Raymond Summerlin

NFL Draft Recap

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NFL Draft: Surprises

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Interesting Saturday Picks


Chicago addressed their No. 2 running back position in an exceptional way when they drafted Arizona RB Ka’Deem Carey at pick No. 117 overall. There is an argument to be made that Carey is the best running back in this class despite his speed concerns, and he should provide a solid backup option behind Matt Forte.


The Steelers finally got the big receiver they had been coveting when they selected Clemson WR Martavis Bryant with the 118th overall pick. Bryant is ready right now to contribute as a deep threat and has the skill set to develop into a top-level outside receiver.


The Arizona Cardinals ended the long quarterback drought by taking Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas with the 120th overall pick. Thomas theoretically fits Arians’ vertical passing game, but will need a lot of work to become a starting NFL quarterback. His future may be at tight end.


Cleveland traded up in the first round to select CB Justin Gilbert, but that did not stop them from taking Lindenwood CB Pierre Desir with the No. 127 overall pick. Desir is a big, athletic cornerback that has starting-caliber talent. He could turn into a steal.


The Texans spurned everyone’s mock drafts by not addressing their quarterback need early in the draft. Despite picking Pittsburgh QB Tom Savage with the 135th overall pick, they did not address the quarterback need late either. Savage is a developmental option at best and will offer nothing early. Unless the Texans execute a trade for Ryan Mallett, they are looking at the unenviable prospect of Ryan Fitzpatrick or Case Keenum as their Week 1 starter.


The Vikings waited a while but may have addressed their guard issues with Stanford G David Yankey at pick No. 145 overall. Yankey is not very athletic but has the experience and intelligence to be an effective blocker at the next level. He will be given a shot to unseat Charlie Johnson at left guard.


Baylor RB Lache Seastrunk represented good value when the Redskins selected him with the 186th overall pick, but he is a surprising selection based on what the Redskins were looking for. Washington needs an upgrade on Roy Helu Jr. as the third-down, change-of-pace back in their offense. Seastrunk is not that upgrade. He has almost zero experience in pass protection and below-average hands. Seastrunk is good in space, but Coach Jay Gruden will have trouble getting him there unless he improves in the passing game.


If the Jets were trying to corner the market on quarterbacks that will not be in the league in three years, they may have hit the jackpot with Clemson WR Tajh Boyd at pick No. 213. He has some physical skills that NFL teams covet, but his accuracy issues are simply too big to overcome. He will be lucky to beat out Matt Simms.


The Jaguars selected UCF RB Storm Johnson 222nd overall pick, reuniting him with college teammate Blake Bortles. Johnson is buried on the depth chart behind Toby Gerhart, Jordan Todman and Denard Robinson, but no one on that list is exciting and Johnson has the talent to be a late-round surprise. He is a player to keep an eye on.


Buffalo got a first round talent when they selected Miami OT Seantrel Henderson with the No. 237 overall pick, but multiple issues off the field and questionable dedication on it led to Henderson falling far in the draft. He is a classic boom-or-bust pick and a great selection in the seventh round.


Undrafted Difference Makers


Every season there are a handful of undrafted free agents that have an immediate impact in the NFL and this season will not be any different. There are a ton of available players that could have an early impact in the NFL.


At the skill positions, Alabama State RB Isaiah Crowell and Oregon TE Colt Lyerla both slipped out of the draft because of character concerns but both have the talent to be impact players at the next level.


Crowell was snapped up quickly after the draft by the Cleveland Browns and should compete with fellow rookie Terrance West for the backup duties behind injury-prone starter Ben Tate. Crowell was the best running back in this class on pure running ability and has the potential to be a three-down starter if he keeps his head on straight.


Lyerla was not snatched up so quickly but still has the opportunity to be an impact player. He is the prototypical “move” tight end that causes mismatches in the passing game and is one of the best after the catch at the tight end position. He should find a home soon and, as long as he keeps his off-the-field life in order, could be a big-time playmaker.


Tennessee RB Rajion Neal does not possess the upside of Lyerla or Crowell, but he could develop into a solid rotational back in the NFL or even a low-end starter. He will develop behind Eddie Lacy and James Starks in Green Bay and has the skill set to challenge for third-down work early in his career.


Tennessee OT Antonio “Tiny” Richardson slipped out of the draft due to physical concerns despite having second-round talent. Minnesota snapped him up quickly in free agency, and he could end up being one of the steals of the “draft.”


On the defensive side, Texas DE Jackson Jeffcoat and Stanford ILB Shayne Skov could have an impact at the next level.


Jeffcoat did not have the career at Texas his status out of high school would have suggested, but he is a solid player who can be a situational rusher in the NFL. He will have a hard time finding playing time with the Seahawks, but a year on their practice squad could not hurt.


Skov does not possess the physical attributes to be a three-down inside ‘backer in the NFL, but he projects well as a two-down run thumper that can set the tone for a defense. His aggressive style may eventually lead to durability concerns, but the Niners could have a solid pro on their hands for several years to come.

Raymond Summerlin is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter at @RMSummerlin.
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