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The NFL design is not the only aspect of franchise construction, but it is perhaps the most important one. Teams often top off with the right free agent signatures, but roster foundations are added to the founding weekend ̵
Top teams do not attack every design. However, the eternal floor dwellers of the league are usually the same teams that mess up early tips and strategies.
Although it's important to get into the design from time to time, it's more important not to make big mistakes. A team can gain a lot of value by choosing a seven-year-old starter in the first round, even though he's never a pro bowler. On the other hand, a player who makes only a few starts during his rookie contract can get back a franchise.
If you think of the Cleveland Browns and the mistakes of the first round Like Johnny Manziel, Justin Gilbert and Cameron Erving, there is a reason why the Browns have won only four games in the last three seasons.
In this sense, we will avoid the normal preselection of the right selection each team. Instead, we will examine the one flaw that every franchise can not afford – be it a selection, motion, non-motion, or design strategy.
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There are two types of teams in the NFL – those with a franchise quarterback and those without. Since a franchise signal pager makes it easier for a team to compete, and because almost all franchise quarterbacks are included in the draft, we'll talk a lot about quarterbacks.
While giving Sam Bradford an one-year, $ 20 million deal this offseason, the Arizona Cardinals find themselves without a franchise QB. The Cardinals may win with Bradford, but his injury history and age (30) mean he is far from a long-term barrier.
Can the Cardinals find their long-term answer in this draft? It will not be easy, because Arizona does not choose before the 15th overall.
There are six quarterbacks – Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph – who could go into the first round The Draft. Chances are not all swinging out of them, and the majority could be gone if the Cardinals vote.
The Browns, the New York Giants and the New York Jets have the first three selections, so three quarterbacks could start round 1. After the Browns again voted 4th place, the Denver Broncos pick fifth overall, leaving four QBs within the first five selections from the board.
The Buffalo Bills have already traded before the Cardinals (ranked 12th overall)), so an early run on quarterback Arizona could panic. This would be a mistake. Arizona can not waste wasted capital to advance quarterback for its fourth choice or even pull the trigger in its fifth or sixth choice. So people like Christian Ponder are drafted in the first half of the first round.
If one of Arizona's top picks gets past the Jets or the Broncos, it would be a smart move – think of the Kansas City Chiefs defeating Patrick Mahomes last year. Go Gonzo on a fourth or fifth option, however, could return the franchise more than a few years ago.
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The Atlanta Falcons have one of the league's top wide receivers in Julio Jones. They also have one of the best recipients of the NFL in Mohamed Sanu. Wide Receiver does not stand out as a need, but it's a position that the Falcons can not ignore. Taylor Gabriel has been Atlanta's # 3 receiver for the past two seasons, but he joined the Chicago Bears in this offseason. This leaves the Falcons without a high-end receiver to fulfill the role.
Justin Hardy would probably be Atlanta's # 3 receiver. He has promised, but he has never caught more than 21 passes in any one season. He had 20 catches for 221 yards and three touchdowns last season.
The Hawks do not have to use their first round (26th overall) on a wide receiver, although they may want to have one of the draft's best passbots – like Alabama's Calvin Ridley or SMU's Courtland Sutton – they may have.
Atlanta has bigger needs. It could use help on the inner line of defense and in safety. It would also be a wise move to add a first-rate guard. If the Hawks want to regain the offensive explosiveness of Kyle Shanahan, it would be wise to add a high-quality replacement for Gabriel.
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Adding a pass-catcher must be a priority for the Baltimore Ravens Four of Baltimore's top five receivers from last season – Ben Watson, Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin and Danny Woodhead – are gone – while the Ravens added Michael Crabtree and John Brown this off-season, the team's receiving corps will not hold the defensive coordinators at night.
Unfortunately, this draft course is not heavy on top-end talent.  "This class has a few specialists, from slot receivers to z u great red zone threats, so it's a draft, receiver number 2 or roleplayer to find more than a draft to find a groundbreaking number 1, "Pro Football Focus" Steve Palazzolo recently wrote .
Baltimore should not shrug his shoulders and ignore the receiver's position. Adding a high-end slot receiver could increase attack rebuilding.
Another punching talent like Mike Gesicki of Penn State could help the Ravens. Tight ends Nick Boyle and Maxx Williams combined for just 289 yards received last season.
The Ravens averaged 189.4 feet per game in 2017. The offseason additions that they have already made should help some, but if they want to see a dramatic improvement (19659010) 4 of 32
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The Bills swapped former start-quarterback Tyrod Taylor at the start of the vacant agency, meaning they're looking for a new signal caller to build around. Even after adding AJ McCarron, Buffalo will likely look for a franchise quarterback in this draft.
Due to the demand on the position, Buffalo may be forced to act to secure one of the top four or five signal callers. The Bills have already made a move by sending Cordy Glenn to the Cincinnati Bengals and switching the first-round picks. You now choose the 12th overall rank.
