NFL Draft: 2014 NFL Draft

Best undrafted prospects 

May, 10, 2014
May 10
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Antonio RichardsonAP Photo/Wade PayneTennessee tackle Antonio Richardson could find a team quickly after going undrafted in 2014.
There were 256 players selected in the seven rounds of the 2014 NFL draft, but there are many prospects who weren't taken who will have the opportunity to make teams this offseason, as happens every year.

Here is a list of the top-ranked players from our board whose names weren't called in the draft.

1. Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars already were not planning on having suspended receiver Justin Blackmon in 2014.

What they did Friday night makes it pretty clear that they're not planning on having him -- period.

The Jaguars took a pair of receivers in the second round of the NFL draft -- Marqise Lee with the 39th pick and traded up to take Allen Robinson with the 61st selection -- and plan on both being in the starting lineup in the season opener alongside Cecil Shorts. They're also going to be the building blocks, along with No. 3 overall pick Blake Bortles, of the Jaguars' offense for years to come.

[+] EnlargeJustin Blackmon
Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports"We haven't heard much [from Justin Blackmon] and it doesn't sound like it's going in the right direction," coach Gus Bradley said.
Blackmon was once viewed in the same way, but three violations of the NFL's substance-abuse policy and an indefinite suspension has the fifth overall pick in 2012 clearly out of the Jaguars' future plans.

"There's some unknowns there," Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said of Blackmon, who has 93 receptions for 1,280 yards in two seasons. "You don't know how it's working out. I just don't want to shut it off. I was hoping that it would be better than maybe where it's going, but we'll see.

"We haven't heard much [from Blackmon], and it doesn't sound like it's going in the right direction. Just like [general manger] Dave [Caldwell] said: 'We can't count on him.'"

Caldwell said he didn't want to address Blackmon's status again since he spoke about it during the Jaguars' pre-draft luncheon, but he did say the team cannot cut Blackmon while he's suspended. When asked if they would cut him when he was reinstated: "If that happens."

By taking Lee and Robinson, though, the message is pretty clear. Caldwell had the 6-foot, 192-pound Lee as the No. 1 receiver on their board and was surprised to see him still available when the second round began. He was worried Lee wouldn't make it to 39 and tried to work out a trade with Houston, which had the first pick.

But Lee kept sliding and the Jaguars quickly snatched him up. Lee has the playmaking ability that the Jaguars receiving corps has lacked on a consistent basis. He caught 248 passes for 3,655 yards and 29 touchdowns in three seasons with the Trojans, including 118 passes for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2012.

"He's explosive," Caldwell said. "He can make defenders miss. He's very instinctive. He's got a feel for zones. He can separate in and out of breaks very well. When he gets the ball in his hands, he's a threat to take it to the house.

"He's a playmaker, and we need playmakers."

The 6-3, 220-pound Robinson is the big, physical receiver the Jaguars have lacked for years. He caught 177 passes for 2,479 yards and 17 touchdowns in three seasons at Penn State. He was the Jaguars' No. 2 receiver, and they traded their third-round pick (70th overall) and a fifth-round pick (150th overall) to San Francisco to get him.

"This is a big target, and big targets are good in this league," Caldwell said.

Especially when you can count on them.
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The pick: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State

My take: The Jaguars traded their third-round pick (70th overall) and a fifth-round pick (150th overall) to San Francisco for the 61st overall selection and took Robinson. The Jaguars got the big, physical receiver they needed in the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Robinson, who caught 177 passes for 2,479 yards and 17 touchdowns in three seasons at Penn State. That including a junior season in which he caught 97 balls for 1,432 yards and six touchdowns despite playing with a freshman quarterback. The Jaguars will pair him with Marqise Lee, whom they took with the 39th pick, to give them a young tandem that can hopefully grow along with rookie quarterback Blake Bortles.

Goodbye, Justin?: If there was any doubt that the Jaguars have pretty much given up on receiver Justin Blackmon, Robinson’s selection should all but cement it. GM David Caldwell said the team has already planned on not having him in 2014 and coach Gus Bradley said Friday night that he had hoped things would have gone better than they have. The Jaguars have had little contact with Blackmon and he still must apply for reinstatement and likely will have to serve an additional suspension before being cleared.

What’s next: The Jaguars have seven picks in Rounds 4-7 Saturday and are expected to address offensive line, running back and pass-rusher.
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The pick: The Jaguars got their first-round pick some help by taking USC receiver Marqise Lee with the seventh pick of the second round (39th).

My take: Lee was considered a first-round talent but slid into the second round because teams are concerned with the sprained left MCL that he suffered last season, according to multiple reports. Even so, this is a fantastic pick because it addresses the team's biggest need on offense after quarterback. He fits the qualities the Jaguars were searching for in a receiver: size and play-making ability. Lee (6 feet, 195 pounds) had a monster sophomore season (118 catches, 1,721 yards, 14 TDs) but he was hurt by his knee injury and poor QB play last season (57 catches, 791 yards). Lee also has experience as a kickoff returner.

