What is better than the NFL Draft? How about taking the draft cap off and putting it back on? Here are some of the more interesting picks from this year’s draft.
The Broncos draft was more about the future than the present. While they selected a guy or two that should be able to contribute some this year it seems as though they were dead set on not really helping newly acquired QB Peyton Manning all too much.
Needs to Produce: Ronnie Hillman RB, San Diego St. It might be time to officially label Knowshon Moreno a bust. The only consistency found in Moreno’s career thus far are his constant injuries. Add an aging Willis McGahee and you realize Hillman will be leaned on early and often. He is willing to run between the tackles and has enough speed to be effective outside of them. Unfortunately he seems to put the ball on the ground more often than anyone would like. If Hillman can’t correct that affliction soon he won’t be on the field much and that will be a detriment to the Broncos.
Under the Radar Values: Philip Blake C, Baylor. He will be a good fit for Peyton Manning as his strength is recognition of blitzes. Originally was an OT so he should have a little better footwork than most Cs. It isn’t like Blake was a steal where he was selected, in fact he was selected exactly where he should have been, but he is a solid prospect at C and Manning should help him develop.
Huh?: Hillman. Many would say Brock Osweiler here and that wouldn’t be too much of a stretch. The Broncos could have used some more receiving talent (whether at WR or TE) but instead opted to go for a QB of the future. My most questionable pick is Hillman though, simply because of his propensity to fumble the ball. There were some decent WRs and TEs left on the board in the 3rd round, and in fact probably some better RB prospects (Bernard Pierce rings a bell). Hillman will have to rectify his fumbling problems for him to be worthy of such a high 3rd round selection. I get the feeling the Broncos were hoping LaMichael James would fall to them but he was nabbed a few picks higher.
Kansas City Chiefs
The search for a dominant interior defensive lineman continued this year with yet another 1st round selection on a DT. In fact the entirety of their draft was about building the trenches on both sides of the ball and they did a fairly good jog at doing that.
Needs to Produce: Dontari Poe DT, Memphis. His production isn’t so much based on the type of prospect he is, in fact he’s probably a guy that won’t be very good until his second/third year. However, due to the multitude of DT/NT picks before him Poe is going to have to at least show a little on the field so that Chiefs fans can hope that he doesn’t become a bust like the rest. His college production was ok but nothing great and the job of the coaches will be to get him to bring maximum intensity and effort on every play so that his “flashes of greatness” can just become “greatness”.
Under the Radar Values: Junior Hemingway WR, Michigan. Hemingway was a very nice pick up in the 7th round. He came into Michigan as a fairly highly touted recruit but injuries and offensive scheme/personnel derailed his career. Now he might not make the team but taking a late round flier on Hemingway is more than justified. If he can show some of the talent that he did early in his career at Michigan, Hemingway could end up being a pretty nice 4th WR in the league.
Huh?: Devon Wylie WR, Fresno St. Wylie was not considered to be a great prospect by any stretch of the imagination (in fact many had him as a 6th rounder), which makes his selection in the 4th round all the more perplexing. His size and college production are average at best. He is raw and does have some potential but picking him in the 4th round when other, better WR prospects (Jairus Wright and Nick Toon were selected later in the same round) were still available is a little perplexing.
The Raiders did not have many selections in this year’s draft due to some previous trades and acquisitions but still had a pretty nice draft considering they did not pick until the 3rd round.
Needs to Produce: There’s really no one here. Tony Bergstrom G, Utah was their first selection and it would be nice if he could come in and play right away but it is not a necessity. I like Bergstrom’s versatility and he should stick around in the NFL for a while because of it.
Under the Radar Values: Juron Criner WR, Arizona. Criner was another prospect that was projected as early as a late-2nd rounder by some and the Raiders did a good job picking him up in the 5th round. Criner isn’t the physical specimen type of player that the Raiders usually like at WR but he does have some very nice size. He won’t blaze by anyone but he does make good plays on the ball once he’s in the air and he can still develop into a good route runner. I wouldn’t be surprised if Criner ends up playing some significant time for the Raiders this season.
Huh?: Chris Bilukidi DT, Georgia St. Bilukidi was selected in the 6th round so if he doesn’t pan out it won’t be too big of a loss but try and find this kid on some of the major Draft scouting websites. I dare you.
San Diego Chargers
The Chargers had a solid but unspectacular draft, as is the trend in recent years. They got a couple good defensive pieces in hopes of shoring their pass defense up and a couple good late round steals.
Needs to Produce: Melvin Ingram DE/OLB, South Carolina. Since Shawne Merriman got off the juice the Chargers have not been as nearly dominant a defense, especially rushing the QB. They have had a few picks in recent drafts that were supposed to be the next pass rushing stud but none have panned out. Ingram needs to come in and transition to OLB quickly, which I think he should be able to do because of the exotic defensive sets South Carolina is known to run. If Ingram can be a pass rushing force early and often the Chargers will have to rely less heavily on the offense.
Under the Radar Values: David Molk C, Michigan. Molk is a very good prospect at C. He would have been rated much higher if not for durability concerns. If Molk can shed the injuries the Chargers might have gotten the steal of the draft in the 7th round. His is a good blocker and his ability to pick up blitzes coupled with his toughness make him a very intriguing selection. It might be better to move him along slowly so he can build his body up to NFL standards which would allow him to be more durable, but if he can play often he is a great pick for the Chargers in the 7th round.
Huh?: There really isn’t a pick to fit this. They got very good value on all their selections and addressed their main defensive needs. They also bolstered some positions of usual strength as well. All-in-all the Chargers had one of the better drafts in my mind.