All posts by Griffin Mathiews

Ranking the top 5 tight ends in the draft

1. T.J. Hockenson – Iowa

T.J. Hockenson lacks the athleticism that his college teammate Noah Fant has. However, Hockenson is still a very good pass-catcher and he was actually more productive last season than Fant. Hockenson needs to add more strength, but he is a good enough blocker that he has the ability to be an every-down tight end at the NFL level. Hockenson should go in the 1st round and he would be a terrific addition for a team that has a need at the position.

2. Noah Fant – Iowa

Fant was just as productive as Hockenson during his time at Iowa, but Fant arguably has a higher upside because of his athletic ability. Fant is a terrific pass-catcher and he would be a major threat in the passing game for any NFL team that drafts him. However, Fant should be an every-down tight end because he is a capable blocker and that is why he’ll likely be a 1st round pick.

3. Irv Smith Jr. – Alabama

Irv Smith Jr. isn’t nearly the all-around tight ends that Hockenson and Fant are. However, Smith Jr. is still a terrific receiving tight end that can be used as a major weapon even as a slot receiver at times. Smith Jr. has some work to do as a blocker, but he can still be an every-down tight end which is why he’ll likely get picked at some point in the 2nd round.

4. Jace Sternberger – Texas A&M

Jace Sternberger is probably the best pass-catching tight end in this draft class and he put up terrific numbers at Texas A&M last season. However, his draft stock is lower than it should be because of character concerns and his below average blocking skills. Sternberger certainly isn’t an every-down player, but his terrific receiving skills will make him a 2nd or 3rd round draft pick.

5. Dawson Knox – Ole Miss

Dawson Knox is one of the more intriguing options in this draft’s tight end position group. He might not be the terrific pass-catcher as some of the other guys, but he is surprisingly fast as proven by his 4.51 40-yard dash time. Also, he is a good enough blocker that he can be used as an every-down tight end. Knox probably isn’t versatile enough to use in the slot often, but he is a really good old-fashioned tight end that should go somewhere in the 3rd round.

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Ranking the top 5 wide receivers in the draft

  1. D.K. Metcalf – Ole Miss

The wide receiver class might not be very strong this year, but D.K. Metcalf is one of my favorite players in this draft mostly because he is an athletic freak. Metcalf has ideal size for a wide receiver as he’ll spend most of his time on the outside. However, Metcalf also has terrific speed as proven by his 4.33 40-yard dash at the combine. Metcalf didn’t have much production at the college level, but he has the physical tools to be a very good NFL wide receiver and that’s why he’s a lock to be a 1st round pick.

2. Marquise Brown – Oklahoma

Maybe Brown doesn’t have the size and physicality to be able to make contested catches at the NFL level, but that’s not why Brown will likely be drafted in the 1st round. Brown is extremely fast and he can be used specifically as a deep threat at the NFL level. Brown isn’t the all-around player that Metcalf is, but Brown will be a major weapon for any NFL team that drafts him.

3. A.J. Brown – Ole Miss

A.J. Brown might not have the same physical tools that his college teammate D.K. Metcalf has. However, Brown was an even more productive receiver at Ole Miss than Metcalf was. Brown doesn’t project very well as a strictly outside receiver because he lacks the size and physicality to go up against bigger cornerbacks. That being said, Brown is a really good slot receiver and he can be a 1,000 yard receiver very soon at the NFL level. Brown has the chance to go in the 1st round of the draft, but he could be taken early in the 2nd round as well.

4. N’Keal Harry – Arizona State

N’Keal Harry had very good production at the college level and he has proven that he can he can be very good at making contested catches because of his size. He’ll likely play mostly on the outside because of his physical style of play, but he can occasionally be used in the slot as well. Harry isn’t great after the catch and he might not be the biggest playmaker out there, but he still has the potential of being a decent number one receiver in the NFL. Harry will likely be picked early in the 2nd round, but he could manage to slip into the 1st round of the draft as well.

5. Parris Campbell – Ohio State

Parris Campbell had a terrific college career at Ohio State mostly because he was elite at running outstanding routes out of the slot position. Campbell is most known for his elite speed as evidenced by his 4.31 40-yard dash at the combine. Campbell didn’t run many deep routes in college, yet he has the speed to beat just about any cornerback at the NFL level. Campbell will likely go early on in the 2nd round of the NFL draft.

Ranking the top 5 QB’s in the 2019 draft

  1. Kyler Murray – Oklahoma

Kyler Murray might not be the most pro-ready quarterback in this draft, but ultimately he has the highest potential in this draft. Murray has tremendous athletic ability as proven by being a 1st round pick in the 2018 MLB draft. Murray isn’t necessarily a great pocket passer, but he still has the ability to extend plays very well. Murray reminds me a lot of Russell Wilson mostly because of their height and athletic ability. Murray might never play at that level in his NFL career, but he could be pro-bowl caliber quarterback for a very long time.

2. Dwayne Haskins – Ohio State

Dwayne Haskins doesn’t necessarily have the potential that Murray has, but he probably is the most NFL-ready quarterback in this draft. Haskins is a terrific pocket passer and he has underrated athletic ability as well. Haskins’ draft stock has fallen somewhat since Murray declared for the draft, but Haskins should still be draft in the top 10.

