NFL Draft: Day 3 RecapSaturday, May 10, 2014
The weeks and months leading up to every draft, quarterbacks get so hyped to the point where we have it beat into our heads that they're going to hear their names called early. And every year it seems that we sit back and are mesmerized by how low they actually go. It happened last year with Ryan Nassib, Matt Barkley, Tyler Wilson, and others. This year was much of the same. On day three, the quarterbacks were the talk of much of the day. That was until the Rams stole the spotlight at pick No. 249 when they grabbed Mizzou pass rusher Michael Sam. Let's take a look at what we learned on Saturday.
Sam Lands with the Rams
If you watched ESPN or NFL Network at all on Saturday, it was impossible to not hear Michael Sam's name mentioned dozens of times. The Mizzou defensive end and co-SEC Defensive Player of the Year -- as you all know by now -- is the first openly gay player to enter the NFL draft. He was never expected to be anything more than a late-round pick due to a slow forty time (4.91), slight build (6-foot-1, 261), and questionable athleticism. But one thing we knew was that he could get to the quarterback and be a disruptive presence in opposing offense's backfields. The fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds came and gone without Sam hearing his name called. The seventh round was nearing a close before the Rams, who held the eighth-to-last pick in the draft, rang Sam's phone and informed him he'd be joining the organization with the 249th overall pick. It's certainly a heckuva story, but Sam faces an extreme uphill climb to make the 53-man roster. The Rams have one of the most loaded defensive lines in the league. Barring injury, Sam is going to have to beat out Eugene Sims to earn the No. 4 defensive end role in St. Louis. He's also going to need to show he can cover kicks. Sam jerseys will be flying off the shelves.
Somebody Duped A.J. McCarron
Alabama QB and three-time national champion A.J. McCarron was fed some bad information. He was reportedly told in the pre-draft phase that he could go anywhere from the late first-round to early second-round of this weekend's draft. The first, second, third, and fourth rounds came before McCarron was finally snatched up by the Bengals in the fifth round with the 164th overall selection. He simply doesn't have an NFL arm. And ESPN reported Saturday morning that McCarron's pre-draft interviews turned some teams off. He has a bit of a cockiness to him. In Cincinnati, McCarron slides in as the No. 3 quarterback behind Andy Dalton and Jason Campbell. He'll likely never threaten Dalton for the starting job and projects as a career backup. At least he still has Katherine Webb.
Most Interesting Story
With the 110th pick, the Rams selected Utah State S Maurice Alexander. He went to high school in St. Louis before heading out west for college. Two years ago, while he was suspended by the Aggies, Alexander returned home and was actually a janitor at the Edward Jones Dome. He was part of the clean-up crew that cleaned the stadium after Rams games. Now he'll be playing his home contests in the Ed.
Texans Find a Quarterback
It was no secret that the Texans were going to draft a quarterback this weekend. It was just a bit shocking how long they actually waited for one. With the sixth-to-final pick of the fourth round, GM Rick Smith took a flier on draft crush Tom Savage. Savage was mentioned as a possible second-rounder leading up to the weekend and was one of the favorites of the draft community. He has a monster arm and stands 6-foot-4. He bounced around the college ranks from Rutgers to Arizona to Pittsburgh. Savage is a 24-year-old project who will be learning his fifth system in as many years. Coach Bill O'Brien is a bit of a quarterback guru, but we don't anticipate Savage being under center come Week 1. He has major accuracy issues that need to be cleaned up.
Biggest Fantasy Impact
Considering we don't find many immediate offensive superstars on the final day of the draft, this is all about opportunity. The Falcons made Florida State RB Devonta Freeman, our own Josh Norris' top draft-eligible back, the third pick of the day at No. 103 overall. He's already a monster upgrade on No. 2 back Jacquizz Rodgers and has only a soon-to-be 31-year-old Steven Jackson standing in his way. Jackson showed strong signs that he's nearing the end of the line last season. Freeman was a timeshare back with the Seminoles, so he has plenty of tread left on the tires. He's a decisive, one-cut runner who also excels in pass protection and as a pass catcher. Freeman reminded us a bit of a bigger Darren Sproles or Shane Vereen. Keep an eye on him this summer.
Bills Acquire RB Brown from Eagles
Bryce Brown fell out of favor quick in Philadelphia last season. After appearing in all 16 games and making four starts for Andy Reid's Eagles in 2012, a season in which he rushed for 564 yards and four touchdowns on 115 carries (4.9 YPC), Brown tumbled down to No. 3 on the depth chart for Chip Kelly. He saw just 75 carries in 2013 and was somewhat vocal on his desire to be a bigger part of an offense. The Eagles granted him that wish on Saturday by dealing Brown to the Bills for a 2015 fourth-round pick that can turn into a third-rounder. It's a steep price to pay for a running back. This season, Brown will likely serve as depth behind C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. But come 2015, Jackson will be a free agent and Spiller has an opt-out clause in his contract. Brown has two years left on his rookie deal. He needs to trust himself as an inside runner more, but there's no denying Brown's talent. He has serious juice in his legs. Brown's dynasty arrow is pointing up.