Traditional power rankings overreact to one HUGE WIN and one sad (!) loss. Rarely do they take in account the entire season. To give a more accurate representation of what’s going on, and where these teams currently stand, I will not equivocate or give into the yank of heartstrings the NFL season brings week to week.
Instead of living with such a short memory and being so myopic, here’s where the NFL stands entering training camps as we all float along the section of the ocean where the algae is so thick that nothing can grow at all. This list also includes each team’s free agent additions, player departures, and 2021 NFL Draft classes. We will see you again in Week One.
If you missed Part One of this set, click here.
16.) New Orleans Saints—Record: 12-4. Point Differential: +145 (2). DVOA: 33.3% (1). Cap Space $359,354. Previously 14th.
Additions: Alex Armah (FB), Nick Vannett (TE), Tanoh Kpassagnon (EDGE), Will Clapp (C).
Departures: Janoris Jenkins (CB), Sheldon Rankins (DT), Justin Hardee (CB), Jared Cook (TE), Josh Hill (TE), Trey Hendrickson (DE), Emmanuel Sanders (WR), Kwon Alexander (LB), Nick Easton (OG), Alex Anzalone (LB), Will Clapp (C), Lil’jordan Humphrey (WR).
Draft Picks: Round 1: No. 28 Payton Turner, DE (Houston) Round 2: No. 60 Pete Werner, LB (Ohio State) Round 3: No. 76 (from Giants via Broncos) Paulson Adebo, CB (Stanford) Round 4: No. 133 Ian Book, QB (Notre Dame) Round 6: No. 206 Landon Young, OT (Kentucky) Round 7: No. 255 Kawann Baker, WR (South Alabama).
The Saints are no longer held hostage by Drew Brees’s attempt to get one more. Their previous three playoff failures were tied directly to him, and after each preceding loss, they made changes necessary to attempt to correct the deteriorating parts of his game. Now they’ll have Taysom Hill as their starter, because Sean Payton loves leaving Jameis Winston on read.
The Saints had the best 1-52 roster in football during this reign of playoff failures. They manipulated the cap and did everything they could to hold it together. Those days are gone. The Saints finally couldn’t keep everyone together and saw a slew of players find new homes this offseason. New Orleans is worse, even if they are finally better off at quarterback.
15.) Indianapolis Colts—Record: 11-5. Point Differential: +89 (8). DVOA: 14.3% (10). Cap Space $23,553,620. Previously 11th.
Additions: Isaac Rochell (DT), Sam Tevi (OT), Carson Wentz (QB), Chris Reed (OG), Eric Fisher (OT), Antwaun Woods (DT), Julie’n Davneport (OT).
Departures: Anthony Walker Jr. (LB), Tremon Smith (CB), Jacoby Brissett (QB), Tavon Wilson (S), Denico Autry (DL), Justin Houston (DE), Malik Hooker (S), Le’Raven Clark (OT), Trey Burton (TE), Chaz Green (OT), Joey Hunt (C), Al-Quadin Muhammad (DL).
Draft Picks: Round 1: No. 21 Kwity Paye, DL (Michigan) Round 2: No. 54 Dayo Odeyingbo, DL (Vanderbilt) Round 4: No. 127 Kylen Granson, TE (SMU) Round 5: No. 165 Shawn Davis, S (Florida) Round 6: No. 218 (from Saints) Sam Ehlinger, QB (Texas) Round 7: No. 229 (from Jaguars via Saints) Mike Strachan, WR (Charleston (W.V.)) Round 7: No. 248 Will Fries, OT (Penn State).
Imagine being a Colts fan, and thinking this is the year they will finally put their cap space to use, only for them not to use it, and for you to once again trick yourself into getting excited about Antwuan Woods, because you believe in Chris Ballard, like a reddit atheist believes in science. Magnets? How do you explain that?
The Colts did the same thing again, and are stuck in the same place again. It’s a team built around the draft, and internal improvement and development, that has stalled the last two drafts, with a quarterback change at top. From Andrew Luck boooooo, to Jacoby Brissett, to Philip Rivers, to now Carson Wentz, we’ve seen it before.
