NFL Draft mailbag: Jets and Bills options, Browns biggest needs and more
What does a team needing a quarterback do if Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston are gone?
@MockingTheDraft If you’re a QB-needing team with a pick not in the Top 3/4 (assuming MM and JW go by then), when do you draft your QB?
— Dakota (@sceptinole) December 11, 2014
Basically this question is what happens if the Buccaneers, Titans, Raiders or Jets win another game or two this season and miss out on Marcus Mariota of Oregon and Jameis Winston of Florida State. The Jets part will get answered later.
It’s been pretty well established that this year’s class of quarterbacks isn’t as good as it was last year. It’s also been established that while picking a quarterback in the first round typically leads to more success than waiting until later in the draft, it’s not a necessity. The short answer is if you pick a quarterback after the first round, pick one as soon as the guy you like is available. The Bengals in 2011, for instance, waited until the second round to pick Andy Dalton. Argue his qualities all you want, but they’ve been much better than worse with him. When next year’s draft takes place and someone like Brett Hundley of UCLA slips to the second round and a team likes him, make the pick. From a tools standpoint, a middle round pick on Dak Prescott of Mississippi State makes sense. Most of the other quarterbacks in this year’s draft look mostly like backup types who could spot start in a pinch. A lot of Drew Stantons and Ryan Fitzpatricks, basically.
Ultimately, where a non-first round quarterback is picked can be irrelevant once mini camps begin. Then it becomes about what system he’s in and if the team needs to bring him along at a slower pace.
@MockingTheDraft What player, at what position, is clearly better than his peers, and thus a large dropoff occurs after he’s gone?
— Levi Schmidt (@LeviticusCB) December 11, 2014
Landon Collins and safety immediately comes to mind. Collins could go in the first round and we may not see another safety picked until after the second round. The need for coverage safeties in the NFL is apparent. The availability of them in next year’s draft is minimal. We’ll see how that position develops throughout the offseason process, but right now it looks like NFL free agents at safety will be able to cash in. Expect Devin McCourty of New England to get paid.
@mockingthedraft what are the Browns top needs with their 2 first round picks? WR and OL?
— Cole Akins (@ColeAkins) December 11, 2014
Wide receiver is a strange position for the Browns. Their need there is dependent on if Josh Gordon can stay out of trouble. If he does, it’s hard to see that as a first round need. Miles Austin said this week he would like to be back next season, the team just signed Andrew Hawkins before this season and undrafted free agent Taylor Gabriel has looked good at times. Add in the Browns taking an interest in CFL star Duron Carter, and that position may get put on the backburner.
On the offensive line, the Browns will have to make a tough decision about right tackle Mitchell Schwartz after this season. He’s been inconsistent all season and prone to giving up sacks. Cedric Ogbuehi of Texas A&M could be an attractive option in the first round. It helps he has a familiarity blocking for Johnny Manziel too.
After those two positions, the Browns could have a need at pass rusher if they let impending free agent Jabaal Sheard leave. In a draft stocked at pass rushers, that could be a good cost saving effort. Rounding out the other needs for Cleveland are defensive line depth, a kicker, punt returner and, maybe oddly, a quarterback.
@MockingTheDraft Jets miss out on Winston and Mariota, who do you take and why?
— Sam (@Crazy4NYSports) December 11, 2014
Firstly, it’s sort of hilarious that the Jets would be better off with Mark Sanchez this season than any quarterback currently on their roster. (Yes, having Chip Kelly helps) Oh, Jets.
Anyway, probably pass rushing outside linebacker. Calvin Pace may have another year left on his contract, but it’s time to move on from him. Cornerback is a big need for the Jets, but there isn’t one worth a top five pick. Names to keep in mind are Randy Gregory of Nebraska and Vic Beasley of Clemson. A Jets scout was at the Nebraska game against Miami on Sept. 20 and had to be impressed by Gregory who had two sacks and a forced fumble in a game that really legitimized his draft status.
Of course this is the Jets and much tumult is expected in the offseason. Any position other than defensive line is open for debate with New York.
— PhillyBillsFan (@phillybillsfan) December 11, 2014
The second round is where the Bills could start looking for their quarterback. There’s no chance Mariota will be available and WInston will likely be gone as well. The only thing that could change that is if Connor Cook of Michigan State unexpectedly enters the draft. He would be a first-round target for Buffalo. The second round is where Buffalo would think about someone like Hundley. While erratic, his tools are good. After that it’s hard to see a quarterback who can be a good starting-level player in the NFL.
There should be some good offensive linemen in the second round. Someone like Spencer Drango from Baylor may be an option. He’s like this year’s version of Zack Martin, a good college tackle who could be a great NFL guard. Of course the Bills could just sit back and hope rookies Seantrel Henderson and Cyril Richardson develop. Tight end is an even worse position this draft than quarterback.
The Bills are obviously getting close to being a team that contends for the playoffs. The strengths of the 2015 NFL Draft, however, don’t cater to their needs.