will be back big time next season.

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      I love the way Cousins is playing. He could be a starter on any of the bottom tier teams. Not sure what he is worth. Most teams are to cheap to give away a first round or pay Flynn money. Cousins will be a starter some where.

    • Brian says:

      1. Anyone that gives up a haul for Kirk Cousins is a fool, and I say that as someone who liked Cousins going into the draft.
      2. Fools have given up hauls in the past for guys like Carson Palmer and Kevin Kolb. It has to happen again eventually, I suppose.

  9. Stuart says:

    Rob, you nailed it on Sheldon Richardson last year! He will be NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. I love your insight and respect your opinion as if it’s truth. When I look at other mocks, then look at yours, then hear your reasoning, you should be a scout in the NFL. I am not kidding.

    The scout position would take you away from your family. You should check in with ESPN and CBS sports to name a few. You have a great track record and a long body of work. Except you cant leave, sorry. Everybody that comes here would miss you too much. We just need to find a way for you to make some serious money for all that you do here.

  10. kenny says:

    If I am Idzik I am getting Bevell fot sure. But then I would build around Geno Smith. Trade down about 5 spots and draft marquese lee. In the second round draft a running back. Third round draft someone like coleman if he didn’t blow out the combine. If he did then draft another receiver or an olb. Switch up the defense to a 4-3 like their personnel dictates. Draft either olb or wr, whichever wasn’t drafted. After that draft safety and ol depth. Also grab tjack to back up geno and start if geno can’t pick up bevell’s playbook. Essentially give the guy an actual mentor and teacher. If he fails next year then you know what you got. Right now geno is just a talent that his coach doesn’t know how to use.

  11. Kenny Sloth says:

    So, I’ve really been interested in Shayne Skov from Stanford the last week and a bit. He’s not hyper athletic, but also isn’t very big, but is intelligent, great in coverage, intelligent, takes on and disengages from blocks really really well, very intelligent. Times his blitzes crazy well.

  12. Ralphy says:

    I can’t imagine how painful Sportscenter will become if Manziel is drafted by the Jets. 17 weeks of live coverage from Jets training camp. Ugh.

    • Miles says:

      Unfortunately there will be constant coverage of the Jets no matter what. I don’t see Manziel going to the Jets; if they don’t have faith in Geno Smith they might as well fire Idzik right now.

  13. Barry says:

    Rob, I completely get what you say in comparison to Bridgewater and Bradford. I’m not really a big fan of Bridgewater, but if hes a sideways step from Bradford I wonder how Bradford’s career would have fared if he had the same offense the first three years of his career or had Fisher and his staff then?

    Under Fisher the one thing a young QB could expect would be consistency. I think Fisher and crew take a young QB, whomever they like the most, and I think that comes down to the mental part of the game. If they feel Bridgwater is worth a top 5 then they would go with that.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think one thing with Fisher is he loves a challenge — and he’s happy to take guys with suspect character backgrounds. I just wonder if he’d really entertain Manziel if he does decide to move on from Bradford. But right now it looks to me like they’re preparing to keep going with Bradford. If I were a Rams fan, I’d still rather have RGIII than those picks.

  14. DawgDav says:

    Rob, I know you and everyone else on this site love the upside of Brandon Coleman but the receiver that absolutely screams Seahawks-pick to me is Donte Moncrief. He has a thick build and strong hands much like last years pick Chris Harper (and like Harper flashes as a downfield run blocker) but also plays faster, runs better routes and is smoother through breaks than Harper. Moncrief also has excellent balance/body control and the high pointing ability to win jump balls (but isn’t as shifty as a guy like Golden Tate). Have you had an opportunity to scout at him? Given the body type, run blocking and jump ball prowess and the Seahawks desire for a receiver that can play split end as well as flanker, he seems like an obvious fit.

  15. House says:

    I would love for 2 teams dying for a QB (HOU and JAC for example) to skip taking a QB in the 1st. SEA could trade out of the 1st rd (only a few picks back) and still get the guy they want. Without a CLEAR need, BPA seems the route to go…

    • sdcoug says:

      @House, I’ve been thinking the same thing. Every year, we see teams jump back into the 1st or top of the 2nd. I think historically good-drafting teams (Ravens, Steelers) are always praised for their acumen and shrewd picks…but really, IMO it’s more a matter of being in a great position to let the draft unfold and simply take high-value picks that fall (which there are always a few), selectively shore up an already strong roster, or trade back and load up picks if you see you still have several targets left on the board. I can easily see the Hawks taking this route.

      • House says:

        With this front office, we have at least 2 trades in each draft. Trading back has always done us well. Pete and John don’t seem to reach and while we have missed on a few picks, we’ve succeeded in many more. Our 1st rd pick this coming season should be no different. If “The Guy” is there, grab him. If they think he’ll be there 5-6 picks later, still go get him w/ a bonus pick from another team.

  16. AlaskaHawk says:

    I want to give a shout out to Matt Flynn our old backup QB. In the Green Bay vs Dallas game he threw for 299 yards and 4 touchdowns and 1 interception. Way to go Flynn!!!