But the jets have traded to third overall selection, practically guaranteeing that two quarterbacks are gone by this selection – the Browns have virtually one to take 1st place now. With the Broncos Buffalo and the Cardinals still threatening a higher trading risk, the Bills need to take another step toward achieving one of their top goals.
The Brown's second first-round selection, the No. 4 overall, could be a tempting target. According to sports reporter Dan Patrick (h / t Daryl Ruiter of 92.3 The Fan), Buffalo has turned to the # 1 Browns.
Since the Bills have already made moves to trade for a quarterback, they have to complete the task. That might require doing business with the Giants at # 2 to get in front of the jets, especially if the Browns ranked one of Buffalo's top two guys 1st.
When the Giants decide to call a signal on No 2, then the Bills have to reassess their strategy, because it would be foolish to go all-in for a fourth or fifth choice at QB. Buffalo, however, should do everything in his power to get his franchise signal pager.
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The Carolina Panthers have missed a top-end cornerback No. 1 since leaving Josh Norman in a freelance agency. That needs to change if Carolina wants to head back to the top of the pass-heavy NFC South.
Carolina Pass's defense was not a disaster in 2017 – it ranked 18th, allowing 229.1 yards per game – but that was largely due to a fierce passport hurry that logged 50 sacks during the regular season. Cornerbacks like James Bradberry and Captain Munnerlyn were useful, but anything but elitist.
The Panthers attempted to include Bashaud Breeland in the vacant agency, but canceled his contract due to a failed game.
The good news is that there is an attractive cornerback outlook in this year's class. While the two best prospects of the draft – Ohio's Ohio's Denzel Ward and Iowa's Josh Jackson – could both be eliminated by Carolina's 24th overall ranking, the Panthers should still be able to get a quality corner. Colorado's Isaiah Oliver could be a major target.
If the Panthers bypass a cornerback in the first round, they would be wise to score one with future potential # 1 in Round 2.
The Panthers face elite wideouts Julio Jones, Michael Thomas and Mike Evans in their division. It would be a mistake not to target the kind of corner that could fit together one-to-one.
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There's an NFL design not always perspectives, but some will be perceived as such this year. These include Notre Dame Guard Quenton Nelson, Penn State back Saquon Barkley, Alabama security Minkah Fitzpatrick and NC State Pass-rusher Bradley Chubb.
Because of a possible run on quarterbacks at the top of Round 1, the Chicago Bears may be in a position to grab one of those elite prospects with the eighth overall pick.
Chicago may be tempted to trade this selection to a team wishing a quarterback or one of those elite prospects. There are a few needs on the roster, so accumulating more picks would not be the worst strategy. However, the bears should not submit elite candidates.
Chicago may not need to go back, but if it can land Nelson, Fitzpatrick, or Chubb, it should. To score one or two points could even make sense to secure a player with multi-year all-pro potential.
If any of the above prospects are unavailable, the Bears might consider a corner like Ward or Jackson paired with Kyle Fuller
Adding more picks is nice, but creating one of those elite prospects could help to give the Bears a dominant defensive or offensive line to mate with Mitchell Trubisky and Chicago's new-looking receiving corps. If Chicago can change places and still land one, great. But it would be a mistake to pass it on.
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Joe Robbins / Getty Images  The Cincinnati Bengals allowed guard Kevin Zeitler and Andrew Whitworth to leave in free agency's last offseason. That proved a disaster.
Cincinnati's offensive line was one of the worst in the NFL in 2017, if not the worst. It allowed 40 sacks and helped produce only 85.4 yards rushing per game, second-least in the NFL. Considering that Bengal's talented players like Giovani Bernard and Joe Mixon were on the list, this glittering number is disappointing.
If Cincinnati wants to return to the postseason in 2018, he can not ignore the offensive draft. Yes, the Bengals have exchanged for Cordy Glenn, but they still need an influx of talent inside.
Now that the Bengalis are sitting at Pick # 21, they will not stand a chance with Quenton Nelson. However, you can land a player like Ohio State Center Billy Price or Georgia Guardian Isaiah Wynn. Depending on how the Bengals think about Jake Fisher's development, they might also consider Texas & # 39; Connor Williams on proper tackle.
If Cincinnati does not want to miss a prospect for another position at No. 21, she will have to return to the line earlier than later. It can not ignore the line early.
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The Browns have been looking for a franchise quarterback since returning to the league as an expansion team in 1999. The next Cleveland has been to find in the 1999 draft when it selected Kentucky Tim Couch with the first selection:
One could argue that the Browns would have better voted Donacan McNabb of Syracuse, who took overall number two. While McNabb definitely had the better career, couch had potential. If he has not been sacked 166 times in five seasons due to injuries and an offensive line, he could have wiped out.
