2018 NFC East Standings Predictions

  1. Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles are reigning super bowl champions and they figure to be just as good in 2018. Star quarterback Carson Wentz should be fully healthy by week 1 of the regular season, but even if he isn’t the Eagles still have super bowl hero Nick Foles as his backup. Wentz will also have a good supporting cast to throw to with Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Zach Ertz, and Mike Wallace. It will also help that the Eagles have a good running back with Jay Ajayi that will help take some pressure off of the passing game. The Eagles also have a very talented offensive line that should help to give Carson Wentz tons of time to throw the ball. It is really hard to find a weakness on the Eagles offense and it has the potential to be just as dynamic as last season. Meanwhile, the Eagles defensive line is still arguably the best in the NFL with star players like Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, and Michael Bennett leading that group. The Eagles also have a very talented linebacker group led by Nigel Bradham. They even have a good secondary with Malcolm Jenkins, Ronald Darby, and Jalen Mills leading the way. Philadelphia doesn’t have a major weakness anywhere on their roster and they should be ready to make yet another deep playoff run in 2018.

2. New York Giants

The Giants were absolutely awful last season, but that can mostly be attributed to key players like star receiver Odell Beckham. However, the Giants made some key additions to make their team even better in 2018. The biggest addition that they made though was drafting elite running back prospect Saquon Barkley in the 1st round. Barkley is a dynamic playmaker that should make a huge impact on the Giants offense right away. He is a major upgrade over what they had at running back last season and he will take tons of pressure off of Eli Manning and the passing game. Manning isn’t the quarterback that he once was and it is a concern heading into 2018. However, there is no excuse for Manning to have a poor 2018 season since he has Odell Beckham, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shephard in the passing game to go along with Barkley in the running game. The Giants finally improved their offensive line as they added quality left tackle Nate Solder in free agency and talented young guard Will Hernandez in the 2nd round of the draft. The Giants have a good supporting cast on offense, but the success of that unit will all come down to the performance of Eli Manning. Meanwhile, the Giants still have some good pieces on defense despite trading away star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. New York still has some good pieces on the defensive line with Oliver Vernon and Damon Harrison leading the way. The linebacker group could be an issue once again for the Giants in 2018, but it could be better with the additions of Alec Ogletree and Lorenzo Carter. Meanwhile, the Giants secondary has the chance to be very good with Janoris Jenkins, Landon Collins, and Eli Apple as the top players in that unit. The Giants still have some question marks on both sides of the ball, but they have just enough to be serious playoff contenders in 2018.

3. Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys are intriguing team heading into 2018 because they have high potential, but they could be a poor team as well. Dallas arguably has the best running back in the NFL with Ezekiel Elliot and they still have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL to block for him. The huge issue for the Cowboys in 2018 will be their passing game. The Cowboys lost Dez Bryant and Jason Witten this offseason, but they did nothing to effectively replace them. Dallas now has an uninspiring group of receivers with Allen Hurns and Terrance Williams being their best options. Dallas has a really good young quarterback with Dak Prescott, but the Cowboys passing game could really struggle if they don’t have a receiver to step up and become the number 1 option. Dallas has a terrific running game, but now defenses can focus on stopping Elliot since the Cowboys have absolutely no threat at wide receiver. Meanwhile, the Cowboys defense isn’t exactly an inspiring group. They have some really good pieces like Demarcus Lawrence, David Irving, and Sean Lee. However, the rest of the defense is very unproven and they certainly don’t have much depth in any area on defense. Dallas could be a playoff contender if all of the pieces fit correctly, but they have many areas of concern that could hold them back.

4. Washington Redskins

Washington is a team that could be a playoff contender in 2018 as they do have some good pieces on their roster, but they also are a team that could be really bad. Alex Smith is the new starting quarterback for the Redskins as he will replace Kirk Cousins at that position. However, it is unknown whether Smith will be an upgrade at the position going forward. The key will be whether the supporting cast around Smith can step up and help him out. The Redskins have some receivers with some potential like Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, and Jamison Crowder. However, none of those three guys have proven that they can be number 1 receivers in the NFL. Washington has plenty of talent at running back especially with the addition of Derrius Guice. However, it is unknown whether Guice, Rob Kelley, or Chris Thompson will get most of the carries in 2018. Washington has a good offensive line as well led by Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff, yet they still have holes to fill with that unit. Overall, Washington has the potential to have a good offense, but it all depends on if the supporting cast steps up. Meanwhile, on defense, the Redskins have some really talented players especially in the front 7. They have a couple of really young and talented defensive lineman with Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne. Also, they have a couple of proven pass rushers with Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith. However, the one big issue for the Redskins on defense is their secondary as they have star cornerback Josh Norman, but nothing really else. Somebody else in the secondary needs to step up or else Washington could have tons of problems stopping the pass. The Redskins have some pieces on offense and defense to turn this team into a playoff contender this year. However, they are playing in a tough division and they still have many needs to fill which is why I have them finishing last in 2018.

