Monday Morning Draft is a column that delves into the past weekend's action from a 2013 NFL Draft perspective. As the season goes on, the draft picture and slotting will become more clear, but every Sunday will provide a few hints for next April.
There will be a lot of turnover as the season progresses in the positioning of which team will land the No. 1-overall pick to have the first shot at USC quarterback Matt Barkley or West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. Here are the top contenders following the Week 17 action.
Kansas City Chiefs:
Kansas City finished off the year in its typical losing ways with a blow out by Denver. The Chiefs locked up the No. 1 overall-pick with a 2-14 season.
It was a nightmare of a year including the horrible Jovan Belcher tragedy that rocked the organization. 2012 was doomed to failure with quarterbacks Brady Quinn and Matt Cassel making the starts at quarterback. For some unknown reason, Kansas City may stick with Scott Pioli as their general manager. Clearly, the Chiefs have to target a franchise quarterback in the offseason.
Jacksonville had an ugly game in a road loss to Tennessee. The Jaguars have the second-overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft and need to take the top talent regardless of position. They have the least talented roster in the NFL.
There isn't a quarterback worth the second pick, so Jacksonville could attempt a quarterback competition between Blaine Gabbert, Tim Tebow and another veteran. The Jaguars need a lot of additions on both sides of the ball to become a competitive team again. Bringing in Tebow would at least generate some excite in Jacksonville.
Oakland fell to 4-12 after being dropped on the road at San Diego. The Raiders were terrible in 2012. Three of the their wins came against the Chiefs and Jaguars, so that is nothing to brag about. Oakland is short of the talent to compete on a weekly basis.
The previous regime traded for Carson Palmer and drafted Terrell Pryor. New general manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen won't hesitate to start their rebuilding process with a quarterback, but McKenzie has a massive amount of work to do to get this team headed in the right direction. They may go for better talent at other positions and stick with Palmer another season.
The Eagles' players mailed it in and let Andy Reid get embarrassed in what is reported to be the last game of his tenure in Philadelphia. The Giants blew out the Eagles by 35 points to end a miserable season.
This will be a very interesting offseason in Philadelphia that will feature a lot of changes. At 4-12, the Eagles have had two straight disappointing seasons with a roster that is considered to have a lot of talent.
The Lions continued their disappointing year by getting dropped by Chicago. Detroit's secondary had problems again with big plays downfield.
Detroit was one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL in 2012 finishing with a 4-12 record, while ending the season on a sour note. The Lions' roster has a lot of holes in it, including a weak running game, a shaky offensive line and a terrible secondary. Detroit still has some great young talent, but the team needs to become more consistent and disciplined.
Let's Play Matchmaker:
This section will look at some of the top talent in college football and match those prospects up with teams that have a dire need at the position.
Detroit Lions: Bacarri Rambo, S, Georgia
The Lions gave up a number of big plays to the Bears on Sunday with Alshon Jeffery and Earl Bennett burning them deep. The past few seasons, Detroit has had a weak secondary that is prone to allowing lots of yards and points through the air. Even if the Lions re-sign Louis Delmas, they need to find a safety upgrade next to him. Rambo would be a great fit in their defense as a center fielder to take away big plays.
Rambo has played really well as a senior despite a four-game suspension to start the season. He's totaled 67 tackles with three interceptions, three forced fumbles and a sack. As a junior in 2011, Rambo was one of the nation's leaders in interceptions with eight. Rambo had five interceptions and three forced fumbles as a freshman and sophomore. He is a well-rounded player who would be a real upgrade for Detroit.
Philadelphia Eagles: Xavier Rhodes, QB, Florida State
The Eagles' secondary was torched again, and it was a fitting end to the season for this underachieving unit. Philadelphia needs to find some upgrades to its secondary. and Rhodes would be a good value to the team early in the second round.
