It seems like just yesterday that we witnessed the largest comeback and largest choke-job in Super Bowl history as the Patriots defeated the Falcons. But it’s actually been nearly 5 months and the NFL offseason has come and nearly gone. Rookie mini-camps and OTAs have wrapped up and training camp is just a month away. It’s hard to believe that the 2017 season is just around the corner and that means it’s time to look back at what exactly transpired this offseason.
As we all know, the team and/or teams that win the offseason aren’t usually the teams that win come January and February. Highly drafted rookies don’t always pan out as expected, new coaches don’t prove to be good fits, and big-name free agents look better on paper than they do on the field. There are so many things than can make, or break, a team’s offseason not only for the impending season but for the franchise’s next decade or so. Just look at the Buffalo Bills: they still haven’t recovered from their 2000 offseason in which they cut three future Hall of Famers (Andre Reed, Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith) and drafted a 1st round bust in Erik Flowers. The season before the Bills made the playoffs but they haven’t sniffed the postseason in the 17 years since then!
What mistakes from this offseason will be on par with those? Who will be regretting the moves they made in April come September? We’ll take a look back at the worst of the worst when it comes to NFL teams this offseason as we present the biggest mistake all 32 NFL teams made this offseason.
32 Arizona Cardinals – Allowing Calais Campbell To Walk
The Cardinals plugged many of their holes this offseason after a disappointing 2016, but they created another hole by letting their defensive captain sign with the Jaguars. Besides Larry Fitzgerald, Campbell was the longest tenured member of the Cards and reached two Pro Bowls in the last three seasons. Yes, the Cardinals have prolific pass rushers in Markus Golden and Chandler Jones, but Campbell was a two-way defender who also anchored a top-10 run defense. In addition to his ability, part of Campbell’s greatness is his availability as he’s missed just 6 games in his 9 NFL seasons.
The fact that he left Arizona for Jacksonville tells us this was a financial move by Campbell but the Cardinals are losing a valuable team leader. The team still has Fitzgerald and Carson Palmer but both of them could be retired at this time next year while Campbell is still in his prime.
31 Atlanta Falcons – Believing That Dontari Poe Will Fix Their Defense
Three years ago the Falcons believed that signing a former highly-drafted Chiefs D-lineman would fix their defense but Tyson Jackson turned out to be a FA bust. Now in 2017 they are using the same strategy and praying for different results as Dontari Poe replaces Jackson who was cut this offseason. Poe is like the former Packers defensive tackle, B.J. Raji, in that his name is bigger than his game at this point and he’s put out some bad game tape over the last two years. There’s a reason why the Chiefs made no effort in re-signing a 26 year old two-time Pro Bowler. Poe’s fit in Atlanta doesn’t make much sense as after playing nose tackle in a 3-4 in his entire career, he will now be pigeon-holed into the three-technique position in a 4-3. Poe admitted that he’s a bit overweight at his current size to fit in the Falcons’ scheme and the last thing Atlanta’s defense needs is an out-of-shape player who will get tired in the second half and allow an opponent to come back…Too soon?
30 Baltimore Ravens – Neglected Offense In The Draft
It seems like neglecting the offense could be said for every Ravens offseason as the franchise’s entire philosophy is to think defense-first. Even after losing such players as Steve Smith Sr., Kyle Juszczyk, and Ricky Wagner, the Ravens didn’t even address their offense until their 5th pick in the draft which came in the 4th round. Let me remind you that the Ravens went 8-8 last season and missed the playoffs not because of their defense, which was a top-10 scoring unit; but rather due to their offense which ranked 21st in points.
The offense signed Jeremy Maclin after he was surprisingly cut by the Chiefs, but it's not a long-term solution with Mike Wallace and two tight ends coming off season-ending injuries and surgeries in Ben Watson and Maxx Williams.
