Week One is off and running and there wasn’t a lack of surprises, both good and bad. Which teams made early statements for a playoff run, and which ones have begun their race for the first pick of the 2014 NFL Draft?
Jacksonville Jaguars – Blaine Gabbert next to useless in opener
Every race needs a clear cut favorite and at present the Jacksonville Jaguars own the inside track for the first overall pick How appropriate that expectations are it will be a quarterback because the Jags clearly don’t have one. Blaine Gabbert threw 35 passes against Kansas City but only mustered 121 yards and two interceptions. Jacksonville only points came on a safety by the defense. The team looks every bit as bad as last season and it seems nobody will stop them from reach the top in 2014.
Possible choice with first pick: Teddy Bridgewater (QB – Louisville)
Oakland Raiders – Terrelle Pryor solid but can’t save defense
Similar doubts surround the Oakland Raiders, especially their quarterback Terrelle Pryor. However, the team mustered a respectable showing against the Indianapolis Colts, a playoff team last season. Pryor played well, mustering over 300 total yards but he had no answers for his own defense that failed to stop Andrew Luck when it counted. Oakland figures to have year-long problems on defense which could lead to a meltdown at some point by midseason.
Possible choice with first pick: Jadeveon Clowney (DE – South Carolina)
Pittsburgh Steelers – Ben Roethlisberger under siege all day
Impossible? All one needs to do is look at the comedy of errors the Pittsburgh Steelers went through on opening day and they might actually believe the former AFC North powerhouse is in for a rough year. Ben Roethlisberger was sacked five times in the game, threw an interception and worst of all lost his best offensive lineman when center Maurkice Pouncey tore his ACL and MCL. That knocks him out for the season and leaves an already bad offensive line in dire straights. Pittsburgh mustered just nine points against a defense that ranked 27th in the league last season. Not a good sign.
Possible choice with first pick: Cyrus Kouandjio (OT – Alabama)
Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton musters little on offense
The Seattle Seahawks are a tough team but the Carolina Panthers still should’ve beaten them. Cam Newton had some great chances with his defense only surrendering 12 points but a series of miscues and limited impact in the passing game doomed them late in the game. Experts feared Carolina made a mistake not investing more during the off-season in the wide receiver position what with Steve Smith getting older. Those fears seem justified as the problems on offense have gotten steadily worse. It’s hard to see the team falling that far in the 2014 NFL draft but anything can happen and if they do it won’t be hard to predict where they go with the pick.
Possible choice with first pick: Marqise Lee (WR – USC)