Is this Peyton Manning’s last shot at a Super Bowl?
Is the Chiefs offense good enough to get to the playoffs?
Can the Raiders get a winning season?
Are the Chargers about to take over the division?
Free Agency: A great amount of turnover happened in Denver. Julius Thomas, Orlando Franklin, Terrance Knighton & Rahim Moore are gone. In to help the offense are TE Owen Daniels(Ravens) & OG Shelley Smith(Dolphins). DT’s Antonio Smith(Raiders) & Vance Walker(Chiefs) add quality depth, as does LB Reggie Walker(Chargers).
Draft: Missouri DE Shane Ray is fast and adds more speed to an already fast defense. Ohio State TE Jeff Heuerman should become a good weapon, unfortunately he tore his ACL in mini-camp. Colorado State OT Ty Sambrailo & Florida C Max Garcia give much needed youth on the O-Line. Tulane CB Lorenzo Doss is a good late round project pick.
Overview: Peyton Manning is more likely facing his last season with the Broncos, and John Elway brought in the offensive minded Gary Kubiak to be the new head coach, which hopefully will produce a Super Bowl championship. The health of Manning is what is most important to this team. A speedy defense and a solid offense can get them to Santa Clara.
Free Agency: Andy Reid went back to his former team and grabbed WR Jeremy Maclin(Eagles), making Dwayne Bowe expendable. Rodney Hudson, Joe Mays, Vance Walker & Anthony Fasano are gone too. OG Paul Fanaika(Cardinals) should be a starter, as will SS Tyvon Branch(Raiders).
Draft: The Washington CB Marcus Peters was a need pick, but he comes with a lot of baggage. If he causes trouble, then Oregon State CB Steven Nelson will get more of a shot. Missouri OL Mitch Morse is a tough and versatile player, and Georgia WR Chris Conley has a lot of promise and will be given a lot of chances to start.
Overview: Alex Smith has new weapons at receiver, and Jamaal Charles will carry the load again. As always, division games will be key, as the AFC West is not easy. The fans are expecting bigger things this year, with the idea of the offense being as good as the defense. If Smith struggles, then a change will be in order.
Free Agency: It was yet another wild turnaround in free agency for the Raiders. Yet this time, wiser and much younger decisions were made. LaMarr Woodley, Antonio Smith, Matt Schaub, Tyvon Branch, Denarius Moore, Darren McFadden, Vincent Brown & Stefan Wisniewski are out. On offense C Rodney Hudson(Chiefs) WR Michael Crabtree(49’ers) & RB Roy Helu(Redskins) will help. Defensively, NT Dan Williams(Cardinals) LB’s Curtis Lofton(Saints) & Malcolm Smith(Seahawks) and DB’s Nate Allen(Eagles) & James Dockery(Panthers) should all be big contributors. Add in QB Christian Ponder(Vikings), RB Trent Richardson(Colts) and OT J’Marcus Webb(Vikings), and you cannot say that the Raiders did not help themselves.
Draft: Alabama WR Amari Cooper is a gift, and should pay off handsomely. Florida State DE Mario Edwards Jr. is gifted, but does he have the desire? Miami, Fla TE Clive Walford is intriguing, but has an injury history. Keep an eye on 6th round pick Virginia LB Max Valles.
Overview: Derek Carr to Amari Cooper is what all Raiders fans are hoping to hear, for years to come. The Raiders are improving greatly on both sides of the ball. But don’t expect the playoffs just yet. Having said that, the Raiders won’t be pushovers anymore either.
Free Agency: Ryan Matthews & Eddie Royal are gone. Incoming are WR’s Steve Johnson(49’ers) & Jacoby Jones(Ravens), but OG Orlando Franklin(Broncos) is the real prize. DB’s Patrick Robinson(Saints) & Jimmy Wilson(Dolphins) provide good depth.
Draft: Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon will be called upon in a huge way, and there is no reason to doubt that he will deliver. Superior small college talent was found in the form of Texas State CB Craig Mager & North Dakota State LB Kyle Emanuel. Both of whom could see plenty of playing time this year.
Overview: Keeping Phillip Rivers, despite all the trade rumors, was the smartest thing the Chargers did all off season. Giving him more weapons at WR & RB and upgrading the O-Line was even smarter. With Rivers future uncertain, the Chargers are going all-in this year. They certainly have the talent to get to the Super Bowl. Once again, it is all about those crucial division games.