VANDY POST DRAFT THOUGHTS

After what seemed like four and a half months of men talking about other men like they were racehorses the 2014 NFL Draft has come and gone. Now then it is time to instantly judge all the players drafted (sorry Texas) and decide after about five minutes of analysis (and no game time) who will carve out an early 90's Cowboys like dynasty, and who will continue to be the Cleveland Browns.

Here though we can take a step back from all that madness and take a look at the draft from a Commodore perspective.

With the success that the ‘Dores have had on the field recently it was important that it translated to success in this draft. While players will often say otherwise, it is always the goal of the top recruits to play their way through college and land with a deal to play on Sundays. If those players are seeing this unprecedented run of success by Vandy translate into a shutout in the draft (again, sorry Texas) then they are far less likely to come to Nashville.

To this end I was both pleased and disappointed in the draft this year. I knew it was a long shot with the way the draft was playing out, but it would have been huge for the ‘Dores if Jordan Matthews had landed at the back end of the first round instead of a third of the way through the second. On the plus side for him, he is going into a Philadelphia Eagles scheme which made a star out of Riley Cooper last year. Anyone who has seen Matthews play knows that he is immeasurably better than Cooper in every aspect of the position and his speed, blocking ability, and sheer receiving talent could make him a break out player from this draft.

Both Wesley Johnson (Steelers) and Andre Hal (Texans) were drafted in the late rounds and both have gone to places where they can succeed. Johnson will have the luxury of learning the scheme in Pittsburgh before working his way into the rotation, while Hal has the tools and ball skills to be installed immediately into the nickel or dime defensive packages in Houston. I would have loved to see Kenny Ladler drafted late too and become the fourth Commodore who was actually taken, but even he has found a great fit in Buffalo.

Trying to spot a break out player from the undrafted group is always tough, but you have to like the situation which Jonathan Krause is walking into in Cleveland. The Browns were weak at wide receiver last year outside of Josh Gordon, and it was announced over the weekend that Gordon is likely done for the year after another violation of the NFL substance abuse policy. In addition the Browns major free agent addition at the position, Nate Burleson, is out for the foreseeable future with a broken arm. This combination of factors creates ample playing time, especially in multiple receiver sets, and gives Krause a shot to show what he can do. This is certainly one to watch through the summer camps and drills.

All in all you have to be happy as a Vanderbilt fan with how the draft went. Three players were drafted, at least seven were picked up as undrafted free agents, and another handful will find their way into a mini camp or two at the NFL level. This is now a baseline for what the ‘Dores need to produce. Zac Stacy proved last year that all you need is an opportunity, hopefully some of the players listed above follow his example.

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