Wentz is a rehab project. He destructed last season. Get ready for lots of crossing routes under his former offensive coordinator turned head coach, and numerous strip sacks with Eric Fisher, and hopefully Sam Tevi at left tackle. At least, Jonathan Taylor is the next great running back, and can carry them to enough wins on his own.
14.) Los Angeles Rams—Record: 10-6. Point Differential: +76 (10). DVOA: 15.4% (9). Cap Space $7,595,498. Previously 13th.
Additions: DeSean Jackson (WR), Matthew Stafford (QB).
Departures: Jared Goff, Michael Brockers (DT), Morgan Fox (DT), John Johnson (S), Troy Hill (CB), Derek Rivers (DE), Malcolm Brown (RB), Gerald Everett (TE), Samson Ebakum (LB), Josh Reynolds (WR), Austin Blythe (OL), Blake Bortles (QB).
Draft Picks: Round 2: No. 57 Tutu Atwell, WR (Louisville) Round 3: No. 103 Ernest Jones, LB (South Carolina) Round 4: No. 117 Bobby Brown, DT (Texas A&M) Round 4: No. 130 (from Rams via Jaguars) Robert Rochell, CB (Central Arkansas) Round 4: No.141 Jacob Harris, WR (UCF) Round 5: No. 174 (from Bills via Texans) Earnest Brown IV, DL (Northwestern) Round 7: No. 233 (from Bengals via Texans) Jake Funk, RB (Maryland) Round 7: No. 249 (from Titans via Jaguars) Ben Skowonek, WR (Notre Dame) Round 7: No. 252 Chris Garrett, LB (Concordia-St. Paul).
The Rams’ defense isn’t going to be the best in the league next season, and it’s a defense that was shredded by Green Bay’s balanced passing attack last time we saw it. They lost numerous players, and are banking on their ability to develop uncovered stones to replace what they had. This is also coming under Raheem Morris who turned the Falcons defense around as the head coach some by utilizing a blitz heavy attack, that created confusion with zone blitzes, who runs an entirely different scheme than the one Brandon Staley ran for them.
It’s going to be up to the offense to pick up the slack, and by that, it’s going to be up to Matthew Stafford, who now gets his turn to play in an easy offense. Stafford should revolutionize it with his ability to also win from a spread passing attack, creating lite boxes, and more fortunate rushing situations. The Rams have a quarterback they can win because of instead of merely with.
This is a Superbowl caliber team if they can craft a top ten defense and offense. I don’t know if the defense can do it after the river split and the offseason exodus.
13.) Arizona Cardinals—Record: 8-8. Point Differential: +43 (13). DVOA: 3.6% (13). Cap Space $13,313,841. Previously 16th.
Additions: J.J. Watt (DE), Matt Prater (K), A.J. Green (WR), Brian Winters (OG), Rodney Hudson (C), Malcolm Butler (CB), James Conner (RB), Shawn Williams (S), Colt McCoy (QB).
Departures: Haason Reddick (EDGE), Dan Arnold (TE), Angelo Blackson (DE), Kenyan Drake (RB), Patrick Peterson (CB), De’Vondre Campbell (EDGE), J.R. Sweezy (OG), Corey Peters (DT), Chris Banjo (S), Dre Kirkpatrick (CB), Domata Petko (DT), Marcus Gilbert (OT), Mason Cole (OL).
Draft Picks: Round 1: No. 16 Zaven Collins, LB (Tulsa) Round 2: No. 49 Rondale Moore, WR (Purdue) Round 4: No. 136 (from Ravens) Marco Wilson, CB (Florida) Round 6: No. 210 (from Ravens) Victor Dimukeje, LB (Duke) Round 6: No. 223 (from Vikings) Tay Gowan, CB (Central Florida) Round 7: No. 243 James Wiggins, S (Cincinnati) Round 7: No. 247 (from Bears through Raiders) Michal Menet, C (Penn State).
