What is better than the NFL Draft? How about taking the draft cap off and putting it back on? Here are some of the more interesting picks from this year’s draft.
The Bears had a very average draft. They addressed some needs and not others while making sure that they got decent value for all their picks.
Needs to Produce: Shea McClellin DE, Boise St. McClellin is a good prospect and many had him being rated about where the Bears chose him. McClellin, however, will need to produce often for this pick to be seen as a success. Many had projected him as more of a 3-4 OLB but the Bears will be using him as a 4-3 DE. He will need to add a little bulk and make sure he can still play at a high level. Lots of scouts believe he has a lower ceiling than some of the other DE prospects (see Chandler Jones and Whitney Mercilus) but if McClellin has a higher floor as well it is sometimes better to take the safe pick. McCellin will end up as a very hard working LDE for the Bears.
Under the Radar Values: They really didn’t get any nice under the radar value picks. In fact they didn’t get any great value on any of their picks, they were either properly taken or a reach. The Bears will hope Alshon Jeffrey can turn into a nice #2 WR to start alongside newly acquired WR Brandon Marshall. Other than that there isn’t much to say.
Huh?: Brandon Hardin S, Oregon St. Hardin was thought to be a 4th/5th round pick and the Bears picking him in the 3rd is a bit of a surprise. Couple that with the fact that their bigger need in the defensive backfield was CB and not S and it creates even more questions. With some solid CBs still on the board and taken after the Bears selected in the 3rd round one has to wonder why they went with Hardin.
The Lions followed up last year’s good (albeit it very unproven) draft with another good draft this year. They got some really nice value picks and a couple of guys who could become very good players down the line.
Needs to Produce: Dwight Bentley CB, Louisiana-Lafayette. The Lions are pretty weak and CB and not addressing the position until the 3rd round puts a little extra pressure on a prospect that is usually considered to be more developmental than immediate starter. Still, Bentley is a very nice prospect and while he is a bit undersized for the position he plays it very well. He is more of a cover corner than a run stopper, which is fine since that is what the Lions need. If Bentley come overcome his size issues early on he should be able to see ample playing time for the Lions this year.
Under the Radar Values: Riley Reiff OT, Iowa and Ronnell Lewis OLB, Oklahoma. Reiff was a favorite of mine as well. I thought he was somewhere around the 15th best prospect so they got good value and a position of great need. Reiff is a more athletic version of his former teammate Bryan Bulaga. He’ll need time to develop but I could easily see him being a top 8 LT in the league for many years once he matures into the role. The Lions shouldn’t rush him there though, he will be a pretty good RT this year. I also really liked the selection of Lewis who many had a late-2nd/early-3rd round grade on. Selecting him in the 4th gives great value and he also fits a position of need. Lewis has the potential to start form day one for the Lions and could grow into a solid starting OLB for a 4-3 scheme.
Huh?: Ryan Broyles WR, Oklahoma. Yes, I’m on the bandwagon for this pick as well. It was a shock when the Lions took Broyles in the 2nd round over a more needed position, especially with him coming off a bad injury AND there being better prospects on the board. Broyles is seen as a great slot WR prospect however, and if he can regain his Oklahoma form imagine a passing attack that features Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew, and Ryan Broyles. Pretty scary huh?
Green Bay Packers
The Packers also had a very nice draft. They filled positions of need with pretty good value and really worked hard on improving their defense.
Needs to Produce: Jerel Worthy DT, Michigan St. Some had Worthy as a late 1st round prospect but due to inconsistency at MSU he slipped all the way to the Packers in round 2. If the coaching staff can get Worthy to give maximum effort on all plays he Packers’ defensive line will be formidable for years to come. Worthy has all the physical tools and could be a very disruptive 3-4 DE.
Under the Radar Value: Mike Daniels DT, Iowa and Terrell Manning LB, North Carolina St. I really like Mike Daniels as a penetrating interior lineman. I’m not sure if he can be an every down type player but when used properly he can be an absolute force in getting through the line. In the 4th round I’d say Daniels, while not rated much higher, was still a very smart pick. Manning was more of a steal in the 5th. Mel Kiper of ESPN loved Manning and thought he should have been a 2nd round pick, so getting him in the 5th could prove to be quite a steal. Manning has very good instincts and good production from NCSt. He does have some durability concerns but he could end up being a very nice backup or opposite starter as a 3-4 Rush-OLB, not to mention he could probably move inside as well. Manning could be a nice project for a team that now seems pretty set at the LB position.
Huh?: There isn’t really a very questionable pick here. Most of their picks were good value and served a need.
The Vikings are being lauded for the duping of the Browns into trading up one spot. None of that would have mattered if they had a bad draft, luckily they did not.
Needs to Produce: Matt Kalil OT, Southern California. Kalil was far and away the best OT prospect this year and now he needs to prove it. Hopefully he will be a cornerstone for the Vikings for years to come and will give any QB some piece of mind.
Under the Radar Value: Josh Robinson CB, Central Florida. Many had Robinson as a 2nd round pick so him falling to the 3rd is a nice value for the Vikings. The only problem bigger than LT was CB and this should help the Vikings rebuild that defensive backfield along with their second selection Harrison Smith S, Notre Dame. I think Robinson has nice upside and while he doesn’t have great size is still a very nice cover CB. He will most likely be an immediate starter for the Vikings.
Huh?: Greg Childs WR, Arkansas. Let’s be honest, this is the best story of the entire draft. Childs and Jarius Wright (also selected in the 4th round by the Vikings) have been teammates all throughout high school and college. Unfortunately, while Childs was a solid value where he was selected Wright was not. Wright probably could have been had in the 5th or 6th round. Still having Childs with Wright should help both transition easier to the northern climes of Minnesota.