The Blackmon factor: The Jaguars needed to make receiver a priority because of the uncertainty surrounding Justin Blackmon, the team's first-round pick in 2012. Blackmon is serving an indefinite suspension because of his third violation of the league's substance-abuse policy and general manager David Caldwell said last week that the team was not planning on having Blackmon in 2014.

What's next: The Jaguars should continue to address needs on offense in the third round, likely taking an offensive lineman in the third round with the 70th overall selection.

2014 Round 2 mock draft 

May, 9, 2014
May 9
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With the first round in the books, there remains an ample amount of talent left on Day 2. We have two remaining players who carry first-round grades still on the board in Virginia OT Morgan Moses and USC WR Marqise Lee, both of whom should come off the board quickly at the top of the second round.

Teams should also still be able to find plenty of depth at wide receiver, cornerback and offensive line, while the running back position should start to bring strong value and return in Rounds 2 through 4.

Below is a second-round mock draft headlined by three quarterbacks and seven wide receivers.

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Which player should the Jacksonville Jaguars take with the No. 3 pick in the NFL draft? That's a question that GM David Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley are trying to answer before the first round May 8. Not that they're asking, but I'm here to offer help. Every day until the first round I'll argue for a certain player. We're going to go with the caveat that each of the players is available when the Jaguars make their selection.

Today I make the case for quarterback Blake Bortles. Monday will be quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Remember all that stuff we talked about Thursday regarding Johnny Manziel?

The ability to make plays outside the pocket, to improvise, to extend plays? That all applies to Blake Bortles, too. But there's one additional thing that he has that Manziel doesn't.

Size.

There are no concerns about the former Central Florida standout's frame. He's 6-foot-5 and 232 pounds -- close to ideal size for an NFL quarterback.

[+] EnlargeBlake Bortles
AP Photo/Michael ConroyBlake Bortles' ability to tweak his mechanics so quickly bodes well for his mental maturity.
Bortles isn't as accomplished as Manziel on the collegiate level, but numerous scouts and analysts believe his best football is ahead of him and what happened during his pro day is their best evidence.

There were concerns about Bortles' mechanics and scouts, and analysts dissected his flaws on tape after the Knights' season ended. The biggest issues were his lower body and footwork. Bortles obviously worked on that pretty hard in the first few months of 2014 because he was much cleaner in his mechanics at his pro day.

His balance was better, the ball came out of his hand cleaner, his throwing motion was more economical, and as a result he threw the ball harder and more accurately.

That he was able to clean up those issues relatively quickly is a huge plus about his mental makeup. In addition, there's the report by the Florida Times-Union's Ryan O'Halloran on a Jacksonville radio show that Bortles took over the room during a meeting with Jaguars coaches and personnel.

Considering that GM David Caldwell recently said the No. 1 quality he wants in a quarterback is leadership, that's another argument for the Jaguars to take Bortles with the No. 3 overall pick.

There are additional concerns about Bortles because he played in a spread offense and threw a lot of one-read passes. He didn't have to sit in the pocket and go through three or more reads. A lot of the throws were short passes, too. Evaluating him means projecting that he'll be able to adjust to a pro-style offense and become more comfortable taking snaps under center.

But he's the most physically impressive of the big three quarterbacks and he does have the ability to escape and turn a broken play into a big one. There's also less of a worry about him getting hit than Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater. His size will allow him to take more punishment.

The Jaguars have said they don't want a rookie quarterback to play right away. They want him to sit and learn behind Chad Henne. That would benefit Bortles because he has the most upside of any of the top quarterbacks in the draft.

Taking Bortles may not help in 2014, but it would pay off in 2015 and beyond.

After failing to reach the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons, the Chicago Bears relieved then-longtime general manager Jerry Angelo of his duties in 2012.

The Bears hired then-Kansas City Chiefs director of college scouting Phil Emery, who had been an area scout for the Bears, from 1998 until 2004, to replace him. Chicago retained head coach Lovie Smith at the time and posted a 10-6 record in 2012 but let him go after losing five of the last eight games and missing the playoffs yet again. The Bears replaced the defensive-minded Smith by hiring then-Montreal Alouettes head coach and well-known quarterback guru Marc Trestman.

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Top tone-setters for the 2014 draft 

April, 30, 2014
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Deone BucannonShanna Lockwood/USA TODAY SportsWashington State's Deone Bucannon has the hard-hitting temperament teams look for in safeties.

Every great defense has a solid mixture of stars and role players. Looking at some of today's physically dominant defenses -- such as the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers, and the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers a few years back -- the common denominator is that all of them have or had tone-setters on the field.

These players don’t necessarily have to be the most gifted players on the defense, but they play with great effort and bring a physical edge, which are the building blocks behind creating a strong foundation on the defensive side of the ball.

With that said, here is a look at my top-five defensive tone-setters in this year's draft class.

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Beckham leads 2014 All-Satellite team 

April, 28, 2014
Apr 28
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Odell Beckham Jr.AP Photo/Rogelio V. SolisOdell Beckham Jr. could do double duty in the NFL as a wide receiver and return specialist.
One of the projects I put together every year for the draft is the All-Satellite team -- the players who are the best in space. All eight of the guys listed below are exceptionally elusive with the ball in their hands and can be nightmares for opposing defenses to contain in the open field.