The Browns have not picked the first quarterback in any draft since 1999. Instead, they have won second place -tier options like Johnny Manziel, Brandon Weeden and DeShone Kizer. What's worse, the Browns have missed out on chances for the first or second quarterback in the draft over the past few years and missed potential superstars like Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson.
We will not criticize Cleveland because he grabbed Myles Garrett instead of a quarterback with the first pick last year as he has the makings of a generation-time talent, perhaps in the second most important position of the game. However, the Browns can not afford to make a # 1 signal call this year as a whole.
Whichever quarterback on Cleveland's Draft Board is highest, has the choice. The Browns could still make the wrong decision in first place, but that would be better than deciding on place 4 for the second or third choice. Couch took five seasons in Cleveland and helped deliver a playoff spot. This is a legendary career compared to the Manziels and Weedens of the world. It could be tempting to lose position 1 or take another position, but the Browns must identify their QB and not let him escape.
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Dallas cowboy owner Jerry Jones loves to make a splash, with his stadium hosting the 2018 draft. It's easy to imagine he'll be tempted to use the 19th overall point to attract fans
Adding a recipient like Calvin Ridley or Courtland Sutton, who could mate with Dez Bryant and Allen Hurns, could be applause to grab a Rand Rusher like Harold Landry of Boston College to deal with Demarcus Lawrence mating, could do the same thing It's not going to be hard for Jones to look for a player who can contribute immediately.
However, the Cowboys have some aging players who need to prepare for their possible retirement. 19659006] A running linebacker like Alabama's Rashaan Evans could give the Cowboys a successor plan for Sean Lee. A close ending like Mike Gesicki could do the same for Jason Witten, who recently got a contract.
Although Dallas does not look for heirs for Witten and Lee in the first round, sooner or later they should aim for them.
The appreciation of players who will not make a big impact in Year 1 will not inspire the fanbase of the cowboys. Lee and Witten, however, will not play forever. With young plays like Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott leading the team, Dallas should hope to fight long after they're gone.
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The Broncos added quarterback Case Keenum in free agency, and they have 2016 first round picking Paxton Lynch on the list. However, in this draft, they might still appeal to a potential franchise caller. While Keenum earns $ 18 million a year in Denver, the two-year deal begins to make it easy for the Broncos to continue.
What the Broncos are not capable of is the nonsense of the fifth overall selection.
When a quarterback manager whom John Elway loves sits in 5th place, they should grab their guy. However, there are too many blue-chip prospects that the Broncos could land instead, especially when two or three quarterbacks are drawn in at the top.
"I think the Broncos will be thrilled to land Mayfield if he falls to them, but I'm not sure they'll take a step to get number 4 and lock him up," Jon wrote recently Ledyard by NDT Scouting. "He would fit well in Denver, but if the Bills jump in front of the Broncos and the Giants take a quarterback, John Elway will happily take the best player on the train in Nelson to complete Denver's offensive line conversion."  Adding Nelson or even Barkley would help restore Denver's offensive identity. If Keenum plays well and the defense can continue playing at a playoff level, this could be enough to get the Broncos back in the Super Bowl picture.
The Broncos will eventually have to find their quarterback of the future, but they can not ferret out the selection if their first choice is unavailable. There is too much talent to give it up.
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Joe Robbins / Getty Images  The Detroit Lions have an elite quarterback in Matthew Stafford. They also have high quality offensive weapons in Marvin Jones, Golden Tate and Kenny Golladay. Therefore, Detroit should not look at offensive skill players at the beginning of the draft
The Lions could use depth along the offensive and defensive lines, but if the right skill player in the first (20th overall) or second round to them falls (51.), it would be a mistake to pass it on.
Even though the Lions have Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick and now LeGarrette Blount on the list, it might make sense to backtrack like Derrius Guice of the LSU or Georgia to make Sony Michel. Abdullah was a disappointment, Riddick gets more back and Blount is 31 years old.
Stafford has never had the benefit of a franchise running back. If Detroit can give it one, then it should.
The Lions also need a primary pass-capture event as Darren Fells and Eric Ebron are gone. The lions added Luke Willson, but it would help the offensive to come to a close, like Gesicki or Dallas Goedert of South Dakota.
The Lions have a strong pass strike. New head coach Matt Patricia is a defensive head coach. However, no fact should be reason enough to bypass offensive talent early in the draft.
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For too long, the Green Bay Packers have relied on Aaron Rodgers to carry them. If that was not before Rodgers was injured last season, it should be after that. Packers must focus on becoming a more balanced team.
Step one should improve a pass defense, which ranked 23rd in the NFL last season (236.8 yards per game). Rodgers is often injured because Green Bay is in shootings too often. To get hold of a corner like Denzel Ward or Josh Jackson would be an easy decision if both are in 14th place overall.