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2018 AFC East Standings Predictions

  1. New England Patriots

We keep waiting for the Patriots to have a down year, but that it is wishful thinking as long as they have Tom Brady at quarterback. It also helps that the Patriots have absolutely no competition for the AFC East every year as the Patriots have won the division every year since 2009. The Patriots lost quite a few key players this offseason, although they managed to replace most of those players effectively. The Patriots still have plenty of weapons on offense around QB Tom Brady as star receiver Julian Edelman returns from missing all of last season. Also, the Patriots upgraded at running back with the addition of Sony Michel in the draft. The only question mark for the Patriots on offense is their offensive line as they have a rather young and inexperienced group. Meanwhile, on defense the Patriots lost Malcolm Butler in free agency, but they drafted Duke Dawson in the 2nd round who should help to fill that void. The Patriots aren’t necessarily better than they were last season, but they really haven’t gotten any worse. That is why they in a prime position to win the AFC East once again barring anything unforeseen.

2. Buffalo Bills

There is a huge dropoff between the Patriots and the rest of the division as the other 3 teams have major question marks heading into 2018. The Bills defense appears to be very good heading into the 2018 season as they have a terrific defensive line led by Jerry Hughes, Star Lotulelei, and Shaq Lawson. The Bills also have a good secondary especially with Tre’Davious White proving that he could be an elite cornerback in the NFL. Buffalo still needs some help at linebacker, although they did get a big boost by selecting Tremaine Edmunds in the 1st round of the draft. Buffalo clearly has the defense to be a competitive team, which is why I have them being better than the Jets and Dolphins. Meanwhile, the offense for the Bills is a major concern heading into the 2018 season. The Bills have some hope for the future after they drafted talented quarterback Josh Allen in the 1st round this offseason. However, it is highly unlikely that he will be ready to be the Bills starting QB right away. That means the Bills’ playoff hopes in 2018 will basically rely on AJ McCarron who has been a backup for his entire career in Cincinnati. McCarron showed some potential when he got the opportunity to play, but it is still unknown whether he is worthy of being even a temporary starting QB in the NFL. McCarron isn’t the only question mark on Buffalo’s offense though as they have many other areas of concern. For example, the Bills have a bad wide receiver group as Kelvin Benjamin and Zay Jones are their top receivers. However, Benjamin is consistently injured and Jones didn’t have a good rookie year at all in 2017. The Bills need more from them to help out their unproven quarterbacks. Meanwhile, the offensive line is another major question mark after Richie Incognito and Eric Wood retired this offseason. Also, the team traded away starting left tackle Cordy Glenn which could create an issue at a key position. The only sure thing on the Bills offense is star running back LeSean McCoy, but even he has shown signs of regressing in recent years. Buffalo was a playoff team last year, but unless the Bills offense plays somewhat well then the Bills don’t have much hope for the playoffs in 2018.

3. New York Jets

The Jets were somewhat better than most people expected last year even though they only finished 5-11, but most of that was due to the surprisingly good play from QB Josh McCown. He is still likely the starter at least in the short-term, but the Jets do have much more competition at the position with former 1st round pick Teddy Bridgewater as well as this year’s 1st round pick Sam Darnold. It will be interesting to see who the starter is week 1 since all 3 of those quarterbacks are competing for the starting job. However, one thing is clear and that is Darnold will be given the chance soon to prove that he is the franchise quarterback. The issue for the Jets is that they don’t have much talent to surround the quarterback on offense. New York has plenty of depth at receiver with players like Quincy Enunwa, Terrelle Pryor, Robby Anderson, ArDarius Stewart, and Jermaine Kearse. However, none of those receivers give much hope for the Jets passing game in 2018 and it is unclear who the starters will be at that position. The Jets also don’t have a very inspiring running back group either. Bilal Powell is the clear starter and they brought in Thomas Rawls for depth, but both have been inconsistent throughout their careers. Also, the offensive line doesn’t appear to be very good and they certainly didn’t do much to improve that group this offseason. Meanwhile, it appears the defense will be what carry the Jets this year as they have plenty of tremendous young talent on defense. For example, defensive end Leonard Williams, safety Jamal Adams, and linebacker Darron Lee could be a solid young core of players on defense for many years. However, the Jets made their defense even better by signing shutdown cornerback Trumaine Johnson and adding rising star linebacker Avery Williamson in free agency. The Jets could have a very good defense in 2018, but it is the poor offense that will likely hold this team back from being competitive.

4. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins are an example of a team that is heading in the wrong direction as they arguably got worse this offseason. The main reason is that they lost star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, star center Mike Pouncey, and star wide receiver Jarvis Landry. Miami was a team that was already severely lacking star players, but now they really have no proven playmakers on their roster. They have a few receivers with some potential like Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker, but they aren’t exactly the ideal top two targets in any offense. The Dolphins possibly have a good young running back with Kenyan Drake, but he isn’t the type of player that can carry the offense on his own. Once again the Dolphins offensive line is a question mark despite the solid addition of guard Josh Sitton this offseason. However, the major concern for the Dolphins is at the quarterback position as starter Ryan Tannehill is coming off a torn ACL that caused him to miss all of last season. It is unknown how well he will perform coming off that injury, but he was just an average starting quarterback at best even when he was healthy. The Dolphins need him to perform if this team even wants to be competitive, but the issue is that he probably won’t have much help around him on offense. Meanwhile, on defense, the Dolphins didn’t really improve in that area this offseason. I do like their secondary with quality safety Reshad Jones, cornerback Reshad Jones, and young playmaker Minkah Fitzpatrick who was their 1st round pick this year. However, the linebacker group is rather weak and it is unknown how well they will perform. The Dolphins did acquire Robert Quinn which should improve their poor pass rush from last year. However, the Dolphins did let go of Ndamukong Suh which will weaken their defensive line in a major way. Miami doesn’t have much potential on offense or defense, which is why it is likely that they could be the worst team in the AFC East.

Best pick for every NFL team in the draft

Arizona Cardinals – Christian Kirk – Wide Receiver – Texas A&M – Drafted: 2nd Round

The Cardinals selection of quarterback Josh Rosen gets all of the hype and that is understandable since he has the chance to be the face of the franchise for many years. However, the pick that excites me the most is wide receiver Christian Kirk who they picked in the 2nd round of the draft. The Cardinals have Larry Fitzgerald as their top receiver, but he is about to be 35 years old and he might not be in the NFL much longer. The Cardinals didn’t really have much behind him on the depth chart and they certainly didn’t have a reliable 2nd option at the receiver position. Christian Kirk is a terrific wide receiver who has the speed to be a vertical threat and he has the ability to make contested catches as well. This is the perfect situation for him to be able to learn from a great receiver like Fitzgerald and this pick gives the Cardinals their receiver of the future.

Atlanta Falcons – Isaiah Oliver – Cornerback – Colorado – Drafted: 2nd Round

Cornerback wasn’t a big need for the Falcons coming into the draft as they already have two really good cornerbacks with Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford. However, Oliver gives the team some solid depth at the cornerback position and it will allow them more flexibility at the position. Oliver has good size, speed, and arm length which will make him a good outside cornerback. However, this move is good for the Falcons as it allows them to probably move the smaller cornerback Alford to the slot where he probably fits best. Oliver is a 1st round talent and it is remarkable that the Falcons were able to select him this far back in the 2nd round.

Baltimore Ravens – Lamar Jackson – Quarterback – Louisville – Drafted: 1st Round

The Ravens offense has not been good recently and most of that is due to the lack of playmakers on offense as well as the inconsistent play from quarterback Joe Flacco. The selection of Lamar Jackson solves both of these issues for the Ravens. Jackson is a dynamic playmaker especially since he is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in college history. Jackson has some work to do passing the ball as he has some mechanical issues and accuracy concerns. However, Jackson has a good arm and the mechanical issues should be able to be solved at the NFL level. Jackson is a decent quarterback, but what makes him such a great player is his ability to make plays running the ball. He might not be the starter right away at quarterback, but he will at least put some pressure on Flacco to improve next season. Also, Jackson should instill much more explosiveness for the Ravens offense for many years to come.

Buffalo Bills – Tremaine Edmunds – Outside Linebacker – Virginia Tech – Drafted: 1st Round

I don’t particularly like that the Bills gave up draft picks to move up and get Edmunds, but it is kind of hard to blame them for doing so considering his talent. Edmunds is a top 10 talent that they got with the 16th overall pick, so they definitely got some good value with this pick. Edmunds is a really fast and explosive linebacker that consistently makes plays all over the field. The Bills had a big need for help at linebacker especially after the departure of Preston Brown in free agency. However, Edmunds will instill some more playmaking ability to the Bills defense and he is ready to make an impact right away.

Carolina Panthers – Donte Jackson – Cornerback – LSU – Drafted: 2nd Round

The secondary has been a point of issue for the Panthers ever since Josh Norman left and it was a big need for the Panthers coming into the draft. However, Jackson is an impact player that should help Carolina right away. Jackson is one of the fastest players as he ran a 4.32 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. He doesn’t have the size to compare to some of the big receivers in the NFL like Mike Evans and Julio Jones, but he will compete and he has a knack for making big plays. This selection fills a big need for the Panthers especially when they have to face three pro-bowl caliber quarterbacks in their division.

