Denver is a team that is in not that dire need of immediate help entering this year’s draft. They’re in bed with Jake Plummer so they are all set there (or so they think) and despite moving stud Clinton Portis, they appear to be all set at running back as well. Garrison Hearst has been brought into the fold to compete for full time duties, and you know that even if they had ten running backs, they’d take a flyer on one in the late rounds. They always do. Likely this team is going to look at getting some help at the receiver position. Ed McCaffrey has retired so the need for some depth there is apparent. Luckily for the Broncos, this is a very deep draft as far as WR depth so selecting at 24 should yeild them a nice body. Beyond that, the team could use some help on the defensive side of the ball, and many of their picks on draft day will probably be used there.
Picks: 1-24 (24), 2-9 (41), 2-22 (54), 3-22 (85), 4-21 (116), 5-20 (147), 6-6 (165), 6-25 (184), 7-24 (215)
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are another team that is not in need of much immediate help. This is a team that hasn’t had a lot of player movement so far this off season, and why should they mess with a team that was the #2 seed in the AFC. All of their major offensive weapons will be back to a team that may have peaked too early last season and was bumped from the playoffs in the first round. Since this is likely to be a deep draft at WR, Kansas City may be inclined to join the party and take a player or two from that pool. Otherwise they will likely be looking on the defensive side of the ball.
Picks: 1-30 (30), 2-29 (61), 3-30 (93), 4-30 (125), 5-30 (157), 6-30 (189), 7-30 (221)
When you think of Oakland, you think of the age of this team, and rightly so. Rich Gannon is becoming fossilized, yet he appears to be on schedule for a return from injury last year. Jerry Rice may never retire, and Tim Brown is still in the mix. Yet with last year’s debacle of a season behind them, now might be as good a time as ever to try and get a little younger. Of note, Charlie Garner has moved on to greener pastures, and the on again off again rumors of Corey Dillon coming to Oakland have still not quite materialized. Holding the second pick in the draft, they are eagerly awaiting to see what the Chargers will do in front of them. In the meantime, it may be too difficult for them to pass on Outland Trophy Winner and all-world Tackle from Iowa Robert Gallery. As always, the draft is a crapshoot, but by all accounts this guy is the real deal. Since they appear to be set on getting him, the possibility of Oakland trading down is very real. Then again, how long can Rich Gannon hang on? By all accounts there are three top quarterbacks out there this year (see the discussion on the Chargers), could all the Gallery talk be a smokescreen? I wouldn’t put anything past Al Davis.
Picks: 1-2 (2), 2-13 (45), 3-4 (67), 4-3 (98), 5-2 (129), 6-1 (160), 7-4 (195), 7-22 (213)
San Diego Chargers
You’ve got to feel for the San Diego Chargers, really, you do. Four years ago they were in the same position that they are sitting in today, holding the top overall pick in the upcoming rookie draft. They traded down to #5, losing out on a quarterback named Michael Vick, but they got the runningback they wanted in LaDainian Tomlinson. The real chance was that they needed a franchise quarterback and they hoped that Drew Brees would still be around for them in the second round. Lo and behold he was there, they took him, and many pundits were championing the Chargers as pulling off a genius of a move. As they say on television, “…that’s why they play the games.”
Since that time, the Brees has not blossomed as they thought he might, and the experiment known as David Boston was a disaster. Boston has come and gone, and when Doug Flutie is still in competition for the starting signal caller, that’s a problem. Hey, I love Doug Flutie like no one else probably does (well, not that kind of love, we’re talking about an “outside of his family” kind of love), but he’s not going to be around forever. And that’s not to say that if Michael Vick was in the fold instead of LaDainian Tomlinson that they wouldn’t be in this position. Then again, flash back a little further into the past and you recall the even worse disaster by the name of Ryan Leaf. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
So where does that leave San Diego this year? The Chargers certainly have other needs besides that of the quarterback. The idea of trading down and taking Outland Trophy Winner and all-world Tackle from Iowa Robert Gallery is certainly intruiging. Gallery had a great combine and has even parlayed that into a diary writing gig at espn.com. But can they afford to pass on one of the available signal callers?
The three guys in the sweepstakes all have their faults, here’s how I rank them right now:
Eli Manning from Ole Miss – Obviously, the bloodlines here can’t be ignored. Great season and has shown that he can be a leader. Will he be as good as his older brother? Unknown. He’s probably not as accurate a passer, but he is more agile. Reports are that his workouts have been impressive so he continues to be the leader here.
Ben Roethlisberger from Miami of Ohio – The guy is huge, 6-5 245, nice. Many have made the transition from small school to the NFL before him so it’s not out of the question. Reports are that his workouts have been outstanding so its not out of the question that he could vault into the number one slot.
Philip Rivers from North Carolina State – While Rivers is probably the least technical of the three, his potential is virtually unlimited. Was extremely durable in college, starting all 51 games while he was there. He’s above average in virtually every category but more importantly, took his team on his back and won many a game by his on field performance. You can’t measure that in a player.
My guess is that one way or another, San Diego will get one of these guys. We will find out in less than two weeks.
Picks: 1-1 (1), 2-3 (35), 3-3 (66), 4-2 (97), 5-1 (128), 5-22 (149), 6-4 (163), 7-3 (194), 7-8 (199)