2014 NFL Draft Fantasy Live Blog

The PFF Fantasy team gives you a blow-by-blow account of the action on Day 1 of the NFL Draft with insights and analysis along the way.

| 3 years ago
011314-underclassmen-cp

2014 NFL Draft Fantasy Live Blog


011314-underclassmen-cpThe wait is over. After months of speculation, mock drafts, rumors, smoke screens, and Tweets galore, the NFL Draft is finally upon us. It’s time for the rubber to meet the road.

Tonight we put a few more pieces in place in the puzzle that ultimately will be the 2014 NFL season. We’re going to be here every step of the way with draft coverage providing our awarding-winning fantasy insights and analysis.

We’ll be updating as the action unfolds with the newest updates appearing at the top of the live blog below.

After the draft concludes, we’ll be rolling out plenty of content, but if you want to get caught up on what we’ve done on the lead in to the big weekend, check out our NFL Draft Fantasy feed. You can also take a look at Jeff Ratcliffe’s pre-Draft offensive and defensive rankings.

Don’t forget that you can get access to all of our award-winning rankings, projections, content, and signature stats  with a subscription to PFF Fantasy Gold for just $24.99. We also have an excellent deal going with DraftStreet.com where you can get a free Fantasy Gold subscription for an initial deposit of just $10 using the promo code “PFF.” Draftstreet will also kick you a 100% deposit bonus, so you double your money.

 

11:42 P.M.: Minnesota traded with Seattle to get back into the first round and select Teddy Bridgewater, who is the most pro-ready quarterback in this year’s class. He’s not the sexy pick, but he’s entering a good situation with Adrian Peterson and Cordarrelle Patterson.

11:39 P.M.: Denver makes a solid pick at No. 31 filling a need with CB Bradley Roby. Another big fast kid, but I had my concerns about Roby after watching his film. He tends to make big mistakes that could surface in 2014, as he’ll likely be asked to start. He should see plenty of targets, placing him squarely on the IDP radar.

11:32 P.M: The 49ers select S Jimmie Ward at No. 30. So for the second year in a row, San Francisco prioritizes the safety position. I was high on Ward entering the draft, but San Francisco is not an ideal landing spot for IDP purposes. There’s just not enough tackles to go around when you play behind Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman.

11:26 P.M.: Belichick does it again. The Patriots get crazy value at No. 29 overall with DT Dominique Easley, who is an incredibly fluid 3-technique. I said in my pre-Draft rankings that Easley could make an IDP impact in the right landing spot. New England is just that spot. He’s in an aggressive defense with a tackle-friendly home stats crew.

11:19 P.M.: Carolina looked like me drafting behind my grandmom in August and sprinted up to the podium to select WR Kelvin Benjamin at No. 29. This was an obvious need for the Panthers, though I’m not a Benjamin supporter. He does have a lot of potential, but I’d prefer the more polished Marqise Lee in this spot. Benjamin enters the league with a limited resume, and I wouldn’t recommend going too overboard on Benjamin in rookie drafts.

11:16 P.M.: Arizona grabbed heavy hitting S Deone Bucannon. With Tyrann Mathieu, Patrick Peterson, and Antonio Cromartie already on the roster, the Cardinals shored up the one weak spot in their secondary. Bucannon can play both safety spots, but his IDP value may be slightly limited with Mathieu and Daryl Washington on the field.

11:09 P.M.: Another collective groan from the Eagles fans, as Philadelphia raised a few eye brows with the No. 26 selection of OLB Marcus Smith. The Eagles address a need, and get one of my pre-Draft favorites. Smith is explosive on film and is one of the most impressive edge rushers in this year’s class.

11:03 P.M.: The fourth corner is off the board with San Diego selecting TCU’s Jason Verrett. I love Verrett’s tenacity and speed. His ability to kick down in the nickel and cover the slot will be very useful in the AFC West. If Verrett earns an every-down job this season, he’ll be a player to keep an eye on in IDP leagues.

10:58 P.M.: Cincinnati rushed to the podium to grab CB Darqueze Dennard. Cue the broken record, but Dennard is another big and fast corner. This guy is one of the best all around corners in the draft. The Bengals are looking to the future and shoring up their aging secondary with this one.

10:51 P.M.: Andy Reid and the Chiefs select edge player Dee Ford at No. 23 overall. Ford is a pure pass rusher, but he has some holes in his game. With Justin Houston and Tamba Hali already in house in Kansas City, Ford won’t be in an every-down role in 2014. However, it would seem likely that he’s Hali’s long-term replacement. Hali is currently signed through 2015. Like we’ve seen with a lot of edge players, the outside linebacker fantasy designation will limit Ford’s IDP value.

