Making a quality first round pick is extremely important for an NFL team. In reality, no picks are bad picks. However, some just do not make very much sense at the time. Teams have needs they have to fill and not filling them can really hurt them later on. Sometimes teams choose not to address these specific needs in order to gain depth at a different position or take a player who is just too talented not to select.
No picks are bad picks because these players have never played a professional game in their lives. No one can tell if they are going to turn out to be a superstar or not. The only thing teams have to go on is what the player did when he was in college. Just because a guy is great at the college level does not mean he will be great in the NFL. This also works the opposite way as well.
So what makes a pick questionable is not the player selected. Instead, it is when the player was selected. All the players coming out of college are given a draft value. These values state when is the most likely time they will be selected in the draft. The objective for teams is to select a player who was projected to go earlier than they picked him. This way that team is getting a better player than they could have expected and not having to pay them as much at the same time.
Unfortunately, sometimes teams are forced to take a player a bit too early. This is just to ensure they will get the player they want. Sometimes they just take these guys way too soon. These are the decisions that make fans think. In most cases the team could have traded back in the draft and still gotten the same player they wanted originally. Not only did they get the guy they wanted, but they also were given something else such as an extra pick or an upgraded pick. Whatever the reason for these decisions, here are the 10 most questioable first found pick from this year’s NFL draft.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – WR Mike Evans – 7th Overall
With the seventh overall pick, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans. This was not too bad of a pick, but it does raise one major question. Who is going to throw him the ball? The Bucs already have a quality wide receiver in Vincent Jackson, but they do not have a sure long term option at the quarterback position. Grabbing another offensive weapon like Evans makes sense, but this would have been an ideal time to bring in a young quarterback. Mike Glennon performed well last season, but there are no garentees that his success will continue. Josh McCown came off the bench for the Bears last season and also did well, but he is no more than a high quality backup quarterback. McCown’s age does not bode well for the long term either. Though Evans was a good choice, the Bucs should have considered grabbing Johnny Manziel.
9. Detroit Lions – TE Eric Ebron – 10th Overall
The Detroit Lions are loaded with talent on offense. Taking Eric Ebron just does not make much sense. They already have two quality tight ends on the roster. The Lions need to focus on their defense. With the tenth pick they still had a great chance to grab a quality pass rusher or a top player in the secondary. The later would have been the best choice. The team needs to be able to control the deeper part of the field.
8. St. Louis Rams – DL Aaron Donald – 13th Overall
The NFC West is very committed to fielding high quality defense. All four teams rank in the top ten on that side of the ball. However, the reason the Rams are at the bottom of the NFC West is because they have the division’s worst offense. Selecting Greg Robinson at number two was a great decision, but then with their second first rounder the team grabbed defensive tackle, Aaron Donald. They real could have used an extra weapon on offense at this point in the draft. The wide receiver class was so deep this year that it would have been a perfect opportunity to bulk up at a very weak position. However, adding Donald really helps bulk up their front seven on defense, so there is not too much to complain about here.
7. Arizona Cardinals – DB Deone Bucannon – 27th Overall
Like the Rams’ pick, it is hard to complain about the Arizona Cardinals selecting Deone Bucannon. At the time, Bucannon was one of the best players available in the draft. He adds a lot of depth to the team’s secondary. However, the Cardinals really need to start looking into obtaining a true franchise quarterback. Carson Palmer is 35. Once he is gone, they will have nothing at the most important position. There were still some great options at quarterback at the 27th pick. The Cardinals could have gotten Bridgewater or Carr and have him learn from Palmer for a year or so.
6. Miami Dolphins – RT Ja’Wuan James – 19th Overall
The Miami Dolphins had one goal this offseason: improve the offensive line. During the free agency signing period, the team brought in Brandon Albert to play left tackle. After signing a Pro Bowler on the left side, it makes sense that the team would want to target a guy who naturally plays right tackle. The Dolphins needed a guy who can come in and start right away, not a guy who would have to switch over from the left side to the right. The only problem with selecting Ja’Wuan James is how high they took him. They could have taken a left tackle or guard and switched them over and he would have been a better player. James was projected as a second or third round pick. The best decision they could have made was to trade out of the 19th pick and add another pick later in the draft. Had they done this they probably still would have ended up with James in the second round.
5. Dallas Cowboys – OT Zack Martin – 16th Overall
The Dallas Cowboys decided to play it safe and get another offensive tackle. With the 16th pick, they selected Notre Dame’s Zack Martin. Making a safe pick was exactly what the Cowboys needed to do. Unfortunately, they picked a player on the wrong side of the ball. The Cowboys were ranked last in the NFL in defense last year. They really needed a sure bet at a defensive position with this pick.
4. Kansas City Chiefs – DT Dee Ford – 23rd Overall
The Kansas City Chiefs picked defensive tackle Dee Ford with their first round pick. Taking a defensive player makes sense because their defense is starting to get up there in years. However, the Chiefs’ defense was one of the best in the NFL last season. They could have made an even stronger run in the playoffs if they had a better offense. With this pick the Chiefs still had many strong wide receivers to choose from. They should have taken one of these guys to give Alex Smith another weapon. It looks like they will once again rely on Jamaal Charles to carry their entire offense on his shoulders.
3. Philadelphia Eagles – LB Marcus Smith – 26th Overall
Taking a linebacker was a good choice for the Philadelphia Eagles. They really needed to improve their defense through this draft. Unfortunately, they reached for Marcus Smith. Smith was projected as a second or third round pick in the draft. With the 26th pick, the Eagles still had some very good choices in the secondary. Their defensive backfield was the biggest hole on their roster coming into this offseason, so why would they not address it here?
2. San Francisco 49ers – S Jimmie Ward – 30th Overall
The San Francisco 49ers needed another offensive weapon. There were still good wide receivers available when they selected safety Jimmie Ward. The team definitely reached on him. However, this pick does not make much sense for a different reason. Last year, the 49ers picked safety Eric Reid who exploded in his first year in the league. This offseason they picked up Antoine Bethea at safety as well. Both players are at the top of their position. Selecting another safety could have been done in a later round. If they wanted a defensive back, there were still some very good cornerbacks on the board. This pick does not address a dire need and the team had to overpay for it.
1. Buffalo Bills – WR Sammy Watkins – 4th Overall
Sammy Watkins was one of the absolute best players available in the 2014 draft. Why then is it a bad pick? The pick itself was not bad; it is what the Bills gave up in order to take it that will leave you scratching your head. The Bills moved up five spots to grab Watkins, but they had to give their first ninth overall pick in this year’s draft and their first and fourth round picks in next year’s draft. This is the type of deal that will get a general manager fired. If Watkins does not prove to be one of the best players in the league, there will be some people in the team’s front office looking for new jobs.