3. Daniel Jones – Duke

Daniel Jones is another quarterback that probably isn’t ready to start right away at the NFL level, but he has the intangibles to be a very good NFL quarterback. Jones is a good pocket passer and he has some good athletic ability as well. Jones probably will get picked around the middle of the 1st round in the draft, but he could go sooner than that if some team really likes him.

4. Drew Lock – Missouri

Drew Lock will probably go higher than Daniel Jones in the 1st round of the draft, but that doesn’t mean that I believe he’ll be the better quarterback. Lock is ready to start right away at the NFL level because he is a really good pocket passer. However, he doesn’t have as much potential as Jones which is why I’m saying that Jones will ultimately be a better quarterback. That being said, Lock still has a decent chance of being a top 10 pick in the draft.

5. Ryan Finley – North Carolina State

There is a big dropoff between Drew Lock/Daniel Jones and Ryan Finley in the draft. Finley won’t be a 1st round pick, but he can still be a decent starting quarterback at some point in the NFL. That’s why Finley will likely go in the 2nd or 3rd round of the draft and he could be a good pick for a team like the Patriots or Chargers that have the patience to be able to develop him. Finley doesn’t have a high upside, but he is an intelligent quarterback that is a good pocket passer as well.

2019 NFL 1st round Mock Draft

  1. Arizona Cardinals – Kyler Murray – Quarterback – Oklahoma

The Arizona Cardinals already have a young quarterback with young potential as Josh Rosen is still their starter right now. However, Rosen struggled last season and there is some concern that he might not fit well into Kliff Kingsbury’s offense. Kyler Murray definitely has more athleticism than Rosen does and Murray is also a talented passer as well. Murray is very similar to Patrick Mahomes who Kliff Kingsbury coached in college while at Texas Tech. The Cardinals offense doesn’t have much to be able to support Murray, but Murray is the type of player that can make the Cardinals offense better on his own. Rosen is a talented young quarterback and he might be very successful elsewhere, but all signs are clearly pointing to Murray being their new quarterback.

2. San Francisco 49ers – Nick Bosa – Defensive End – Ohio State

The 49ers have some good young defensive lineman and DeForest Buckner proved that he could be a really good pass rusher as he had 12 sacks last season. However, the 49ers don’t have another edge rusher that can consistently get after the quarterback. Nick Bosa is a terrific playmaker and he is arguably the best player in the entire draft class. Bosa would help to add some much needed talent to the 49ers defense and he would help to make the 49ers defensive line elite.

3. New York Jets – Josh Allen – Defensive End – Kentucky

The Jets could easily trade this pick to a team in desperate need of a quarterback. However, I’m going to assume that the Jets will keep this pick and draft the best edge rusher available. Josh Allen is an extremely athletic defensive end and it will be tough for offensive tackles to match his speed coming off the edge. No player for the Jets had more than 7 sacks last season and adding Allen would fill a major need for the team.

4. Oakland Raiders – Quinnen Williams – Defensive Tackle – Alabama

The Oakland Raiders lacked any disruption from their front 7 last season after they traded away Khalil Mack. However, the Raiders have a chance to make their defensive line much better if they add a player like Quinnen Williams. He is extremely athletic for a player of his size and he has terrific strength to go along with it. It will be tough for interior offensive linemen to be able to keep up with Williams’ speed and he would be a major upgrade over what Oakland had at defensive tackle last season.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Devin White – Inside Linebacker – LSU

Tampa Bay suffered a major loss this offseason when star linebacker Kwon Alexander departed in free agency. That loss was especially painful since the Buccaneers are moving into a 3-4 defensive scheme for the 2019 season under new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. Devin White is very similar to Kwon Alexander and not just because they both attended LSU. White is a dynamic linebacker that makes plays all over the field and he’ll be needed to improve a Buccaneers defense that has been awful in recent years.

6. New York Giants – Rashan Gary – Defensive End – Michigan

Maybe the Giants decide to go with Dwayne Haskins or another quarterback in this spot, but the more pressing need for the Giants is along the defensive line. The Giants traded away Olivier Vernon who was the team’s best pass rusher. That left a major void at defensive end for New York and it is something that they need to address early in the draft. Rashan Gary would be a good pick in this spot because he has ability to stop the run and provide some much-needed pass rush for the Giants. Gary was an inconsistent pass rusher in college, yet he is still a player that would be a major upgrade at defensive end for the Giants.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jawaan Taylor – Offensive Tackle – Florida

The Jaguars just found their new starting quarterback with Nick Foles this offseason. However, the issue is that besides Leonard Fournette he really doesn’t have much to work with on the offensive side of the ball. Jawaan Taylor would be a terrific pick for Jacksonville because he would be an instant upgrade as a pass-protecting offensive tackle for the Jaguars. It is difficult to find franchise-caliber left tackles these days and Taylor is certainly that type of player as he is a terrific pass-protector and he will be very helpful for Fournette and the running game as well. The Jaguars desperately need some protection for Foles and Taylor would be an immediate solution.

8. Detroit Lions – Montez Sweat – Defensive End – Mississippi State

The Detroit Lions are prepared to lose defensive end Ziggy Ansah in free agency, but that loss won’t hurt too much since they signed Trey Flowers to a massive contract in free agency. The issue for the Lions though is that they don’t really have another consistent pass rusher that they can rely on. Montez Sweat would certainly help to upgrade the Lions defensive line especially since he is one of the most athletic defensive ends that I’ve seen in a very long time. Sweat would provide Detroit with another consistent pass rusher and it would make their defensive line very good.