Rhodes had a quality junior season with 35 tackles, three interceptions and seven passes broken up. The big corner (6-2, 217) is very physical and has shown the ability to hold in check elite receivers. He did that this year against Clemson and in 2011 in a tremendous bowl game performance versus future first-round pick Michael Floyd. Rhodes could get first-round consideration.
Atlanta Falcons: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
The Falcons have struggled in 3rd-and-short all year, and that was again the case on Sunday. Atlanta has to find a replacement for Michael Turner who can take some pressure off of Matt Ryan. The Falcons' offense is too dependent on its quarterback without a consistent run game in 2012. Turner is washed up and ready to be put out to pasture.
Lacy (6-1, 220) is a big back who can power his way to tough yards. He also has some quickness and downhill ability that would provide nice continuity to the offense from what Turner used to bring to the table.
Lacy has averaged 6.4 yards per carry this season on his way to 1,182 yards and 16 touchdowns. He should enter the NFL with fresh legs after starting only one season in college. Lacy would be a nice Day 2 value to Atlanta and could yield a nice immediate impact for the Falcons.
Miami Dolphins: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Dolphins need to improve their edge-blocking for Ryan Tannehill next year. Assuming the team doesn't re-sign Jake Long, Miami will need another tackle. Rookie second-round pick Jonathan Martin would probably be better suited as a right tackle in the long term. To get a good left tackle, the Dolphins will probably have to select one with their first-round pick.
Fisher enjoyed a dominant senior season. The 6-foot-8, 305-pounder has great length to keep speed-rushers at bay. He also is very quick in his drops and getting to the second level of a defense. As a result, Fisher would be a great fit in Miami's zone-blocking system. Fisher could use a little more power to his game, but he looks worthy of a first-round pick.
Cleveland Browns: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Browns struggled to get to the quarterback all season. Cleveland clearly needs another pass-rusher on the other side from Jabaal Sheard. Werner would be an immediate upgrade for the Browns and could be a real weapon playing next to Phil Taylor.
Werner has been one of the best pass-rushers in college football in 2012. The juniot has 13 sacks with 18 tackles for a loss. His pass-rushing skills helped Tank Carradine to a breakout season. Werner (6-4, 255) is fast and physical with surprising instincts. He looks like a safe pick in the first round.
Baltimore Ravens: Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
Even though Ray Lewis is on the decline, the Ravens' defense clearly has missed him this season while he's been injured. The future Hall of Famer has had a great career, but the team has to find his heir apparent.
Ogletree had an excellent 2012 season despite being suspended for the first four games. In his nine games, he led Georgia with 98 tackles, two sacks, an interception, five passes broken up and eight tackles for a loss. Ogletree was very impressive in limited action in 2011. He is fast, physical and has good instincts. Ogletree's played in a 3-4 defense and should transition well to Baltimore's system.
Houston Texans: Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
Andre Johnson (12-141) was great once again for Houston, but the Texans' offense has continued to struggle to find a complement for him. Kevin Walter really should be a third or fourth receiver, and DeVier Posey was a big disappointment as a rookie. Houston should help Matt Schaub by getting him a legitimate No. 2 receiver.
Williams had a superb senior season and entered the bowl games as the nation's leader in receiving yards. He totaled 97 receptions for 1,832 yards with 12 touchdowns this year. He dominated all season with his smallest game totaling 68 yards in Baylor's bowl win over UCLA.
Williams is a receiver with some size and speed. The Texans would have a nice upgrade to their receiving corps with him.
Team Draft Report:
In this section, we take a deeper look at specific teams and where they stand in regards to the 2013 NFL Draft.
The Bears were one of the best teams in the NFL in the first half of the season before sputtering down the stretch and missing the playoffs. There was no reason for Chicago to be in the position of needing help to make the postseason, but the Bears were unable to luck into the postseason. This offseason the team has a clear No. 1 need to address.
