2014 NFL Draft Prospects

2014 NFL Rookies Who Already Look Like Draft Steals

Look at the roster of the NFL’s defending champion Seattle Seahawks, and you’ll find no shortage of draft steals. From quarterback Russell Wilson and cornerback Richard Sherman to safety Kam Chancellor and linebacker Malcolm Smith, Seattle built the foundation for its success by finding studs with selections in the middle and late rounds.

Therefore, it should surprise absolutely no one if a hidden gem arises immediately from the team’s 2014 draft class, and that diamond in the rough might end up being Cassius Marsh.

“If the offseason workouts were an indication, the Seahawks might have hit on fourth-round pick Cassius Marsh,” Bleacher Report’s Dan Pompei wrote last week on the No. 108 overall choice out of UCLA.

A versatile defensive lineman who played multiple spots for the Bruins, Marsh is reportedly being viewed as a 5-technique defensive end in the Seahawks base defense and as a 3-technique defensive tackle for nickel packages, according to Pompei.

Among those impressed by Marsh, ESPN.com’s Terry Blount said last week that the defensive lineman, despite being among the players who were barred from participating in OTAs due to the NFL’s rule for rookies whose colleges are still in session, “made a big impression” and was “fast off the edge” in minicamp.

Seattle’s defensive line, which thrives in part because of its varying looks and multitude of elements, can take advantage right away of the skill set of a player like Marsh. Reportedly up to 265 pounds, according to Pompei, Marsh is an unspectacular athlete, but he wins with functional strength, active hands and a high motor.

The depth chart behind starting defensive ends Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril should be wide open for competition, and with a need for players to rotate in up front, Marsh could end up in a key role off the bench in 2014.

How Different Draft Decisions Would Alter Lions

The Detroit Lions are perfectly happy with their 2014 NFL draft class after two months. The franchise is excited about what impact guys like Eric Ebron can make.

In fact, the rookies themselves have already formed quite the tight bond, as noted by Pride of Detroit. There is great promise with the class, and Lions fans should be quite excited about the potential.

But sometimes it’s fun to think about an alternate world, the proverbial path not taken.

My kids’ favorite TV show is Wild Kratts, where the animal explorers jump into “what if” land and explore the possibilities of being in an alternate world. It’s creative and informative, and it allows the mind to contemplate different scenarios.

What if general manager Martin Mayhew, head coach Jim Caldwell and the Lions had made different choices in May’s draft? How would those changes alter the subsequent picks, and what impact upon the roster would they have?

Jameis Winston buys NFL draft insurance policy

Jameis Winston, Florida State’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, would have been a first-round pick this year if not for the NFL rule requiring players to wait at least three years after high school to enter the draft. And once he’s eligible to enter the draft, he’s expected to be a very high pick, perhaps the first overall pick — as long as he stays healthy.

If Winston doesn’t get healthy, and doesn’t go in the first round of the draft as a result, he can cash in on an insurance policy worth $8-$10 million.

That’s the word from Yahoo Sports, which reports that Winston has purchased a disability and loss of value policy that would pay him millions if he were to fall out of the first round because of injury or illness.

That gives Winston a great deal of security, although it doesn’t assure him millions: If Winston falls in the draft because of poor play, or because he gets in more off-field trouble, he would not collect on the policy. The policy only covers Winston if injury or illness causes his draft stock to drop.

Winston and his father have both said that he plans to play two more years at Florida State, but realistically, that seems unlikely. The fact that Winston has purchased the insurance shows that he’s already thinking about the risks associated with spending another year at the amateur level, and the reported $55,000 to $60,000 cost of the policy is substantial to an amateur athlete. Expect this to be Winston’s last year of having to worry about getting injured while playing for free.

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