Chicago Bears – Roquan Smith – Inside Linebacker – Georgia – Drafted: 1st Round

Roquan Smith is one of my favorite players in the entire draft mostly because he is a hard-hitter that has the athleticism to make plays all over the field. Smith is one of the best defensive players in the draft and he fills a need for the Bears at linebacker. The Bears badly needed some more athleticism and playmaking ability on defense, so this is the type of pick that will accomplish that. Smith can make an impact right away and he has the potential to be an all-pro linebacker in the NFL.

Cincinnati Bengals – Malik Jefferson – Outside Linebacker – Texas – Drafted: 3rd Round

This guy had an inconsistent career at Texas as he wasn’t particularly great during his first year. However, he really stepped up his play over the past 2 years and he looked like one of the best linebackers in the draft class as he had 79 tackles and 4 sacks last season. Jefferson is a good cover linebacker and he is a really useful player in space which is something that the Bengals had been lacking from their linebackers. He should make an impact right away with Vontaze Burfict suspended for the first 4 games of the season. However, he could compete for the starting job opposite of Burfict if he plays well while he fills in for Burfict. This pick provides much more athleticism for the Bengals defense and it should improve their linebacker group.

Cleveland Browns – Nick Chubb – Running Back – Georgia – Drafted: 2nd Round

The Cleveland Browns have their solution at the quarterback position, but another area of concern for the Browns was at the running back position. Cleveland did add Carlos Hyde in free agency, but he is a good pass-catcher which makes him a valuable 3rd down back. Cleveland needed to find an early-down back that could provide some power and they did so by drafting Nick Chubb in the 2nd round of the draft. Chubb is only a 1st or 2nd round back because he isn’t a very good pass catcher, yet he is the perfect complement to Hyde in the Browns running game. Chubb will provide more balance to the Browns offense and it will help take some of the pressure off of rookie QB Baker Mayfield.

Dallas Cowboys – Connor Williams – Offensive Tackle – Texas – Drafted: 2nd Round

The Cowboys have plenty of offensive line talent, but there are still a couple of positions where they need some help. Dallas especially needed to add some competition at right tackle or left guard and the good news is that Williams could be a good fit at either spot. Williams really was a top 10 talent not too long ago and it is good value for the Cowboys to be able to get him this late in the 2nd round. Williams will likely be the future starter at right tackle and he could even compete for the job right away.

Denver Broncos – Royce Freeman – Running Back – Oregon – Drafted: 3rd Round

Royce Freeman was as productive as any NFL running back in this draft class and he could be a steal for the Broncos in the 3rd round. Freeman has good size, but he also has very good speed. He helps to fill a big need for Denver after they released running back C.J. Anderson this offseason. However, Freeman can make a big impact for the Broncos right away as he will likely split carries with Devontae Booker. Freeman will provide more balance for Denver’s offense and he can help the Broncos win immediately.

Detroit Lions – Tyrell Crosby – Offensive Tackle – Oregon Drafted: 5th Round

It is kind of surprising that Crosby fell to the 5th round of the draft, but the Lions could still be getting good value if he lives up to his potential. Detroit needed some offensive line depth and he could be a really good backup offensive tackle in the NFL. He likely won’t make much of an impact right away, but he has the potential to be a starting right tackle at some point.

Green Bay Packers – Equanimeous St. Brown – Wide Receiver – Notre Dame – Drafted: 6th Round

Equanimeous St. Brown not only has a terrific name, but he is a very good NFL prospect as well. He is a a very big receiver at 6’5″, but he has rare speed for someone of his size as he ran 4.48 during the 40-yard dash at the combine. Sure, he didn’t have very good production during his time at Notre Dame. However, he is a talented prospect and it will help that he has Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball. St. Brown has a good chance to carve a role out in the Packers offense and if he does then he has the potential to be a productive receiver for them.

Houston Texans – Justin Reid – Safety – Stanford – Drafted: 3rd Round

The Houston Texans didn’t even have a pick until round 3, but they certainly got good value out of their first selection. Justin Reid is one of the most talented safeties in the entire draft as he has terrific speed and athleticism. He should have gone early in the 2nd round, but instead he fell an entire round right into the Texans spot. Reid can be an impact player right away and he fills a big need for the Texans.