You can find my list from the end of the 2013 college football season here -- but below you'll find my eight-member All-Satellite team based on all the prospects I've evaluated for the 2014 NFL draft.

1. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
Beckham has elite top-end speed, but that's only part of what makes him so good in space. He accelerates quickly, frequently makes the first defender miss after the catch and is a very instinctive open-field runner who knows when to cut back against the grain. He uses his fluid hips and quick feet to get defenders off-balance in space, using a variety of shoulder dips, inside-outs and other moves. He has the potential to develop into a dangerous return specialist in the NFL.

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Three bold draft moves for the Bills 

April, 25, 2014
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The Buffalo Bills haven't been to the playoffs in 14 years, which is the longest active streak in the NFL. The last time they made the playoffs they lost to Tennessee in heartbreaking fashion in the Music City Miracle game.

The last time they finished with a winning record is 2004. They had a chance to go 10-6 and make the playoffs that year but lost to a playoff-bound Steelers team that rested its starters in the regular-season finale.

In its latest effort to right the ship Buffalo made former Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone its fifth head coach in 12 years in January of 2013.

In the draft, the Bills then took QB EJ Manuel out of Florida State with the No. 16 overall pick, and he understandably had a rocky rookie season, especially when you factor in his inability to stay healthy. He tore the meniscus in his left knee in the preseason, he missed four games with a sprained right knee and he missed the final two games with a left knee injury. Manuel needs to stay healthy and take command of offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett's offense if the Bills are to compete for a playoff spot this year.

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My favorite players to watch on tape 

April, 25, 2014
Apr 25
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Jarvis LandryAP Photo/Gerald HerbertJarvis Landry's game film is appointment television for football fans.
As I go through prospect evaluations for the draft, some players' tape is painful to get through, while there are others whose tape I could watch all day long.

The prospects listed below fit the latter, including several potential first-rounders and a quarterback who has the potential to surprise by sticking in the league. They make up my 2014 All-Tape team, a distinction rivaled in prestige only by my All-Satellite team (the draft version of which is coming next week).

Here are nine players who are a joy to watch.


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Analyzing McShay mock: Jaguars 

April, 24, 2014
Apr 24
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars have the third overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, which is now two weeks away. Though the roster has improved since general manager David Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley took over in January 2013, there are still a lot of holes to fill.

The top needs remain a quarterback and a pass-rusher, but adding a big-play receiver or elite offensive lineman aren't ridiculous options for the Jaguars with their first pick.

ESPN Insider draft analyst Todd McShay's latest mock draft Insider lists the picks he would make if he were the GM of each team. It's not a projection of what teams will do. McShay makes an interesting choice for the Jaguars.


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The declining value of drafting RBs 

April, 22, 2014
Apr 22
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HydeAndrew Weber/USA TODAY SportsIs Carlos Hyde the only running back worthy of drawing interest in the first and early second rounds?
The past few years, we have seen the running back position on a steady decline in terms of positional value. In fact, last year was the first time a running back was not selected in the first round. Snapping a trend that dates back to 1936 and the soft running back market in free agency this past March, those are the clearest examples of why draft value has gone down.

There are many more factors that are playing roles in the devaluing of the running back, the most obvious being that the NFL, in general, is trending more toward a passing league. Offensive coordinators are becoming more creative in spreading the field with formations, motions and shifts and looking to create mismatches on the perimeter. In many ways, second down is becoming the new third down.

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Odell Beckham Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsOdell Beckham's ability to separate quickly from press coverage would aid Ben Roethlisberger.
We spend so much time during the draft process talking about the potential top-10 picks that one thing with the potential to get lost about this year’s class is just how strong it is overall, particularly in its depth. Teams are going to be able to find some high-level talents later in the first round, as well as the second round and afterward.

For this article, we’ve identified some perfect team-prospect matches featuring players who project to be taken outside the top 10 but could have a big impact in the NFL, particularly if paired with these specific teams.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU


Beckham isn’t likely to get past the first round, so outside of a trade situation, the Steelers would likely have to use the No. 15 overall pick to get him, and Pittsburgh could go in a number of directions with that pick. But Beckham feels like a really good fit with what the Steelers want to do offensively.

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Rex Ryan took the Jets to the AFC Championship Game his first two seasons as their head coach, winning two playoff games each of those years. One of those playoff wins was a 28-21 victory over the Patriots in Foxborough in 2010. It seemed unlikely at the time, but the Jets would not build on that success, but instead go on to finish 8-8 in 2011 and 6-10 in 2012.

There was speculation that they would let Ryan go and make it a clean sweep when they fired general manager Mike Tannenbaum following that disappointing 2012 season. Instead, they retained Ryan, but the speculation picked up again during last year's 8-8 season.

Following a 23-3 loss to the Dolphins in December of last year, ESPN New York Jets reporter Rich Cimini felt Ryan needed to win two of the last four games to keep his job, and Cimini didn't seem optimistic about it happening coming off that performance.

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