Kliff Kingsbury hasn’t been as advertised. Aside from utilizing diamond four wide receiver formations, and empty backfields, the offense has been way too plain. The passing attack is a drag. Their easy offense were quick comebacks and curls to DeAndre Hopkins, and Kyler Murray scrambles, until Bill Belichick showed how to squash him last season.
Like the boomers that have flocked to the state to escape the winter in retirement, J.J. Watt, A.J. Green, Rodney Hudson, and Malcolm Butler, have done the same, settling in Arizona to wind down their careers. Aside from Green, they have enough in the tank to be successful starters this season. The talent isn’t the question. The coach, and the coach maximizing the quarterback is.
12.) Miami Dolphins—Record: 10-6. Point Differential: +66 (11). DVOA: 4.6% (12). Cap Space $6,968,258. Previously 15th.
Additions: Will Fuller (WR), Cethan Carter (TE), Adam Butler (DT), Jacoby Brissett (QB), Justin Coleman (CB), Matt Skura (C), Malcolm Brown (RB), Michael Palardy (P), Brennan Scarlett (EDGE), Duke Riley (LB), Robert Foster (WR), Jason McCourty (DB), D.J. Fluker (OL), Benardrick McKinney (LB).
Departures: Matt Haack (P), Kamu Grugier-Hill (LB), Davon Godchaux (NT), Kyle Van Noy (LB), Ted Karras (C), Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB), Matt Breida (RB), DeAndre Washington (RB), Julie’n Davenport (OT), Ereck Flowers (OG).
Draft Picks: Round 1: No. 6 (from Eagles) Jaylen Waddle, WR (Alabama) Round 1: No. 18 Jaelan Phillips, DL (Miami) Round 2: No. 36 (from Texans) Jevon Holland, S (Oregon) Round 2: No. 42 (from Giants) Liam Eichenberg, OT (Notre Dame) Round 3: No. 81 Hunter Long, TE (Boston College) Round 7: No. 231 (from Texans) Larnel Coleman, OT (Massachusetts) (signed) Round 7: No. 244 (from Washington) Gerrid Doaks, RB (Cincinnati).
Many have already given up on Tua Tagovailoa. I don’t think we’ve seen enough to have a good idea on what he is. So far, all we know is that he’s left handed, which I personally love, and he can throw the slant and the seam. The sideline throws and pocket presence have to improve. Behind a young offensive line that typically improves, and with Will Fuller on the outside, this in could occur. They already have the short passing game talent, that has only doubled by drafting Waddle, that can create easy and successful offense, even if what needs to improve doesn’t.
The defense is only going to get better. With McKinney, and Butler on the roster, the interior shouldn’t crumple against the run like it has. It’s a migraine watching it, let alone lining up against it. The offense improvement is in place, to pair with an electric defense, for the Dolphins to make up for last year’s end of season failures.
11.) Washington Football Team—Record: 7-9. Point Differential: +6 (14). DVOA: -2.3% (16). Cap Space $18,179,237. Previously 9th.
Additions: William Jackson (CB), Curtis Samuel (WR), Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB), Lamar Miller (RB), Tyler Larsen (C), David Mayo (LB), Adam Humphries (WR), Darryl Roberts (CB), Charles Leno Jr. (OT), Ereck Flowers (OG), DeAndre Carter (WR).
Departures: Ronald Darby (CB), Kevin Pierre-Louis (LB), Robert Foster (WR), Ryan Anderson (OLB), Alex Smith (QB), Ryan Kerrigan (EDGE), Thomas Davis (LB), Jeremy Sprinkle (TE), Fabian Moreau (CB), Morgan Moses (T).
