Levi ChappellComment

The NFL Offseason (Part 2 of 3): One Need Each Team Must Address Before Next Season

Levi ChappellComment
The NFL Offseason (Part 2 of 3): One Need Each Team Must Address Before Next Season

I will break down one pressing need that each team must address before next season starts. It could range from signing a certain position, hiring personal, addressing a need through the draft, and more. 

Detroit Lions: 

There are two big needs for the Lions this offseason. They invested heavily in the offensive line last offseason and although the line may not have met expectations, it was still an upgrade over the 2016 season. The Lions need some serious help and consistency on the defensive line since they ranked 20th in sacks. Granted the line was decimated by injuries, but upgrades are still needed. With the impending departure of Ziggy Ansah and the likelihood that Haloti Ngata will move on, the defensive line will be very thin. 

Biggest need: One need that is even bigger than the defensive line is the RB position. The Lions have not had a 100 yard rusher since 2013... yes you heard that right. Part of this was the offensive line in the past, but that is no longer an excuse. Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick are both very talented backs, but have not been consistent enough to count on and have both battled injuries in the past. The Lions must either draft or sign a bigger back that can handle 20+ carries a game. Get a stud! 

Green Bay Packers:

With a healthy Aaron Rodgers, the offense should be one of the higher scoring teams in the league. They could use some offensive line help, especially interior lineman. But the biggest needs remain on the defensive side of the ball. They addressed the cornerback position last season but that position still underperformed. They could use some cornerback help. But...

Biggest need: The Packers desperately need some edge rushers. The Packers resigned Nick Perry to a longer term deal, but Clay Mathews is 32 and entering the final year of his contract and it looks like his more productive days are behind him. The Packers allowed 30 passing TD's to opposing QB's last year. Opposing QB's were able to sit in the pocket and pick apart the defense. I expect the Packers to draft an edge rusher with their first pick in the draft and possibly add depth via free agency. Get to the QB! 

Houston Texans:

The Texans could use some help opposite of Deandre Hopkins. Besides Hopkins, the Texans are a bit thin of playmakers who can catch the ball. Will Fuller has been good when healthy, but is injury prone and a one trick pony at times. Signing an above average TE or WR could help the offense and Watson.

Biggest need: Like many teams, the Texans need offensive line help. The Texans allowed the 2nd most sacks in the NFL and their best offensive lineman, LT Duane Brown, was dealt midway through the season to the Seahawks. They need major upgrades on the line in order to keep Deshaun Watson upright and healthy. Draft and sign some quality offensive lineman! 

Indianapolis Colts: 

The biggest priority of the Colts is to get Andrew Luck fully healthy again. As far as needs go... the Colts have quite a few different holes on the roster. Linebacker is a big need that they need to address. They don't have any playmakers at LB and have filled the position with cheap options and below average players. There is a good possibility that they address that position in the draft, but I'm not sure they draft one as high as the #3 overall pick. 

Biggest need: As I referenced the Texans above who allowed the 2nd most sacks in the NFL last year... the team that allowed the most sacks was the Colts. No wonder Luck hasn't been healthy in a couple of years. Jacoby Brissett who played surprisingly well for them, was running for his life in the backfield all season long. If the Colt's plan on making it back to the playoffs, they will need to give a healthy Andrew Luck time in the pocket. Complete overhaul the offensive line! 

Jacksonville Jaguars: 

The biggest surprise and turnaround goes to the Jags for 2017. From 3 wins to the AFC conference championship, the Jags should be feeling very good about the future. The defense is a juggernaut and has very few holes. The weaknesses are on the offensive side of the ball. Marquis Lee, Allen Hurns, and Allen Robinson are all either free agents or soon to be free agents, which means the Jags may very well need to address the WR position in the draft.

Biggest need: If the WR position is 1B, then 1A is the TE position. They got very little production out of that position and veteran Mercedes Lewis will turn 34 before the season starts. Names like Jimmy Graham or Trey Burton could be a good fit for the Jags. But if they find free agent TE's to have too large of a price tag, they could address the position through the draft. They may end up drafting the top rated TE in the draft at pick #29. Oklahoma's Mark Andrews could be a good fit, or someone that will sky rocket up people's draft boards after the NFL combine, South Dakota State's Dallas Goedert. Get a TE for Bortles (or someone else) to throw to!

Kansas City Chiefs: 

After a hot start to the 2017 season the Chiefs seemed to sputter out towards the end of the season. The Chiefs have quite a few question marks heading into 2018. Alex Smith is gone and Patty Mahomes is now the future. The Philadelphia Eagles showed how valuable a backup QB can be, so the Chiefs must address that issue before the season starts. They could also use help on the defensive line and a #2 cornerback opposite of Marcus Peters.

Biggest need: The Chiefs struggled to get pressure on the QB last season. Justin Houston is 29 and looked a step slower last season, Dee Ford is a quality pass rusher but injury prone, Tamba Hali is most likely out of KC, and Frank Zombo is entering the final year of his contract. Those are some of KC's top pass rushers, therefore, KC must get younger and more productive at this position. Kansas City will have a hard time addressing the position though, seeing as how they gave up their first rounder to select Mahomes last season. They will have to get lucky in the draft, or find some cheaper options through free agency. Sack that Quarterback! 

