On Tuesday, the deadline for NFL teams to pick up the fifth-year options for first-round selections from the 2014 NFL draft. Twenty-three players have had their options picked up by their respective teams. Nine players have had their options declined by their respective teams. Those nine players will be unrestricted free agents in the 2018 offseason.
Here’s a refresher of Round One from the 2014 NFL Draft. Draft table provided courtesy of WikiPedia:
As you can see, quite a few stars were born in that draft class whom have become household names today. Odell Beckham Jr., Kahlil Mack, Jadaveon Clowney, Mike Evans, Ryan Shazier, Jason Verrett, Aaron Donald and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix headline the make-good stories from 2014. Suffice it to say those players have all had their options picked up by their respective teams.
This draft will also be known for being the year a brash, young gunslinger named Johnny Manziel was selected. Partying and flashing his signature ‘money’ finger gesture proved to be more important than showing up to practice and putting the needed work in to succeed.
Today, no one knows where he is and more sadly, no one cares. Manziel will forever be a bust and a cautionary tale to all first-round draft picks that just because you’ve been selected; it doesn’t mean you’ve made it. Listed below are the nine Class of 2014 players who will not be with their original teams once the 2017-2018 season comes to an end.
Greg Robinson, Sammy Watkins, Calvin Pryor, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Kyle Fuller, Marcus Smith, Dominique Easley and Justin Gilbert.
Who from this list, if anyone, would you like to see the Bolts pursue in 2018? Post your thoughts below.
The Greg One
The Chargers begin a brutal six-game stretch versus very formidable opponents. That run begins at Qualcomm this Sunday against the St. Louis Rams. Some may look at their 4-6 record and overlook the Jeff Fisher-led team. I can assure you, that is a big mistake.
The Rams are coming off a victory where they dismantled the Denver Broncos by a score of 22-7. There last three wins have come against the Broncos, 49ers and Seahawks. Needless to say, St. Louis is capable of beating any team in the NFL.
Let’s start by looking at the Ram offense by position group and which players stand out.
After replacing Austin Davis, journeyman signal caller Shaun Hill came in and led his team to a victory over Denver. Hill has played for 4 different teams throughout his 13 years in the league. Considered to be a game manager of sorts, Hill isn’t going to set any records but he can do just enough to not be a detriment to his squad. The Chargers must put pressure on him and force him into making mistakes due to a fierce pass rush.
Coming into the 2014 season, hopes were high for Zac Stacy. He flashed some ability in 2013 and almost reached the 1,000 yard mark. This season has been a different story. He has been a bit ineffective and the Rams now employ the running back by committee approach. Bennie Cunningham is one of the backs that has seen his share of carries. He leads the team with three rushing scores. The ball carrier to keep an eye on is Tre Mason. The rookie runner, formerly of Auburn, has started to receive a lot of touches and he leads the squad in carries. He has been picking up steam and the team is starting to believe in him more and more.
The Rams have 2 wide receivers and 2 tight ends that are noteworthy players and strong contributors in one way or another. When looking at the wide receivers, they have Kenny Britt. He is a tall, big-bodied wideout with good speed for his size. Britt is revitalizing his career after burning out in Tennessee. He may only have 25 receptions, but he is averaging 17.6 yards per catch. The other receiver worth mentioning is Tavon Austin. It could be said that Austin is suffering from a sophomore slump. He proved to be an electric player last year as the season wore on. He is a threat to score from anywhere on the field. He has not seen much success this year in the explosive play department. Don’t let that fool and the Charger defense must have a gameplay to stop him from breaking the big one.
The leading receptions leader in St. Louis is starting tight end Jared Cook. Though he only has one touchdown, his 34 catches have been good for 446 yards. His is a big, athletic guy with great speed for his position. The other tight end is Lance Kendricks. He only has 21 receptions, but with a team-leading 4 touchdowns, he is scoring on almost 20% of those catches.
St. Louis used the second overall pick in this year’s draft on left tackle Greg Robinson. Ironically, he was college teammates with Tre Mason at Auburn. Robinson is a solid player already. He is only going to get better as he hones his craft. The San Diego pass rush will be left when facing him. He really stands out on tape, but he can be taken advantage of by rushers with multiple pass rush moves in their arsenal. Left guard Rodger Saffold is a big dude. He is much more suited to play his current position than when he was formerly a tackle. The fact that he plays next to Robinson only helps him out. There is a lot of beef on the Ram O-line.
In closing, the St. Louis Ram offense has not looked overwhelming when checking out the boxscore. But it does have the potential to burn opposing defenses in multiple ways. Getting pressure on Shaun Hill and making him second-guess himself during passing situations is paramount. John Pagano must be creative and the Charger third-down defense must play like they did against Oakland last week.
Tomorrow I’ll be writing about the St. Louis defense. Now that is where the major concern should be regarding Sunday’s matchup with the Rams.
Stay tuned to BoltBlitz.com and thanks a lot for reading.
Despite what many of us would consider to be a difficult time – waiting this long for the draft to occur, that is – we are less than a week from the NFL’s premiere offseason activity. The cattle call that is the NFL draft will be taking place before you know it. I’ll be in New York City in the blink of an eye. I’m on a plane as we speak, heading to Charlotte to see my amazing children. Then it’s time to take over NYC and the NFL draft. ( Editor’s Note: I began writing this on 5/3)
This is a big year for the Chargers and Tom Telesco. After having what many of us consider to be a solid 2013 draft class, the hope is to replicate last year’s success. Telesco nailed three potential first rounders in the first three rounds of the draft in his first go-around as an NFL GM. Perhaps, the expectation level increases knowing that a player like Stevie Williams, a fifth-round selection, has yet to play in a regular season game. Tourek Williams made the occasional play as well, despite being a sixth round pick. Additionally, Brad Sorensen managed to stay on the ’13 roster as the third quarterback. That could say a lot about what the team has in mind for the former Southern Utah signal caller.
I find it safe to say that the 2013 draft was a success. And, I think that most people in here would agree. But does that put even more pressure on Telesco to trump his rookie attempt at building the team through the draft? Sure, I can get behind that kind of thinking.
Odell Beckham, WR, LSU
Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois
Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Marcus Martin, C, USC
Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
The NFL did a great job, in my opinion, of mixing up the prospects. So, the question remains, and I’ll leave it to you, is the next Charger going to be an invitee to Radio City Music Hall? Popular mock draft choices landing in America’s finest city such as Louis Nix III and Kyle Van Noy were not invited ( That is according to the above list which is credited to NFL.com).
Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.