Monday draft notes: QB talk, Ebron, Gilbert, top-15

Talking quarterbacks

This is how I see the 2014 quarterback class — no truly elite or obvious number one talent, lots of guys who could potentially start in the NFL.

The media has latched onto Marcus Mariota and Teddy Bridgewater. I’m not sure that’s a great idea.

Last year they similarly attached themselves to Geno Smith, Tyler Wilson and Ryan Nassib. Matt Barkley, in fairness, had fierce critics from the start. But the other three were highly regarded at various points during the 2012 college season.

Funnily enough, Barkley’s biggest critics (eg people like Greg Cosell) rallied behind players like Nassib or Wilson. Nobody came out of the 2013 quarterback class looking good.

That doesn’t mean Mariota and Bridgewater are going to sink quite as badly. But it goes to show what hype can do at this time of the year.

Mariota is a thoroughly modern day signal caller who moves around, can run the read-option and improvise. In many ways he looks like Colin Kaepernick. Yet Kaepernick has struggled this year in part because he’s unable to sit tight and go through his progressions. It’s the kind of thing Mariota isn’t asked to do at Oregon — he usually (from what I’ve seen) has a couple of reads at best and frequently has a run-pass option.

It’s argued the 49ers shouldn’t try to force Kaepernick to be something he’s not — but there’s a reason why they aren’t telling him to become a running quarterback. Sooner rather than later, he’d take a beating too many.

That’d be exactly the same for Mariota, especially as a potential top-10 pick. He too would probably have to become a little more traditional, even within the most creative offense.

Heck — even Chip Kelly has reverted to a conventional quarterback. And it’s working. You need some balance.

Mariota hasn’t got Kaepernick’s arm strength either. So while there’s definitely a lot of upside, there’s also a lot of unknown.

Bridgewater is much more orthodox. He’s at his best sitting in the pocket working within a pretty rigid structure. He distributes the ball nicely (although not always perfectly) and has the physical skills to drive the ball downfield when needed.

But unlike Mariota, he’s unlikely to avoid a heavy blitz with his legs, get out of the pocket with eyes locked downfield and make a fantastic, improvised play. His upside might always be limited — peaking at ‘pretty good’ instead of ‘outstanding’.

The great thing about Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and with hindsight — Russell Wilson — was their ability to combine the unorthodox with the traditional. All three players are athletic, have the big arm and make plays when things break down. And yet all three have shown at various times they can also be fairly conventional too when given time in the pocket.

I can see a situation where a team like Jacksonville, or Houston, or whoever, sits down at the end of the season and discusses Mariota and Bridgewater. And the conclusion they come to is they don’t know what to do with one and the other hasn’t got a big enough ceiling.

And then they see a guy like Jadeveon Clowney sitting there — or one of those many offensive tackles — and they decide to pass.

Because at the end of the day, the difference between Mariota/Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel/Derek Carr is minimal. Extremely minimal.

In fact you could make a case that Manziel and Carr are superior. Seriously.

Manziel makes more mistakes than Mariota, but he can also be a pure magician. That Alabama game earlier this year was the definitive Manziel performance. He kept his team alive to the very last second. He made plays that only he could make. And he had a couple of rancid and costly turnovers.

If I’m a coach willing to dabble with the unorthodox — I’d be so much more excited about the Manziel challenge than the Mariota version.

It really would be a privilege to take on Manziel — try to limit the negatives and bring out the unmatched creativity.

Of course character comes into it and teams will see soap opera headlines with one guy and quiet modesty with the other. But then you watch the Alabama game again…

Carr is much less hyped than Bridgewater, but why? Having watched both players, I think there’s a cigarette paper between the two on most of the key skills — accuracy, arm strength, mobility. I actually think Carr is better at going through his progressions. He’s also a much more engaging character, who will blow teams away during interviews.

The failure of his brother David in the NFL might linger in a few minds — but the younger Carr isn’t launching an expansion franchise. Well, not if he avoids Jacksonville (sorry, Gus…).

It’s still way too early to decipher where these prospects will fall on draft day, but I maintain a Clowney/Carr combo (if possible) is more appealing at this stage than Mariota and whoever else you can get at the top of round two.

