The first round of the NFL Draft was as unpredictable as ever, and that trend continues into Round 2 when we saw a run on quarterbacks and running backs, as well as trades and suspensions to big-name wide receivers that changed the course of the action.
Yet again, the Houston Texans were on the clock to begin Round 2. And from there, the drama continued. Here were the top five takeaways from the second and third rounds of the draft on Friday night.
1. A run on running backs
For the second year in a row, no running back was drafted in the first round. But the Tennessee Titans broke the mold when Round 2 came along, drafting Bishop Sankey 54th overall to help fill the void left by Chris Johnson.
It didn’t take long for another back to come off the board. In the ensuing pick, the Cincinnati Bengals nabbed Jeremy Hill to pair up with last year’s first-rounder Giovani Bernard. With a potentially dynamic tandem, you have to wonder what the future holds for BenJarvus Green-Ellis?
Tre Mason was drafted exactly where we expected — in Round 3 — and his wrist had no effect on his stock. The Rams added him to a backfield featuring breakout rookie Zac Stacy, giving fantasy owners something to frown about.
2. The heir to Tom Brady
We expected New England to draft a quarterback at some point in the draft, and the Pats struck early when they nabbed Jimmy Garoppolo with the 62nd overall pick. Garopollo became the highest-drafted quarterback in team history since Drew Bledsoe.
There are two conclusions to be made from this pick: Garoppolo may be Brady’s successor. After all, Brady is going to be 37 years old before Week 1 rolls around. Or the team wanted more security behind Brady this year, so it can trade Ryan Mallett to the Texans.
Through three rounds, Houston has yet to draft a quarterback. Are they waiting to pull the trigger on Mallett or simply waiting for Zach Mettenberger, A.J. McCarron, Tom Savage, or Aaron Murray?
3. Waiting on the quarterbacks to fall
Speaking of those quarterbacks still available, when and where will they wind up?
As I mentioned, the Texans haven’t picked one up yet. Neither have the Cardinals, Bengals, or the Titans.
Mettenberger and McCarron have been linked to both Houston and Arizona, while Murray could be of interest to Cincy. Is Ken Whisenhunt going to pick out “his guy” behind Jake Locker, whose contract expires after this year?
4. Wide receivers in the headlines
Before the draft got underway, we saw two wide receivers become major factors.
Stevie Johnson became expendable in Buffalo once the Bills landed Sammy Watkins, and the next day was dealt to the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners were in the mix to draft a handful of wide receivers, but instead added a veteran to play in the slot in between Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin.
There was also the 16-game suspension of Josh Gordon, and the Browns opting not to find a replacement in the draft. So all the talk of a potential Johnny Manziel-to-Gordon connection in 2014 can now be put to rest.
And perhaps we can safely say Justin Blackmon won’t be a part of the Jags’ future. The team scooped up Marqise Lee, who fell out of the first round, and Allen Robinson, giving the team more weapons in the receiving game for newly drafted Blake Bortles or Chad Henne. Blackmon was a former first-round pick, but was suspended last season indefinitely for violating the Substance Abuse Policy multiple times.
5. Swing and a miss
Like the NCAA Tournament, the draft is an inexact science, and a lot of players expected to come off the board in the first round sometime don’t fall until Rounds 2 or 3. Such was definitely the case this year, too.
Players like Xavier Su’a-Filo, Ra’Shede Hageman, and Lee came off the board right away in the second round, but Stephon Tuitt came off the board a little later than anticipated. And the Steelers, who need to bolster their defensive line, may have pulled off a steal.
The same goes for Timmy Jernigan, a projected top-15 pick at one point, landing with Baltimore at No. 48, and Kony Ealy, who went 60th to the Panthers. Louis Nix III, expected to be a late first-rounder, lasted all the way to Round 3 before the Texans grabbed him off the board.
Cody Latimer was one of the fastest-rising wide receiver prospects all spring. He was linked to nearly all 32 clubs. But he lasted until No. 56 when the Broncos added yet another weapon to their receiving corps.