29 Buffalo Bills – Did Not Re-Sign Zach Brown
Linebackers that aren’t pass-rushers are no longer as highly-coveted as they used to be, but when you have a good one like Zach Brown, why not make at least some effort to retain him? Brown was a Pro Bowler last season in his one and only season in Buffalo and he finished second in the NFL in tackles. He didn’t just do well with the traditional statistics as he also excelled when judged by advanced metrics. Pro Football Focus ranked him as the best free agent linebacker this offseason and he was the highest ranked one to change teams.
Everyone is well aware that the Bills got poached by the Patriots for Stephon Gilmore and Mike Gillislee but neither of those players rated nearly as highly as Brown did. Brown would eventually sign with the Redskins after Buffalo didn’t even offer him a contract.
28 Carolina Panthers – Delayed Cam Newton’s Shoulder Surgery
Cam Newton injured his shoulder in mid-December yet the team waited until March 30 to have him undergo surgery for a torn rotator cuff. The team apparently tried more conservative treatment which included physical therapy but that turned out not to cure his ailment. However, the team was 5-8 when Newton injured his shoulder last season with no chance of making the playoffs. Why didn’t they just end his season then instead of having him play through the injury and making it worse? Or why not have surgery right after the season ended and give Newton more time to recover? Instead Carolina is rolling the dice and hoping that Newton’s shoulder is healed in time for training camp.
While most veteran QBs don’t really need training camp, the Panthers offense will look quite a bit different this season and coach Ron Rivera has gone on record saying that Newton will have to evolve as a QB. It’s hard to evolve as a QB when your arm is in a sling and you can’t throw a football for three months.
27 Chicago Bears – Traded The House For Mitchell Trubisky
Whether Trubisky ends up being a franchise quarterback is yet to be seen; but what we know as of now is that the 49ers fleeced the Bears in the NFL Draft. Chicago moved up one spot in the draft to select Trubisky and it cost them two 3rd round picks and a 4th round pick. The trade was completely unnecessary as the 49ers had no intention of drafting Trubisky or any quarterback with their second overall pick. After a 3-13 season last season, it’s clear that the Bears aren’t just a quarterback away from competing and that they need an injection of talent throughout their roster.
However, losing three mid-round picks limits the talent that the team can add thru the draft. In addition, giving up so much has but a ton of pressure on the rookie QB who also hasn’t been as warmly received by the Chicago faithful as he would have liked. GM Ryan Pace is already on the hot seat despite just joining the team in 2015.
26 Cincinnati Bengals – Retained Marvin Lewis
Somehow, someway Marvin Lewis is the second longest-tenured head coach in the NFL. Not only that, but Lewis is the 4th longest tenured coach out of the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL. Only Bill Belichick, Gregg Popovich, and Mike Scioscia have been employed longer by their current teams than Lewis has. Unlike those other three, who have combined for 11 titles, Lewis hasn’t even sniffed a playoff victory. Perhaps Bengals owner Mike Brown remembers how bad things were in Cincinnati before Lewis took over and is afraid that canning a mediocre coach like Lewis would make the franchise revert back to those tough times. (Or maybe Lewis just has some uncompromising photos of Brown with a [fill in the blank]).
Anyway, this is the make-or-break season for Lewis as he didn’t make the playoffs last season and he a lame-duck coach in the final year of his contract. The Bengals can’t just make the playoffs this year as they need to win a playoff game or Lewis will looking for a new job for the first time in 15 years.
25 Cleveland Browns – Letting Terrelle Pryor Walk In Free Agency
After a decade of headcases at wide receiver such as Josh Gordon, Braylon Edwards, and Antonio Bryant; the team finally gets a good one on and off the field in Terrelle Pryor and they low-ball him in free agency. Pryor signed with the Redskins and left Cleveland despite playing at nearby Ohio State and being drafted by Hue Jackson when in Oakland. Cleveland deserves credit for developing Pryor into a 1,000 yard receiver after starting his career as a quarterback; but they also deserve blame for being cheap and not retaining their best young asset.
Pryor had previously said that he wanted to stay in Cleveland but the Browns struck out twice by not applying the franchise tag to him and then by not giving him a decent offer in free agency. It wouldn’t surprise me if in about five years we’re having this exact same conversation about the Browns and Myles Garrett.
