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The NFL roster-building action is aerial and can advance to unemployment with the aboriginal misstep.
Oh sure, it’s accessible to baddest Myles Garrett with the aboriginal all-embracing pick, as the Cleveland Browns did. But aback was the appropriate time to booty a quarterback in the 2017 draft, one with little authoritativeness at the position? And on the accomplished this offseason, how would teams in charge acquisition reliable abhorrent band help?
General managers wrestled with those questions and abounding added during chargeless bureau and the draft. They were aggravating to either get to the top of the alliance or break there. Or in a moment of honesty, they were aggravating to save their jobs with atrocious measures.
There will still be accessory moves made, with some adept chargeless agents best up throughout the bounce and others released. But largely, the key genitalia of rosters now will be in abode aback teams abode to training affected in backward July.
With that in mind, it’s report-card time for the league’s GMs. The grades that chase were accustomed based on how able-bodied anniversary GM addressed the needs his aggregation had branch into the offseason.
Quick note: The de facto accepted bassinet or advance decision-maker is listed for teams with no official GM.
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The Cardinals bare to reload, not rebuild. There will be a time aback the closing has to happen, and it could be advancing anon aback advanced receiver Larry Fitzgerald and quarterback Carson Palmer alluvion off into retirement.
But appropriate now the Cardinals are still abandoned one year removed from activity 13-3 and adequate the NFC West. Abounding of the amount pieces on a second-ranked aegis in 2016 are still in place. GM Steve Keim bare to get actual contributors to bolster that assemblage afterwards a few key losses, with arresting end Calais Campbell and assurance Tony Jefferson arch amid them.
Keim did aloof that by signing boilerplate linebacker Karlos Dansby and assurance Antoine Bethea in chargeless agency. They’re both crumbling but still reliable veterans and will accommodate administration at their position groups for Haason Reddick and Budda Baker, the Cardinals’ aboriginal two abstract picks.
Reddick soared throughout the predraft appraisal action and recorded 22.5 tackles for a accident in 2016 for Temple as a quick-twitch boilerplate linebacker. Baker was allotment of a alive Washington Huskies arresting backfield. He snatched three interceptions throughout his academy career while accepting the second-highest arrest adeptness adjoin the run amid Pac-12 safeties in 2016, according to Pro Football Focus.
Baker is a adaptable allotment who can excel as a aperture bend as well. He’s fatigued comparisons to Tyrann Mathieu for that reason, and now the two will be on the aforementioned aegis together.
Offseason Grade: A-
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The Falcons aegis generated 34 sacks in 2016. It put them appropriate in the boilerplate of the backpack (tied for 16th).
That would accord them a advantageous canyon blitz if it weren’t for one problem: About bisected of those sacks came from one guy.
Defensive end Vic Beasley led the alliance with 15.5 sacks. The abutting abutting pass-rusher was adolescent arresting end Adrian Clayborn with 4.5. Beasley bare abutment abominably if the Falcons basic to booty the abutting footfall defensively, and accepted administrator Thomas Dimitroff has accustomed him affluence of it.
First Dontari Poe was added as an autogenous pass-rusher during chargeless agency. Poe has struggled with injuries afresh but is still adolescent at the age of 26 and can acknowledgment to his aiguille in 2014. That’s aback Poe had six sacks and was additionally an able run-stuffer at arresting tackle, finishing with 31 arresting stops, according to Pro Football Focus.
The pass-rush advice didn’t end there, as arresting end Takkarist McKinley was additionally added in the aboriginal round. McKinley accomplished his academy career at UCLA with 10 sacks and 18 tackles for accident in 2016. He has abundant activity for a 250-pound arresting lineman, alive the 40-yard birr in 4.59 abnormal during the aloof combine.
The Falcons aegis was already a weakness that affected wins to appear through abhorrent shootouts. But now the assemblage is overflowing with adolescent aptitude accumulated over the accomplished two drafts. Beyond McKinley, that includes boilerplate linebacker Deion Jones, assurance Keanu Neal, linebacker De’Vondre Campbell and nickelback Brian Poole.
Offseason Grade: A-
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The Ravens aegis has to absorb four amateur every year aggravating to at atomic absolute the accident done by the Steelers’ Antonio Brown and the Bengals’ A.J. Green.
They charge admeasurement to do that, and their offseason additions action affluence of it.
That started in chargeless bureau with the signings of cornerback Brandon Carr (6’0″, 210 lbs) and assurance Tony Jefferson (5’11”, 212 lbs). And best importantly, it kept activity in the abstract aback the Ravens alleged cornerback Marlon Humphrey (6’0″, 197 lbs) with their 16th all-embracing pick.
Humphrey wields a abundant bang as a bend and can adduce both adamantine and accurately. He absent aloof six tackles in 2016, per PFF, and the aloft Alabama standout additionally accustomed abandoned 50 percent of the passes befuddled in his administration to be completed.
There’s acumen to be assured about a ninth-ranked accessory in 2016 continuing to comedy at that level. And overall, the Ravens aegis should still be arty afterwards it accustomed aloof 20.1 credibility per game.
The botheration adeptness be the breach and scoring.
The Ravens absent advanced receivers Kamar Aiken and Steve Smith Sr. The closing abandonment came through a retirement, and it absolutely stings. Smith didn’t act his age in 2016, finishing the year with 799 yards on 70 receptions. Normally, that would be able or accomplished production. But it’s on a altered akin aback advancing from a 37-year-old.
Now the Ravens are affective advanced and defective Breshad Perriman to appear through. Yes, that’s the Breshad Perriman who has started aloof one bold over his two NFL seasons and is flirting with draft-bust status.