Improving a pass-rush with only 37 sacks in 2017 would also improve the defense. There is no blue chip Pass Rusher in the design outside of Chubb, but Green Bay could probably pick in the first or the second and land a launching caliber edge breaker. The LSD's Arden key would be a risk because of some off-field problems and lack of new production, but if the packers can get him within reach and he can return to his 2016 form, he might be worth it.
It would also help to improve the inside of the attack line. A guard like Isaiah Wynn or UTEP's Will Hernandez was able to improve Packers' 17th place (107.8 yards per game) and help keep Rodgers upright.
Although the Packers have admitted Jimmy Graham to the vacant agency, it may be tempting to add more goals for Rodgers – especially with Jordy Nelson. Green Bay has to put pressure on Rodgers instead.
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The Houston Texans are without picks in the first and second rounds as Watson went on sale last year. However, they have a total of eight tips, including three in the third round and one in the fourth. They could pack some picks and move into the second round, and they should not be afraid.
The Texans need an influx of offensive line talents who allowed 54 sacks last season while Watson tries to come back (19659006) Houston will do his homework on Day 2 linemen because it's unlikely that it will in round 1 goes. As head coach Bill O'Brien said in the NFL Combine (via the team website):
"I think once you go through the third, fourth and lower part of the first round in the middle of the second round Road comes, you have to do his due diligence really in the cassette, attending school, on campus, the combine interview, how much football does he know, whether there were any past character issues or medical issues, you can get them answered here or such things. "
If the Texans fall in love with a second round prospect like Ohio State tackle Jamarco Jones or UCLA tackle and Kolton Miller, they can not be afraid to grab picks to fetch him.
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The Indianapolis Colts were a legitimate playoff contender when quarterback Andrew Luck was completely healthy. However, Luck has missed each of the last three seasons, and the Colts have not made the playoffs in any of them.
Hopefully Indianapolis will have its quarterback midway through when the 2018 season starts and long after. 19659006] "We are optimistic that he is around the corner and has a decade ahead of him," owner Jim Irsay recently told reporters at Luck.
If Indianapolis hopes to keep Luck healthy for the foreseeable future, it must build around it. Improving the attack line should be a top priority as Luck was fired 156 times in five seasons. Adding a top animal that runs back to relieve pressure luck should come next.
Should the Colts be able to land either Barkley or Nelson with the sixth overall pick, she should not hesitate to hand over the Draft Card. If both are available, Nelson can be given priority as the Colts could still target a back like Michel or Guice at the top of Round 2.
Indianapolis also needs help, so Bradley Chubb would not be a disaster is the choice at No. 6. If that's the move, the Colts should consider using all three of their second rounds to offensive the line and the backcourt improve.
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The Jacksonville Jaguars did not compete for Blake Bortles in a freelance agency. Instead, they have committed Bortles to a new $ 54 million three-year contract. They bought Cody Kessler, but also saw Chad Henne elsewhere. Henne has occupied the backup role since Bortle's role, so his departure should not be overlooked.
Bortles & # 39; Deal is not sure that he will start more than a season or two. The Jaguars were able to release him after the 2019 season with only $ 5 million cap hits. If another quarterback on the list can steal the starting job by then, Jacksonville can afford to take it.
The Jaguars have only two quarterbacks on the roster, and they can not be afraid to crowd another one. Jacksonville does not need to use the 29th overall pick for a signal caller on Day 2, or even choose a target indicator, but it should topple if the right quarterback is available.
Jacksonville must secure a backup that can be developed for the future. If Bortles plays badly or injures, the Jaguars need an answer. The Philadelphia Eagles showed the importance of a solid backup.
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Due to trading for quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs are picking up this year without a first round and will not vote to 54th overall. The Chiefs could still get a starter with the picks they have – remember, Kareem Hunt was a Third King – but if they want to increase their chances of winning an elite defender, they should not be afraid to dare.
Defense is where Kansas City needs the most work. The team was only 31 sacks in 2017 and allowed 365.1 yards per game, the fifth highest in the NFL.
The Chiefs are not likely to be in reach for a top corner like Ward or Jackson or a top linebacker like Boise State's Leighton Vander Esch or Tremaine Edmunds of the Virginia Tech. However, the Chiefs are armed after trading with Alex Smith with two eliminations in the third round. They also received an extra fourth round and a second round in 2019, delivering cornerback Marcus Peters.
Die Chiefs sollten in der Lage sein, einige dieser Picks zu verpacken und an die Spitze von Runde 2 oder sogar in Runde 1 zu kommen mit einigen zusätzlichen Teilen – um einen defensiven Spielmacher zu landen. Kansas City könnte in diesem Bereich einen Kantenbrecher wie Arden Key oder einen Cornerback wie Jesaja Oliver ergattern.
Die Chiefs haben gehandelt, um Mahomes zu holen. Sie sollten nicht Angst davor haben, das zweite Jahr in Folge nach oben zu gehen, wenn es heißt, einen Spieler zu erwischen, der Kansas City weiter in die Nachsaison bringen kann.