In terms of the other quarterbacks — A.J. McCarron has a shot to make it but might only ever be another Andy Dalton at best. Zach Mettenberger’s play has really regressed in the last few weeks and it’s hard to see him being anything more than a mid-to-late rounder. And Tajh Boyd is another who’s falling — he just misses on accuracy a little too often.

Tight end trending upwards

I’m starting to really like Eric Ebron.

But then there’s a little voice somewhere offering words of caution.

Too often we get a tight end who flashes a few big plays. We assume that any player in the 250lbs+ bracket who can move is a fantastic athlete destined for greatness.

And it never really happens.

Then a guy like Jimmy Graham or Jordan Cameron comes along in the mid or late rounds. No real background or hype. Just freaks of nature. And they play as well as any tight end in the league (or in Graham’s case, as well as any receiver period).

The Cincinnati Bengals have been bitten by the curse a couple of times recently.

Jermaine Gresham looked like a superstar in the making in 2010. Big (6-5), strong, fast (4.66). He’d been really dynamic in college with Sam Bradford at Oklahoma.

In the NFL he’s been average.

He has only two career plays of 40+ yards and he’s averaging just over four touchdowns per season.

That’s not what was expected of the former #21 overall pick.

This year they went shopping in the same market and selected Tyler Eifert with yet another #21 overall pick.

Same speed (4.66), slightly less size (250 vs 265lbs) but pretty much the same height (6-6 vs 6-5). Eifert was the only tight end from the 2013 class who looked like a top athlete.

It’s unfair to judge a player during his rookie season, but so far Eifert has one touchdown and just 377 yards.

Not great to be fair.

What we perceive as unique athletes with amazing physical skills might actually just be pretty ordinary tight ends. There’s been some speculative and unconfirmed talk that the Seahawks liked Michael Egnew in 2012 — a tight end drafted in round three by Miami.

He ran a 4.62 at 6-5 and 255lbs. Looks interesting, right?

He has 39 total career yards in two seasons. He has zero touchdowns.

So while watching Eric Ebron sprint through the Pitt defense for 58 yards on Saturday, I start to imagine what a difference maker he could be at the next level. I start to wonder if he can match the high standards of a Graham or Gronkowski.

And then I think back to the numerous TE flops. The countless average pro’s. I look at the stat charts and see that only the following names are listed among the forty most productive receivers in the NFL: Jimmy Graham (#9), Antonio Gates (#20), Jordan Cameron (#25), Julius Thomas (#32), Tony Gonzalez (#36) and Vernon Davis (#38).

Six players. One hall of famer. Five genuine freaks of nature.

If I’m spending a first round pick or even an early second rounder on a tight end, they better have the potential to join that list.

So for now it’s a case of sitting and waiting to see just how well Ebron (and Jace Amaro, Austin Seferian-Jenkins) perform at the combine. Are they truly going to offer something unique?

Or will they just be another overblown, over-hyped big man who can run a bit.

A view on a cornerback I just haven’t seen

More than one person has asked for a comment on Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert. Unfortunately, I’ve had no access to any of their games this year.

That kind of makes it hard to form an opinion.

Judging cornerbacks without all-22 tape is notoriously difficult anyway. It’s why I don’t rely on the otherwise fantastic Draft Breakdown videos. They currently have five Gilbert videos available. But what can you learn when the corner is nearly always off-screen?

Very few corners play up at the line like Jimmy Smith did at Colorado. He was very easy to judge — physical, tall, fast. He was nearly always on the screen. For others it’s much harder.

So in this instance I’ll bow to the views of Tony Pauline, who had this to say about Gilbert on his blog today:

Gilbert is a player we’ve been high on for a while and a cornerback we graded as a second round pick before the season began. Sized well, he possesses next level ball skills and instincts. Gilbert shuts down opponents in man coverage but also affords potential in zone. During the Cowboys route over Texas the senior picked off two passes, one which he brought back 43 yards for a score. It was the second time this season he returned an interception for a score. Gilbert also adds the ability to impact games as a return specialist to his resume. The senior has all the makings to be a second day pick next May and eventually start in the NFL.

Top-15 prospects

This is based on what I’ve seen so far with a slight Seahawks bias. As with Gilbert, I can’t comment on players I’ve not had a chance to study properly. I’ve not included quarterbacks in the list.

