Will the offensive line of the Dallas Cowboys be able to slow down Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa?
For more than 50 years the Chargers called the City of San Diego home. And although that the Chargers were never able to win a Super Bowl Championship in the 6-1-9, they provided plenty of excitement for their fan base which included the “Air Coryell” offense of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, to the AFC Championship team in 1994 which included Hall of Fame middle linebacker Junior Seau. But all of that love was replaced by ill will when Chargers owner Dean Spanos announced his intentions this past January to move his club from San Diego to Los Angeles. Spanos had been seeking a new stadium for years from the City of San Diego which never came to fruition, and thus he decided to hop on Interstate-5 took take his club to L.A.
The plan is for the Chargers to share a brand new, state-of-the-art stadium in Inglewood once it is completed with the Rams who returned to Los Angeles in 2016 after they spent 21 years in St. Louis, Missouri. Until the stadium is complete, the Rams are playing their home games in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum which was their home from 1946-1979 before they moved to nearby Anaheim, while the Chargers are playing at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. The Coliseum is able to accommodate more than 93,000 fans for football which the Rams have been unable to fill. The Chargers have also had issues in selling out their temporary home which only seats 30,000 people. But the Chargers issues are much worse off than that of the Rams.
In three home games this year the Chargers have failed to sell out once, while some of the seats have tarp over them. In each contest at the StubHub Center, there have been more fans in the stadium supporting the opposing team which was magnified during the Chargers loss this past Sunday to the Philadelphia Eagles as the stadium sounded more like Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
Initially the Chargers played one season in Los Angeles before they moved to San Diego in 1961, which is a far cry from the Rams who played in the L.A. area for nearly 50 years before leaving for St. Louis. For nearly 15 years there was a growing contingent of people who wanted to see the Rams return to Los Angeles which the National Football League finally came to grips with in 2016. However the NFL was hell bent on having two teams in the L.A. market which is currently blowing up in their faces like the Hindenburg.
Los Angeles is not ready, nor will they ever fully accept the Chargers. And it doesn’t help the situation that the Chargers have begun this season with a record of 0-4. The Chargers are well on their way to a third consecutive losing season which would have gotten lost in the shuffle in San Diego, but not under the Hollywood spotlight.
Yahoo Sports recently published an article about the National Football League possibly sending the Chargers back to San Diego. According to the article, the NFL never wanted to lose the San Diego market. But after Spanos had tried for years to get a new stadium in San Diego, he saw no other alternative for his franchise but to move to Los Angeles.
Having the Chargers in Los Angeles has not sounded right ever since it was announced and after three home games it has been illustrated for the viewing audience. Putting the Chargers in Los Angeles is a classic example of greed by the National Football League as there has been a solidified fan base in San Diego which now feels betrayed, while the team is now playing in a city that has shown that they don’t want them.
The Chargers still have five home games this season which includes contests versus the Denver Broncos, Washington Redskins, and Oakland Raiders. These teams all have established fan bases which means that the StubHub Center will continue to sound like a visiting stadium for the Chargers.
Winning could make fans in Los Angeles warm up to the Chargers more, but this team cannot get out of their own way as they’ve consistently found ways to lose games in recent history which included their first two games this year as kicker Younghoe Koo missed a field goal in the waning seconds of each contest.
But it would be ironic if the National Football League were to send the Chargers back to San Diego, especially since there is no love lost between the city and Spanos. However a return to San Diego for the Chargers would mean that NFL must acknowledge that they made a mistake which is something that does not happen that often, while there would also be the issue in regards to who would then help the Rams foot the bill for the new stadium in Inglewood.
This saga is far from over as the Chargers could be playing “musical stadiums”. But one thing for sure is that the National Football League and Spanos have clearly outsmarted themselves.