Injuries really hurt Chicago, but its garbage offensive line has been a weakness for years. The team neglected the offensive line last offseason, and once again, Jay Cutler received terrible pass protection in 2012. The Bears drafted defensive end Shea McClellin with their first-round pick instead of a left tackle like Riley Reiff or a guard like David DeCastro. Reiff especially could've made a difference in helping Chicago make the postseason.
If the Bears has the free agency dollars to make a big signing, they should target Dolphins left tackle Jake Long. His play was less than elite in 2012 before going on injured reserve, but he would be a massive upgrade over J'Marcus Webb.
The reason Chicago should sign Long is because the team could easily miss out on the first-round offensive tackles in the 2013 NFL Draft. Even if all three of the talented juniors enter the draft (Luke Joeckel, Jake Matthews and Taylor Lewan) with Central Michigan's Eric Fisher, all four of those prospects could easily be gone by the time the Bears are set to pick.
Another big priority for Chicago is having to replace Brian Urlacher. Perhaps the team could bring him back on a cheap 1-year incentive-based deal, but he is slowing down and injury prone. Landing a young middle linebacker like Georgia's Alec Ogletree or LSU's Kevin Minter would make a lot of sense with the Bears' first-round pick.
Those are the big tasks for Chicago. Other positions to address include tight end, guard and cornerback. The Bears have good corners, but they could use some young depth behind them. Chicago needs to improve the interior of its offensive line and give Cutler a receiving tight end to work with.
The Bears are in for an interesting offseason with a possible change in their coaching staff. Chicago has some talent to work with and a few moves could help them to reach the postseason next year.
Kansas City Chiefs:
The Chiefs landed the No. 1 overall pick after a disaster of a 2012 season, and they have a critical decision in front of them. Clearly, Kansas City needs a new quarterback. The team has to get a franchise quarterback and is in the unfortunate position of not having a clear-cut stud quarterback to draft with the first pick. Picking the wrong player could set the franchise back five years.
The Chiefs should probably bite the bullet and take West Virginia's Geno Smith. If they fall in love with another quarterback like USC's Matt Barkley, Arkansas's Tyler Wilson or Syracuse's Ryan Nassib, they could take another player with the first pick and trade back into the first round to make sure they get the signal-caller of their choice.
If the Kansas City wants to go that route, the team's first selection should boil down to Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel or Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. Joeckel would be a good addition to protect the blind side of the Chiefs new quarterback. Donald Stephenson and Brandon Albert have the ability to play guard or tackle.
Kansas City has invested so much on the defensive line and taking Lotulelei would be very frustrating. The team has used high first-rounders on Glenn Dorsey, Tyson Jackson and Dontari Poe in the past five years. However none of those players have proven to be a real difference-maker, thus Lotulelei is worth considering. However if the Chiefs pass on Smith, Joeckel probably makes the most sense.
Other needs Kansas City should address include safety and cornerback. The Chiefs need a complement at safety next to Eric Berry. Stanford Routt didn't work out at cornerback, so they still need a replacement for Brandon Carr. Oklahoma safety Tony Jefferson and Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant would be good candidates to consider on the second day of the 2013 NFL Draft. Kansas City is expected not to re-sign Dwayne Bowe, so adding another receiver for its new quarterback would be a good idea.
The Chiefs should address some of their moves in free agency, but they must build around a young quarterback. The veteran retread route has been Kansas City's approach for a long time and it clearly hasn't worked.
Rocks and Cards did me no favors last night. For today: Closing a ongoing par from last night with the Nats -225, hedging for only 10 percent on the comeback. Start up pars with Boston, Houston, Cleveland, Arizona, Rockies (Gulp) and Dodgers, all with two open. GL tonight folks.
I'll admit I was as shocked as everyone on draft night. It took me a dew days to regain my senses and delve into what Pace actually did this off-season. This rant basically mirrors my sentiments exactly. Time will tell if this was a genius move by Pace or not, but you have to give him credit for being ballsy and aggressive.