Draft Picks: Round 1: No. 19 Jamin Davis, LB (Kentucky) Round 2: No. 51 Samuel Cosmi, OT (Texas) Round 3: No. 74 (from 49ers) Benjamin St-Juste, CB (Minnesota) Round 3: No. 82 Dyami Brown, WR (North Carolina) Round 4: No. 124 John Bates, TE (Boise State) Round 5: No. 163 Darrick Forrest, S (Cincinnati) Round 6: No. 225 (from Eagles) Cameron Cheeseman, LS (Michigan) Round 7: No. 240 (from 49ers via Eagles) Will Bradley-King, DE (Baylor) Round 7: No. 246 Shaka Toney, DE (Penn State) Round 7: No. 258 (from Chiefs through Dolphins) Dax Milne, WR (BYU).
I still kind of can’t believe Washington is going to go through with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke at quarterback. They have everything else. The secondary will be elite with Darby switched out for Jackson, the linebacker group already improved once they found the correct players to put on the field and is only better with the Davis selection, this is the best front four rush in the NFL that runs six deep, the wide receivers can attack every section of the field, Logan Thomas is a terminator, and the midzone game is great with this offensive line and Anthony Gibson.
I’m surprised they didn’t try and make a move up in the draft to snag a quarterback, or find one through another avenue. As long as the quarterback doesn’t let them down, they should repeat in the NFC East, and if miracles happen, this is a Super Bowl contender.
10.) Tennessee Titans—Record: 11-5. Point Differential: +52 (12). DVOA: 2.9% (14). Cap Space $5,401,207 Previously 10th.
Additions: Bud Dupree (EDGE), Denico Autry (DL), Kendall Lamm (OT), Josh Reynolds (WR), Kevin Johnson (CB), Janoris Jenkins (CB), Mathias Farley (S), Julio Jones (WR).
Departures: Desmond King (CB), Matt Dickerson (DE), Jonnu Smith (TE), Adoree’ Jackson (CB), Corey Davis (WR), Jadeveon Clowney (EDGE), Malcolm Butler (CB), Adam Humphries (WR), DaQuan Jones (DL), Kenny Vaccaro (S), Dennis Kelly (OT), Stephen Gostowski (K), MyCole Pruitt (TE), Jack Crawford (DT), Will Compton (LB), Tye Smith (CB), Kalif Raymond (WR), D’Onta Foreman (RB).
Draft Picks: Round 1: No. 22 Caleb Farley, CB (Virginia Tech) Round 2: No. 53 Dillon Radunz, OL (North Dakota State) Round 3: No. 92 Monty Rice, LB (Georgia) Round 3: No. 100 Elijah Molden, CB (Washington) Round 4: No. 109 Dez Fitzpatrick, WR (Louisville) Round 4: No. 135 Rashad Weaver, DE (Pittsburgh) Round 6: No. 205 Racey McMath, WR (LSU) Round 6: No. 215 (from Chiefs) Brady Breeze, S (Oregon).
Tennessee won 11 games, and the division again, even when plagued by a terrible defense coordinated by Mike Vrabel, and offensive line injuries. This offseason they filled all their needs. Bud Dupree will be what they needed Jadeveon Clowney to be. Autry provides the interior pass rushing juice they need to help Jeffrey Simmons, and he adds another pass rush source since the exterior rush has never really been there. Jenkins, and Farley will fix their outside cornerback troubles. Radunz is a mauling offensive tackle, perfect for their run scheme. And they replaced Corey Davis with Julio Jones, who is still one of the five best wide receivers, to create the best outside wide receiver tandem in the game.
The holes had been filled. There are still deeper questions to answer. Can Derrick Henry continue to carry a workload no one in the history of the NFL has been able to? Can Vrabel focus on leading, and allow Shane Bowen to do his job? How will the offense bounce back without Arthur Smith, who was one of the main reasons for their offensive success? Tennessee made the personnel moves needed to get over the hump. It’s the stuff on the edges and on top that can haunt them.
9.) Green Bay Packers—Record: 13-3. Point Differential: +140 (3). DVOA: 25.9% (3). Cap Space $2,612,321. Previously 3rd.
Additions: Blake Bortles (QB) ((lol)).
