By: Cameron La Fontaine

The first round of the NFL draft was packed with surprises. Good picks, bad picks, no idea why picks, and not-so sexy picks that made you say, “Well, alright.” Here are the winners, losers, and surprises of the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.


St. Louis Rams: The Rams had by far the best first round draft. They had the second overall pick from Washington as well as their own pick at 13. At second overall, the Rams got powerful, first ranked OT Greg Robinson out of Auburn. Robinson is 6-5, 332 pounds of pure strength that poises him to make the necessary blocks. With a 4.8 second 40 yard dash time as well as his skills in benching, Robinson will absolutely provide great protection to Rams QB, Sam Bradford who they decided to stick with and provide good protection for with Jake Long and now Robinson. St. Louis made a the great decision to sit back at 13th and not trade up, and they were given a gift. DT Aaron Donald out of Pittsburgh was 8th on Mel Kiper’s list of best overall players. Donald is short but not small at 6-1, 285 pounds as he finished his 2013 season with 59 tackles, 28.5 for a loss, as well as 11 sacks and four forced fumbles. St. Louis gave nothing up and gained a solid offensive line and defensive line with their picks. They picked great players at the right spots and didn’t force the issue with a quarterback.

Cleveland Browns: The Beowns were the most active team in the first round of the draft. Right away they gave away their 4th overall pick and gave it to Buffalo and took over Buffalo’s 9th pick as well as Buffalo’s first round pick in next year’s draft. Cleveland then traded up to the 8th pick and selected CB Justin Gilbert out of Oklahoma State. Cleveland also had the 26th pick and traded up to Philadelphia’s 22nd pick to draft the most popular player in the draft, QB Johnny Manziel. The Browns gave up drafting Sammy Watkins which was my only criticism. They could have had Manziel and Watkins as well as Josh Gordon starting in a new found powerhouse offense. But, the Browns acquired a cornerback that they needed in Justin Gilbert, even though I felt that they could trade down from 9th pick to get him. Cleveland made good moves and secured two first round picks for next year, one of them coming from a Buffalo Bills teams that hasn’t finished over .500 since 2004.

Cincinnati Bengals: Cincinnati is a winner only because of luck. They had CB Darqueze Dennard fall all the way back to them at 24th pick. Dennard was regarded by most analysts as just as skilled if not more skilled especially in tackling compared to former Oklahoma State corner Justin Gilbert who was selected at eight overall by Cleveland. Dennard finished his senior season with 62 tackles leading the Michigan State defense to an 11-1 season and a Rose Bowl victory. He’ll fit in well in Cincinnati and learn from Adam Jones and Dre Kilpatrick and possibly take over a starting spot.


Detroit Lions: Yes, sure, Eric Ebron has potential to be a weapon. He has great size for a tights end but the playmaking ability of a reciever. He could flourish in Detroit, but Detroit already has two tight ends and two top recievers. Detroit needed to use their first pick for defense as long as Watkins and Evans were off the boards and go for a reciever in the second round. Detroit missed Darqueze Dennard, Ha-Ha Clinton Dix, and Kyle Fuller that could have all improved the Detroit defense right away. We know Matt Stafford needs weapons, but he has the biggest weapon in the NFL in Calvin Johnson as well as a new, talented reciever in Golden Tate. The only reason people are scared about Tate is that his stats aren’t in the top of the NFL recievers. Look at where he played. Seattle ranked 26th in passing offense, because they didn’t throw the ball like Detroit does. Detroit is constantly a passing offense and Tate will flourish along with already two established tight ends in Brandon Pettigrew and Joseph Fauria as well as under the radar reciever Ryan Broyles. Detroit botched this pick and will need to recover trying to find diamonds in the rough in these next few rounds.

Arizona Cardinals: Most Mock Drafts showed Arizona selecting Fresno State QB, Derek Carr at 20th overall, but Arizona decided to trade back to 27th pick and select safety Deone Bucannon. I don’t quite understand this pick. I think Bucannon is a solid prospect and he was going to be the next safety off of the board, but Arizona needs a good quarterback that will replace 34-year-old Carson Palmer after his next fallout or possible retirement and Derek Carr seemed like the perfect fit. With nearly a 70 percent completion rating and 5,080 yards and 50 touchdowns in his senior season. Bucannon was regarded as a firm second round selection and Arizona could have tested their luck or went for a later safety even in the third round where they acquired an additional pick for New Orleans. If I’m an Arizona fan I am not happy that my team didn’t draft a first rate quarterback and the potential furture of the Cardinals in Derek Carr.

Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins decided to select former Tennessee OT, Ja’Wan James over higher rated offensive linemen in Cyrus Kouandjio and Xavier Su’a-Filo. This pick doesn’t make sense to me at least this early in the draft. They should’ve either traded back if they wanted James this bad or even wait until the second round to see if he was available.

Suprises of the draft:

Jacksonville takes Bortles: Great player, but Jacksonville has been down this road. Should have picked Mack and improved defense. We’ll see how this pays off for them.

Manziel falls to 22nd pick: It was the most anticipated pick for everyone all night and Manziel after sweating through 21 picks was finally chosen by the Cleveland Browns at 22. Manziel was projected to go fourth or fifth to the Browns or Raiders but ended up falling.

Bridgewater over Carr?: Minnesota Vikings make trade with Seattle Seahawks in order to get QB Teddy Bridgewater out of Louisville. This came as a shock to some that thought Derek Carr is better rated. In my opinion, Minnesota should have taken Carr, but even though Bridgewater’s stock had fallen, he shows prime potential in the NFL.

Carr, Lee, and Nix fall to second round: Somehow Derek Carr, Marqise Lee, and Louis Nix all fell out of the first round of the draft. Three players that I thought, as well as most mock drafts, would be drafted in mid to late first round. I saw Carr going to the Cardinals or Vikings, Lee going to the Chiefs, Panthers, or Seahawks, and Nix going to the Chargers, Saints, or Patriots. All of those teams passed on these clearly talented players, and whoever scores them in the second round will be getting a steal. Look for the Texans to look at drafting Derek Carr. Look for the Redskins, Browns, and Jaguars to look at Marqise Lee. And look for the Falcons, Buccaneers, Bills and Titans to try and draft Louis Nix.


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