The first round of the 2014 NFL Draft has officially come and gone, and even after getting a few hours sleep last night I still feel exhausted. The text messages are constant, the Gchat pings are steady and everyone around me wants to talk about what their teams did in the draft. And it’s only the first round. The Fam decided to put together a few candid takeaways on Thursday’s festivities in Radio City Music Hall, as some experienced joy and others experienced pain during the world’s most magnified human resources personnel acquisition meeting.
Jadeveon And J.J.
It’s the storyline that folks somehow don’t feel like is getting enough attention, as Andrew Luck now actually has something to worry about in the AFC South. J.J. Watt has already been accepted as one of H-Town’s own, and I have a feeling that when Jadeveon touches down in the 713, ambassadors like Slim Thug and James Harden will make sure that their newly acquired defensive end becomes familiar with all of the local establishments like Breakfast Klub and Onyx. Also, I just imagine that Brian Cushing will be yelling egregiously at the Texans defense in the huddle, calling some play that’s probably not going to work … when Jadeveon looks up to J.J. and says the following: “Meet me at the quarterback.” —@edthesportsfan
Coming To Grips That Blake Bortles Is A Member Of The Jacksonville Jaguars
Being on the West Coast is a struggle sometimes, as getting home from work at around 5 p.m. means that anything major that’s happening on the East Coast will not be seen on time. As it were, I was on my way home, trying to get back to see my Jacksonville Jaguars bring home the best quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft. Teddy Bridgewater. “With the third pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars select … Blake Bortles.” Sigh. Now, I didn’t actually hear Roger Goodell say these words to the world, as I was still in my car. However, my Twitter network was everything, and they told the story I needed to hear. (I’d suggest reading from bottom right and back to top left.)
I have nothing against Blake Bortles, but until I see otherwise, I’ll always believe that Bridgewater is better than Bortles. But Blake Bortles is now my quarterback, and now I’ve got to ride that ship to sea, no matter how much I don’t believe in its foundation. —@edthesportsfan
Cleveland’s Draft Day
What must have seemed like a long night for Johnny Manziel finally came to an end with the 22nd pick in the NFL Draft. It was no secret that the Browns had made attempts to trade up earlier in the draft after they selected Justin Gilbert, but the later it got the less promising it looked for Johnny Football. Then suddenly the Browns took a page right out of the movie Draft Day (which coincidentally is about them having a legitimately good draft) and convinced the Eagles to trade down for the rights to draft the Texas A&M star. The cost was the Browns’ next pick at 26 and a third-round pick that could turn into pure gold for Philly if used right. Still, at pick #22 the Manziel selection was a steal, especially for a franchise not only in need of a quarterback, but a name that will bring immediate attention to a team well on it’s way. Josh Gordon proved last season that he is a monster, and the signing of Ben Tate this offseason can only help Manziel’s transition into the pro ranks. He will have weapons at his disposal; it’s on him to flourish with them accordingly.
