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.