Who Had the Best Draft?

With the 253rd pick of the NFL Draft chosen, let’s take a look at which team made the smartest decisions and see who had the best draft.  I won’t go through every pick, but just teams who seemed to make some significant strides, along with the 1st three teams who picked in the draft.

The 1st pick of the draft was known before it was announced.  Andrew Luck, QB from Stanford, the best player in the draft…on paper.  Not to say he won’t be great, but with QBs it’s difficult to tell whether they will be great, and there are many examples of this.  With that being said, I think Andrew Luck will be a great player, and can potentially go down as one of the greats. It helps that he has his teammate, Coby Fleener drafted by the Colts in the 2nd round, to help him out.  Luck and Fleener have a few years under their belt together, so the chemistry is already there.  The Colts added another TE in the 3rd round with Dwayne Allen from Clemson.  Allen is a big explosive guy with nice hands.  He isn’t the greatest blocker, but I don’t think he’ll be blocking much.  The 2 Tight End sets are becoming pretty popular, and Luck actually ran a few 2 TE sets at Stanford, so this should be familiar to him.

I like what the Colts did with their 1st three picks allowing Luck to have one of his teammates and giving him another nice target in the middle of the field.

The Redskins picked Robert Griffin III with the 2nd pick of the draft.  This was a vital need for the Skins who couldn’t work with their QB’s at the time in John Beck and Rex “Mr. Hyde” Grossman.  At one point I wasn’t really a fan of RGIII being picked at #2, but he’s grown on me.  More so because I have faith in Shanahan, and seeing Cam Newton come in and strive, I feel RGIII could do the same thing.  If not, fuck it, let’s draft Kirk Cousins as a backup.  If RGIII does fail, I feel like this pick will be a great safety net for them.  Cousins makes smart plays, he just doesn’t show that he has that winning mentality.  Watching MSU games you could see that late in the 4th, but if anybody can groom this kid, I’d say it’d be Shanahan.  The other picks from the Redskins may have had you scratching your head, but don’t discredit how Shanahan runs his offense.  He’s all about zone blocking, and those are the types of lineman he goes after.  Roy Helu may break 1,000 yards if that’s who Shan puts at RB.

The Skins had a nice draft and it seems like Shan is gonna be staying a while.  I can see them trying to take the NFC East back in a few years.

The 3rd pick of the draft was Trent Richardson, taken by the Browns.  Trent is a small bulldozer from Bama and has what it takes to be great at the next level.  He’s literally dragged guys 3-5 extra yards to get a 1st down or a touchdown.  I feel like he’s going to be a great back at the next level.  He gets compared to AP, which is hard to do seeing how AP’s rookie season went.  I don’t see Trent doing that well, but I do see him being an elite back in a few years.  The Browns surprised some by taking Brandon Weeden with the 22nd pick of the first round.  Weeden was a great QB at Oklahoma State, but his age didn’t put him in the 1st round category.  The Browns didn’t care and drafted him anyway.  They probably could’ve picked him up later, but I guess they didn’t want to take any chances.  They also drafted Travis Benjamin out of Miami.  He’s a smaller guy at 5’10”, but he has the speed to be a decent slot receiver and could be a nice fit for Weeden(or McCoy).

The Browns had a lot of rebuilding to do, and I don’t think they were able to do it all this draft.  Especially being in the AFC North, where just about every team had a great draft and every team has a chance to make it to the playoffs.  Down the line this draft will help the Browns, but unless Trent Richardson gets 1,200 yards, I don’t see the Browns in the playoffs this year.

I didn’t like the Dolphins draft until they picked Lamar Miller in the 4th round.  Sorry, don’t know enough about Tannehill, except for the fact that he only started 20 games at QB in college, and that just isn’t enough to be taken at #8 to me.  But as the draft panned out, some of the Dolphins picks actually look good.  If Tannehill comes in and plays like he’s supposed to, this could be one of the Dolphins best drafts yet.  It helps that they drafted Michael Egnew from MIzzou.  At Mizzou there’s only one rule:  Pass.  Egnew played more of a receiving role, and that’s exactly what he’s gonna do in Miami.  B.J Cunningham from MSU was also a nice pickup for a 6th round pick.  He has nice hands and was a great route runner at MSU.  Could easily come in and play a slot position for the Dolphins.  Another player they drafted was Johnathan Martin from Stanford.  A great lineman who could come in and start later in the season.  Good investment to protect their 1st rounder.

I like the Dolphins draft this year, but there’s only one downside:  If Tannehill isn’t the guy you want him to be, then this was a wasted draft.  They’ve tried for years to replace Marino, and nothing seems to help.  The only way to replace Marino is to win a Super Bowl.  That’s a lot of pressure to have, especially being a 1st round pick too.

The Bills draft seemed to be coming together when they got to pick Cordy Glenn in the 2nd round.  Cordy dominated some of the best edge rushers at the Combine, and consistently played against top talent in the SEC.  They do have to play against the Jets and Patriots twice a year, so Oline is always a must.  When you play the Patriots twice a year, there’s no such thing as having too many good defensive backs.  That’s what the Bills are looking for in their 1st pick, Stephon Gilmore.  Gilmore is a great cover man with nice speed who has what it takes to be a great corner in the NFL.  They picked another DB with a 4th round pick in Ron Brooks from LSU.  He’s a small guy so I don’t see him being able to consistently battle with some of the bigger receivers, but he would do best as a dime back. With their acquisition of Mario Williams in the offseason, it’s hard to think that the Bills won’t be a better team next season.

