Chiefs’ Choices to Exchange Mathieu
NFL Offseason – For this Could spherical of 4 Downs, we will likely be taking a look at every group’s largest remaining want in addition to notable undrafted free brokers who will likely be going to camp with every franchise.
Greatest Publish-Draft Want: Backup Quarterback
The Broncos are having fun with their finest offseason since they received the Peyton Manning lottery in 2012. Their beginning lineup is stacked on each side of the ball. However what occurs if Russell Wilson will get damage, even for a number of weeks? Brett Rypien has in some way squeezed 4 interceptions into simply 42 profession move makes an attempt, whereas 35-year-old Josh Johnson’s quest to play on each main, minor, indoor, and flag soccer group on earth ought to have wound down by now.
Backup quarterback stands out as the most urgent want, however the Broncos may simply have grabbed North Carolina’s Sam Howell on Day 3. Howell may have discovered below Wilson, scrambled his strategy to a win if known as upon for an emergency begin, and maybe gotten polished up and traded as soon as the Broncos are sure they do not want a quarterback of the long run. As a substitute, the Broncos danger falling off the AFC chase if Wilson misses a single recreation.
Notable Undrafted Free Brokers
The Broncos signed Dylan Parham as an UDFA? What a coup! How did such a well-regarded prospect slip by way of the cracks of the draft? Did he T-bone a minivan filled with nuns or one thing?
Oh wait, the Broncos didn’t signal the Dylan Parham who performed guard and heart for Memphis; the Raiders drafted that Parham. As a substitute, the Broncos signed the Dylan Parham who caught 12 passes in 5 seasons for North Carolina State. By no means thoughts.
Christopher Allen recorded six sacks and 13 tackles for a loss for Alabama in 2020, however he missed almost all of final yr with a foot damage and all of 2018 with a knee damage. The well being considerations are apparent, however Allen can each rush the passer and play in area, and he opened the 2021 season as a starter for the Crimson Tide. Getting a linebacker from the Alabama pipeline for merely a cellphone name and a $30,000 signing bonus isn’t a nasty factor.
Kansas Metropolis Chiefs
Greatest Publish-Draft Want: Honey Badger Alternative
The Chiefs used the windfall from the Tyreek Hill commerce, plus their very own prime draft picks, to spackle over main holes at cornerback (Trent McDuffie) and edge rusher (George Karlaftis) whereas including a nominal alternative for Hill himself (Skyy Moore). Tyrann Mathieu’s post-draft signing with the Saints, nevertheless, leaves the Chiefs with out an all-purpose security/slot nook/defensive tone-setter.
Free-agent acquisition Justin Reid will take Mathieu’s place within the lineup, however hardly ever rushes the passer and is not suited to a slot protection position. Juan Thornhill has the instruments to slip down into the field extra typically however isn’t any Honey Badger, significantly in man protection. Second-round decide Bryan Cook dinner is toolsy and difficult however inexperienced and simply mistake-prone sufficient to interrupt the Chiefs’ coronary heart by biting on a double transfer in a playoff shootout. Lanky cornerback-turned-safety-turned-cornerback-turned-whatever Lonnie Johnson, acquired in a commerce with the Texans, can also be within the combine. Johnson can cowl large slot receivers however that is his solely Badger-like high quality.
It is probably that Mathieu’s distinctive position will likely be retired in favor of a extra standard method within the secondary. Just like the Hill commerce, it is a sensible transfer, however it can make the Chiefs rather less entertaining.
Notable Undrafted Free Brokers
When the Chiefs signed Justyn Ross on Could 2, overstimulated #DraftTwitter reacted as if that they had simply traded for Cooper Kupp or one thing.
Ross went 46-1,000-9 for Clemson’s nationwide championship group in 2018, caught 66 passes in 2019, misplaced 2020 to spinal surgical procedure, and went simply 46-514-3 because the Tigers passing recreation flatlined final yr. Ross entered draft season on many preliminary prime prospect lists, however his 2021 movie did not move muster below shut scrutiny—he is a really deliberate route-runner who’s gradual out of the gate—and the spinal damage scared off speculators.
Ross appeared significantly better with Trevor Lawrence throwing him the ball and Tee Higgins, Hunter Renfrow, Travis Etienne, and Amari Rodgers occupying the protection than he did as the focus of an offense with a substandard quarterback: comprehensible, but in addition an indication that he was merely a program product in 2018.
For the entire yellow flags, it was shocking that Ross went undrafted as a substitute of simply slipping into the fifth spherical. There is a slim probability that the Chiefs discovered an efficient king-sized slot goal hiding in plain sight.
