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NFL Draft proof it's a passing league now

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The second round of the NFL College draft on Friday night at Radio City Music Hall in New York saw another run on wide receivers and a little movement with the running backs position, proving that it’s a passing league and the guys who catch the ball were indeed the most talented this year.

Before the second round began the Bills traded receiver Stevie Johnson to San Francisco for a conditional fourth round pick in 2015. That pick could turn into a third round selection. The Bills made Johnson obsolete by taking game breaking receiver Sammy Watkins in the first round.

Southern Cal’s Marqise Lee, one of the top rated receivers in the draft, was a steal for Jacksonville when he was selected with the 39th pick. He had been projected as a first round pick. He may have been hurt by the problems that the team went through last season. But he’ll be a major boost to the Jaguars, who had one of the lowest scoring offenses in the NFL last season.

The Jaguars came back later in the round and selected receiver Allen Robinson from Penn State with the No. 61 pick. There were 12 receivers taken in the first two rounds of the draft – the most in recent history of the draft - demonstrating the depth of talent at the position this year.

The Eagles selected Jordan Matthews, a 6-3, 212 pound wide receiver from Vanderbilt, with the No. 42 pick. He’s no DeSean Jackson, but Matthews is the cousin of Jerry Rice, the Hall of Famer who played in San Francisco. Matthews gives quarterback Nick Foles a huge target.

Colorado’s Paul Richardson, one of the smallest wide receivers in the draft at 6-feet, 173 pounds, went to Seattle with the No. 45 pick. He ran the third fastest time at the NFL Combine. And as if Peyton Manning needed another big target, the Broncos selected Indiana receiver Cody Latimer with the No. 56 pick.

Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr, who had been projected as a possible first round pick, went early in the second round when the Raiders selected him with the No. 36 pick. Carr is the brother of David Carr, who was a first round pick by Houston and was back up to Eli Manning in New York the last few years. The Raiders traded for Matt Schaub, the former Texans quarterback, during the offseason. How long Carr has to sit before he gets a shot is the question swirling around Oakland right now.

The Patriots took the next quarterback in the draft, selecting Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois with the No. 62 pick. It was the highest draft pick New England had used on a quarterback since Tom Brady has taken over as starter. Is Garoppolo the future in New England?

When the Falcons selected defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman of Minnesota with the No. 37 pick it became the latest in the history of the draft that no running back had been selected. Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde was the best rusher in the draft, according to many experts. But he was left playing the same waiting game that Manziel played in the first round. As the NFL has evolved into a passing league the value of the running back has taken a hit.

When a running back was taken it wasn’t Hyde. Tennessee took Bishop Sankey of Washington with the No. 54 pick. Sankey will help take some of the sting out of the Titans losing Chris Johnson, who went to the Jets. Sankey is a good pass catcher out of the backfield, which works nicely with the new pass-happy NFL. He’s also a workhorse, having carried the ball 616 times in the last two years.

Then the Bengals followed that pick by selecting LSU running back Jeremy Hill, a 5-8, 233 pound bruiser, with the No. 55 pick. The Niners ended Hyde’s misery by taking him with the No. 57 pick. It’s a great spot for Hyde, a big, physical runner, because he will be joining a championship-ready team.

The Giants went for an offensive lineman with their first pick in the second round, taking Colorado State center Weston Richburg with the 43rd pick. That should help them to stabilize the middle of that line, which had major problems with injuries and shuffling last season.

Cyrus Kouandjio became the first Alabama offensive lineman taken in the 2014 draft, going to Buffalo with the No. 44 pick. He’s a 6-7, 320 pound tackle who has great potential, but will need some development to reach it. Bills quarterbacks were sacked 33 times, so they can use the help on the line.

The Steelers, who selected linebacker Ryan Shazier in the first round, stuck with defense in the second round, taking Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame defensive tackle, with the No. 46 pick.

The Redskins might have reached when they took Stanford defensive Trent Murphy with the No. 47 pick. A lot of draft experts thought Murphy was a fourth round pick at best. Some draft experts thought the Bears might have reached by taking LSU defensive tackle Ego Ferguson with the No. 52 pick. Just like Murphy, Ferguson was projected by many to go in the fourth round.

Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, who reportedly failed the drug test at the NFL Combine for having a “diluted sample,’’ was selected by the Baltimore with the No. 48 pick. Exactly how the NFL will deal with that situation is up in the air.

The Jets went for help on offense in the second round by taking Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro, who is a good route runner, with the No. 49 pick. Even though he’s not a blocker, Amaro can provide quarterback Geno Smith with another dependable offensive weapon as a pass catcher down the middle of the field.

The Colts did not have a first round pick, having traded it to Cleveland for running back Trent Richardson last year. The Browns used that pick to select Manziel. The Colts first pick in the draft came at No. 59 and they selected Jack Mewhort, an offensive tackle from Ohio State.

Topics:
NFL
NFL Draft
Jacksonville Jaguars
Peyton Manning
Tom Brady
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