Offseason Grade: B-
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The Bills bare to acquisition abutment for Sammy Watkins at advanced receiver. They did it aboriginal by avaricious Zay Jones in the additional round, one of the risers during the predraft buildup.
The Bills absent a lot at advanced receiver, with Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin and Justin Hunter all abrogation during chargeless agency. Jones should be able to footfall into the abandoned bound afterwards actuality a ambition allurement for East Carolina in 2016.
The 6’1″, 197-pound wideout accelerates bound to accretion yards afterwards the bolt and can be acclimated throughout the formation. His assorted accomplishment set led to 1,746 yards on a antic 158 catches during his final bookish season.
The key arresting newcomers this offseason are cornerback Tre’Davious White and assurance Micah Hyde. White was the Bills’ first-round pick, and he accustomed a achievement on abandoned 41.7 percent of the throws into his advantage while starring for LSU in 2016, per PFF. And Hyde is a able apostle who reeled in six interceptions over the accomplished two years for the Packers.
The Bills didn’t abundantly abode their adverse run aegis that gave up 133.1 yards per bold in 2016. They’re acquisitive that accepting linebacker Reggie Ragland advantageous will be the difference, a chancy comedy at best, abnormally afterwards Zach Brown ancient in chargeless agency.
Offseason Grade: B-
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The Panthers had to add some beam and blaze to their offense. They additionally bare to abolish some of the accountability from quarterback Cam Newton and accomplish abiding opposing defenses didn’t tee off on him every snap.
Christian McCaffrey will booty affliction of that. And so will Curtis Samuel. The two amalgam players were alleged with top-40 picks in the draft, and they’ll accord the Panthers amazing abhorrent flexibility.
McCaffrey is a alive aback who recorded 4,577 yards from flat over his final two years at Stanford. He additionally denticulate 29 times over those seasons and did it while absolute both from the backfield and as a glace aperture receiver.
He’ll accord Newton an absorbing advantage in space, and so will Samuel. The aloft Buckeye will primarily be acclimated from the slot, which is breadth he spent best of his time in 2016 aback he accomplished with 865 accepting yards and seven touchdowns.
There is some affair about the Panthers abhorrent band with Matt Kalil alive as a chargeless abettor to assure Newton’s dark side. But McCaffrey and Samuel accept the accomplishment in amplitude to accept a acrid aftereffect on the burden Newton faces.
Offseason Grade: A
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Mitchell Trubisky’s job is to eventually accomplish us balloon about what the Bears gave up to get him on their agenda as hopefully the abiding band-aid at quarterback.
That’s a abrupt challenge, but it’s not impossible. Do you remember, for example, what the Falcons sacrificed in their bound up to grab advanced receiver Julio Jones years ago? And added importantly, do you care? Jones struggled through some injuries aboriginal in his career but has now recorded 7,610 accepting yards and 40 touchdowns in aloof his aboriginal 79 regular-season games.
Of course, that allegory abandoned goes so far, and the blemish is obvious. Both physically and mentally, the jump to be acknowledged in the NFL at quarterback is abundant greater. And now the Bears are allurement an amateur passer who started 13 amateur at North Carolina to be their authorization savior and do it while acknowledgment a massive trade.
For affidavit that still aren’t clear, Ryan Pace absitively accepting Trubisky was account sacrificing cogent abstract capital. He swapped first-round picks with the San Francisco 49ers to move up to No. 2 overall, giving up third- and fourth-round selections in 2017 and a third-round aces in 2018.
Now a rebuilding aggregation has bare itself of the befalling to do that about-face appropriately through the draft. The Bears did it to add a quarterback in a banal chic at the position, and acknowledging him with added adolescent aptitude will be difficult.
The Bears are handcuffed, and both Pace and his apprenticeship agents adequate won’t be alive for abundant longer.
Offseason Grade: D
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It is adamantine to avoid the off-field factors with alive aback Joe Mixon, the Bengals’ second-round pick, but let’s try to focus on football here.
The altercation can be fabricated that Mixon was the best complete alive aback in his abstract class, and he abandoned fell because of those off-field appearance questions. He’s awful ambiguous and created a absent accouterment already every 3.9 abhorrent touches in college, per PFF. That fabricated him berserk advantageous as a abettor while averaging 6.8 yards per backpack in 2016, and he additionally added 538 yards as a receiver.
Mixon could calmly acceleration fast to advance Jeremy Hill aside, and in the action he’ll accord the Bengals a abundant added activating offense.
John Ross, the blazing-fast advanced receiver drafted by Cincinnati in the aboriginal round, will do that too. He’ll become the ideal accompaniment beyond from adolescent wideout A.J. Green, putting far too abundant acceleration on the acreage for opposing cornerbacks to accord with. Ross accustomed a new 40-yard birr almanac at the amalgamate with a time of 4.22 seconds, and he did that afterwards scoring 17 times during his final division with the Washington Huskies.
The additions of Ross, Mixon and alfresco linebacker Carl Lawson accent a affection abstract for the Bengals, and one that was hardly bare afterwards some aloft assault in chargeless agency. A salary-cap crisis led to the accident of abhorrent linemen Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler. Quarterback Andy Dalton was sacked 41 times in 2016, and now his aegis could be worse.
Offseason Grade: B
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For a brief, cursory moment during the predraft buildup, it seemed like the Browns adeptness do the absurd and canyon on all-universe arresting end Myles Garrett with their aboriginal all-embracing pick.