9. Buffalo Bills – Andre Dillard – Offensive Tackle – Washington State

Buffalo has several options that they could go with this pick, but the main concern should be surrounding young quarterback Josh Allen with some talent on offense. Allen struggled last season mainly because of the lack of weapons that the team had and the offensive line play was poor as well. Dillard is probably the best pass-protector in this draft and he showed really good footwork at the combine as well. Dillard would be an upgrade for the Bills offensive line and he would help to give Allen the time necessary to make plays.

10. Denver Broncos – Drew Lock – Quarterback – Missouri

Denver just added Joe Flacco this offseason and he is viewed as the likely starter for at least the 2019 season. However, the Broncos need to find a long-term solution at the quarterback position and that is something that Flacco can’t provide. It would be kind of surprising if the Broncos don’t go with a quarterback here and the rumor is that the Broncos have been very impressed with Missouri quarterback Drew Lock. It would be a good situation for Lock since he wouldn’t feel the pressure to play right away and he could learn under a veteran quarterback. Either way, the Broncos need to do something to find a young quarterback that they can build around and Lock could be that guy.

11. Cincinnati Bengals – Dwayne Haskins – Quarterback – Ohio State

The Cincinnati Bengals could decide to opt for some defensive help with this pick, although if a good quarterback like Haskins fall to them then it might be difficult to pass up. Cincinnati already has a decent quarterback with Andy Dalton, so the quarterback position isn’t necessarily a pressing need. That being said, Dalton is just an average quarterback at best and we know what type of player he is at this point. Haskins offers a much higher upside than Dalton and he would help to bring some much needed excitement to a franchise that really needs it. Haskins is an NFL-ready quarterback, but it would be ideal for him to spend a year backing up Dalton before he takes the reigns as the starter for the Bengals.

12. Green Bay Packers – Devin Bush – Linebacker – Michigan

The Packers need some help in their front 7 overall and it is very possible that they could decide to go with a pass rusher such as Brian Burns with this pick. However, the Packers could use some speed at the linebacker position and that is what Devin Bush can provide. The Packers lack a true playmaker at linebacker and Bush would be an upgrade at the inside linebacker position, although he is capable of playing at all three linebacker spots. Green Bay needs some more playmakers on defense and Bush would help to provide some more speed at linebacker.

13. Miami Dolphins – Clelin Ferrell – Defensive End – Clemson

The Dolphins could decide to draft a quarterback in this spot if they find somebody that they really like. However, Miami has many needs and their best option might just be to take the best player available. Miami has a desperate need for some pass-rushing help especially since their top two pass rushers Cameron Wake and Robert Quinn both departed this offseason. The Dolphins are hoping that Charles Harris can improve and provide some spark to the pass rush, but the Dolphins need to draft another pass rusher either way. Clelin Ferrell might be overlooked in a really deep defensive line group in this draft. However, Ferrell is probably the best pass rusher overall as he had 11.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss last season at Clemson. Ferrell would provide an instant impact for the Dolphins defensive line and he is a player that the team can build around during their rebuild.

14. Atlanta Falcons – Ed Oliver – Defensive Tackle – Houston

A year ago it looked like Ed Oliver would be the top pick in this year’s draft, but it appears that he likely won’t even be a top 10 pick at this point. That being said, Oliver is still a terrific player and the Falcons would be getting terrific value if Oliver is able to fall to them. The Falcons already have Grady Jarrett at defensive tackle and their defensive line is already above average. However, adding Oliver would make the Falcons defensive line dominant which is important considering the division that they play in.

15. Washington Redskins – Brian Burns – Defensive End – Florida State

The Redskins could decide to go with a quarterback in this spot considering their uncertainty at the position. However, the Redskins have a major need for a pass rusher after the departure of Preston Smith this offseason. Burns would form a dynamic pass-rushing duo with Ryan Kerrigan and it would help to improve the Redskins defense overall.

16. Carolina Panthers – Jonah Williams – Offensive Tackle – Alabama

It wouldn’t be that surprising if Williams goes higher in the draft, but if he falls to the Panthers then they should take a chance on him. Williams played at left tackle during part of his college career and he could play offensive tackle in the NFL because he is an above average pass rusher. However, he is versatile enough to play guard as well because of his ability to be a power blocker in the run game. Either way, the Panthers need to keep star quarterback Cam Newton healthy and Williams would fill a need along the offensive line for the team.

17. New York Giants – Daniel Jones – Quarterback – Duke

Eli Manning was once a very good starting quarterback for the Giants, but at this point he is just an aging quarterback that is clearly way past his prime. Manning might still be the starter in 2019, but the Giants need to find a younger option at the quarterback in this draft. Jones seems like the perfect fit for the Giants because he is a quarterback that is still raw, but he has some really good potential. The good news is that Jones wouldn’t have to start right away and he could be a quarterback that the Giants could build around for the future.

18. Minnesota Vikings – Cody Ford – Guard – Oklahoma

Cody Ford played offensive tackle during college and it is possible that he could play that position in the NFL. However, Ford is most likely going to become an interior offensive lineman at the NFL level. Ford would fill a huge need for the Vikings at the guard position and it would help to allow Kirk Cousins and the rest of the Vikings talented offense to succeed.

