While we don’t know for sure which teams improved their Super Bowl chances in the long run and which ones did not during the 2014 NFL draft, we can make some educated guesses.
Ideally, squads filled their needs with talented playmakers during the three-day event and will then let the pieces fall as they may. With that in mind, here is a glance at three teams in particular that posted the best results.
San Diego Chargers: A
The San Diego Chargers didn’t have a ton of picks, but they impressed with the few they had.
Cornerback Jason Verrett from TCU was the headliner, and even though he lacks in size compared to some of the other cornerbacks, his athleticism and speed will more than make up for it. He is a ball hawk who has an explosive first step that helps him break up passes, tally interceptions and lay hard hits on receivers who dare to go over the middle.
Elsewhere, the Chargers landed Jeremiah Attaochu in the second round. Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego believes Attaochu’s production is what made him so appealing:
Jeremiah Attaochu has 22.5 sacks over past 2 seasons. Production ... Can question need to move up to get him, but don't know who wanted him— UTKevinAcee (@UTKevinAcee) May 10, 2014
Guard Chris Watt and defensive tackle Ryan Carrethers fill important needs, and running back Marion Grice and wide receiver Tevin Reese bring big-play potential to the table. Both were touchdown machines in the college ranks and have the speed to help the Chargers offense right away.
Chicago Bears: B+
Full disclosure, including the Chicago Bears on here is a bit of a homer pick, but they had an impressive draft nonetheless.
Chicago was downright putrid on defense last season. It responded by adding cornerback Kyle Fuller in the first round, two impressive defensive tackles in Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton and a safety with serious upside in Brock Vereen. Fuller is the best of the bunch and adds depth and youth to an aging corner crop in the Windy City.
The Bears also added insurance in the form of quarterback David Fales, which is important considering Josh McCown left for Tampa Bay, and running back Ka’Deem Carey. Carey dominated at Arizona with 1,885 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns in 2013 after posting 1,929 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns on the ground in 2012.
Carey responded to being selected, via the Chicago Bears’ official Twitter page:
LM: Carey says he has learned from off-the-field incidents: "I've been given a second chance by the #Bears and I'm excited."— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) May 10, 2014
LM: Carey: "I feel like I always have something to prove."— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) May 10, 2014
LM: Carey compares himself to 49ers RB Frank Gore: "He runs hard. He doesn't run the fastest 40, but he makes big plays."— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) May 10, 2014
The Bears also added punter Pat O'Donnell in the draft, but you might want to hold off on making any punter jokes to his face, via Bleacher Report:
The punter that the Bears drafted in the sixth round bench pressed more reps than Jadeveon Clowney at the Combine http://t.co/jRx86oUaQA— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 10, 2014
Green Bay Packers: A-
Let’s balance out some of that Bears love and point out that the Green Bay Packers also had an impressive draft class.
The Packers are almost always loaded on offense, but they improved their defense in a big way during the draft. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was the team’s first-round pick, and he could compete for a starting spot right away in the secondary.
Clinton-Dix brings the speed and hitting power necessary to the safety position to help in the run game, punish receivers who go over the middle or hang with the speedy and physical tight ends that populate the league.
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What’s more, Green Bay added linebacker Carl Bradford and defensive tackle Khyri Thornton to provide depth and physicality to the front seven.
On the other side of the ball, the Packers snagged wideouts Davante Adams and Jared Abbrederis and tight end Richard Rodgers, which will help make up for the lost production of James Jones and Jermichael Finley. From a pure production standpoint, Abbrederis is about as good as it gets from the college level, so it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if he becomes a slot-receiving extraordinaire in Green Bay eventually.
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