Updated 2014 NFL Draft Needs for Every Wild Card Loser

Jan 5, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) is pressured by San Diego Chargers linebacker Melvini Ingram (54) during the 2013 AFC wild card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. The Chargers defeated the Bengals 27-10. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Certain problems crept out of the woodwork for playoff teams who were sent home in the wild card round.  How does this change their 2014 NFL draft plans?

Kansas City Chiefs – Linebacker

Injuries ravaged the Kansas City Chiefs during their loss to the Indianapolis Colts, especially on defense.  As the game wore on Andrew Luck found more and more openings in the secondary, but it all started with the inability of the Chiefs to consistently pressure him.  They still have problems at the linebacker spots, both inside and outside.  Justin Houston couldn’t stay healthy down the stretch and Tamba Hali wasn’t the same without him.  As much as the Chiefs would love to add another playmaker for Alex Smith, the defense was the reason they lost the game and is something they have to get better depth on if they want to erase memories of that epic collapse.

Philadelphia Eagles – Safety

It wasn’t glaring during the game but when the Philadelphia Eagles needed big plays from their safeties, more often than not those prayers went unanswered.  Whether it was big plays or bad penalties, Patrick Chung and Nate Allen just couldn’t summon enough to shut down drives when they had to.  New Orleans took advantage of some key moments and won the game on a winning field goal.  Allen and Chung don’t deserve all of the blame for the loss, but it is clear competition may be coming to that position when the draft rolls around next May.

Cincinnati Bengals – Quarterback

Geno Atkins was sorely missed by the Cincinnati Bengals but in reality that game falls squarely on the shoulders of Andy Dalton.  With more than one chance to take advantage of some prime opportunities, the third-year quarterback literally and figuratively fumbled them away.  On the day he finished with over 330 yards passing but threw two critical interceptions and lost a fumble.  The San Diego Chargers capitalized and extended Marvin Lewis’ winless streak in the playoffs to 0-4.  Though their position in the 2014 NFL draft is not ideal, it is becoming clearer that the one position holding the Bengals back from contention is Dalton who consistently seems to play his worst in big games.

Green Bay Packers – Linebacker

Injuries have become a regular problem every year for the Green Bay Packers, especially on defense.  Nowhere was it more apparent than their linebacking corps.  Not only was Clay Matthews out at the start of the 49er game, they also lost two others in the contest, not to mention the other names inhabiting the injured list they had already replaced.  The Packers gave it a heck of an effort but in the end whenever San Francisco needed a drive they got one thanks to the running of Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick.  Getting healthier may help next year but Green Bay has to start finding players at that position who can stay healthy.

Topics: 2014 Nfl Draft, Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles

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  • Lyle Graversen

    While I agree that KC could use some depth at LB, the pass rush was neutralized mid season when Peyton Manning showed everyone that KC lacked enough quality DBs to cover multi receiver sets. KC plays mostly man to man, so if you put enough targets out there on the field and then throw the ball to whomever guys like Kendrick Lewis or Dunta Robinson are covering you can get the ball out in about 2 secs before the rush gets there. Even if they added the best pass rusher in the draft, KC will still struggle next season if the secondary isn’t addressed.

    Long story short, DBs (especially FS) is a bigger need than LB in order to sure up the defense.

    • superman_25_58

      FS should be the primary objective on the defensive side of the ball and WR on offensive side IMO.

    • Erik Lambert

      Then they might be in trouble because free safety isn’t exactly the deepest position in this draft. They would be better served adding another pass rusher because there are far more options. That or they could look to add a cornerback and move him to safety.

      • Roc

        I think they will add a fs in free agency and draft a cornerback in the first and a WR in the third.

        • Erik Lambert

          Jairus Byrd would be awfully tempting.

  • Ron Fulton

    I’m not so sure Dalton is not the answer for the Bengals. I think Gruden is more to blame with his idiotic play calling. If he had game plans that emphasized Dalton’s strength’s instead his weaknesses we wouldn’t be having this covnersation.

    • Erik Lambert

      There comes a point when it’s time to pass judgment. Dalton has had three cracks at the playoffs with an increasingly more talented team at his disposal. Blaming play calling is a nice excuse, but at some point the inability of a player to execute becomes apparent. Dalton has his moments, but he’s shown he can’t elevate his game when his team needs him to.

      • Ron Fulton

        You may have a point but I may have one as well.. It takes 3 years to groom a QB so I think we are stuck with Dalton unless you can get Manning or Rodgers in a trade.

        • Erik Lambert

          Then I ask you this. Given the talent Cincinnati already has, what’s the harm in taking a quarterback but keeping Dalton as the starter. If he falls apart then you known he was never the guy and then you have an ace in the hole ready to take over. Similar to what the Packers did with Rodgers and Favre.

