Every single season, there are players that are expected to go early in the draft; however, many teams end up changing their minds during the draft. Big name players consistently fall, leaving them available for other teams in the later parts of the draft. The 2014 NFL season was no different. Let’s take a look at the top three draft steals of 2014.
- Johnny Manziel – The Cleveland Browns
Leading into the 2014 NFL entry draft, all eyes were on Johnny “Football” Manziel. Everyone had heard the hype in the previous weeks and months, and Manziel was really making a name for himself. Going into the draft, Manziel was ranked as the first overall quarterbacks by many scouts, and many thought he would go to the Houston Texans or the Jacksonville Jaguars. Going into the draft, the Texans knew they needs a quarterback; however, they chose to go with a defensive pick – because defense wins championships – and instead, they drafted CB Jadeveon Clowney. Though this was surprising to some, many already knew the Texans were going after back up New England Patriots QB Ryan Mallet, so Manziel was thought to go to the Jaguars with the third pick. Surprisingly, the Jaguars avoided Manziel by picking Blake Bortles instead, allowing Manziel to fall all the way to 22nd where he would be picked by the Browns. Because of this, the Browns got one of the most moldable rookies available, and he truly was the biggest draft steal.
- Teddy Bridgewater – The Minnesota Vikings
In many scouting pools, Teddy Bridgewater was ranked as the number one overall quarterback, even ahead of Manziel in some. As I said early, the fall of Manziel was unexpected, and the fall of Bridgewater was even crazier. In this draft, teams were clearly not looking for a quarterback in the early rounds; however, many viable quarterback homes for Bridgewater passed. The Houston Texans, The Jacksonville Jaguars, the Cleveland Browns, the Kansas City Chiefs, and many more all passed up Bridgewater, and for a while, it looked as though he would fall back into the second round. Fortunately for him, the Vikings traded back up into the first round and picked him up. Next season, Bridgewater will very likely be the starter in Minnesota, and you can expect his pocket presence, throwing arm, and accuracy to do wonders for the Vikings offense.
- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – The Green Bay Packers
Going into the 2014 NFL draft, Clinton-Dix was considered to be a player who could be taken in the top 10 easily. He was hands down the best safety in the draft, and he will easily be a starter on opening day. Fortunately for the Green Bay Packers, Clinton-Dix fell all the way to 21, and for a team that needed a safety badly, the Packers lucked out. He was one of the most versatile players in the draft, and many believe that he can be used at safety, cornerback, or even as a defensive end. This is a great pick for the Pack.
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