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The NFL draft is seen as one of the last major pushes of the offseason. For some, the draft is viewed as rebirth, a chance to start a new and get the cornerstone for which the team will be built upon. For others, it’s a chance to continue building onto a solid foundation. While some teams are safe in terms of who they take, others face the very real threat that could set back their team even further. Below are the six teams who need to hit in this draft or they could be set back for a year or more.
When a team makes the playoffs for the first time in 17 years, the last thing anyone would expect would be for them to trade the quarterback that helped lead them there, only to sign a quarterback who is a great unknown. It’s being speculated that the Bills will attempt to trade up and grab one of the top quarterbacks in the draft. It’s more than likely going to cost them both of their first round picks but considering the need for a quarterback in today’s NFL, it’s essential they attempt to get “their guy.” They’ll need to add pieces on the offensive line, as well as another receiver to go with tight end Charles Clay and wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin. However, if they walk away from this draft without an alternative choice at quarterback, the minute the team displays any sign of capsizing, the front office could be in real trouble.
San Francisco 49ers
After acquiring quarterback Jimmy Garopolo from the New England Patriots, it gave the 49ers something they haven’t had in years: hope. With the additions of cornerback Richard Sherman and half back Jerick McKinnon, the 49ers could be on their way to being competitive again. All it would take to throw them off course is a bad draft pick. San Fran has a few passable wide receivers but they could use a home run threat at the position. They could also use some help on the offensive line as well. If the 49ers can’t build upon the late success they had last season, then they’ll be doomed to fall into the same depression as they’ve been since their loss in Super Bowl XLVII.
Where have we heard this before? The Cleveland Browns had a good offseason, but need to hit on the draft. Cleveland is sitting pretty after a great offseason in which they acquired one of the most highly coveted trade targets in wide receiver Jarvis Landry, secured a good bridge quarterback in Tyrod Taylor and fixed up their offensive line by signing offensive tackle Chris Hubbard. However, it’s crucial that the Browns fill in the pieces this draft. If the Browns can’t get their future franchise quarterback in a draft where the top ten picks will be full of them, then they’ll be in trouble. They’ll also need some defensive pieces. If they can’t and they lose momentum going into the season, they’ll be in real trouble and continue to flail at the bottom at the division.
New England Patriots
Wait, but they went to the Super Bowl again? They also have an aging quarterback, problems in the secondary and need help at the linebacker position. The fact that the Patriots were 29th in overall defense last season should signify that something is wrong. The Patriots have two first round picks thanks to the trade that sent Brandin Cooks to the Los Angeles Rams. There’s some speculation that they’re trying to move up to grab UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen. Considering that they’ll want to win now in case this is Tom Brady’s last season, it may be in their best interest to go out and fill one of their needs with the Rams pick. they can then grab Mason Rudolph or one of the second round quarterbacks with their own pick.
What a harsh turn around. The Broncos won Super Bowl 50 and haven’t been back to the playoffs since. It didn’t help that Paxton Lynch failed to live up his expectations and that Trevor Siemian was the bridge quarterback they were looking for but didn’t have the quarterback in the waiting. While signing veteran quarterback Case Keenum is a good start, they’ll need to get somebody that can learn for a season or two under him. If they choose to forgo a first round quarterback, then either an offensive or defensive lineman may not be a bad idea either way. If general manager John Elway doesn’t start looking more toward the future, rather than just next season, they could potentially fall into the same loop they’ve had the past couple seasons.
This is their chance to finally make it somewhere in the division. There are injury concerns with the Green Bay Packers. There are no guarantees that Kirk Cousins will play at the level he did in Washington. with the Bears still rebuilding, this is Detroit’s chance to make a run. If they can get some help in the front seven or in the front lines of the offense, they could do something great things. Detroit may only get one real shot at this, if they blow it, then their drought of championships could continue.