Post-NFL Draft Predictions

The results are in, folks. The NFL Draft is OVER. I’m part thankful because I don’t have to listen to Mel Kiper blab about his “profession” anymore, but I’m also bummed. While I love baseball, this means no football until August at the earliest.

Oh, well. At least the Dodgers are still dominating. Here are my predicted standings for the 2012 NFL season with the newest additions to the teams:

AFC East:

1. New England Patriots

All the Patriots did over the weekend was address needs on defense. They finally traded up and now have a potentially good defense to complement the still-explosive offense. The Patriots are a no-doubt pick to win this division.

2. Buffalo Bills

Last year’s trendy pick to win the division got better, but still aren’t there yet. They might have a chance to challenge for the Wild Card after selecting CB Stephon Gilmore with their first pick and might have scored a sleeper in LB Tank Carder.

3. New York Jets

And, queue the angry Jets fans whining about my selection. To them, I say stop wasting time with Sanchez Dee and Tebow Dum and draft a real quarterback, because the rest of the team isn’t half bad. But getting a couple above average guys in this draft isn’t going to help much.

4. Miami Dolphins

I like some of the picks the Dolphins made, but Ryan Tannehill was both unnecessary and stupid. Matt Moore is a better QB right now than Tannehill ever will be in my opinion. This team is still in need of tons of help.

AFC North:

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

Steel City is back on top this season after fixing the one big problem they had. Ben Roethlisberger’s sore ass from being sacked millions of times. They got two great offensive line prospects early in the draft and will be much improved all around.

2. Baltimore Ravens

I’m actually very underwhelmed with what the Ravens did in this year’s draft. Fortunately, they didn’t have a ton of issues that needed fixing. They should cruise to a Wild Card spot in 2012.

3. Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals got a LOT better through this draft. Considering they barely missed the playoffs last year, this could spell doom for any other Wild Card hopefuls next season. Could both Wild Card teams come from this division next seasons? I say yes.

4. Cleveland Browns

I love the first pick. Trent Richardson will be a ferocious beast for Cleveland. Then they went and ruined it by drafting a 28-year-old below-average quarterback in the FIRST ROUND. Kill me now.

AFC South:

1. Houston Texans

The Texans should run away with this division. They are competing with three teams who have Jake Locker, Andrew Luck and Blaine Gabbert at QB. Expect a full, healthy season from Matt Schaub and an easy division title.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jags will be a little better, but not much. I do like that they went out and got Justin Blackmon in the first round, but the problem is less about Gabbert’s weapons than Gabbert himself.

3. Tennessee Titans

Jake Locker is not an NFL-caliber QB, and Matt Hasselbeck makes way too many mistakes to keep this team competitive. If they get a good year out of Chris Johnson, they MIGHT crack .500, but I doubt it.

4. Indianapolis Colts

Not only did Indy grab Luck with the first overall selection, but they used their next two picks on solid tight ends. Hello, Stanford! The Colts also nabbed an underrated running back in Vick Ballard late. They aren’t ready yet, but heading in the right direction.

AFC West:

1. San Diego Chargers

I know they are the kings of screwing the pooch, but the Chargers have the most talented team already on the field, and had the best draft in the division (although that’s really not saying much). I expect them to NOT blow it in 2012.

2. Denver Broncos

You can’t count out a team with a healthy Peyton Manning. But they aren’t a playoff team again until I’m assured Manning can actually take a hit. The defense is still overrated, but the offense should put up more points than people think.

3. Kansas City Chiefs

Another underwhelming draft in this division, as the only REAL impact player they got was Dontari Poe with their first pick. And even that was risky. We’ll see how Matt Cassel, Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry bounce back. K.C. could surprise. Again.

4. Oakland Raiders

My god, what a mess. The draft was basically pointless for them, and they’ve been cutting salary and players for weeks. The Raiders, with their play makers on offense, could pull a few upset victories, but this is a 5-win team at best in 2012.

