For some NFL teams this was a breakthrough draft. There are a few teams that should see an immediate impact from young players. Winning means increased interest in your franchise and increased ticket sales and for the NFL fans, more bang for your ticket buck. If I was a fan of any of the following teams, I’d be seriously enthused. We could be seeing a changing of the guard, or at least some movement in the power rankings in the aftermath of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons are coming off of a miserable season. Let’s remember though, that it was only two years ago that Atlanta posted a 13-3 record and won the NFC South. Matt Ryan took a beating in 2013 and the Falcons are determined to prevent that from happening again. Jake Mathews in the 1st Round is a big plus. If Ryan is protected he becomes a much more efficient quarterback. The opposite is true on the defensive line. the only way to beat Drew Brees is to rush him. Adding Ra’Shede Hageman will help generate an interior pass rush. If both players start, and Mathews is a lock, Atlanta could once again be dangerous.
Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill should be very happy. After a season spent working behind a makeshift line, Tannehil has been the beneficiary of some free agent signings and now gets added help in the draft with Ja”Waun James and Billy Turner in the 1st and 3rd rounds respectively. He also gets solid receiving help in Jarvis Landry of LSU, who will start in game 1. The Dolphins also added Matt Hazel, wide receiver out of South Carolina, who could be a contributor early on.
New York Jets – First of all, with 11 picks in this draft, it’s almost impossible not to hit on a few guys who can make an impact. Calvin Pryor will bring immediate help to the Jets secondary. Tight End Jace Amaro is also pegged as a starter, or at least a guy who can help out very soon, giving whoever starts at quarterback for the Jets (That’s still up in the air) with a reliable target in the short passing game. Multiple wide receiver picks and a few defensive prospects to build depth make this a good draft for the New York Jets.
Oakland Raiders – Al Davis must be rolling over in his grave. The Oakland Raiders are actually making intelligent decisions on draft day. Taking linebacker Khalil Mack with the first pick gives Oakland a versatile top notch talent who can line up anywhere. Derek Carr may not start at quarterback but he’ll certainly be a viable backup and push Matt Schaub until he’s ready to start.Eric Drouant