10:42 P.M.: And there you have it. Cleveland selects QB Johnny Manziel at No. 22 overall. The Eagles move back in the first round and add a third round pick. This was obviously the most anticipated pick of the evening, but I give a lot of credit to the Eagles. There guys obviously weren’t there, so they moved back four spots and stockpiled. In terms of Manziel, I’m a supporter. He’s a dynamic player with a bigger arm than a lot of people think. Now he’s paired with one of the league’s best wide receivers in Josh Gordon. Manziel is going to continue to be polarizing, but there’s no doubt that he’s my No. 1 rookie quarterback.

10:40 P.M.: That sound you hear was the groans of a very ticked off Philadelphia fan base, as the Eagles traded the No. 22 pick to the Browns. Johnny Football time?

10:37 P.M.: Think our rookie projections seem a tad low? Read this:

10:34 P.M.: With a Ted Thompson fist pound, the Packers pick is in. Green Bay selects S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. This move addresses a huge need in the Packers defense. Clinton-Dix is more of a center fielder to pair with Morgan Burnett. For fantasy purposes, this is not a great landing spot for Clinton-Dix. With Burnett on the field, there’s not a lot of tackles to go around. Clinton-Dix now projects to have a Jairus Byrd fantasy profile, which means he’s a long-term DB3.

10:26 P.M.: Drew Brees just got a much needed weapon. The Saints traded up to the No. 20 spot to grab WR Brandin Cooks, who is an absolute burner who has drawn Steve Smith comparisons. That’s now four wide receivers off the board in the first round. Cooks’s game is well-suited to playing in doors, and makes for a great compliment to Kenny Stills. Cooks doesn’t project to make an immediate fantasy impact, but his long-term outlook is very good.

10:18 P.M.: Wow. The predictions came true. Ju’Wuan James jumped up into the first round with the Dolphins’ selection at No. 19 overall. James was the best tackle prospect left on the board, so it makes sense. Some much needed protection for Ryan Tannehill.

10:09 P.M.: And the crowd goes nuts (kind of) for the Jets selection of S Calvin Pryor. It wasn’t the pick most expected, but Pryor is a big hitter and he really fits the mold of the Jets defense. He’s not the strongest in coverage, but he can step up in the box and lay the wood. It’s a solid landing spot for Pryor’s IDP prospects, as there’s little standing between him and a starting job.

10:02 P.M.: Chad Pennington sighting.

10:00 P.M.: Baltimore grabs C.J. Mosley at No. 17. This isn’t my favorite landing spot for Mosley, as the pick muddies the waters in Baltimore. Veteran Daryl Smith is re-signed and all but inked in as a starter. However, a lot of folks were excited for the IDP potential of Arthur Brown. Mosley is a superior player, and likely relegates Brown to a subpackage role.

9:53 P.M.: Jerry Jones didn’t take the bait! The Cowboys passed up on Johnny Manziel to select OT Zack Martin. It’s not sexy, but you can’t fault this pick. Martin is rock solid and can play all five positions on the offensive line.

9:47 P.M.: The Steelers waste no time grabbing OSU’s Ryan Shazier. I compared Shazier to Lavonte David, and some have called him the fasted linebacker prospect since Brian Urlacher. Shazier has sideline-to-sideline speed and would project to play inside linebacker along with Lawrence Timmons. Those holding out hope for Sean Spence and/or Vince Williams may want to look to cut bait. Depending on where C.J. Mosely lands, Shazier has a chance to be my No. 1 rookie IDP.

9:44 P.M.: Chicago upgrades their defense with CB Kyle Fuller. He’s another big and fast corner who knows how to play the game. In my pre-Draft rookie defensive rankings, I had Fuller as my top-ranked corner. As of now, I don’t see that changing. It is interesting that the Bears didn’t grab a safety, but I expect Clinton-Dix and Pryor (and Ward) to come off the board tonight

9:38 P.M.: And there he goes. I just mentioned the Giants passing on Aaron Donald, and the Rams scoop him up at No. 13. This guy straight up dominated at the Senior Bowl, and he’s now paired with Michael Brockers on the Rams interior with Robert Quinn and Chris Long outside. That’s just plain nasty. Donald is in a good position for IDP value. He has a Geno Atkins fantasy profile, though I’m not quite sure we see him reach that ceiling. Still, he’s the top defensive tackle in rookie IDP drafts.

9:32 P.M.: For those keeping score at home, Johnny Manziel is still on the board.

9:28 P.M.: Well that was interesting. The G-Men passed over Aaron Donald and went with WR Odell Beckham Jr. at No. 12 overall. Beckham’s ascension over the last two months was quite impressive, but in a stacked wide receiver field, Beckham really stood out for his strong route running. Sorry Rueben Randle and Jerrell Jernigan dynasty owners.

