The second day of the 2014 NFL Draft is going to be remembered for a long time. In rounds 2 and 3, the depth of this draft class will carry many teams forward, while others will wallow. If there was ever a day where "Best Player Available" mantras should've been ringing in team GM-s ears, it was May 9, 2014. For many it did, and the teams with solid draft plans moved inexorably forward. Other teams sank into past draft day trends, trying to find gold based on scouting reports and "gut feelings"...
Everyone knew the top of round 2 would still yield excellent talent. In fact, when I look at the players taken, in year's past many of them would've have heard their names called in the first round. The third round had at least second round talent in any other year but this one. Guys like Louis Nix III, Gabe Jackson, Marcus Martin, Chris Borland, Travis Swanson, and Phillip Gaines saw their draft day's effected by a deep talent pool, but also by the first glimmers of teams trying to grab their scouting favorites too early in round 2. In short, everyone knew this NFL Draft would be hard to call, and it's lived up to my thoughts that virtually no one would get it right in all the Mock Drafts I've seen.
In the second round, I found a few picks traveling far and wide away from the best player available strategy. Yes, I think it would've have been bad for both, the Houston Texans and Derek Carr, if the #33 pick saw them come together in a sibling reprise. The shadow of Derek's older brother - David Carr, the franchises first EVER draft pick - is still something that rubs their fans the wrong way. The Raiders have done well in this draft, landing Khalil Mack, Derek Carr and Gabe Jackson, but Al Davis' ghost must have be screaming as they passed on wide receivers?
After Philadelphia's first day head scratcher - Marcus Smith, at #26 overall - they grabbed what I think was the #4 wide receiver in this draft - Jordan Matthews - who I thought New Orleans missed on in round #1. The Jacksonville Jaguars did the old 1-2-3 dance of old. After drafting Blake Bortles at #3 overall, they added wide receiver help in a big way. Understanding though it may be - with the NFL future of Justin Blackmon in doubt - they may have wanted to make sure Bortles doesn't get pummeled like a guy named Gabbert did not long ago. They passed on some excellent offensive linemen, and it's going to haunt this team in 2014.
The team that has both won over draft analysts, and caused little 'ol me to wonder a bit, is the St. Louis Rams. No one can doubt they were the big Day 1 winners, with Greg Robinson and Aaron Donald. While I think Lamarcus Joyner is a fine athlete, he's a safety/corner back tween-er at best. With the top safeties off the board, I think they reached to make this pick fit their need for secondary help. They went with "the big uglies" in the first round, and with injury prone Rodger Saffold slated to be at right guard, an unreliable Scott Wells at center, and Jake Long recovering from an ACL/MCL, passing on Jack Mewhort, Weston Richburg, Gabe Jackson, and Marcus Martin is going to tattoo an asterisk on the Rams 2014 draft. Taking a running back in the third round was something I just can't agree with, since they currently have a stable of young backs growing into their NFL jobs. Right after they grabbed Auburn's Tre Mason, (Is this just coincidence: For the second straight year, they've doubled down on players from the same team - Austin and Bailey in 2013) the San Francisco 49ers took a player the Rams really could've used to give middle linebacker Jame Laurinaitis a quality back up - Chris Borland.
The New York Giants may be one of the quiet winners of the first two days of this draft. Odell Beckham, Weston Richburg, and one of my personal favorites - Syracuse's defensive tackle Jay Bromley - were solid hits, and filled direct needs. Dallas taking Zack Martin in the first round was a sound choice, but they quashed their fans hopes when they traded up to get a mid-line talent in Boise State's Demarcus Lawrence. The Washington Redskins did all they could to guarantee they'll get another chance at a #2 overall pick in 2015 (Jacksonville will get the #1 pick next year). Without a first round selection in 2014 due to the RGIII trade with the Rams, they finally selected Stanford outside linebacker Trent Murphy after trading down with Dallas to #47. This is a perfect example of a team swinging for the fence, and dribbling the ball back to the pitcher. If Murphy doesn't hit big - and I mean really BIG - in his rookie season, this season will be a 2013 re-do. Morgan Moses was a solid steal in the third round, and should help after a year of experience at the NFL level. But he isn't a "plug 'n play" Day 1 starter, and neither is guard Spencer Long, who is no more than a workout-warrior. If arm wrestling was part of being an NFL offensive lineman, Long would be a strong choice; but his footwork and ability to get to the second level of a defense are suspect at best.
So, going into Day 3 of the 2014 NFL Draft could be interesting? Who are the player you were shocked to see fall on Day 2, and who's still there for rounds 4 and 5? Hit me up in the comment threads, and let's talk the draft peaks and valleys for every NFL team...