24 Dallas Cowboys – Remaking Offensive Line
What do you do to a unit that allowed Dak Prescott to record the most QB wins as a rookie in NFL history and allowed Zeke Elliott to rush for the third most yards by a rookie in NFL history? You treat it like a deck of cards and shuffle the deck if you are Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys. The team guessed that RT Doug Free wouldn’t retire this offseason and they guessed wrong. They also let LG Ronald Leary walk in free agency despite him starting 13 games last season. Now they have to plug in two guys who finished last season on injured reserve (La’el Collins and Chaz Green) into starting roles.
The team still has three All-Pros in LT Tyron Smith, C Travis Frederick, and RG Zack Martin, but as any coach will tell you, it takes an entire cohesive unit to be a great offensive line. Both Prescott and Elliott are due for some regression this season, but it could end up being even more than expected with them playing behind a reshuffled offensive line.
23 Denver Broncos – Didn’t Bring In Competition At Quarterback
Trevor Siemian…Paxton Lynch…Chad Kelly…That’s it?? For a team looking to get back to the Super Bowl after last season’s disappointment, that list of QBs isn’t that inspiring. Siemian lacks arm strength while Lynch and Kelly are unknowns. The team should have explored the QB free agency market a bit more or even made a trade to bring in a veteran. I’m not saying a reunion with Jay Cutler or bringing in a broken-down Tony Romo would have solved things; but there were (and still are) other options out there. Brian Hoyer, Nick Foles, and Chase Daniel were all available and even if those guys weren’t able to beat out Siemian for the starting job; they could have at least provided competition.
More 10-6 games could cause an offense/defense rift on the team like what’s gone on in Seattle. One side of the ball can carry the team for only so long before there is a schism and it wouldn’t surprise me if that rift occurs this season.
22 Detroit Lions – Skipping On DBs To Draft Jarrad Davis
Last year the Lions allowed QBs to complete 72.7% of their passes which was not only the highest percentage in the league but it was the highest completion percentage of all-time! The team desperately needed an infusion of talent at their defensive backfield but they drafted just one DB within the first 4 rounds. The team selected Teez Tabor in the second round but they missed out on better prospects such as Tre’Davious White and Kevin King in the first round. They actually could have drafted Tabor in the second and still taken another DB in the first. Instead the Lions decided to replace one oft-injured linebacker in DeAndre Levy with another by using their first round pick on Jarrad Davis. Davis is a fine player…when he’s actually playing. He missed suffered a torn meniscus as a sophomore at Florida and then missed 3 games with ankle injuries as a senior. Poor Darius Slay may not see a pass thrown his way the entire year considering the other options that QBs can pick on.
21 Green Bay Packers – Didn’t Listen To Aaron Rodgers And Go ‘All In’
After losing in the Falcons in the NFC Championship Game, Rodgers told the assembled media that in order to take the next step and reach the Super Bowl; the Packers needed to go “all in.” The Packers then responded by losing five starters in free agency and making Martellus Bennett the only impact free agent they signed. Packers fans surely can’t be surprised at their organization ignoring free agency as they do this every year. The team front office has a bit too much confidence in its player development staff as they prefer to develop their own players rather than signing outside players.
Rodgers is entering his 10th year as a starter but has been to the Super Bowl just as many times as Rex Grossman has. Rodgers has a ring so he’s in no jeopardy of being the greatest QB to never win a Super Bowl but he’s on pace to end up as the greatest QB to win just 1 Super Bowl.
20 Houston Texans – Not Re-signing A.J. Bouye
According to Pro Football Focus, the best free agent defensive player this offseason wasn’t Eric Berry, Jason Pierre-Paul or Calais Campbell; it was A.J. Bouye. He went from being a dime back in training camp to one of the elite players at a premium position. Bouye’s play was a big reason why the Texans allowed the fewest yards in the league last year without J.J. Watt for 13 games. The Texans wanted to keep him but they didn’t want to break the bank to do so. They also had the option of franchise tagging Bouye but they passed on that as well for some reason. The team was blessed with cap space after the retirement of Vince Wilfork and the Browns taking Brock Osweiler’s salary off their hands; but Houston apparently deemed Bouye as replaceable.
