The 2014 NFL Draft is in the books, and the third and final day provided us with the answers to our lingering questions.
The Houston Texans finally selected their quarterback of the future — we think — and eight total quarterbacks came off the board, some to teams that came out of the blue.
And of course, Rounds 4-7 is where the beloved “value picks” come in. Let’s examine which prospects may turn out to be the next Tom Brady or Richard Sherman in my five takeaways from the draft’s finale.
1. Eight quarterbacks finally find homes
It took three days before quarterbacks began to rapidly come off the board. And it was Logan Thomas falling to the Cardinals that became the first surprise of the afternoon.
Bruce Arians hand-picked Thomas as Carson Palmer‘s successor. Thomas was awfully inconsistent at Virginia Tech, but has the potential to be one of the most dynamic players at the position. We’ll see what Arians has in store for him.
Houston also found its quarterback in Pitt’s Tom Savage. His big frame and big arm is similar to that of Blake Bortles, and now guru Bill O’Brien has a player to develop.
In the fifth, A.J. McCarron and Aaron Murray went back-to-back to the Bengals and Chiefs. Cincy wanted a rookie to push incumbent Andy Dalton, so why not a two-time national champ?
The Bears took a flier on David Fales and the Ravens added Keith Wenning. A few picks later, the Jets made a splash by selecting Tajh Boyd, who a few years back was in the discussion to be the first quarterback taken.
And in the end, St. Louis wound up drafting a quarterback after all. They picked up Garrett Gilbert out of SMU.
2. Michael Sam finally hears his name called
Arguably the most polarizing figure in this year’s NFL draft wound up getting drafted after all.
Sam, the SEC’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year, had to wait until the 249th overall pick to get picked by St. Louis, which was followed by a standing ovation at Radio City Music Hall.
Sam will be the NFL’s first openly gay player, but the wait until the seventh round became the talk of TV broadcasts and social media. The debate raged as to whether teams were afraid of selecting a gay player or if there were real concerns over his game. Considered a “tweener,” Sam may be a developmental player; then again, so are most seventh-round picks.
3. Defending champs continue what they do best
The Seahawks won a Super Bowl with on a relent front seven and its Legion of Boom. They addressed both areas Saturday.
Seattle added three front-seven players — defensive end Cassius Marsh, defensive tackle Jimmy Staten and outside backer Kevin Pierre-Louis — in Rounds 4 and 5. I guess in Seattle you can never have enough defensive linemen.
They also picked up safety Eric Pinkins, perhaps as an insurance policy to Kam Chancellor, who underwent hip surgery.
4. Browns opt not to draft receiver; Jets nab three
Josh Gordon‘s 16-game suspension did not impact Cleveland’s draft plans whatsoever. The team did not draft a wide receiver with its lone pick of Day 3, instead going after a cornerback. The Browns drafted Justin Gilbert with the fourth overall pick Thursday night.
The Jets, on the other hand, picked three wide receivers on Saturday, perhaps hopeful that at least one emerges as a legitimate threat opposite Eric Decker.
The team selected Jalen Saunders of Oklahoma and Shaq Evans of UCLA within 11 picks of one another in Round 4, then added Quincy Enunwa of Nebraska in the sixth.
5. Big-time backs added to crowded backfields
Like the quarterbacks, running backs started to fly off the board in the later rounds. Among the big-name college backs to hear their names called were Devonta Freeman, Andre Williams, James White and Lache Seastrunk.
Williams was in contention for the Heisman, and he joins a Giants backfield featuring free agent signee Rashad Jennings and former first-rounder David Wilson. With the addition of Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants offense is trending up.
White can take LeGarrette Blount‘s place in New England along with Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen. It’s always hard to see how the backfield timeshare plays out under Bill Belichick, but this gives him another weapon to use.