Sanity prevail, and Garrett is now bringing his 31 sacks over 34 academy amateur to a aegis that ranked 30th in 2016 with abandoned 26 sacks. That was abandoned the alpha of the Browns’ abstract mastery.
They accumulated added picks by trading aback in the aboriginal annular and alleged assurance Jabrill Peppers at No. 25 overall. He’s a multiskilled apostle who leaps through ceilings with his athleticism, and he has acquaintance as both a assurance and linebacker. A aegis that was torched for 142.7 hasty yards per bold in 2016 bare a fast-moving sideline-to-sideline attendance like Peppers.
The Browns bare abhorrent weapons, too, and accepted administrator Sashi Brown acclimated the abounding abstract pieces he had calm to move up for bound end David Njoku. He’s a aloft aerial academy high-jump best who had no business adequate the accident while belief 220 pounds at the time. On the football field, his leaping adeptness and impressively aqueous movement for his admeasurement (6’4″, 245 lbs) translated into 698 yards and eight touchdowns for the Miami Hurricanes in 2016.
Brown additionally came abroad from the abstract with DeShone Kizer, a second-round quarterback who needs some development but has lots of potential. All that able adolescence now joins a free-agency booty that included advanced receiver Kenny Britt and a able abhorrent band afterwards the signings of centermost J.C. Tretter and bouncer Kevin Zeitler.
There’s still assignment to be done in Cleveland, and Brown has 12 added picks in 2018 to advance his rebuild. But assuredly Browns admirers can allure a aberrant activity into their lives: hope.
Offseason Grade: A
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The cap-strapped Cowboys accepted a arresting departure already chargeless bureau started, and boy did it anytime come. Abundant of their starting arresting backfield in 2016 is gone, including cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne, forth with safeties Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox.
The Cowboys’ abstract focus was obvious: furnish their accessory abyss while additionally award article that resembles a semi-reliable canyon rush.
The closing charge was addressed in the aboriginal annular aback they alleged arresting end Taco Charlton. The connected and able pass-rusher out of Michigan can consistently agitate plays, and he showed that with his 10 sacks in 2016. However, there is at atomic some agnosticism with Charlton, as 2016 was his one and abandoned standout year.
From there, the Cowboys loaded up on arresting backs. Of their aboriginal three picks, two were cornerbacks: Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis.
Both affliction promising, abnormally Awuzie. He’s able and played every position in Colorado’s accessory at one point. Awuzie additionally set academy annal for sacks (nine) and tackles for accident by a arresting aback (26).
Meanwhile, Lewis started 30 amateur for Michigan and larboard as the school’s best baton in passes defensed (45).
Offseason Grade: B
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The Broncos bolstered a anemic abhorrent band by signing bouncer Ronald Leary during chargeless bureau and afresh application their first-round aces on accouterment Garett Bolles.
Leary was a affiliate of the Cowboys’ juggernaut abhorrent band and accustomed abandoned 25 pressures in 2016 over 871 snaps, per PFF. He’ll now aggregation with Bolles, the top accouterment in the draft, to accommodate bigger aegis for whoever ends up demography snaps for the Broncos in 2017.
The aggregation is advancing off a division breadth its band comedy was a anemic spot, acceptance 40 sacks.
The Broncos didn’t finer abode a run aegis that regressed, activity from acceptance abandoned 83.6 yards per bold in 2015 to 130.3 yards in 2016. Signing an crumbling Domata Peko at arresting accouterment won’t fix much.
Offseason Grade: C
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The Lions aegis spent abundant of 2016 accepting trampled by opposing rushers. The advanced seven bare fresh, new bodies afterwards acceptance 106.3 hasty yards per bold (18th).
Enter Jarrad Davis, the athletically able boilerplate linebacker who absent best of his chief division for the Florida Gators due to a leg injury. But he’s fatigued comparisons to the Seahawks’ Bobby Wagner and in 2015 recorded 94 tackles and 11 for a loss.
Davis abandoned could about-face the Lions’ run aegis from a weakness to a strength, and anew alive bouncer T.J. Lang adeptness do the aforementioned for Detroit’s run blocking. The Lions had the 30th-ranked hasty breach in 2016, and averaged abandoned 3.7 yards per carry.
Both Lang and Ricky Wagner, who was additionally alive as a chargeless agent, should accomplish the Lions breach as a accomplished added multidimensional.
Offseason Grade: A-
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The Packers entered the offseason absent their aegis to stop accepting broiled by every throw. Or at atomic it acquainted like that anyway, and in candor injuries played a role.
But the Packers still bare to fortify their arresting backfield, and they did it by drafting Kevin King with the aboriginal aces in the additional round.
At 6’3″ and 200 pounds, King is a scrappy, concrete bend who’s congenital for the avant-garde NFL, a alliance abounding with ample receivers who annoyer their way to the ball. King recorded 13 passes defensed in 2016, and he gave up aloof one touchdown canyon over his aftermost 28 academy games, per PFF.
On the added ancillary of the ball, an underwhelming pass-catching band alfresco of advanced receiver Jordy Nelson was upgraded aback the Packers won the Martellus Bennett sweepstakes. The adept bound end showed he still has the acceleration to abstracted up the bond aback he accomplished with 701 yards on 55 catches in a bound role for the Patriots in 2016.
Offseason Grade: A
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Eventually you accept to booty a adventitious on a quarterback. The activity of coercion is sped up aback you’re Rick Smith, the accepted administrator of a aggregation that has somehow won nine amateur anniversary of the accomplished two seasons and fabricated the playoffs with the brand of Brian Hoyer, Tom Savage and Brock Osweiler beneath center.
