The Biggest Reaches from Day 2 of the 2014 NFL Draft
The second and third rounds of the NFL draft are just as important as the first round. It’s an opportunity for teams to add potential starters and, at the very least, major contributors. The teams who are consistently in the playoff hunt usually cash in on the second day of the draft.
However, missing on these later-round picks really hurts a team’s depth. Those teams who struggle identifying talent past the first round are usually those needing to turn to free agency.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a physical specimen who has plenty of upside, but the question is whether or not he wants to fulfill his potential. His game is filled with inconsistencies and a tendency to lose focus.
He’ll go through bouts where he drops catchable balls and leaves big plays on the field. Seferian-Jenkins also brings some off-field baggage that is a slight concern. He was arrested for driving under the influence which resulted in a one-game suspension at the University of Washington.
Seferian-Jenkins' strength is his rare size which he uses to box-out defenders. However, he doesn’t have great short-area quickness which makes it tough for him to create separation. The majority of his catches are going to come in traffic rather than freely running down the field. He’ll need a quarterback who trusts him and is willing to let him battle for the ball.
With Tim Wright and Brandon Myers on the roster, Tampa Bay could’ve addressed their need at right tackle with someone such as Morgan Moses.
Paul Richardson to the Seattle Seahawks
Simply put the Seattle Seahawks duplicated Percy Harvin by selecting Paul Richardson in the second round. However, Richardson doesn’t have the Harvin' build which only makes him more of a durability concern.
If the Seahawks wanted to go with a receiver with this pick, they should’ve targeted a bigger prospect, such as Allen Robinson or Davante Adams. This would’ve allowed them to move on from the injury-prone Sidney Rice.
The Seahawks also could have looked to upgrade the offensive line. Several right tackle prospects, such as Morgan Moses and Antonio Richardson, were still on the board at this spot.
Paul Richardson has plenty of talent and potential, but this pick would’ve made more sense later in the draft.
Trent Murphy to the Washington Redskins
The Washington Redskins not only reached by adding Trent Murphy, they also missed an opportunity to improve other areas of need. Murphy is going to struggle making a major impact because of his limited athleticism and the roster makeup.
He faces the challenge of having to compete with Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan for playing time. His position will have to be outside linebacker because he lacks the size and bulk to hold up at defensive end.
Outside of finding him playing time, Murphy lacks the elite burst needed to generate pressure off the edge. He’s a player who relies on technique to gain and generate pressure. This worked in college, but it doesn’t always translate to success in the NFL.
Ego Ferguson to the Chicago Bears
I understand the Chicago Bears' thinking with this pick; they need to get bigger up front. However, they added a one-dimensional player in Ego Ferguson whose best attribute is occupying blockers.
Ferguson has room to grow, but Chicago is looking to make a playoff run this season. They could’ve targeted more NFL-ready defensive tackles, such as Kelcy Quarles or Louis Nix III.
The Bears don’t have a ton of picks in this draft and maybe should’ve considered trading down. Ferguson was likely to still be available later in the second round or even into Round 3.
Chicago’s defense lacks depth which is why adding extra picks should have been the Bears' main focus.
Bishop Sankey to the Tennessee Titans
Bishop Sankey was a highly productive college running back, but he wasn’t close to the best running back available in this draft. The Tennessee Titans made a mistake by passing on Carlos Hyde.
Sankey’s only advantage over Hyde is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. However, that trait is a little lost with the Titans who plan on using Dexter McCluster as a running back.
Hyde would’ve provided them with a rare combination of power and quickness. This is a runner who can move the pile, get the edge and shoot through quick-closing running lanes. His skill set would’ve been a great complement to McCluster's explosiveness.
Justin Britt to the Seattle Seahawks
Justin Britt just doesn’t fit what the Seattle Seahawks like to do on offense. He’s a finesse player who struggles generating a push in the run game. Britt lacks the size, bulk and natural strength most evaluators look for in an offensive linemen.
Seattle features a run-heavy offense with a zone-blocking scheme. Britt is athletic enough to cross the face of the defender, but he isn’t strong enough to velcro and control.
In pass protection, he allows the pass-rusher to attack him and control the action. This results in a lot of situations where he was pushed deep in the backfield, disrupting the quarterback’s pocket.
The Seahawks continues to go with “their” players in that they often value prospects differently than the rest of us.
Jay Bromley to the New York Giants
The New York Giants passed on more accomplished defensive-line prospects, such as Louis Nix III, to grab Jay Bromley. Taking Bromley at this stage in the draft is a major reach. This is a size prospect which means his value is tied to his natural size.
Bromley’s natural ability is hindered because of his tendency to play too high. He immediately raises his pad level, exposing his body to the blocker and giving up leverage. This hurts his production both as a run-stuffer and pass-rusher.
The Giants need a big-bodied defensive tackle to come in and help overcome the loss of Linval Joseph. Unfortunately, Bromley isn’t anywhere close to making an impact as a rookie.
Travis Swanson to the Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions continue to avoid addressing their major need to upgrade the secondary. This time they decided to draft Travis Swanson who’s a fringe sixth-round prospect in my book. He’s a limited athlete who struggles by allowing defenders to shoot the gap.
Detroit went with Swanson over high-upside defensive backs, such as Pierre Desir, Phillip Gaines and Terrence Brooks. Swanson will start the season sitting behind Dominic Raiola.
It looks like it will be another year where Matthew Stafford and company are stuck in high-scoring matchups. Eventually this organization will realize it needs to keep its opponents out of the end zone.
Jerick McKinnon to the Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings needed to add depth at the running back position after losing Toby Gerhart via free agency. However, reaching on Jerick McKinnon wasn’t the best way to fill that void. McKinnon is a talented runner, but he will need time to develop a feel for the running back position.
Minnesota had better options on the board at the running back position. Prospects such as Lache Seastrunk, James White and Marion Grice would’ve made more sense.
Adding a versatile back, such as White, would have been a very interesting addition. White is an explosive back who is very elusive and also contributes as a pass-catcher. He’s a different type of player from Adrian Peterson and would’ve provided a change of pace.
Brandon Linder to the Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars kept it in the state of Florida when they drafted Miami’s Brandon Linder in the third round. This was a major reach as I rated Linder, as a seventh-round prospect with very little upside. Linder’s issues come from his limited athleticism.
He’s a liability in pass protection because he struggles moving his feet and holding at the point of attack. This is because Linder isn’t a natural bender and tends to play too high.
Other prospects such as David Yankey or Zach Fulton would have provided more upside. It’s possible Linder doesn’t develop into anything more than a career backup. That isn’t the type of return you expect from a third-round pick.