Share

Extra Points

Winners and Losers From 2014 NFL Draft


Draft grades are a fruitless process. There's no way of knowing how each team did in the 2014 NFL draft before any of these prospects play a single down at rookie minicamp.

For now, though, it's still safe to look back on the draft and determine which teams came away as winners and losers. Some picks left onlookers scratching their head, other picks had the critics nodding in agreement. Some teams addressed areas of need, other teams seemed to just be throwing things against the wall, hoping they stick.

Before we put the weekend in the rearview mirror, let's take a look at some teams that came away as winners and losers from the draft.

Continue Reading Below



Winner: Oakland Raiders

Been awhile since you've seen those three words strung together, right? The Oakland Raiders landed my favorite player in the draft in linebacker Khalil Mack (Buffalo), who can play all over the second level of the defense and can fit in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. Quarterback Derek Carr (Fresno State) could start over Matt Schaub.

If there's a Brandon Browner-type cornerback in this draft, it's the athletic, 6-3, 211-pound Keith McGill (Utah). He should be a Week 1 starter, too. Their 28th-ranked pass defense will be thankful for the addition of three defensive backs and two pass-rushers.

Loser: Indianapolis Colts

The Colts were without a first-round pick, after trading it to the Cleveland Browns for running back Trent Richardson. Jack Mewhort (Ohio State) was a good pick in the second round, and is versatile enough to play all over the offensive line, but will most likely play guard. Wide receiver Donte Moncrief (Mississippi) gives Andrew Luck a much-needed weapon, and some depth behind Reggie Wayne.

Overall, though, it was a forgettable five-pick draft that was made worse by the fact that Richardson was the reason for it.

Winner: New York Jets

Rex Ryan got yet another toy for his defense in the first round, with Calvin Pryor (Louisville) finally giving the Jets a long-term answer at strong safety. Pryor is a physical in-the-box safety, but also has the range to play deep. If he learns to keep his head on straight on the field, he has the tools to develop into a top-flight safety.

The biggest problem before the draft was the lack of skill position talent on offense. The Jets took four shots at the board to improve their passing game. They started by drafting tight end Jace Amaro (Texas Tech), the 6-5, 265-pound "Joker" tight end in a similar mold to Aaron Hernandez. They also added receivers of all shapes and varieties a possession receiver in Shaquelle Evans (UCLA), an undersized slot receiver in Jalen Saunders (Oklahoma), and a versatile boundary receiver in Quincy Enunwa (Nebraska).

The Jets tied for a league-high 12 selections in this draft, but their status as a winner is about more than volume. They created a big-time competition at a position of need, and are sure to end up with at least a couple of new weapons for quarterback Geno Smith.

Loser: Buffalo Bills

Sammy Watkins (Clemson) is a heck of a receiver, and worthy of the fourth overall pick, but the Bills overpaid big-time by giving up next year's first-round pick and fourth-round pick to move up five spots.

They needed to draft offensive linemen, and came away with three. All of them have potential, but all of them have major question marks: offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio (Alabama) about the health of his knee, guard Cyril Richardson (Baylor) about his conditioning at 329 pounds, and Seantrel Henderson (Miami) about several off-field issues, including a failed drug test at the scouting combine and some drug-related suspensions.

Overall, this draft provided more questions than answers, and a potential problem in 2015 if the Bills are without a first-round pick. There is a lot of pressure on head coach Doug Marrone and quarterback EJ Manuel to make a run for the playoffs, and that will be tough to do in the AFC East.

Winner: Houston Texans

The Texans needed to fortify the trenches on both sides of the ball, and did just that with three of their first four picks.

They got off to a good start by adding the best player in the draft in defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina), a 6-6, 266-pound athletic freak who can play anywhere in the defensive front. Defensive tackle Louis Nix (Notre Dame) was a steal in the third round, and the 6-2, 331-pound monster will factor in to the rotation at nose tackle from Week 1. Guard Xavier Su'a-Filo (UCLA) should also start.

One knock is the selection of quarterback Tom Savage (Pitt) in the fourth round. Savage's physical tools translate well to head coach Bill O'Brien's offense, and if he sharpens his mental tools, he could develop into a starter. For now, though, it's a very real possibility that Ryan Fitzpatrick is the Week 1 starter.

Loser: Kansas City Chiefs

Linebacker Dee Ford (Auburn) is a talented player, and a fit for the Chiefs' defense as a 3-4 outside linebacker, but in a perfect world, he'll never see the field with Tamba Hali and Justin Houston as the starters.

Aside from that, the Chiefs didn't add anyone that will make a big impact as a rookie. Their third-round pick, the uber-athletic cornerback Phillip Gaines (Rice), will need time to develop, but may be thrust into a starting role if the Chiefs are willing to trade Brandon Flowers, as was reported by Dan Pompei of Bleacher Report shortly before the draft.

Running back De'Anthony Thomas (Oregon) looks like a Dexter McCluster clone at 5-9 and 174 pounds, and has speed to burn, and while he has potential as a receiver, the Chiefs may have to draw up specific plays to get him the ball. Overall, this draft doesn't appear to have anyone that will contribute to a team that is in a highly competitive division that featured three playoff teams last year.