X-Kansas City Chiefs 10-6
Andy Reid’s run as the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs has a familiar feel to his time with the Philadelphia Eagles as well as that of former Chiefs head coach Marty Schottenheimer. In four seasons in Kansas City, Reid has led the Chiefs to the playoffs three times which included ending the franchise’s postseason victory drought during the 2015 National Football League season. Last year the Chiefs won the AFC West for the first time since 2010, but they would lose at home to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round in controversial fashion. The last two years have seen the Chiefs eliminated from the postseason by the New England Patriots and Steelers respectively as they have been the premier teams in the AFC for more than 20 years. And for the Chiefs to reach their first Super Bowl as members of the National Football League, these are the team’s that Reid’s squad must go through in order to get to Minneapolis in February.
For Reid, Alex Smith has been his guy in regards to being his starting quarterback with the Chiefs. In 2013, one of Reid’s first moves in Kansas City after finding out about the city’s great barbecue was to acquire Smith from the San Francisco 49ers. In Kansas City, Smith has enjoyed immense success which has included three playoff appearances, and two Pro Bowl selections. Smith has developed a reputation of being a “game manager” and he is known to not force the football, while relying on his athleticism and smarts. But being that Smith has never been known for having a strong arm, is he the guy at quarterback to help the Chiefs take the next step?
Last year the Chiefs were 15th in the National Football League while they also failed to produce a 1,000-yard ball carrier. But a staple of Reid’s offense is also to get his running backs involved in the passing game. Losing running back Spencer Ware to an injury changes what the Chiefs are able to do, but it gives running back Charcandrick West and rookie Kareem Hunt more opportunities to show what they can do. And I guarantee that Reid will find creative ways to get West and Hunt the football this season.
In limited action last year wide receiver Tyreek Hill showed his potential to be an impact player on offense for Kansas City as well as special teams. Hill is one of those players who excels in space, while I see Reid getting him the football on various plays such as reverses and screens.
When the Chiefs used a third-round draft pick on tight end Travis Kelce in 2013, he was an afterthought. However Kelce has continued to improve in each season with the Chiefs as some folks in the National Football League see him as the poor man’s Rob Gronkowski. Last season Kelce became the first Chiefs tight end to gain at least 1,100 yards receiving in a season and his ability to split the seams, while also constantly demanding a double team will open things up for other players at the skill positions.
The Chiefs have one of the more underrated offensive lines in the National Football League which includes the likes of left tackle Eric Fisher. Kansas City was able to add to that depth when they acquired Cam Erving from the Cleveland Browns this summer. Erving has the versatility to play multiple positions on the line which means that quality line play should never skip a beat for the Chiefs.
There is no underscoring the fact that the loss of defensive tackle Dontari Poe in free agency will hurt the Chiefs, as he was the perfect fit at nose tackle due to his ability to consistently command a double team. But now the Chiefs will also have to do it without the services of free safety Eric Berry who was lost for the season with an Achilles injury as he and Poe were solid anchors for the defense. Kansas City still maintains one of the strongest linebacking units in the National Football League which is led by inside linebacker Derrick Johnson who has quietly become one of the best defensive players in the franchise’s history. And the smarts of Johnson on the football field, along with his leadership ability will be needed more than ever to somewhat offset the loss of Poe and Berry.
It’s hard to believe, but the Chiefs have never won the AFC West in consecutive years which means that Reid and his team will have their work cut out for them in order to make it happen this season.
Y-Oakland Raiders 10-6
2016 saw the long awaited re-emergence of the silver and black as the Oakland Raiders appeared in the playoffs for the first time since 2002. Jack Del Rio delivered on his promise of reversing the fortunes of the Raiders as he was able to return the team to the postseason in just his second season with the franchise. The Raiders revival once again sparked a fan base that has suffered through losing seasons and bad draft picks as the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum was once again a raucous place for opponents to visits.
However all of this goodwill was thrown out of the window in late March when it was announced that the Raiders would soon be leaving Oakland in favor of Las Vegas, Nevada. This has left a bitter taste in the mouths of Raiders fans as this now marks the second time that the City of Oakland has been burned by the silver and black. The Raiders intend to play in Oakland for the next two years, but will they be able to succeed on the field in spite of the ill will between the fans, the city, and team owner Mark Davis?