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Die Los Angeles Chargers waren nicht weit davon entfernt, 2017 ein Playoff-Team zu sein der Bedürfnisse in freier Agentur, Hinzufügen von Center Mike Pouncey und Kicker Caleb Sturgis. Ihr größter verbleibender Bedarf ist eine verbesserte Laufverteidigung.
Die Chargers hatten in der vergangenen Saison die zweitschlechteste Laufverteidigung der Liga und erlaubten 131,1 Yards pro Spiel. Cheftrainer Anthony Lynn hat deutlich gemacht, dass dies etwas ist, das das Team durch den Entwurf ändern will.
"Ich würde gerne sehen, dass die ersten sieben gegen uns besser werden", sagte Lynn Reportern. "Und damit wir eine großartige Verteidigung haben, muss sich das verbessern."
Es könnte eine Option sein, einen rennenden Abwehrspieler wie Washingtons Vita Vea oder Alabamas Da'Ron Payne mit der 17. Gesamtpunktzahl zu gewinnen. So könnte man einen langweiligen Linebacker wie Vander Esch ergattern.
Die Ladegeräte sollten in der ersten Runde beweglich sein und immer noch einen fähigen Run-Stopper landen können. Selbst wenn sie sich für eine andere Position in Runde 1 entscheiden (vielleicht ein Erbe von Philip Rivers), muss die Verteidigung der Runs eine hohe Priorität haben.
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Wie die Chargers hatten die Los Angeles Rams letzte Saison Probleme bei der Run Defense. Sie rangierten 28 gegen den Lauf und erlaubten 122.3 Yards pro Spiel. Dies war die größte Schwäche in der Defensive und vielleicht der größte Mangel insgesamt.
Die Rams unternahmen einige Schritte, um ihre Run Defense in der freien Liga anzugehen, indem sie den defensiven Angriff Ndamukong Suh und Linebacker Ramik Wilson hinzufügten. Dies sollte jedoch nicht die einzigen Schritte sein, die LA unternimmt, um seine Offensive in dieser Offseason zu verbessern.
Wenn man einen Sideline-Linebacker wie Edmunds, Vander Esch oder Rashaan Evans hinzufügt, wäre das für andere Teams nicht so einfach um den Lauf zu etablieren.
Eine Verbesserung der Laufverteidigung würde zwei Zwecken für die Rams dienen. Es würde es schwieriger machen, die Uhr zu kontrollieren und Todd Gurley, Jared Goff und den L. A.-Angriff vom Feld fernzuhalten. Es würde auch den Druck auf Gegner erhöhen, Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib und die neu aussehenden Rams sekundären zu testen.
Die Rams werden Optionen mit dem 23. Gesamtpick haben, inklusive eines Pass-Catcher als Ersatz für Sammy Watkins. Die Weiterentwicklung der Laufverteidigung würde LA jedoch näher an ein komplettes Team und einen legitimen Super Bowl-Anwärter heranführen.
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Die Miami Dolphins haben sich 2012 für Quarterback Ryan Tannehill in der ersten Runde entschieden. Das Texas A & M Produkt hat gut genug gespielt, um einen zweiten Vertrag zu bekommen, aber er hat sich nicht als Franchise-Quarterback etabliert.
Es half nicht, dass eine zerrissene ACL und MCL Tannehill seine Kampagne im Jahr 2017 kostete.
Es wäre wohl Miami, durch diesen Entwurf für Tannehill in Konkurrenz zu treten. They have Brock Osweiler and David Fales right now, but neither is likely to unseat Tannehill as the future at the position.
The Dolphins don't have to use the 11th overall pick on a quarterback. They could pick up a signal-caller on Day 2 and give him time behind Tannehill. If, however, a guy like Lamar Jackson or Baker Mayfield is available at No. 11, it would be dumb to not consider calling his name.
Dolphins head coach Adam Gase seems interested in this year's quarterbacks.
"That whole group of guys, it's rare that you're talking about this many guys at the top of a draft," Gase told reporters. "Whoever's getting who, you're getting good players across the board. You're getting guys that are confident, you're getting guys with a lot of talent."
Tannehill has talent, but he hasn't proved himself reliable in terms of health, leadership ability or consistency. The Dolphins should find a quarterback who can.
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The Minnesota Vikings came close to reaching the Super Bowl in 2017, and they've added a couple of big pieces this offseason. They upgraded at quarterback with Kirk Cousins at quarterback and added Sheldon Richardson to the defensive line.
There aren't a lot of needs for Minnesota, but upgrading the offensive line should be a priority.
The Vikings line wasn't terrible in 2017. It paved the way for the league's seventh-ranked rushing attack (122.3 yards per game) and allowed just 27 sacks in the regular season. However, it was a liability in the NFC title game. Case Keenum was sacked once but was under pressure throughout the contest.