19. Tennessee Titans – Christian Wilkins – Defensive Tackle – Clemson

The Titans already have a really good defensive tackle with Jurrell Casey, but the other interior defensive line spot is a major weakness for the team. Christian Wilkins can help fill that void and strengthen the Titans defensive line. Wilkins is a really good interior pass rusher and he would be tough for guards to block because of his quickness. Wilkins would help the Titans pass rush will also providing another playmaker for their front 7.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers – Greedy Williams – Cornerback – LSU

The cornerback position continues to be a major position of need for Pittsburgh and it is likely something that they’ll address in the first round. There are several cornerbacks that the Steelers could draft in this spot. However, the perfect fit would be LSU cornerback Greedy Williams if he falls to the Steelers in this spot. Not too long ago it seemed that Williams would surely be a top 10 pick, but that is seeming like a distant possibility at this point. That being said, Williams has the physical style of play that the Steelers like from a cornerback and he certainly doesn’t shy away from competing. Williams is still likely the best cornerback in this draft and he would provide a major upgrade at a big position of need for Pittsburgh.

21. Seattle Seahawks – Jeffery Simmons – Defensive Tackle – Mississippi State

Jeffery Simmons certainly could fall further than the 21st overall pick because of the couple of big question marks that come with him. First of all, Simmons has some character issues after he had a domestic violence incident during college. Also, Simmons suffered an unfortunate incident in February when he suffered a torn ACL. However, Simmons is a top 10 talent in this draft, but he falls because of the uncertainty surrounding his injury. That being said, Simmons is too talented for him to fall too far and he fits the type of player that head coach Pete Carroll would love to draft.

22. Baltimore Ravens – D.K. Metcalf – Wide Receiver – Ole Miss

The Baltimore Ravens addressed the wide receiver position last offseason, but none of the signings that they made really made a difference. Baltimore needs to address the position badly early in the draft and they need a wide receiver that can be a true game-changer. D.K. Metcalf certainly fits that description as he has the physical traits that everybody looks for in a wide receiver. Metcalf has terrific size to be able to make contested catches, but he also has outstanding speed as evidenced by his 4.33 time at the combine. The Ravens will be a run-heavy team moving forward with Lamar Jackson at quarterback, although Metcalf would add a much-needed playmaker to the Ravens passing game.

23. Houston Texans – DeAndre Baker – Cornerback – Georgia

The Houston Texans have a glaring need at cornerback especially after they saw Kareem Jackson and Kevin Johnson depart this offseason. Houston did add Bradley Roby in free agency, but that doesn’t completely fill the void at cornerback. There are several options available to fill the spot, but DeAndre Baker seems like the best fit. Baker doesn’t have ideal size for a cornerback, but he is good in coverage and he provides some good run support as well. Baker projects probably best as a slot cornerback, yet there is no doubt that he’ll help fill the big need that Houston has at the position.

24. Oakland Raiders – Noah Fant – Tight End – Iowa

The Oakland Raiders suffered a major subtraction this offseason when star tight end Jared Cook left in free agency. Cook was the Raiders top receiver last season and his departure has left the Raiders with a huge void at the tight end position. The good news is that the Raiders have a couple of options to fill the void in the 1st round of the draft. Noah Fant seems like the best option because he is a very athletic pass-catching tight end that is similar to O.J. Howard of Tampa Bay. The Raiders already added some much needed threats to their passing game by acquiring Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams this offseason. However, adding another really good target like Noah Fant will make the Raiders passing offense even more dangerous.

25. Philadelphia Eagles – Marquise Brown – Wide Receiver – Oklahoma

The Eagles have Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery as their top options in the passing game. Also, the Eagles added speedster DeSean Jackson this offseason, but he hasn’t been very consistent in recent years. Philadelphia also has Nelson Agholor as another possible option at receiver, but he has struggled mightily since being drafted by the Eagles. Philadelphia needs a long-term option at the wide receiver position and Marquise Brown is exactly the type of playmaker that the Eagles need. Jackson and Agholor could only be around for the 2019 season and who knows what type of production that Philadelphia will get from them anyways. Brown is a speedy receiver and he has the potential to be a star for Philadelphia for many years to come.

26. Indianapolis Colts – Dexter Lawrence – Defensive Tackle – Clemson

The Colts defense made some big strides last season, but they still have a big need at defensive tackle heading into the 2019 season. However, the good news is that the defensive line group in this draft is extremely deep and they should have some good options to choose from. That being said, Dexter Lawrence seems like a terrific fit for Indianapolis. He is a big player that clogs up the middle and he has some surprisingly really good pass rush skills as well. The only real concern about Lawrence was his suspension towards the end of last season at Clemson, but there is no doubting that he would be a major upgrade for the Colts.

27. Oakland Raiders – Chris Lindstrom – Guard – Boston College

The Oakland Raiders have several holes remaining on their roster even with this being the 3rd pick of the 1st round. However, the Raiders have a big hole to fill at the guard position especially after they traded away Kelechi Osemele this offseason. Lindstrom is a good pass-blocker because of his good footwork and his ability to handle speed rushers. However, Lindstrom doesn’t have much power for the position which could be a concern if he faces really powerful defensive tackles. Either way, Lindstrom would fill a need for Oakland at guard and he is the type of player that can start right away.

