AFC South: 2014 NFL Round 1 Rapid Reaction
May, 8, 2014
By Paul Kuharsky | ESPN.com
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The pick: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
My take: It’s not sexy by any means. And Lewan might not even be a starter in 2014, though he will have a shot to beat out Michael Oher at right tackle. In 2015, Michael Roos could move on as a free agent and Lewan could take over, probably seamlessly after a year of seasoning. Foundation-building is important for new regimes. General manager Ruston Webster started it last year in the draft by taking guard Chance Warmack in the first round and center Brian Schwenke in the fourth.
Near misses: The Titans could have liked outside linebacker Anthony Barr and tight end Eric Ebron, but they were selected by Minnesota and Detroit, respectively, with the two picks right before Tennessee went on the clock. The Titans had some conviction on Lewan, as Adam Schefter said the team passed on an offer from Cleveland to trade down.
What’s next: The Titans pick 42nd in the second round. They don't have a third-rounder.
May, 8, 2014
By Michael DiRocco | ESPN.com
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The pick: The Jaguars addressed perhaps their biggest need by selecting Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles.
My take: It’s a bit of a surprise pick because general manager David Caldwell has already named Chad Henne the starter in 2014 and they weren’t expecting a rookie quarterback to play right away. That means they’re not counting on getting anything from the third overall pick in the draft this season and possibly even into next season. The Jaguars have holes all over the roster and could have gotten immediate impact players by taking linebacker Khalil Mack, who went fifth to Oakland, or wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who went fourth to Buffalo. There’s no question the 6-foot-5, 232-pound Bortles is the most physically impressive quarterback in the draft. He has a big arm and moves well outside the pocket. However, he played in a spread offense that stressed shorter and more horizontal throws in college and will have to learn to play in the pocket.
Fixing flaws: Say this for Bortles: He's conscious of what he needs to do to improve. Analysts highlighted some poor mechanics and fundamentals on 2013 tape, specifically his lower body and footwork. Bortles obviously worked on that pretty hard in the first few months of 2014, because he was much cleaner in his mechanics at his pro day. His balance was better, the ball came out of his hand cleaner, his throwing motion was more economical and, as a result, he threw the ball harder and more accurately.
What’s next: The Jaguars don’t pick again until 39th overall (seventh pick in the second round) and still have pressing needs to address at pass-rusher and receiver. This is a deep draft at receiver, so the Jaguars could put off taking a receiver until the third round. Names to watch include Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews and Alabama’s Kevin Norwood, both of whom were on the South roster the Jaguars coached at the Senior Bowl.
May, 8, 2014
By Tania Ganguli | ESPN.com
HOUSTON -- The pick: Jadeveon Clowney, defensive end, South Carolina
My take: Clowney gives the Houston Texans another elite pass-rusher. His talent is transcendent, and they needed some pass-rushing help on the outside. The Texans were never concerned about Clowney's work ethic, something that was the source of a lot of hand-wringing during the pre-draft process.
Lots of teachers: Clowney will have leaders on his team pushing him in the form of defensive end J.J. Watt and inside linebacker Brian Cushing. He'll have an excellent linebackers coach in Mike Vrabel, who transitioned between a linebacker and a defensive end as a player. That transition was the only question mark for Clowney coming into this. The rookie scale means there's still plenty of motivation for players to get that second contract.
What's next: The Texans could trade back into the first round to take a quarterback, still their biggest positional need. They still have needs at quarterback, offensive lineman, cornerback and running back.