Departures: Christian Kirksey (LB), Montravius Adams (DE), Corey Linsley (C), Jamaal Williams (RB), Tim Boyle (QB), Ricky Wagner (OT), Marcedes Lewis (TE), Damon Harrison (DT), Tyler Ervin (RB), Allen Lazard (QB), Lane Taylor (OL).
Draft Picks: Round 1: No. 29 Eric Stokes, CB (Georgia) Round 2: No. 62 Josh Myers, C (Ohio State) Round 3: No. 85 (from Titans) Amari Rodgers, WR (Clemson) Round 4: No. 142 Royce Newman, OG (Ole Miss) Round 5: No. 173 Tedarrell Slaton, DT (Florida) Round 5: No. 178 Shemar Jean-Charles, CB (Appalachian State) Round 6: No. 214 Cole Van Lanen, G (Wisconsin) Round 6: No. 220 Isaiah McDuffie, LB (Boston College) Round 7: No. 256 Kylin Hill, RB (Mississippi State).
The Packers probably would have won a Super Bowl if they actually improved their team during the 2020 offseason, instead, they drafted two backup players, and saw their season end at the hands of a COWARD field goal. Their reward this offseason was losing valuable starters and dealing with quarterback drama. The Packers are the same team as last year, and unlike last year, where a change in the offensive design was the easy avenue for improvement, they don’t have the same discernible changes.
WE SHOULD BE CONTENDERS
8.) Cleveland Browns—Record: 11-5. Point Differential: -11 (16). DVOA: -5.6% (18). Cap Space $20,935,462 Previously 12th.
Additions: John Johnson (S), Troy Hill (CB), Takkarist McKinley (DE), Anthony Walker (LB), Malik Jackson (DT), Greg Senat (OT), Jadeveon Clowney (EDGE), Sheldon Day (DT).
Departures: Larry Ogunjobi (DT), Terrance Mitchell (CB), Kendall Lamm (OT), Kevin Johnson (CB), Olivier Vernon (DE), Adrian Clayborn (DE), Karl Joseph (S), B.J. Goodson (LB), Andrew Sendejo (S), Sheldon Richardson (DT), Vincent Taylor (DT).
Draft Picks: Round 1: No. 26 Greg Newsome II, CB (Northwestern) Round 2: No. 52 (from Panthers) Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB (Notre Dame) Round 3: No. 91 (from Saints) Anthony Schwartz, WR (Auburn) Round 4: No. 110 (from Eagles) James Hudson, OT (Cincinnati) Round 4: No. 132 Tommy Togiai, DT (Ohio State) Round 5: No. 153 (from Lions) Tony Fields II, LB (West Virginia) Round 5: No. 169 (from Rams) Richard Lecounte III, S (Georgia) Round 6: No. 211 Demetric Felton, RB (UCLA).
The Browns were the easy regression candidate. They improved by five wins, they went 7-2 in one score games, they won 3.3 more games than expected, and they played an easy schedule. I was ready to play this banjo this offseason. Then the Browns, unlike most teams, who go 11-5 and think they have made it, spent the offseason dramatically improving the team. They added six valuable defensive starters in free agency, nailed their first two draft selections, have valuable talent returning from injuries, and their offense should only get better with another season in this scheme.
Teams need to utilize the fluky stats to better define their team’s actual performance, instead of harp solely on their record, something that is manipulated by a violent game that is dictated by a small sample. The Browns did exactly this. They’re going to be better this season, and they will replicate their win-loss record, as long as Baker Mayfield isn’t devoured by the same troubles in the pocket.
7.) San Francisco 49ers—Record: 6-10. Point Differential: -14 (17). DVOA: 5.4% (11). Cap Space $18,689,597. Previously 6th.
Additions: Alex Mack (C), Samson Ebukam (LB), Zach Kerr (DE), Tavon Wilson (S), Nate Sudfield (QB), Nate Gerry (LB), Mohamed Sanu (WR), Wayne Gallman Jr. (RB), Arden Key (DT), Maurice Hurst (DT).
