Hope is certainly one thing that the NFL Draft brings, as the worst teams get the better picks and, with the second biggest show in American Football now in the books, fans can start to dream of what might be this upcoming season.
There is of course no guarantee of success and each team has different needs, so they do not always get the absolute best players available, while the worse teams probably have a number of holes to fill and will not necessarily become challengers on the back of their selections.
Proven Quartet Head the Market
This of course becomes apparent when considering the outright markets for the Super Bowl as the Kansas City Chiefs are the favourites at
9/2, with the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at
7/1, ahead of the Green Bay Packers at
9/1 and the Buffalo Bills at
Those four teams reached the Championship games last season, with the Bucs getting the better of the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV as Tom Brady proved he could do it without the New England Patriots behind him.
This whole process will not have been easy for any of the teams as there was no combine this year, while interaction with players was at an absolute minimum, with some even opting out of last season, given the ongoing coronavirus issues – so there is certainly an element of guesswork on this year’s contingent.
Perceptions are different for every team and of course roster holes vary so a good draft does not necessarily translate to getting the best quarterback, while the justification may not be seen for a while yet – Patrick Mahomes didn’t win the Super Bowl coming straight out of college.
Lawrence Can Ignite the Jags
However, some players just scream “pick me” in the Draft and quarterback Trevor Lawrence has been the player that every pundit under the sun knew would be going first.
Does that make the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Draft a good one? It is difficult to say right now, only time will tell, but the anticipation around this 21-year-old out of Clemson has been off the charts and there seems little doubt he will make the Jaguars a better team. They of course couldn’t have been much worse, having finished last season 1-15.
Coach Urban Meyer and co might have reached a little with their second first-round pick in running back Travis Etienne, but it was all about giving Lawrence tools to be successful as he is the future of the franchise and they will be a different team to watch.
Speaking of quarterbacks, another team that can take a big positive from the draft is the Chicago Bears and their long-suffering fan base.
Bears and Browns Make Positive Moves
The Bears made a positive and aggressive move to trade up in the first round and snag Ohio State star Justin Fields, a dual threat QB who can only improve what was at times a laughably bad offense.
Despite their issues last season, Chicago finished second in the NFC North and made the play-offs, only to get found out by the New Orleans Saints, but Fields will certainly invigorate their offence, whenever he displaces off-season recruit Andy Dalton under center.
Having been something of a laughing stock for so many years, and wasting plenty of first-round picks along the way, things have changed for the Cleveland Browns after they finally ended their play-off drought last year.
The Browns disposed of arch rivals Pittsburgh in the first round of the play-offs before they were edged out by the Chiefs, but they look to be building a Championship calibre team.
General manager Andrew Berry made moves to tighten up the defensive side of the ball and looks to have got a steal in cornerback Greg Newsome II at pick 26, while the additions of linebackers Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Tony Fields II, defensive tackle Tommy Togai and safety Richard LeCounte III could push Cleveland to the next level.
Rodgers Bombshell Overshadows Packers
It was perhaps not their own fault but the bombshell dropped just ahead of the draft has only put a dampener on Green Bay moving forward.
It is perhaps a little unfair on their selections but the news that reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers reportedly wants out of Lambeau can do nothing but put a pretty big spanner in the works.
Whether the 16-year Packers veteran plays another down for the franchise is open to question and it will certainly provide another QB sub-plot for this off-season, with the futures of Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson still to be sorted.
Broncos In a Corner?
Which could potentially explain the Denver Broncos decision to overlook QBs Fields and Mac Jones – who looks a good fit for New England at 15th pick.
Unless the Broncos have a plan for one of the star signal-callers who are potentially available, it seems a little crazy they would overlook the talents that were available and go for corner back Patrick Surtain II.
As good a defensive back as Surtain is, the Broncos look pretty well set in that department and there are more pressing needs across their roster.
Yes, they are in a division with the Chiefs, but that ninth pick could have been put to better use – and they are now currently heading into the season with Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater battling it out for the QB spot.
*All odds correct at time of writing