The most impressive thing about this situation is that the Browns didn’t jump the gun to acquire Manziel. They addressed a crucial need on defense to bolster their secondary and then made their move on probably the most hyped player in this year’s draft. The funny thing about hype is that it’s not necessarily a good or bad thing, but it always makes for an interesting talking point. Johnny Football could very well be more Brady Quinn than Andrew Luck, but for now he’ll get the benefit of the doubt and time to prove his worth. The NFL is a different beast than the college game, and most of that stuff he got away with on the field is going to be null and void in the pros. Getting past Terrell Suggs in Baltimore or expecting that Steelers front seven to not come crashing down on him the second he steps out of that pocket will have Manziel dealing with growing pains in every way. That hero-ball mentality worked wonders for Texas A&M, but he’ll get put on his back more often than not if he thinks he can ease his way into the NFL. The pressure is all on Cleveland to put him in the best situation to win, and if the first round was any indication, expect the Browns to at least attempt to do just that.—@EasyStylez
Heading into the draft, if I had a bromance on any player, it was wide receiver Mike Evans. I even had conversations at the bar going as far to coin him next year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year. He’s 6’5″. He’s faster than most associate with his size. He helped spawn Johnny Manziel into a demigod thanks to acrobatic catches on his equally acrobatic scrambles. The man is even the first (and only?) client of Cash Money Sports. Now here’s the fun part. He’s going to be paired opposite of Vincent Jackson, possibly giving Tampa a run for the division’s most feared receiving core with Atlanta. It’s all on Josh McCown (who benefited briefly from a damn good receiving duo in Chicago) or Mike Glennon to put the ball in the hands of Jackson and Evans. —@JustinTinsley
That Time When John Q. Football And Jerry Jones Almost Collided
Around 9:45 p.m. Thursday night, America was on the brink of total pandemonium. Fifteen teams had passed on a particular quarterback who is Drake’s best friend and had already appeared in a McDonald’s commercial with LeBron James. Twitter was abuzz. Jon Gruden was going apeshit. Good grief, people, we were on the brink of one of the all-time iconic social media moments. Manziel to Dallas would have hands down been the biggest player acquisition moment since the Heat came together in 2010. Only all the hype, rumors and mock drafts went up in flames when Jerry pulled the trigger and drafted Zack Martin, a name most outside of Notre Dame fans and college football diehards probably never knew existed. Three times in the past five years the Cowboys have selected offensive linemen in the first round. So, if nothing else, as my brother Kenny Masenda noted last night, “At least Jerry is attempting to protect his investment (Romo).” True. Very true. Very, very true. But drafting an offensive lineman would be great if Bill Callahan would run DeMarco Murray more than 13 times a game (which, you know, keeps your quarterback healthy, too). Drafting offensive linemen would be great if Romo wasn’t already on the road to recovery from a second back surgery. Drafting an offensive lineman would be great if Dallas didn’t needed more help in the worst way on the opposite side of the ball. Sure, defensive tackle, defensive end, free safety and more can be filled in rounds 2-7. And to be fair, Dallas has 10 more picks in the draft (although six come in the seventh). Just know one thing, however. Pending Dallas fails to do anything worth a damn next season, we’re roughly 11 months away from “Jameis Winston to the Cowboys” talk hitting Defcon 1 levels. —@JustinTinsley
The Cincinnati Kids Are Preparing To Grow Up
Carlos Dunlap. Jermaine Gresham. Geno Atkins. Mohamed Sanu. Marvin Jones. Tyler Eifert. Giovani Bernard. Andy Dalton. And some guy named A.J. Green. Those are notable Bengals picks since 2010. What I’m trying to say is while Marvin Lewis may be bizzaro Floyd Mayweather when it comes to big stage dominance, the Bengals have quietly been one of the league’s better drafting teams. As luck would have it, Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard, considered by many the best corner in the draft, fell in their laps with the 24th pick. Terence Newman is 35. Leon Hall is 29, and Adam Jones is 30 (add on two-three years because of long nights in strip clubs across America). So consider grabbing Dennard where they did a come-up for the Bengals. A deep team already gets deeper at a much needed position in a division with quarterbacks named Flacco, Roethlisberger and Manziel and receivers named Smith (Torrey and Steve) and Morgan. —@JustinTinsley
The Barr And The Bridge Connect In Minnesota
Here’s what happens when you come of age in a fanbase that isn’t your own: You grow to loathe the home team. The incessant complaining, the delusional optimism, the trash talk that somehow always comes back to you — it all makes life unbearable during football season. For years my Philadelphia Eagles were good and the Minnesota Vikings were, well, not. In fact, the franchise was downright embarrassing. The Love Boat. The Whizinator. Mike Tice scalping Super Bowl tickets. Tarvaris Jackson. The true end of Brett Favre. Christian Ponder. Joe Webb starting a playoff game. Christian Ponder. I pitied and continue to pity Adrian Peterson, because he’s a once-in-a-generation talent whose efforts go to waste in the Upper Midwest. But after Thursday night’s first round, it felt like the sands of time had shifted. The Vikings did something not only competent, but just maybe (gulp) smart. They traded down to snag Anthony Barr and then got back into the first round to grab Teddy Bridgewater. I smiled. I was happy for my friends, the Vikings fans whose misery I had been laughing at for years. I wanna puke. —@noclassfriday