We have a pretty good idea of who our "special" targets are for the pick at 1:15, so let’s focus on the pick at 2:14. This post looks at the options on Offense.
In the 1st Round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select ... your favorite DDT! [NOTE: That is insider football-speak for "Devastating Defense Terror" in case you didn't know].
At the BTSC Steelers War-Room attention turns toward the 2nd Round. But unknown to us there is a secret agenda afoot:
A little-known meeting took place in late December of 2013 in the Conspiracy Land Motel just next door to the Steelers South Side offices. Star Quarterback Oh-Ben Kenoberger has just drawn team owner Art3 Dee3 into a quiet nook. Let's listen in...
AR3: Great year Ben! Things are really looking up for 2014.
QB: Thanks. But there’s something I wanted to mention before the offseason. You know I know you’ll be talking with my agent about an extension...
AR3: ...We’re setting dates for the meeting already.
QB: Good. But you might want to wait until after the draft. I'm in regular contact with my agent, and I've been telling him what a great class this is for WOW's. [Insider football-speak for "Wonderful Offensive Weapon".] He suggested that the team's choice among those WOW's will say a lot about how steep a hometown discount I ought to be considering.
AR3: Discount? Did you say discount?
AR3: I see... So a 1st round WOW might really help our salary cap situation over the next few years?
QB: I'm sure it would. Downright positive in fact.
AR3: What about a 2nd?
QB: It might rabbit, it might. It is a deep class for Receivers, and for Tight Ends too. I know we have needs on defense ... so I guess it would depend on who was available.
Well, that was fun. And I guess we know what the Steelers with target in Round 2: they got their DDT in the 1st, so Oh-Ben is getting a sparkly new WOW in the 2nd. But who to choose? Here are the options: help me to rank them in terms from favorite dream on down. Do NOT abandon a vote because you think the prospect won’t be available at 2:14. It’s a deep class, weird things happen, and the votes will only determine an overall winner. If you want a say in the rankings from second place down to ninth, drop a Comment. It will help to organize the Big Board.
--- THE OFFICIAL SALES PITCH FOR EACH OF THE 2ND ROUND W.O.W.’s ---
Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State - 6’1", 212 lbs. Davante Adams caught 131 passes last year, for 1790 yards. That’s more than any other college player, and it all came in real football games: not Nintendo! He has a little bit of everything and the IQ to put it together. Speed...check. Excellent if not overwhelming. Athleticism...check. He was a high school basketball star who consistently looks bigger and faster than the players around him. Explosiveness...check. He was rarely even challenged when it came to jump balls, perhaps because he jumped an absurd 39.5" vertical at the Combine. Room to grow...check. No one has taught this kid to run proper routes. Once he learns that we will have a Greg Jennings on our hands. How can you pass up Davante Adams?
Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech - 6'5-3/8", 265 lbs. You want Nintendo numbers? Texas Tech used Amaro like an oversized wideout, and he caught 106 balls and set the all-time yardage record for any college Tight End at 1,352 yards. Receiving option...CHECK!! Of course, that might mean he couldn’t block... Said the naysayers. Fast forward to the Combine, where showed up as a huge figure of a man and put everyone to shame on the strength tests. There is no way anyone can believe this kid won’t be able to block! So you have a proven killer receiver in the body of Mean Joe Greene. Just imagine what those 2-TE sets will do for every piece of the offense: run, pass, and red-zone. How can you pass up Jace Amaro?
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State - 6'5", 240 lbs. You want to give Ben a red zone weapon? Let me introduce you to the 2014 Mark VII model! Kelvin Benjamin was a – maybe the – key piece of the national championship offense at Florida State. The only questions were speed and hands. The speed thing he more than answered at the Combine when he ran a 4.61 dash after a horrific start; just call it 4.4 to 4.5 play speed and be done with it. And the drops came from looking upfield too fast; a common and very fixable issue. So…is the next Plaxico worth our 1st-Round pick? Maybe. But we’re down here in the 2nd! How can you pass up Kelvin Benjamin?
Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU – 5’11-1/2", 205 – lbs. By the end of the year LSU had a strong theme on offense: "Find some way - any way - to get the ball into Odell Beckham Jr.'s hands because that kid is a WEAPON." But there was an addendum: "And if we get to 3rd down, throw the ball somewhere close to Jarvis Landry because he will fight like a wolverine to catch it." But why should I do the sales pitch when Mike Mayock did it for me? "When I look at Jarvis Landry, he reminds me of a faster, bigger, just as tough Hines Ward." How can you pass up Jarvis Landry?
Marqise Lee, WR/KR, USC - 5'11-3/4", 192 lbs. But we want a BIG receiver! Right? Give it a rest. When Is a 6-footer "tall enough?" When he’s #3 in the Heisman voting as a Junior? When he’s one of the best kick returners in the draft? When he’s lightning-in-an-enema with the ball in his hand? When he’s the most polished route runner and pro-ready prospect you could ever wish to see? Get real here people! How can you pass up Marqise Lee?
Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt - 6'3-1/8", 212 lbs. Guys, Jordan Matthews is the all-time best receiver in the history of the SEC – and he did it with lousy quarterbacks! Look up the scouting reports and you’ll see two things in every one. First, the word "Smart" will appear several times. And second, "cousin of Jerry Rice." Of course you might run across some older ones, which will withhold judgment because of questions about his long speed. But only the old ones. He ran an exceptional time (4.46) at the Combine, so that's a quibble that's gone. Add in 6-3 height and great route running ... How can you pass up Jordan Matthews?
Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss - 6'2-3/8" 221 lbs. Poor Donte. Always "that other guy." Until he put up an 11’ broad jump, 39.5" vertical, and a 4.40 dash at the Combine. Now he’s just a WOW guy. There may not be a better deep threat in the entire draft! How can you pass up Donte Moncrief?
Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State - 6'2-3/8", 220 lbs. Let’s get technical: Allen Robinson is tall, productive, has good hands and body control, and he's a local. Oops! That wasn’t the technical part. Robinson has only one question you could really want to ask: At the Combine his 40 was only "okay" (a 4.60). What does that mean? Not much, since his 20 yard shuttle was an excellent (4.0). According to local pundits (Tom Bradley), running about .4 seconds less in the shuttle indicates a good ability to get in and out of breaks. So with a .6 differential, either Robinson ran a freakishly slow 40 or he will have a freakishly great talent for route running. He also excelled in the vertical jump, confirming his general explosiveness. Pick your poison, as they say. How can you pass up Allen Robinson?
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington - 6'5-1/2", 262 lbs. ASJ is the most "Tight-Endish" prospect you could ever hope to see: one of those newfangled basketball types with very good speed, very good hands, fantastic size, and above average blocking ability. In 2012 he looked like a receiving demigod. And then when teams schemed to stop him in 2013, he humbly became a key blocker for his teammate’s (Bishop Sankey’s) breakout year. So what’s the Persian flaw? There isn’t one. The big knock was a DUI in March of 2013. But look at how he reacted! Who do you want? A kid who’s never made (or been caught in) a grown-up mistake, or one who went through the fire and come out with a character of steel? And remember: 2-TE sets add to the running game, the passing game, and the red zone! How can you pass up Austin Seferian-Jenkins?