NFL Draft 2014: Predictions for Day 3
Two days into the 2014 NFL draft and it certainly hasn't been boring.
It's also turning out to be highly unpredictable.
Who could have seen the Texans leaving Day 2 without a quarterback, or the Browns not addressing the wide receiver position despite the imminent suspension (per ESPN.com's T.J. Quinn and Don Van Natta Jr.) of their best offensive weapon, Josh Gordon ?
Nobody predicted the Jets' selection of Maryland cornerback Dexter McDougle, or the massive tumble of Louis Nix III.
Yet we try to make sense of it and guess what will happen the next day anyway.
Here are eight things I believe will happen Saturday in some way, shape or form.
Enjoy and hold on.
We're almost through this.
Houston Texans Leave the Draft with a Quarterback
At this point, well, we know I was wrong on my prediction yesterday. Houston passed on quarterbacks over and over, addressing many other areas of varying degrees of need.
Leaving them still without a quarterback.
You can assume a starter won’t come here, but a developmental guy with a big arm (perhaps Tom Savage?) could be in the cards.
They have to leave the draft with a signal-caller, right?
The other option is the rumored trade for Ryan Mallet, as Ian Rapoport of NFL Network has mentioned. Mallett and Houston coach Bill O’Brien were together for a year at Arkansas before O’Brien took the Penn State job, according to Will Brinson of CBS Sports.
Someone Will Steal Lindenwood Cornerback Pierre Desir
Many analysts had Lindenwood cornerback Pierre Desir with a third-round grade (as CBS Sports did, for example) despite his FCS school pedigree.
At 6'1" with 33" arms, Desir seems to fit the profile of the long, rangy corners the NFL likes since Seattle was successful with them.
Perhaps the small school resume was the reason, perhaps the lack of solid technique.
Either way, Desir will get picked tomorrow, and early. His upside is tremendous and he could be a steal, especially with some polish.
Aaron Murray, A.J. MCCarron and Zach Mettenberger Will Come off the Board Early…
All three of the SEC's "M's" have significant question marks, but they all have high upside.
Teams like Mettenberger’s arm, Murray’s pro-style experience and playing style, and McCarron’s intangibles.
They don't like McCarron's average arm and long ball which floats, Mettenberger's sloppy decision-making and shaky pocket awareness, and Murray's lack of size, batted passes and durability.
All of them have flaws enough to drop to Day 3.
They become very nice upside picks there, though.
Teams will bring them in to compete, but all of them have enough ceiling to perhaps do more.
…while Tom Savage Will Not
What many pundits suggested, including Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated, turned out to be true. Pitt quarterback Tom Savage is the smokescreen of all smokescreens in this draft.
While it’s impossible to tell exactly what the purpose behind this was, Savage’s big arm didn’t mean teams were going to overlook the lack of experience, the constant switching of teams and other flaws.
Savage is a good project quarterback and that’s about it. Don’t expect to see him go before Round 6, though, as there is so much talent elsewhere, the value for him won’t be there.
Washington Will Address the Secondary
As it was such an issue last year, one would have expected more focus on it in Rounds 2 and 3.
Instead, Washington went linebacker and offensive line.
There are some solid corners left to draft, including the aforementioned Desir, Utah’s Keith McGill and Florida’s Jaylen Watkins and Marcus Roberson.
It’s not the cream of the crop, but expect Washington to take at least one or two with their four picks on Day 3.
The Jets Will Take Wide Receiver Martavis Bryant from Clemson
The Jets have nine picks for Day 3, and as they have yet to address the wide receiver position, you can expect them to pull the trigger twice (at least) on Saturday.
There is a ton of talent to choose from, including Clemson’s Martavis Bryant. Bryant is a tall, long receiver, the type of guy who can overcome the long, lean defensive backs we’re starting to see on Sundays.
He needs to add some bulk to his frame, and he has some rough edges to round off, but for a Day 3 pick, Bryant could be the big target the Jets haven’t had since Plaxico Burress left.
Bryant is a guy who Geno Smith or Mike Vick can throw the ball to in the corner of the end zone and trust that he can reach over the defender and bring down the ball.
The Atlanta Falcons Will Address Their Outside Pass Rush
The Falcons have seven picks remaining, and after spending their first three of the draft on the interior of both lines and the secondary, it is time to address the pass rush.
There is still plenty of talent to choose from, including guys like Arizona State’s Carl Bradford, an aggressive, physical guy who can come off the edge, and Florida State’s Telvin Smith, a slightly undersized player with good burst and great instincts.
The Falcons are in good position to make a killing on Saturday and improve the pass rush with some great value on Day 3.
Denver Broncos Will Draft Isaiah Crowell and a Quarterback on Saturday
General manager John Elway took one character risk in Bradley Roby, so what’s one more?
ESPN Radio and Bleacher Report's Denver lead writer Cecil Lammey told me at Radio City that Isaiah Crowell is "arguably the most naturally talented back in this class."
Crowell’s issue is off the field, not on the field. Crowell failed a drug test while at Georgia and was charged with two felony counts of possession of a firearm. He ended up kicked out of Georgia because of it and landed at Alabama State.
A dynamic back, he could step in and actually start if he keeps his head on straight.
Plus, Denver likes Georgia backs. Knowshon Moreno, Terrell Davis, Orlandis Gary and Garrison Hearst all came from Georgia and played well (Moreno, eventually).
The Broncos weigh character heavily, but a Day 3 pick is a risk worth taking for the talented back looking for a chance to prove himself.
Meanwhile, Zac Dysert isn’t terribly exciting, and while the Broncos are content with Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler, they’d like another quarterback to develop.
Expect to see one added later in the draft on Saturday.
All quotes obtained firsthand on site at the 2014 NFL draft unless otherwise specified.
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.