I’m gonna keep rolling with my blog while it is new and interesting, and next up I’m gonna go over my top 5/bottom 5 teams in the draft. Rather than do impossible draft grades that have no meaning until we see these players on the field, I’m just going to talk about the 6 teams whom I most liked what they were doing with the draft. (this isn’t counting the Eagles who had the best draft of anyone)
I’m going to start with a team that took possibly the biggest risks in the draft, the Clevland Browns. Mike Holmgren and company could end up looking like the won the lottery a few years down the road, or they could all be out of jobs when in 3 years, half of this draft class is no longer in the league. They managed to address starting QB, RB, OT and WR to one of the worst offenses in the league. Brandon Weeden, despite being older than you would prefer, should be an immediate upgrade over Colt McCoy. Trent Richardson can do it all from the running back position. Mitchell Schwartz should be able to pair with Joe Thomas right away and provide some long term consistency on the OL, (Ryan Miller provides depth there as well). Lastly Travis Benjamin adds a field stretching WR opposite lasts years possession receiver pick Greg Little. The underrated part of this draft is that the Browns also added solid depth at defensive tackle with Billy Winn and John Hughes, another pass rusher to add to the rotation in Emmanuel Acho and a potential starting LB in James-Michael Johnson. This draft will be judged entirely on the health and performance of Weeden and Richardson but considering their roster prior, could have produced 7-9 starters or key rotational players.
Another draft I loved overall was the Arizona Cardinals. Michael Floyd is the perfect compliment and prodigy for Fitz as they have similar builds and games. Floyd’s biggest positive for me is that he has the potential to be a lights out run blocker for a wide receiver. Arizona commited to rebuilding their offensive line by drafting Bobby Massie, Senio Kelemete and talented prospect Nate Potter. They also added depth to a thin secondary with one of my personal favorites Jamell Flemming (Boomer Sooner!) and small school Justin Bethel. With the way their quarterbacks have played post Kurt Warner, Ryan Lindley has a shot at seeing the field this season if he can get back to the form of his junior season.
Typically the Patriots trade down and down and stockpile picks. This year they cashed them in, trading up twice in the first round to add to their terrible defense from last season. Dont’a Hightower and Chandler Jones are immediate upgrades at 2 of the linebacker spots and Jake Bequette will compete for time as a pass rusher at OLB as well. Belichick also added 3 defensive backs to a secondary that was absolutely devastated by injuries last season, and if Alfonzo Dennard stays out of jail, he was a major steal in the 7th round.
Pains me to say it as an Eagles fan but the Giants had a good draft as always. I will just have to bank on them all getting hurt again. If David Wilson can keep from fumbling, he is a homerun threat out of the backfield. Rueben Randle is big and talented and will allow Victor Cruz to stay in the slot and run wild. Jayron Hosley is a ball hawk and a couple years down the road I can see him paired with Prince Amukamara as an elite cornerback tandem. Depth along both lines and a TE that fits their scheme perfectly. The Giants are great at matching need with the best available player and always come out of the draft looking good.
The Houston Texans looked to be a healthy quarterback away from a deep run last season and this draft only makes the team more imtimidating to play against. After having a top defense without Mario Williams, they let him walk in free agency and bring in Whitney Mercilus to develop in his place. They address the offensive line with 2 potential starters down the road in Brandon Brooks and Ben Jones. DeVier Posey has the potential to be a legit #2 to Andre Johnson and Keshawn Martin is a perfect fit for the slot role and should have no problem taking over for Jacoby Jones. Jared Crick was hurt as a senior and didn’t contribute much but should be solid in the defensive line rotation for Houston. Some depth in the secondary would have put them over the top.
Finally, my favorite draft (outside of Philly). The Baltimore Ravens. Courtney Upshaw is a perfect fit and a steal at pick 35. His game is very similar to the man he replaces in Jarrett Johnson. The Ravens add 2 guards to bolster the interior line, two talented small school defensive backs to add depth and a run stuffing defensive linemen. Bernard Pierce is a big power back who is perfect to spell the small, shift Ray Rice and what Tommy Streeter lacks in experience, he makes up for in measurables. You can’t find 6’5″ wide receivers with 4.40 speed just anywhere, especially not ones that come from Miami and only cost a 6th round pick. If the Ravens can get 2 more years out of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, and Joe Flacco and the offense can admit their strengths and weaknesses and play to them, they can send them out with another ring.