Ranking the 2014 NFL Draft First-Round Picks From Worst to First

Ranking the NFL Draft First-Round Picks From Worst to First

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With the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft in the books, it is time to see just how each team did in selecting their future stars. For the most part, in my opinion, every team did a good job in addressing some of their major needs. However, there are a few that completely whiffed on their selection. Here is my ranking from worst to first of the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

32. Anthony Barr, Minnesota Vikings

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32. Anthony Barr, Minnesota Vikings

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By far, this was the worst pick of the entire draft. Anthony Barr did amass over 30 sacks at UCLA, but he’s only played two years of defense. Thinking that Barr is going to fill the void left by Jared Allen is ridiculous.

31. Dominique Easley, New England Patriots

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31. Dominique Easley, New England Patriots

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I usually don’t put much past Bill Belichick, but using a first-round pick on a player who has torn both ACLs is a bit risky.

30. Marcus Smith, Philadelphia Eagles

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30. Marcus Smith, Philadelphia Eagles

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Marcus Smith was productive in Louisville, but rarely was double-teamed, and could find that difficult to deal with on the professional level.

29. Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions

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29. Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions

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Cornerback should have definitely been addressed with this pick. Although Eric Ebron gives Matthew Stafford another huge target to throw at along with Calvin Johnson, Detroit’s secondary will probably still struggle after passing up a pass defender.

28. Dee Ford, Kansas City Chiefs

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28. Dee Ford, Kansas City Chiefs

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Dee Ford could be a complement to Tamba Hali, but a receiver who could stretch the field would have been a much better choice in the first round.

27. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars

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27. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars

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Quarterback is a need, but passing up the opportunity to pair Sammy Watkins with Justin Blackmon was insane. Blake Bortles could pan out in Jacksonville, but a quarterback could have been taken in the second round after getting Watkins in the first.

26. Deone Bucannon, Arizona Cardinals

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26. Deone Bucannon, Arizona Cardinals

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Deone Bucannon was projected to go in the second round. Although Bucannon is a very solid safety, I don’t know if it was worth reaching for him this high. They probably could have traded out of the first round and still got him in the second.

25. Jimmie Ward, San Francisco 49ers

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25. Jimmie Ward, San Francisco 49ers

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Jimmie Ward is another safety who was predicted to go in the second round. Even though the 49ers jumped for this one, safety was one of the things that they needed, and got the best one available.

24. Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers

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24. Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers

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Kelvin Benjamin is mainly known for being a big receiver who wins jump balls. He isn’t a polished route runner, but what he does is give Cam Newton a much bigger target to aim for, compared to the one he had to hit with Steve Smith.

23. Calvin Pryor, New York Jets

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23. Calvin Pryor, New York Jets

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Although I think cornerback was a bigger concern, the Jets still chose to draft Calvin Pryor. As one of the top safeties in the draft, Pryor is still a player who can greatly improve New York’s secondary.

22. Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints

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22. Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints

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Brandin Cooks should enjoy catching passes from the great Drew Brees. Cooks is a bit on the small side, but could make up for that with his blazing speed.

21. Ja'Wuan James, Miami Dolphins

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21. Ja'Wuan James, Miami Dolphins

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It seems like offensive linemen are safe picks in this draft. The Miami Dolphins went with one of those picks with Ja’Wuan James.

20. Kyle Fuller, Chicago Bears

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20. Kyle Fuller, Chicago Bears

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The Chicago Bears definitely needed a cornerback to eventually replace the aging Charles Tillman. However, choosing Kyle Fuller over a much-needed safety wasn’t that smart of a move by the Bears.

19. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants

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19. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants

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One thing quarterback Eli Manning can use is another weapon in the passing to go along with Victor Cruz. Odell Beckham Jr. not only can add to that dynamic on offense, but can add a spark on special teams as well.

18. Jason Verrett, San Diego Chargers

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18. Jason Verrett, San Diego Chargers

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Cornerback was a big need for the Chargers, and Jason Verrett can fill that need. However, it would be even better if Verrett was a bit bigger than his 5-foot-9 stature.

17. Darqueze Dennard, Cincinnati Bengals

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17. Darqueze Dennard, Cincinnati Bengals

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Cornerback was one of the needs for the Cincinnati Bengals. Hopefully Darqueze Dennard can help contain receivers like Josh Gordon in their inter-divisional games.