28. Los Angeles Chargers – Rock Ya-Sin – Cornerback – Temple

The Chargers might have more pressing needs in the draft than the cornerback position. However, the Chargers do have a need for a corner on the opposite side of their best cornerback Casey Hayward. Rock Ya-Sin would be a terrific addition because he has the size and speed to be able to defend receivers on the outside. Also, he has terrific ball skills which he proved last year at Temple when he had 12 pass deflections. Maybe the Chargers decide to address a bigger need in the 1st round, but Ya-Sin would make the Chargers secondary really good.

29. Kansas City Chiefs – Byron Murphy – Cornerback – Washington

The cornerback position was a major issue for the Chiefs last season after they traded away Marcus Peters. Byron Murphy would provide an instant impact for the Chiefs secondary in 2019. Murphy put up really good stats last season when had 58 tackles and 4 interceptions at Washington. He doesn’t have great size and he doesn’t have great speed either, but he is a physical corner that won’t be afraid to challenge receivers. If the Chiefs defense is to get better next season then they’ll need a cornerback like Murphy to improve the pass defense.

30. Green Bay Packers – Taylor Rapp – Safety – Washington

The Packers created a huge void at safety when they traded Ha Ha Clinton-Dix last season. Sure, the Packers did fill that void somewhat when they signed Adrian Amos in free agency, but safety still remains a big need. Taylor Rapp would be really good fit for Green Bay because he is a versatile safety that would give the Packers a talented playmaker on defense. Rapp did many things during his time at Washington as he showed his good coverage skills while also posting an impressive 5 sacks last season. Rapp would fill the Packers need at safety and he is the type of player that can make an immediate impact.

31. Los Angeles Rams – Garrett Bradbury – Center – North Carolina State

The Rams don’t have many needs, but offensive line is certainly the area that they need to focus the most on. Offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth is returning for another season, but he is really old in age and will have to be replaced soon. Also, starting guard Rodger Saffold and starting center John Sullivan both left this offseason. The Rams will almost certainly address the offensive line in the 1st round and center Garrett Bradbury would be a logical fit. Bradbury isn’t the most powerful center, but he gets the job done using his technique especially against interior pass rushers. Los Angeles has a lot of work to do in the draft with their offensive line, but Bradbury would at least fill a major void at the center position.

32. New England Patriots – A.J. Brown – Wide Receiver – Ole Miss

It is amazing that the Patriots won the super bowl despite Tom Brady barely having anybody to throw to besides Julian Edelman. The retirement of star tight end Rob Gronkowski makes it even more important for the Patriots to find some pass-catchers that can make Tom Brady’s job easier. A.J. Brown could be a solution to the problem and he is the type of player that the Patriots can use as a match up nightmare for opposing defenses. The reason I say that is because he is a proven slot receiver, but he also has the size and strength to play on the outside. Brown is great after the catch and he would be the playmaker that could help take a lot of the pressure off of Julian Edelman. Either way, wide receiver is a position that New England needs to address and if they add Brown then the Patriots offense could become even more scary.

Packers were wrong to fire McCarthy before the end of the season

I think most people would agree that it was a terrible loss for the Packers on Sunday as they lost to the Arizona Cardinals 20-17. That game ended up being the last straw for Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and deservedly so as the Packers fell to 4-7-1 on the season. However, the decision that was made to fire Mike McCarthy was poor timing and somewhat disrespectful for a coach that has done so much for the franchise. There is no doubt that McCarthy deserved to be fired because his team has severely underachieved since the beginning of the 2017 season. That being said, he doesn’t deserve all of the blame for the failures of the Packers this season. The Packers have had to deal with numerous injuries especially on defense and the roster has been poorly constructed on both sides of the ball. McCarthy deserves some share of the blame, but the general manager and the players deserve a lot of blame as well. I don’t disagree with the decision to fire McCarthy right now because it really has no benefit at all. The team should have waited until the end of the season to fire him because firing him during the season is just disrespectful considering how much he has accomplished. McCarthy deserved to finish the season especially since he gives the team the best chance to win right now. Most coaching candidates won’t be available until after the season, so there is really no benefit of firing a coach at this point in the season. Firing McCarthy has just created even more dysfunction in the Packers organization and they should’ve let McCarthy finish the season. Overall, McCarthy did a very good job with the Packers as he led the team to the playoffs 9 times in his nearly 13 seasons as the head coach. McCarthy will certainly get another coaching job very soon and it is just unfortunate that the Packers made such an impulsive decision to fire him just a few games before the end of the season.

Teams that are in need of a rebuild

Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals are actually in the beginning stages of what could be a long rebuild and there is lots of more work to do. The good news is that they just drafted Josh Rosen this year to be their quarterback of the future. He has struggled as a starter in his rookie season, but that is mostly due to the lack of talent around him. The Cardinals need to focus on building around Rosen on offense. Sure, they have star running back David Johnson who will likely be with the team for several years. However, the Cardinals need to find a replacement for the aging Larry Fitzgerald and they need to add to their offensive line as well. Arizona has some good pieces on defense led by Patrick Peterson and Chandler Jones, but they need to add some more talent around those guys. The pieces are in place for Arizona to compete in a couple of years, but they need to focus on drafting well and helping out their young quarterback.

Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore’s rebuilding hasn’t officially begun, but it is definitely coming very soon. General Manager Ozzie Newsome is already scheduled to retire after this season and head coach John Harbaugh could be on his way out as well if he doesn’t turn things around in 2018. Meanwhile, the team has already drafted Joe Flacco’s replacement at quarterback with Lamar Jackson and it is only a matter of time before Jackson takes over as the starter. The Ravens have talent on defense, but this could be the final year for Terrell Suggs in Baltimore and C.J. Mosley could depart in free agency as well. Baltimore has the talent to make a playoff run this season, but if they don’t make the playoffs then big changes could be made within the Ravens organization.

Buffalo Bills

Buffalo might be the least talented team in the entire NFL and they are just beginning what could be a somewhat lengthy rebuild. The good news is that they drafted their quarterback of the future with Josh Allen this year, but nobody really knows if he will live up to the hype. Allen has struggled in his rookie season, but a lot of that can be attributed to the lack of talent around him. Running back LeSean McCoy is about the only weapon that the Bills have on offense and this could be his final season in Buffalo. The Bills offensive line needs some more help and the Bills wide receiver group needs to be rebuilt completely. Meanwhile, on defense, the Bills have some good young talent, but they need to find a way to replace Kyle Williams and Lorenzo Alexander who will likely leave in free agency. Buffalo has a good foundation with Josh Allen, but they really need some more talent around him in order to be successful.

Dallas Cowboys

The addition of Amari Cooper keeps the Cowboys as a competitive team in 2018 and it is a team that has tons of talent especially on offense. However, they need to figure out if Dak Prescott is truly the quarterback of the future and they also need to figure out how to fix their offensive line. Meanwhile, on defense, DeMarcus Lawrence is the clear leader, but he might leave in free agency after the season. Dallas needs to find a way to add some more young talent to their defense and probably replace the aging linebacker Sean Lee as well. The Cowboys could still be a playoff contender, although big changes could be coming if that doesn’t happen.

Denver Broncos

Denver has been one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL this season. They thought that by bringing in quarterback Case Keenum they would be a playoff contender. However, Keenum has struggled with consistency this season and now the Broncos have to decide if they will keep him as their starter for next season. The Broncos have some really good young talent at the skill positions with Courtland Sutton, Royce Freeman, and Phillip Lindsay. However, they need to add a couple of more pieces to their offensive line to help out their quarterback and let their skill players be more successful. Meanwhile, on defense the Broncos have tremendous talent especially in the Front 7 with Bradley Chubb, Von Miller, Derek Wolfe, and Shane Ray leading the way. The secondary also has some talent especially at cornerback with Chris Harris and Bradley Roby. Denver has had a really frustrating year and it could lead to big changes as head coach Vance Joseph is likely to get fired. Also, the Broncos will need to look into finding a new quarterback and possibly replacing key free agents like Matt Paradis, Shane Ray, and Bradley Roby. Overall, the Broncos are a team that has great talent on both sides of the ball, but they mainly just need to make big changes by find a new head coach and quarterback.

Detroit Lions

Detroit’s passing game is very good despite trading away Golden Tate this season and they finally found a good running back with Kerryon Johnson. The offense isn’t concerning, but the defense is what really needs to be rebuilt. They have some talented players to build around with Darius Slay, Jarrad Davis, and Ezekiel Ansah. However, the rest of the defense needs some serious help and the defense could get even worse next season if Ansah departs in free agency. The Lions have the offense to compete right now, but the team won’t be competitive until they improve their defense.

Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis has their franchise quarterback with Andrew Luck, but they are a team that has struggled to build a competent team around him. The Colts could use some help at wide receiver, but besides that their offense is pretty good. However, the defense is what needs some serious help. They have some good young players on defense with guys like Malik Hooker and Darius Leonard. However, they still need to improve their secondary and pass rush if they want to become a good defense. The Colts are near the end of their rebuilding process and if they add some key players to their defense then they could be really competitive next season.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville has easily been the most disappointing NFL team after coming very close to reaching the Super Bowl last season. Quarterback Blake Bortles is the main source of the problems for the Jaguars as he turns the ball over too often and he’ll likely need to be replaced prior to the 2019 season. However, the problems on offense aren’t entirely his fault as he just doesn’t have a good wide receiver group even if Marqise Lee comes back healthy next season. The offensive line and running game are terrific for Jacksonville, but it won’t matter if the Jaguars can’t fix their poor quarterback situation. Meanwhile, the Jaguars defense has surprisingly struggled this season after being arguably the best defense in the NFL last season. There is no doubting the talent that they have with guys like Jalen Ramsey, Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, and A.J. Bouye among others. That being said, for some reason they just haven’t been able to put it together and dominate like they did last season. Jacksonville has plenty of talent to be successful in 2019, but first they badly need to rebuild their passing game on offense.