9:21 P.M.: Tennessee selects another offensive lineman in Taylor Lewan. The Titans didn’t necessarily need a tackle at this spot, but Lewan is the best player left on the board, so it makes sense. A Day 2 running back would be interesting …

9:15 P.M.: The Lions add another weapon in TE Eric Ebron. We heard over and over how Ebron is a lot like Vernon Davis. He certainly has athletic ability, but Ebron is not a willing blocker. Fortunately, Detroit already has blocking tight ends in their stable, so we’ll likely see Ebron in a Jimmy Graham-esque role with the Lions. The potential is scary, but his 2014 outlook is limited.

9:10 P.M.: Minnesota gets themselves an edge player at No. 9, selecting Anthony Barr out of UCLA. This kid can flat out ball, and as Mike Mayock said, “he doesn’t even know what he’s doing.” The ceiling is obviously massive here, and it will be very interesting to see how he progresses with NFL coaches. Barr at defensive end is a huge plus for his fantasy value. He’s tentatively my No. 1 rookie defensive linemen.

9:05 P.M.: Wow. The Browns traded up to No. 8 to take CB Justin Gilbert. Cleveland pairs Joe Haden with the sub 4.4 and over 6’0″ Gilbert. I love this move for Cleveland. With two shutdown corners, the Browns are now able to bring Donte Whitner down in the box and play the aggressive style of defense for which Mike Pettine is known.

8:59 P.M.: The Bucs go with WR Mike Evans at No. 7 overall. This pick just makes too much sense, and it’s one that many in the draftnik community have predicted. Evans joins Vincent Jackson in Tampa giving the Bucs a big wide receiver corps that’s reminiscent of what the Bears currently have. Evans is a hair behind Watkins today, but he might have a higher long-term fantasy ceiling due to his red zone ability and skills outside the numbers. Don’t get me wrong. I’m still taking Watkins, but the gap is close.

8:50 P.M.: Atlanta makes the smart pick at No. 6 upgrading at a much-needed position with OT Jake Matthews. Entering the draft, Matthews is the most complete tackle prospect. He’s more polished than Greg Robinson, though he lacks Robinson’s ceiling. Matthews’ pedigree doesn’t hurt either.

8:42 P.M.: Now we’ve seen it all. The Raiders actually made the smart pick with edge player Khalil Mack at the No. 5 spot. Mack is the best pure pass rusher in this draft, and he projects to be a base SAM linebacker who will kick down to defensive end in the subpackages. It’s going to be exciting to see Mack operating along with Sio Moore in the revitalized Raiders defense.

8:36 P.M: The Bills trade the No. 9 pick along with a 2015 1sr and 4th to move up for Sammy Watkins. This is a power move from Buffalo, addressing a position of need with the best wide receiver in this draft class. I’ve said before that Watkins is a shorter version of Calvin Johnson. He has all the tools and can do everything on the field. Buffalo is not the best landing spot for him, but there’s still some intriguing fantasy potential. He’ll step in as an immediate starter, and an argument could be made that he’s the Bills No. 1 over Stevie Johnson. We doubt Watkins puts up big numbers in 2014, which means he’s almost guaranteed to be overdrafted this season in most fantasy leagues.

8:31 P.M.: And we have our first surprise of the evening. The Jags pull off a mild shocker grabbing Blake Bortles at the No. 3 spot. Many speculated Johnny Manziel would have been the pick. As I type this, the Bills traded up to the No. 4 spot. More in a minute.

8:25 P.M.: Rams select OT Greg Robinson No. 2 overall. Again, not a huge surprise. With the premium at the tackle position, the Rams invest in their future with Robinson. He’ll likely man left guard this season with LT Jake Long and RT Roger Saffold already on the roster. LG Chris Williams graded out as the No. 74 guard out of 81 qualifiers for the Rams last season.

8:15 P.M.: The first pick is in, and it’s no huge shock that the Texans selected Jadeveon Clowney with the first pick overall. Clowney is the top prospect in this draft class, so Houston made the smart move. The question ultimately is how does he fit into the Texans’ defense? He’s best suited to a 4-3 defensive end, but in the Houston 3-4 he’s most likely going to be asked to play with his hand off the ground at outside linebacker. Initially, it appears as though Clowney’s  IDP value will be limited, but Houston’s defense is now really scary with Clowney, J.J. Watt, and Whitney Mercilus on the field.


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| Director of Fantasy

Jeff Ratcliffe is the Director of Fantasy at Pro Football Focus. He produces all of our projections and is one of the most accurate rankers in the fantasy industry. Jeff also is the host of our show on SiriusXM fantasy sports radio and is one of the main hosts of our Fantasy Slant podcast.

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