NFC East:

1. Philadelphia Eagles

I know, I know. They will figure it out this year, though. The Eagles added a lot of underrated pieces in this draft, and finally made some smart moves instead of just going for broke on star power. Look for a dominant triumph in this division next season.

2. New York Giants

The defending champs will probably still make the playoffs, because…well, don’t they always? But time will tell. They have a habit of putting their fans through cardiac arrest, and I don’t think they improved at all from a team that lost Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs.

3. Dallas Cowboys

And despite a pretty solid draft, the Cowboys still suck. Bummer. I especially like their first round selection of Morris Claiborne, but he’ll take some adjusting to the NFL game. I fully expect this team to contend…in 2013.

4. Washington Redskins

Robert Griffin III is going to be exceptionally fun to watch, and he’s already better-liked than Donovan McNabb was. Funny what a little humility gets you. The rest of the draft was a little puzzling, especially the selection of another QB, Kirk Cousins.

NFC North:

1. Green Bay Packers

Green Bay’s draft was a snoozer, but they did make a couple good picks getting Jerel Worthy and Nick Perry to shore up the defense. This team still has Aaron Rodgers, so I’ll be shocked if they don’t win the division.

2. Chicago Bears

Sorry Lions fans, but the Bears really improved. First of all, they will have their healthy QB back. Don’t forget that’s the only reason they missed the playoffs last season. Plus, they get to pair Alshon Jeffery with Brandon Marshall. Poor opposing DBs.

3. Detroit Lions

While Daaaaa Bears will snag a Wild Card spot, the Lions are going to be sitting at home wondering what the hell went wrong. I’ll tell you – Jim Schwartz can’t control an immature team, no matter who they draft. I’ll put the over/under at ten for Lions suspensions next season.

4. Minnesota Vikings

They are actually on the way up, just not quick enough. I liked their draft, though getting Harrison Smith late in the first round was quite a reach. You have to like Adrian Peterson and Christian Ponder, but the Vikes still come up very short.

NFC South:

1. Atlanta Falcons

I really don’t think the Falcons are a contender, but they will win this division by default. Carolina’s defense still isn’t ready, the Saints don’t have coaches, and the Bucs still need help. I like getting Peter Konz in the draft, but the rest of the picks were just questionable.

2. New Orleans Saints

Call me crazy, but the Saints will still squeak into the playoffs with the second Wild Card spot. They still have some dude named Drew Brees and an offense capable of putting up 50. Unfortunately, they barely helped themselves through the draft.

3. Carolina Panthers

This division is going to be VERY competitive. I like the Panthers trying to help their defense through the draft, but they didn’t do it aggressively enough. I think Luke Kuechly was a big reach that high for a position they didn’t necessarily need.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

If Josh Freeman can turn his shit around from a horrendous 2011, the Bucs could surprise people. I think they had the best draft in the division, nabbing Mark Barron in the first round and guys like Doug Martin and LaVonte David later on.

NFC West:

1. San Francisco 49ers

Okay, obviously this is my team. But the 49ers won free agency in the offseason, put together the best draft in the division, and are the favorites¬†by a mile to win this division. If any other team goes .500 I’d be surprised. The 49ers have a shot at another 13-3 season.

2. St. Louis Rams

I actually really like what the Rams did in this draft. They scored Michael Brockers in the first round, but made really nice picks at receiver with Brian Quick and Chris Givens. They aren’t ready yet, but could scare some people for the Wild Card in 2012.

3. Seattle Seahawks

Prove to me that Matt Flynn isn’t a fluke, and I might say this team is .500-worthy. But until then, they have no QB as far as I’m concerned. I think the Hawks had the worst draft in the NFL, although they may have stolen QB Russell Wilson on Day Two.

4. Arizona Cardinals

Okay, everyone. That’s enough. Stop singing the Cards’ praises just because they drafted Michael Floyd. Yes, they now have the best receiver in the game (Larry Fitzgerald) and a guy with huge potential in Floyd. Who’s going to throw them the ball? Kevin Kolb? Thanks for the laugh.

That’s all I have for now! Thanks for reading, tune in tomorrow, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman!

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