1st round pick #31 – Ohio State CB Bradley Roby
Bradley Roby fills a need for the Denver Broncos at corner as they lost both their starters from last year in Dominique Rogers-Cromartie to the New York Giants and Champ Bailey to the New Orleans Saints. Roby has untapped potential and all the athletic ability you could want, but needs to work on tracking the ball and being more consistent on and off the field.
2nd round pick #56 – Indiana WR Cody Latimer
Cody Latimer brings with him a 6’3 215 lb. frame along with blazing speed to add to a receiving corps that already has DeMaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Emmanuel Sanders, and pass catching TE Julius Thomas. This was somewhat of a luxury pick as the offense was coming off a year where they ranked #1 and Peyton Manning set a record throwing for 55 TD’s. Looking at how they got pushed around by the Seattle secondary, Cody Latimer will add another physical body that QB Peyton Manning can use to become an even more prolific offense, if that’s possible.
3rd round pick #95 – Michigan OT Michael Schofield
Michael Schofield brings a physicality to the offensive line which everyone knew was needed after watching the Broncos get pushed around in last year’s Super Bowl. He will compete for RT and at the very least provide solid depth to a group that experencied an injury plagued 2013 season.
5th round pick #156 – LSU LB Lamin Barrow
Lamin Barrow brings more athleticism to this LB group to add along side veteran Danny Trevathan. Lamin will get his looks at ILB and could be a surprise ‘plug and play’ starter for years to come. Even if he doesn’t start from day 1, look to see him on the field in sub package situations rushing the QB or dropping into coverage.
6th round pick #207 – Boise State C Matt Paradis
Matt Paradis is another physical blocker who will add solid depth. Never a bad thing when you have an aging, imobile QB with a bad neck who is one nasty shot from having his career ended. I think this draft shows how much Denver learned about their team from last year’s Super Bowl loss to the Seahawks. They get more athletic and physical across the board.
7th round pick #242 – Oklahoma LB Cory Nelson
Cory Nelson is another athletic specimen who will provide much needed depth in the Denver LB group. Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware are pass rush specialists coming off the edge so getting versatile true LB’s was one need that Denver covered in this draft
The Denver Broncos got crushed in last year’s Super Bowl, 43-8 against the Seattle Seahawks, but that only made them come back more aggressive this offseason. They signed hugely talented free agents in DE DeMarcus Ware, SS T.J. Ward, CB Aqib Talib, and WR Emmanuel Sanders. This draft by itself may not be utterly flashy, but the Broncos spent plenty of time in free agency making the flashy moves while they used the draft to build depth. The Broncos are clearly still the class of the AFC West and look to once again battle New England for the right to play in this season’s upcoming Super Bowl.
Kansas City Chiefs
1st round pick #23 – Auburn DE Dee Ford
Dee Ford has one huge knock against him in my eyes which is that he is in fact, not Johnny Manziel. As Johnny “Football” started to fall in the draft everyone knew at some point, some team would more than likely be moving up to snatch him. Johnny got all the way to the 22nd pick which was right before the Chiefs were to be on the clock. The Cleveland Browns traded with the Philadelphia Eagles to move up and select the electrifying QB. When it was announced at the 2014 Kansas City Chiefs draft party that they had drafted Dee Ford. . . the crowd went silent. Looking at the pick on its own I can see the need for the Chiefs to add a third pass rusher alongside Tamba Hali and Justin Houston as both were injured at various times last year. This will allow the Chiefs to be much more versatile in their sub rush packages, and if one of the star pass rushers were to get injured Ford could step in without there being a huge drop off as there was last season. Having said that, in my opinion the Chiefs had a prime opportunity to move up in the draft as Manziel started to fall and for the first time in 31 years, draft a 1st round QB who could potentially be your franchise guy.
3rd round pick #87 – Rice CB Phillip Gaines
Phillip Gaines has good size, speed, and ball skills. . . exactly the type of corner that this regime of Andy Reid and John Dorsey are looking for. Phillip doesn’t have great hands to come up with a lot of interceptions, but his ball skills are shown in his pass breakups. Brandon Flowers, who stands at 5’9″, may not be around much longer after the 2014 season as Phillip Gaines, Marcus Cooper, and Ron Parker develop more and gain valuable playing experience. Also of note, this was one of NFL Network analyst Charles Davis’ favorite players in this years draft.
4th round pick #124 – Oregon RB De’Anthony Thomas
De’Anthony Thomas comes into Kansas City as a faster version of Dexter McCluster whom the Chiefs lost in free agency to the Tennessee Titans. De’Anthony looks to be used in just as many ways as Dexter was; RB, WR, KR, and PR. Just how effective De’Anthony can be in that McCluster role is a huge question mark and will determine whether he will be a Chiefs in the long run.
5th round pick #163 – Georgia QB Aaron Murray
Aaron Murray may very well have been the #1 overall pick to the Kansas City Chiefs instead of OT Eric Fisher had he chosen to come out for the 2013 draft. After a remarkable career at Georgia setting multiple SEC records for a QB but ending his season with a torn ACL, Murray dropped to the 5th round where the Chiefs always feel more comfortable taking a QB. Time will tell if this 6’0″ signal caller will pan out for the Chiefs and resemble Drew Brees, another 6’0″ QB, or if he will be another late round selection who doesn’t pan out for Kansas City (latest examples are Brodie Croyle and Ricky Stanzi).
6th round pick #193 – Tennessee OG Zach Fulton
Zach Fulton joins a Chiefs offensive line who lost two starters from last year in free agency; LT Branden Albert who signed with the Miami Dolphins and RG Jon Asamoah who signed with the Atlanta Falcons. Zach looks to add depth in his rookie season, but with the talent thin at right guard for the Chiefs nobody would be stunned if he became a starter at some point in his rookie campaign. As of right now it looks to be Rishaw Johnson and Jeff Linkenbach competing in training camp and the preseason to see who will start.
6th round pick #200 – McGill OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is a big, athletic offensive tackle that the Chiefs hope they can mold into their new swing man to play either side if an injury should arise. Last year this role was held by Donald Stephenson who came in when Branden Albert or Eric Fisher were injured. Now, Donald is the starter at right tackle with Eric Fisher moving over to start at left, so Laurent must learn to play both sides and be able to bring versatility to a line that desperately needs help.
The Kansas City Chiefs are strapped when it comes to the salary cap with Brandon Flowers and Eric Berry’s contracts ballooning up over $10 million each. The Chiefs lost LT Branden Albert, RG Jon Asamoah, DE Tyson Jackson, WR/PR Dexter McCluster, RG/RT Geoff Schwartz, SS Quintin Demps, and FS Kendrick Lewis to free agency, while making several lackluster signings in LB Joe Mays, WR Weston Dressler, DE Vance Walker, RG Jeff Linkenbach, OT J’Marcus Webb, and DT Kyle Love. Negotiations with Alex Smith on a new contract are not going well, so we can only hope he is traded or let go after this season which is the last of his contract. Time for the Chiefs to develop a young franchise QB such as Aaron Murray or Tyler Bray. The Chiefs got worse as a football team this offseason while the other teams in the division either stood pat (Chargers) or got better (Broncos and Raiders). Without the help of an easy schedule and backup QB’s to play against, the Chiefs are looking at a significant step back in 2014. This draft may provide some talent down the road, but in the ‘here and now’ it doesn’t appear to be a draft that can fill the many holes on this roster. Also of note, the Chiefs didn’t add a WR to a group that is begging for a playmaker to help out Alex Smith and take the pressure off Jamaal Charles.
Next up – San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders