There are very few teams which are going to catch the top five teams in the NFL simply by having a solid draft, but there are a handful of franchises that are going to inch closer and have reasonable 2015 Super Bowl odds all things considered. Those five teams, by the way, are the Seahawks, Niners, Patriots, Broncos and Packers. Is there any team worth taking a shot in the dark on?
Absolutely! The draft itself has presented a handful of noteworthy players, and there are a bunch of teams out there that are a few players (and a lot of luck) away from overcoming some unlikely 2015 Super Bowl odds. Let’s break down some of the biggest winners of the NFL Draft following the first round.
Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney (No. 1 Overall)
Houston is arguably one of the best drafting teams in the whole damn league. Their issue have always been free agent acquisition and coaching. Clowney was undeniably the best pick to make in the 2014 NFL Draft, and joins a long list of Houston Texans draftees taken in the first round that includes J.J. Watt, Whitney ercilus, Brian Cushing, Dunta Robinson, Jason Babin and Mario Williams.
The first pick was always obvious. What Houston now needs is a quarterback and there are still a few left on the board that pose some intrigue in the second and third rounds. The Texans could always pick Derek Carr and complete the circle, right? In any case, Houston was a semi-competitive team last season that just needed a few breaks here and there.
The AFC South is far from decided, and their 2015 Super Bowl odds stand at a very appealing 40-to-1. If you’re a fan of the Texans, this is not a bad take at all. Clowney could be the shot in the arm your team needs, especially opposite J.J. Watt. Every quarterback on their schedule is probably buying extra underwear as we speak.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans (No. 7 Overall)
The Texas A&M product is a 6-foot-4 behemoth of a man who possesses a very limited skill set and route tree. Evans alone doesn’t bolster the 2015 Super Bowl odds of the Bucs, but it is an interesting proposition since Lovie Smith was the guy who drafted Alshon Jeffrey and acquired Brandon Marshall. Could V-Jax and Evans be the second coming of that towering twosome? Why not?
Again, Evans isn’t the only reason that you’re betting on the Bucs. A defense that starts with Gerald McCoy, Michael Johnson, a fantastic linebacking corps and a fearsome secondary is. An offense that will see the return of Doug Martin and a better quarterback are. Josh McCown may not be a franchise savior at this point in his career, but he did wonders with a similar duo of receivers in Chicago last season.
The Bucs are 80-to-1 and aren’t far from taking gigantic steps forward next season. Buy now and brag later.
Atlanta Falcons – Jake Matthews (No. 6 Overall)
One of the reasons I’m tepid about the Falcons is that their defense is a mess, and they play in one of the most hotly contested division in the entire league. I can find better 2015 Super Bowl odds at 40-to-1 as well. That’s the same number shared by teams like Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and San Diego.
That should really tell you all you need to know about the Dirty Birds. While they gain Julio Jones, they lose Tony Gonzalez to retirement and there is absolutely no telling how effective Jake Mathews will be alongside one of the worst offensive lines from the 2013 season. I’m also not the biggest fan of Matty Ice. If you’re a Falcons fan, this is as good as the odds will get throughout the season, but if you’re not an Atlanta native, there are plenty of other bets worth looking at in the longshot department.
Carolina Panthers – Kelvin Benjamin (No. 28)
I think it’s obvious by now that the front office in Carolina has no idea what they’re doing. The Panthers are not one of the teams that improved their 2015 Super Bowl odds. I only listed them here because they’re in that 30-to-1 range, and they just took a receiver from FSU over Marquise Lee from USC. The Panthers were on the verge of the NFC title game last year and have taken so many steps backwards since then that they look allergic to being competitive. Stay the hell away.
Green Bay Packers – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (No. 21)
The fact that teams like Detroit, Baltimore, Dallas, Pittsburgh and Chicago passed up on the best safety in the daft is beyond me. Clinton-Dix is by far the best secondary player in the draft. Plus, he also has the best name in sports. That conversation is dead.
Acquiring Julius Peppers and adding Clinton-Dix to a secondary that is chalk full of Pro Bowl worthy players makes the Packers something they haven’t been in years – a defensive threat. We have always feared Green Bay for their reputation, but this year they have the ammo to back it up. With 15-to-1 2015 Super Bowl odds, you’re making a sound investment in a team that is on a steep rise after a wobbly campaign last season.
Cleveland Browns – Johnny Manziel (No. 22) and Justin Gilbert (No. 8)
The Browns made probably the “biggest” pick of the day by selecting Johnny Football to compete with Brandon Hoyer at the quarterback position. Justin Gilbert is a fantastic, playmaking option to play alongside Joe Haden and should compliment the defense perfectly. You’re allowed to be polarized by a guy like Manziel, but the idea of him and Josh Gordon together is absolutely tantalizing. I mean…are you freaking kidding me? THOSE TWO GUYS?!
Cleveland plays in a very imperfect and aggressive division. Pittsburgh is always taking steps forward and backward as they try to bridge that dreaded transition year with older players. Baltimore is coming off one of the strangest Super Bowl hangovers to date. Nobody’s quite sure if Cincinnati will be better or worse considering that they lost both of their coordinators this season.
The Browns are also a 75-to-1 longshot to do something they’ve never done: win a Super Bowl. I’m not saying that you should run out and leverage your life savings on Johnny Football, but going along for the ride is half the fun in NFL futures betting and these massive 2014 Super Bowl odds are definitely worth the price of a chip shot admission.