Miami Dolphins

Miami is surprisingly having a decent season considering the lack of talent that they have. However, this team is still in a major transition phase as they need many pieces on both sides of the ball. It all starts with quarterback Ryan Tannehill who has struggled to stay healthy and they need to find out if he is their quarterback of the future. The Dolphins could decide to move on prior to 2019, but that would set the rebuilding process back even further. The Dolphins have some talent at running back with Kenyan Drake and at wide receiver with guys like Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, and Albert Wilson. However, they need to add some better weapons to their offense in order for it to reach their full potential. Meanwhile, the Dolphins defense appears good enough to compete with a lot of teams as they have some good veteran players like Cameron Wake and Robert Quinn. However, they also have some really talented young players like Minkah Fitzpatrick and Raekwon McMillan. The Dolphins have enough talent to possibly be a playoff team, but big changes could be coming to their offense and their coaching staff if this season doesn’t end well.

New York Giants

The Giants made the mistake of believing that they could be contenders this season even with Eli Manning at quarterback. The Giants have plenty of talent at the skill positions led by star receiver Odell Beckham and star running back Saquon Barkley. However, the offensive line has been disastrous and Manning hasn’t played well either. New York needs to find a new quarterback and add some quality offensive lineman before the offense can succeed. Meanwhile, the Giants defense is already in rebuild mode after they traded away Eli Apple and Damon Harrison this season. They still have some good talent with Landon Collins and Janoris Jenkins leading the way. However, they need to add some pass rush help especially if the defense is to get any better. Either way, the Giants have some hope for the future, but they are still a couple years from competing as they need to make big changes on both sides of the ball.

New York Jets

The New York Jets are a team with some hope for the future after they drafted Sam Darnold in the 1st round of the draft this year. He has struggled this season, but that is mostly due to the lack of weapons that the Jets have on offense. The Jets have a good running back duo with Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell. However, they need to find some better wide receivers to help Darnold out and a better offensive line as well. The Jets defense has plenty of talent especially at linebacker and in the secondary. However, they need to add some more pass rush help to improve the defense. New York has a solid foundation of good young players on both sides of the ball, but they need to add some more talent especially to the offense in order for it to be successful.

Oakland Raiders

The bad news for the Raiders is that they have basically no talent on their roster, but the good news is that they have a whopping five 1st round picks in the next two years in order to try and accelerate their rebuild. The main thing that they need to figure out is whether Derek Carr should continue being their starting quarterback. He looked like an elite quarterback just a few years ago, but the last two years he has been just average at best. At least the running back position has been good for the Raiders this season with Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin, and Jalen Richard. However, it is very possible that both Lynch and Martin could be gone next season. Tight end Jared Cook has been about the only threat for the Raiders in the passing game especially after they traded away Amari Cooper. The Raiders need to address the wide receiver position in a serious way in order to make their offense better. Meanwhile, the defense is absolutely terrible especially after they traded away Khalil Mack and released Bruce Irvin. The Raiders pretty much have nothing to build around on defense and it is something that they need to build from scratch. The Raiders need a lot of help on offense and defense, so it could be a very lengthy rebuild for the Raiders. However, it could be sped up if they hit on their five draft picks in the next 2 years.

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers thought that they would be a playoff contender this season, but the early season injuries to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Jerick McKinnon really doomed them. However, running back Matt Breida and tight end George Kittle have been a couple of bright spots that the 49ers can build around on offense. San Francisco still needs some help at wide receiver and along the offensive line as well, but those are things that they can improve early in the draft. The 49ers defense has some good young pieces to build around especially on the defensive line with DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead. However, they need lots of help at linebacker and in the secondary before the defense is rebuilt again. Overall, having Garoppolo back next season will help the 49ers a lot, but they still have to rebuild their overall roster before they are competitive again.

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle began a full-scale rebuild prior to this season and give credit to head coach Pete Carroll for keeping the team competitive. However, the team still has a long ways to go with their rebuild especially on defense. Bobby Wagner, Frank Clark, and Jarran Reed are tremendous players to build around. The rest of the defense needs a lot of work though especially if star safety Earl Thomas leaves in free agency as expected. Meanwhile, the offense for the Seahawks is actually pretty good as they have a good running game with Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. Also, they have a couple of good receivers with Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett. The Seahawks could still improve the offensive line, but their offense is better than most people expected. If Seattle can add a few pieces to their defense soon then they could be a competitive team much sooner than expected.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay is a team in desperate need of a full-scale rebuild mostly because they haven’t drafted well and they haven’t done well in free agency either. The main issue for the Bucs is at the quarterback position as Jameis Winston continues to make dumb decisions on and off the field. The Buccaneers appear ready to move on from him this offseason and that means they’ll likely have to draft another quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick has played well, but he is nothing more than a short-term solution. The strength for the Buccaneers is definitely at the wide receiver and tight end positions as they are extremely deep at both positions. However, the Buccaneers running game is still awful as 2nd round pick Ronald Jones has been a major bust so far. Also, the offensive line hasn’t performed well at all this season and that is something they’ll need to address this offseason. Meanwhile, the Bucs defense has been absolutely terrible as they’ve relied on rookies Jordan Whitehead, Carlton Davis, and M.J. Stewart to make an impact right away. However, they have struggled tremendously and veteran cornerback Brent Grimes hasn’t played well either. The Buccaneers invested a lot in their defensive line this past offseason and they have yet to see results due to injuries and inconsistent play. Gerald McCoy, Vita Vea, Noah Spence, Vinny Curry, Beau Allen, and William Gholston all have struggled to make an impact this season. Jason Pierre-Paul has been a terrific addition and Kwon Alexander was terrific before tearing his ACL, but besides that the Buccaneers defense has been awful. Tampa Bay has a lot to figure out on both sides of the ball because of terrible decisions made by general manager Jason Licht. He appears to be on his way out after this season and the entire coaching staff including head coach Dirk Koetter appears to be on its way out as well. The Buccaneers will be a very different team next season and they are just beginning what could be another lengthy rebuild.

