For a bit of light relief as we enter the festive season we have come up with a novel idea. An imaginary draft where each team gets one pick in order of worst first, best last going off their current record at the time this is published. No player can be picked twice and teams will pick based on their current needs rather than ones created by players lost in the draft. Otherwise we may find 32 quarterbacks drafted which would be a bit boring and would basically just have us ranking the 32 quarterbacks, something NFL.com does about every five minutes!
1) Houston Texans- Aaron Rodgers
Hopes were high in Houston ahead of the 2013 season but it has been an absolute disaster and their quarterbacks have been the biggest problem. We are feeling festive though so here they draft Aaron Rodgers first overall and things suddenly look a lot brighter for the new coaching regime.
2) Atlanta Falcons- Robert Quinn
The Falcons pass rush doesn’t rush anybody. Their season has been unexpectedly awful and their defense in particular has disappointed. Quinn may be the best 4-3 defensive end in football and improves the Falcons ability to pressurise quarterbacks immensely.
3) Washington Redskins- J.J. Watt
There are a lot more problems in the capital than Mike Shanahan or Dan Snyder realised. They could go any number of ways here but drafting Watt improves their 3-4 defense immensely.
4) Minnesota Vikings- Peyton Manning
The Vikings know that Adrian Peterson can’t dominate for too much longer but teaming him with Manning gives them the chance to be contenders in 2014.
5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Jimmy Graham
The Bucs could go a number of ways here including drafting a quarterback but they want to give Mike Glennon a chance so they take Jimmy Graham the most dominant pass catching tight end in football to team with Vincent Jackson.
6) Oakland Raiders- Calvin Johnson
The Raiders could draft a quarterback but they like what they have with Matt McGloin and haven’t ruled out Terrelle Pryor just yet either. Picking up the most dominating receiver of his generation gives their young quarterbacks a real chance to succeed.
7) Jacksonville Jaguars- Andrew Luck
The Jags have seen firsthand just how good Luck is and they don’t fancy putting up with him for the next decade. Luck gives the Jags their franchise quarterback here and gives their fans some real hope for the future.
8) Cleveland Browns- Russell Wilson
The Browns desperately need a franchise quarterback rather than the revolving door they’ve put up with this year. Wilson’s all round abilities give the Browns a huge upgrade over any of the quarterbacks currently under contract.
9) Buffalo Bills- Patrick Peterson
The Bills secondary is a mess. They have the choice of any corner they want here but the off the charts skills of Peterson gives him the edge and he is the man to transform the defense.
10) St. Louis Rams- Tom Brady
Sam Bradford can’t stay healthy and he can’t be considered the future in St. Louis anymore. With talented rookies Tavon Austin and Zac Stacy coming through someone like Tom Brady could really give the Rams a potent offense.
11) New York Giants- Von Miller
The Giants simply have to recreate their dominating pass rush if they are going to get back to their glory days. Miller is a game changer who teamed with Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck again gives the Giants a pass rush to terrorise quarterbacks.
12) Tennessee Titans- Drew Brees
The Titans have a pretty good defense, they have Chris Johnson and they have some talented young receivers but they don’t have a quarterback of note. Brees’ leadership and ability to command an offense instantly has the Titans contending for the NFC South.
13) Pittsburgh Steelers- Adrian Peterson
The Steelers would love to upgrade their by own standards average defense but can’t pass on Peterson. He improves their offensive line play, Ben Roethlisberger’s play and even the defenses play with all that added time to rest on the sidelines.
14) San Diego Chargers- Richard Sherman
The Chargers young and heavily retooled defense is lacking a top quality corner to neutralise opponent’s best receivers. Sherman has probably been the best corner in the league this year and he brings leadership and attitude to the young unit in San Diego.
15) New York Jets- Phillip Rivers
Rivers may have been the second best pure passer in football this year behind Peyton Manning. Rex Ryan has never had a quality quarterback in New York so simply can’t miss out on one here.
16) Green Bay Packers- Joe Thomas
All too often Aaron Rodgers has been subject to a battering behind a porous offensive line and it finally caught up with the Packers this year as Rodgers got banged up and the injury will likely cost them a playoff spot. The best blind side tackle in football would certainly be a great start to giving their quarterback the protection he deserves.