This isn’t in any strict order either, although it’s fair to say the top three (Clowney, Robinson and Kouandjio) are my top three players viewed so far.

I would’ve included Dominique Easley (DT, Florida) but two serious knee injuries have almost certainly impacted his stock.

#1 Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina)
#2 Greg Robinson (T, Auburn)
#3 Cyrus Kouandjio (T, Alabama)
#4 Jake Matthews (T, Texas A&M)
#5 Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson)
#6 Re’Shede Hageman (DE, Minnesota)
#7 Marqise Lee (WR, USC)
#8 Antonio Richardson (T, Tennessee)
#9 Odell Beckham Jr (WR, LSU)
#10 Zack Martin (T, Notre Dame)
#11 Cedric Ogbuehi (T, Texas A&M)
#12 Taylor Lewan (T, Michigan)
#13 Vic Beasley (DE, Clemson)
#14 Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M)
#15 Eric Ebron (TE, North Carolina)


  1. Nolan

    The player I really want is Mike Evans, the problem with the Hawks and getting a reciver or even a tight end is how much of an impact can they have? Tate, Baldwin, Harvin, and Kearse are here and hopefully stay here next year. Where would the rookie see playing time, where would his targets come from. TE is another spot, I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving up Zach Miller for a rookie who is more known for catching passes then blocking. We have Luke Willson to develope into our joke TE and we barley have enough targets for him and miller. I also think Oline is another area were we have a ton of depth even if we lose mquestin and breno to FA I like Pierre Bailey and Bowie not to mention however Cable selects in the bottom rung of next years draft. So that Leads me to Defensive Line we might have to give up one of our LEO’s and one of our Run Stuffers so I think we need to add depth there and I would think best availble DL would be were I would be looking.

    Of course you can’t force the draft and Drafting for need is not always the best idea so best thing is always BPA particularly when you don’t have many holes like the Hawks. This might be another year where the draft class dosent contribute much.

  2. Miles


    Bleacher Report just put up their first mock and they have us taking Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor. I think you may have posted something on him earlier. Or I might be confusing you with Jared’s Gems on Field Gulls. Nonetheless he’s 6’9″ at DE (incredible length). Have you much to say on this fellow?


  3. Ukhawk

    Great analysis on the TEs. Can honestly say I was initially high on picking one near the bottom of R1 but you are changing my mind (as I believe maybe changed yours?). Interesting how of the 6 top TEs named, exactly half are R1, 2 R4 and one was a FA! So agreed TE isn’t the call on a high pick if u can’t find a true difference maker. Like Nolan’s points above too

    But one question, with perceived depth at various positions such as TE (see Nolan + resign McCoy), OL (see Nolan),CB (Maxwell, Lane, Simon),DE,LB,RB,even WR and potential turnover of (mostly) non-essential players to get others locked-up, does the team draft for need/depth or does it continue to gamble on high ceiling players?

    I’d argue for the latter. The offense appears to be being molded into the antithesis of what the defense tries to stop. A tough, physical that can pound out a ball control style BUT coupled with a big play, multifaceted counterpunching ability. And just like the defense was built, it seems like the offense would now like to add either game breaking speed ( a la Michael or Harvin) or unique big play ability (Evans or Ebron?) as the last pieces of the puzzle. Comments please

    • Rob Staton

      I think this is going to be one of the toughest drafts to project because essentially we have to wait and see who this team can keep and who they have to lose. I could easily see the DL becoming a big time need. I could see replacing Breno as being the defining need. Or maybe they find a way once again to shock us all… keep virtually everyone and then it’s all about an impact player.

      Assuming the top OT’s leave the board early, the best value late in R1 could be WR/TE.

      • AlaskaHawk

        Walter football has us taking offensive linemen the first two rounds. It is hard to project our needs!

    • CHawk Talker Eric

      I have a suspicion SEA will lose either Tate or Baldwin – Baldwin would be easier to keep because he costs less, and his (R)FA market is smaller, than Tate’s – but I think JSPC work harder to retain Tate, so Baldwin becomes the roster casualty unless he’s willing to sign for less.

