Draft King Analysis|
May 8, 2014
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com
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Running Commentary on the 2014 NFL Draft
Lou (7:19 p.m. EDT): What a day today has been for me. I saw a woman fall down at the early voting precinct at the Cabell County, WV courthouse and take down three machines, including one that fell on her. I received a job offer from ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus, Ohio and will be moving there at the end of the month. I turned in my two weeks notice at my current station, WSAZ. I barely got any sleep and attempts to fall asleep after all of that proved ineffective. This should be interesting.
If you're so inclined, check out my past NFL Draft running commentaries and/or live event experiences:
2012 (live event)
Lou (7:28 p.m. EDT): Best or saddest draft attendee trio outfit, depending on your point of view.
Lou (7:40 p.m. EDT): They are doing player introductions on the NFL Network right now. As usual I will be alternating between it and ESPN's coverage. Jordan Matthews is wearing a bow tie for some reason. And, no, I'm not sure when exactly this thing turned into a fashion show.
Lou (7:43 p.m. EDT): Less than 20 minutes out and it's still Clowney and a bunch of question marks. I was telling friends at work last night that this has been easily the most difficult mock draft since I started doing them in 2003. It's like an oversized version of the game Mastermind with the right pieces but an unclear order.
Lou (7:52 p.m. EDT): It's Clowney at #1 to Houston. The real drama begins with St. Louis at #2. By the way, this year might have been tops as far as crazy rumors, whispers, predictions, etc. go. Misdirection, spin, PR, damage control, intentional lies, owners who can't contain their ego or their team's plans, talking heads, experts talking about what they think should happen, experts defending past positions that might not be holding up.
And, to think, the draft hasn't even started yet.
Lou (7:59 p.m. EDT): NFLN showing the fans gathering at various NFL team facilities is a nice touch.
Lou (8:00 p.m. EDT): "The Man" by Aloe Blacc is playing on ESPN. Love that song.
Lou (8:02 p.m. EDT): ESPN goes from a sky shot of midtown Manhattan to the interior of Radio City Music Hall. I know plenty of people disagree with me on this, but I enjoy Chris Berman in his anchor role. Jon Gruden is scowling, Mel Kiper Jr. is smiling... guess it's almost Go Time.
Lou (8:05 p.m. EDT): Commissioner Roger Goodell hits the stage and is greeted with boos like he's John Cena in an arena full of smart marks. But he quickly wins them over with these words: "The 2014 NFL Draft is officially opened."
Lou (8:08 p.m. EDT): I wrote about this at length two years ago, but it's much easier to follow what's going on at home than there in person, whether you're in the VIP section or in gen pop. The stage presentation is very similar to how it looked in 2012, which still makes for good TV but lacks a giant board of names with who has gone where.
Lou (8:11 p.m. EDT): Houston is slow-rolling us, but we've waited this long -- what's another five minutes? Ray Lewis is intense even as a commentator on set. Meanwhile on NFLN, Michael Silver is trying to bait Jeff Fisher in St. Louis into giving up some info, but Fisher is a wily veteran and won't let the cat out of the bag.
Lou (8:14 p.m. EDT): Rich Eisen does a good job anchoring for NFLN. Not sure if five on the platform is too much, but it works for them.
Lou (8:15 p.m. EDT): Clowney to Houston at #1 but you already knew that was going to happen.
Lou (8:21 p.m. EDT): ESPN raising the stakes by going commercial free (after this ad break) for the rest of the hour. With competition, the consumer wins.
Lou (8:25 p.m. EDT): And the Rams decided on... Auburn OT Greg Robinson. Not what I projected but it's a sensible move for the Rams. The draft starts SEC, SEC.
Lou (8:29 p.m. EDT): Jaguars' pick is in, gotta be Khalil Mack or Sammy Watkins here, right?
Lou (8:30 p.m. EDT): Of course not. Blake Bortles goes to Jacksonville. I need to stay off Twitter since that pick was spoiled for me. ESPN/NFLN doing a good job not spoiling/tipping picks like they used to do.
Lou (8:35 p.m. EDT): Here we go, Bills trade up from #9 to #4. Would have been almost impossible to do under the pre-2011 CBA with the old rookie cap rules.
Lou (8:38 p.m. EDT): Buffalo jumps to #4 to get Sammy Watkins, who I had going #2 overall. Nice move. I suspect this was the first "if/then" trade of the draft.
