Wednesday, May 14, 2008

OPTIMIST/PESSIMIST - The AFC West Draft Class


Kansas City Chiefs:

Optimist:

Thanks to the Falcons and Raiders being idiots, the Dolphins running a 3-4, and the Rams being racist, the Chiefs stumbled upon DT Glenn Dorsey at number 5, who most people think is the best player in this draft. That alone would have meant the weekend had been a success, but the team proceeded to use a whopping twelve additional picks to add OG Brandon Albert (who a lot of people thought they’d have taken originally at 5), CB Brandon Flowers (who, if his 40 time was an aberration, like people who saw him play think it was, could add some talented young blood to the secondary), TE Brad Cottam (who is 6’7” and runs a 4.63 40), and nine other players who all have the potential to compete for playing time as early as next year. I get that every draft pick is essentially a shot in the dark, but you’ve got to like the odds of hitting it big on SOMEBODY when you have this many chances.

Pessimist:

So, you had 13 picks, a draft full of quarterbacks who were falling out of the sky down the draft board, and Brody Croyle is going to be competing against Tyler Thigpen and Chris Leak (who can look into your soul) to see who’s throwing the passes this year? Kelly Croyle must have given dirty pictures to everyone in the Chiefs front office

Denver Broncos:

Optimist:

Getting OT Ryan Clady at number 12 was a smart move, if not a sexy one. C Kory Lichtensteiger, who had a decent college career, could also help tighten up an offensive line that gave up 27 sacks last year. All of this should help third year QB Jay Cutler find the time to use his deep ball, which is still a thing of beauty.

Pessimist:

I still think Cutler might be the best passing QB of his draft class, so I absolutely get that investing in the offensive line is a priority, but damn, this run defense is BAD. Third worst in the league bad. In a division with at least two Pro Bowl caliber running backs and Darren McFadden waiting in the wings, you’d think the Broncos would have made it a priority to use at least one pick on a tackle or a linebacker.

San Diego Chargers:

Optimist:

When you don’t have any serious holes on the team, picking up a talented cornerback is the smart play in a passing offense league. Antoine Cason could be that kind of a corner, and considering that the Chargers are already pretty solid at the position, taking a chance on a player with incredible technique and so-so physical skills is an understandable risk. The more interesting play, however, is picking up RB Jacob Hester in the third round. Jacob has the build and between the tackles style to step right in for former backup RB Michael Turner. And, more importantly, WHITE RUNNING BACK IN THE NFL!!! Pop the champagne and crank the Tom Cochrane records!!! Unfurl the “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!” banner! Get the Mayonnaise sandwiches and sushi ready!! SUCK IT, GLASS CEILING!!!

Pessimist:

It’s hitting me that the AFC West, with one notable exception (it’s coming…), played it safe and smart in the draft this year, but I can’t help thinking that the Chargers were the ones for whom this strategy was a poor decision. They had no major needs at any position, so why not take a chance on a player with more physical upside? Another big receiver to add to an already hyper-talented squad? A defensive end who can change the pace of a pass rush that got tripped up against elite competition? A potential running back of the future? Wait, scratch that, KEEP THE MILK COMING!!! JACOB HESTER PARTY!!!

Oakland Raiders:

Optimist:

As a Jets fan who thinks RB Darren McFadden is going to be special, there’s a reason I’m a little bitter. With breakaway speed, the frame to survive the bump and grind of the pro game, and the hands to work out of the slot if necessary, McFadden could be the rare “do it all” offensive threat that teams go crazy over. Second round pick CB Tyvon Branch could make up for the loss of Fabian Washington, and has the same kind of blistering speed with significantly less financial risk. Al “If he’s even, he’s leavin’” Davis should be happy; his squad has put together a draft class with the wheels to leave burn marks on the field.

Pessimist:

Somebody needs to inform Al Davis that they don’t have track meets on Sundays. Once again, with talented offensive linemen on the board, the Raiders went with the flashiest pick available, only this time they didn’t even fill a need; Justin Fargas had a very good year running the ball and Michael Bush could develop into an elite speed back. So for the second year in a row, JaMarcus Russell will have to figure out how to use an 80 yard arm with only the time to create a 20 yard pass. Furthermore, with Jerry Porter having moved on to Jacksonville, the Raiders have absolutely no top end downfield speed to vertically compliment what McFadden brings to the run/short game. You have to walk before you run, no matter how fast you intend to run.

No comments: