Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

Biggest Takeaways from the Bucs-Saints game

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers pulled off the biggest upset of the week as they stunned the Saints by defeating them 48-40. Here are the biggest takeaways from Sunday’s game.

 

Biggest Takeaways for the Buccaneers:

The biggest takeaway for the Buccaneers is that they should be just fine while starting quarterback Jameis Winston is suspended. Backup Ryan Fitzpatrick came in and played at an elite level while throwing for a career-high 417 yards and 5 total touchdowns. Fitzpatrick showed that he is more than capable of winning games and playing at a high level. However, he also showed that he might actually be a better option as a starting quarterback for the Buccaneers than Winston. It helped that Fitzpatrick had a terrific supporting cast around him, but if he keeps playing this well then the Buccaneers could be better than expected. Meanwhile, another takeaway is that the Buccaneers once again struggled on defense. The Buccaneers secondary got lit up by Drew Brees and they proved that they are still just as bad as they were last season when they finished last against the pass. Injuries to Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves didn’t help at all, but the Bucs still need to improve in that area. Tampa Bay’s defense made plays when they had to, but they were very lucky that the offense played so well. Overall, the Buccaneers proved that they are a better team than many people expected, although they still have tons of work to do on defense.

 

Biggest Takeaways for the Saints:

The main concern for the Saints is clearly their defense which got absolutely torched by the Buccaneers. New Orleans allowed 529 total yards to Tampa Bay and the Saints didn’t even have a sack or cause a turnover. New Orleans had an improved defense last season and that was a big reason for their success, but it took a major step back in this game. Their best cornerback Marshon Lattimore struggled all game despite playing very well in his rookie year last season. Also, star defensive end Cameron Jordan didn’t make any impact and the Saints pass rush was absolutely nonexistent. There was no bright spot for the Saints on defense and hopefully they will learn from this miserable performance. Meanwhile, there certainly weren’t too many issues for the Saints on offense and quarterback Drew Brees showed that age is just a number. Brees had an outstanding game as he torched the Bucs defense for 439 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Saints did fumble the ball a couple of times, but that surely isn’t Brees’ fault. Brees showed that his performance won’t be declining anytime soon, although it is a shame that the Saints lost despite Brees’ tremendous play. Overall, the Saints offense showed that they will be just fine despite making a couple of costly mistakes. However, the Saints won’t reach their full potential until the Saints defense at least puts forward an average performance.

Top 5 Free Agent Inside Linebackers and their projected landing spots

  1. NaVorro Bowman – Old Team: Oakland Raiders

NaVorro Bowman probably won’t sign a long-term deal because of his injury history especially in recent years. However, Bowman is still a very good starting inside linebacker as he is terrific at stopping the run. Bowman could help a team in need of a quality inside linebacker like the Saints, Bears, or Chargers. However, I’m not quite sure that the Raiders will let Bowman go considering the major impact that he made on their defense. Bowman was a major upgrade for Oakland at inside linebacker and they should re-sign him just based on how much better he made their defense after he was signed last season.

Projected Landing Spot: Oakland Raiders

2. Zach Brown – Old Team: Washington Redskins

Zach Brown has become a terrific starting linebacker and he was a tackling machine last season for the Redskins. Teams like the Steelers and Chargers could certainly use Brown’s services, but I just can’t see him leaving the Redskins. Washington has already reportedly made him a contract offer and they clearly want him to return in 2018. Brown is just too good of a fit for the Redskins defense and I think the two sides will find a way to get a deal done soon.

Projected Landing Spot: Washington Redskins

3. Avery Williamson – Old Team: Tennessee Titans

Avery Williamson has become a tremendous young linebacker for the Titans as he is exceptional against the run and he is very good in coverage as well. Tennessee will certainly do its best to re-sign him as they have the money to do so. However, teams like the Patriots, Steelers, and Chargers all could have interest in Williamson if he hits free agency. The one team that really stands out is the Indianapolis Colts though as they have plenty of money to spend and they have a major need for inside linebacker help. Williamson is exactly the type of player that the Colts are looking for since he is young and he is a playmaker that would instantly improve the terrible Colts defense.

Projected Landing Spot: Indianapolis Colts

4. Demario Davis – Old Team: New York Jets

Demario Davis is a terrific starting linebacker as he is not only a tackling machine since he had 135 tackles last season, but he also had 5 sacks for the Jets in 2017. Teams like the Redskins or the Dolphins could sign Davis, although it is difficult to see the Jets letting him go easily. Davis was arguably the Jets best defensive player last season and the Jets have plenty of cap room to spend this offseason which means they can easily re-sign him if they want to. It would be very difficult to replace Davis if the Jets let him go, but I just don’t see that happening.