Lou (8:40 p.m. EDT): Adam Schefter is saying on ESPN that the Bills were prepared to take Eric Ebron or a wide receiver had they stayed at #9. Interesting.
Lou (8:42 p.m. EDT): Nice move by the Raiders getting Khalil Mack at #5. Remember that there was some talk of him potentially going #1 overall.
Lou (8:46 p.m. EDT): Out of habit I clicked on my Twitter tab out of habit and immediately had to avert my gaze. No more spoilers if I can help it.
Lou (8:51 p.m. EDT): Jake Matthews goes #6 to Atlanta. I like it. I'm 1-for-6 at this point by the way but strangely not even remotely upset about it. Now we get to find which is true between the dueling rumors about Tampa Bay either liking or being disinterested in Johnny Manziel at #7.
Lou (8:56 p.m. EDT): Funny to hear Jon Gruden cheerleading for Johnny Football (Manziel) but they could instead take his A&M teammate, Mike Evans. By the way, I've been sticking with ESPN thanks to their commercial-free gimmick. Back to NFLN at the top of the hour.
Lou (8:59 p.m. EDT): And it's Evans to Tampa Bay. Logical pick with need at wide receiver there. I had figured that Evans would be gone by here, but based on the way it played out he was on the board.
Lou (9:02 p.m. EDT): Cleveland traded down to #9 and now moved up one spot with Minnesota swapping their #8 for it. Vikings get a fifth-rounder for it. Is it to get Manziel? Taylor Lewan?
Lou (9:04 p.m. EDT): And here's a surprise, Justin Gilbert, the first defensive back to be drafted. Yes, the Browns have Joe Haden, but he had a four-game suspension in 2012 and has a Randy Orton style two strikes cloud hanging over him. Gilbert is a great corner though and should help Cleveland's defense right away.
Lou (9:09 p.m. EDT): It's important to note that when trades happen, the live audience at Radio City Music Hall is usually in the dark on specifics. You can see the logo change on the video board but it's usually not obvious as to what happened.
Lou (9:11 p.m. EDT): Mike Mayock talked up thinking Anthony Barr to the Vikings -- and he was right. Barr was a guy who was talked about as being a possible top five pick before fading slightly as the process played out.
Lou (9:16 p.m. EDT): Normally they save gimmick announcers for later on in the draft, but Barry Sanders was stuck up there to shill for the NFL Madden football game. Luckily Sanders is such a likeable person that the plug was tolerable. Ebron to Detroit is interesting. Him + Brandon Pettigrew as dual tight end threats to go with Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate? This has potential.
Lou (9:18 p.m. EDT): Hmm, the Titans have a chance to draft Taylor Lewan here. I could go for that.
Lou (9:22 p.m. EDT): And, indeed, the Titans land Lewan. Good choice by Tennessee.
Lou (9:29 p.m. EDT): This will end at 10 p.m. EDT since I have to get ready for work. And the Giants fill a need at wide receiver with Odell Beckham Jr. Dynamic receiving threat out of LSU.
Lou (9:40 p.m. EDT): St. Louis goes with Aaron Donald at #13. OL, DL for the Rams. Not bad. Defensive tackles who can pressure the QB are more valuable than ever in the NFL. He could have really helped the Bears who are on the clock. Well, actually the pick is in but they are clearing commercials. This is our punishment for ESPN's commercial-free 8:30-9:00 half-hour.
Lou (9:44 p.m. EDT): Kyle Fuller is Chicago's pick at #14 and fills a need. Fuller's stock rose late in the process and there had been some talk he would go top ten.
Lou (9:47 p.m. EDT): And it's Ryan Shazier as the first player out of Ohio State taken in the draft going to the Steelers at #15. Gotta feed the front seven defensive machine.
Lou (9:52 p.m. EDT): The megapush for Johnny Manziel on ESPN and NFLN continues. Him going to the Cowboys would be an absolute circus. Would be fun to watch from afar.
Lou (9:54 p.m. EDT): No circus for Dallas, not yet anyway as instead the Cowboys go much more practical at #16 with Zack Martin.
Lou (9:58 p.m. EDT): Last pick before I have to split...
Lou (10:00 p.m. EDT): A steal in my opinion with the Ravens getting C.J. Mosley at the #17 spot. And, with that, I'm out. Good luck and good night.