There aren’t great passing teams in the AFC South but if/when the Texans get into the playoffs and face an elite passing offense; they’ll realize they made a mistake in not re-signing Bouye.
19 Indianapolis Colts – Didn’t Get Andrew Luck More Protection
In January Andrew Luck had shoulder surgery for a torn labrum he actually suffered in 2015. The reason why he suffered the injury was due to shoddy offensive line play and it didn’t improve in 2016 as Luck was sacked the second most times in the league. The team started 9 different offensive linemen last season as Luck was running for his life. There were plenty of options available in free agency and the draft for the team to solidify this unit and who did they decide to bring in? All they added to their O-line was a 4th round rookie tackle and a guard from the Titans who was benched after 3 games last season. The Colts, again, refused to devote any resources to their O-line and it shows every Sunday.
Colts owner Jim Irsay said in June that the O-line is “fixed” which makes me wonder if he knows the definition of “fixed.” Irsay is quickly gaining on Daniel Snyder for being perhaps the most overconfident and inept owner in the NFL.
18 Jacksonville Jaguars – Sticking With Blake Bortles
Doug Marrone and Tom Coughlin must be seeing something that I and pretty much every other football fan don’t see. They made great moves in free agency in signing such players as Calais Campbell, A.J. Bouye, and Barry Church; but they made no changes to their QB depth chart. Not only do they have Blake Bortles as their starter for this season, but they also picked up his team option for the 2018 season. He has thrown the second most INTs in the league since entering the league in 2014 and he’s never completed 60% of his passes in any season. After a promising 2015 in which he had 35 TDs, Bortles regressed last season with just 23 TDs.
The team didn’t draft a QB or sign one in free agency and backup Chad Henne is exactly that: a backup. Perhaps this is all intentional by Jacksonville and they are tanking for Sam Darnold? That would make more sense than sticking with Bortles at quarterback.
17 Kansas City Chiefs – Cutting Jeremy Maclin
In 2009 Andy Reid drafted Maclin in Philadelphia. In 2015 Reid recruited Maclin to the Chiefs. In May 2017 Reid was a guest at Maclin’s wedding. In June 2017 Reid cut Maclin…wait what? This was a surprise move considering the Chiefs’ receiving core was among the worst in the league last year. Maclin struggled all season with a groin injury which diminished his production but he had over 1,300 yards with Philly in 2014 and over 1,000 yards with the Chiefs in 2015. Even the most-diehard of Chiefs fans would struggle to name their team’s wide receivers this season and they made no splashes at the position in the draft or free agency.
Is the 5’7” Tyreek Hill really going to be an 80 catch guy this season? Will Travis Kelce break the record for most receptions by a tight end? Has Andy Reid finally lost it? It seems as if the Chiefs are putting their passing game struggles on the wide receivers when the blame should really be on the head coach and quarterback.
16 Los Angeles Chargers – Ditching San Diego
I’m not saying that the Chargers moving to LA was a mistake; I’m saying that the Chargers moving to L.A. THIS SEASON is a mistake. Due to poor planning, the team will be forced to play in the StubHub Center which can hold a maximum of 30,000 people. For comparison’s sake, there are over 100 college football teams that have larger stadiums than what the Chargers will be playing in for the next three seasons. I know ticket revenue isn’t everything, but the team will suffer in that department for the next three years and all but one other NFL stadium is at least twice the size that StubHub is. There’s also the fact that the Rams are already in L.A. and they are Los Angeles’ NFL team just as the Lakers (and not the Clippers) are LA’s NBA team. The Chargers will be playing second-fiddle in a second-rate stadium while their jilted fan base in San Diego is left with the lowly Padres.
15 Los Angeles Rams – Didn’t Give Jared Goff More Weapons
By any measure, Goff’s rookie season was a disappointment. However, he didn’t have many weapons to play with as the Rams finished last in point, second to last in passing yards, and second to last in rushing yards. (BTW, has anyone noticed that Todd Gurley has gone 18 straight games without a 100-yard rushing game?) While signing Andrew Whitworth to bolster the line will undoubtedly help both the rushing and passing games, the team didn’t supply Goff with the receivers he desperately needs.