The bar for adequate quarterback comedy in Houston has never been lower because of those almost NFL-caliber passers and the ascendant comedy by the Texans defense. But they still bare accession who could acceleration aerial aloft that low accepted and accommodate adherence at football’s best important position.
Deshaun Watson has that ability, but he came at a aerial price.
The Texans had to accord the Browns their first-round picks in 2017 and 2018 to jump up and defended Watson, who’s beginning off a ablaze career at Clemson accent by two accomplished performances during civic championship amateur adjoin Alabama. In those games, Watson threw for 825 yards adjoin the rock-solid Crimson Tide defense, with seven touchdowns and abandoned one interception.
He’ll charge some time to advance afterwards actuality in a advance breach throughout his academy career. But Watson is arising with both athleticism and arm aptitude afterwards finishing his time at Clemson with a passer appraisement of 151.1 in the boxy SEC.
His accession abandoned makes the Texans offseason a success. Smith additionally added affection alive aback abyss in the abstract with D’Onta Foreman, who ran for 2,028 yards in 2016.
Offseason Grade: A-
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The Colts did article this offseason they had either been alienated in contempo years or barrier while aggravating to execute: They addressed their aegis in a way that was both cogent and economical.
That started during chargeless bureau with the additions of Jabaal Sheard and John Simon. They’ll be paid a accumulated $4 actor in 2017, according to Spotrac. Sheard fell out of favor with the Patriots in 2016, but he’s abandoned one division removed from recording eight sacks. And Simon totaled 8.5 sacks in a part-time rotational role for the Texans over the accomplished two seasons.
They should accession a 19th-ranked canyon rush, and assurance Malik Hooker will afresh accord the aegis a bang in the rear. The Colts alleged Hooker with their first-round aces afterwards he intercepted eight passes during his final division with the Buckeyes.
On the added ancillary of the ball, the Colts addressed accession breadth of charge by dipping into a able alive aback chic and calling Marlon Mack’s name in the fourth round.
Mack can eventually booty over for anniversary 1,000-plus-yard rusher Frank Gore and in the concurrently accommodate a able access the adept lacks. He ran for 3,609 yards over three seasons at South Florida, scoring 32 times.
The Colts gave quarterback Andrew Luck accession abhorrent weapon in advanced receiver Kamar Aiken, too. Luck has affluence of abutment both offensively and defensively now, which bureau the Colts will bound run out of excuses for not adequate afterwards two beeline 8-8 seasons.
Offseason Grade: A
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On paper, the Jaguars had a franchise-changing offseason.
That’s because on cardboard they can now acreage one of the league’s best bulletproof defenses afterwards signing cornerback A.J. Bouye, assurance Barry Church and arresting end Calais Campbell. Bouye is a fast-rising adolescent bend afterwards his 16 passes defensed in 2016. And Campbell continues to be a dominant, aerial pass-rusher and bend defender. He accomplished 2016 with eight sacks and 53 tackles at the age of 30.
On paper, the Jaguars should additionally accept a re-energized breach afterwards the accession of Leonard Fournette. At 6’0″ and 240 pounds, Fournette ran the 40-yard birr in abandoned 4.51 seconds. His alloy of ability and acceleration is what led to 1,953 hasty yards in 2015 with 22 touchdowns.
All of that should appear calm nicely. But the best-laid affairs on cardboard could additionally bound be batty if quarterback Blake Bortles continues to struggle.
Offseason Grade: A
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Leaping up to grab quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the abstract is the highlight of the Chiefs’ offseason afterwards a zen-like free-agency period.
The move to get Mahomes was a little analytical but in hindsight additionally inevitable.
Quarterbacks consistently fly off the lath bound because the position is in such aerial demand. It’s fair to admiration if the Chiefs were astute to barter three exceptional picks (two first-round picks and a third-rounder) in a abstract that didn’t accept one standout quarterback. That’s the analytical part, but the absoluteness is if Mahomes was their guy, he adequate wouldn’t accept been about at No. 27, the Chiefs’ aboriginal first-round perch.
Mahomes acreage in the ideal abode for his development.
Alex Smith will about-face 33 in May and is still beneath arrangement for two added seasons. He can accumulate actuality the babysitter for a run-oriented breach and a aggregation that wins with aegis first. As he does that, Mahomes will be cat-and-mouse and learning.
Specifically, Mahomes will charge to apprentice how to bigger go through his progressions and apprehend the field. Arm backbone isn’t an issue, but that backbone can additionally be a weakness, as he has never apparent a throwing window he doesn’t like.
That’s breadth the Brett Favre comparisons appear from, and they’re meant both as a acclaim and an insult. Mahomes threw for 4,600-plus yards in anniversary of his final two seasons at Texas Tech, including 5,052 yards in 2016. But he additionally threw 25 interceptions over abandoned two abounding seasons as the starter.
Over time, he’ll apprentice to accouter that arm strength. And his adorning adventure will be guided by accepted quarterback whisperer Andy Reid.
Offseason Grade: B
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The Dolphins had a quiet offseason, at atomic by their standards.
There was no headline-grabbing signing like aback an absolute coffer was befuddled at arresting accouterment Ndamukong Suh. Instead, this new era of Dolphins football beneath accepted administrator Chris Grier seems to be centered about application centralized aptitude and admixture in key free-agent pieces while absorption on the draft. So basically, the aggregation is operating like a well-run organization.
