NFL Draft: NFL Draft 2014

Best undrafted prospects 

May, 10, 2014
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

Rams pick RB Tre Mason in 3rd

May, 9, 2014
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The pick: Tre Mason, running back, Auburn

My take: This is the first pick the Rams have made that caught me off guard. I thought the Rams might grab a receiver or quarterback if they were going to add at the skill positions but didn't expect any running back to be the choice this early. I have to think this was one of those situations where value was too good for the Rams to pass up. Reuniting Mason with tackle Greg Robinson allows them to get the nation's most dynamic rushing combo back together. Honestly, I feel as if the Rams could have had similar value at a position of need. Even doubling down on Florida State defensive backs with safety Terrence Brooks would have been a good play. Mason is a good back and could actually push for starter carries, but the Rams could have waited and taken another back to contribute later.

Message sent: At the scouting combine in February, coach Jeff Fisher said he wanted to give the bulk of the carries to Zac Stacy and though that's still possible, Mason has the ability to eventually wrest the job away. Barring that, the rest of the running back group has been put on notice. The Rams like Benny Cunningham and this move would seem to put Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead in danger of not making the roster. The Rams would probably be happy to get a pick for either at this point.

What's next: The Rams dealt their fifth-round pick to Buffalo earlier in the night, leaving them with a pick in the fourth, two in the sixth and four in the seventh before calling it a draft. The Rams still have needs at quarterback, on the offensive line, linebacker and in the secondary.

2014 Round 2 mock draft 

May, 9, 2014

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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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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Payback time for free-agent losses

April, 30, 2014
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Remember last year in free agency, when the New York Jets lost LaRon Landry, Dustin Keller, Mike DeVito and Shonn Greene?

General manager John Idzik, who took a lot of criticism for the exodus, admitted Wednesday that the decision to let those players walk was based, in part, on knowing they'd receive compensatory draft picks for the losses.

The Jets ended up receiving the maximum number of compensatory picks (four), giving them a total of 12 picks in next week's draft.

"The compensatory draft-pick system is always in your mind," Idzik said at the team's pre-draft news conference. "It's a factor. It's not the determinant, but it's a factor."

A number of well-respected teams, namely the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens, have maximized their compensatory picks. Now the Jets get a chance to cash in. The third day of the draft (rounds four to seven) will be hectic, as the Jets have nine picks over the final four rounds.

Not everyone is a fan of collecting compensatory picks.

"We never went into free agency saying, 'Let's let Bobby and Billy go so we can get a compensatory pick to replace them,'" said ESPN analyst Jon Gruden, a former coach. "We never said, 'Let's not sign a free agent because it will hurt our ability to get a compensatory pick.’"

The Jets' compensatory picks: Fourth round (No. 137 overall), sixth round (No. 209), sixth round (No. 210) and sixth round (No. 213).

Numbers game: A lot of work goes into a draft. It takes almost a full year for the entire scouting process. Former GM Terry Bradway, the senior director of college scouting, provided his annual numbers breakdown, illustrating the point:

Number of schools visited: 263.

Number of school visits: 575.

Number of players written up in scouting reports: 1,372.

Number of player evaluations: 3,500.

Player interviews: 635.

Pro days attended: 115.

College games attended: 120.

The numbers remain fairly steady from year to year, and you can bet every other team is doing the same amount of homework.

Top tone-setters for the 2014 draft 

April, 30, 2014
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
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

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
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: Jets 

April, 24, 2014
The prevailing thought over the past few weeks -- months, really -- is that the New York Jets will select a wide receiver in the first round. While it's still considered the position most likely to be addressed with the 18th pick, the possibility isn't as strong as it was before free agency. Cornerback is right there, too.

The Jets have paid little attention to their suspect secondary, making only one move: They replaced cornerback Antonio Cromartie (cut) with journeyman Dimitri Patterson, who signed a one-year contract. In other words, they still need a long-term answer to play alongside Dee Milliner.

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Analyzing McShay mock: Vikings 

April, 24, 2014
In his latest mock draft, ESPN NFL draft expert Todd McShay made his picks as though he were the general manager for every team in the league. In other words, he's picking the player he thinks the team should take, not necessarily whom they will take.

That's an important distinction to make, because in this particular case, it illustrates how badly the Vikings need to address their quarterback position for the future.

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The declining value of drafting RBs 

April, 22, 2014
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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Best team-prospect matches in 2014 draft 

April, 21, 2014
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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Finding wide receiver bargains on Day 3 

April, 16, 2014

Almost every year, there are some receivers who fall during the draft and end up hitting in the NFL as late-round selections or free agents. Recent examples have included Ravens WR Marlon Brown (UDFA, 2013), Seahawks Doug Baldwin (UDFA, 2011), Steelers WR Antonio Brown (6th round, 2010) and Giants WR Victor Cruz (UDFA, 2010). Injuries, size, not testing well at combine or pro day and character are some of the factors that can play into these players slipping through the cracks.

As we near the end of evaluation process here at Scouts Inc., I have had a chance to focus on some receivers that projected in the Day 3 range. Of that crop, here is a look at three who have caught my eye during recent film study and could end up bringing strong return on Day 3.

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