Then starting guard Joe Berger announced his retirement this offseason.
Adding a guard with the 30th overall pick, perhaps Isaiah Wynn, would be a smart move. Alternatively, the Vikings could try to kick Mike Remmers inside to guard and target a new right tackle, such as Notre Dame's Mike McGlinchey.
The Viking shouldn't force an offensive line pick at No. 30 if the top prospects are gone. Trading down or going best player available should remain an option. However, it would behoove Minnesota to draft for both talent and depth along the offensive line early.
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The New England Patriots don't need a starting quarterback. They don't even need a backup after signing Brian Hoyer to a three-year, $4.4 million deal. What the Patriots need is a young quarterback to develop for the future.
New England traded away both Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett last season.
Tom Brady seems intent on playing for a couple more years at least. Still, an injury or sudden decline could bring about his end sooner than he anticipates (see Manning, Peyton). The Patriots cannot be caught flat-footed. Hoyer isn't a future franchise QB, and the Patriots need to target a young quarterback who might be.
"Obviously, at some point, we have to [draft a quarterback]," Patriots owner Robert Kraft told reporters. "Not just that, but think what happened in '08 in the first quarter against Kansas City, Tom goes out [with a torn ACL]. How many people would have said that Matt Cassel would have led us to an 11-5 season?"
New England drafted Garoppolo in Round 2 and Brissett in Round 3. While neither ended up being Brady's heir, the potential was there. Don't be surprised if the Patriots target a guy like Washington State's Luke Falk or Western Kentucky's Mike White on Day 2.
It would be a mistake if they didn't.
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The New Orleans Saints had a good defense in 2017—ranked 10th in scoring, allowing 20.4 points per game—but not a great one. The Saints pass rush, likewise, was good but not great. While it did amass 42 sacks in the regular season, it only produced six in two postseason games and one against the Vikings in the divisional round.
Perhaps if the Saints had gotten better pressure against Keenum, the Miracle in Minneapolis would never have happened.
New Orleans needs a consistent pass-rusher across from Cameron Jordan. Jordan finished the regular season with 13.0 sacks. No one else on the team had more than 4.5.
The Saints should be thinking edge-rusher in the first round as they don't possess a second-round pick. They're not going to land Bradley Chubb with the 27th overall pick, but they may be able to grab a guy like Arden Key or Texas-San Antonio's Marcus Davenport.
Edge-rusher might not seem like New Orleans' biggest need, but adding one who can come close to double-digit sacks as a rookie could do wonders for the defense and get the Saints closer to the Super Bowl.
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The last time the New York Giants picked in the top five of the draft, they ended up with two-time Super Bowl winner Eli Manning. They haven't been in position to guarantee themselves their top quarterback in the draft since, though that hasn't been an issue because of Manning.
Now that Manning is 37 years old and nearing the end of his career, landing a new franchise quarterback has to be a priority.
Armed with the No. 2 pick in this year's draft, the Giants could find their man now, and they should. But the Browns pick first overall and may well steal New York's top choice.
According to ESPN's Jordan Raanan, the Giants' top choice may be their only choice.
"Been saying for months Darnold is the only QB they'd take unless [general manager Dave] Gettleman disregards his scouts," Raanan said on Twitter.
If Darnold is the only quarterback the Giants are interested in and they're convinced he's Manning's heir apparent, they have to do everything they can to get him.
On a recent episode of The Dan Patrick ShowPatrick said sources have indicated the Browns really want Josh Allen and are trying to bait the Giants into moving up to No. 1 for Darnold.
The Giants may be able to call Cleveland's bluff and still get Darnold at No. 2. However, there's always the possibility Cleveland isn't bluffing or could trade the right to pick Darnold to another team. If the Giants need to move up a spot to get their man, they'd better. Otherwise, they may spend the next several years wishing they had.
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We've already discussed the quarterbacks in this year's draft at length and how not all of them are sure to be stars. For some teams, forcing a third or fourth choice at the position doesn't make sense. For Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles, though, it's the only move.
"Put simply: April 26 will be one of the most important and impactful days in recent franchise history…for better or worse," Dan Hanzus of NFL.com recently wrote. "Maccagnan, whose last quarterback pick left him with a scarlet letter 'H' on his lapel, won't survive another miscalculation. Same for Todd Bowles, the rare coach who gets a fourth year on the job without a playoff appearance to his name."
The Jets missed out on Cousins in free agency, so Maccagnan traded three second-round picks to move up from the sixth overall pick to pick No. 3. This ensures the Jets can get, at the very worst, their third choice at quarterback. Even with Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater (plus Christian Hackenberg) on the roster, the Jets need to draft a quarterback.
Presumably, the Jets view at least three quarterbacks as equals or close to equals. Otherwise, they probably wouldn't have made the trade with so much time before the draft. They might even be able to get their top guy at No. 3, but the fact remains they have to take a quarterback.
The Jets have been searching for a franchise quarterback since Joe Namath, and the potential of finally finding one is going to be huge. It might even be enough to save the jobs of Maccagnan and Bowles after another disappointing season.
What won't save their jobs is trading away three Round 2 selections for a running back or a guard, no matter how special Saquon Barkley and Quenton Nelson may be. Passing on a signal-caller at No. 3 may cost a lot of people their jobs, and it may cause long-suffering Jets fans to riot.
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Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is an offensive coach. There's little doubt he'd love to return Derek Carr and the Raiders offense to their 2016 form. Some of the bigger moves Oakland has made this offseason, like adding Jordy Nelson and Doug Martin, have been offense-focused. But the Raiders have also added linebacker Tahir Whitehead and safety Marcus Gilchrist to bolster the defense.
The Raiders ranked 26th in pass defense (241.1 yards per game allowed), 23rd in total defense (350.1 yards per game) and 20th in scoring defense (23.3 points per game). They have three selections in the first 75 picks, including No. 10 overall, and defense should be the primary focus.
Now, if Nelson or Barkley falls to No. 10, the Raiders should rush to turn in their card. If that doesn't happen, the Raiders should be happy to scoop up whichever top-end defensive back is available. A linebacker like Tremaine Edmunds would also have value there. The Raiders definitely shouldn't overvalue a different running back or a wide receiver in the top 10.
It would make sense to go after some offensive line depth on Day 2, but it would make just as much sense to target a sideline-to-sideline linebacker or a versatile defensive lineman.
The more balanced the Raiders can become through the draft, the less likely Carr and the offense will have to play heroes like they did in 2016.
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The Eagles trusted in backup quarterback Nick Foles after Carson Wentz went down with a torn ACL. It proved to be a prudent move, as Foles played well enough to deliver a Lombardi Trophy and earn Super Bowl MVP honors.
It would be equally prudent for Philadelphia to stick to its guns as it pertains to possibly trading Foles.
“We know what we have," Eagles executive vice president Howie Roseman told reporters. "And that allows us the ability to feel very good about the most important position in sports. For us to get rid of something like that, that's going to be a high price tag.”
The Eagles don't sound like they plan to move Foles, but people do silly things in the NFL on draft day. If there's a player Philadelphia really wants—say in the middle of the first round—and an offer comes in that could make it happen, Roseman may be tempted to budge.
For starters, Wentz is coming off a serious knee injury. There's no way of knowing if he'll be ready for the start of the regular season. There's also no telling how long it will take for him to get back to 100 percent. Ask the Colts how misleading recovery timetables can be.
The Eagles know they can win with Foles, at least for a stretch. If they want to maximize their chances of a Super Bowl repeat, they need to have him on the roster.
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Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell is one of the most explosive offensive players in the league. He would have been one of the top players available in free agency had the Steelers not valued him enough to give him the franchise tag.
However, Pittsburgh hasn't yet been able to parlay that tag into a long-term deal and doesn't appear interested in making the move a priority.
"Once you make the tag, you move on to other business that's more pertinent at this point. … Then we'll address it at the appropriate time," general manager Kevin Colbert told Steve Wyche of NFL.com.
Heading into the draft, the Steelers need to be open to moving Bell. That would require a trade partner that will give Bell a long-term contract because he would need a reason to sign his franchise tender to facilitate the trade.
If the right deal comes along, Pittsburgh should listen.
Yes, Bell is a great running back, but he's also expensive, has 1,229 regular-season carries under his belt, has dealt with some injuries and could bring the Steelers something valuable in return. The Steelers won't have quarterback Ben Roethlisberger forever, and an extra first-round pick could help prepare for his departure.
Moving Bell might even put Pittsburgh in position to draft Roethlisberger's replacement, and there are plenty of enticing running back options in this draft class. The Steelers likely can't land Barkley, but adding a guy like Guice or Michel would give them a serviceable backfield.
The Steelers don't need to seek a trade but shouldn't close their ears to draft-day offers either.
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San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch has done a tremendous job since taking over. He's landed a potential franchise quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo, has added quality support pieces like cornerback Richard Sherman and center Weston Richburg, and has the 49ers positioned to grab a premier player in this year's draft.
San Francisco is armed with the ninth overall selection, and with several teams potentially set to trade up for a quarterback, the options are numerous.
"This one could maneuver so many different ways," Lynch told reporters. "It's really intriguing with these quarterbacks. Everyone's got a different favorite quarterback. There are so many different possibilities. Fortunately for us, there are a lot of good football players."
It would be a mistake to trade down in the first round for the second consecutive year, though. If at least four quarterbacks are taken in the first eight selections, one of the top-tier prospects could be sitting there at No. 9.