Indianapolis Colts – Deon Cain – Wide Receiver – Clemson – Drafted: 6th Round

The Colts made a few good picks, but I chose this pick because it is the best value pick that they made in the draft. Deon Cain is an explosive receiver as proven by his 4.43 showing in the 40-yard dash at the combine. Cain is one of the best vertical threats in the entire draft and he should be able to make an impact right away. The Colts needed some receiver help and this guy just adds another weapon for quarterback Andrew Luck in the passing game. Cain was supposed to be a 4th round pick and I’m not quite sure why he fell so far, but he is a talented receiver that shouldn’t have even made it to the 6th round.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Ronnie Harrison – Safety – Alabama – Drafted: 3rd Round

Ronnie Harrison was supposed to be an early 2nd round pick, but he instead fell all the way late into the 3rd round. Harrison won’t likely be a starter right away, but he adds some quality depth to the Jaguars secondary. Harrison has the potential to be a starter in the NFL at some point, but Jacksonville is stacked with talent in the secondary so it might not be for awhile. Either way, Jacksonville got tremendous value with this pick and it just strengthens what was an already good defense.

Kansas City Chiefs – Derrick Nnadi – Defensive Tackle – Florida State – Drafted: 3rd Round

Dontari Poe didn’t make too much of a difference at defensive tackle for the Chiefs last season and the team had to fill his spot after he left in free agency. Derrick Nnadi has a chance to fill that void right away as he is a terrific run defender. That is important since Kansas City has struggled against the run in recent years. Nnadi can make an impact right away as a rotational player or he can even be a starter early on. Nnadi is a really talented player and he fills a big need for Kansas City.

Los Angeles Chargers – Derwin James – Safety – Florida State – Drafted: 1st Round

The Los Angeles Chargers already had a very talented defense, but safety was one of the spots where they could really use an upgrade. Not only did they fill that void, but they did it by drafting a high impact player in the 1st round. Derwin James is a top 10 talent for sure and he somehow fell all the way to the Chargers with the 17th overall pick. The Chargers got tremendous value with this pick and they are getting a player that can make an impact right away.

Los Angeles Rams – Obo Okoronkwo – Outside Linebacker – Oklahoma – Drafted: 5th Round

The Rams already have a talented defense, but the linebacker position is where the Rams could improve at. That is exactly what they did in the 5th round of the draft by selecting Obo Okoronkwo in the 5th round. He is a 3rd round talent, but for some reason he fell into the 5th round probably because scouts view him as undersized. However, Okoronkwo was very productive in college and he will at least provide the Rams a very good backup linebacker. It is even possible that he could challenge for a starting role right away, so the Rams are likely getting a steal with this pick.

Miami Dolphins – Kalen Ballage – Running Back – Arizona State – Drafted: 4th Round

Miami already added some much needed running back depth in free agency by signing Farnk Gore. However, Gore is getting old and Kenyan Drake is still unproven as the number 1 running back for Miami. Kalen Ballage will give the Dolphins some more depth at running back. He didn’t have much production during college, but he has all of the physical traits of an NFL running back. He has good size, speed, and pass-catching ability which will allow him to have at least some role in the Dolphins offense early on. Ballage probably won’t be a starter for awhile, but he is a talented running back that will take some of the pressure off of Kenyan Drake.

Minnesota Vikings – Mike Hughes – Cornerback – UCF – Drafted: 1st Round

The secondary was already a huge strength for the Vikings last season as Xavier Rhodes proved that he is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. However, the other cornerbacks on the roster were inconsistent. Trae Waynes has been good at times, but he is rather inconsistent and Terence Newman is highly likely to retire after this season. Mike Hughes is a terrific pick because he is a talented cornerback that has terrific speed to go with a good physical style of play. However, is a perfect fit for the Vikings since he won’t be asked to start right away, but he figures to be a starter for Minnesota for a long time.

New England Patriots – Sony Michel – Running Back – Georgia – Drafted: 1st Round

Sony Michel might be the most dynamic running back in this entire draft class as he has terrific speed and he is a tremendous pass-catcher as well. Michel is basically the definition of a 3-down running back, which is a very difficult type of player to find these days. The Patriots needed a running back after the departure of Dion Lewis and Michel figures to be an upgrade over what New England had last season. Michel fits the Patriots perfectly and he just adds another dynamic playmaker to help take the pressure off of Tom Brady.

New Orleans Saints – Natrell Jamerson – Safety – Wisconsin – Drafted: 5th Round

The late rounds are often where teams find players that can make an impact on special teams and that is exactly what the Saints found when they selected Natrell Jamerson in the 5th round. Jamerson probably won’t make much of an impact at safety, but he is an outstanding special teams player that gives New Orleans much more versatility. He is good on special teams coverage, yet he also is a dynamic kick returner. Jamerson provides some more depth at safety, but this is a good pick because the Saints can use him in a variety of ways.

New York Giants – Saquon Barkley – Running Back – Penn State – Drafted: 1st Round

Saquon Barkley is likely the best player in the NFL draft and he fills a huge need for the Giants as they have struggled tremendously to run the ball in recent years. It would be shocking if Barkley doesn’t come in and make a huge impact for the Giants right away as he has good size and tremendous breakaway speed. Barkley will not only improve the running game, but the most important thing is that he’ll take a lot of pressure off of Eli Manning. Barkley will help New York win right away and he adds another dynamic playmaker to the Giants offense.