Regardless of the Raiders preparing to leave Oakland, they have one of the best young quarterbacks in the National Football in Derek Carr. In 2014, Carr had all of the tools necessary to be selected in the first round of the National Football League Draft. However Carr was forced to wait with a team such as the quarterback needy Houston Texans passing up on him twice. Carr would find a home with the Raiders and he has a chance to be the franchise’s best quarterback since Ken Stabler.
Carr was in the running to be the National Football League’s MVP last year until he suffered a broken fibula in Week 16. Subsequently Carr would be unavailable for the Raiders during their foray into the postseason as a team that was once viewed as a Super Bowl contender was now one-and-done in January.
But now as the new season is set to begin, Carr is once again someone who should be in consideration to be the MVP of the National Football League. The Raiders also believe in Carr and his ability as this summer saw them give him a five-year deal for $125 million.
Carr has a talented combination of wide receivers to throw the football to in Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. Last season both Cooper and Crabtree gained more than 1,000 yards receiving and in the process they became the Raiders first duo of wide receivers since Jerry Rice and Tim Brown in 2001 to pull off the accomplishment. And with Carr entrenched as the Raiders starting quarterback, don’t expect the level of productivity for Cooper and Crabtree to fall off.
The Raiders were sixth in the National Football League in rushing last year and they’ll get a boost this season with the addition of running back Marshawn Lynch. Lynch developed a reputation for being one of the best power backs that the game has ever seen and in the process he helped the Seattle Seahawks win their first and only Super Bowl Championship in franchise history. However in 2016, Lynch decided to retire from the NFL at the age of 29, it took some people by surprise. But Lynch has always been an unpredictable person, and this year he once again developed the inch to play football. Lynch decided to give the NFL another try, but since he was still under contract with the Seahawks, the Raiders had to compensate their former AFC West rivals which saw Seattle receive a fifth-round pick in next year’s NFL Draft. The year away from the game should provide Lynch with some fresh legs, while he will look to get it done in his hometown of Oakland.
Since Reggie McKenzie has taken over as the general manager of the Raiders, he has taken great pride in building Oakland’s offensive line as he himself played on the O-line in the National Football League. The Raiders offensive line produced three Pro Bowlers last season in left tackle Donald Penn, center Rodney Hudson, and guard Kelechi Osemele. The offensive line of the Dallas Cowboys gets a ton of attention and rightfully so, but the unit of the Raiders isn’t exactly chopped liver.
The Raiders were 26th in the National Football League in total defense last season and they got exposed once Carr went down with the injury. The Raiders do have defensive end Khalil Mack who is a premier edge rusher, while outside linebacker Bruce Irvin is solid as well. However the Raiders were 24th in pass defense last year and their secondary must improve if they want to be a Super Bowl contender.
It’s good to see the Raiders once again relevant in the National Football League, but you have to wonder if the upcoming move to Las Vegas as well as a suspect secondary will hurt their chances here in 2017.
Denver Broncos 7-9
From 2006-2010, the Denver Broncos failed to make the playoffs which was their longest stretch without being able to play football in January since 1976. In 2011, former Broncos quarterback John Elway would return to the organization as the team’s executive vice president of football operations. Elway would rapidly begin to revitalize the Broncos roster and in his first season, the Broncos would win the AFC West. With Elway leading the charge, the Broncos were once again a title contender and in just five years he led them to their first Super Bowl Championship since he played for them.
Last year would see the Broncos go 9-7 as they would lose four of their final six games which included being swept by the Kansas City Chiefs for the first time since 2000. And in the process Denver would be watching the postseason at home for the first time under Elway’s watch.
But the 2017 Broncos will look very different and have a new feel to them as opposed to the team that played last season. Health issues have forced Gary Kubiak to step down as Broncos head after two years. However Kubiak will always be remembered for helping the Broncos get another Super Bowl Championship. Kubiak has been replaced by Vance Joseph who joins the Broncos after spending last season with the Miami Dolphins as their defensive coordinator.
