Without fail, the NFL draft produces a few head-scratchers in each round. It could be a team taking a player at a position where it doesn't have a need or simply a club reaching for somebody who should have been picked a little later in the draft. Then, of course, there are the out-of-nowhere picks that draw puzzled looks from analysts.
Here are five of the more curious 2014 NFL Draft decisions:
Miami selects James No. 19 overall
The Dolphins needed offensive line help and just about everybody pegged them as a landing spot for Notre Dame offensive tackle Zack Martin, if he fell, or Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio. Instead they went with Ja'Wuan James, who most agree was a massive reach for the first round. Buzz was building since James' pro day, but there are enough questions about his abilities, and it's hard to view this pick as anything other than a gigantic reach by Miami. The team clearly likes what James brings to the table, but it could have landed him in the second round and added a front-line starter in another area in the first.
Titans draft Lewan
On the surface, adding Taylor Lewan, one of the top three offensive tackles in the draft, seems like a good pick. That would ignore the fact that the Titans have Michael Roos at one tackle spot and just gave a bunch of money to Michael Oher to man the other. Lewan doesn't seem like a guy who can easily kick inside, so taking him at No. 11 was a bit of a head-scratcher. Given that the team had its pick of any cornerback or safety in the draft at that point (outside of Justin Gilbert), you wonder about it's thinking. Yes, we can't fault them for boosting depth on the line, but it does make you wonder if they'd like to take back that free-agent deal with Oher.
Ealy falls ... and the Panthers pounce
Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy was considered a first-round talent and one of the better pass rushers in the draft. Carolina, of course, has plenty of defensive linemen and Ealy will be stuck behind Greg Hardy (although Hardy might face discipline following an arrest) and Charles Johnson going forward. Given all the help Cam Newton needs on the offensive line, it is a little interesting general manager Dave Gettleman went "best player available" instead of addressing the huge issue they have on the offensive line.
Cowboys trade up for Lawrence
Congrats to Jerry Jones and company for passing on the Johnny Manziel circus, but they do lose some of that goodwill by spending so much to get Demarcus Lawrence. It's clear they really wanted the pass rusher, but giving up a third-rounder to move up a few spots given all the holes on the roster seems to be a bit much. The team already said it would have taken Ealy if it sat tight, and its third-round pick could have netted Dallas a safety like Terrence Brooks (who went to the Ravens a pick behind where the Cowboys would have drafted). Yes, they have to replace DeMarcus Ware, but Ealy and somebody like Brooks would have been a better use of resources than reaching for Lawrence.
Cardinals take QB Thomas in Round 4
The members of the second tier of quarterbacks in the draft were all considered to be closely grouped, but few had Logan Thomas in that tier of signal-callers. The physical talent Thomas has is undeniable, and it's hard for some coaches to look at the 6-foot-6, 248-pound quarterback with a strong arm and not like what they see. But if you put on the tape, you see a very inconsistent player. You rarely see prospects with so many flaws get picked in the fourth round. The Cardinals are built to win now and could have added some depth at other spots before getting an heir to Carson Palmer. Perhaps head coach Bruce Arians sees a lot of Ben Roethlisberger in Thomas, but this was a very interesting pick by somebody who spent a lot of time around a good decision-maker like Peyton Manning early in Manning's career.
Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.