New York Jets – Sam Darnold – Quarterback – USC – Drafted: 1st Round

The New York Jets already had 4 quarterbacks on their roster, but the problem is that none of them are the quarterback of the future. Sam Darnold is arguably the best quarterback in the draft and he is a terrific pocket passer. The only real concern about Darnold is that he turns the ball over too often, but if he can correct that then the Jets could be getting a pro-bowl quarterback.

Oakland Raiders – Maurice Hurst – Defensive Tackle – Michigan – Drafted: 5th Round

Hurst was one of the best defensive tackles in this draft and he is arguably a 1st round talent. However, he unfortunately he fell all the way to the 5th round because of a heart issue that was a major concern for teams. If Hurst’s health issue can be dealt with, then there is no question that the Raiders are getting terrific value with this pick. Hurst will be an upgrade at defensive tackle for Oakland and he can be a high impact player as long as he can stay healthy.

Philadelphia Eagles – Josh Sweat – Defensive End – Florida State – Drafted: 4th Round

The Eagles already had an extremely deep defensive line, which was one of the main reasons that they won the super bowl this past season. However, they are adding more depth to the position by selecting former Florida State defensive end Josh Sweat in the 4th round. It is a tremendous value pick for the Eagles since he is a 1st or 2nd round talent, but he fell so far because of injury concerns. Don’t expect Sweat to make much of an impact right away. However, he has the potential to be a starter for the Eagles at defensive end in a few years.

Pittsburgh Steelers – Mason Rudolph – Quarterback – Oklahoma State – Drafted: 3rd Round

This pick might not be liked by current starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but the Steelers needed to find the long-term solution at quarterback for when Roethlisberger retires. Roethlisberger is 36 years old and he has seriously considered retirement in recent years, but the issue is that the Steelers didn’t have a plan if he were to suddenly retire. Mason Rudolph is one of the best quarterbacks in this draft and it is kind of surprising that he fell so far since he is clearly a 2nd round talent. Rudolph won’t make an impact right away since Roethlisberger is clearly going to be the starter. However, Rudolph now has a chance to develop at the NFL level and possibly become the starting quarterback for Pittsburgh in a few years. We’ll see if Rudolph can become the future starter at quarterback for the Steelers, but he at least gives the team a solid backup at the position.

San Francisco 49ers – Mike McGlinchey – Offensive Tackle – Notre Dame – Drafted: 1st Round

Mike McGlinchey wasn’t really a value pick for the 49ers, but it was a very good pick for the team nonetheless. The 49ers have their franchise quarterback with Jimmy Garoppolo, but it was important for them to be able to surround him with quality talent on offense. McGlinchey is a big addition for the 49ers as he can make an impact right away as the starting right tackle. However, McGlinchey also adds tons of value long-term for San Francisco as he is expected to take over the starting left tackle role once Joe Staley retires. McGlinchey is arguably the best offensive tackle in this draft and he is a player that will help the 49ers immediately and for many years to come.

Seattle Seahawks – Shaquem Griffin – Outside Linebacker – UCF – Drafted: 5th Round

This is definitely my favorite pick of the entire NFL draft, mostly because Griffin is such an inspirational story. Griffin has been doubted his entire life, but all he has done is prove everyone wrong. Many people think that he will be limited in the NFL, but he proved during college that he can be a dynamic playmaker. He might be undersized which is likely why he fell to the 5th round. However, he can make an impact on special teams right away and he likely can make an impact at outside linebacker if given the opportunity. This is the perfect situation for Shaquem Griffin to be in since he gets to play with his brother and he once again will be out to prove that he is a solid football player.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Ronald Jones – Running Back – USC – Drafted: 2nd Round

Running back was arguably the biggest need for the Buccaneers this offseason as it really held the offense back last season. Doug Martin was absolutely terrible as the starter for the Bucs last season and he was ultimately released by the team. Tampa Bay does have Peyton Barber who has become a productive running back in the NFL. However, it was clear that Tampa Bay needed a new starter and that is why they selected Ronald Jones in the 2nd round. Jones had a terrific college career at USC and he has tremendous speed to be able to make big plays. Jones might not be the starter right away, but he is the type of player that can give a major boost to Tampa Bay’s running game and take a lot of pressure off quarterback Jameis Winston.

