Sports Out West

2014 NFL Draft: Three teams that must have successful drafts

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On this Thursday, May 8, 2014, NFL teams will attempt to bolster their rosters with new talent. 

Some people have made a name for themselves based on how they operate on draft day.  Ozzie Newsome and Bill Belichick have become the masters of managing the draft.  Others like Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones have struggled recently with their selections. 

Every year in the draft there are a few teams that need to make major improvements through the draft, or there could be swift changes in the organizations’ future.  Here are the top three teams that must do well in this year’s draft.

Dallas Cowboys:

The NFL is often called a quarterback-driven league.  The Cowboys have a quarterback, or at least they think they do.  The problem is their quarterback has not driven his team to the playoffs in three seasons.  Admittedly it is not all his fault, and that is why the Cowboys must pounce on quality players in this draft.  Romo is 34 years old and is coming off of back surgery.  There is no way of knowing how many years he has left playing at a high level.

The Cowboys defense needs playmakers at every level.  With the departure of DeMarcus Ware and a suspect secondary, the Cowboys may need to trade back and attempt to acquire more picks to fulfill their litany of needs. Another season out of the playoffs could mean it is time for the Cowboys to blow it up and start over. 

Cleveland Browns:

The Browns have spent money like crazy the past two offseasons.  The team is just a few players away from being a playoff contender.  The problem is the team has struggled to find stability at the quarterback position.  With the departure of Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer coming off injury, the team is still looking for a franchise quarterback. 

If the Browns can fill their quarterback void they could make the playoffs for only the second time since 1999. 

With two first-round picks the Browns will have a great opportunity to get players that can help right away.  Pat Kirwan of CBSsports.com has the Browns trading up to secure Sammy Watkins and at No.26 taking Derek Carr.  Watkins and Josh Gordon would scare defenses for years to come regardless of who is playing quarterback. 

 

Jacksonville Jaguars:

There is not a team in the league that needs a star to become the face of the franchise more than the Jaguars.  With the departure of Maurice Jones-Drew the team is devoid of any identity.  In most pundits’ mock drafts the Jags are selecting an offensive lineman with the No. 3 pick.  A lineman pick is usually a safe pick but the team may have more pressing needs.

The Jaguars have difficulty selling out their home games and are rumored to be up for possible relocation in a few years. The team needs this draft to be the foundation for the future.  Former first-round pick Justin Blackmon is not expected to contribute this season as he is on indefinite suspension.  The Jags 2011 first-round pick, Blaine Gabbert, was traded to the San Francisco 49ers as he never panned out.  Last season’s first-round pick Luke Joeckel suffered a season-ending ankle injury.   

Long story short, in the team’s recent history, first-round picks have not looked so great.    

Photo Courtesy: (USATSI)

 

  

 

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Keenan Actkins

Keenan Actkins is an Arizona resident living in the Phoenix metropolitan area. He brings a wealth of sports knowledge and passion to the team with his unique insight and strong voice and opinion. He also contributes to Yahoo! Voices and has written for WoodyPaige.com.