2014 NFL Draft Mailbag

I received many e-mails and tweets about my 2014 NFL Mock Draft and the upcoming NFL Draft in general. To share the answers to the questions publicly, I decided to start up a mailbag column. Pass along your NFL draft questions and comments. I’ll put together a mailbag periodically that answers questions/comments sent via email [email protected] or on Twitter @draftcampbell.


From Vinny, Staten Island, New York

“With the news that the Jets are moving Ouinton Coples to outside linebacker and Sheldon Richardson to his spot on the 3 man line, how much do you believe the Jets’ pass rush will be improved? Also what is a realistic expectation for Geno Smith’s first and second years in the league?”

I definitely think the Jets’ pass rush is going to be improved in 2013. Richardson was a disruptive pass-rusher for Missouri last year and had success rushing from defensive end as well as tackle. He is an excellent fit as a 3-4 defensive end. Coples has the speed and athletic ability to be a standup edge-rusher as well. I think he’ll be improved in his second pro season.

I think Coples, Richardson and Muhammed Wilkerson will form a formidable trio. In my opinion, the team would probably do a better job of putting pressure on the quarterback from a four-man defensive line with Richardson and Wilkerson rushing from tackle. The Jets used a lot of four-man line sets in 2012, so I think these three guys will be used in a variety of ways.

I think New York is one more edge-rusher away from having maybe the best young defensive line in the NFL. If the Jets somehow could land Jadeveon Clowney in the 2014 NFL Draft, they could have the makings a legendary unit.

From twitter Justin Wall, @jwalluww

“You gotta think no Buddy Nix puts E.J. Manuel on a very short leash….”

I don’t think Buddy Nix leaving the general manager position has a real impact on Manuel. The Bills took Manuel because he was the quarterback of choice for Doug Marrone. The new coaching staff and front office staff were on board with Manuel being their guy, so I think he will get every opportunity to succeed. The Bills made a big investment in Manuel, and I would expect them to give him two to three years to pan out.

From twitter Craig Davis, @CraigDavis2695

“If you compare a current pro to Teddy Bridgewater who would it be?”

That’s an interesting question and one I hadn’t thought of yet. I’m just in the very preliminary stages of studying the 2014 prospects, so this comparison could change. If I had to say one right now, I would probably go with Ryan Tannehill. Bridgewater may not be as fast or athletic, and he doesn’t run as much as Tannehill did in college, but they have similar styles of play. Both move well in the pocket with strong, accurate arms.

I think Tannehill is going to take a big step forward in 2013 and Bridgewater looks poised for a big junior season. I think both could have successful careers in the NFL.

From Dave, Pensacola, Florida

“A lot of attention has been given to the Vikings’ draft picks of Sharrif Floyd and Cordarrelle Patterson. What are your thoughts of their pick of Xavier Rhodes?”

I think Rhodes landed with a perfect team. Minnesota will use him to the best of his abilities with zone coverage and press man. He gives the Vikings a big corner to matchup against Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall and Jordy Nelson. I thought Rhodes played better in the first half of the 2012 season compared to the back half. In speaking with some friends around the FSU program, they said it seemed like he was maybe taking some plays off and protecting himself to avoid getting injured before the 2013 NFL Draft.

That won’t be tolerated with Leslie Frazier and Mike Singletary. Having a former NFL defensive back in Frazier will be good for Rhodes, while Singletary will provide plenty of motivation. I agree with you that Rhodes hasn’t received the attention of the Floyd or Patterson pick, but Rhodes could be the safest selection of the three.

From Terrell Harvey, Mobile, Alabama

“Why did Jesse Williams fall so far on draft day?”

I was never a believer of Williams being a first-round pick and had him lower than most. I had him in the third round of my final mock draft. In my opinion, Williams was a one-dimensional run stuffer who offered very little as an NFL pass-rusher.

In speaking with some scouts, they gave Williams a mid-round grade because of the lack of pass rush. Another reason why they had him lower was that he struggled with double-teams. Eating up double-teams would be one of his primary roles in the NFL as a two-gap defensive tackle or zero-technique nose tackle.

That being said, I think Williams is a quality selection in the fifth round for Seattle. I wouldn’t expect big things from him, but I think Williams could be a serviceable rotational player.

From Ryan Davis, San Jose, California

“Do you think that Terrelle Pryor can electrify the Raiders’ offense the way Colin Kaepernick did for the 49ers? If he can’t, Oakland has to get a future franchise quarterback unless Tyler Wilson turns out to be a steal.”

I think the odds are better that Tyler Wilson is a surprisingly successful rookie rather than Pryor having a Kaepernick-like impact for Oakland. From what I’ve heard, Pryor isn’t the sharpest signal-caller in the classroom and at knowing the playbook. That is going to make it tough for him to see the field in the NFL.

If Wilson had entered the 2012 NFL Draft, the junior probably would’ve at least been a second-day pick. Last season was such a nightmare for the Arkansas program it is very understandable that Wilson’s production declined. He lost his head coach, playcaller and group of good receivers. Along with the turmoil, Wilson also dealt with a concussion.

Wilson was well prepared for the NFL by former head coach Bobby Petrino, so I think he could make a quick transition to the Raiders’ West Coast offense and is legitimate competition with Flynn and Pryor. It would certainly accelerate the Raiders’ rebuilding effort if Wilson proved to be a steal because Oakland could address a non-quarterback need in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

From Gary Rudd, Ann Arbor, Michigan

“I see that you had Larry Warford as your favorite second-day prospect. Who is your favorite for the 2014 NFL Draft?”

It is too early to pick one, but my top candidate, right now, would be Tennessee left tackle Antonio Richardson. He could easily turn into a first-round pick with a strong 2013 season. The Volunteers were able to move Dallas Thomas inside to guard last year because of Richardson. He did an impressive job of protecting Tyler Bray’s blind side.

If Richardson plays well against South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney, he could give his stock a real boost. I bet Tennessee will let Richardson take on Clowney in some one-on-ones. If Richardson does well in those plays, ir could be huge for his draft stock. The 6-foot-6, 332-pounder has good size for a left tackle with surprising quickness and agility. Not a lot of people project him as a first-rounder right now, but I think that could easily change later this fall.

From twitter Eric Westlund, @EricWestlund

“Still going Johnny (Manziel) that high, huh? The scouting community is starting to go the other way.”

Well I’m not sure which scouts you’re referring to, but the area scouts who I talk to haven’t seriously started the 2014 process. They are mostly on vacation until August.

There are some directors of college scouting in the NFL who have already started watching 2014 players, but the area scouts who give players their round grade haven’t started that process yet. Plus Manziel is an underclassman. Most area scouts just focus on the seniors and then go back and review the underclassmen once they’ve declared for the draft. It is way too early to make an estimation on how the scouting community feels about any 2014 prospect.

Once again send questions/comments via email [email protected] or on Twitter @draftcampbell.

2014 NFL Draft Mailbag Archive:

2014 NFL Draft Mailbag - April 21
2014 NFL Draft Mailbag - March 23
2014 NFL Draft Mailbag - Aug. 5
2014 NFL Draft Mailbag - July 22
2014 NFL Draft Mailbag - July 9
2014 NFL Draft Mailbag - June 26
2014 NFL Draft Mailbag - June 2
2014 NFL Draft Mailbag - May 16

Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23

2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21

NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

NFL Picks - Feb. 12