OAKLAND – I am Al Davis, the great and powerful! Bow before me foolish mortals! Some day somebody is going to write a book about this period in Oakland’s history, Managing Al. That’s what the Oakland organization is all about now. Minimizing the damage of their Jon Gruden firing, Darius Heyward Bey drafting owner wrecks on the football team he claims to love. He loves it as long as it looks and behaves the way he thinks it should. And to their credit, people in the Oakland organization (it’s probably best they remain anonymous, nothing pisses Al off more than his underlings getting more ink than he does) have managed to steer the Raiders in a mostly positive direction. This draft is an example. Not having a first rounder was benefit. They were able to get more solid players and contributors. Along with a few extreme reaches. It’s still Al’s team after all.
SAN DIEGO – We’d be Super Bowl Champs if not for our special teams! Marcus Gilchrist, Jonas Mouton, and bunch of others were added specifically for special teams. You’d think they had Eric Mangini arrange their draft board. Corey Liuget may be undersized for a regular 3-4 but the scheme the Chargers inherited from Wade Philips has the NT penetrate the line of scrimmage so he might work out for them. I think there was more to the Chargers collapse than special teams. It had to do with leadership and coaching. But there’s no draft for that.
NY GIANTS – We’re the Giants! This is the first instance of a team knowing exactly who they are and drafting accordingly. The Giants have a winning formula and they know it. Great defense based around a ferocious pass rush combined with a balanced offense lead by Eli Manning. The D got Prince Amukamara (a steal), Marvin Austin, Greg Jones and Tyler Sash. Manning got another weapon with Jerrel Jernigan and more protection with James Brewer. You can see where each of these players will go on the roster. Keep an eye on the Giants.
TAMPA BAY – The Bucs are Back! Tampa Bay had an identity, one of the best defenses in league history, but then they lost it when their players retired. Now they’re set to rebuild that legacy. The Bucs added two DEs to go alongside the two DTs they drafted last year, completely remaking their line in 2 drafts. Bowers did a huge tumble and his health is a huge risk but he has the potential to bring the Bucs D line all the way back. Except for Luke Stocker the Bucs didn’t make too many splashes on the offensive side. They seem pretty satisfied with LegGarret Blount and Mike Williams being the main weapons along with QB Josh Freeman. That trio did very well last season so there’s reason for them to be confident.
KANSAS CITY – We are the new Patriots! This is how New England should have drafted. Kansas City added players everywhere, got good value, and got good impact players at critical positions. First they got a home run hitter on offense with Jonathan Baldwin. They got great value with center Rodney Hudson. Then they added defensive playmakers with Justin Houston, Allen Bailey, Jalil Brown and a huge late round steal with Jerrell Powe. They also grabbed Ricky Stanzi in case Matt Cassell can’t get it done in 2011.
INDIANAPOLIS – We go as far as that Manning guy can take us. Indy didn’t shake up the world or anything like that. They just went with their bread and butter. The three most important pieces of the Colts team are Peyton Manning, Peyton Manning and Peyton Manning. This draft just solidifies that. The reason the Colts dipped from 12 wins to 10 last year is they didn’t address their O Line in the 2010 draft. They didn’t protect the Manning and so they paid the price. So here they have atoned and grabbed not one but two top O Line prospects at the head of the draft. Drake Nevis might help the D. But really this team is all about one guy and Indy knows it.
PHILADELPHIA – Could somebody please take this first round pick? Please? Honestly I don’t think the Eagles should be allowed first round picks anymore. They’ll just hurt themselves. Since I’ve been watching the draft Philly has made more head-scratching, did-they-really-just-do-that, what-the-hell-are-they-thinking picks in the first round. This is might be one of those picks. I say might because we all remember Winston Justice getting benched in last year’s playoffs. If Danny Watkins can keep the right side clear for Michael Vick then he’s worth it. Of course he plays guard and not right tackle so maybe this is a big mistake after all. The saving grace of the organization has been the rest of the draft. They’re sort of like the Raiders only better. The Eagles draft better in the second round than most teams draft in the first. There’s no DeSean Jackson this year but they still got a lot of players on the both sides. They didn’t get any major help on the front seven. Looking like same old same old. That’s not going to cut it against the Giants and Cowboys in 2011.
NEW ORLEANS – See ya Reggie. Don’t let the door hit ya in the ass on the way out! The Saints aren’t fooling themselves anymore. Yes Reggie Bush is a contributor but his contribution is not worth 11 million dollars. So they got Mark Ingram. That power run game opens up so much for Drew Brees. And by the way the Saints made steal after steal on the defensive side of the ball. With this haul I’d be nervous if I were Atlanta.