It doesn't matter if that prospect is Saquon Barkley, Quenton Nelson, Bradley Chubb, Minkah Fitzpatrick or Denzel Ward—he'll be a player the 49ers can use.
No prospect is a sure thing, but the 49ers can increase their chances of getting a player who won't wash out by staying put at ninth overall. They could be tempted by a team that wants to grab a quarterback, but trading more than a spot down—and San Francisco would still have to be certain the ninth pick would be a QB—would be a mistake.
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The Seattle Seahawks are similar to the Packers in the sense they've asked their quarterback to carry the team for far too long. Russell Wilson has been sacked a whopping 248 times in six seasons. If the Seahawks hope to have Wilson as their franchise quarterback for the long term, they need to put a stop to his punishment.
That said, having Wilson gives the Seahawks a lot of freedom in the draft. They own the 18th overall pick and could go any number of ways with it.
The offensive line has to be a high priority. Tackle Duane Brown and center Justin Britt are above-average players. Upgrading either guard position would be smart, though.
If Seattle believes it can find a top-tier workhorse running back, it shouldn't hesitate to grab him. The combination of C.J. Prosise, Chris Carson and Mike Davis may be serviceable, but it isn't likely to get the Seahawks back to the smashmouth days of Marshawn Lynch.
The Seahawks may also want to grab Wilson some new targets after watching Paul Richardson go to the Redskins, Luke Willson to the Lions and Jimmy Graham to the Packers. They could target tight ends Dallas Goedert or Mike Gesicki with their first-round pick.
Seattle doesn't own picks in the second or third round, so trading down or out of the first round and gaining more selections would be a smart strategy. Still, getting Wilson help should be priority No. 1.
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a few weaknesses in 2017, but pass defense was chief among them. The Buccaneers ranked dead last in the NFL with 22 sacks and last in pass defense, allowing 260.6 yards per game.
Tampa took some steps to upgrade its pass rush in free agency, signing Vinny Curry and trading for Jason Pierre-Paul. Aside from cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, however, the secondary still lacks talent.
The Buccaneers need to target the secondary early and often in April. They are armed with the seventh overall pick, so grabbing one of the top guys, like Minkah Fitzpatrick, Josh Jackson or Denzel Ward, is a real possibility. However, there is enough need on the back end of the defense that Tampa should use more than one pick on secondary players.
It would be hard to fault the Buccaneers for scooping up Quenton Nelson, Saquon Barkley or Bradley Chubb if one falls to No. 7, as all three are elite prospects. However, Tampa needs to make the secondary its biggest priority.
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New Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel has an immediate goal: He wants to get the most out of quarterback Marcus Mariota.
"The vision is that we're going to do things that are going to help him," Vrabel said in a press conference. "We're going to get guys around him that are going to help him."
Getting Mariota more quality targets would be a great way to help the Oregon product continue to develop as a passer. Unfortunately, the Titans didn't add a top-tier player like Jarvis Landry, Allen Robinson or Sammy Watkins this offseason.
Tennessee cannot afford to undervalue pass-catchers in the draft. Yes, the Titans spent a first-round pick on Corey Davis last offseason. Yes, they have a premier tight end in Delanie Walker. However, Walker will be 34 at the start of the season, and Davis is unproven. The Western Michigan product appeared in 11 games as a rookie and caught just 34 passes for 375 yards.
The Titans should consider receivers like Courtland Sutton and Calvin Ridley if either is available with the 25th overall pick, as well as tight ends like Goedert and Gesicki if the wideouts are not. At the very least, Tennessee needs to consider the wideout and tight end positions on Day 2.
The Titans cannot undervalue pass-catchers in this draft if they hope to give Mariota the help he needs to thrive.
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The Redskins traded for quarterback Alex Smith and inked him to a four-year, $94 million extension. Washington should be set at the game's most important position for the near future.
It may be tempting to use early draft picks—including No. 13 overall—to surround the team's new investment with talent. A shiny new running back or pass-catcher would look good playing next to Smith. However, it would be more beneficial for the Redskins to address the offensive and defensive lines.
Washington had trouble controlling the line of scrimmage defensively last season with a league-worst run defense that allowed a whopping 134.1 yards per game. Adding a defensive lineman like Da'Ron Payne or Vita Vea could help turn things around.
Things in the trenches were nearly as bad on offense. The Redskins averaged just 90.5 yards rushing per game and allowed 41 sacks. Adding a lineman like Connor Williams or Billy Price would bolster the interior of the line.
It's unlikely Quenton Nelson will be available at No. 13, but if he should slide, it would be wise for Washington to consider moving up for him.
Adding an offensive lineman or non-rushing defensive lineman isn't the kind of move that gets a fanbase excited. However, for the Redskins, it would be the right move. The franchise is looking to get back to the postseason after a two-year absence. Establishing the run, stopping the run and protecting the quarterback will go a long way toward reaching that goal.
All contract information via Spotrac.com.