NFL Draft 2014: Predictions for Day 2
Day 1 of the 2014 NFL draft was filled with surprises.
We had Cleveland moving all over the round to pick up its guys, teams trading out of the round, falling quarterbacks and, for the second year in a row, Minnesota trading back into the first to snag another player.
What will Day 2 hold?
Let's take a look at some predictions for Friday night and the second and third rounds of the draft.
Derek Carr Goes to the Houston Texans
Perhaps the plan was to grab Teddy Bridgewater with the first pick in the second round, or maybe he was never on the radar.
However, with the Minnesota Vikings jumping up again this year to grab a player they loved, the Texans are in the position of needing a quarterback with few options.
Fresno State’s Derek Carr is a big-armed quarterback who, while a bit raw, has a lot of upside. He seems to be the type of quarterback new head coach Bill O’Brien would like with his big arm and accuracy. Carr would look good behind the Houston offensive line with Arian Foster running the ball and Andre Johnson or DeAndre Hopkins catching it.
We know the defense is set to terrorize other quarterbacks and keep things close.
This seems like a natural fit as well as a need, though ESPN's Ed Werder opines that the failure of Carr's brother, David, "impacts consideration of [drafting Derek] today."
Still, we know the Texans have met with Carr, and there appears to be mutual interest.
"There has been conversations with Houston. It went great," said Carr.
They certainly risk a lot if they pass the position up in the second round because...
We’ll See a 2nd-Round Run on Quarterbacks
If the Texans skip quarterback, they’d better be fans of Logan Thomas, because we could see Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo, Zach Mettenberger and (God help me) Tom Savage all gone by the time they pick again.
The Buccaneers (despite their declaration that Mike Glennon is the future, as reported by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas), Titans, Raiders and Cardinals are all potential quarterback landing spots. You might also see the Rams, Patriots or Bengals grab someone.
There are plenty of teams who are desperate for quarterback help and plenty of teams who would like either a backup or a “down-the-road” starter.
We’ll see a lot of quarterbacks go in Round 2.
Double-Digit Receivers Will Be Picked Friday Night
There are still a lot of receivers on the board for teams in need. The Jets, Dolphins, Raiders, Browns, Panthers and Jaguars are among teams who need the talent.
We’ve seen a strong run on receivers in the first, but there are still a ton of talented players for teams in need during the second round.
Start with Marqise Lee, who could be what the Oakland Raiders are looking for to help Matt Schaub out, and add Penn State’s Allen Robinson, Indiana’s Cody Latimer, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews, Ole Miss’ Donte Moncrief and Fresno State’s Davante Adams.
We’ll get into details in a moment here, but we had five go in Round 1. You can bet we’ll see at least that many in the second round. I expect there to be close to a dozen selected across both rounds Friday.
Oakland Raiders Pick Marqise Lee at No. 36
The Raiders addressed a defensive need in Round 1 with Khalil Mack, but they still have more question marks around. Despite acquiring James Jones and already having Rod Streater and Denarius Moore, they certainly need some more playmakers for quarterback Matt Schaub.
Marqise Lee seems like a great fit. Lee is a playmaker, and the Raiders need one. Sure, he has issues with drops and struggled with injuries in 2013, but he is a huge value pick in the second round. It’s sort of baffling Carolina didn’t snatch him up in the first.
People will point to his numbers dropping, but the reality is he had no consistent quarterback play, a coaching change midseason and a bum leg, all of which hurt his productivity.
However, his 2012 tape is incredible.
Picking him will put the Raiders one step closer to competing in the tough AFC West and give them two great picks in a row.
Cornerback Pierre Desir to Washington
The Washington secondary was an abomination last year and wasted some very good pressure from the front seven.
Lindenwood's Pierre Desir is a long corner who is patient enough to bait receivers and athletic enough to recover when one gets away. He’s aggressive both against the pass and the run and would be able to step right in and make a positive impact.
Washington can’t wait for the third round, as the talent will be way too thin. Really, it’s already picked over. Desir is a small-school guy who plays with a chip on his shoulder, and while he needs a little polish, he has the skills to take advantage of quarterbacks being hurried by the defensive front in a way Washington didn’t last season.
Jordan Matthews to the New York Jets
The Jets spent another first-round pick on a defensive back, so now it’s time to address the offense.
The Jets haven’t had a big red-zone target since Plaxico Burress was around in 2011, and Jordan Matthews is an aggressive player who will high-point the ball and go over a defender to make the catch.
He will struggle with separation, especially in press coverage, but for short-yardage and red-zone throws, he would be huge.
The Jets added Eric Decker this offseason, but that isn’t enough. Adding Matthews would help make them dangerous in the red zone.
Ryan Mallett Will Be Traded, Kirk Cousins Will Not
Inasmuch as Washington says it is confident Robert Griffin III will make it through next season unharmed, it cannot risk moving backup Kirk Cousins. If RG3 goes down, Cousins is the guy. It can’t move him.
NFL.com’s Marc Sessler noted this week that Washington general manager Bruce Allen says there have been no conversations about moving Cousins. Of course, it’s still lying season, but between Cousins’ value as a security blanket and the fact that he’s unlikely to net much in the way of picks, he’s not going to be moved.
Even if Washington needs more picks.
Meanwhile, Ryan Mallett is in the final year of his contract, per Spotrac.com, and it’s unlikely the Patriots will want to pay him much to stick around. They’d much rather get a few more picks, and Mallett’s big arm will make him attractive to some teams.
Houston head coach Bill O’Brien likes his quarterbacks to have a big arm and isn’t worried about them being mobile, so the fact that Mallett is a statue isn’t an issue.
While that match seems to make sense, there could be other teams sniffing around. The Patriots like to turn over players they aren’t dying to keep.
Mallett is one such player.
We Hope You Like to See Offensive Line Picks
Offensive line players will again be in high demand Friday night.
While offensive line players went early Thursday night, there are still plenty of talented athletes on the board and plenty of teams who need them.
Alabama tackle Cyrus Kouandjio fell out of the first, perhaps because of concerns about his knees. AL.com’s Andrew Gribble recently reported that ESPN analyst Todd McShay said four out of 10 teams he had spoken with failed Kouandjio medically because of the knees.
Still, as McShay points out, Kouandjio could be a great value in the second.
There’s also Joel Bitonio from Nevada, widely regarded as the top guard in the draft; Morgan Moses, the tackle from Virginia; USC’s Marcus Martin, who plays center; and Stanford guard David Yankey.
You need book-end tackles now to disrupt pass rushes in the NFL, and you need a strong interior to protect the quarterback as well.
Teams know this, and they know the top players are at a premium.
Expect teams to go after offensive linemen early and often Friday.
Andrew Garda is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. He is also a member of the fantasy football staff at FootballGuys.com and the NFL writer at CheeseheadTV.com. You can follow him as he tweets live from Radio City for the draft @andrew_garda on Twitter.