The Raid-ahs, Bolts, Chefs and Broncos all had significant holes to address in this year's draft.
Kansas City Chiefs - Here's a team that had a massive quantity of picks after the Jared Allen trade to Minnesota and needed each and every one. Surprisingly, Glenn Dorsey (DT) fell in the Chiefs' lap from LSU. Most pundits (myself included) thought the Falcons would take Dorsey and his combination of strength and speed a la Warren Sapp with the 3rd pick, but they didn't. Very nice pick-up. Next, KC addressed the offensive line with another 1st-rounder in Branden Albert (G) from Virginia. He projects as a Tackle at 6'5"+ and 310 lbs. The Chiefs may have reached a little for Brandon Flowers (CB) from Va. Tech, but with a run on Corners, they felt they needed to get a decent one in the 2nd round. Jamaal Charles (RB) from Texas was next for the Chiefs in a bit of a surprise in the 3rd round. I can only assume they were concerned about injuries to their RBs in the recent past and wanted to have one from the line of Holmes, Williams & Benson. Decent speed at sub-4.4 adds some explosiveness to Larry Johnson's power. At 6'7"+ & 270 lbs., Brad Cottam (TE) from Tennessee will provide a big target for whoever the Chiefs put on the field at QB. The fact that he runs a 4.6 40 is pretty remarkable, too. DaJuan Morgan (S) from NC State was the final 3rd-rounder for the Chiefs. Good nose for the ball and plays the run pretty well. Not as much range as you might hope, but a solid contributor-to-be from day one. Great 4th round pick for a need position with William Franklin (WR) from Missouri. Excellent speed, size and ability to get downfield will make Franklin an impact player almost immediately. Div-2 1st team All-American Brandon Carr (CB) from Grand Valley State was next. Majoring in Bio-Medical Sciences tells me he may be a thinker as well as a player. Decent size and credentials to add some depth at DB. KC finished out the draft with four picks in the 6th & 7th rounds with a huge Offensive Tackle, an average Wider Receiver, a massive Defensive End, & a soon-to-be-converted Tight End (to Tackle or Guard). Overall, KC addressed their needs and had a couple of Christmas gifts come early. Grade: A
Oakland Raiders - Do you think the Raiders have enough RBs now? With Fargas, Jordan & Rhodes, why pick up Darrend McFadden (RB) from Arkansas when Glenn Dorsey is still on the board & Warren Sapp just retired? A larger problem was that the team had only 5 picks in the whole draft. Move a couple of those backs for some decent interior linemen if you can Skeletor! Tyvon Branch (CB) in the 4th round was a good pick-up. Realistically, he'll move to Safety, especially with the addition of DeAngelo Hall at Corner. Arman Shields (WR) from Richmond is a bit of a question mark since his knee was injured early in 2007. He had some success against major college talent, but his injury keeps that shadow of doubt 'til he performs at the NFL level. Their final two picks were reaches with a recently-converted Defensive End and a big, slow Wide Receiver. Al and Kiffin-kid better do some movement beyond the draft pray McFadden is Walter Payton reincarnated or this is almost completely a bust of a draft. Grade: D+
Denver Broncos - A team at a crossroads is how I think of the Broncos. With Cutler last year, it became evident he needed a lot of help. Denver listened and got the second highest-rated Offensive Tackle on the board by many in Ryan Clady (Boise St.) to take over after Matt Lepsis' retirement. Next, they hunted down a speedy Wide Receiver to stretch the field a bit, but may have reached a little with Eddie Royal (Va. Tech) early in the 2nd round. More than anything, Denver expects Royal to help with the return game. Kory Lichtensteiger (C) continued the offensive-help mindset in the 4th round out of Bowling Green. He will add depth to a depleted OL and plays a little mean to make up for his lack of athletic ability. Speedy, little Corner Jack Williams (Kent) was the first defensive player the Broncos selected. He's undersized so could have problems on the LOS, but will add depth, at least, to a veteran-laden secondary. Ryan Torain (RB) will be a wait-and-see project out of Arizona St. in the 5th round. Injuries have hampered his development, but he's a solid rusher between the tackles when healthy. Denver had 4 more picks, taking a Safety, D-Tackle, Fullback and a gem of an Inside Linebacker in Spencer Larsen (Arizona). Their goal was to provide some support to a flagging offense and they've done a pretty good job. Grade: B
San Diego Chargers - It was all about depth for a Chargers team that keeps coming close in this year's draft. After being unable to move up for one of the elite Offensive Tackles, San Diego went for completing their secondary by choosing Antoine Cason (CB) from Arizona. He should immediately compete for, at least, the Nickelback spot and maybe the starting Cornerback job. Next, I'm scratching my head wondering what the Chargers saw to make them pick supreme tweener Jacob Hester (FB?) from LSU in the 3rd round. At best, I saw him in the 6th round at Fullback and a free agent as a Tailback. With their next pick, you assume Hester is to be a Fullback, because San Diego selected Marcus Thomas (RB) from UTEP in the 5th round. The Chargers took a return-man Cornerback in the 6th round named DeJuan Tribble (Boston College) & finally got an Offensive Tackle in the 7th round with inconsistent Corey Clark (Texas A&M). Their brief draft was like someone who went to the grocery store without a list. Grade: C-
The Chiefs & Broncos really did a lot to help themselves through the draft. The Chargers & Raiders just looked confused.
I'll be back Monday to take a look at the NFC's winners and losers in the 2008 NFL Draft.