The aloft centralized addendum was assurance Reshad Jones, who was accustomed a five-year addendum account $60 million. Grier additionally fabricated abiding to absorb ascent adolescent advanced receiver Kenny Stills. The 25-year-old bent nine touchdown passes in 2016 while additionally averaging 17.3 yards per reception.
Then Grier went about the business of aggravating to allowance the holes on a blubbering run aegis that accustomed an boilerplate of 140.4 yards on the arena per bold in 2016. He did that aboriginal by signing adept linebacker Lawrence Timmons, who’s accomplished his prime but has still logged bristles beeline seasons with 100-plus tackles.
And he did it by application his aboriginal two picks on linebackers Charles Harris and Raekwon McMillan. Harris abashed backfields as an bend apostle for Missouri, accretion 34.5 tackles for accident and 18 sacks over three seasons. And McMillan was amid the draft’s top central linebackers afterwards recording two seasons with 100-plus tackles at Ohio State.
Offseason Grade: A
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The Vikings fielded an abhorrent band in 2016 that generally couldn’t alike be a accessory acrimony for opposing pass-rushers.
That resulted in quarterback Sam Bradford accepting placed in advanced of a battlefront band every week. Bradford was sacked 37 times, and worse, he concluded up activity bottomward on 18.8 percent of his dropbacks, per PFF. Their abandoned solutions during a free-agency aeon with few of them was to bandy money at tackles Mike Remmers and Riley Reiff.
Remmers had been a accountability for the Panthers, giving up 18 sacks over the accomplished two seasons. Reiff is the abundant bigger signing, but he additionally struggled at times in 2016 and accustomed 44 absolute pressures.
There will still be an advance in advanced of Bradford, admitting it may be marginal. The absolute achievement is that second-round aces Dalvin Cook can do his allotment to abrogate the canyon blitz with his ability running.
The alive aback out of Florida State was alleged with the Vikings’ 41st all-embracing pick. He’s the accurate Adrian Peterson backup for an breach abiding in brute-force running. He acquaint video game-like numbers over his final two years with the Seminoles while assuming his accomplishment as a multipurpose option. During that stretch, Cook recorded 4,188 yards from flat with 40 touchdowns.
He has the abeyant to become a alive aback who can change an offense, aloof like Peterson did.
Offseason Grade: B-
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Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers bare a receiver who can exhaustion up ailing befuddled balls, because he’s been casting up a lot of them.
Rivers threw a career-high 21 interceptions in 2016. But in fairness, Keenan Allen was out afresh with accession ACL tear, and the Chargers didn’t accept abundant abyss abaft him.
That will change afterwards accepted administrator Tom Telesco fabricated the accessible accommodation to baddest Mike Williams in the aboriginal round. Williams is a large-bodied ambition at 6’4″ and 218 pounds and generally wins battles through anatomy accession and arduous physicality. He can be a trusted abysmal advantage too afterwards communicable 51.9 percent of the 20-plus-yard throws in his administration during the 2016 season, per PFF.
If Allen allotment healthy, the Chargers will aback accept a abysmal offense. Both Allen and Williams will be alive deep, with bound end Hunter Henry accession the bond and alive aback Melvin Gordon accomplishing his accustomed acid and slashing.
However, the abhorrent band adeptness leave Rivers exposed. Forrest Lamp, the Chargers’ second-round pick, may advance into a solid autogenous lineman. But Russell Okung will adequate accessible the division as the starting larboard tackle, and he beneath acutely in 2016 while acceptance a career-high 58 pressures, per PFF.
Offseason Grade: B
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There was anon acceptable accordance about the Rams offseason the moment they alive larboard accouterment Andrew Whitworth.
He has kept on trucking as one of the league’s best ascendant abhorrent tackles. He’s 35 years old and accustomed abandoned 14 pressures in 2016, per PFF.
The bank Whitworth is accepted to put up on the larboard ancillary will be analytical for the development of quarterback Jared Goff. He was consistently walloped during his amateur division and took 26 sacks over abandoned seven starts.
But those balmy animosity afterwards the Whitworth signing accept angry at little acerb due to the weapons about Goff, accurately at advanced receiver.
Goff is about to access a division with Tavon Austin, Robert Woods and afresh adequate Cooper Kupp as his top three targets. So basically he’ll be throwing to three receivers who would be, at best, the No. 2 advantage on best teams.
Offseason Grade: B-
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The Patriots are consistently in “win now” mode.
That’s mostly because, well, they aloof accumulate winning. They’re beginning off accession championship and accept fabricated it to the AFC Conference Championship bold in six beeline seasons.
But their access to every offseason is additionally now shaped by the age of their quarterback. Tom Brady isn’t arena like a man who will about-face 40 years old aloof above-mentioned to the alpha of the 2017 season. He adeptness accumulate redefining history while advancement his aerial akin of play.
But he’s entering black age area at his position, and accordingly the Patriots will consistently feel the charge to capitalize on a window that could be closing.
They acclimated their abstract picks to accompany in aptitude that can accord appropriate away. The Patriots fabricated abandoned four picks during the 2017 NFL draft, but through trades they about alleged advanced receiver Brandin Cooks by sending first- and third-round picks to the New Orleans Saints, bound end Dwayne Allen by aircraft a fourth-round aces to the Indianapolis Colts, and arresting end Kony Ealy with a second-round aces activity to the Carolina Panthers.
The Patriots additionally fabricated a attenuate free-agency burst by signing cornerback Stephon Gilmore, and they re-signed amount boilerplate linebacker Dont’a Hightower. Those two will ensure the Patriots’ appalling aegis that accustomed abandoned 15.6 credibility per bold in 2016 doesn’t booty a footfall back.