16. Bradley Roby, Denver Broncos

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16. Bradley Roby, Denver Broncos

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With the Denver Broncos parting ways with veteran Champ Bailey, it was evident that the organization would look to get another cornerback. Bradley Roby was fortunately still on the board at pick 31, and Denver wisely got a hold of him.

15. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Green Bay Packers

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15. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Green Bay Packers

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Surprisingly, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix slid down this far. The big safety will definitely come in handy when facing the big receivers the Packers have to play against twice a year in the NFC North.

14. Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys

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14. Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys

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Many probably wanted Jerry Jones to go another route with this pick, but selecting Zack Martin was very smart. The Cowboys will have to do everything possible to protect Tony Romo after coming off back surgery, and drafting Martin was a step in that direction.

13. Taylor Lewan, Tennessee Titans

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13. Taylor Lewan, Tennessee Titans

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Taylor Lewan is from a school that has a history of great offensive linemen, and he has the talent to live up to it.

12. Jake Matthews, Atlanta Falcons

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12. Jake Matthews, Atlanta Falcons

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Going offensive line was a pretty obvious pick for the Atlanta Falcons. If Jake Matthews keeps quarterback Matt Ryan from kissing the turf in 2014, the Falcons will be back in the playoff hunt.

11. Justin Gilbert, Cleveland Browns

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11. Justin Gilbert, Cleveland Browns

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It looks like Cleveland will be vying for the best cornerback duo in the NFL. Justin Gilbert was projected as the draft’s best cornerback, and being paired with Joe Haden will strike fear in a lot of offenses.

10. Greg Robinson, St. Louis Rams

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10. Greg Robinson, St. Louis Rams

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The Rams couldn’t get no safer than this. Greg Robinson will be much needed when protecting quarterback Sam Bradford, and will be an even greater asset in paving the way for St. Louis’ running game.

9. Ryan Shazier, Pittsburgh Steelers

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9. Ryan Shazier, Pittsburgh Steelers

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The Pittsburgh Steelers wisely added more youth to their defense. Ryan Shazier will be an excellent complement to fellow linebackers Lawrence Timmons and Jarvis Jones, Pittsburgh’s first-round pick from 2013.

8. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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8. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Quarterback Josh McCown already proved that he can utilize two big receivers in Chicago. Now he’ll be able to do the same when Mike Evans joins Vincent Jackson in the passing game. Evans isn’t a polished route runner, but is an extremely big target.

7. Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills

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7. Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills

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The Buffalo Bills showed some aggressiveness by moving up in the first round to grab the best receiver in the draft. Sammy Watkins will give E.J. Manuel another potent weapon in the passing game, making the Bills’ offense more explosive.

6. C.J. Mosley, Baltimore Ravens

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6. C.J. Mosley, Baltimore Ravens

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Arguably the best linebacker in the draft, C.J. Mosley could be the replacement the Baltimore Ravens have been looking for since the retirement of the great Ray Lewis.

5. Aaron Donald, St. Louis Rams

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5. Aaron Donald, St. Louis Rams

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The St. Louis Rams already have one of the best defensive ends in the game. Now they add the best interior defensive lineman of this draft class in the mix. Aaron Donald just might be the ingredient that makes the Rams’ defensive line one of the very best in the NFL.

4. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings

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4. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings

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Maybe this time the Minnesota Vikings got it right. Teddy Bridgewater didn’t wow many folks with his pro day performance, but the work he showed on tape was enough to make the Vikings get the former Louisville Cardinal with the final pick of the first round. This could mean bye-bye Christian Ponder.

3. Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns

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3. Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns

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Luckily, Johnny Manziel plummeted on the draft board, and luckily the Cleveland Browns were smart enough to get Johnny Football on their second time around in the first round. Manziel is a dynamic player who will be a great compliment to a dynamic wide receiver in Josh Gordon.

2. Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders

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2. Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders

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Even though the Oakland Raiders signed Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley this offseason, some youth was still needed. The Raiders got exactly that with Kahlil Mack when he fell to the fifth overall pick. Mack should be able to step in immediately with Oakland’s veterans and wreak havoc.

1. Jadeveon Clowney, Houston Texans

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1. Jadeveon Clowney, Houston Texans

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This one is a no-brainer. Jadeveon Clowney is by far the most talented player in this draft class. Although the Texans could still use a quarterback, passing up the chance to pair a ferocious pass rusher with J.J. Watt would have been the dumbest move of the century.


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