The rumors are flying from every direction ahead of the 2014 NFL draft. Which ones should fans buy and which ones need to be sold?
St. Louis Rams considering Johnny Manziel
Something to remember is head coach Jeff Fisher hasn’t taken a quarterback of his choosing as a head coach since Steve McNair. So it’s perfectly reasonable for him to have doubts about Sam Bradford, whom he inherited from the previous regime. So these latest hint that the St. Louis Rams might seriously consider taking Johnny Manziel are interesting. Fisher always did like quarterbacks who can move and exude confidence. Bradford has yet to get his team to the playoffs and is coming of a torn ACL. Is it really too much to think the Rams should give him some competition?
Bradford played well for stretches last season but before he could really find a groove he got hurt. He needs another year to mesh with the offense and hopefully will get better protection along the way. This Manziel idea sounds more like a play by the Rams to increase trade interest for the #2 pick.
Detroit Lions will not use Ndamukong Suh as trade bait
Anybody with eyes can understand why the Detroit Lions have eyes for Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins. He’s so explosive and represents that long-lost second target they’ve been trying to put next to Calvin Johnson for years. However in order to get him they’d need to trade up from #10 probably to the top three picks, which would cost a bevy extra selection to do. That is why the idea popped up of them possibly including Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh as part of the deal. At age 27 he is in his prime and among the best at his position in football but he is viewed as a loose cannon on the field and becoming a big burden on the salary cap. Trading him would bring relief in more ways than one. Yet that didn’t stop from Detroit denying the rumors.
Even if the Lions wanted to trade him, Suh’s salary cap number is almost impossible to move. On the other hand his value to their defense is just too high to warrant sending away despite his unpredictability.
Cleveland Browns considering going for a third 1st round pick
Few teams are in as good of position looking at the first round than the Cleveland Browns. They have two picks in the top 26 selections are should be able to give their roster a serious talent influx. Rumors though didn’t stop there. Apparently whispers continue that the Browns might actually seek to move up from the #35 pick in the second round back into the first round. The idea is they would leapfrog the Houston Texans at #33 in order to land one of the top quarterbacks. That of course being under the assumption that Houston goes for somebody other than a quarterback at #1 overall.
Cleveland is in perfect position to move back into the first round because they have extra draft picks in both third and fourth rounds available to unload at their leisure. Teams like New England, Denver and Seattle might jump at the chance to collect some extra currency, allowing the Browns to fulfill the plan.
Philadelphia Eagles will move up for Odell Beckham Jr.
Chip Kelly and the front office of the Philadelphia Eagles took a major gamble when they let Pro Bowl receiver DeSean Jackson walk out the door. The running thought was the emergence of Riley Cooper and return of Jeremy Maclin gave them enough leverage to do so. Recent news on the other hand says they aren’t resting on that lineup. Apparently the Eagles have developed a liking for LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Indeed his agility and big-play potential are enticing for an offensive coach like Kelly. That interest is so strong in fact that the Eagles are considering trading up to get him as he’d make an ideal replacement for Jackson.
Philadelphia is on the cusp of being ready for a deep playoff run and they know it. They feel the addition of one or two more key pieces in the 2014 NFL draft can put them over the top. Still, it’s not reasonable to think they would trade up for Beckham, especially since their primary needs rest on the defensive side of the ball.
Dallas Cowboys could eye at receiver with the 16th pick
Jerry Jones never seems to mind going against the grain of what people think and the 2014 NFL draft could be no exception. Nearly everybody expects the Dallas Cowboys to target defense in the first round considering the unit finished dead last in 2013. Their defensive line is in a rebuilding period and the safety position produced little to feel good about a season ago. That hasn’t stopped rumors from filtering in that the Cowboys could target a wide receiver with the 16th pick. It’s an unusual idea considering they have Dez Bryant and drafted the promising Terrance Williams last year. They did lose Miles Austin but given the depth of the receiver class one would think they can afford to wait at least a round.
Jones knows his run with Tony Romo at quarterback is reaching the end. If he’s ever going to get over the 8-8 hump he’ll need to maximize the 34-year old quarterback as much as possible. If that means sacrificing the defense in the first round to get him another weapon, Jerry won’t be afraid to do it.