          • Ron Fulton

            I would agree with you on that but where do you get one. If you draft one you will probably get another Dalton. In other words he might be great and he might be bad. Could go either way. The Bengals draft pretty far down and the best ones will be gone. I probably would go for someone like Matt Flynn of the Packers. Flynn knows he will never be a starter behind Rodgers but has a chance with the Bengals.There has to be more young backups out there that would jump at the chance to compete.

          • Erik Lambert

            Trust me when I say this: Stay away from Flynn. He looks good in the Packers offense but has looked like a dog everywhere else. If you’re looking for upside based on your draft position, keep an eye on somebody like Brett Smith from Wyoming. He has the body, arm and athleticism to excel at the top. Jimmy Garoppolo has good size and poise and probably the quickest release of anyone in the draft. Playing for Eastern Illinois is why he only has a third round grade. Trust me, there are options out there.

          • Ron Fulton

            If they can get someone like you suggested it is still taking a chance on an unproven rookie. Could be great and take Dalton’s job or could be another Dalton. Everything is a gamble. Case in point, we passed on Kaepernick to take Dalton. Just saying there are good backups out there, Aaron Rodgers was Favre’s backup, remember. It sound like your saying get one in the draft and I’m saying go after a backup. I say it takes to long for a rookie to learn the systems and the fans won’t wait that long.

          • Erik Lambert

            Aaron Rodgers was a late first round pick mind you and he had questions about him just like all these other rookies. The point is does a team take the chance? You say backup, I say insurance policy. The fans can give Dalton another year, meanwhile the coaching staff brings the rookie along. If all else fails, they go to him in 2015. At least that way you don’t have to start from scratch.

          • Ron Fulton

            I agree with what you are saying but that only applies if Gruden stays. I blame Gruden more than Dalton. His playcalling and game plans with one of the most talented offenses in the league was terrible. If Gruden leaves then what you say makes a lot of sense to draft a QB in round 2. With a new OC, Dalton has a chance to be good playing to his strengths, but if Gruden stays then I think they need an expierenced back up.

          • Erik Lambert

            We’ll see. Fair to say Marvin Lewis could be on his way out after pushing his record to 0-4 in postseason play.

          • Ron Fulton

            He should have been gone a long time ago with his .500 record. No other owner in history has kept a coach with a record like that. He has one more year on his contract and knowing Brown he will keep him unless the fans demand otherwise. Brown is all about filling the stands. Unlike baseball, football head coaches does nothing but PR and clock management. The coordinators call the game. This is the justification for keeping him. There could be a possibility, that if Zimmer gets an offer, Brown will step up and promote him to head coach and put Lewis in the front office. That is not too far fetched. As long as Gruden goes I’m satisfied. With the offensive talent they have a high school coach could have done better than Gruden, so I hope he goes.

          • Erik Lambert

            You’d have options if he were to go. Rob Chudzinski would be a steal in my mind if you got him. There is also Norv Turner, a respected quarterback developer. Even Gary Kubiak is a possibility.

          • Ron Fulton

            As long as Gruden goes. Did you read Daugherty’s article this morning? Right on target. Daugherty is the only sports writer I respect. The rest are wimps and ass kissers. Daugherty tells it like it is. Both with the Reds and Bengals.

          • Erik Lambert

            Indeed. We have somebody like that in Chicago. Name is Steve Rosenbloom. Guy doesn’t pull punches.

          • Ron Fulton

            Just watched Stephen Smith on ESPN2 sportys show. Says that Lewis should have been fired 5 minutes after the Bengal loss for the reasons I stated above.Says Brown does not care about winning just about profit.

          • Erik Lambert

            I said the same thing before the game was even over. This is a Charger team you beat by seven IN San Diego not too long ago and then they come in and beat you by 17 in a building you were undefeated in the entire year? Coaches have been fired for less.

          • Ron Fulton

            The next few days here in Cincy should tell the tale. We’ll see what Brown does. If he don’t fire Lewis and Gruden he will suffer at the gate next season, and I would hope he understands this.

          • Erik Lambert

            If he’s a smart businessman then it will be obvious.

          • Ron Fulton

            I’m predicting Gruden will go elsewhere, Brown will counter with Zimmer getting the Head coaching job and Lewis moves to the front office. That wat everyone saves face. We shall see,

          • Erik Lambert

            Gruden is in Washington now.

          • Ron Fulton

            Yes I know. It will take about a week to shake out all of these interviews. Then Brown should make his move.

          • Erik Lambert

            Looks like Mike Zimmer might be headed to Minnesota.

          • Ron Fulton

            Just for the interview, I hope. If he’s offered the job I still think Brown will counter with an offer as head coach of the Bengals. I don’t think Brown wants to lose Zimmer.

          • Ron Fulton

            Just got the news, Gruden named head coach at Washington.

          • Erik Lambert

            Looks like you’re getting your wish.