Yesterday we did the good, and now it’s time for the bad, as we continue to examine last weekend’s NFL Draft. Here are 10 teams, in no particular order that could have done a better job in making their picks:
Chicago – With just six picks, the Bears chose to focus on just a couple of positions instead of trying to spread out their picks to cover a multitude of positions. The additions of Jon Bostic, Khaseem Greene, and Cornelius Washington should make the Bears feel better about the linebacker position without Brian Urlacher around. Also, Kyle Long and Jordan Mills will definitely bolster their offensive line, but their secondary and defensive line needs weren’t addressed at all. They didn’t have a lot of flexibility or a lot of picks to work with, but they had enough to do better than what they ended up doing.
Arizona – The Cardinals wanted an offensive tackle, but when the top three tackles available were all taken off the board prior to their first round selection, they settled for an offensive guard in Jonathan Cooper, and failed to take a tackle later in the draft. But that was just their first problem. Arizona also needed secondary help, but the only defensive back they added was Tyrann Mathieu, a major character risk and at best a slot corner, not a safety like they needed. Kevin Minter and Alex Okaford were nice additions to their defense, and they did address a need with running backs Stepfan Taylor and Andre Ellington, but the offensive line and secondary remain big areas of concern following the draft.
Carolina – The Panthers had just five picks in the draft, and they did not use them wisely with regards to their needs. Carolina did well to address their defensive front, taking Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short in the first two rounds, but their needs in the secondary and at wide receiver went completely ignored. In the late rounds, Carolina ended up with a situational linebacker in A.J. Klein and a change-of-pace running back in Kenjon Barner. Those are two solid players, but not exactly what they needed.
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Buffalo – The first round selection of quarterback E.J. Manuel does carry some risk, but that’s not the biggest problem the Bills had during the draft. The quarterback position aside, their defense had a lot more holes to plug coming into the draft than their offense. It would have been nice to see Buffalo focus more on defense early in the draft rather than take a wide receiver in both the second and third rounds, although both receivers taken should improve their offense considerably, especially Robert Woods. Buffalo added a couple players that can help their secondary later in the draft, but nobody that is expected to make a big impact. The Bills also used a sixth round draft pick on a kicker, which is a pick they could have used elsewhere considering all the holes they have to fill.
New England – It may be surprising to see the Patriots on this list, but they did not have a good weekend. New England traded out of the first round and loaded up on middle round draft picks, but they failed to find any impact players in the five picks they had between the second and fourth rounds. Second round pick Jamie Collins is the closest to an impact player the Patriots drafted, but he may not be an every down player in the NFL. Both of the defensive backs out of Rutgers that New England took in the third round were reaches and neither may be able to give them the kind of help at cornerback that they need. Wide receiver Josh Boyce was a nice pick up in the fourth round, but second round wide receiver Aaron Dobson is awfully raw and may not be ready to play in an offense that’s orchestrated by Tom Brady. The Patriots also ignored their offensive line, which is a position they should have addressed with all those middle round picks.
New York Jets – No one should be surprised to see the Jets on this list. They may have gotten their quarterback for the future, but the Jets failed to get any skill players that can help that quarterback make plays. New York did add a few offensive linemen, which should help, especially Brian Winters, who should start right away. However, both of their first round picks were spent on defensive players, which may have been a mistake considering that their offense was a far bigger problem for them last year. They ended up with some good players, but they didn’t address their weaknesses the way they should have, and so there’s no guarantee this draft has made them a significantly better team.
Cleveland – With just five picks, the Browns fell well short of what they needed to do. Barkevious Mingo was too risky of a player to take sixth overall, despite their need for a pass rusher. Cleveland could have bolstered their defense in the secondary or along the defensive line with that pick, instead of taking Mingo, a player with some questions regarding his work ethic and attitude. Cornerback Leon McFadden was a good pick up for them in the third round because they needed a cornerback, but after Mingo and McFadden they didn’t pick again until the 6th round, where there was little chance of finding impact players. In the end, the Browns finished the draft without making significant improvements to their roster.
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Tampa Bay – The Bucs sacrificed their first round pick in order to get Darrelle Revis, and then for some reason they decided that they needed to improve their secondary even more in the second round by taking cornerback Johnthan Banks. Tampa’s third round pick was even more questionable, as they took quarterback Mike Glennon. Not only does taking Glennon show a lack of confidence in Josh Freeman, but also it was surprising to see Glennon picked with both Matt Barkley and Ryan Nassib still on the board. Instead of getting another quarterback, Tampa may have been wise to get a wide receiver or tight end that could be a receiving threat for their current quarterback, and the third round would have been the right time to take someone at that position. Defensive tackle Akeem Spence was a good pick up for them, but defensive end William Gholston has a reputation for being inconsistent, so despite a lot of talent he may pan out for them. Without a first round pick, the Buccaneers needed to be more efficient than they were with the picks that they did have.
Dallas – The Cowboys really failed in this draft, starting with first round pick Travis Frederick. Dallas needed help on the offensive line, but they reached too far to get it in the first round when they could have drafted a safety. Instead, they waited until the third round to get a safety, which would have been the place to get an offensive lineman. Tight end Gavin Escobar and wide receiver Terrance Williams will be useful targets for Tony Romo in the passing game, but Dallas could have used those picks in the second and third rounds to address their needs at the line of scrimmage, which is a more pressing need for them than offensive skill players. Not only did the Cowboys fail to address some needs, but they also took the wrong approach when they did attempt to address their needs.
Oakland – There’s a chance the Raiders end up with several quality players from this draft, but they took far too many risks for a team that’s rebuilding and that’s expected to be at the bottom of a bad division this season. D.J. Hayden is a huge medical risk, especially 12th overall; the Raiders needed to make a safer choice in the first round, no matter how much they liked Hayden. Second round pick Menelik Watson has plenty of potential, but he has so little experience playing football that he could have a huge learning curve in the NFL, and there’s a chance he’s never able to catch up. It was also questionable why they drafted quarterback Tyler Wilson, because he’ll need at least a year or two development, the Raiders have Matt Flynn for the time being, and there should be better options in next year’s draft. The safest pick they made was third round linebacker Sio Moore. The Raiders had six picks in the final two rounds, but those players can’t be relied on to be impact players and neither can their early round picks.