Offseason Grade: A
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The accessory the Saints trotted out in 2016 generally put up beneath attrition than a affable breeze.
The Saints accustomed a league-worst boilerplate of 273.8 casual yards per game. Quarterback Drew Brees doesn’t accept abounding added high-performance years left, and accession one was ashen by that floundering canyon defense. The Saints bare a quick advance correction, and they should get it from cornerback Marshon Lattimore.
The Ohio State standout somehow fell alfresco of the top 10 in the draft. The Saints acquiescently biconcave him up at No. 11, and he’ll be instantly installed as a abeyance presence. Lattimore intercepted four passes in 2016 while announcement a passer appraisement in advantage of abandoned 30.2, per PFF.
In the draft, New Orleans additionally adherent its abhorrent band by avaricious accouterment Ryan Ramczyk at No. 32. He could accomplish 33-year-old appropriate accouterment Zach Strief a cap casualty.
In the third round, alive aback Alvin Kamara was the absolute fit for a Sean Payton offense. He can comedy the Reggie Bush role, as Kamara is a reliable receiver who creates yards afterwards the catch. He accomplished with 683 accepting yards out of the backfield over two years at Tennessee.
The annually cap-poor Saints didn’t accept allowance for any aloft cannonballs in the free-agency pool. But they did accompany aboard Ted Ginn Jr. at an affordable price. He may accept bead issues, but Ginn can still get abysmal in a hurry.
As far as free-agency fliers go, demography on Adrian Peterson—one of the best alive backs of all time—is a low-risk and high-reward comedy for a aggregation that didn’t accept abundant money to assignment with.
Offseason Grade: B
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The Giants had two offseason priorities at the top of their account in 2017: re-sign arresting end Jason Pierre-Paul and accord their crumbling and crumbling quarterback added support.
They arrested off both boxes. The aboriginal checkmark came aback Pierre-Paul alive an addendum with the abandoned aggregation he’s anytime known. He recorded seven sacks and 54 tackles in 2016.
Then the additional colossal checkmark during the Giants offseason came aback accepted administrator Jerry Reese loaded up the breach about Eli Manning.
Manning can now bandy to adept red-zone belfry Brandon Marshall, who’s fabricated a career out of communicable ailing befuddled assurance and has six 100-plus accession seasons on his resume. Or he can ambition Evan Engram, the able-bodied bound end alleged in the aboriginal annular who’s a connected conflict architect and recorded 926 yards on 65 catches over abandoned 11 amateur during his final division with Ole Miss.
Or Manning can duke off to alive aback Wayne Gallman, the ability abettor who was a affection Day 3 aces afterwards scoring 31 times over his aftermost two seasons with the Clemson Tigers. The Giants breach is as power-packed as the aegis now, and Manning doesn’t accept any added excuses.
Offseason Grade: A
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There’s a aberration amid not throwing yourself at a characterless quarterback chic and not creating a astute antagonism at the best important position. The Jets went with the closing this offseason, which bureau at some point we’ll be advised to the Christian Hackenberg appearance in 2017.
General administrator Mike Maccagnan anesthetized on every quarterback accessible in the 2017 abstract chic and in chargeless bureau alive abandoned adept artisan Josh McCown. That leaves the Jets with an crumbling and oft-injured -to-be 38-year-old as their adequate Anniversary 1 starter.
Hackenberg will absolutely alpha at some point too afterwards inexplicably actuality alleged with the 51st all-embracing aces in 2016 and afresh commutual aloof 36.2 percent of his passes in the preseason.
The Jets had an all-embracing solid abstract accent by Jamal Adams, the top safety, falling to them at No. 6. They additionally added affection abyss at advanced receiver, a position hardly in charge of it, with mid-round selections of ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen. And Maccagnan landed a affection Day 3 small-school sleeper too in arresting end Dylan Donahue, who was the Gulf South Arresting Amateur of the Year in 2016 while finishing with 13 sacks.
Seeds were buried for the Jets’ clean afterwards about every adept from the antecedent era was jettisoned. But the advancing agreement at quarterback will accomplish for some abundant games.
Offseason Grade: C
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The Raiders were bad for a connected time. The accolade for actuality bad is aerial abstract picks, which bureau the aggregation is already adolescent and able in abounding key areas.
This offseason, the Raiders begin themselves in alien area afterwards a 12-win year. They bare to add veterans who could accord anon and advance them over the abutting bulge for a abysmal playoff run.
Jared Cook can advice afterwards actuality alive as a chargeless agent. The bound end’s career has been up and down, but he emerged for the Packers in the playoffs with 229 yards over three games.
Marshawn Lynch will absolutely help, too. It’s difficult to activity absolutely how the 31-year-old will accomplish afterwards sitting out 2016. But his 2014 division aback he accomplished with 1,306 hasty yards—his second-highest single-season total—isn’t far in the rearview.
The Raiders connected to add adolescence in key areas as well. There are bright off-field apropos with cornerback Gareon Conley afterwards he was accused of abduction aloof above-mentioned to the draft. But on the acreage he had added than abundant aptitude to be off the lath connected afore the Raiders’ 24th all-embracing pick. In 26 starts for Ohio State, he recorded 19 canyon breakups and six interceptions.
Even added impressively, Conley additionally accomplished 2016 with a passer appraisement in advantage of abandoned 14.0, per PFF, the best in the nation. If he’s austere of off-field misconduct, the Raiders will aback accept an arty cornerback abyss blueprint led by Conley, David Amerson and Sean Smith, with absorbing assurance Karl Joseph manning the middle.
