Another NFL draft has come and gone and it essentially had zero impact on Super Bowl futures as the teams that made the most noise still find themselves on the second half of the odds board. More important than finding a top-end talent or two, the NFL draft is about finding value throughout all your picks.
Let’s take a peek at a few of the top contenders and how they shape up entering the 2017 season.
The rich got richer this offseason with the additions of wide receiver Brandin Cooks and cornerback Stephon Gilmore. The two are still young with room to improve and will make an immediate impact on each side of the ball. Another huge weapon should be back in the fold as well as Rob Gronkowski expects to be back in the lineup to start the regular season. The Patriots are the clear-cut top team in the NFL and many things would have to go wrong for them to not get at least 12 wins.
Dallas finds itself tied with four other teams for the second-best odds to win the Super Bowl and will enter the season with lots of question marks on defense, especially in the secondary. With Brandon Carr off to Baltimore and Morris Claiborne headed to the Jets, the Cowboys will hope to adequately fill those holes with second-rounder Chidobe Awuzie and third-rounder Jourdan Lewis. With Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox also leaving the Cowboys secondary via free agency, the newly pasted-together unit could lead to a lot of high-scoring games, so the Big 3 on offense will have to elevate their games to keep up.
Many expected the offensive line to be a point of emphasis for the Seahawks during the draft, and it was, but maybe not to the point it should have been. Either way, Seattle has been the NFC’s most consistent team with at least one playoff win in five straight seasons and will have the luxury of having the fourth-easiest strength of schedule in the NFL. Despite ignoring the much-needed overhaul on the offensive line, expect Seattle to once again be back in the hunt.
Speaking of strength of schedule, Kansas City is tied with the Broncos for the hardest schedule based on last season’s results. That, combined with what will soon become a QB controversy between Alex Smith and the newly drafted Patrick Mahomes is a recipe for disaster. The Chiefs had a lot of luck on their side in 2016 when they led the league in turnover differential, but expect the Patrick Mahomes era — whether he starts or not — to get off to a rocky start.
NFL fans in appear to have in Deshaun Watson the QB they need. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should be betting on a rookie leading his team to a Super Bowl victory. It will take lots of reps and many games for Watson to find his footing, and in the suddenly resurgent AFC South the Texans will have much stiffer competition on their hands in 2017. Use the NFL draft to find betting value, sign up at Heritagesports