All the team added at receiver was Robert Woods and he is a downgrade from Kenny Britt who departed this offseason. Exactly how much progression can Goff make when his top targets are Robert Woods and Tavon Austin? They must have lots of confidence in mid-round rookie WRs Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds as, on paper, the Rams offense looks even worse than last year’s destitute unit.
14 Miami Dolphins – Signed Lawrence Timmons To Help Run Defense
Timmons was expected to be the next great linebacker to wear the black and gold of the Steelers but he turned out to be merely above average. He spent a decade in Pittsburgh patrolling the middle of their defense but wasn’t willing to take a hometown discount to stay with the Steelers; thus, he took the money and ran to Miami. Timmons is one of the best inside blitzing LBs in the game but he’ll be playing an entirely new position in an entirely new scheme in Miami. A career 3-4 inside linebacker, Timmons will shift to the outside in a 4-3.
Remember James Harrison in Cincinnati or Jason Gildon in Jacksonville? Ask them how those position and scheme changes went for them. There’s also the fact that Timmons struggles taking on blockers and won’t be much of a help in boosting Miami’s 31st ranked run defense. It would not surprise me if Timmons is one-and-done in Miami and it would also not surprise me if he finished his career back in Pittsburgh.
13 Minnesota Vikings – Giving $26 Million Guaranteed To Riley Reiff
After Adrian Peterson led the NFL in rushing in 2015, the Vikings dropped all the way to last in rushing in 2016. They decided to remake both their backfield and their offensive line and while drafting Dalvin Cook was a home run; signing Riley Reiff was merely a single. Reiff is a former Lions’ first round pick but he graded out as below-average and certainly not worth $26 million guaranteed.
According to Pro Football Focus, Reiff’s play last year was actually on par with another Vikings’ O-line newcomer, Mike Remmers, formerly of Carolina. Remmers received just $10 million guaranteed and that’s about what Reiff should have gotten. With Remmers manning the right tackle position, Reiff will have to switch to the blindside next season after playing RT last season. The Vikings had a clear need but they overpaid to nab Reiff and could have allotted that money somewhere else.
12 New England Patriots – Did Not Bring In Competition At Kicker
When you have the type of offseason the Patriots had AFTER having the type of postseason the Patriots had; you have to nitpick and that’s what I’m doing here. New England filled whatever holes they had and even added players, like Brandin Cooks, to positions where they were already strong at. However, one thing they neglected to do was bring in competition for kicker Stephen Gostkowski who had the worst season of his career last year. Counting the regular season and playoffs, Gostkowski missed 5 extra points after missing just 2 over his previous 10 seasons combined! He also only converted on 84.4% of his field goals after averaging 93% over his previous three seasons.
During the season Gostkowski even admitted that his confidence was shot as he said, “I stink right now.” No one usually thinks about the kicker until it’s actually time to kick and the Patriots not thinking about upgrading that position may come back to bite them.
11 New Orleans Saints – Trading Away Brandin Cooks
I can’t ever recall a team trading away a 23-year-old receiver coming off back-to-back 1,100 yard seasons. Cooks was the perfect receiver for the Saints offense, and instead of surrounding Drew Brees with elite weapons at the tail end of his career, the Saints traded one away for a draft pick that may not contribute for two years. To make matters worse, New Orleans didn’t even use the draft pick on what they really need and that’s defensive help. Cooks hasn’t even reached his prime yet and he’s the same age or even younger than some of the receivers drafted this year.
Poor Saints fans are unfortunately used to the team trading away its offensive stars as this seems to happen every spring. Darren Sproles, Jimmy Graham, Kenny Stills, and now Brandin Cooks have all been shipped in recent years. Another annual occurrence seems to be Sean Payton flirting with another team and if the Saints post a 4th straight losing season then he may be free to join one.
