NFL Offseason Grades
Who fared the best this offseason in the NFL? The worst? Here is the breakdown of every team in the NFL, where does your team fall?
This offseason the Cowboys lost one of the best players of the past decade in DeMarcus Ware. They also lost their best defensive lineman and sack leader in Jason Hatcher. But hey, they successfully resigned their kicker! Don’t worry Cowboys fans, you get to see Dan Bailey in uniform for another 7 years! Can I get a whoop whoop? Obviously it hasn’t been quite the offseason Cowboys fans were looking for and the only reason I don’t have them at an F is due to the signing of big Henry Melton from the Bears and drafting Zack Martin. Melton also is just coming off an injury and also is really just a step down from Hatcher. They drafted Zack Martin from Notre Dame, who should be able to start right away at offensive tackle. Looks like Jerry Jones didn’t feel like spending his money this offseason… I don’t think anyone expected that sentence to ever be said.
New York Giants
Although they didn’t sign any superstars, the Giants signed a lot of talented guys that can immediately help their team win again. Rashad Jennings and Charles Brown were signed, this should help drastically improve New York’s run game from a season ago. They strengthened their secondary with the addition of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond. They did lose DE Justin Tuck, but they brought in Robert Ayers from the Broncos, to replace him. They also signed special teams threat, Trindon Holliday, also from the Broncos. They managed to retain Jon Beason as well, who was huge for them after being traded from Carolina. They lost Hakeem Nicks, but were able to make up for it with the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. in the draft. All in all, the Giants could be a Super Bowl threat once again.
One of the biggest moves of the offseason was the Eagles release of pro-bowler, DeSean Jackson. You can learn more about this move in my article; DeSean Jackson: What’s next? The Eagles did manage to retain receivers Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin, which is the reason they have a D+ instead of an F. They lost Vick but that doesn’t matter much anymore after the immergence of Nick Foles. They added some depth to the offensive line with the addition of Andrew Gardner, as well as adding a quarterback who successfully started a whole season with a quarterback rating of 25.8 in Mark Sanchez. They drafted Marcus Smith in the first round of the draft, which led many Philly fans to question what the front office was thinking, due to the other good defensive ends on the board at the time. These are not the additions Eagles fans were hoping for but they managed to keep the team intact for the most part.
The Redskins not only added two big name players this offseason, but they took them from division rivals, the Cowboys and Eagles. The Redskins pulled in Jason Hatcher and DeSean Jackson, both of who were key losses for two of the teams above. They retained veteran OLB Brian Orakpo which was another huge move for the team, since he led the team in sacks last year with 10.0. They should now have a very good pass rush with Orakpo back, newly added Jason Hatcher, and rising star Ryan Kerrigan; all of them had 8.5+ sacks last season. They are also a threat to go deep every snap now with two speedsters lined up across from each other in Jackson and Pierre Garcon. These were the moves the Skins were going to have made to compensate for the missing 2nd overall pick they gave up to the Rams. The only bad move the team had was failing to resign center, Will Montgomery, but other than that they certainly have something to brag about in Washington. Despite not having a first round pick, they made some noise by stealing Morgan Moses in the 3rd round, as well as grabbing NCAA sack leader Trent Murphy in the second.. But overall I like the teams chances going forward, especially considering they didn’t really lose anyone from last season. All they need now is to figure out their quarterback situation and they are golden.
The Cardinals lost quite a few guys to free agency this offseason, including their starting linebacker and 3rd and 4th string corners. But they did address their biggest need at left tackle by signing Jared Veldheer, which is a huge bonus. Despite the loss of Karlos Dansby at linebacker, they have a good replacement in 2nd year man out of LSU, Kevin Minter. Losing 3rd and 4th string corners is simply a matter of depth, which can easily be replaced. They have already signed a replacement at corner in Antonio Cromartie, which makes up some for the losses of Antoine Cason and Javier Arenas. They also signed receiver/return specialist, Ted Ginn Jr., even though they already had an excellent returner in Patrick Peterson. They didn’t make too much noise in the draft by drafting safety Deone Bucannon with their first round pick. All in all I think the Cardinals are slightly better than when they started the offseason, but didn’t do enough to compete with the Seahawks or 49ers in their division.