Tennessee Titans – Luke Falk – Quarterback – Washington State – Drafted: 6th Round

Marcus Mariota is clearly the starter at quarterback for the Titans and he likely will be for a long time. However, the Titans haven’t really had a good backup quarterback in several years. Luke Falk should solve that issue as he has the potential to be a very good backup quarterback. Falk put up extremely impressive numbers at Washington State and what particularly stands out is that he only threw 39 interceptions compared to 119 career touchdowns. Falk is an NFL-ready quarterback and he provides much needed depth at the quarterback position right away for Tennessee. It is shocking that Falk fell this far in the draft as he is clearly a 3rd round talent. However, if he is given the opportunity then he could potentially develop into an NFL starting quarterback one day.

Washington Redskins – Derrius Guice – Running Back – LSU – Drafted: 2nd Round

The Redskins already had plenty of depth at the running back position, but the issue is that they didn’t have an established starter at the position. Derrius Guice fixes that issue as he is clearly projected to be the starter very soon for the Redskins. Guice has tremendous power, but he also has very good speed for his size as well. Guice could’ve been a 1st round talent, but he fell all the way late into the 2nd round because of character issues. If he can get his attitude in check, then there is no doubt that the Redskins are getting a very talented early-down running back.

Winners and Losers of the 1st round of the draft

Winners:

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers got perhaps the biggest steal in the 1st round of the draft when Derwin James slipped all the way to the 17th overall pick. James is a top 10 talent for sure and he fills a big need for the Chargers at the same time. The Chargers suddenly have a sneaky good defense heading into the 2018 season especially since James should provide a major impact right away.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay maybe didn’t select the flashiest player in the NFL draft when they drafted defensive tackle Vita Vea with the 12th overall pick. However, Vea is a very talented player that has terrific athleticism for someone of his size. He has terrific work ethic and he can help improve the Buccaneers interior pass rush. The Buccaneers now have a stacked defensive line with the additions of Vea, Jason Pierre-Paul, Vinny Curry, and Beau Allen this offseason. Also, the Buccaneers landed an extra two 2nd round picks by moving down 5 spots in the draft which makes this a terrific 1st round for the Buccaneers.

Losers:

New Orleans Saints

The Saints made the strangest move of the 1st round when they traded up 13 picks in order to select defensive end Marcus Davenport. Sure, Davenport has huge potential, but he is still a raw prospect that is being drafted out of a small school. However, giving up a 1st round pick next season to get a defensive end is just insane. The Saints are taking a huge risk for a player that isn’t even guaranteed to be an elite player at the NFL level. New Orleans made too much of a reach by moving up to select Davenport and now they lose a valuable pick 1st round pick for net year because of it. The Saints should have just stayed patient and taken the best player available rather than risking their future for a player that might not even live up to the hype.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks made a good move by trading down in the 1st round and acquiring a 3rd round pick. However, the Seahawks didn’t make the most out of their pick late in the 1st round as they selected running back Rashaad Penny. He has the potential to be a good starting running back for Seattle, but he should have been a 2nd or 3rd round pick. This was a major reach for the Seahawks and there were much better options available in this spot. Seattle had other major needs like defensive end and cornerback in the draft, so they should have just taken the best player available. Penny fills a need for the Seahawks, but they could have done much better in this spot especially as they have several needs in the draft.

Biggest NFC East Draft Needs

Dallas Cowboys – Biggest Draft Need: Wide Receiver

The Cowboys addressed the receiver position by signing Allen Hurns this offseason. However, Hurns is nothing more than a decent 2nd option at wide receiver for the Cowboys. Dez Bryant is still clearly the team’s number 1 receiver, but his production hasn’t been good the past few years and the team could just move on from him soon. Either way, the Cowboys need more explosiveness from the wide receiver position and that is something that they could address early on in the draft. Calvin Ridley would be a terrific fit because he is very fast and he would provide the Cowboys with the deep threat that they are lacking. Either way, the Cowboys need more from their wide receivers and it is a position that they should look to address in the draft.

New York Giants – Biggest Draft Need: Running Back

The Giants running game hasn’t been good at all the past few years and it is a position that they need to big upgrade at in 2018. New York did sign veteran Jonathan Stewart to a short-term deal in free agency. However, Stewart is nothing more than a temporary solution to their problems at running back. The Giants need to find their running back of the future and add some more explosiveness to their running game. New York is in prime position to draft Saquon Barkley with their 1st round pick or the Giants could wait until day 2 of the draft to find a running back. Either way, the Giants need an upgrade at running back and it is something they must address in the draft.

Philadelphia Eagles – Biggest Draft Need: Offensive Tackle

The Eagles don’t really have a glaring need, but there is one position that they could address in the 1st round of the draft and that is offensive tackle. Jason Peters is one of the best left tackles in the NFL, but he is getting old and he is coming off an ACL injury. The Eagles need to find an offensive tackle who can succeed Peters once he retires. If Philadelphia can find an offensive tackle in the draft then they can develop him for a year or two and then allow him to replace Peters at left tackle.