Projected Landing Spot: New York Jets

5. Todd Davis – Old Team: Denver Broncos

Todd Davis has quietly become a very reliable linebacker for the Broncos in recent years and the team would love to bring him back in free agency. However, the Broncos don’t have too much cap room to work with especially if they sign Kirk Cousins in free agency. Davis will certainly draw interest from at least a few other teams possibly including the Bears and the Giants. Davis fits best with the Bears since they let go of Jerell Freeman this offseason. The Bears have a really good inside linebacker with Danny Trevathan, but it makes sense to pair him with his former Denver teammate Todd Davis.

Projected Landing Spot: Chicago Bears

Top 5 Free Agent Defensive Tackles and their Projected Landing Spots

  1. Sheldon Richardson – Old Team: Seattle Seahawks

There are many teams that will be interested in signing Richardson because he is very much the best defensive tackle in this free agent class. Richardson is a dynamic player that has proven that he can be a good interior pass rusher as well. The Seahawks would certainly like him back since they gave up quite a bit to acquire him last season. However, they don’t have too much money to spend and there are teams that have a need for a defensive tackle that also have tons of money. Teams like the Redskins, Bills, Raiders, Lions, and even the Jets all could be in on Richardson. However, the Raiders seem like the best fit for Richardson mostly because he would fit in well with their culture. Also, Oakland has a need for a pass rusher and some more defensive line help in general, so Richardson would be a major upgrade in that area.

Projected Landing Spot: Oakland Raiders

2. Dontari Poe – Old Team: Atlanta Falcons

Dontari Poe did a good job during his one season with Atlanta, although he is now in line for a big payday this offseason. Poe is highly unlikely to go back to the Falcons since the team simply can’t afford to re-sign him. That leaves teams like the Redskins, Broncos, Bills, and Lions that could have interest in him. However, Washington makes the most sense as they are searching for some defensive tackle help. The Redskins had a terrible run defense last season and adding a big presence like Poe would certainly make teams avoid running up the middle often.

Projected Landing Spot: Washington Redskins

3. Bennie Logan – Old Team: Kansas City Chiefs

Bennie Logan had a decent season with the Chiefs in 2017 as he had a solid 52 tackles for the team. However, it is unlikely that he re-signs with the Chiefs and he could generate plenty of interest in free agency. The Falcons could make sense as a potential landing spot since Logan will be less expensive than re-signing Dontari Poe. However, the New York Jets are the team that makes the most sense to sign Logan. The Jets struggled to stop the run last season and that is what Logan specializes in. Logan wouldn’t provide much pass rush, but he at least would help to improve the Jets run defense and at a rather cheap cost.

Projected Landing Spot: New York Jets

4. Star Lotulelei – Old Team: Carolina Panthers

Lotulelei hasn’t quite lived up to his full potential since being a 1st round pick by the Panthers a few years ago. Carolina seems likely to let Lotulelei go in free agency considering their current cap issues. However, there are several teams that should be interested in Lotulelei in free agency. The one team that makes the most sense is the Buffalo Bills though. Buffalo has a big need for a defensive tackle especially to replace the aging Kyle Williams who is a free agent this offseason anyways. Lotulelei has many connections to Buffalo as head coach Sean McDermott was the defensive coordinator for most of Lotulelei’s tenure in Carolina. Also, general manager Brandon Beane was part of the front office in Carolina that drafted Lotulelei in 2013. Lotulelei would give the Bills a younger and better option at defensive tackle and it helps that he is already very familiar with Sean McDermott’s defensive scheme.

Projected Landing Spot: Buffalo Bills

5. DaQuan Jones – Old Team: Tennessee Titans

DaQuan Jones is one of the more underrated players in all of free agency as he is a good run-stopper and he provides a good interior pass rush as well. The Titans could certainly try to re-sign him, but he also could attract plenty of attention in free agency. Jones could be a fit for teams like the Chiefs, Falcons, and Patriots. However, the Falcons seem like the best fit for Jones. The reason that he fits well with Atlanta is because they need a new starting defensive tackle, but at a rather low cost. Jones is a productive starter and he should be relatively cheap, so he could be a good bargain for the Falcons.

Projected Landing Spot: Atlanta Falcons