Joseph is seeking to put his stamp on the Broncos and his first order of business was to switch Denver’s base defense from a 3-4 to that of a 4-3 which made defensive coordinator Wade Phillips expendable.
Over the last 35 years, Phillips has built a reputation for having one of the sharpest minds in the National Football League in regards to coaching defensive football. Phillips believes in putting consistent pressure on an opposing team’s quarterback, while his players would run through a wall for him. And when Phillips decided to leave the Broncos organization following Joseph’s arrival, it marked the end of an era, while Joseph will have a tough selling job ahead of him in regards to making the defensive players in Denver believe in his system.
But with Joseph set to begin his run with the Broncos, one thing that he has going for him is outside linebacker Von Miller. Since Miller entered the National Football League in 2011, he has played like a man possessed. Miller plays with a high motor and although that he only weighs in at 250 lbs., he has been known to make some of the best left tackles in the NFL look bad. Miller flourished in the 3-4 scheme of Philips, however his versatility allows him to be successful in any system that he is in. And if Miller buys into what Joseph is selling, the Broncos defense should continue to be one of the top units in football.
Miller will have to carry the load for the beginning of the season as his tag-team partner in outside linebacker Shane Ray will miss roughly two months as he is recovering from a torn ligament in his wrist, while Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. continue to operate one of the best cornerback tandems in the National Football League.
The Broncos defense should once again be solid, but for this team to be a postseason contender, their offense must improve. Last year Denver was 27th in the National Football League in total offense which included them failing to score at least 20 points in three of their last four games. Two years ago Elway used a first-round pick on quarterback Paxton Lynch, but he has yet to show that he can be the guy. In 2015, Elway drafted quarterback Trevor Siemian who was an afterthought when he was taken in the seventh round. But Siemian who does have a reputation as being game manager has become the more viable option for the Broncos at quarterback in spite of the fact that he doesn’t possess a big arm like Lynch. And whereas Siemian might not be able to win the game for Denver, he won’t lose it either.
Siemian will be the Broncos starting quarterback this season and he’ll have a pair of talented wide receivers to throw the football to in Emanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. Both Sanders and Thomas gained more than 1,000 yards last year receiving, however it will be difficult for them to match those numbers due to the struggles of Denver’s rushing attack.
Last year the Broncos were 27th in the National Football League in rushing, and it marked the third consecutive year in which they failed to produce a 1,000-yard running back. The Broncos will once again rely on a “running back by committee” which C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles more than likely getting the bulk of the carries. But if the Broncos are unable to effectively run the football, it will put their offense in a bind.
Fans in the Rocky Mountains are not accustomed to seeing the Broncos partake in losing seasons. However this could be the case in 2017 as Denver appears to be a team that is in limbo.
Los Angeles Chargers 6-10
It will definitely take some time to get adjusted to referencing the Chargers as being from Los Angeles. For more than 50 years the Chargers called San Diego home as it was hard to think of one without the other. But the finances and politics in the National Football League reign supreme as the City of San Diego and the Chargers would prepare for a very messy divorce. For years Chargers owner Dean Spanos has attempted to get a new stadium for his team, but he was unable to secure the funding from the City of San Diego in order to make it happen. And with the NFL hell bent on putting two franchises in Los Angeles, Spanos decided to pack up his team for a three-hour trip north on Interstate-5 to join the Rams in Hollywood. Now the Chargers are in Los Angeles which is the city that they came into existence in 1960 as members of the American Football League. However times have changed in Los Angeles as this is a city that only supports winners which means that the Chargers who lost a combined 23 games over the last two years must find a way to get things turned around in a hurry.
Upon making the journey to Los Angeles, the Chargers decided to hire a new head coach in Anthony Lynn. Lynn played in the National Football League for six years which included winning a pair of Super Bowl Championships with the Denver Broncos. Lynn has spent the last 17 years as an assistant coach in the NFL for six different teams, but now he has his opportunity to be the man in charge (no pun intended).
