Here we go!
Albuquerque kicks off the draft after a disappointing 3-13 season. Typical of a team picking first overall, they have some holes to fill. Fortunately, Quarterback has finally been resolved for them after picking super star Joe Burrows in the first-round last year. With needs at Offensive Tackle, Linebacker and Wide Receiver, they could go in several directions here. They choose to pair Burrows with offensive rookie of the year and super star teammate WR8 JaíMarr Chase. Their league low 315 points scored last year was the deciding factor.
Krakow is delighted to have the unanimous defensive rookie of the year fall to them and select LB10 Micah Parsons. Demario Davis and Matt Judon have been studs for them at Linebacker but are in the twilight of his careers. Parsons will partner with their 2020 first round pick DE9 Maxx Crosby to form the foundation of a solid front seven for years. If they can address some needs in their secondary, the Kielbasa should improve from the division high 27.2 average points they allowed in 2022.
After watching both ROTYís drop off the board, Hollywood decides to upgrade their Offensive Line and select T9/9 Rashawn Slater. Aging David Bakhtiari has been exceptional, but injuries will keep him sidelined for most of the season. Pairing Slater with 28-year-old Ryan Ramczyk should give the Stars one of the best Tackle tandems in the league and book end an offensive line that also includes G/T10 Joel Bitonio. Russell Wilson is thrilled.
Arizona briefly considers adding an OLB9 or CB9 to a defense that allowed the second fewest points in the league last year. Instead, they decide to take QB Mac Jones to give stability to their offense. It could be two years before they figure out what they have in Deshaun Watson and Andy Dalton isnít going to win them any games in the short term. Itís said defense wins championships, but if youíre marching the 34-year-old Red Rifle out to lead your offence, making the playoffs will remain a challenge.
This will be the first pick for a new General Manager looking to build on a team with solid pieces already in place. Cleveland decides to go with the highest ranked skilled player available and take WR9 Jaylen Waddle. Waddle will partner with Hunter Renfrow to give Matty Ice a solid, young receiving duo. If Robert Woods can rebound from injury and OBJ can find some form of his past self, this will be a tough group to slow down. With Matt Ryan, Jameis Winston and Jalen Hurts all poised for big years, and Christian McCaffrey coming off injury the Cleveland Force offence could be a real force in the league in 2023.
It's not often that a teamís biggest need and the best player available line up better than this. Carbon has play makers on offense and good depth on defence but lack several pieces on their offensive line. C9/9 Creed Humphrey was a snub to make the Pro Bowl last year but as evidence from his AFA ranking, heís one of the best in the league at Centre. He did eventually get chosen as an alternate, but I think that can only help to drive him to be even better. He will be a major upgrade snapping the ball to Matt Stafford and opening holes for the devastating running combination of Joe Mixon and Nick Chubb.
Pittsburgh has solid pieces on the interior of their offensive line with Guard Quenton Nelson, Centre Mitch Morse and a trio of young prospects. Offensive Tackle is extremely thin, riddled with injuries and in need of a refresh. The Roughriders chose to fill a major need with the consensus top offensive line talent coming out of college, OT 8/6 Penei Sewell. He will be a major upgrade protecting Lamar Jackson and giving him time to find superstar tandem receivers Stefon Diggs and Keenan Allen.
San Diego is looking to jump out of the middle of the pack. Tom Brady put up another solid year, but time is eventually going to catch up to the GOAT. The Suns want to get back to another AFA bowl with him and not having been since 2014. Tua Tagovailoa is waiting in the wings and the Suns have done well to get young but want to win now. They decide to give Brady a second young receiving target to partner with Terry McLauren and choose WR6 DeVonta Smith. They will be a great duo for Tua eventually, but TB12 will get the most from them in the short term.
San Antonio enjoyed a brief taste of the playoffs before being knocked out by top seed Chicago in the first round. Although they have some solid players in place on defence, allowing 48 points in a playoff game needs to be addressed. Having no one on the team with double digit sacks is a concern and the Vikings get a boost from OLB9 Robert Quinn. Despite being 31 years old, his 18 sacks will be a major upgrade. With RB Jonathan Taylor eating up the clock on offense and a better pass rush on defense, San Antonio will be looking to get past round one next year.
Indianapolis has been a perennial playoff team for years but just canít seem to get over the hump. Mediocre play at QB with Ryan Tannehill and Carson Wentz continues to knock them out of the first or second round. While it will take some time to materialize, the Cobras decide to take projected generational player QB Trevor Lawrence. While he wonít help them win now, with some time he should give them a bright future at the most important position in the game. They have several needs and aging players, so this feels like a great start to a rebuild.
While Spokane scored a lot of points last year (third most), they unfortunately gave up the most points in the league. With QB Kyler Murray and one of the best offensive lines n the league, they decide to focus on defence. They briefly consider CB9 Darius Slay but decide to continue adding young talent and select CB7 Patrick Surtain II. Slay is the better player now but Surtain will join DL Ed Oliver and Quinnen Williams as the foundation of the Saber Cats defence for years. Dethroning Chicago as the division champion looks to need time build momentum.
New York is ready to compete for a championship now. Loosing by 1 point in the opening round last year continues to give them knight mares. Having Aaron Rogers, three 1,000+ yard receivers and a solid offensive line, they continue searching for a run game. CEH has failed to meet his full potential and Saquon Barkley already seems to be past his prime. The Knights select top RB talent Najee Harris and his 1,200 rushing yards. His average per carry is low but the production is just too tempting to help take pressure off their explosive passing game.
Alaska looks to build on itís already good and young receiving Corp. They add TE6 Kyle Pitts to compliment the talents of WRís Cede Lamb and Brandon Aiyuk. His 1,000+ yard rookie season is on par with expectations when he came as one of the most talented players in the draft. Had he scored more than a single touchdown itís unlikely he would have made it this far in the AFA draft this year. QB Josh Allen and Pitts will form one of the greatest QB/TE combinations weíve seen over the next several years.
Las Vegas enjoyed a good run into the playoffs and believe they have enough pieces in place to push past the semi-finals this year. They want to take full advantage of WR Cooper Kuppís unreal, Madden level numbers and a solid season from QB Derek Carr. They unfortunately only generated 7 interceptions from their secondary and allowed more than 500 points against. The Plague select CB9 Darius Slay and set out to prove that last year was more than just catching lightning in a bottle.
Chicago was a dominant force last year with a league high 657 points scored and league low 359 points allowed. With QB Patrick Mahomes and FOUR +1,100-yard receivers they will remain a hard team to stop this year. Giving Mahomes time will be their challenge. Aside from retiring OT 9/9 Andrew Whitworth, their line is average at best. The Caravan decide to add some youth and select the best lineman available in G7/7 Trey Smith. With great players on both sides of the ball, this could be the final piece they need to win the championship. Theyíve now been and lost in the AFA Bowl in 2018, 2019 and 2021 so are very hungry for a title.
Kansas Cityís defence is stacked with seven 9+ players and looks ready to defend their championship. The offense is balanced enough that they can target holes instead of building long term depth. The Beast decide to play for the present and select 30-year-old G8/6 Quinton Spain. Itís unlikely he will maintain this rating beyond one fluke year but heís a major upgrade right now. The Beast finally filled one of their guard positions last year with first round pick Michael Owenu, but otherwise have been reaching at the position for years. I expect they could draft a Guard again in the first-round next year.
Good luck everyone and have a great season!
Scott - KC