Every year after the NFL draft comes to an end, there are distinct winners, and distinct losers. Obviously this doesn’t mean that your team will struggle mightily in the regular season, but generally speaking, the winners of the draft are better equipped to succeed the following year.
Here are my winners and losers from the 2014 draft.
In my opinion, coming into this draft, the Browns were a good quarterback away from the playoffs. Did they get him in Johnny Manziel? We’ll have to see. But based off of what he did in college, I think he has what it takes to become a star in the NFL. Cleveland also snagged a talented cornerback from Oklahoma State, Justin Gilbert. This will give an already elite defense even more talent in the back end, as the combination of Gilbert and Joe Haden will make life tough on opposing quarterbacks.
St. Louis Rams
I loved what the Rams did in this draft. They went out and got the best offensive lineman in Greg Robinson, and then added the best defensive lineman in Aaron Donald. When you play in the NFC West, you need to be able to out-physical the Niners, and the Seahawks. Selecting someone like Robinson adds that element to the offensive side of the ball (not to mention the protection it will give Sam Bradford), and Donald’s presence on the defensive line will elevate an already ferocious group to a whole different level.
It pains me to say this, but the Broncos did extremely well with their picks in this draft. In the first round they selected cornerback Bradley Roby, and making that move, Denver now has a secondary that is a force to be reckoned with. They also gave Peyton Manning another toy to play with, as they went with Indiana receiver Cody Latimer in the second round. Manning already has a whole stable of weapons, and now that Latimer is in the mix, Peyton may direct the number one offense in the league once again.
This was a rough draft for the Colts. Their chances of coming out of this weekend with a good draft were honestly pretty low, because of the horrible Trent Richardson trade they made early in the 2013 season. So they are struck with Richardson, who is extremely mediocre, and they didn’t anyone that will really help their team much in 2014. Donte Moncrief certainly has potential, but he is a project, and it might take some time for him to understand the NFL, and make an impact with the Colts.
Despite the amount of criticism Tony Romo and that offense receives on a daily basis, that unit is not the problem in Dallas. Their pass defense ranked 30th in the league last year in yards given up, and somehow, they didn’t draft a single defensive back until the seventh round. Yes, they did get a good offensive lineman in Zack Martin, and Demarcus Lawrence definitely has potential as a pass rusher. But they needed some help in the back end, and they have barely addressed it this offseason.
Once again, I have the same complaint here with the Eagles. Even though they lost DeSean Jackson this offseason, offense is not their problem. They need to help out their defense, specifically the back end, who ranked dead last in the NFL last year in yards against. However much like the Cowboys, Philadelphia didn’t pay much attention to this need. The only defensive back they selected was Jaylen Watkins in the fourth round, out of Florida. Watkins is a fine prospect, but him alone isn’t going to help that defense.