San Francisco 49ers
It’s likely that 49ers fans will not see Aldon Smith in uniform this season, as the team may not take Smith’s 5th year option on his contract. Unfortunately for San Fran this wasn’t the only key loss on their defense, but they also lost their 2 top corners and pro-bowl safety. They did sign a very good safety in Antoine Bethea, which helps the pain of losing Donte Whitner, but the only other major thing they did that helped the team this offseason was resign Anquan Boldin and trade for Stevie Johnson from the Bills. The loss of Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown really hurts their secondary though, and it will be interesting to see how the team is affected by this. They had one of the best drafts though, as they drafted Jimmie Ward, Carlos Hyde, and Chris Borland, all players that have potential to be very good some day if not right away. With a small step back, it will be questionable whether San Fran can compete with Seattle again.
Although the Seahawks lost a few guys and didn’t really sign anyone, I still gave them a C because they did nothing that was detrimental to their program. Yes they lost Golden Tate and Brandon Browner, but Russell Wilson spreads the ball around to any receiver in any set you give him, so the Tate loss wasn’t huge. As for Browner, he didn’t even play half the season last year, and the Seahawks still had the best pass defense in the NFL. They managed to resign Michael Bennett and Tony McDaniel on the d-line, but released Red Bryant and Chris Clemons. Cliff Avril is still there to help anchor the defensive line, and with Bennett and McDaniel staying they will be just fine. Seahawks fans have nothing to worry about going into next season.
St. Louis Rams
St. Louis was another team similar to the Seahawks, who lost a couple guys but no one that impacted the game in a way that it will cost them a game. They lost a good offensive lineman in Chris Williams, as well as one of their starting corners in Cortland Finnegan. The Williams loss stings a bit, but Finnegan is leaving a very talented band of young corners lead by Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson. Safety is a need that they would have loved to solve during this offseason, but every team is going to have a missing link. They had a really good draft, as they got Greg Robinson, Aaron Donald, Tre Mason, and LaMarcus Joyner. Joyner could be the answer at safety, and it seemed like Robinson would be the answer to keeping Bradford healthy this season but that hope is already out the door. Donald will be tremendous lined up with Chris Long and Robert Quinn, all three players are sack machines and will be nightmares for offensive lines. Bradford is the team’s biggest lost, and in Hines sight they probably should have drafted a quarterback for this situation, but its a little late for that one. St. Louis now has the pieces to come closer to becoming a threat in the hardest division in football.
This season the Bears will still have the good pass rush that they have had the past few years, just this time it has gotten a new makeover. They lost pretty much their whole defensive front to other teams, but at the same time acquired a whole new one. Julius Peppers, Henry Melton, and Corey Wootton were all lost, and Jared Allen, Lamar Houston, and Willie Young were all acquired. They did lose starting safety, Major Wright, as well as long time return specialist, Devin Hester. Probably their most impactful move this offseason was resigning their star corner tandem in Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman. All though they made a lot of moves I feel like the Bears really just ended up right from where they had started from in the beginning of the offseason.
There is not a whole lot to say about the Lion’s offseason. They acquired Golden Tate from the Seahawks, which I feel really boosts their offense. Unfortunately offense wasn’t the issue last year. Defense is really what is keeping them from being a great team, which they have the potential of being. They did nothing to try and fix that this offseason, in fact they made it even worse. They released Willie Young and Louis Delmas, both of who were two of their top players on defense. Their defense could really be the factor in their downfall this year, especially with some of the most talented offensive players, (Rogers, Peterson, and the Bears duo of Marshall and Jeffery) playing in their division. They better hope some magic comes on draft day.
Green Bay Packers
There wasn’t a ton of moves the Packers made, but the ones they did make were smart ones. They added some much needed pass rushing ability with the addition of Julius Peppers and retained most of their guys, including rising star Sam Shields. They did lose receiver, James Jones, but I feel like it was not that big of a loss considering with Aaron Rogers it doesn’t really matter who he is throwing to. Plus they still have Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, which by itself is a killer tandem. Cobb and Nelson combined for about 1,800 yards last season with Cobb only playing in six games. As long as they can keep Rogers healthy this season the Pack should be back.
Perhaps the biggest addition the Vikings had in the offseason was offensive coordinator, Norv Turner. Turner should help the Vikings become much more than just the Adrian Peterson Show like it has been in the past. They brought in Teddy Bridgewater via the draft, and despite the fact that he wont start right away he should be the quarterback of the future for the Vikings. They did end up losing one of the best defensive players of the past decade in Jared Allen, and that stings more than any other loss. Really the only other loss though was backup running back, Toby Gerhart, but with Peterson it really isn’t a big loss for them. Captain Munnerlyn was brought in from Carolina, and will help a struggling secondary from last season. Corey Wootton was also brought in to try and fill the void that Jared Allen left behind, but Wootton doesn’t really come close to filling it. Anthony Barr, Scott Crichton, and David Yankey, were all drafted by the Vikings, and all have potential to become stars someday, just not right away. The Vikings moves probably wont do a whole lot this season, but they certainly have potential to become a powerhouse in the years to come.
