With the Bengals, Chiefs, Eagles and Packers exiting the post season, the 2014 draft order is now confirmed from picks 1-24.
A dramatic weekend also raised a number of questions for the teams involved.
Andy Dalton had another playoff horror show against San Diego — enduring a second half meltdown to turn the ball over three times. He’s now 0-3 in the post season.
The Bengals have an uber talented team with pretty much everything you’d want in a contender. Great defense, elite playmakers on offense, good offensive line.
They could be better at corner — and wasted a pick on the overrated Dre Kirkpatrick in 2012. But that’s not holding them back.
Seattle dodged a bullet in 2011 if you believe the rumours that John Schneider had a lot of interest in drafting him at #25, only to be overruled by Pete Carroll.
He has purple patches in a season — but they’re usually followed by calamitous reality checks.
Today should be the biggest reality check of them all. Dalton isn’t good enough to lead the Bengals to the Championship they’re capable of winning.
Really they should be looking for an alternative in the 2014 draft. This is the final year of his rookie deal — and you really don’t want to be paying him an inflated contract right now. Draft a little competition for him in round 2/3 and let him fight for a future. Hey, I’d consider taking a quarterback in round one if the right player was there.
I doubt it even gets considered. The Bengals ownership give off a satisfied vibe. Contending is enough, as long as they make a profit. They never push the boat out. Today actually gives them some leverage to low-ball Dalton and tie him up for another 3-4 years.
If that happens, Cincinnati will always be nearly men. Expect them to target a cornerback at #24 like Justin Gilbert or Darqueze Dennard.
The Chiefs face a slightly different conundrum.
Alex Smith is solid if unspectacular and he can lead an offense. But he’s also approaching 30 and due another contract after the 2014 season.
Is it time for Kansas City to plan ahead? Or do they re-sign Smith now and make him their guy for the next few years?
They have enough talent across the board to be really competitive as we’ve seen this season. But they’re also in a window and fighting in a division that contains Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers.
I don’t think they’ll use the #23 pick on a QB this year, but it might be worth adding one in the middle rounds so there’s some long term thinking in place. I can definitely see them looking at a tight end in round one — such as Eric Ebron, Austin Seferian-Jenkins or Jace Amaro.
The Eagles just need to concentrate on their defense. There’s too many stop gaps across the board.
Whether it’s a pass rusher off the edge, a corner or a safety — the Eagles have to go defense at #22. I like Virginia defensive end/tackle Brent Urban as an under-the-radar option for Philly. Chip Kelly loves length and athleticism on defense and Urban ticks all the right boxes. They really need to find a safety from somewhere, though.
Green Bay fans probably wish they could draft a new defensive coordinator.
While Aaron Rodgers could use better protection and maybe another receiver — the Packers need to take some of the strain off Rodgers and the offense.
Getting some speed at linebacker and safety would be a major help. But it’ll all go to waste if they keep Dom Caper’s outdated schemes.
C.J. Mosley would be a great choice for the Pack if he’s around at #21.
The Seahawks cannot pick any higher than #28 overall. Even if both Seattle and Denver lose next week, the Broncos get the #27 selection due to an easier strength of schedule.
There were also some interesting declarations today. Blake Bortles (QB, UFC) is turning pro, along with Oregon wide out De’Anthony Thomas. Sammy Watkins made it official today and tight end Jace Amaro is heading for the NFL.
We’re going to see more and more underclassmen turning pro due to the new CBA. It’s become a race to get a second contract, because the rookie deals are nowhere near what they used to be. The sooner you get started, the sooner you get paid.
More talent entering the draft helps the Seahawks, of course, given they’ll be drafting so late in each round.
So here’s what the first frame looks like so far:
1. Houston Texans
2. St. Louis Rams (via Washington)
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
4. Cleveland Browns
5. Oakland Raiders
6. Atlanta Falcons
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8. Minnesota Vikings
9. Buffalo Bills
10. Detroit Lions
11. Tennessee Titans
12. New York Giants
13. St. Louis Rams
14. Chicago Bears
15. Pittsburgh Steelers
16 or 17. Baltimore Ravens
16 or 17. Dallas Cowboys
18. New York Jets
19. Miami Dolphins
20. Arizona Cardinals
21. Green Bay Packers
22. Philadelphia Eagles
23. Kansas City Chiefs
24. Cincinnati Bengals