Los Angeles Rams:

The Rams had a fantastic season this year. Jared Goff took a huge step forward and Todd Gurley looked like an MVP. The weaknesses for the Rams come on the defensive side of the ball. Trumaine Johnson and Nickell Robey-Coleman are both free agents this year, so the Rams will need to address the secondary. 

Biggest need: The biggest need for the Rams is a common need for many teams... defensive end/edge rusher. The Rams finished 24th in sacks. Aaron Donald is the best defensive player in the NFL but he needs some help with getting to the QB. Robert Quinn has been on a steady decline since 2012 and Conor Barwin is a free agent this year. They will need to find a cheap veteran option or select a OLB or DL with the 23rd selection in the draft. Edge Rusher Marcus Davenport out of Texas San Antonio or OLB Arden Key out of LSU could be options for them. Get some pressure on opposing QB's! 

Los Angeles Chargers: 

The Chargers don't have any glaring needs at vital positions, but they could use some Linebacker help. They are pretty thin in the middle and signing a linebacker like Tahir Whitehead or Navarro Bowman could help bolster the defense. 

Biggest need: The Chargers are in a really good spot because Philip Rivers probably still has about a year or two left of solid production. But they need to find Rivers replacement sooner rather than later. They own the 17th overall pick in this years draft and could use that pick to draft the future at the QB position. Josh Allen is a very polarizing figure, consensus is that he will go somewhere in the middle of the first. I don't think he or any of the "top 4" (Darnold, Rosen, Mayfield, Allen) QB's will make it to 17, so someone like Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph may be the backup plan. Find the future at QB!

Miami Dolphins:

Unlike the Chargers, the Dolphins have quite a few needs at important positions. They could use some help at cornerback. Their best cornerback from last year, veteran Alterraun Verner is a free agent. Besides last year's rookie Cordrea Tankersley, there is not much in the cupboard. They may draft the CB position with the 11th overall pick. If the draft goes right, they might be able to get Denzel Ward out of Ohio State who is the top rated CB in this years draft class. 

Biggest need: Cornerback could very well be the biggest need, but in my opinion, they must figure out the Wide receiver position. The biggest name in the WR free agent market is Jarvis Landry. He has been one of the most consistent WR's over the past 3 seasons. Many teams will be willing to pay him gobs of money, and I don't see the dolphins being one of those teams. The Dolphins signed Kenny Stills to a new contract and still have Devante Parker on his rookie contract. I think they will address the WR position during the draft on day 2 or 3, and they will sign a cheaper option in free agency than Landry. They have to find some consistency at that position if Landry does end up leaving. Get a quality pass catcher! 

Minnesota Vikings:

The Vikings were one of the great stories of 2017. A couple of backups in Case Keenum and Latavius Murray shined bright and led the team to the NFC championship game. A couple of key losses have hit the Vikings this offseason though. Terrance Newman who played really well as the nickel corner is retiring and veteran right guard Joe Berger is retiring also. That leaves two positions open that the Vikings will need to address. The draft is a good place to find nickel corners, and the guard free agent market this year looks to be a good one, so the Vikings should be able to find some quality replacements. 

Biggest need: An NFL team starts and ends with the quarterback position. The Vikings went from 3 quality QB's on the roster to 0 this offseason. Although QB is definitely their biggest need, I would not be too worried if I was a viking fan. The laundry list of injuries to Sam Bradford never seems to be enough to turn teams away. Some teams will offer him more money than he should get and that will make the Vikings choice at QB easy.

There seems to be mutual respect between Case Keenum and the Vikings. I see them reaching a shorter term deal, a 2-3 year deal that keeps Keenum as the starting QB for the immediate future. The X-factor is Teddy Bridgewater. The Vikings seem committed to Bridgewater even after a devastating injury. I believe the Vikings still believe he is the QB of the future. I see them reaching a cheaper, 2 year deal with Bridgewater for around 16 million. 8 million a year for a backup QB is a lot, but there is a chance that Bridgewater takes over mid season in either 2018 or 2019. Figure out the starting QB!

New England Patriots: 

The Patriots head into the offseason after a disappointing result in the Superbowl. While the Patriots are a fantastic team, they do have some things that need to be addressed in the offseason. The first one that comes to mind is finding Tom Brady's eventual replacement. Tom Brady will eventually start showing signs of his age, even if he is 40 and looking better than ever. I think the Pats have at least 2 years before someone else may be playing QB for them. But finding the future franchise QB should be addressed sooner rather than later. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Pats use a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd round pick on a QB in this years draft. 

Biggest need: Although the QB position is vital, the Pats should still have a couple of years to address it. The defense on the other hand needs to be addressed now. The defense allowed the 4th most total yards and the 3rd most passing yards to opposing offenses. They really struggled to pressure opposing QB's and could not slow down the passing game. With Malcolm Butler coming off a weird end to the season, he will likely leave in free agency, which means the Pats need to find a cornerback opposite of Stephon Gilmore. Instead of trying to narrow this down to one position... the Pats simply need to get younger and more athletic on the defensive side of the ball. Edge rushers, cornerbacks, safeties... essentially the entire defense needs some youth. Plug the leaky defense! 

Part 3 coming soon...