It was obvious that this offseason the Falcons were mainly focused on their offensive line. They resigned center, Joe Hawley, and tackle, Mike Johnson. They also brought in Jon Asamoah and Gabe Carimi… apparently allowing nine sacks in the final game of the season is frowned upon by coach, Mike Smith. They also added some talent in the return game with the addition of Devin Hester. Javier Arenas was brought in to help a struggling secondary, but meanwhile they lost their starting safety, Thomas DeCoud. Tyson Jackson was added to a very weak defensive line from last year. Another addition to the offensive line was 6th overall pick, Jake Matthews, a great addition to one of the worst lines in football. Overall I think that the Falcons will stand a chance once again in the NFC South with many additions at key positions for Atlanta.
I know what Panthers fans are thinking, and yes you lost your top receiver, tackle, corner, and safety; trust me I am from Charlotte and I feel your pain but there are many things to look at going forward. Trying to conserve money now is huge when you look at having to resign Cam Newton, Greg Hardy, and Luke Kuechly within this 2 year period. And they successfully resigned Newton and Hardy this offseason which was huge for Carolina. They also signed a lot of make do players for this upcoming year including Roman Harper, Tiquan Underwood, Thomas DeCoud, Antoine Cason, Jerricho Cotchery, and Jason Avant. That’s a lot of guys coming in for a team that is very good at creating wins with not the most talented guys; for example just look at that secondary from last year. The addition of Kelvin Benjamin in the draft was a good addition to the receiving core they have now, and Kony Ealy could pay off too depending on what goes down with Greg Hardy at the end of the season. The offensive line could pose to be a problem, but keep in mind that it wouldn’t be much different since it wasn’t that great last year either. The Panthers didn’t improve a whole lot, but assuming Cam stays healthy they can still be a contender again.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints must have been a little sour after losing the division to the Panthers last season, because they went out to sign some key pieces for the upcoming season. Jarius Byrd was the biggest addition, and should help add to a weak secondary from last season. After all the bickering that went on, they were finally able to franchise Jimmy Graham as a tight end, which was probably the most important move they made this offseason. They did lose a good left tackle in Charles Brown, as well as their starting center in Brian de la Puente. Will Smith, Lance Moore, and Roman Harper were other lost pieces in New Orleans. They did well in the draft, as they found their replacement for Darren Sproles, in Brandin Cooks. Stan Jean-Baptiste is a large corner and a nice addition when you have to go up against receivers like Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, and Roddy White. The Saints lost a few role players, but the additions out weigh the losses here.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I feel like the Buccaneers could potentially win this division this upcoming season based on this offseason. Yes, I realize they lost Revis but they added another pro-bowl corner in Alterraun Verner, so Bucs fans shouldn’t be complaining about that one. They really helped their defensive line with the addition of Michael Johnson, as well as their secondary, with Major Wright coming in from Chicago. In my opinion the biggest move they made was signing Josh McCown. McCown will be able to come in and help right away for the team that ranked last in the league in passing last season. They signed Brandon Myers at tight end and also Evan Dietrich-Smith at center. They also pulled off a crazy deal with the Patriots to acquire six time All-Pro, Logan Mankins for a young talent at tight end in Tim Wright. I realize they lost Donald Penn but it doesn’t come close to everything else this team has improved this offseason. They drafted Mike Evans to play along side Vincent Jackson at receiver, and Evans will perform for them right away. This is what I think to be the most successful offseason of any team; I think this team suddenly has a chance to compete with the big boys in this division.
The Bills made a few additions that should help them this season, but the few losses they had outweighed the positives. After losing multiple time pro bowl safety, Jarius Byrd, the Bills didn’t even attempt to find a replacement safety, creating one of the worst secondary’s in the league. They added Brandon Spikes from their division rival, the New England Patriots, but he doesn’t help much in the passing game despite being a good run stopper. This addition will help make up for the loss of one of the best young players in the league in Kiko Alonso, due to an ACL tear. They traded up to draft Sammy Watkins, but then gave up Stevie Johnson for a mediocre pick from the San Francisco 49ers. Cyrus Kouandijo was a nice steal in the second round for them and should help beef up the offensive line. Overall I would say the offense took a small step forward and the defense took a big step back.