SEATTLE – Last year was a fluke. Is this the same team as 2010? Are these the same guys who drafted Russell Okung and Earl Thomas? Did they look at last season where they went 7-9 and say all they needed was a Right Tackle? Really? I could have sworn their QB situation was a little unsettled and that the offense and defense needed playmakers. I visited Seattle not to long ago. That town is passionate about their sports teams. I thought they’d be happy about making the playoffs regardless of the circumstances. But what I encountered there was this collective sense of gloom. I’m beginning to see why. Seattle was near the bottom in both offense and defense. And based on this draft class it doesn’t look like the Seahawks will be improving those stats.
BALTIMORE – We’re the Baltimore Rav- OOOFFF! Aside from a very un-Ravens like gaffe that may or may not have been all Chicago’s fault, the Ravens had a pretty typical Ozzie Newsome draft. The Ravens know who they are, they know where they are strong, where they are weak, and where they need help. They needed CB help and got Jimmy Smith. They needed a deep threat for Joe Flacco and got Torrey Smith. They needed more offensive line help and got Jah Reid. Each pick comes with some question marks but they are the right positions for the Ravens. They may miss but their strategy was correct.
ATLANTA – We are one WR away from the Super Bowl! The Falcons didn’t give Cleveland their entire draft. They had six picks overall, not a bad number. And they got some real value in the later rounds. But they still paid a steep price for Julio Jones. And they sent a clear message to their fans that they are set to win now. That’s an awful lot of pressure. Somebody might want to introduce Mr. Jones to Stick ‘Em Spray.
NEW ENGLAND – We totally believe our own hype! I’m concerned now about the Patriots. I think the Hoodie is starting to get a little Mike Shanahan in him. They did get to 14-2 last year but they got bounced again. Somebody in the NBA said that the regular season reveals your heart and your coaching but the playoffs reveal your talent. And I think that’s true in football too. I think the New England coaching staff is great. But it seems they’ve developed a phobia against great players not named Tom Brady. The Hoodie had a chance to get Clay Matthews. He had a chance this year to get Cameron Jordan, Jabaal Sheard, Brooks Reed. He seems to have forgotten the glory days it wasn’t just his schemes. New England had players, Seymour, McGinnest, Vrabel, Bruschi, Harrison, Law, guys who didn’t just execute a game plan, they could dominate. I look at the current batch of Pats and I see smart guys, talented guys, guys who can execute the Hoodie’s complex strategies. But I don’t guys who can take over a game and win it for you. And one of the reasons I don’t see them is because the Pats haven’t been drafting those guys when they get the chance. So yeah getting more protection for Brady was important. And if Dowling works out they’ve got a solid secondary. But they need more than just okay.
CHICAGO – We are the Bears! Offensive tackle, defensive lineman, more defense and a developmental quarterback. The bears know who they are. That said given how terrible their offensive line played at times last season they probably could used more help in that area. The Bears came in with few picks due to all the moves they made the last few years but they did well. Their Mike Martz coached offense was the surprise of last season. They didn’t add any more weapons for him to play around with. Maybe it’s just a matter of keeping Cutler upright. Bears fans hope that’s the case.
NY JETS – We are here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And we’re all out of bubblegum. Unlike the Patriots Rex Ryan is not afraid of drafting potential wrecking machines on defense. The Jets have had solid play from their defensive line but it never hurts to load up. Wilkerson looks like a beast. Aside from Wilkerson though I don’t see the Jets trying to improve so much as protect what they already have. But what have has been good enough to make the AFC title game two years running. We’ll have to wait till free agency to see if they make any big moves there.
PITTSBURGH – We are the Steelers! Talk about knowing your limitations. The Steelers addressed all their major needs, boom, boom, boom. They were getting older on the D Line so in comes Cameron Son of Ironhead Heyward. Their O-Line looked like a MASH unit towards the end of the season, welcome Marcus Gilbert. They were torched again at the cornerback position, in come Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen. If these guys all hit it’s going to be one hell of a rematch with the Packers. Speaking of…
GREEN BAY – We had 15 players on IR and still won the Super Bowl! It should be illegal for these guys to even have a draft. It’s obvious depth is not a problem. Green Bay doesn’t have any pressing needs but they still drafted wisely. More protection for Aaron Rodgers, more weapons for him to throw to, another DB, Running back insurance. The only problem is that really the Packers are getting close to their roster limit. But that’s a problem the other 31 teams wish they had.