After 11 seasons in Indianapolis, Dwight Freeney is a free agent after the Colts showed no interest in discussing a new contract. What's next for the seven-time Pro Bowler?
As if the Kansas City Chiefs haven’t already been through enough agony and disappointment this past year. The Chiefs hold the number one pick in this year’s NFL Draft after finishing with the worst record in the league. Not only is this a year where there is no quarterback who is talented enough for the number one pick, but the best defensive player in the country who would be an instant difference maker for the Chiefs is not old enough to be eligible for the draft. I am talking about the monster that is Jadeveon Clowney.
Clowney has now played two years at the University of Southern Carolina. Not only has he been a dominant force since his first college snap, but he has the ability to single-handedly change the course of a football game. You don’t believe me? Watch this year’s Outback Bowl against Michigan. Southern Carolina was cheated by a bad official spotting and the game appeared to be over. The very next play, Clowney struck. As Michigan’s quarterback is handing the ball to the running back, Clowney times the snap perfectly and meets the back at full velocity by the time he receives the ball. Keep in mind that Clowney is 6’7 and 260 pounds, so not only did the ball come loose which was recovered by Clowney, but the running back’s helmet flew back ten yards! The University of Southern Carolina went on to win the bowl game because of this incredible play by Jadeveon Clowney.
Clowney is projected to be a top three pick in the 2014 draft. The kid is not even old enough to have a sip of beer, yet he is more physically gifted than almost every defensive end in the National Football League already. Freaks of nature like this are rarely came across. Clowney’s college head coach, Steve Spurrier, told a reporter that Clowney was ready for the NFL coming out of high school! Jadeveon has recently caused a national debate on the rules of when a college football player should be eligible to play at the next level. Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe in the current eligibility rules. Most athletes need to develop that “NFL body” before they will be able to physically survive at the next level, unless you are Jadeveon Clowney: Half man, half bear, half pig.
If you’re reading this, not only do you have good taste in bloggers but you’re probably a fan of the Denver Broncos as well. With that being said, Let’s get down to business.
Denver had a great season, surpassing everybody’s expectations going into the regular season. It is easy to be dissapointed with the way it ended but you must put the entire season into perspective. We went on an 11-game winning streak to finish the year and won the American Football Conference. Find somebody who pegged that for us and I’ll show you a compulsive liar. Now I know that almost everybody in the city of Denver wants Rahim Moore in a boxing ring after his COLOSSAL mistake, but let’s be honest, he had a good year and safety really isn’t really a spot that we need to address via free agency or the draft. And let’s be real, Rahim Moore would knock you silly.
Let’s get started with Free Agency as that comes prior to the NFL Draft in April. First thing is first, We need to sign Ryan Clady to a long-term deal. The dude is one of the best left tackles in the game and he is well deserving of a big contract despite injury concerns over his shoulder. We have a 37-year-old Peyton Manning that we need to keep untouched for the next three to four years and if we can’t retain Clady we are in trouble. At the very least, we must franchise tag him, or are we going to lose another star player to Chicago? After getting that out-of-the-way by giving Clady the money he deserves, we still will have around enough money to make a splash in free agency. A few positions of need that standout are middle linebacker, defensive tackle and possibly running back. My opinion? I think middle linebacker is our biggest need going into next season as we suffered inconsistency throughout the season whether it was Joe Mays doing terrible in coverage or Keith Brooking being nagged by injuries all year. The best middle linebacker we can sign through free agency would be Rey Maualuga. The 6’1, 270 pound beast that is Rey Maualuga would be a perfect fit at the center of our defense. He has had a great career thus far in the NFL and is coming off of a 122 tackle season. Although he has had some previous off the field issues, those seem to be far behind him. He is by far the best interior linebacker in free agency and is a proven player. Imagine Denver’s linebacking core consisting of Wesley Woodyard, Rey Maualuga and Von Miller. Talk about STACKED. Now with this spot already taken care of, Denver doesn’t have to think about reaching on a guy who isn’t as talented as somebody else left on the board, although based on our recent draft philosophy, that probably wouldn’t happen anyway.
Now for our number one pick. With middle linebacker taken care of, Denver can basically take the best player available. The positions that come to mind are defensive tackle, cornerback, safety and running back. The only way I see us taking a running back with the 28th pick is if Eddie Lacy is still available. Defensive tackles Sharrif Floyd, Sheldon Richardson, Kawann Short and Sylvester Williams all come to mind as possibly being there at 28 for the taking. Cornerbacks Johnthan Banks and Xavier Rhodes are serious possibilities if available. As for safeties, Kenny Vaccaro out of the Univeristy of Texas has a ton of upside and would be a steal if available as the 28th pick. Keep in mind that if Denver does not make a move for middle linebacker in free agency that Manti Te’o could be a huge possibility with his draft stock possibly falling due to his fake slam-piece and poor play at the National Championship game.
If I could have it my way? I would obviously snag Rey Maualuga in free agency then draft a big defensive tackle like Sheldon Richardson to help in run support and rushing the passer.