2014 NFL Draft: Two-Round Mock
If there's one lesson we all should take from the Valentine's Day misfires of our youth, it is this: desperation makes for some bad decisions.
This reminder is my post-Valentine's Day gift for those decision-makers among the five NFL teams who will be tempted to take a quarterback with one of the first eight picks of the 2014 NFL Draft: Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Oakland, Minnesota. It's also a PSA for teams like Tampa Bay and Tennessee, who might find themselves tempted to reach for a quarterback far too early.
Desperation is bad. Drafting for need over value is a dicey approach. Not just for quarterbacks, but especially for quarterbacks.
The trap is set for this year. There's an unholy mix of urgency and possibility that will wind up blowing up on someone.
That's because there are two truths about the Quarterback Class of 2014 that must be acknowledged:
* It is deeper with prospective talent than the 2013 class.
* It is not a great quarterback class.
There are a ton of prospects with the potential to develop into NFL starters. But there really is only one guy ready to come in and start Day 1: Teddy Bridgewater.
Everybody else is a different degree of a dice roll. And coaches and GMs who crap out rolling the dice on a quarterback too early in the first-round rarely get the chance ot make that mistake again.
Someone is going to take Blake Bortles too early. Someone is going to take Johnny Manziel way too early. Bortles is a top-20 talent who's going to go in the top 10. Manziel is a top-50 talent who could go two rounds before his grade warrants.
This is a good quarterback class. For teams that don't need a quarterback tomorrow. Denver, New England and New Orleans could spend a mid-round pick on a guy they're going to develop for the future. It's a perfect class for that.
There almost certainly will be several rookie quarterbacks starting Week 1. But I'd be a lot more comfortable picking this year's prospects where the Jets took Geno Smith rather than where the Jaguars take Blaine Gabbert.
In my first two-round mock of the year, I have two quarterbacks going in the first round, two more in the second round. I'm probably projecting too much patience onto too many teams. But I think that after watching this group at the Combine, teams will be forced to consider options other than quarterback in the first round.
And the good thing for the Texans, Jaguars, Browns, Raiders and Vikings is that they all have plenty of needs to choose from.