Las Vegas Raiders
Greatest Publish-Draft Want: Cornerback
Nate Hobbs has developed into one of many NFL’s finest slot corners. Rock Ya-Sin, acquired from the Colts within the Yannick Ngakoue commerce, is a succesful starter at one exterior place. However the different cornerback spot will likely be manned by both perma-prospect Treyvon Mullen or ex-Ravens free-agent acquisition Anthony Averett, who solely earned a beginning job in his fourth season in 2021 due to accidents.
With no first- or second-round picks after the Davante Adams commerce, the Raiders have been in no place to draft a shutdown nook. However as a substitute of dipping right into a deep expertise pool on Day 3, they selected a pair of operating backs, together with Zamir White (Georgia’s second-best speeding prospect, behind James Cook dinner) within the fourth spherical when high-upside small-school cornerbacks similar to Joshua Williams (Fayetteville State), Dacobie Durant (South Carolina State), and Tariq Wooten (UTSA) have been nonetheless on the board.
An ultra-athletic cornerback off the bench may assist the Raiders survive a shootout towards the Chiefs or Chargers. A backup operating again in all probability won’t. The Raiders might dip right into a deep high-risk veteran free-agent marketplace for somebody like Xavier Rhodes or Jimmy Smith, however that may take some vital salary-cap wriggling.
Notable Undrafted Free Brokers
Security Qwinterrio Cole was a standout at Alcorn State who transferred to Louisville in 2021 after COVID worn out the 2020 FCS season. Cole has a fame as an enormous hitter within the field with a nostril for the soccer and the demeanor of a particular groups ace. He is the very best of a Raiders UDFA security trio which additionally contains lengthy, lean Isaiah Pola-Mao of USC and tiny Bryce Cosby, who recorded 392 tackles and 10 interceptions in his Ball State profession.
Honest McCormick is a powerfully constructed 5-foot-9 transportable battering ram with a Jaret Patterson-meets-Tarik Cohen speeding fashion. McCormick rushed for over 1,400 yards in back-to-back seasons for UTSA and caught his share of swing passes from southpaw quarterback Frank Harris. There is no fact to the rumor that McCormick has three brothers named Dependable, Forthright, and Emotionally Accessible. He did have a UTSA teammate named Rashad Knowledge, nevertheless.
Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa is the cousin of Dolphins quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Kidding! He is certainly Tua’s cousin. Tagovailoa-Amosa is a 270-plus defender who performed everywhere in the Notre Dame line over the past 5 seasons. The Raiders, like many different groups, loaded up on older prospects as undrafted rookies as a substitute of doing foolish issues like drafting them twenty ninth general. Tagovailoa-Amosa is at present listed as an outdoor linebacker, which tracks with Patrick Graham’s plan to make use of big defensive finish sorts (Maxx Crosby, Chandler Jones) on the place.
Los Angeles Chargers
Greatest Publish-Draft Want: Proper Sort out
Storm Norton, who completed third within the NFL with 42 blown blocks final season (per Sports activities Data Options), remains to be penciled in because the Chargers’ stater at proper deal with. First-round decide Zion Johnson is prone to begin at proper guard, leaving sixth-round decide Jamaree Salyer as Johnson’s main competitors for a beginning job. Salyer performed left deal with at Georgia however has the dimensions, talent set, and athletic profile of an inside lineman. Neither Norton nor Salyer seems to be a really perfect match for a group with Tremendous Bowl aspirations, so do not be stunned if the Chargers add a veteran similar to Riley Reiff as an insurance coverage coverage.
Notable Undrafted Free Brokers
The Chargers had one eye on their particular groups and one other on their short-yardage recreation after the draft. Tiny Trevon Bradford spent six (6) seasons as a receiver/returner at Oregon State and may very well be price a practice-squad stash in case something occurs to return man DeAndre Carter, whom the Chargers added as a free agent from Washington. Kicker James McCourt of Illinois went 4-of-8 on 50-plus-yard discipline targets in 2021. He is no risk to Dustin Hopkins, however he’ll get an extended audition for an opportunity to be the primary kicker off the waiver wire in an emergency.
Leddie Brown (West Virginia) is as fast ‘n’ nifty as his identify would counsel. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons and has a bruising operating fashion that might show beneficial on fourth-and-1. The identical goes for Kevin Marks, who scored 33 profession touchdowns for Buffalo. Erik Krommenhoek (USC) is das blockenfurst tight finish who may crack the roster as a TE3 for the purpose line. Seventh-round fullback Zander Horvath (Purdue) is sort of a UDFA; he provides a possible thumper who can block, run, and catch, one other helpful piece for a group that does not need its season to hinge on failed fourth-down conversions.
Parts of this text beforehand appeared on ESPN+.