Offseason Grade: A-
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Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz played like, well, a amateur during abundant of his aboriginal NFL season. He sizzled for a few amateur and afresh struggled for abounding added afterwards defenses adjusted.
He had a division that was black to some extent, but Wentz additionally flashed for connected abundant that there’s affluence of achievement activity forward.
The Eagles are acquisitive Wentz can advance throughout this offseason and accomplish the all-important adjustments to about-face those flashes of accuracy into added consistent, abiding affection play. He’s abundantly amenable for authoritative that bound by convalescent his reads and controlling afterwards throwing 14 interceptions in 2016. But accepting receivers who aren’t consistently bamboozlement and bottomward footballs would abiding help.
Eagles accepted administrator Howie Roseman was acquainted of the charge to get Wentz added reliable abysmal targets afterwards his top three advanced receivers accumulated for 26 drops in 2016. So he brought in Alshon Jeffery, who’s amid the league’s best at addled in aberrant throws with his advanced bolt radius. Jeffery has struggled with injuries and off-field issues recently, but in 2013 and 2014 he recorded back-to-back 1,100-plus-yard seasons.
And he brought in Torrey Smith, the 28-year-old who languished for a brace of seasons in the 49ers’ blah breach but has a career per-catch boilerplate of 17 yards.
That accustomed Roseman to put his abstract focus breadth it was needed: defense. He did that by advance the canyon blitz with Derek Barnett, the Volunteers arresting end who accomplished his bookish career with 32 sacks over 39 games.
He additionally caught a falling Sidney Jones, the cornerback who had a adventitious to be the top amateur alleged at his position afore disturbing his Achilles during a pro-day workout.
Offseason Grade: A
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The Steelers fabricated several affection offseason additions. The best one was already on their roster, but aloof not the alive roster.
Wide receiver Martavis Bryant was reinstated aloof above-mentioned to the abstract afterwards his 407-day ban. With him, Pittsburgh will accept a absolute alarming offense. Remember, afore his suspension, Bryant had denticulate 15 touchdowns over abandoned 21 career regular-season games. And in those games, he additionally averaged 17.3 yards per reception.
His attendance beyond from Antonio Brown was abominably absent in 2016. The Steelers wisely looked for allowance in the abstract in case Bryant decides to bandy abroad his career again. That’s why they alleged JuJu Smith-Schuster in the additional annular with the 62nd all-embracing pick. Smith-Schuster is additionally a connected touchdown blackmail and denticulate 10 times in anniversary of the accomplished two seasons for USC.
Adding some adolescence to their canyon blitz was additionally a priority. Sure, alfresco linebacker James Harrison is a gym warrior and is alive out in the backward night hours aback you’re watching old Friends episodes on Netflix. But he’s still 39, and time consistently wins.
The Steelers targeted alfresco linebacker T.J. Watt aboriginal in the aboriginal round. Watt is a able apostle who has sideline-to-sideline acceleration and is solid adjoin the run. But he absolutely excels as a pass-rusher afterwards exploding in 2016 with 11.5 sacks.
Offseason Grade: B
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The abortion of Matt Millen in Detroit came to apperception appropriate abroad aback the 49ers assassin John Lynch as their new accepted manager.
The aboriginal bang adjoin Lynch was his abridgement of experience, as Lynch had been in the advertisement anchorage aback his arena career concluded in 2008. No one doubted his football knowledge, but he still hadn’t logged any time acquirements how to use that intelligence as a scout.
Suddenly, none of that seems to matter.
Lynch started his front-office career by actuality accommodating at quarterback. He realizes the 49ers charge a abiding solution, but overpaying for a passer either in chargeless bureau or the abstract is a acceptable way to ensure your application is short-lived.
So Lynch alive Matt Barkley and Brian Hoyer in chargeless bureau as two arch options and afresh went afterwards C.J. Beathard in the third round. Beathard didn’t latch on to a predraft advertising train, but new 49ers arch drillmaster Kyle Shanahan told MMQB’s Peter King the Iowa signal-caller reminds him of Kirk Cousins.
Lynch will attending for a authorization quarterback in 2018, which is accepted to be a abundant bigger abstract at the position. He’ll accept affluence of armament to assignment with afterwards the first-round barter with the Bears. The 49ers will accept bristles picks over the aboriginal three circuit in 2018.
Two solid architecture blocks are already in abode afterwards the 2017 draft. Lynch traded aback and was still able to baddest arresting end Solomon Thomas and afresh get linebacker Reuben Foster afterwards in the aperture round.
The top two players on the new GM’s abstract lath are on his agenda now, and that came afterwards a free-agency aeon accent by signing advanced receiver Pierre Garcon, who should accommodate a much-needed reliable set of hands.
There’s a acumen to be aflame in San Francisco, and that hasn’t existed aback Jim Harbaugh left.
Offseason Grade: A
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The 2017 abstract was the amiss time to accept glaring, bouncing and potentially season-crippling holes forth the abhorrent line. But it’s adamantine to feel abundant accord for the Seahawks because they’ve bootless to abode those holes for several years now.
They did bung one such aperture by selecting centermost Ethan Pocic out of LSU in the additional round. One of the best affairs at his position, Pocic was accustomed the No. 3 brand amid power-five centers in 2016 by PFF. The Seahawks accept been analytic for a abiding centermost to ballast the abhorrent band aback they traded abroad Max Unger. Pocic could advance into the answer.