Lynn can sleep a little bit easier at night knowing that he has a quality veteran quarterback that he can rely on. Philip Rivers has been the Chargers starting quarterback for the last 12 years and in the process he has become the most prolific quarterback in franchise history. Rivers found a way to do the impossible as he has broken the major passing records that were set by Dan Fouts with the franchise as he has thrown 314 career touchdowns passes, while also throwing for 45,833 yards heading into this season. Eight of the last nine years have seen Rivers pass for at least 4,000 yards, and now he is closing in on being the only player in franchise history to pass for 50,000 yards. And even at the age of 35, Rivers can still sling the football around with the best of them.
Rivers’ go-to-guy throughout his career with the Chargers has been tight end Antonio Gates. Gates is set to begin his 15th season with the Chargers and although that he no longer has the physical tools that he had a decade ago, he is still a leader for this club. Gates is 37-years of age, and all signs point to this being his last year in the National Football League. Gates has clearly lost a step, but if Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt is able to use him properly which means getting him consistent action in the red zone, he can still be effective.
Injuries have forced wide receiver Keenan Allen to miss a combined 38 games over the last three years which includes him dealing with a kidney issue over the past two seasons. Allen still possesses explosiveness while giving Rivers a big target to throw to, but it doesn’t help if he is consistently not available.
Allen’s absence has given wide receivers Tyrell Williams and Dontrelle Inman the opportunity to become impact players in the Chargers passing game. Like Allen, Inman and Williams are big wide receivers who generally have a size advantage versus most defensive backs that they face which gives Rivers an advantage when throwing the football up for jump ball situations.
But whereas Rivers has shown the ability to put the Chargers offense on his back, he cannot do it all by himself as Los Angeles needs to improve the running game. Last year the Chargers were 26th in the National Football League in rushing which includes them not having a running back gain at least 1,000 yards in a season since 2013. In 2015, the Chargers used a first-round pick on running back Melvin Gordon who has failed to live up to the hype due to the fact that he has been unable to remain healthy. When healthy Gordon is supposed to be an explosive player that can provide the Chargers with speed as a ball carrier along with being a pass receiver coming out of the backfield. And hopefully 2017 is the year where Gordon is able to put it all together.
The Chargers offensive line has been a burdensome group for this organization for the past few years which can illustrated by seeing Rivers run for his life at times. The Chargers attempted to remedy that during the off-season by signing offensive tackle Russell Okung. Okung is a former Pro Bowler who is a solid left tackle which will be relief for Rivers as he needs someone to protect his blindside.
Things didn’t work out for Gus Bradley during his tenure as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars as he was 14-48, however things could be different for him as the defensive coordinator of the Chargers. The Chargers have a stout defensive line which is led by defensive end Joe Bosa. Last year Bosa was named as the National Football League in spite of the fact that he only appeared in 12 games. Bosa tallied 10.5 sacks and he has the makings of being a poor man’s J.J. Watt. Aside from Bosa, the Chargers have defensive end Melvin Ingram, along with defensive tackle Corey Liuget as Los Angeles will be a much tougher team in the trenches this season.
The transition from San Diego to Los Angeles will not be an easy one for the Chargers as this season will be full of growing pains for them.
Kansas City Chiefs
First-Round Pick: Patrick Mahomes-Quarterback-Texas Tech
Best Pick: Patrick Mahomes
It didn’t take the Kansas City Chiefs that long to make a splash at the 2017 National Football League Draft when they moved up 17 spots in the first round to select Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback Patrick Mahomes II. During Andy Reid’s four-year tenure as the Chiefs head coach, Kansas City has made the postseason three times, but they’ve been unable to get past the second round. A big reason for the Chiefs inability to advance has been the fact that quarterback Alex Smith cannot propel this club. Smith has been a solid game manager for the Chiefs, but his lack of arm strength, along with his inability to make the big play in the passing game has hurt the Chiefs. Mahomes gives the Chiefs a quarterback with a big arm, but he is still raw.