 

Teams that need to find a new starting quarterback in 2019

Denver Broncos – Current Quarterback: Case Keenum

Case Keenum has had one good season as an NFL quarterback and that was last season in Minnesota. However, it is difficult to hide the fact that he has been a backup quarterback for most of his career. Keenum is nothing more than a short-term solution at quarterback for the Broncos and he has been really inconsistent this year. The Broncos might bring him back for the 2019 season to serve as a temporary starter. However, the Broncos need to draft a quarterback that they can develop for the future. it might be best if the Broncos tank the rest of the season because they should then be able to draft either Justin Herbert or Drew Lock early in the 1st round. The Broncos likely won’t find a better option in free agency and it is best that they stick with Keenum until they can draft a quarterback.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Current Quarterback: Blake Bortles

Blake Bortles has tremendous potential and he showcased it in 2015, but since that point he just hasn’t been the same playmaker that he was. Some of the blame can be placed on a poor receiving group that he has played with in the past couple of seasons. However, there is no excuse for the amount of times that he has turned the ball over. Bortles isn’t the only problem this season for the Jaguars, but he is probably the main issue that is holding Jacksonville from being contenders. The Jaguars likely won’t find anything better in free agency as Teddy Bridgewater, Tyrod Taylor, Jameis Winston, Ryan Tennehill, and Ryan Fitzpatrick are likely to be the best options. The draft offers more hope to find a quarterback, but that is also considered a rather weak quarterback group. Maybe the Jaguars get a good enough draft pick so that they could get Justin Herbert or Drew Lock. However, they might just have to settle for Daniel Jones or Will Grier later on in the 1st round. Either way, the Jaguars need to move on from Bortles in 2019 because he is hurting the team more than he is helping them.

Miami Dolphins – Current Quarterback: Ryan Tannehill

Ryan Tannehill hasn’t been a terrible quarterback for the Dolphins, but he also hasn’t proven that he is the long-term answer for Miami. Tannehill is often injured and even when he is healthy he is very inconsistent. He has high potential to be a good NFL quarterback, but he also has the potential to be a bad quarterback at times. The Dolphins need to figure out this season if Tannehill gives them a good chance to win games. If he doesn’t then the Dolphins will likely let him leave in free agency and try to find a solution for the 2019 season. The bad news though is that the Dolphins likely won’t have a high enough pick to draft Justin Herbert or Drew Lock unless they trade up. That means they would likely take a chance on either Daniel Jones of Duke or Will Grier of West Virginia later on in the draft.

New York Giants – Current Quarterback: Eli Manning

Eli Manning is a quarterback that is way past his prime and he was always an overrated quarterback to begin with. Manning has plenty of weapons on offense with Odell Beckham, Saquon Barkley, and Evan Engram to throw to. However, he still hasn’t been able to help make the Giants passing game successful. Manning shouldn’t be a starting quarterback at this point in his career and the Giants definitely need to move on. Kyle Lauletta likely isn’t the long-term solution either, so the Giants need to draft a quarterback prior to the 2019 season. The good news is that the Giants are very likely to have a low draft pick in 2019, but the issue is that the best quarterbacks in the draft class like Justin Herbert and Drew Lock aren’t exactly elite prospects. Manning has a huge contract and he is still a liability for the Giants, so it is time to move on from him as soon as possible.

Oakland Raiders – Current Quarterback: Derek Carr

Just a couple of years ago, Derek Carr looked like he would become an elite NFL quarterback and he was rewarded with a massive contract extension. However, now Carr has looked like an average starting quarterback at best for the Raiders as they are arguably the worst team in the NFL right now. Carr’s performance hasn’t justified his large salary, so it might be time for the Raiders just to move on after this season. If they want to move on then now would be the time to do it because they have three 1st round picks in the 2019 draft. Sure, it isn’t a good draft class for quarterbacks, but they could clear a lot of cap space by releasing Carr while also hopefully finding their quarterback of the future. The Raiders could decide to stick with Carr for awhile, but they need to figure out this season whether he is truly their quarterback of the future.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Current Quarterback: Ryan Fitzpatrick

The Buccaneers probably have the most intriguing quarterback situation in the entire NFL heading into 2019. Jameis Winston has been the starting quarterback since being drafted 1st overall in the 2015 draft. There is no doubting Winston’s tremendous potential and he has certainly shown flashes of it. However, Winston’s main problem is that he just makes silly mistakes on and off the field. Winston still has character concerns and he turns the ball over way too often as proven by his 10 interceptions in just 4 games played this year. Ryan Fitzpatrick has played much better than Winston this season, but we must remember that Fitzpatrick is 35 years old and he is only a bridge quarterback at best. Either way, the Buccaneers must decide whether they want to pay Winston $20 million for next season or just cut ties with him in the offseason. However, it appears that Winston’s time in Tampa Bay is coming to a close. The Buccaneers will likely keep Fitzpatrick around as a temporary solution, although don’t be surprised if they target Justin Herbert or Drew Lock in the draft.