The Dolphins did a good job this offseason of retaining most of their key players, and despite some issues with injuries, they look good coming into this season. The main issue last season was the offensive line, as Ryan Tannehill was the most sacked quarterback in the league, and by a lot. They signed Pro Bowl left tackle, Brandon Albert, from the Chiefs. They also spent their first round pick on JaWaun James, a very good right tackle from Tennessee. They also added some beef to the defensive line, by the signing of nose tackle, Earl Mitchell from Houston. Shelley Smith and Cortland Finnegan were both nice additions from the Rams, and retaining star corner, Brent Grimes, was arguably the best move they made in the offseason. Despite a crucial injury to All-Pro center, Mike Pouncey, the Dolphins couldn’t have done too much better this offseason. A chance to compete with the Patriots for the division is in the near future now.
New England Patriots
Despite many big name players trading teams either to or from the Patriots, the finalized roster shows that there was not much of an improvement from last season’s roster. Probably the biggest story was the replacement of Aqib Talib with Darelle Revis, both of whom are top cornerbacks in the league. They also added another good corner in Brandon Browner, although Browner is suspended for the first four games, he will still make an impact on the team midway through the season. In the draft the team really looked to the future by drafting Dominique Easley and Jimmy Garrappolo as future replacements for Vince Wilfork and Tom Brady. They were able to retain leading receiver Julian Edleman, but lost a good running back in LeGarrette Blount. One of the more shocking moves they made was a trade with the Buccaneers, sending 6 time All-Pro guard, Logan Mankins for tight end Tim Wright and a fourth round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Wright is a nice addition, and will help play the role Aaron Hernandez did when he was in New England. Wright was the second leading receiver last season for the Bucs, and despite not being widely known he will be a weapon for the Pats this season. Expect the Patriots to be in the same place as last season just with some new faces.
New York Jets
The Jets did everything they could to try to improve the offense this offseason. Eric Decker and Chris Johnson were both added, and both will help improve the team drastically, as they both had over 1,000 yards last season. The signing of Michael Vick will help youngster Geno Smith learn the game better, and should improve his game on the field. They made some noise in the draft by adding college stars, Calvin Pryor and Jace Amaro. Pryor should start right away for the Jets at strong safety, and Amaro is a huge threat in the passing game at tight end, he reminds me of a young Jason Witten. The cut former second round pick Stephen Hill, as well as aged receiver Santonio Holmes. With many nice additions, the Jets should be a close playoff contender this season.
The Broncos received a lot of credit this offseason for improving the defense that crushed their Super Bowl hopes last season, but this is really just false advertising. They added a few stars in the offseason, but they were completely robbed of all their depth on both sides of the ball. The Broncos have put themselves in a Miami Heat type scenario, where they have signed the players people want to see, but they now lack the role players and depth that is crucial to a contending team. Aqib Talib was signed at corner, but then after losing both Champ Bailey and Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, but then it is a large drop to Chris Harris, who is coming of an ACL tear. Both Talib and Harris have histories of injuries, and for a team with no depth that will come out to be a serious issue. DeMarcus Ware was another addition, and despite age being a potential issue at 32, he is still a very productive piece for their defense. TJ Ward was another addition that will improve the team right away, but he lacks in coverage skills. Depth is already an issue for the Broncos, as their leading tackler last season, Danny Trevathon, has a broken leg, which leaves Brandon Marshall starting at outside linebacker, and I am not talking about the Pro Bowler. Marshall has recorded a whopping four career tackles in the NFL, compared to Trevathan’s 129 from last season. Ryan Clady, Peyton Manning, Aqib Talib, DeMarcus Ware, Von Miller, Danny Trevathon, Chris Harris, and Wes Welker, are all players that had major injuries this or last season or are just a season or two away from retirement. This is why depth is important, when you have almost all of your best players as potential hospital bills for a season. They also lost Zane Beadles, Eric Decker, Knowshon Moreno, Robert Ayers, and Trindon Holliday in free agency, all players who played significant roles to their Super Bowl run last season. The Broncos are going to have to get pretty lucky if they want to make the Super Bowl again.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs had some moves I really liked, but several I didn’t also. Lets start with the positive shall we? They drafted Dee Ford, a proven pass rusher, and a nice addition to the already lethal pass rush; especially when both Tamba Hali and Justin Houston struggled with injuries last season. And that’s really about it for the positives. On the contrary now, for the second straight year, the Chiefs have not done anything about their atrocious receiving corps, so it is looking like Jamaal Charles could lead them in both rushing and receiving again. They lost two very good offensive linemen in Brandon Albert and Jon Asamoah, as well as their top corner in Brandon Flowers in a trade with the Chargers. They also lost one of the best return men in the league in Dexter McCluster, who is responsible for the highlight below. These really are the only moves that impact the Chiefs this season, and even though it is a step down from last season’s squad, they should still be in playoff contention.