At Texas Tech, Mahomes put up jaw dropping statistics in the wide open offense of head coach Kliff Kingsbury, but he must learn how to conform to a pro-style offense. And who better to groom Mahomes for a career in the National Football League than Reid who is one of the better quarterback gurus in the league. The main thing for the Chiefs is to bring Mahomes along slowly and not rush him. However since the Chiefs still have a solid starting quarterback in Smith, Reid can take his time in order to show Mahomes the nuances of the position.
The Chiefs struck it big in drafting Mahomes, but they still missed out on upgrading the wide receiver position. Last season the Chiefs leading wide receiver was Tyreek Hill with just 593 which simply isn’t going to cut in regards to producing a Super Bowl team. The Chiefs also failed to find a replacement for nose tackle Dontari Poe who joined the Atlanta Falcons in free agency as he paved the way for Kansas City’s linebackers.
The Chiefs were able to peg their quarterback of the future in Mahomes, but it takes more than one player to make a team, or in this case a draft class.
First-Round Pick: Gareon Conley-Cornerback-Ohio State
Best Pick: Round Four-David Sharpe-Offensive Tackle
In 2016, the Oakland Raiders went 12-4 for their first playoff appearance since 2002. But when quarterback Derek Carr suffered a fractured fibula late in the regular season, it took the wind out of the sails of the Raiders, while exposing some of the team’s flaws. The Raiders were 26th in total defense last season, and they were 24th versus the pass as Carr and the offense consistently bailed them out. The Raiders issues on defense showed up in the playoffs where the Houston Texans easily got passed them. And with Oakland issues in the secondary, you knew what the plan of attack was going to be for Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie heading into the 2017 National Football League Draft.
Five of Oakland’s first six picks in the draft were used on defense which included the first two focusing on the secondary.
In the first round, the Raiders selected Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Gareon Conley. Conley had the potential to be taken earlier in the first round, but with allegations of rape being hurled in his direction just prior to the draft, it scared teams off. However that was not the case for the Raiders who decided to take a chance on him in the hopes of solidifying their secondary.
The second round would see the Raiders select Connecticut Huskies safety Obi Melifonwu. Last year Melifonwu led Connecticut in tackles (118) as well as interceptions (4), and now he’ll be expected to become an impact player rather quickly in Oakland.
This draft for the Raiders had the fingerprints of McKenzie and head coach Jack Del Rio written all over it as after the first two picks, Oakland focused on the offensive and defensive lines, as well as linebacker which included selecting Florida Gators guard David Sharpe in the fourth round, and Wake Forest Demon Deacons outside linebacker Marquel Lee in the fifth round. McKenzie enjoyed a career in the National Football League on the offensive line, while Del Rio was a linebacker. And the Raiders need bring in players that have a “lunch pale” mentality in order for them to take that next step.
First-Round Pick: Garett Bolles-Offensive Tackle-Utah
Best Pick: Round Two-DeMarcus Walker-Defensive End-Florida State
The Denver Broncos are in the midst of a transition which means that it is up to the team executive vice president of football operations in John Elway to get this club back to the Super Bowl form that they possessed two years ago. Elway knows where his bread is buttered as when the Broncos won the Super Bowl two years ago they possessed one of the better offensive and defensive lines in football. And the early stages of the 2017 National Football League Draft saw Elway focus on that.
In the first round the Broncos drafted Utah Utes offensive tackle Garett Bolles. Bolles was one of the better offensive linemen that was available at any position coming into the draft and he is a player that the Broncos could plug in as a starter from his first day on the job.
The second round saw the Broncos select Florida State Seminoles defensive end DeMarcus Walker and in the process they may have gotten one of the top steals in the draft. Walker enters the National Football League as the reigning Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year after he tallied 16 sacks last year. Walker has a good motor and he should be able to thrive in the Broncos defense as he plays alongside players such as outside linebackers Von Miller and Shane Ray.
With the first pick of the fifth round, the Broncos pegged Michigan Wolverines Jake Butt. Last year at Michigan, Butt won the Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end and he was on pace to be a first-round pick until he suffered a torn ACL in the Orange Bowl. It’s not a guarantee that Butt will be ready when the regular season rolls around, but he is a low risk, potentially high reward for the Broncos. When healthy Butt has the ability to stretch the field, while the Broncos could also use him as an H-back.