I really liked the Bills draft this year.  Not only did they get one great lineman in Cordy Glenn, but they also got Zebrie Sanders from Florida State.  Sanders can fill in at either tackle spot as he did at FSU, and could see some early playing time this season.  I feel like they might be able to make a wildcard, but it all depends on the play of Fitzpatrick.

Next on the list is the Eagles who went straight defense with their 1st three picks and are looking to make a move for the NFC East’s top spot again.  Their 1st pick was Fletcher Cox, a DT from Mississippi State.  This guy can really play.  At 298 pounds, he’s going to come in and play a position that the Eagles have struggled to find.  He’s a serious player off the line of scrimmage and will make QBs eat turf.  Their 2nd pick was Mychal Kendricks, LB from Cal.  This guy is incredibly fast.  He is great at covering and can pursue some of the faster RBs due to his speed.  He has a good chance to move outside since they have Demeco Ryans.  Their 3rd pick was Vinny Curry from Marshall.  Another great pass rusher with great off the line speed.  Not the fastest player, but will be a great pass rusher for the Eagles.  If those weren’t enough, they picked up Brandon Boykin with their 5th pick, who’s a great DB from Georgia.  He’s small, so he’d probably play dime back, but he’s a great instinctual player who can stick with fast receivers.

The Eagles had a superb draft this year.  They’re offense is pretty good with all that speed they have.  They got a few offensive lineman to help out McCoy, and these defenders are just overwhelming.  I don’t know if the NFC East is ready for them or not.

The Bengals were another team who a standout draft.  Dre Kirkpatrick, Devon Still, Brandon Thompson, and George Iloka on defense all seem to have promising futures.  Kirkpatrick and Iloka in the secondary could prove deadly for their AFC North rivals.  Still and Thompson are both great picks when you have to play Ray Rice and the Ravens twice a year.  They both can take up space and get to the QB in the backfield.  On the offensive side of the ball, the Bengals picked up Mohamed Sanu,  Marvin Jones, and Kevin Zeitler.  Zeitler is gonna provide some nice protection for Dalton to allow him the time to make throws.  Sanu and Jones are going to make the passing attack of the Bengals better.  While Jerome Simpson’s front flip was amazing, Goodell is probably going to give him a 3-game suspension, so either of these guys could make an immediate impact.  Sanu is an underneath type guy.  He’s not used to taking deep routes and prefers 8-15 yard routes.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but don’t look to him to make the long ball play.  Jones is a guy with great hands, but his speed to get away from defensive backs isn’t the greatest.

I loved what the Bengals did this year.  They really have what it takes to sit atop the AFC North this year.  They basically drafted everything they needed and more.  They picked up some nice depth and could be one of the breakout teams of the season this year.

Patriots had the best 1st round of the draft and picked up a gem in the 7th round.  Their offense was one of the best offenses in the NFL, if not the best.  Their defense was horrible though, but they definitely addressed that with this draft.  Their 1st pick was Chandler Jones from Syracuse.  Jones is a great pass rusher and may play a hybrid in Belichick’s system.  Could come in and make immediate impact.  Their 2nd pick was the one that made me gasp.  Dont’a Hightower from Bama.  This guy is strong, agile, and explosive.  He can make plays and find the ball.  He’s a force to reckon with and I can see him being a playmaker in a few years.  In the 7th round, the Patriots took a risk and picked up Alfonzo Dennard from Nebraska.  He’s a great cornerback, considered to go by the 2nd round, but he punched a cop.  It was a risk, but if it pays off, Belichick may have another Super Bowl under his belt.

I really liked the Patriots draft, due to the talent they already have.  The powerhouses of the AFC all seemed to draft well this year, so it’ll still be a hard path to February, but the Patriots seem to have the best chance to make it there.

Speaking of AFC powerhouses, the Steelers had one of the most underrated drafts.  They stockpiled on their biggest need at offensive line, and got some of the best lineman in David DeCastro and Mike Adams.  Two of the best lineman in the draft  They also drafted Chris Rainey from Florida.  Rainey isn’t an every down guy, but damn is he fast.  He’s a small guy, but can catch the ball and is a great returner.  The Steelers also picked up a backup for Casey Hampton in Alameda Ta’amu.  Ta’amu is a big guy who can take up space just like Hampton did, but he may be too big and need to lose some weight to play effectively in the NFL.  They also drafted Sean Spence from Miami.  He’s an undersized LB, but he’s a great player.  Has the potential to be like London Fletcher for the Redskins.

The Steelers had a great draft and are trying to keep Ben safe enough to stay healthy and win another Super Bowl.

So who had the best draft?  I think the Eagles take that title.  With an explosive offense, they focused on defense and did a great job. They could take the title in the NFC East and make the Super Bowl in a few years with the talent they drafted.  Eagles have one of the most talented teams in the NFL, and even better for them is that it’s full of young players.  Andy Reid could be wearing a ring very soon if the organization keeps this up.

Any teams I missed?  Don’t feel a team deserved one of these spots?  Tell us in the comments!

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