This year’s free agency was one of the craziest we’ve seen in a while. Marquee free agents switched teams, and some general manager’s got a case of trade fever. Teams have new picks and are betting a lot on this draft. Here’s a look at the top five NFL teams with most riding on this draft.
Five NFL Teams With the Most Riding on This Year’s Draft
The Cardinals are in an interesting situation here. They were supposed to start their rebuild last season with the hiring of coach Steve Wilks. Unfortunately, that didn’t go so well, and Wilks was fired after the season. The Cardinals own ten picks in this draft, and likely more if they eventually trade Josh Rosen. New head coach Kliff Kingsbury came straight out of the college system and hopefully knows who to draft. They own the number one pick, and their future success could all bank on who they select.
The Raiders looked like they were primed for a total rebuild at the beginning of last season. They traded away franchise stars Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper for picks and signed coach Jon Gruden to a ten-year deal. But this offseason they’ve made the world look like morons for doubting them by trading peanuts for Antonio Brown and signing LaMarcus Joyner and Trent Brown. They have eight picks in this draft, including three first-rounders, and new general manager Mike Mayock made a living as a draft guru prior to his general manager hiring. Unless they really screw this up, they could be sitting pretty for the next couple of years.
New York Giants
The Giants have a lot riding on the success of this draft, not least the job security of their general manager Dave Gettleman. After trading away franchise superstar Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns, the Giants are in great need of playmakers all over the field. Fortunately, they are tied with the New England Patriots with the most picks, at 12. They are also in critical need of a young quarterback to groom behind Eli Manning. Their picks are spread throughout the draft, and they might need to bundle a few of their later picks together for a higher pick in order to get a guy they need.
New England Patriots
I hear all of you. “The Patriots just won the Super Bowl, why do they need to do well in the draft?” Because the once infallible Patriots are showing signs of decline. They barely won the Super Bowl in a snoozefest, and that was before a host of their great players left. Free agency had barely opened when Trent Brown signed a megadeal with the Oakland Raiders, or Trey Flowers went back to his old coordinator in Detroit. NFL’s most lovable player, Rob Gronkowski, announced his retirement a few weeks later. As mentioned above, they own 12 picks in this draft, and they’ll need to get the best value for all of them. One of the first priorities for them should be to find a successor for Tom Brady. Despite Brady’s protests, he may be showing signs of Father Time catching up.
The Browns have suffered through years of total misery, but it all came to fruition this past season. They had a wildly successful season, especially when compared to their previous two seasons boiling down to the incredible record of 1-31. Building off of the season, GM John Dorsey pulled off masterful moves left and right. He traded for Beckham and Olivier Vernon from the Giants while signing Sheldon Richardson and Kareem Hunt. This draft should be used to shore up any weak spots they have remaining, and if they do a good job of it, they could be a dynasty for years to come.
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