It didn’t take Elway that long to make the Broncos a Super Bowl Champion, and this draft class should help to get Denver back on track after they missed the postseason last year.
Los Angeles Chargers
First-Round Pick: Mike Williams-Wide Receiver-Clemson
Best Pick: Round Two-Forrest Lamp-Guard-Western Kentucky
As the Los Angeles Chargers have bid farewell to San Diego after more than 50 years there, it’s all about developing a winner which starts at the draft. Veteran quarterback Philip Rivers is still the guy for the Chargers which means that general manager Tom Telesco must put a quality team around him if Los Angeles wants to be a playoff team.
The Chargers typically have one of the better passing offenses with Rivers under center and they gave him another quality wide receiver to get the football to. In the first round the Chargers selected Clemson Tigers wide receiver Mike Williams who at 6’4″, 218 lbs., gives Rivers a big target to get the football to in the red zone. The Chargers have Keenan Allen at wide receiver, but he has been bitten by the injury bug throughout his career and Williams gives Los Angeles more depth at the position.
Ironically the second round saw the Chargers select a player whose name fits their franchise. The Chargers selected Western Kentucky Hilltoppers guard Forrest Lamp who should be a starter from his first day with the team, while he will provide the team with versatility on the offensive line.
The Chargers continued to beef up on the offensive line as they selected Indiana Hoosiers guard Dan Feeney in the third round, while their fifth round selection of Iowa Hawkeyes cornerback Desmond King should give them some much needed depth in the secondary.
One way or the other this will be a historic draft class for the Chargers being that it went down with the team now based out of Los Angeles.
1. Cleveland Browns-Myles Garrett-Defensive End Texas A&M
Entering the 2017 National Football League Draft, Myles Garrett is the best player available which makes this an easy selection for the Browns.
2. San Francisco 49ers-Jonathan Allen-Defensive Tackle-Alabama
The Niners need a quarterback, but they get a value pick in Jonathan Allen while still having the ability to address that issue later in the draft.
3. Chicago Bears-Jamal Adams-Strong Safety-LSU
In a division that features quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford, the Bears must get better in their secondary.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars-Dalvin Cook-Running Back-Florida State
As the Jaguars leading rusher last season was T.J. Yeldon with just 465 yards. And with Tom Coughlin entrenched as the Jags executive vice president of football operations, Jacksonville will be a better running team by hook or by crook.
5. Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles Rams)-Solomon Thomas-Defensive End-Stanford
The Titans are on the verge of being a playoff team and it’s time to get defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau some more play makers.
6. New York Jets-Marshon Lattimore-Cornerback-Ohio State
The Jets can go in several directions with this selection, but their safest choice could be cornerback.
7. Los Angeles Chargers-Jabril Peppers-Strong Safety-Michigan
Not since the days of Rodney Harrison have the Chargers had an enforcer in their secondary which could change if they draft Jabril Peppers.
8. Carolina Panthers-Leonard Fournette-Running Back-LSU
The Panthers took a huge step backwards in 2016, and in order for them to resemble the team that went 15-1 in 2015, they have to get back to the basics which means a power rushing attack.
9. Cincinnati Bengals-Ryan Ramczyk-Offensive Tackle-Wisconsin
After allowing veteran offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth to leave in free agency, the Bengals need to get more athletic on their offensive line.
10. Buffalo Bills-Marlon Humphrey-Cornerback-Alabama
New Bills head coach Sean McDermott is a defensive minded coach. And after Buffalo allowed cornerback Stephon Gilmore to leave in free agency, this is a chance for them to address that void.
11. New Orleans Saints-Malik Hooker-Free Safety-Ohio State
If the Saints are going to squeeze another title run out of quarterback Drew Brees, they must assemble a defense that can stop opponents.
12. Cleveland Browns (From Philadelphia Eagles)-Deshaun Watson-Quarterback-Clemson
With the luxury of two, first-round picks the Browns can get the best player available along with their franchise quarterback.