17) Miami Dolphins- Jason Peters
Ryan Tannehill has been sacked more than any other quarterback this year and although he hangs onto balls a bit too long his protection hasn’t helped. Jason Peters has been outstanding in a very demanding and complex blocking scheme in Philadelphia and would give Tannehill much more time to go through his progressions.
18) Dallas Cowboys- Cameron Wake
The Cowboys have the worst defense in football and with DeMarcus Ware no longer a consistent pass rusher they have nobody to get after quarterbacks. Wake is an outstanding edge rusher who could really make a difference in big D.
19) Chicago Bears- Luke Kuechly
The Bears inability to stop the run has been a huge problem this year. Brian Urlacher has been missed more than many expected in Chicago but Kuechly could more than fill the gap. Kuechly has been outstanding in Carolina’s all conquering defense this year.
20) Detroit Lions- Joe Haden
The Lions offense can compete with any in the league but their secondary but their defense just isn’t good enough. When their pass rush can’t get home the Lions corners can’t hold up. Haden is one of the best young corners around and would really make a difference in Detroit.
21) Baltimore Ravens- A.J. Green
The Ravens have been too reliant on Torrey Smith this year and although he has stepped up to the mark they desperately need more talent at the wide receiver position. Green is one of the most talented and productive young receivers in football.
22) Arizona Cardinals- Cam Newton
The Cardinals want to get to where the Seahawks and 49ers are. Like that duo they have an outstanding defense but they don’t have a young dual threat quarterback. Here they snag the maturing Newton who can make plays with his arm or his legs.
23) Philadelphia Eagles- Earl Thomas
The Eagles need investment on defense because their offense is certainly playoff material. With a lot of the top corners off the market they take the league’s best deep cover safety to help them cut down on the big plays in the passing game.
24) Indianapolis Colts- Demaryius Thomas
Reggie Wayne is in the twilight of his career so the Colts are going to need someone but T.Y. Hilton to catch balls. Thomas is ultra athletic and still improving, he gives Andrew Luck a genuine deep threat and makes the Colts instant contenders.
25) Carolina Panthers- Julio Jones
Jones has been a huge miss in Atlanta this year and the Falcons NFC South rivals Carolina are only too aware how good he is. With only veteran Steve Smith of note the Falcons need help at receiver and Jones’ speed and size would be a huge aid to Cam Newton.
26) Cincinnati Bengals- Jamaal Charles
The Bengals are a franchise quarterback away from being the best team in the league but there isn’t one available here. Charles is one of the best running backs in the league however and he further adds to Cincinnati’s battery of weapons
27) San Francisco 49ers- Darrelle Revis
The 49ers roster is incredibly deep so they can draft the best available player here and it just so happens that Revis fills a bit of a need too. Revis is no longer the shutdown corner we saw in New York but he is still one of the best around.
28) Kansas City Chiefs- Rob Gronkowski
The Chiefs would have loved to grab a top tier quarterback here but there aren’t any who both fit the west coast system of Andy Reid and significantly upgrade Alex Smith. Instead the Chiefs take the dominant Gronkowski and hope they can keep him healthy.
29) New England Patriots- Patrick Willis
The Patriots have been gouged by the run ever since Vince Wilfork got injured. Patrick Willis’ range, tackling ability and reading of the game would give them a huge upgrade next to Jerod Mayo and he is also near the top of the best available chart at this stage.
30) New Orleans Saints- DeSean Jackson
The Saints have Darren Sproles and they have Jimmy Graham but they don’t have a top notch deep threat. Jackson has had a good year under Chip Kelly and would give the Saints just the kind of deep threat they are missing.
31) Denver Broncos- Geno Atkins
Atkins may be the best defensive tackle in football although the Bengals have dealt without him admirably. The Broncos have him top of their board here and his ability to get pressure from the inside is a huge help to Jack Del Rio’s defense.
32) Seattle Seahawks- Dez Bryant
The Seahawks have few needs but another weapon in the passing game would not go amiss. Bryant is big, strong and fast but has character issues. Richard Sherman is kept in check in Seattle and on a winning team Bryant could be too.