      I don’t know that Breno has much of a FA market either; I suppose it depends on his performance the rest of the season. But even with solid play, I just don’t see him generating a lot of interest in FA at his current salary. I think he resigns with SEA on a deal similar to his current 2-year contract, just for less money.

      DL looks to be the position where SEA faces its most difficult decisions moving forward. As Rob pointed out recently, Avril is having a fantastic season, but his net cap hit (actual cap hit less dead money) of $7 million is tough to handle at the same time as Clem’s $9.7 million. Clem is back to form, but what about his longevity at this point in his career? And then there’s Bennett, Bryant (who becomes VERY expensive vs the cap over the next 3 seasons), Mebane and McDaniel.

      Back to the 2014 draft class, I like WR as the R1 pick. There are 4 WRs who I really like, each for different reasons, and I’d be thrilled for SEA to get any of them. In my order of preference:
      1. Sammy Watkins
      2. Marqise Lee
      tied for 3rd:
      Mike Evans
      Odell Beckham Jr.

      • CHawk Talker Eric

        BTW, Lee becomes my favorite if he continues to play like he did vs Stanford.

        • Miles

          I don’t think Sammy Watkins is going to be anywhere close to where we’ll be drafting. Marquise Lee could very well be in our range though.

          Mike Evans is too big and physical to make it out of the high 20s and Odell Beckham Jr.’s stock is going to blast off during the combine. Seahawks might be better off waiting on this position or at least trading down to get a guy.

      • Jeff M.

        I continue to say it’s extremely unlikely this front office spends two firsts and a third on wideouts in back-to-back drafts, unless John Schneider has suddenly been replaced by Matt Millen.

        Consider that the Green Bay model Schneider learned from has called for drafting lots of WRs, but on the second day of the draft, not the first (last 1st round WR was Javon Walker). And once they grabbed Jennings, Jones, Nelson in consecutive years, the next 5 drafts featured only one WR above the 7th (Cobb).

        That’s more or less the point in the development curve we’re at with Harvin/Tate/Baldwin/Kearse. If there’s a guy they like in the mid rounds they’ll go get him but don’t expect a major investment on top of what we’ve already spent.

        • Miles

          That’s true. We also have a crowded group at WR, so adding a WR at that position early is risky because then you face the prospect of having six WRs or cutting someone you’d ideally keep. Just like this year when we had to cut Chris Harper because we had four quality WRs and Stephen Williams was awesome in preseason. Not to mention Percy Harvin was coming back later in the year, so no matter what something was going to have to give at the receiver position. We might be in a similar position next year with Baldwin, Harvin, Kearse and hopefully Tate, along with Bryan Walters, Phil Bates and other prospects/additions.

  4. Alex

    Personally I’m lukewarm on the QB group. On the other hand, this tackle class is really something. While the top of the list isn’t necessary better than the top tackles in prior years, the depth is as good as I’ve seen since I’ve followed the draft in depth (08). Even if we pick #32, I’m pretty sure one of the 1st round quality tackles will filter down to our pick. If I had to guess, we’ll probably choose WR or Tackle. If there is a great defensive tackle, this would be the year to pick him, but I don’t see anyone worthy of that.

  5. Sam Jaffe

    Of the tight ends that you mentioned, most of them are wide receivers in a bigger body. Look at where Graham, Thomas, Cameron and Davis line up and the routes they run and you’ll see what looks like a wide reciever (the only difference being their weight). Yes, they will line up in-line sometimes and block, but that is as important to their influence on a game as Peyton Manning’s ability to run for a first down. So when looking at Evans, Ebron, Amaro and SJ, consider them all the same player. Evans is clearly the best, followed by Amaro. Ebron and SJ have the potential to be very good but have legitimate questions surrounding them.

    When talking about the need for a tall WR/TE hybrid player, there are two things that he can do for the Seattle offense: open up the seam in the middle of the field and be a visible target for RW in the red zone. All of the above players have the potential to serve in both of those roles.

    • Rob Staton

      I’d disagree a little there Sam. While it’s true guys like Graham and Cameron are essentially glorified wideouts, the way they line up and the suggestion of a run or pass it’s what makes them dangerous. You want these guys lined up against linebackers, that’s when the dominating mismatch occurs. Evans is a pure outside receiver — a jump ball specialist. Ebron works mostly over the middle, ditto ASJ. Amaro does a bit of both.

