Draft’s Day 2 winners, losers include Reggie McKenzie, Johnny Manziel
May 10, 2014 § Leave a comment
The first 100 picks of the 2014 draft have been called. Here is another installment of winners and losers based on the events that unfolded Friday in the second and third rounds:
Blake Bortles: So much for the Jaguars’ supposed emphasis on defense. After their surprising pick of Bortles, the Central Florida quarterback, with the third pick of the first round, they netted him two gifted receivers — USC’s Marqise Lee and Penn State’s Allen Robinson — in Round 2. Incumbent starting QB Chad Henne should also be thrilled since he saw first-hand the limitations of the Jacksonville passing game without suspended WR Justin Blackmon in 2013.
Brad Meester: After quietly concluding a 14-year, lunch pail career with the Jags, the retired center was afforded the opportunity to announce the team’s second-round selections of Lee and Robinson at Radio City Music Hall on Friday. Meester’s attire resembled a camouflage tuxedo. Take that, New York fashionistas.
Washington Redskins: They didn’t get to play in the draft sandbox Thursday while paying off the rest of their Robert Griffin III tab to the Rams. But the ‘Skins were back on the clock Friday and pried an extra third rounder from the division rival Cowboys by dropping 13 spots in Round 2. By evening’s end, Washington came away with three potential starters: Stanford OLB Trent Murphy, Virginia T Morgan Moses and Nebraska G Spencer Long.
Ryan Mallett: The Patriots’ second-round selection of Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo seems to signal that Mallett, a third rounder in 2011, could soon get his opportunity to compete for a starting job elsewhere. New England almost never carries three QBs on its 53-man roster and could be primed to deal Mallet rather than let him walk away for nothing a year from now.
Reggie McKenzie: Following a pair of questionable drafts during his first two years on the job and some curious investments in free agency, the Oakland Raiders general manager seems to have a hot hand now. His first three selections — LB Khalil Mack, QB Derek Carr and G Gabe Jackson — could be solid building blocks for a team that had a shaky foundation just a week ago.
TE U.: The Cardinals selected Notre Dame’s Troy Niklas in the second round, making him the fourth Irish tight end to go at least that high in the past seven drafts. Also on the list: John Carlson (second round, 2008) Kyle Rudolph (second, 2011) and Tyler Eifert (first, 2013). Hall of Famer Dave Casper also came out of South Bend, and Mark Bavaro is remembered as one of the best to ever play the position.
Geno Smith (or Michael Vick?): Smith is coming off an uneven rookie season, but the Jets’ most productive receiver in 2013 was Jeremy Kerley (43 catches, 523 yards). Enter second-round TE Jace Amaro, who’s really a 270-pound wideout. He grabbed 106 balls last year for 1,352 yards, a Football Bowl Subdivision single-season record for a “tight end.” He should literally be a big boost to the Jets’ passing game.
Marcus Martin: The USC center, dubbed the draft’s best interior offensive lineman by NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, went to the 49ers in the third round and might get an immediate shot to start on arguably the league’s top line.
Johnny Manziel: The Browns continued loading their roster with talent, snagging Nevada’s Joel Bitonio to further improve the stellar O-line that will play in front of Johnny Football. Cleveland also corralled under-the-radar Towson RB Terrance West in the third round. Don’t be surprised if he challenges Ben Tate for starter snaps.
VIDEO: Day 2 recap
Johnny Manziel: An ESPN report surfaced Friday suggesting Browns all-pro WR Josh Gordon may be suspended for the entire 2014 season because of another failed drug test. Gordon amassed a league-best 1,646 receiving yards in 2013 in just 14 games. If he’s shelved, Manziel — assuming he plays as a rookie — stands to take a lot more punishment from extra defenders who will be creeping into the box to punish him instead of Gordon.
Marcus Martin: Sorry, buddy, but you were the last guy out of the green room (though your irrepressible optimism and joy were fun to behold).
This draft’s running backs: Another tough night for the position. After being shut out of Round 1 for the second consecutive draft, the first back wasn’t called in Round 2 until Washington’s Bishop Sankey landed with the Titans at pick 54 (and was followed by LSU’s Jeremy Hill to the Bengals one slot later). The previous record low spot for the seal to be broken on RBs? Last year when the Bengals tabbed Giovani Bernard at No. 37.
A running back from the 2013 draft: Former South Carolina star Marcus Lattimore, once regarded as a first-round prospect before enduring a horrific knee injury in 2012 while with the Gamecocks, essentially redshirted with the 49ers in 2013 after falling to the fourth round. Yet Niners starter Frank Gore is still going strong, Kendall Hunter presently seems entrenched as the backup, and San Francisco spent a second-round pick Friday night on highly regarded Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde. Sure seems like Lattimore might have to move on to play meaningful snaps any time soon.
Greg Robinson: The Rams made the mammoth Auburn tackle the second overall pick of the draft Thursday. Friday, St. Louis grabbed Robinson’s Tigers teammate, RB Tre Mason, at the 75th spot. Sure, it’s cool Robinson gets to keep blocking for a guy who scored 24 TDs with his help in 2013. But third rounders don’t pick up dinner tabs, Greg.
Unlucky Irish: Notre Dame DE Stephon Tuitt (Steelers) and NT Louis Nix (Texans) went in the second and third rounds, respectively, though both were widely viewed as Round 1 prospects just a few months ago. Nix’s free fall was particularly mysterious as plummeted to the 83rd spot.
Jimmy Garoppolo: Tom Brady has vowed to play until he’s at least 40. Garoppolo could join Mallett, Matt Cassel and Brian Hoyer as backups relegated to the bench for years hoping the Pats spin him off to a quarterback-starved team for draft picks in the near future.
Texans receivers: At this juncture, they’ll still be relying on Ryan Fitzpatrick to get them the ball and back to the postseason since the team has yet to acquire a candidate who could be the long-term answer under center. Maybe their luck (and Mallett’s?) will change soon.