Departures: Ahkello Witherspoon (CB), Kendrick Bourne (WR), Solomon Thomas (EDGE), Richard Sherman (CB), Tevin Coleman (RB), K’Wuan Williams (CB), Ben Garland (C), Kerry Hyder (DE), Ezekiel Ansas (DE), Jerrick McKinnon (RB), Jordan Reed (TE), Tony Bergstrom (C), Dion Jordan (DE), C.J. Beathard (QB), Nick Mullens (QB), Emmanuel Moseley (CB).
Draft Picks: Round 1: No. 3 (from Texans through Dolphins) Trey Lance, QB (North Dakota State) Round 2: No. 48 (from Raiders) Aaron Banks, G (Notre Dame) Round 3: No. 88 (from Rams) Trey Sermon, RB (Ohio State) Round 3: No. 102 Ambry Thomas, CB (Michigan) Round 5: No. 155 Jaylon Moore, OG (Western Michigan) Round 5: No. 172 (from Saints) Deommodore Lenoir, CB (Oregon) Round 5: No. 180 Talanoa Hufanga, S (USC) Round 6: No. 194 Elijah Mitchell, RB (Louisiana-Lafayette).
The 49ers were the most injured team in the NFL last season. They had 166.6 adjusted games lost, 32 more than the 31st ranked Patriots. Jimmy Garoppolo, Richard Sherman, Solomon Thomas, Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, George Kittle, Raheem Mostert, Ben Garland, and Deebo Samuel, all spent time on injured reserve last season. Their team is back together, and with it, is new quarterback Trey Lance, who offers a running dimension to Kyle Shanahan’s already despicable offense.
Like, omg, will 2020 finally be over? Thankfully, for the 49ers, they can finally move on in a month.
6.) Seattle Seahawks—Record: 12-4. Point Differential: +88 (9). DVOA: 20.1% (5). Cap Space $7,695,693 Previously 8th.
Additions: Gerald Everett (TE), Ahkello Witherspoon (CB), Gabe Jackson (OG), Kerry Hyder (DT), Aldon Smith (DL), Damarious Randall (DB), Robert Nkemdiche (DT), Pierre Desir (CB), Al Woods (DT).
Departures: Shaquill Griffin (CB), Carlos Hyde (RB), Phillip Dorsett (WR), David Moore (WR), Jacob Hollister (TE), K.J. Wright (LB), Bruce Irvin (DL), Mike Iupati (OG), Cedric Ogbuhi (OT), Quinton Dunbar (CB), Chance Warmack (OG), Josh Gordon (WR), Shaquem Griffin (LB), Jarran Reed (DT).
The Seahawks go as far as Russell Wilson can carry them. He turned from absurd, to incredible, and the interceptions piled up leading to a midseason swoon, and an early playoff exit. Wilson is still a top five quarterback. The offense should have more structure this season. The offensive line will be better. Two of their young defensive starters making the leap is the difference they need to help fill in the gaps whenever Wilson can’t see through the looking glass and make passes no one has ever envisioned before, let alone complete.
5.) Baltimore Ravens—Record: 11-5. Point Differential: +165 (1). DVOA: 18.6% (7). Cap Space $12,583,475. Previously 7th.
Additions: Kevin Zeitler (OG), Geno Stone (S), Sammy Watkins (WR), Josh Oliver (TE). Greg Mancz (OL), Allejandro Villanueva (OT).
Departures: Matt Judon (EDGE), Matt Skura (C), Yannick Ngakoue (DE), Jihad Ward (DE), Mark Ingram (RB), Chris Moore (WR), Willie Snead (WR), L.J. Fort (LB), Robert Griffin III (QB), D.J. Fluker (OL), Dez Bryant (WR), Jihad Ward (DL), Orlando Brown (OT).
Draft Picks: Round 1: No. 27 Rashod Bateman, WR (Minnesota) Round 1: No. 31 (from Chiefs) Jayson Oweh, DE (Penn State) Round 3: No. 94 (from Chiefs) Ben Cleveland, G (Georgia) Round 3: No. 104 Brandon Stephens, CB (SMU) Round 4: No. 131 Tylan Wallace, WR (Oklahoma State) Round 5: No. 160 (from Cardinals) Shaun Wade, CB (Ohio State) Round 5: No. 171 Daelin Hayes, LB (Notre Dame) Round 5: No. 184 Ben Mason, FB (Michigan).
