The draft is always the best week of the NFL off-season. Especially for those of us that love and closely follow college football. I always laugh at NFL experts who watched 30 seconds of highlights and read combine stats and can then speak definitively about a player, having no idea how they actually played in real football games. These people make Charles Barkley during March Madness seem well-informed.
This is the one week when many of us out here know significantly more than the experts (unless the experts include Keyshawn Johnson, than the weeks when we know more would be estimated roughly at ‘all of them’).
But the real beauty is that we still don’t know anything.
So, in honor of all the experts out that will at best be about 51% correct about their pre-draft guesses, I present my annual suggestions for each team.
New England Patriots – You can argue there are many remarkable things about Bill Belichick, including the fact that he is found attractive by women. But the single most impressive thing is that he has found a way to be continuously successful without finding a single good running back. He is the Bizarro Mike Shanahan who could turn any panhandler off the street into a 1,000 yard rusher (which is, I am pretty sure, how he found Olandis Gary). But Bill never stops trying and so he will draft Doug Martin at the end of the first round, which is too bad. I like Doug Martin. Sad to see his career end before it even starts.
New York Jets – Might as well start preparing now for when Tebow starts because it will happen. He needs a solid running back to take attention away, so I would say the Jets need to trade up and grab Trent Richardson who has made a career of winning with mediocre quarterbacks. However, given Rex Ryan’s apparent love of hoarding below average QBs with different skillsets , I wouldn’t be shocked to see them instead go after Ryan Tannehill instead.
Buffalo Bills – Stevie Johnson is a lot of things. Talented player. Oldest man in America to not appear on The Sopransos still known as ‘Stevie.’ Possessor of the tattooed hipster look perfected by Lil Wayne. But he is also an inconsistent player. With a quarterback that possesses a better beard than a quarterbacking skillset, the Bills need to get some help that will catch the touchdown pass rather than have God deflect it at the last moment. Michael Floyd is the obvious solution. His God doesn’t deflect touchdowns, he signals them.
Miami Dolphins – The poor Miami Dolphins. Their hunt for a legitimate quarterback has lasted longer than the hunt for Osama Bin Laden did. And now they are looking at settling for Ryan Tannehill like a 39 year old woman settles for a husband that is ‘good enough’ because her biological clock is ticking. If I were one of the Dolphins’ girlfriends and we were talking over Cosmos and tapas I would try and warn them but they would ignore me and marry him anyway, resigned to an unfulfilled life married to an insurance actuarial and evenings spent at PTA meetings. An improvement over the last few years, but still not the never ending honeymoon that she so rightly deserves. Yeesh, MEN. Am I right, ladies?
Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers were eliminated from the playoffs on a long Tim Tebow pass last year. Read that again. And one more time. Just a thought but it may be time to find a defensive back better at covering receivers than filming shampoo commercials. Janoris Jenkins is the perfect fit. He is athletic and fast and brings great cover skills. He also brings an off-field history that even got him kicked out of Florida, where arrests are usually cause for moving up the depth chart. He is the anti-Tebow.
Baltimore Ravens – Ray Lewis is getting up there in years. Sooner or later he is going to have to retire to his off-season hobby of stabbing people full time. Vontaze Burfict can step in and learn from Lewis and with his instability there is a decent chance he too will be charged with murder in just a couple years. A perfect fit.
Cleveland Browns – I just can’t quit Colt. No, I’m not talking about a chewing tobacco addiction. I’m talking about the real McCoy. But he needs help. An offensive lineman so he isn’t running for his life. A running back to take some of the burden off. They can reach for a running back early (probably Richardson) and then follow up in the 2nd round with Mike Adams a tackle out of THE Ohio State University under the WNBA rule that local college kids always help attendance for bad teams.
Cincinnati Bengals – Do you realize the Bengals made the playoffs last year? Seriously! Sure, they lost to TJ Yates and the Texans but still, they made the playoffs! They have a great young wide receiver in AJ Green. They have a quarterback with potential in Andy Dalton. They need a running back and Lamar Miller comes out of the U, so he is accustomed to dysfunctional teams with regular legal issues. He should fit in well.
Indianapolis Colts – The last time the Colts drafted a Stanford quarterback #1 overall, he refused to sign and they had to trade him to the Broncos for an offensive lineman and that QB is now in the Hall of Fame after leading the Broncos to 5 Super Bowls and 2 championships. As a lover of the Broncos and historical parallels, I hope after the Colts draft Andrew Luck, the Broncos send Ryan Clady to Indy for him. Broncos will even throw an experienced quarterback who knows the Indianapolis area to sweeten the deal.
Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jaguars have failed to land Tim Tebow twice, first in the draft and then again this spring on the trading block. A team with an apathetic (and small) fan base twice couldn’t land the greatest local hero since Ponce de Leon. It is crisis mode time – the Jags need attention now or they are leaving on a jet plane to LA. Obviously, the solution to their problems is drafting Stanford guard David DeCastro. He will help block for MJD and whatever bad quarterback they put in but more importantly once Ozzie Guillen hears they drafted him, he will praise him and get the Florida immigrant population up in arms again. A protest would probably triple the Jags usual gameday attendance.
Houston Texans – In need of a replacement for recently departed Mario Williams, the Texans should draft North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples, who would feel right at home on a team that gets lots of praise every off-season as a ‘team to beat’ only to be slightly above average once the season starts. Maybe Gary Kubiak can hire John Blake to start illegally recruiting Coples now.
Tennessee Titans – The Titans are located right in the heart of SEC country, so you know they can’t draft outside the greatest conference since Yalta. Alabama linebacker/ D-End Courtney Upshaw is perfect: He fits the team’s needs. He’s from the SEC. He allows Titans/Vols fans their only moment of superiority in about a decade when they joke about Nick Saban producing player’s with girls’ names.
Oakland Raiders – I have a 12 year old neighbor who is unnaturally large and has a moustache thinker than a 1970’s porn star. Given that the Raiders don’t have a pick until 2022 (estimated), they should totally plan to target him.
Denver Broncos – The Broncos are so thin on the defensive line that they might consider drafting my oversized 12-year old neighbor this year. In all seriousness though…ok, in at least partial seriousness…I expect the Broncos to take Fletcher Cox out of Mississippi State. While he does help address the defensive line problems I lean toward Cox mostly because I think Elway will get him confused with his old teammate Simon Fletcher. John did get hit in the head a few times.
San Diego Chargers – Amini Silatolu is a highly regarded guard out of Midwestern State (really! Look it up!). While it makes sense to find Philp Rivers some protection, I mostly project this pick for the sheer joy of trying to imagine Norv Turner trying to say his name.
Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs desperately need more playmakers on offense, so they will reach for Stephen Hill, a freakishly athletic wide receiver from Georgia Tech. Hill’s college production was very low due to the running option heavy Tech offense which should suit him well in Kansas City on a team without any quarterbacks capable of completing a pass.