The Raiders added a lot of talent this offseason, and their record will show this season. They were one of the few teams that seemed to upgrade many positions instead of just a few. Matt Schaub, Maurice Jones-Drew, Justin Tuck, Kevin Boothe, Donald Penn, Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown, Antonio Smith, James Jones, and LaMaar Woodley all come in to provide veteran talent and leadership, while Khalil Mack, Derek Carr, and Gabe Jackson come in to provide youth and a strong core for the future, something we haven’t seen from the Raiders recently. 11 of the 13 additions I just named will be starting this season for the Raiders, showing great improvement from a year ago, especially along the front seven. They were able to retain starting defensive tackle Pat Sims, as well as free safety Charles Woodson and running back Darren McFadden. The main player they lost was Jared Veldheer, but the signing of Donald Penn helps fill the gap some. Lamaar Houston was also lost, but the additions of Tuck and Woodley make for an even better defensive line then when Houston was there. The Raiders did big things to improve this offseason, and don’t be surprised if they end up with one of the best defenses in the NFL this season.
San Diego Chargers
There is honestly not a whole lot to say about the Chargers offseason. They retained all of their starters from last season, but also added three very good contributors. Donald Brown will help give the Chargers one of the best running back rotations in the NFL. Brandon Flowers and rookie, Jason Verrett, will help solidify a shaky secondary from last season. They did a nice job in the draft of adding depth to key positions with the additions of Chris Watt, Jeremiah Attaochu, and Ryan Carruthers. So despite not having much to say, I would call it a success for the Chargers.
A pretty uneventful offseason for the Ravens still could result in a success this upcoming season. Veteran receiver Steve Smith, was the main signature that the Ravens acquired. They didn’t lose much except for Michael Oher to the Titans, but other than this Baltimore did well in terms of retaining the core of their program. In the draft the nabbed CJ Mosley in the first round; Mosley could be the piece the Ravens have been looking for to replace Ray Lewis. Terrence Brooks and Timmy Jernigan were both great additions to the defense from Florida State. I think that the roster didn’t improve a whole lot from last season, but I have to imagine that the Ravens will play better than last year after winning the Super Bowl the year before.
The Bengals had one of the worst off-seasons in the league in terms of making forward progress. Really the only thing they did that was of much significance was lose one of their best defensive players in Michael Johnson, and with James Harrison’s retirement that didn’t help much either. They added Darqueze Dennard in the draft, and that saves them from the F in the rating. Jeremy Hill was an odd pick I thought with the team’s second round pick, especially when the depth at receiver is as terrible as it is. The Bengals have made the playoffs the past four years, but this one could be different.
The main focus this offseason has been on Johnny Manziel, but the Brown’s offseason was so much more than that. They made a big move by franchising one of the best center’s in the league in Alex Mack. They lost strong safety TJ Ward, but signed Donte Whitner to make up for the loss. The biggest loss to the Browns is actually still on their roster in Josh Gordon; Gordon received a year long suspension for a third charge of marijuana usage. Gordon led the league in receiving last season. Karlos Dansby was signed to give the Browns a solid middle linebacker after the loss of D’Qwell Jackson. Miles Austin and Nate Burleson were both signed, and although neither is great they are both able to make plays. Ben Tate was one of the most impactful additions that Cleveland had, as he will be the top running back now for the back lacking Browns. The Browns did good in the draft, but they were expected to with two first round picks. Justin Gilbert was a great accommodation to Joe Haden in the secondary, and Joel Bitonio can start right away at guard for the Browns. Terrence West should be a starter sooner or later, and he is a favorable backup if Tate goes down. Overall I think the Browns did a good job, and while they may not be a powerhouse yet they are certainly looking toward the future.
The Steelers worked really hard this offseason to replace aging pieces on their team, and it shows. They retained star linebacker Jason Worilds via the franchise tag. They also added depth to their running back core with the addition of LeGarrette Blount, despite the loss of Jonathan Dwyer. Mike Mitchell was added to help out Troy Polamalu in the secondary, and Lance Moore was added to help replace Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery. They had one of the best drafts in the NFL, as they added a physical specimen at linebacker in Ryan Shazier, and a pass rushing threat in Stephen Tuitt. Dri Archer was added in the third round, and he has the ability to play a Darren Sproles type role in Pittsburgh; Archer ran the second fastest 40 yard dash time in NFL history (Chris Johnson holds the record). Martavis Bryant was a steal in the fourth round, and should help bolster the depth lacking receiving core. After this offseason I see the Steelers as the best team in this division.