The Ravens have been stifled by the same problem. Their outside passing attack. Baltimore added Bateman and Watkins, two outside receivers who can win man coverage battles, to make up for this. If Lamar Jackson has filled this hole in his game that has hampered him, the Ravens will revolutionize themselves once again, just like they did two seasons ago. If not, things are going to be similar to last year, and the year before. Because of Jackson’s ability to throw the middle of the field, and the quick short game, I think he can pull it off along the sideline too. If he doesn’t, they’re, oh no(!), merely a playoff team.
4.) Los Angeles Chargers—Record: 7-9. Point Differential: -42 (20). DVOA: -23.4% (26). Cap Space $20,522,474. Previously 5th.
Additions: Corey Linsley (C), Matt Feiler (OL), Jared Cook (TE), Oday Aboushi (OL), Chase Daniel (QB), Ryan Smith (CB).
Departures: Cole Toner (OL), Denzel Perryman (LB), Tyrod Taylor (QB), Isaac Rochell (DT), Sam Tevi (OT), Rayshawn Jenkins (S), Nick Vigil (LB), Hunter Henry (TE), Dan Feeney (C), Melvin Ingram (EDGE), Trai Turner (OG), Casey Hayward (CB), Mike Pouncey (C), Virgil Green (TE), Forrest Lamp (OG), Jahleel Addae (S).
Draft Picks: Round 1: No. 13 Rashawn Slater, OT (Northwestern) Round 2: No. 47 Asante Samuel Jr., CB (Florida State) Round 3: No. 77 Josh Palmer, WR (Tennessee) Round 3: No. 97 Tre’ McKitty, TE (Georgia) Round 4: No. 118 Chris Rumph II, LB (Duke) Round 5: No. 159 Brendan James, OT (Nebraska) Round 6: No. 185 (from Jaguars through Titans) Nick Niemann, LB (Iowa) Round 6: No. 198 Larry Rountree III, RB (Missouri) Round 7: No. 241 Mark Webb, S (Georgia).
The Chargers put on a masterclass of how to build around a quarterback on his rookie contract. It took two free agent signings and a first round pick to rebuild their offensive line. With the skill talent they had in tow they didn’t need to do anything aside from replace Hunter Henry, which they did at a bargain by signing Cook. Herbert is transcedent. He’s the guy. Ignore the models, the projections, the regression topics, he’s only going to get better from here.
Brandon Staley taking his cover four-cover seven defense, and mixing it with a 3-4, will be fascinating, along with how he pairs Joey Bosa, along with Jerry Tillery, who finally learned how to play football again last year, the return of Derwin James, and the attempt to get something out of Kenneth Murray, who was lost last season. All they need from this defense is average, and Staley should get just that.
3.) Buffalo Bills—Record: 13-3. Point Differential: +126 (5). DVOA: 23.8% (4). Cap Space $5,620,179. Previously 3rd.
Additions: Emmanuel Sanders (WR), Matt Haack (P), Mitchell Trubisky (QB), Jacob Hollister (TE), Efe Obada (DL), Matt Breida (RB), Forrest Lamp (OG), Tyrell Adams (LB), Jamil Douglas (OG).
Departures: Brian Winters (OG), Ty Nsekhe (OT), Andre Roberts (WR), John Brown (WR), Quinton Jefferson (DL), Tyler Kroft (TE), Trent Murphy (DE), Josh Norman (CB), Matt Barkley (QB), T.J. Yeldon (RB), Lee Smith (TE).
