2014 NFL Draft: 5 Guys That Could Slide Out Of Round 1
This post comes from Justin Becker of FantasyFootballOverdose.com. You can follow him on Twitter @NFLRankings or the Fantasy Football Overdose Google+ Page. For more Premier Fantasy Football Projections visit Fantasy Football Overdose, a fantasy football blog.
The 2014 NFL Draft is closing in at ramming speed, and we’re not going to be ready for it. From all the rumors, looming trades and the actual start of the draft with the #1 overall pick, we’ll be lucky to survive Thursday night – let alone get through all three days.
Needless to say, the NFL pushing the draft back has really messed with our minds, which clearly has not kept us all from overthinking value and where certain players might fall.
That’s natural, because we’re human, but the one thing we might not consider is that the same goes for NFL scouts, coaches and GM’s. Yes, believe it or not, Jerry Jones and the like are not robots, but living, breathing humans. Some of them even pay their taxes; hey-o!
The point is, even the front office brass of the most established franchises can overlook talent, while they’re certainly reach for some at some point, as well. Naturally, that inevitably causes household names to plummet from the ranks.
Just last year we saw it happen to Geno Smith and Matt Barkley, and few can forget the epic tumbles of Brady Quinn, Aaron Rodgers and many others.
Who will take equal tumbles, potentially all the way out of round one? These five guys just might:
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Initially the top-rated quarterback and proposed #1 overall pick since the top team usually needs a franchise passer, Bridgewater’s stock has taken a dramatic hit over the past month or so. From size concerns to facing a weak level of competition, he already held some red flags. But add a poor Pro Day and the guy might fall out of the first round.
True, the knee-jerk reaction comes off as a bit harsh, but the extra time to overthink, sit back, relax and re-think these prospects is murdering some of their stock. Bridgewater probably tops the list. Not only do teams not want to risk high picks on passers right now, but they’re squirming to trade down just so they don’t feel obliged to do so. Bridgewater is seen as a guy that can be available in round, two, which might just make that notion a reality.
C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
A fine athlete with excellent leadership and great instincts, you won’t find a better linebacker to man the middle of your 4-3 scheme than Mosley. He has the closing speed, overall athleticism and wrap-up tackling ability you look for in your man in the middle, while he even has the range to excel in coverage. He can also be plopped in a 3-4 next to another inside ‘backer, giving GM’s little reason to not like him.
Whether they like him isn’t the problem. The need for elite inside linebackers is.
Teams just don’t need Mosley right now, and even the ones that do, either have a much more pressing need or would rather take their chances landing a slightly lesser talent in round two or three. He is easily a top-10 talent and if he were taken there, no one would even really go nuts about it. But the lack of need is so great, that no one would be all that shocked if he slid to the bottom of the first round, either. In fact, it might not be insane to think he’d still be available at the beginning of round two.
Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
From a talent and skill-set perspective, Roby is quite easily one of the best corner prospects in this year’s draft. He has the elite speed and athleticism GM’s look for in first round corners, while he also has adequate size and lockdown ability.
Unfortunately, Roby has had some off field issues and didn’t have the greatest 2013 season. His tape from last year leaves many scratching their heads, while he visibly lacks focus and consistency. He can still turn it around and become an elite corner at the next level, but sticking in the first round will require a team at the bottom end of day one to take a bit of a chance. Don’t be shocked at all to see him slide into the middle of round two.
Stephon Tuitt, DE/DT, Notre Dame
Tuitt is a very interesting prospect, as you simply can’t teach his mammoth size and strength, while his upside is saliva-inducing. He’s also quite athletic and extremely versatile. He can play all over the line on a 4-3 depending on where his weight at, while he can play the end on a 3-4 and possibly even beef up to man the nose tackle spot. What he wants to be and where he gets is probably entirely up to him.
The problem is he’s extremely inconsistent and has issues with focus and conditioning. He didn’t have a great 2013 by most accounts, either, and just didn’t look like a difference-maker at least half the time on tape. In the end, it’s going to come down to upside vs. “what has he done lately?”. Tuitt is a fringe first rounder at this point, and it should shock no one if he doesn’t make the cut at the end of day one.
Louis Nix III, NT, Notre Dame
Aside from Mosley, Nix is the main guy who is pretty likely to free fall, but doesn’t deserve to in the least. A mammoth beast in the middle of the defensive line, Nix is quite agile for a man his size, and is able to explode off the line and track down the ball carrier in pursuit.
We could rant all day about how he’s the perfect nose tackle for a 3-4 system, but that’s actually his problem. With no real versatility, Nix is correctly pigeon holed to play that exact spot and only that spot at the next level. Within reason, that almost surely leaves only the Cardinals, Packers, Chargers and Patriots as potential suitors in round one. If they find another need more pressing, a very talented 3-4 nose tackle could be ready and waiting at the top of round two.