Although the Texans didn’t do too much in free agency, adding a once in a lifetime player in the draft certainly helps boost this grade. In free agency the Texans lost Earl Mitchell, Antonio Smith, and Ben Tate, while only making one impactful signing in Ryan Fitzpatrick, and that is nothing to brag about if you are a Texans’ fan. What is to brag about is your new pass rushing tandem of JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. As a rookie, Clowney is already one of the most athletic and physical outside linebackers in the league, and will get single coverage by linemen due to Watt being lined up opposite from him. Xavier Su’a-Filo was a nice addition in the second round, no matter how complicated it will be to print a jersey with that name. Louis Nix III was perhaps the steal of the draft, as a first round talent slipped to the fourth round for the Texans. Tom Savage could be the starting quarterback in a few years, but at the moment he is just a work in progress. They did just trade with the Patriots to acquire backup quarterback Ryan Mallet so maybe they are trying to find their quarterback here, and personally I think Mallet should be the starter. The Texans could compete this season, simply due to their ease in their schedule because of their horrific season last year, but expect them to be a top team in a just a couple years.
The worst offseason in the NFL goes to the Indianapolis Colts! At least it’s someone other than the Raiders this season. But unlike most teams, the Colts not only slacked in free agency but they also had the worst draft out of any team in the NFL. They traded their first round pick for a running back who just averaged just under three yards per carry last season with the Colts. So there is your first round pick, but then they didn’t do much in any of the other rounds of the draft to make up for it. In free agency they made it even worse by losing their leading rusher from a season ago, and Vick Ballard is already out for the season, which leaves Richardson as the only liable option at running back. This is bad news for the Colts if the o-line and Richardson don’t improve. D’Qwell Jackson was signed, and while he has had a good career, keep in mind he is about to turn 31. Arthur Jones was also picked up by the Colts, and hopefully he will be able to improve one of the worst defensive lines in football. Other than Jones and Jackson no one else was brought on that will have any impact at all. They also lost one of their top three defensive players in Antoine Bethea to the 49ers. The Colts should still make the playoffs simply because they play three of the worst teams twice, but their only hopes for making it further rely almost purely on Andrew Luck and Robert Mathis.
The Jaguars had a very young team this past year, and after taking advantage of a deep draft class they will have a lot of young talent again. Blake Bortles comes in, and starting or not he was a tremendous pick with the third overall pick, as quarterback has shown to be the biggest need for the Jags in years past. They also did quite a bit to improve the defensive line, mainly by resigning veteran pass rusher Jason Babins, and signing other admirable lineman in Chris Clemons and Red Bryant. Marqis Lee and Allen Robinson were both good picks at receiver in the second round for the Jaguars. They cut ties with former star Maurice Jones-Drew, but picked up a solid tailback in Toby Gerhart from the Vikings. Jones-Drew was nothing more than an overpaid player the past two seasons, and it was smart of them to not resign him. The Jaguars still have a long way to go before they have a chance at a playoff shot, but this shows progress.
The Titans made up for losses in free agency by having a stellar draft. The biggest need for the team going into the offseason was outside linebacker, and they went out to sign veteran pass rusher, Shaun Phillips. Phillips is 33 years old, but showed last season he still has quite a bit left in the tank, or at least enough for another season or two and that is all the Titans need for the time being. One move I was not a fan of was failing to resign All-Pro corner, Alterraun Verner. Verner had five interceptions last season and was one of the top man to man corners in the league. Chris Johnson was also not resigned, and I didn’t like it at first but after drafting Bishop Sankey in the second round it made a little more sense. Taylor Lewan was their first pick, and even though it wasn’t what they needed, Lewan was certainly the best player on the board. Remember if you reach for needs you wind up with Sam Bowie instead of Michael Jordan, so I was a fan of the Lewan pick. Zach Mettenberger was the teams’ last pick, but personally I believe that he could wind up as the starter by the end of the season if Jake Locker puts on another lack luster performance. Mettenberger was a proven leader at LSU, and leadership translates well to the NFL. The Titans left a gap at corner, but other than that they added a ton of young talent that will help them greatly in the years to come.
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