10 New York Giants – Signing Former Jets
Despite his image somewhat improving in recent years, Brandon Marshall is still viewed by many as a locker room-cancer. Just last season he had a public feud with his own teammate Sheldon Richardson while with the Jets. I’m not sure I want that guy around as a mentor to Odell Beckham Jr. There’s also the fact that Marshall is not a winner and he has never played on playoff team in his entire 11-year career. It seems as if a team’s chemistry always gets disrupted whenever Marshall joins that team. Speaking of former Jets that disrupt chemistry; hello Geno Smith! The Giants signed Smith as Eli Manning’s new backup despite the fact that he got into a embarrassing locker room fight with a former teammate…and he’s also not very good.
Did the Giants think they weren’t getting enough of the New York headlines so they decided to poach some Jets? Well, in addition to adding those Jets’ players, they also brought in some of the old Jets’ problems.
9 New York Jets – Purged Their Roster Of Veterans
This quote from an anonymous team executive says it all when he stated that “The Jets may have the worst NFL roster in a decade.” Let me remind you that the Cleveland Browns have been in existence for the past decade. The executive made that statement after the Jets continued a youth movement by cutting veterans and team captains: Nick Mangold, Eric Decker, David Harris, Darrelle Revis, and others. The team is left with just two offensive players over the age of 30 and one of them is “starting quarterback Josh McCown” (I still can’t believe that is an actual phrase in 2017). Tank mode is in full effect with the Jets as they appear to be all in on USC quarterback Sam Darnold for the 2018 draft.
8 Oakland Raiders – Putting Faith In Aldon Smith
Last year while Aldon Smith was suspended, the Raiders were last in the NFL with 25 sacks despite having the Defensive Player of the Year in Khalil Mack. They then proceeded not to draft any pass rushers or add any in free agency because they held out hope that Aldon Smith would be reinstated by the league. Since applying for reinstatement in December, Smith has gone on to have a domestic incident in which police were called to his home and he was questioned. Then a month later Smith was in a car that struck a police cruiser. Another passenger in the car was detained for public intoxication while details from Smith’s involvement are just leaking out.
He just can’t stay out of trouble yet the Raiders put faith in that he would return this season. He’s become the defensive version of Josh Gordon and no one knows if he will ever play in the league again.
7 Philadelphia Eagles – Signed The Wrong Wide Receivers In Free Agency
The Eagles had arguably the worst receiving core in the NFL last year which made Carson Wentz’ rookie performance look even better. The team then went out and added to that core by signing Alson Jeffery and Torrey Smith. Those would have been great moves 3 years ago but neither has performed up to his usual standard in recent seasons. Jeffery has had problems staying on the field in recent seasons as he missed 7 games in 2015 due to groin and hamstring injuries and then was suspended for PEDs for 4 games in 2016. For a guy who’s struggled with his conditioning dating back to college, it was a risky move to offer Jeffery a one-year deal that can pay him up to $14 million.
The team also signed Torrey Smith whose 267 receiving yards ranked 166th in the league last year. Smith’s receiving yards have also decreased in three straight seasons and he looks nothing like the deep threat that he was early in his career in Baltimore.
6 Pittsburgh Steelers – Retained Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler
Keith Butler is a disciple of Dick LeBeau…but he is not Dick LeBeau who led the Steelers to the best scoring defense four times during his time as the team’s defensive coordinator. Butler’s units have peaked as the 10th best scoring defense in his three years in Pittsburgh. After the team lost to the Patriots in last year’s AFC Championship Game, Steeler players even admitted that something has to change with their defense and they said the zone schemes they’ve run in the past no longer work in today’s game. Yet, Pittsburgh retained Butler who has only run a zone defense throughout his entire career as an NFL coach and coordinator. It seems like the Steelers are trying to force a square peg into a round hole and it could lead to disastrous results.
5 San Francisco 49ers – Signing John Lynch And Kyle Shanahan To 6-Year Deals
Let me first say this: I think the hiring of Lynch as GM (despite his inexperience) and Shanahan as head coach are both good moves which is a rarity for the 49ers over recent years. However, giving both of them matching 6 year contracts was a mistake. Let me remind you that the 49ers are still paying ex-coaches Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly because they were signed to multi-year deals before being fired after one season each. The team is also paying the coaching staffs under those two coaches as well as former GM Trent Baalke.
