Best And Worst Picks Of Round 1
By Bill Lund
The 2014 draft began as expected with Jadeveon Clowney and greg Robinson going one and two. Then, the Jaguars took Blake Bortles and all hell broke loose with trades and surprises, rises and falls dominating the first round. The Browns traded back and then back up for their first pick (Justin Gilbert), then they traded up from 26 to get Johnny Manziel. The Patriots took a player that was out for much of the 2013 season after his second ACL surgery (Dominique Easley), which few if any of us saw coming. This first round played out perfectly for the networks with all the drama and intrigue generated.
Now that the dust has settled, who made the best pick and the worst pick of Round One?
The best pick was made by the Bengals, stealing Darqueze Dennard at No. 24. Dennard arguably was the top cornerback coming into the evening, but both Gilbert and Kyle Fuller where taken before him. No matter what prompted the fall, Dennard is a press corner who fits the Bengals' defensive scheme and fills a need in the defensive backfield. Dennard is a physical player with good speed. His hip flexibility has been in question, but Dennard makes up for it with his press abilities and skill at getting his hands on wideouts at the line of scrimmage. The Bengals were beneficiaries of the chaotic maneuvering of the first round and landed a player that will help them match up in the passing game with the dominant aerial attacks of the Patriots and Broncos.
The worst pick has to be Jacksonville taking Blake Bortles at No. 3. It’s not the pick itself; Bortles was my favorite quarterback of the lot. But taking him at three? The Bills were looking to trade up from nine, and the Jags easily could have dangled the Sammy Watkins carrot and taken Bortles later and gained some picks to help build a depleted team. The Bills gave up too much to move up to get Watkins, yes, he is good, but two first-round picks good? Just think if the Jags pulled that deal off -- the chance to get an influx of talent and the QB they coveted would have been the best move of the draft.
Now that Round One is complete, the real fun begins, as everyone tries to find some first-round value in Rounds Two and Three. Rest up -- two more draft days to go!