As expected, we didn't hear the name of former Ole Miss wide receiver Donte Moncrief called during the opening round of the 2014 NFL Draft on Thursday night. That should change on Friday, as most experts have the Rebels' top prospect coming off the board in the second or third round.
Pretty much any other year, Moncrief would be considered a sure-fire second rounder, if not a fringe first rounder. But thanks to the absurd depth of this year's wideout class, he could potentially drop to Round 3 on Friday. SB Nation rated him as the 10th best receiver prospect in their final class rankings. The good news for Moncrief is that five of the nine men standing in front of him on that list are already off the board:
- Sammy Watkins - No. 4 to Buffalo
- Mike Evans - No. 7 to Tampa Bay
- Odell Beckham Jr. - No. 12 to New York Giants
- Brandin Cooks - No. 20 to New Orleans
- Kelvin Benjamin - No. 28 to Carolina
This may come as disappointing news to you Giants and Saints fans that were hoping to see Moncrief on your respective clubs next season. The good news for NFL Rebel fans is that Eli Manning gets a fancy new toy in Beckham, the LSU burner. That won't help him stay upright (I was hoping for an offensive lineman), but I'm getting off topic.
What WRs are still out there?
The bad news for Moncrief is that there's still a crowd sitting above him. SBN lists four wideouts above Moncrief in their Day 2 best available: USC's Marqise Lee, Vandy's Jordan Matthews, LSU's Jarvis Landry and Fresno State's Davante Adams (Moncrief is listed No. 57 overall on that list).
Matthews is arguably the biggest roadblock for Moncrief at this point because of his similarity in style. A team may reach back for Moncrief over a guy like Landry, who has speed concerns, if they think Moncrief is a better fit for their particular needs. But anybody looking for a big, physical possession receiver may be more inclined to go with Matthews.
Who still needs a WR?
One team likely to go with a wideout in Round 2 is the Jets (No. 49 overall), who need to keep surrounding Geno Smith with weapons after going defense in Round 1. SBN's Dan Kadar had Moncrief landing in New York earlier this week, but he has Matthews getting picked there instead in his updated second round mock. The Jets have the 17th pick of the second round, so if somebody were to swipe Matthews before then, they become a realistic landing spot for Moncrief. Kadar currently has Moncrief falling into the third round.
Among other teams that could look for a receiver in Round 2 are the Oakland Raiders (No. 36 overall), St. Louis Rams (No. 44 overall), Philadelphia Eagles (No. 54),
San Francisco 49ers (No. 56 overall), Denver Broncos (No. 63 overall) and Seattle Seahawks (No. 64 overall).
UPDATE: The Niners acquired Steve Johnson in a trade with the Bills on Friday, so they're out of the hunt.
So where does he go?
Round 3 seems like the most likely landing place at this point for Moncrief. But if teams at the top of Round 2 like Oakland and St. Louis go receiver, that could spark a run on wideouts and force the hand of some of the clubs toward the bottom of the round. The Broncos lost Eric Decker to free agency and the contracts of Wes Welker and Demaryius Thomas expire in 2015. How does Manning to Moncrief sound?
Prediction: Moncrief goes to Denver with the 31st pick of Round 2