      And strictly within Seattle’s offense, the tight end does have a lot of blocking responsibility. We see that with Miller.

      But they could do with another red zone threat and perhaps another jump ball specialist on some of the deeper routes. And that’s where we have to look at all those guys to see if they’re up to the task.

  6. Stuart

    Before PC/JS I used to think like the mainstream too, you can only get your studs in the first round. At this point I would be just fine trading back and getting more picks for PC/JS. More than any draft in our history, 2014 will be BPA.

  7. cover-2

    IMO Ebron reminds me of Rams TE Jared Cook. Similar size, speed, and athletic ability. Cook has been unfortunate with bad QB’s when he was with the Titans and now with the Rams. Cook ran a 4.5 40-yard with a 41 inch vertical at the combine. Go to youtube and look at Cook’s highlights while at South Carolina and highlights when he was with the Titans. While I like Luke Wilson to fill the Joker TE, I do think Ebron could be a stud with Russell Wilson throwing to him.

  8. KyleT

    I don’t know why but I’m annoyed whenever I see someone post that we will ignore our own roster and go BPA. Seems like a lazy way to characterize what we might do. Not to mention PC/JS have given us every incidactor that they do not just go BPA! They grade prospective players against the existing roster and factor in strategic factors like cap, etc.

    You can rationalize all of last years picks by this mentality and probably next years too.

    • kevin mullen

      Probably right Kyle, they really don’t hide their draft target in terms of the current roster. Pete has been refreshingly open in terms of what areas of the roster they intend to focus. In my opinion, I see our defense once again getting a jolt of draft capital due to the higher priced players (and deservingly so) that JS will extend on that side of the ball.

      We’re about to have one of the most expensive secondary in the league.

    • Rob Staton

      I wouldn’t get too annoyed Kyle. After all, what was Christine Michael if he wasn’t BPA?

      That to me was the very definition of BPA. Nothing like a need, on face value there appears to be little grade comparison or future cap saving (just re-signed Lynch, Turbin cheap).

      So I think they’re prepared to work both ways. And sometimes there will be a guy on the board — like Michael — that they just want enough to go BPA.

      • KyleT

        See I think there is something between BPA and need that they operate in. Michael is a perfect example. I don’t think he was BPA as much as he graded the highest compared to the existing roster (no 3rd RB and extremely high ceiling compared to Turbin). He also was a special talent and Lynch is potentially hitting the beginning of the decline period in his late twenties.

        • CD

          Agree Kyle,

          I think Michael was picked to replace ML in 2-3 years. That’s what the 2013 draft was to me, not what are our holes today, but what will they be in 2-3 years when we have to pay certian guys.

          Hill and Williams for Bane and Big Red, Micheal for ML, Harper for Rice, Simon for BB.

          While those guys were drafted in 2013, might as well also call them the class of 2014 along with our other draft picks next April/May (didn’t the date move?).

          • KyleT

            Exactly! That’s exactly how I’m thinking about it. The key to understanding what we do in this draft is projecting what we do in FA and what our challenges will be in 2015.

            • Rob Staton

              I don’t think we can ever truly work out this front office. But as I mentioned before, their first pick in 2013 was not based on anything other than Michael being too much value in that range. Lynch is signed up long term and a franchise player, Turbin is cheap. They took him because they really liked him.

              • AlaskaHawk

                They were thinking ahead in case Lynch got injured. I would not want to depend soley on Turbin. Also we need a change of pace back and Michaels is speedier. Though somehow every RB ends up running like Lynch during the games.

                • el80ne

                  I don’t know about that. They seemed to always regard Michaels as a long term project because of how raw he was/is. If Lynch got injured there’s no doubt they would be relying solely on Turbin (and maybe hand off to a fullback once in awhile to change it up) because Michaels is too much of a liability when it comes to blocking, even now with more than half a season to learn how under his belt.

                  If they saw a player at any other position that they felt was great value because they graded them much higher they could have just as easily picked that player with you saying that they were “thinking ahead”.

  9. Gage

    Jacksonville likely is going to be pretty bad next year regardless if they take a QB or not, so if i’m them and get the #1pick i’d def go Clowney and tough it out one more year then go for Jameis Winston next year.