Didn’t the team learn its lessons from handing out these multi-year contracts? Seeing as the President of the team is still Jed York; I’m going to say the answer to that question is no. If the 49ers were in the NBA, then the league would step in like they did with the 76ers and put someone competent in charge. York was gifted the team by his parents and may be the most incompetent executive in sports.
4 Seattle Seahawks – Did NOT Trade Richard Sherman
While Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson, and the rest of the Seattle Seahawks are looking ahead to the 2017 season, Richard Sherman is stuck in the past and still dwelling over the Super Bowl loss to the Patriots. He can’t let it go and he blames the coach, the offensive coordinator, and the entire offense for not having two Super Bowl rings at this point. According to a recent ESPN article, Sherman has also, at times, ruffled the feathers of Seattle’s Golden Boy, Russell Wilson, and believes that Pete Carroll doesn’t hold him accountable like he does the rest of the team. At 29, and with two years left on his contract, this offseason was the best chance for the Seahawks to trade Sherman but they were asking for both a first round pick and a mid-round pick. Sherman is very good but he’s, at best, the third best player on the Seahawks defense and they should have just requested a 2nd round pick for him, dealt him, and moved on.
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Did Not Upgrade Kick Returning Unit
Tampa Bay made some splash moves this offseason in signing DeSean Jackson and Chris Baker while drafting O.J. Howard. They fortified both sides of the ball after they faltered down the stretch last season by losing two of their last three games and missing the playoffs despite a 9-7 record. However, one position, that is often overlooked, that Tampa didn’t upgrade was their kick returning unit. The Bucs had a middle-of-the-pack punt returning unit but they ranked dead last in kick return yards and by a wide margin. They finished last in kick return yards, last in yards per kick return, and had a season-long kick return of just 26 yards.
By comparison, there were 2 teams that averaged more than 26 yards per kick return last season! Jackson has experience in returning but only on punt returns as he’s had just 5 kick returns in his career. None of the players that Tampa added this offseason are kick returners so it looks like Jameis and company will be looking at lots of 80+ drives this season.
2 Tennessee Titans – Reached On Their Two 1st Round Picks
The Titans were one of the sleeper teams for 2017 after finishing 9-7 last season. They ranked in the top 3 in both rushing and in rush defense so they knew they needed to upgrade their passing game on both offense and defense and they did that with the draft. They selected a wide receiver (Corey Davis) with the #5 overall pick and a cornerback (Adoree Jackson) with the #18 pick. However it feels as both players were reaches and Tennessee could have gone with different options. Davis is FBS all-time leader in receiving yards but he accomplished that at Western Michigan and played against the likes of Ball State and the University of Buffalo. I thought Mike Williams of Clemson would have been a better pick as he’s performed well on the biggest of stages.
With Jackson, you’re getting someone who is a better returner than cornerback at this point and he’ll take time to develop. Tre’Davious White out of LSU would have been a better selection as he’s bigger and has experience blitzing which is a must for an expected nickel cornerback in a Dick LeBeau-coached defense.
1 Washington Redskins – Spent 1st Round Pick On Jonathan Allen
Allen is a hell of a player and was arguably the best defensive player on the best defensive team in college football last year. But there are two concerns with him and one deals with the team, and scheme, he will be a part of. Allen played in a 4-3 at Alabama and lived in opposing backfields with 22.5 sacks over the last two seasons. He is a penetrating lineman but with Washington he will be forced to play the five-technique in a 3-4 defense. He will be asked to take on blockers instead of splitting blockers and that takes away his strength of getting into the backfield. The other concern for Allen is his injury history as he has an arthritic shoulder and had surgery on both shoulders before the combine. Arthritis doesn’t get better with age, only worse. I don’t think it was the wisest, or safest, decision to spend a first round pick on a guy with a questionable fit and a serious disorder.