Washington Redskins – Biggest Draft Need: Outside Linebacker

The Redskins need more athleticism from their linebackers in 2018 as they lack explosiveness as a unit. However, the Redskins will have an opportunity to correct that early on in the draft. Roquan Smith or Tremaine Edmunds would be good fits if they are still available at the 13th overall pick. Either way, Washington needs a playmaker at linebacker since they just don’t have much athleticism at the position.

Biggest AFC East Draft Needs

Buffalo Bills – Biggest draft need: Quarterback

The Buffalo Bills traded away starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor this offseason and all they did to replace him is acquire A.J. McCarron in a trade. McCarron doesn’t have much starting experience and it is a complete mystery as to how successful he will be as the Bills temporary starting quarterback. However, the Bills desperately need to find their quarterback position and it is likely they could do so in the draft. Buffalo has the 12th pick, but to get a potential franchise quarterback it is likely that they will need to trade up into the top 5. Buffalo has many options to choose from in the 1st round if they can find a way to trade up, but they need to find a way to get a good franchise QB.

Miami Dolphins – Biggest draft need: Defensive Tackle

The Dolphins let go of star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh earlier in the offseason and now they don’t have much depth at the position heading into the draft. Davon Godchaux shouldn’t be a starting defensive tackle, but as of right now he would be the starter at one of the defensive tackle spots for Miami. The Dolphins need to draft a defensive tackle early on possibly even in the 1st round. Miami should have a couple of options if they decide to go that route as Vita Vea and Da’Ron Payne could be available at the 11th overall pick. Either way, they have a massive void to fill at defensive tackle and it is their biggest need heading into the draft.

New England Patriots – Biggest draft need: Offensive Tackle

Protecting star quarterback Tom Brady should be the number one priority for the Patriots. However, that might be difficult to do considering their current lack of depth at the offensive tackle position. New England lost starting left tackle Nate Solder this offseason which means that they have a major void at that position. Also, the Patriots lost offensive tackle Cameron Fleming who was a key depth player at the position. Either way, it is a position that New England should probably address in the 1st round of the draft.

New York Jets – Biggest draft need: Quarterback

New York has two decent options as temporary starting quarterbacks with Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater. However, the Jets currently don’t have their franchise quarterback on the roster as of right now. That being said, it would be shocking if the Jets don’t take a quarterback with the 3rd overall pick in the draft. The good news is that the Jets have a couple of options to choose from. Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, and Baker Mayfield are the top quarterbacks in the draft. However, at least a couple of those guys will definitely be available to the Jets with the 3rd pick. We’ll have to see which one of those quarterbacks the Jets choose, but they definitely need to find a quarterback that will be in a Jets uniform for a long time.

3 Losers in Free Agency

3. New England Patriots

The Patriots are still going to be a super bowl contender this season just because they still have Tom Brady leading the way. However, the Patriots didn’t really improve their team much in free agency. They lost running back Dion Lewis and they didn’t do anything to replace him, so the Patriots might not be able to run the ball as effectively. Also, the Patriots lost starting cornerback Malcolm Butler which will weaken their secondary in a big way. However, the biggest loss was left tackle Nate Solder as they don’t really have anybody to replace him. The Patriots are now extremely thin at offensive tackle and it is a position that they must address early on in the draft. New England did add Adrian Clayborn which will help their pass rush, but they didn’t do much else. The Patriots are still a great team, yet it will be difficult to replace every key player that they lost in free agency.

2. Miami Dolphins

Miami is a team without a clear sense of direction right now as they didn’t do much to improve their team, but they’re also not quite a rebuilding team. The Dolphins traded for Robert Quinn which will improve their pass rush, but they also got worse in many areas. Miami also traded away star wide receiver Jarvis Landry for basically nothing and the only thing that they did to replace him was sign Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola. Those receivers are good depth receivers, but now the Dolphins really don’t have much explosiveness on offense after losing Landry. The team did sign guard Josh Sitton which will help their interior offensive line a little bit, but they also let go of starting center Mike Pouncey. Another big move that they made was letting go of star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. The Dolphins basically got rid of the only star players that they had on their team and now the team has many needs to fill in the draft.

1. Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks have been a dominant team for many years, but this offseason proves that they are now entering a rebuilding mode. Seattle let go of several key players especially on defense with the losses of Michael Bennett, Richard Sherman, and Sheldon Richardson. Seattle now only has Earl Thomas and Bobby Wagner as the leaders of the defense, so the Seahawks are certainly much weaker on that side of the ball. Also, the Seahawks lost a couple of key offensive weapons with the departures of Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson. Seattle still has Russell Wilson and a decent defense, so they will still be a respectable team. However, it is difficult to envision the Seahawks being a playoff contender with all of the key players that they lost this offseason.