    • Rob Staton

      They need to keep stock piling talent. They have very little chance of turning things around next year. Chasing a QB is not the way to go. Clowney’s best football is ahead of him – you make that pick IMO.

      • Miles

        Random thought but if I were the Jaguars I would see about getting Tarvaris Jackson on a two-year deal similar to the one we signed him for in 2011. Jackson seems to have developed into a capable veteran quarterback and could be just what the Jaguars need for now. It might not be the most ideal situation, but T-Jack has always wanted to start and the Jaguars need someone who can hit moving targets and manage a game. Also the Jaguars don’t have a bad WR corps, especially if you factor in a suspension-free Justin Blackmon.

        • CD

          I think T-Jack will go with Bevell when/if he takes a HC job at the end of this year. Spent time with him in Minny and Seattle so he knows ths system. Bevell will over pay a bit for that knowledge and it will give TJ his best chance at being a #1 starter again, at least for a year or two.

          • Rob Staton

            I think T-Jack has had his day in the sun as a starter. Can’t see him getting a gig anywhere.

            • el80ne

              Completely agree. I think T-Jack demonstrated in 2011 that he’s not a starting QB. Not once was he able to put together a 4th quarter comeback or game winning drive and choked on every single opportunity presented to him (I believe the number was 6) to do so. It’s hard to understand how anyone could suggest that he’s developed into a “capable veteran QB” when that would require him to show he can capably play the position. Playing well in garbage time doesn’t even begin to demonstrate he’s capable of performing when the pressure is on.

  10. Colin

    At this point, I’ve pretty well convinced myself Johnny Manziel will go in round 1. He doesn’t check enough boxes to warrant a 1st ground for me, but I think someone is going to take a shot on him barring another off the field issue. He reads the field much better than I’ve ever given him credit for, and he has a knack for making plays. I think he’s a solid 2nd round prospect that goes in round 1.

    Mariota is a wildcard for me. I’m not sold on his transition to the pros. I think he gets a little gun shy too easy and wants to get on the move too early- ala Christian Ponder- and as Rob said, he’s one of these prospects new on the scene that hardly anyone knows really anything about, but the hype says he’s a high 1st round pick. We’ll find out.

    I love the Jadaveon Clowney bashing. It reeks of knee-jerk, ‘see I told you he isn’t that good’ commentary. I love it. He’s the best player in the draft, bar none. Everyone who has played SC tailored their offenses early in games to stay away from Clowney in the pass game. The number of sacks don’t concern me- stats are largely an overblown and faulty indicator of future success (see anyone from OU not named AP). Immense size and speed and a legit once in a generation talent.

  11. Don

    After watching Mariota for the many games these past two years, I think he has the total package. He may not have the arm strength of Kaepernick., but he is far more accurate than Kaepernick, and has the same speed and escapability.

    I really disagree that a coach or a GM might roll the dice with Manziel over Mariota. While they both can run and perform under pressure with passing ability, that is where the similarities end. if I am a GM or coach who values his job then I am taking the stable and safe Mariota. He conducts himself with integrity and discipline, and shows a professionalism that Manziel has never been able to demonstrate. Manziel is just another Ryan Leaf, and a smart GM would not touch him until the second or even third round.

  12. Don

    One more thing about Manziel vs. Mariota.

    Mariota has been playing injured most of the year with a heavy brace on his left knee. He has lost his running abilty but when he gets healed in the off season he will be back to running 4..4 speed. Playing hurt with limited mobility shows his competitiveness.

    They both have talent, but the difference is Mariota only started playing football late in high school and he has worked hard to get where is in a short amount of time. Manziel seems to be relying more on his God given talent and by taking advantage of less talented defenses. He will find out that the NFL defenses will not be so easy, and I wonder if he has the discipline to study and improve himself. If he didn’t have the discipline to take the Payton Manning Youth Football camp seriously by failing to show up because he was hung over, I doubt he will ever will.

  13. Don

    Regarding the Seahawks Draft:

    I am wishing the hawks draft a big receiver with the 1st rd pick, Jordan Matthews or Allen Robinson. You know SF will be looking for the same thing. It would be good if they could move up ahead of them, doubt they will.

