One fun thing about the NFL draft is it tends to bring about interesting player vs. player matchups for the coming season. What are some ones to look for in 2014?
Darrelle Revis vs. Sammy Watkins
The New England Patriots took a calculated gamble on Darrelle Revis to help shore up their secondary. He still proclaims he’s the best cornerback in the NFL. Well the Buffalo Bills spent a pretty penny of their own to test that theory when they grabbed Sammy Watkins. The dynamic speedster from Clemson was the best receiver in his class. It will be interesting to see how he fares against a top corner like Revis when the division rivals clash.
Randall Cobb vs. Kyle Fuller
The same situation can be seen over in the NFC North. The Chicago Bears still have nightmares about star slot receiver Randall Cobb popping wide open on 4th and 8 to score the winning touchdown on a busted coverage. That play cost the Bears a division title and ever since then they’ve gone about equipping their team to ensure it doesn’t happen again. It starts with their 1st round pick Kyle Fuller, a big, athletic corner from Virginia Tech who is expected to play the nickel position, which should find him in frequent matchups with Cobb.
Aaron Donald vs. Mike Iupati
The St. Louis Rams made a statement when they drafted Aaron Donald 13th overall in the 1st round. Their pass rush expected to be the best in the NFL moving forward but that doesn’t erase lingering reservations about Donald. Despite his obvious pass rush skill, some still fear his lack of length will handcuff him against the best guards in the league. That is why fans should have a front row seat to watch him take on San Francisco 49ers All-Pro Mike Iupati, who is 4 inches taller and 45 lbs heavier than Donald. Will quickness and explosion be enough for the rookie?
Kelvin Benjamin vs. Stanley Jean-Baptiste
The running trend in the league of late is drafting long cornerbacks to handle the bigger receivers that are filling out offenses everywhere. Both the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints embraced these philosophies and inadvertantly created a potentially awesome matchup for the future. Carolina hopes to upgrade their offense by drafting the 6’5″, 240 lbs Florida State monstrosity Kelvin Benjamin at receiver. New Orleans responded a few rounds later when they took the 6’3″, 215 lbs Nebraska corner Stanley Jean-Baptiste. Just imagining those two sky scrapers going at it down the sideline creates all sorts of Godzilla and King Kong jokes that can’t be referenced at this time. Suffice to say it should be fun to watch.
Bishop Sankey vs. Paul Posluszny
It wasn’t a record Bishop Sankey had in mind but he became the new record holder for the lowest spot a running back was taken in an NFL draft. Suffice to say teams aren’t expecting much out of him, except the Tennessee Titans. Sankey replaces former superstar Chris Johnson and brings probably the most balanced skill set of any runner in the draft. He can run, catch and pass protect with equal success. One player certain to draw him as an assignment every time they meet is Pro Bowl middle linebacker Paul Posluszny. Not only can he tackle (161 in 2013) he’s also a very effective blitzer (three sacks in 2013). That almost ensures he and Sankey will cross paths numerous times to come.