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Recent Selections: WR Eric Decker, LB Von Miller, S Rahim Moore, QB Tim Tebow, WR Demaryius Thomas, & DT Derrick Wolfe
Recap: The obvious mistake is Tebow. He did lead Denver to a playoff win, but he was never worth a first-round pick. The Broncos were wise to get value for him, while they still could. Despite missing in round one, 2010 was a strong year for the Broncos. They hit homeruns with Decker and Thomas. Both wide receivers certainly benefit from quarterback Peyton Manning’s presence, but there’s no denying the production. The game-changing pick is obviously Miller, though. He’s a perennial defensive player of the year candidate and likely the face of the franchise moving forward.
Best Scenario: CB Desmond Trufant, C Barrett Jones, & DE Michael Buchanan
Draft Preview: During their divisional playoff bout, Baltimore exposed cornerback Champ Bailey. His makeup speed is beginning to fade, so the Broncos should inject youth into their secondary. Trufant’s a worthy choice at No. 28 and Bailey could teach him the ropes. I absolutely love Jones in round two. Any team that drafts him is having a good day. Finally, Buchanan gives head coach John Fox a defensive end to develop, which he often did in Carolina.
Kansas City Chiefs
Recent Selections: CB Javier Arenas WR Jonathan Baldwin, LB Justin Houston, OG Rodney Hudson, WR Dexter McCluster, & DT Dontari Poe
Recap: A quick turnaround in Kansas City is possible, but not because of their last three drafts. The talent pool is thin. Using a second-round pick on role players (McCluster & Arenas) was poor strategy by former general manager Scott Pioli. He did manage a solid double with Houston (10 sacks last year). The dip in quality of drafts in Kansas City coincided with the drop in their level of play. That’s definitely not coincidental.
Best Scenario: OT Eric Fisher, DE William Gholston, & CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson
Draft Preview: I’m not sure quarterback Alex Smith was worth a second-round pick, but new coach Andy Reid has a history of getting to the playoffs with middle of the road quarterbacks. Jeff Garcia immediately springs to mind. Regardless, they will take a left tackle with the first pick. The conventional wisdom is to select Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel because he’s more battle-tested. I’d take the high upside player, plus it’s not as if Fisher has a bust factor to him. He’s going to be a very, very good left tackle. Look for defense to take center stage in round three with the defensive line and secondary.
Recent Selections: DE Lamarr Houston, LB Rolando McClain, & C Stefen Wisniewski
Recap: Simply put, the Raiders suck at drafting. General manager Reggie McKenzie has yet to change that perception, though he didn’t have a first or second-round pick last year. Trading both picks for quarterback Carson Palmer was a terrible move and one that will likely forever haunt the franchise. Houston and Wisniewski are both bright spots, but McClain isn’t even on the roster anymore.
Best Scenario: DT Sharrif Floyd & WR Markus Wheaton
Draft Preview: Don’t be surprised if Oakland decides to move out of the No. 3 spot. McKenzie worked in Green Bay and the Packers were notorious for accumulating many picks while rebuilding in the mid 2000s. Floyd might be too tempting to pass up, though. He’s a special player. His combination of size, athleticism, and strength gives him the unique ability to rush from inside, while also being a respectable run defender. In other words, he’s one of the best players in the draft. You’ll notice a trend in these write-ups and that's Wheaton makes several appearances. I expect him to be underdrafted. He’s an early second-round player, but it’s a deep receiver class, and someone is sliding into round three. My guess is Wheaton’s that player.
San Diego Chargers
Recent Selections: WR Vincent Brown, CB Marcus Gilchrist, DL Melvin Ingram, DT Corey Liuget, RB Ryan Mathews, & DT Kendall Reyes
Recap: Perhaps no team has as many unanswered questions as San Diego does. No player personifies that more than underachieving running back Ryan Mathews. He’s flashed brilliance at times, but fumbling issues and the inability to remain healthy delay his development. I don’t know more about him now than I did in '10. Ingram and Reyes both had modest rookie seasons. The team is also expecting big things from Brown. On the surface, it’s an average roster, but the Chargers are a healthy player or two away from competing for the postseason.
Best Scenario: OT Lane Johnson & CB Johnthan Banks
Draft Preview: It’s becoming clearer that Johnson isn’t going to fall out of the top 10. The quarterback carousel allowed Arizona to acquire Carson Palmer, so their next logical step is to draft a tackle. Johnson’s a perfect fit. If you want him, then you’ll probably have to move up to get him. The most realistic trade is San Diego sending picks No. 11 and No. 45 to Cleveland for No. 6 and a mid-round pick back. Giving an extra second-round choice may seem excessive, but the Chargers aren’t making the playoffs without protecting quarterback Philip Rivers. The team will also add a corner in this draft and Banks would be a perfect get in round three.