    The OL or DL should be addressed in the 2nd rd.

    • MJ

      Quite honestly, I think we can target a bigger body WR in the mid-rounds. If we go WR in Round 1, I want it to be a potential explosive gamebreaker ie Odell Beckham, Marqise Lee.

      I really like Allen Robinson and Jordan Matthews, but I don’t think they are necessarily 1st round quality players.

      • Miles

        At the end of the day, I think we’ll take whoever the best player is on the DL or OL, and maybe WR but only if it is an explosive, special talent like Sammy Watkins or Odell Beckham Jr.

  14. Kip Earlywine

    The success of a QB is part talent, part fit, part chemistry/acclimation, and part opportunity.

    I think sometimes we put way too much stock in talent, while forgetting about the other factors. The most under-rated of them being opportunity.

    It took a monster training camp and preseason for Wilson to break free of being the #3 QB, behind two backup caliber players despite being drafted by a coach and GM that loved him. It took a unique set of events for Case Keenum to get his chance in Houston. It took a relentless series of injuries to Michael Vick to give Foles his chance to show that he’s a different QB in the NFL than he was at Arizona.

    What about the guys that never even got a chance? Ryan Nassib is stuck behind Eli Manning. Chandler Harnish is stuck behind Andrew Luck. Kirk Cousins is stuck behind RG3. Ryan Mallett is stuck behind Tom Brady.

    And some guys just don’t fit their teams and are doomed from the start. Any QB is going to have issues going to the Jets, but Geno Smith was a tough fit as he was known to lack mental toughness in college. Matt Barkley going to the mobility emphasized Eagles never made sense to me either. Waste of talent in both cases.

    EJ Manuel actually fits the Bills and has been given opportunity. He isn’t lighting the world on fire, but he’s having a better rookie season than Luck did statistically (unless you buy into the joke of a stat that is QBR).

    Mike Glennon is coming on strong as of late and is going to force a tough decision from Tampa.

    I think the 2013 QB class had a lot of talent, but that talent was mostly wasted.

    I think it’s beyond debate now that 2012 is the best QB class of all time. Adding Foles and Keenum to Luck/RG3/Wilson/Tannehill/Cousins makes it an unprecedented QB class. But we can’t compare every year to 2012 as if that’s normal. Instead we should remember just how hard it was to find a QB in every draft before 2012.

    Let’s also not let 2012’s instant success factor trick us into believing QBs should be great immediately. 2012 was the exception in that regard, not the norm.

    I love the 2014 group, I think Boyd might be the 4th or 5th best QB, and he’s a better version of last year’s best (Geno Smith). There are some mid-late round guys that have potential as well, Jordan Lynch, Aaron Murray, Keith Price, to name a few.

  15. Jim Q

    OT-James Hurst, 6-6, 305, North Carolina
    “James Hurst has been the starting left tackle for the Tar Heels since his freshman season, starting 36 games over the past three seasons.”
    “While his size and athleticism is impressive, scouts will love his toughness. Hurst is one of the MEANESS linemen in the country.” has this guy rated #78-overall, projected round 2-3. I haven’t checked him out much so far but the “meaness” quote (Cable likes these types) is pretty intriguing. Anybody know anything about him?

    • Miles

      I didn’t look at him until you posted this. So I decided to go look on youtube and found the below video (UNC Vs. South Carolina). Poor James Hurst is thrown into a match-up with Jadeveon Clowney in this tape. But if college tape is ever going to show you whether a player is ready for the NFL, this is it, as Clowney is an NFL pro bowler playing college.

      I think overall Hurst plays Clowney and the SC line really well, particularly in pass protection. There are times when Hurst gets beat by Clowney, badly. But there are other times when Hurst routinely takes care of Clowney, blocking him in a spot or pushing him around the edge of the pocket. I think this tape is going to be a tremendous asset for Hurst in the draft. I also thought he displayed good footwork and is very learned at keeping his shoulders square to the defender. But I didn’t really see much of this “meanness” you’re talking about. Perhaps if we were to watch a tape of UNC playing a less-dominant D-line, we would see that meanness. Based on this tape I would say he’s a technically sound blocker who is also quite strong, and relatively light on his feet. An intriguing line prospect to be sure.

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