The 2014 draft is loaded with big, fast receivers and offensive linemen. After Thursday's night of splash, teams spent Friday's two rounds drafting those quality players. After two days and three rounds, 22 offensive linemen have been taken. That's a record, but it's not sexy. Quarterbacks walk the red carpet. Blockers roll red carpets. Here are the five things we learned on the second day of the draft.
1. The personnel battle in the NFC West continues to escalate: A year ago, the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers tried to top each other on a weekly basis with personnel acquisitions: The 49ers traded for Anquan Boldin; the Seahawks traded for Percy Harvin. Those franchises kept battling each other for talent until they met in the NFC title game.
Over the first two days of the draft, the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams appear to have entered that fray. The Cardinals felt they needed their version of Kam Chancellor, so they drafted Washington State safety Deone Bucannon to blow up pass-catchers. The Cardinals also got a good tight end (Notre Dame's Troy Niklas), defensive end Kareem Martin and speedy wide receiver John Brown, who ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at the combine.
But the Rams might be having the best draft of them all. When they grabbed Aaron Donald in the first round, I felt like calling coach Jeff Fisher and asking him if they were benching Merlin Olsen and Lamar Lundy, two members of the Fearsome Foursome.The Rams have four first-rounders on their defensive line -- Chris Long and Robert Quinn at defensive end with Michael Brockers and Donald in the middle. It's the modern-day Fearsome Foursome. The Rams' backup line of William Hayes, Eugene Sims, Kendall Langford and Alex Carrington is better than the Dallas Cowboys starting defensive line. The Rams didn't stop there. In the second round, they drafted tough slot cornerback Lamarcus Joyner to replace Cortland Finnegan. In the third, they added one of the most talented running backs in the draft, Tre Mason. In the draft that could put the Rams over the top, they compiled a fearsome defensive line, added Greg Robinson at left guard and two key role players.
The 49ers wanted their version of Tyrann Mathieu and got him in Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward in the first round. He's the Niners' "Honey Badger" and will play some safety and slot corner. Before the start of the draft, the 49ers traded for Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson. The 49ers were the big players Friday with five picks in the second day, along with the addition of Johnson for a fourth-rounder next year. The 49ers made four trades Friday night and loaded up with quality players -- halfback Carlos Hyde, potential starting center Marcus Martin and inside linebacker Chris Borland. Another interesting choice was guard Brandon Thomas, a top guard prospect who blew out a knee in a pre-draft workout. The Seahawks kept swapping back and now have six picks in the final four rounds -- in which they flourish.
2. "Draft Day," the Cleveland Browns reality show: Browns general manager Ray Farmer proved Thursday night he's no Kevin Costner, star of "Draft Day." Costner made two big draft-day trades, battled with his owner, fought with the Browns' cap expert, who was the woman he was dating, and bantered with his head coach.
Farmer made the boldest moves Thursday to maneuver to get cornerback Justin Gilbert, quarterback Johnny Manziel and first-round and fourth-round picks in 2015. But Friday was like a version of "24" with no Jack Bauer coming to the rescue.
ESPN.com reported wide receiver Josh Gordon could be facing a one-year suspension and wide receiver Nate Burleson suffered a second forearm fracture in less than a year. With reports circulating that the owner and the general manager knew of the possible Gordon suspension, questions surfaced why the Browns didn't address the receiver position. Without Gordon in the first two games last season, Brandon Weeden was destined for a slow start and his eventual benching. Brian Hoyer or Manziel could be heading down a similar path if Farmer doesn't come up with some receiving help. They drafted guard Joel Bitonio, linebacker Chris Kirksey and small-college running back Terrance West.
The hope offered Thursday turned negative Friday, but the Browns reality show always remains interesting.
3. The 2014 quarterback class was clearly overhyped: Most experts thought the draft offered some quality at the quarterback position. Only three quarterbacks went in the first round. The thought was Day 2 would be good for quarterbacks. It was a disaster.
First, Derek Carr of Fresno State had to sit for a day knowing the Houston Texans had the first chance to draft him but wouldn't. The franchise had too many bad memories with his brother, David. Carr found a happy home in Oakland four picks into the second round, but the rest of the quarterback class got ignored. Sure, Jimmy Garoppolo was honored to be the second-round choice of the New England Patriots, but he joins Ryan Mallett in an NFL witness protection program. Tom Brady is the starter. The backup serves four seasons without playing time. That was it for quarterbacks on Day 2. AJ McCarron was ignored. So was Zach Mettenberger. So was Aaron Murray. So was supposed rising star Tom Savage.
That wasn't the buzz going into the draft.
4. Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien isn't panicked about the quarterback position: Instead of taking a quarterback, the Texans drafted guard Xavier Su'a-Filo, tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz and nose tackle Louis Nix III on Friday night. The Texans plan to draft a quarterback Saturday, but is that quarterback going to be good enough? At the moment, the Texans have only Ryan Fitzpatrick and last season's backups.
"Again, we have talked about this before from the standpoint that we have done a lot of work on the quarterbacks throughout the process because it is a position ... we'd like to be able to draft quarterbacks and develop young quarterbacks," general manager Rick Smith said. "That is certainly something that we want to do, but we will always do that obviously with corresponding value, and so if there is an opportunity for us to do that [Saturday], then we will certainly entertain that."
The work has yet to result in a quarterback.
5. Chip Kelly found his potential replacements for DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant: Despite having Jeremy Maclin coming off ACL surgery, Kelly elected to rid the offense of Jackson and Avant. Jackson was an exciting No. 1 receiver. Avant has been a dependable slot receiver for years.
Day 2 gave Philadelphia Eagles fans their replacements -- Jordan Matthews and former Oregon receiver Josh Huff. By drafting one of his former Oregon receivers, it's pretty clear Kelly believes his system is good enough to survive the loss of a star such as Jackson. Kelly said his offense sees so much man coverage that he wants bigger receivers. Matthews is 6-foot-3, 212 pounds. Huff is a little under 6-foot, but he's physical and knows Kelly's system from Oregon.
On paper, the Eagles' pass offense might not be as talented as it was with Jackson and Avant. Kelly now has Riley Cooper, Maclin, Matthews and Huff. System over players. Kelly has made his moves, and we'll see how they work out.