Greeson: 49ers, Steelers, Rams had great drafts

Greeson: 49ers, Steelers, Rams had great drafts

May 13th, 2014 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

Former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray works out for NFL scouts during the Bulldogs' pro day last month. The Chiefs drafted him.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Now that the dust has settled from the NFL draft, what we know and what we believe are strikingly different things.

We know the NFL has never been more popular: Heck, the draft is a double-digit Nielsen winner.

We know the good teams from last year will be the good teams next year because one draft does not alter the course of an entire franchise. (Well, unless it is the 1974 Pittsburgh draft that landed Hall of Famers Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth and Mike Webster in rounds one, two, four and five, respectively.)

We know there will be a diamond in the third-day rough -- be it a Richard Sherman or a Tom Brady -- and that pick could likely define this draft for any franchise.

As for what we believe, well, there's loads of belief on the perspective and supposition of the future. We believe Aaron Murray could be the best pick in this draft. So could Titans sixth-rounder Zach Mettenberger.

We believe true grades are not available for at least three years.

We believe Michael Sam's ultimate NFL future will be determined by his ability to make plays rather than who he smooches.

We also believe the record-setting first round was dominated by the Johnny Football bid-ness and the rest of the draft was about teams building rosters and hoping to find gems.

Here's one draft aficionado's recap -- your views are welcomed, as always:

Best overall drafts:

• Love what San Francisco did. Loved it. Yes, the 49ers had the most picks and they were rumored to be looking to move up to get a big-name wide receiver. They did trade a conditional pick to Buffalo for Steve Johnson to help at wideout, and they drafted Bruce Ellington as a slot guy/playmaker and got great value getting him in round four. Look at it this way: The 49ers got a starter at safety, the best running back in the draft, a starter at center, arguably the nastiest defensive player (Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland), a high-ceiling pick in round five with Aaron Lynch and one of the top two fullbacks. The best roster in the league got better.

• Loved the Steelers' draft, too. A complete and thorough job, as someone who watched more than a little bit of the draft, every pick the Steelers made you said to yourself, "Man, that was a good pick." Really liked the Wesley Johnson and Daniel McCullers picks late in the draft. Both of those guys could be big-time contributors and landing those types of cats in rounds five and after is excellent. The Stephon Tuitt selection in round two could be the steal of the draft. If motivated, dude is a beast.

• Loved the Rams' draft. Check this overview: Landed the best offensive tackle in five years. Landed the best defensive tackle in the draft. Landed a legit difference maker in defensive back Lamarcus Joyner and got Tre Mason to boot. It's likely the Rams added four starters and maybe more. That's addressing need.

Biggest busts:

• Did not like the Titans' draft. First-round pick Taylor Lewan could be a fixture at tackle, but tackle was not an immediate need. Who decided Bishop Sankey over Carlos Hyde? Puzzling to say the least.

• Why the Patriots did not address wideout is anyone's guess. And drafting a guy who is their No. 3 QB in round two -- with Jarvis Landry going to a division rival with the next pick -- was especially questionable.

• The teams that fared the worst in our view were the teams that dealt No. 1 draft picks. The Colts improved the least this weekend after dealing their No. 1 for Trent Richardson last fall. Buffalo paid a huge price to move up and get Sammy Watkins, dealing next year's No. 1.

As for the rest, well, here's saying that Tiny Richardson and the rest of the underclassmen who went undrafted after declaring for the draft would like a mulligan.

Or maybe not.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com.