2012 NFL Draft: 6 Teams That Can't Win

Avi Wolfman-ArentCorrespondent IIJanuary 25, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: 6 Teams That Can't Win

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    Franchise building through the NFL draft is a cruel game—one that rewards failure and slants hard against mediocrity.

    Look for a mess of 7-9 and 8-8 squads on this list, flawed teams without the draft position to make big leaps forward.

    They weren't bad last year, but the 2012 NFL draft isn't likely to make them much better.

Washington Redskins

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    Behind their 5-11 record, the Washington Redskins weren't so awful last year.

    They beat the NFC champions twice, had the league's 13th-best defense and ranked a respectable 16th in yards gained.

    The problem the Redskins have in this draft is that their needs are transparent, and they didn't suck hard enough to control their own destiny.

    Everyone knows the Redskins, who hold the sixth overall pick, need a quarterback.

    After Matt Barkley and Landry Jones eschewed the draft, their only real option became Robert Griffin III.

    So now we've gone from "everyone knows the Redskins need a quarterback" to "everyone knows the Redskins need Robert Griffin III."

    Operating exposed and without leverage, the teams above Washington can demand an absurd return for what will amount to three or four draft positions.

    Mix in recent news that the Cleveland Browns could take a quarterback in this draft, and Washington's desperation only worsens.

    The Redskins already have their hand out, and that's a bad place to start.

New York Jets

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    Forget the name "Mark Sanchez" for a second. He seems to muddy these conversations with impositions about his character, personality, leadership—whatever.

    The New York Jets went 8-8 last year because they ranked 25th in total yards and got the following production out of their starting quarterback: 3,474 yards, 56.7 percent completion, 78.2 passer rating.

    Every season a couple of teams get that line from their quarterback and weasel into the playoffs. In 2009 and 2010, one of those teams was the Jets.

    But it isn't a recipe for sustainable success in the NFL, and the Jets need more from under center if they want a veteran-laden core to compete in the short-term.

    Problem is New York doesn't want to give off the impression of a rebuilding team by drafting Sanchez's successor.

    With the 16th pick the Jets can address needs at outside linebacker, guard or any number of other positions, but improvements in those areas won't put New York in Super Bowl contention.

Arizona Cardinals

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    Arizona's eight wins by seven points or fewer last year were the glossy coating on a team with deep flaws.

    Like with the Jets, Arizona's problems start at the quarterback position.

    In his first year with the Cardinals, Kevin Kolb underwhelmed and ultimately succumbed to injury. Backup John Skelton produced a Tim Tebow-esque turnaround (5-1 record) despite similarly Tebow-esque production (68.9 quarterback rating).

    Skelton was a nice story but he isn't the long-term answer.

    After surrendering Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick to land Kolb, Arizona likely has to stick with him for the upcoming campaign.

    That means no new quarterback and one less pick with which to build their offensive line or improve their linebacking corps.

Oakland Raiders

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    New Raiders head man Dennis Allen drew an awful hand in his first go-round as head coach.

    Allen is stuck with an aging Carson Palmer at quarterback, the 29th-ranked defense and a team that lost six games by 10 or more points last year.

    On top of that, the Raiders have just three picks in the upcoming NFL draft and none before the third round.

    To recap, Oakland is:

    a) Locked into an ineffective, expensive veteran quarterback

    b) Coming off a decent-at-first-glance-but-really-pretty-awful year

    c) Powerless to fix anything

    Good luck, Coach Allen.

Denver Broncos

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    This slide is about Tim Tebow, but it doesn't have to be.

    Tebow or no Tebow, the Broncos are an 8-8 team with a minus-81 point differential that must pick 25th in the first round because of their playoff success.

    That's a bad draft profile. The Jacksonville Jaguars, the team with the closest point differential to Denver's, get to pick 18 spots ahead of the Broncos.

    Tebow exacerbates the problem by limiting what John Elway and Company can do in this draft.

    Because he's their starting quarterback moving forward, Denver must scout accordingly.

    As our own Matt Miller writes, "Under John Fox, the Broncos are committed to building a strong defense to complement a ball-control offense." Miller has Denver picking a defensive tackle and ignoring needs at cornerback and offensive line because of that strategic shift.

    The result is a lot of residual finagling on account of a quarterback with questionable long-term prospects.

    But Denver can't turn back from Tebow now, and it binds them to a certain strain of thinking this offseason. A team with such obvious holes would like more flexibility.

Seattle Seahawks

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    Like other teams on this list, the Seattle Seahawks have a backup-caliber quarterback in the starting role and not much hope for improvement.

    Ryan Tannehill would be a monumental reach with the No. 11 pick, and it likely means Seattle is headed for a 23rd consecutive draft without taking a quarterback in the first round.

    Pete Carroll needs a reliable talent under center to get this offense up to speed with his ninth-ranked defense. This year he won't get that help.