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 Rich Benjamin, Gambrills, Maryland

“Charlie, I don�t think I�m going very far out on a limb here by saying that the Vikes won�t be drafting as high as #14. I will admit, the prospect of the Vikes facing a tougher schedule this year makes it hard to predict that they will win more games than they did last year, but as of right now, I believe they have a better team. As with last year, a lot will depend on Ponder�s (lack of) development. However, should he flounder, Cassel gives them a much stronger fallback than they had last year. I believe that that change, plus the other off-season moves, make the Vikes a better team this year. I�d put them at between 8-11 wins right now (with 9 my best guess).”

I definitely think it’s possible for the Vikings to have a good season. The NFL is made for teams to be up one year, and down the next. It is going to be tough for Adrian Peterson to duplicate what he did last year to carry Minnesota to the postseason. That was a historic run of epic proportions.

At this point last year, the Lions were coming off a wild-card berth and were expected to be in the playoffs this season. The teams that are mainstays in the postseason all have a good quarterback and continuity on the roster and on the coaching staff. The Vikings are building in that direction, but Ponder hasn’t proven his part yet. Thus, I have them as one of the teams that won’t repeat a playoff berth.

The NFC, and NFC North, is really strong, so landing a wild card is going to be difficult with Minnesota’s schedule. I could easily be wrong about the Vikings like I was last year. Before the season I didn’t think they would make the playoffs. However, the NFL’s parity-oriented structure points to other teams rising up.

From Carlos Ruiz, Baltimore, Maryland

“Do you think the Ravens should bring JaMarcus Russell to training camp? I don’t like their backup quarterbacks at all. ”

I can understand the concern for Baltimore’s backup quarterback situation. Tyrod Taylor and Caleb Hanie don’t inspire a lot of confidence. Russell has a cannon for an arm, so from a skill-set perspective he would be able to push the ball deep downfield like Joe Flacco.

Obviously the Ravens would have a massive dropoff from Flacco to any of those backups, including Russell. Russell is also one of the NFL’s biggest busts of all time. Still, I don’t see the real harm in letting him compete with Hanie and Taylor. If Russell acts up at all Baltimore could cut him without any real cost. Perhaps he has matured enough where he could be a viable backup quarterback. It wouldn’t hurt the Ravens to find out.

From Steve Ng, Dale City, California

“Is it possible that the bengals might draft a new franchise quarterback in this years upcoming 2014 nfl draft because of the fact that andy dalton is kind of limited as a quarterback in a relatively set roster?”

If Andy Dalton has a mediocre or bad year, I definitely think the Bengals would consider drafting a franchise quarterback or looking for a veteran upgrade. I agree with you that Cincinnati has a good roster with special talent on both sides of the ball. If Dalton repeats his performance from 2012, I wouldn’t be surprised if the organization brings in some veteran competition for his starting spot.

There could be some interesting quarterbacks available next offseason including Philip Rivers, Jay Cutler and Josh Freeman. If the Bengals could somehow land Rivers in a trade for a few draft picks, it could put them over the top. But first of all, Dalton deserves another year to show he can elevate his game to another level.

From Edmund Kuhn, Bangor, Maine

“It looks to me that the Packers, 49ers, Seahawks and Falcons are locks for the playoffs. Add an NFC East champ and there is only one wild card left for a lot of teams with playoff hopes. Who do you think could take that last wild card spot?”

That’s a great question, and you’re right that there are a lot of teams vying for that final spot. I think the Giants or Redskins will win the NFC East. I think the Cowboys will be in the mix for the wild card. Aside from Dallas, I think the Bears, Lions, Vikings could all make the postseason. The Rams could be a surprise team next year everybody is sleeping on. I also think the Saints could bounce back and be a force in the fall.

I like the Giants, Saints and Redskins the most of any of the contenders. I would predict, right now, that the wild card would come down to the Saints or Giants. Currently I’m going with New Orleans but that could change during the preseason.

From Ryan Daley, Normal, Illinois

“Do you think that Ahmad Bradshaw will be the feature back for the Colts? I was getting excited about Vick Ballard as the running back of the future to pair with Luck.”

I think Bradshaw was a good signing by the Colts. Their pass protection was awful in 2012, leaving Andrew Luck constantly running for his life. Bradshaw is probably the best pass-blocking running back in the NFL. I think he still has some gas left in the tank as a running back, so he could form a nice tandem with Ballard.

You can expect that Pep Hamilton will probably try to establish more of a power running game than Bruce Arians ran last year. It makes sense for the Colts to improve their depth. I think Ballard can be the bruising back who handles a lot of the downhill running. Bradshaw can spell him with carries and handle the passing game. I know sources from around the league who thought Bradshaw is still a quality player and could be a good contributor this year, but their teams were set at running back.

The Colts made some questionable signings in free agency this year, but I don’t consider Bradshaw to be one of them.

From twitter Hey Dangle, @Dangle

“What do you think about Brooks Reed possibly moving inside?”

From what I gather, the Texans are seeing if Reed could possibly handle the move to the inside because they have a lot of depth on the outside. They know what Reed can do as an outside linebacker, but with their hole on the inside next to Brian Cushing, they’re searching for an answer at inside linebacker.

Whitney Mercilus could have a breakout year in 2013. He flashed as a rookie and would’ve received more playing time on other teams that don’t have the depth that Houston has acquired. The team landed two more edge-rushers with the potential to be good in Sam Montgomery and Trevardo Williams.

It makes sense to get those rookies ready to play with extra reps during the OTAs and mini-camp while seeing if Reed has the capacity to help on the inside. However, I don’t think he is going to prove to be a real inside linebacker. I think the Texans should sign a veteran on the market before training camp.

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

NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

2024 NFL Mock Draft - Feb. 21

Fantasy Football Rankings - Feb. 19

NFL Picks - Feb. 12