Draft Picks: Round 1: No. 30 Gregory Rousseau, DL (Miami) Round 2: No. 61 Carlos Basham Jr., DE (Wake Forest) Round 3: No. 93 Spencer Brown, OT (Northern Iowa) Round 5: No. 161 (from Raiders) Tommy Doyle, OT (Miami (Ohio) Round 6: No. 203 Marquez Stevenson, WR (Houston) Round 6: No. 212 (from Saints via Texans) Damar Hamlin, S (Pittsburgh) Round 6: No. 213 Rachad Wildgoose, CB (Wisconsin) Round 7: No. 236 (from Panthers) Jack Anderson, G (Texas Tech).
Josh Allen made the leap, and there isn’t anything in the numbers, or the film, pointing to a reason why he won’t remain among the NFL’s elite. Brian Daboll wasn’t pillaged, and Sanders is the perfect outside receiver to replace John Brown, who was absent for most of last season.
Their biggest issue was their front four rush. The talent didn’t match the production, and this offseason they added two top 100 draft picks to their stable that includes Jerry Hughes, Vernon Butler, Ed Oliver, Mario Addison, and Star Lotulelei, Last year they fell short in the AFC title because of a silly run first gameplan, COWARD field goals, and a non-existent pass rush. These corrections are already in place. They’re the team best equipped to fight off another Kansas City Super Bowl run.
2.) Kansas City Chiefs—Record: 14-2. Point Differential: +111 (6). DVOA: 19.5% (6). Cap Space $11,687,365. Previously 2nd.
Additions: Joe Thuney (OG), Blake Bell (TE), Jarran Reed (DT), Kyle Long (OG), Austin Blythe (C), Orlando Brown (OT), Mike Hughes (CB), Kamalei Correa (OLB), Jerrick McKinnon (RB).
Departures: Eric Fisher (OT), Mitchell Schwartz (OT), Sammy Watkins (WR), Alex Okafor (DE), Bashaud Breeland (CB), Damien Wilson (LB), Austin Reiter (C), Kelechi Osemele (OG), Anthony Sherman (FB), Tanoh Kpassagnon (DL), Mike Pennel (DT), Le’Veon Bell (RB), Damien Williams (RB).
Draft Picks: Round 2: No. 58 (from Ravens): Nick Bolton, LB (Missouri) Round 2: No. 63 Creed Humphrey, C (Oklahoma) Round 4: No. 144 Joshua Kaindoh, DE (Florida State) Round 5: No. 162 (from Dolphins via Raiders via Jets) Noah Gray, TE (Duke) Round 5: No. 181 Cornell Powell, WR (Clemson) Round 6: No. 226 (from Panthers via Jets) Trey Smith, G (Tennessee).
The Chiefs are a prime regression team. They went 8-2 in one score games, they won 3.3 more games than expected—both leading the NFL. They spent the offseason going all in on their offensive line after Patrick Mahomes spent the second half scurrying against Tampa Bay against Tampa Bay. All this means is the Chiefs will probably win ten games next year instead of fourteen, opening the door for the Chargers, or even the Broncos to win the division.
A little bit of a drop off in their regular season record won’t change the fact that they have an all-time pass offense, one of the better passing defenses in the NFL, and are great at the most important facets in the game.
1.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Record: 11-5. Point Differential: +137 (4). DVOA: 31.5% (2). Cap Space $1,079,811. Previously 1st.
Additions: Giovani Bernard (RB).
Departures: Joe Haeg (OT), Andrew Adams (S), Kevin Minter (LB), LeSean McCoy (RB), Ryan Smith (CB).
Draft Picks: Round 1: No. 32 Joe Tryon, LB (Washington) Round 2: No. 64 Kyle Trask, QB (Florida) Round 3: No. 95 Robert Hainsey, OL (Notre Dame) Round 4: No. 129 (from Seahawks) Jaelon Darden, WR (North Texas) Round 5: No. 176 K.J. Britt, LB (Auburn) Round 7: No. 251 (from Steelers) Chris Wilcox, CB (BYU) Round 7: No. 259 Grant Stuard, LB (Houston).
This is as RUN IT BACK as it can get. They added to the best front seven in the NFL, found a developmental quarterback and a pass catching running back, and retained everyone somewhat vital to their Super Bowl run.