Dec 15, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan tight end Zach Sudfeld (82) on the sidelines in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Surprise 2014 NFL Draft Moves That Could Happen


Nothing is a guarantee going into the 2014 NFL draft but there are plenty of likelihoods.  With that in mind, what are a few surprises fans should watch for in May?

St. Louis Rams take Sammy Watkins

Pretty much every team in the top ten has a short list of players laid out by the experts that they will probably pick.  The one team that is becoming harder and harder to predict is the St. Louis Rams.  Will they go offensive line, defensive line or even quarterback?  One option seldom discussed is they also could go wide receiver.  Tavon Austin wasn’t quite the gamebreaker they hoped in 2013 and Sam Bradford could use a more reliable target.  That makes Sammy Watkins of Clemson awfully tempting when they go on the clock.

New York Giants grab Mike Evans

One of the more surprisingly active teams in free agency was the New York Giants.  Their defense has undergone a serious overhaul with the additions of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond at corner and JaMeel McClain at linebacker.  Then there was the under-the-radar signing of Geoff Schwartz to fill in at the thin guard spot.  That has left the draft options wide open for the G-Men, and the one area of the roster they hasn’t seen any action is wide receiver.  With the loss of Hakeem Nicks the team needs a new outside option for Eli Manning, and the 6’5″ monster Mike Evans out of Texas A&M may be the one for them.

Cleveland Browns don’t take a quarterback in first round

The top ten of the 2014 NFL draft is burdened by teams in need of a quarterback.  The Cleveland Browns are obviously among them and they have better position than most because they possess two first round picks.  However, based on the latest projections and feelers it seems the top quarterbacks are all over the map in terms of stock.  Since they have ten picks overall and one of the first available in the second round, there is a very real possibility the Browns forego taking a quarterback in the first round and instead wait until early in the second.  This way the two first rounder can be devoted to “safer” talents on offense or defense.

New York Jets take a corner in the first round

All the talk about the New York Jets adding offensive weaponry early and often in the draft is no surprise.  At the same time, it’s easy for people to forget the head coach of that team is a defensive guy and it’s become clear Rex Ryan is not happy with the current status of the cornerback situation.  Antonio Cromartie is gone and the team failed to bring in help in free agency, leaving the group in the hands of shaky 2013 first round pick Dee Milliner.  Unless they are able to get help on the market somehow, there is a very real possibility that Gang Green folds under the pressure and decides to get a cornerback in the first round again rather than continue arming Geno Smith.

Green Bay Packers go after Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor

Re-signing Sam Shields and adding Julius Peppers really helped out the defense for the Green Bay Packers but their main problem remains inconsistency on the back end at safety.  Sitting at #21 in the first round, it’s not realistic to think they have a shot at landing one of the top two options in the 2014 NFL draft.  Both Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor are expected to go somewhere in the 11-20 range.  That means the Packers, normally not known for being very aggressive early might have to move up the board to get one of them.

Carolina Panthers go offensive line in the first round

Each day that ticks by leaves the Carolina Panthers more and more desperate to upgrade at wide receiver.  Steve Smith is gone, as are Ted Ginn and Brandon LaFell.  It’s a situation that almost guarantees the team will select a receiver in the first and perhaps the second round as well.  Then again, the team doesn’t exactly have a strong history of taking wide outs that early.  The last time they grabbed one in the first round was Rae Carruth in 1997.  Panther fans almost certainly have bad memories of that debacle.  Meanwhile, the franchise has taken an offensive lineman twice with their first pick, including long-time anchor Jordan Gross who is now a free agent.  Given the depth of the 2014 class, Carolina could very well spurn the receiver position in round one in favor of finding a replacement for Gross up front.

Tags: 2014 Nfl Draft Carolina Panthers Cleveland Browns Featured Green Bay Packers Mike Evans New York Giants New York Jets Popular Sammy Watkins St. Louis Rams

  • Craig Barker

    Browns will not draft a QB round 1, and Giants will not draft a WR round 1. They have Ruben Randal and Dominik Hixon already. As for browns they will give Hoyer a chance and there is not a QB worth pulling the trigger on early.

    • Erik Lambert

      Hixon just signed with the Bears, Craig.

      • Craig Barker

        I meant Victor Cruz. Sorry

        • Erik Lambert

          No problem. Minor slip up.

          • Craig Barker

            keep up on the articles. I enjoy reading them. whats sports without differing opinions.

          • Erik Lambert

            Totally agree. I will.

  • Letterman007

    I too think the Browns will spurn a QB with #4 and have high hopes Watkins is still available, if not go after Mathews at tackle and at #26 look to see who is there at QB then. If not grab a wide receiver there and get the QB at #35 or in the third round!!

    • Erik Lambert

      Seems like those are some of the very possible strategies open to them.

  • Paul Newbold

    Jets have a plan I hope! I was really convinced they would find at least a safety if not a corner in FA. Rex’s defense relies heavily on his CBs to do a variety of things. The corner position is rather deep in this draft, talent is to be had, but currently they need a plug in starter. Idzik may have painted himself into a corner (no pun intended) on this one. They do have plenty of picks though, and they might have to do some trading to get to their man if they want to do it in the first round.

    • Erik Lambert

      Seems that way. I believe they can find a quality starter in the second round if they’re willing to wait such as Marcus Roberson or Pierre Desir but it’s obviously a risk. I believe Rex is a good enough coach to where the team can make due with such a player and save that first rounder for another offensive weapon.