The NFL isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but my God, is it an effective marketing tool.
Not only does it take over your social media on a Sunday evening in winter no matter how hard you try to avoid it, they’ve managed to turn the concept of selecting young adults from college into a year-long news cycle, with Kings of Leon playing at the Draft in April.
Now, admittedly Kings of Leon disbanded in my head about six years ago, but you can’t picture Daniel Levy waiting outside the University of Warwick weighing up his options to see who’ll be best-placed to help Spurs lose another cup final could you?
..or could you?
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But that’s all immaterial. How have last night’s big selections impacted next year’s Super Bowl contenders?
Who’ve taken a leap to launch them right into contention? Who’ve picked the athletic equivalent of my Nan at a beginners Pilates class? Am I still sleep deprived from staying up until near 6am to watch an unpopular man read out 32 names in a monotone voice?
Well, we’re about to find out. Here’s three teams that have seen their Super Bowl chances increase and three who’ve seen their feint hopes disappear into thin air.
I realise we’re starting with the longest price of the lot, but hear me out.
For the Bears to be as good as they are on defence and yet create absolutely no tangible offence is their only downfall. They’re painful.
And Andy Dalton was never going to be the answer. Matt Nagy knows that if he plays Andy Dalton next year, he’ll lose his job by November.
Ohio State’s Justin Fields, who they traded up to pick at 11, creates so many difficulties for a defence to deal with and not only does this make them unpredictable, it changes their entire blueprint.
Nobody will know how to play them and that unpredictability should at least add a few more wins to their tally. He may go on to have the best career of any QB in this draft and he’s landed in a spot where he can produce immediately.
It’s very hard, as a brilliant team, to really improve your chances through the draft. The favourites – the Chiefs (no pick), the Bucs (picking last) and the Rams (no pick) each had no major improvement come via the first round.
Generally, the safe shots and the major day one impact players go early. That leaves you with a choice – to take a risk on someone with huge potential or to just add depth.
The Bills rolled the dice on Miami edge rusher Greg Rousseau. If he clicks, he adds seven or eight sacks to a line that’s already good at organically finding pressure. They’ve got the players in coverage – so if you add this level of pass rush on top of it alongside Ed Oliver – they could be onto a real winner.
I’m not happy to say this, but Mac Jones is now where Mac Jones will flourish and the Patriots’ wins are based generally around fear factor. They’ve spent a fortune on weapons and they’ve a quarterback who operates best in a timing scheme where his feet dictate.
If the Patriots have landed the next coming of Tom Brady, we’ve only got the rest of the league to blame.
So, we know they won’t win with Jimmy G, but if they trade up to grab a quarterback that will help them in the short-term as their window for success is fast-closing… maybe they still can?
Instead of taking a prototype quarterback like Mac Jones who’d fit their system best to get a Championship back to Santa Clara, they went for Trey Lance.
He’s a raw prospect who not only won’t help them in the immediate but probably won’t do much for a few years.
Collective LOL, everyone.
So, to recap. Aaron Rodgers hates them. He’ll have taught their rookie quarterback nothing out of stubbornness. He’s probably moving on or worst-case scenario, he stays and doesn’t play – and to top it all off, they draft a weak corner in Eric Stokes who can’t play the run.
He’s not even an upgrade on Kevin King who single-handedly lost them the NFC title game. It seems like the glory years of the Packers are slipping away and in no subtle fashion.
Some books had them at 50/1 at about 10pm UK time last night.
Now they’re generally sat at 16s because the money came when the Aaron Rodgers rumours swirled in. But now they’ve taken Pat Surtain – who’s admittedly a terrific player but not one they really needed.
Everything else in Denver is ready to go. They’ve supreme talent like Jerry Jeudy and Bradley Chubb on rookie deals, they’ve invested a fortune into their o-line and they might have the best secondary in football.
Unfortunately, they’re now they’re also stuck with Drew Lock or Teddy Bridgewater for 2022.
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