13. Arizona Cardinals-Reuben Foster-Inside Linebacker-Alabama
As the Cardinals are looking to bounce back in 2017, the first thing that they need is a leader on the defensive side of the football.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (From Minnesota Vikings)-Derek Barnett-Defensive End-Tennessee
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is working on getting this team back to what it was during the 2000’s which was being a consistent playoff team, and a defensive end like Derek Barnett who can wreak havoc is a step in that direction.
15. Indianapolis Colts-Corey Davis-Wide Receiver-Western Michigan
The Colts have a new general manager in Chris Ballard and it is time for this organization to put more talent around quarterback Andrew Luck.
16. Baltimore Ravens-Zach Cunningham-Outside Linebacker-Vanderbilt
The Ravens have always been an organization that is known for defense and player like Cunningham plays with a nasty disposition.
17. Washington Redskins-Mike Williams-Wide Receiver-Clemson
After the Redskins allowed wide receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson to walk in free agency, this is an opportunity to keep quarterback Kirk Cousins happy.
18. Tennessee Titans-John Ross-Wide Receiver-Washington
The Titans love to run the football and a burner like John Ross could be dangerous off of play action.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Christian McCaffrey-Running Back-Stanford
The Buccaneers front office is showing that they are serious as far as putting a team around quarterback Jameis Winston and here they would get one of the best play makers in the draft.
20. Denver Broncos-O.J. Howard-Tight End-Alabama
The Broncos still have questions at the quarterback position, but bringing in a solid pass-catching tight end will benefit whoever is taking the snaps.
21. Detroit Lions-Taco Charlton-Defensive End-Michigan
As a team the Lions only had 26 sacks last year with no player accumulating more than 8 which makes selecting Taco Charlton here a no-brainer.
22. Miami Dolphins-Obi Melifonwu-Strong Safety-Connecticut
As the Dolphins continue to bring in play makers on the defensive side of the football, they’ll be out to show that their playoff run last year wasn’t a fluke.
23. New York Giants-Cam Robinson-Offensive Tackle-Alabama
There are several directions in which the Giants can go here, but it might be time for them to move Ereck Flowers to right tackle.
24. Oakland Raiders-TreDavious White-Cornerback-LSU
When quarterback Derek Carr suffered a fractured fibula last year, the Raiders secondary got exposed when the offense wasn’t putting up 30 points per game anymore.
25. Houston Texans-Forrest Lamp-Guard-Western Kentucky
The Texans already have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, and it could get better here by adding Forrest Lamp.
26. Seattle Seahawks-Garrett Bolles-Offensive Tackle-Utah
Last year Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was sacked 41 times and that isn’t going to cut it if Seattle wants to get back to the Super Bowl.
27. Kansas City Chiefs-Curtis Samuel-Wide Receiver-Ohio State
In 2016, the Chiefs didn’t have a wide receiver gain 600 yards as they need explosiveness at the position in order to take some attention off of tight end Travis Kelce.
28. Dallas Cowboys-Charles Harris-Defensive End-Missouri
The Dallas Cowboys have everything on offense to be a Super Bowl contender, but until they can improve their pass rush, it won’t mean a thing.
29. Green Bay Packers-Malik McDowell-Defensive Tackle-Michigan State
In three playoff games last season the Packers surrendered 88 points as quarterback Aaron Rodgers cannot bail them out all of the time.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers-Tim Williams-Outside Linebacker-Alabama
Tim Williams could be the steal of the first round as he goes to a team in the Steelers that loves to have versatile linebackers.
31. Atlanta Falcons-Takkarist McKinley-Outside Linebacker-UCLA
The Falcons had a solid defense in 2016, but after watching the fourth quarter of Super Bowl 51, it is clear that they need more pass rushers.
32. New Orleans Saints (From New England Patriots)-Carl Lawson-Defensive End-Auburn
If the Saints are able to fix their defense, a trip to the postseason is very likely here in 2017.