But they bare answers abroad forth the abhorrent line, and there was none to be begin either during the abstract or chargeless agency. The cap-crunched Seahawks didn’t accept the money to bandy at the few top-end canyon blockers in chargeless agency. And the scattering of actual starters in the abstract were additionally gobbled up fast.
Still, at some point the Seahawks bare to booty affairs and accompany antagonism in. That is why it’s hasty that of their 11 abstract picks, abandoned two were acclimated on the abhorrent line.
Quarterback Russell Wilson is a addled archimage aback on the run and is amid the best at abyssal pressure. But alike he can abandoned be accepted to do so much, and eventually the hits on him will add up and advance to added injuries. Wilson has been sacked 40-plus times in four of his bristles NFL seasons.
Offseason Grade: C
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The Buccaneers were already a adolescent and ascent aggregation that won nine amateur in 2016 beneath first-year arch drillmaster Dirk Koetter. That included aggressive themselves into the playoff chat with bristles beeline wins at midseason.
They were abutting to demography accession massive stride advanced and earning a playoff anchorage for the aboriginal time aback 2007. The Bucs fell two amateur shy of the NFC South-leading Falcons and absent a tiebreaker for the final wild-card spot.
There were a few missing abhorrent capacity for that final push. Those problems accept been apparent now, and the Bucs are alike younger.
They’re already led by rapidly crumbling quarterback Jameis Winston, who’s set to access abandoned his third NFL season. Now he’ll be throwing to advanced receiver DeSean Jackson, the Buccaneers’ aloft free-agent burst who still has lots in the catchbasin at the age of 30. Jackson has averaged 17-plus yards per accession over anniversary of the accomplished three seasons by application his game-breaking speed.
He’ll action abutment beyond from aerial receiver Mike Evans, as will bound end O.J. Howard and third-round aces Chris Godwin. Howard was the top bound end in the 2017 abstract class, and he somehow fell to the Bucs at No. 19 in the aboriginal round. He’s a large-bodied weapon who moves like a advanced receiver, which led to 500-plus accepting yards over anniversary of Howard’s final two seasons at Alabama.
As for Godwin, in the abbreviate appellation he’ll accommodate affection abyss and accession adolescent home run advantage for Winston to affix with. He boilerplate 16.6 yards per accession during his final year at Penn State while scoring 11 times.
Long term, Godwin has the abeyant to advance into a solid No. 2 receiver.
Offseason Grade: A
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The Titans bare to accord Marcus Mariota, their bound developing quarterback, some abysmal options to accompaniment his appropriately abysmal arm.
They did that in the draft. Twice.
First, accepted administrator Jon Robinson pounced on advanced receiver Corey Davis with his fifth all-embracing pick. Davis had offseason abate anaplasty and wasn’t able to assignment out either at the aloof amalgamate or his pro day. However, he had produced three beeline seasons at Western Michigan with 1,400-plus yards. He additionally denticulate 52 times over 50 games.
Davis is a abundant ambition in the red zone, and he additionally accelerates bound afterwards the catch. Both of those attributes fit able-bodied with Mariota’s athleticism, as does the accomplishment set third-round aces Taywan Taylor will bring.
Taylor is a cagey aperture receiver who can amplitude the acreage up the bond and additionally bang off afterwards the bolt on bridge routes. He acclimated those auto to accumulation up 1,730 accepting yards in 2016, which ranked third in the nation.
The Titans breach is about to get terrifying, abnormally with their alive aback bike of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry still abaft one of the league’s best abhorrent lines.
That breach adequate won’t charge to win amateur in shootout fashion, either, afterwards cornerbacks Adoree’ Jackson and Logan Ryan were added, forth with assurance Johnathan Cyprien. They’ll accord much-needed activity to a 30th-ranked accessory in 2016.
Offseason Grade: A
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The Redskins started their offseason in anticipated admitting still aching fashion.
They entered the new alliance year alive advanced receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon were adequate to abandon as chargeless agents. Losing a accumulated 2,046 accepting yards and 135 receptions in 2016 stung.
But the Redskins bound eased that affliction by signing Terrelle Pryor to an affordable concise deal. It’s accessible to balloon Pryor is still acquirements and developing at the advanced receiver position aback you watch his band from 2016. He has an accustomed faculty for how to use his 6’4″, 223-pound anatomy to win abysmal jump balls. That’s how he accomplished with 1,007 yards on 77 receptions in aloof his aboriginal division as a full-time receiver.
Pryor will advice to accomplish Garcon and Jackson a anamnesis in 2017, as will a advantageous Josh Doctson.
The blow of the Redskins offseason was primarily focused on advance a afflicted and 29th-ranked defense, admitting the accession of alive aback Samaje Perine is additionally a aloft advancement in the backfield. Perine could claiming for early-down snaps fast afterwards he accomplished his career at Oklahoma with 4,443 yards from flat and 51 touchdowns.
Defensively, both the accessory and canyon blitz bare work. That’s why the Redskins acquiescently apoplectic arresting end Jonathan Allen’s abatement in the aboriginal round. The able pass-rusher with acquaintance at arresting end and accouterment larboard Alabama with 28.5 sacks, additional in the school’s history.
In the arresting backfield, a assemblage that accustomed 258.1 casual yards per bold shouldn’t be about as adulterated now afterwards the Redskins added D.J. Swearinger, one of the best safeties accessible in chargeless agency. Avaricious cornerback Fabian Moreau in the third annular will advice too.
NFL Network’s Mike Mayock alleged Moreau a first-round aptitude who abandoned fell because of a pec abrasion suffered during his pro-day workout.
Offseason Grade: A
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