The Ultimate NFL Draft First Round Review

By: Michael Markoch

The NFL Draft is quite a spectacle for football fans. It is the NFL’s version of Christmas, where organizations can select new players for their rosters. And this year, more than ever, fans around the world need this draft, we all need live sports right now, and this is as close as we are going to get to that in these difficult times. Last night was the first round, 32 picks, 32 players, together at home making dreams come true, so let us break down what we saw last night and then mention some winners, losers, and surprises.

The first ever virtual draft went as smoothly as the NFL could have imagined. And for the teams picking at the top, it seemed easy. The Bengals confirmed the worst kept secret ever and took LSU’s Joe Burrow and the Redskins selected Ohio State’s Chase Young, who was arguably the best overall player in the draft.

The most interesting part of the first round was the number of positional runs that occurred. In the middle portion of the round, we saw huge runs on offensive lineman, cornerbacks, and a massive run on wide receivers, who are highly coveted this year, beginning with Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III going 12th overall to the Las Vegas Raiders.

The back part of the draft went as expected, teams filling needs with players they had high on their board, no matter if people knew the name or not.  The Tennessee Titans took Georgia’s Isaiah Wilson with the 29th pick, making him the second Georgia offensive lineman taken in the first round.  The Seahawks made a first-round pick for the first time in 8 years and took Texas Tech’s Jordyn Brooks over higher rated players such as Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison.  The first round ended with the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs selection LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

But now for the fun stuff, because there were some huge winners and losers and of course some major surprises.

Winners

#1- Miami Dolphins: With three first round picks, the Dolphins were in great position to add some great talent to their team, and it started with the 5th pick. The Dolphins did not draft scared, they took Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa to be their franchise quarterback despite his injury concerns and selected USC’s Austin Jackson, who is a very raw offensive line talent. You cannot get better in this league without taking risk, and Tagovailoa is one, but he was the right pick for this organization, and they didn’t overthink it, took him, and did not look back.  The Dolphins finished their first round by taking Auburn cornerback Noah Igbinoghene with pick number 30.

#2- Cleveland Browns: The draft could not have shaken out any better for the Cleveland Browns. Their most glaring need was left tackle and because only one tackle was taken in the top 9, they basically had their choice of the pack and they got the guy they wanted in Alabama’s Jedrick Wills Jr. Wills played right tackle at Alabama but played left tackle in high school and should be able to make a smooth transition to the left side for the Browns.  With this pick, the Browns have no more excuses, they officially have it all, especially on offense. But because they shored up their biggest need with the guy they wanted all along, they are big winners after Round 1.

#3- San Francisco 49ers: Talk about the rich getting richer, the 49ers traded DeForest Buckner for the 13th pick, which they turned into his replacement with South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw at 14 after trading with Tampa Bay. Kinlaw will make an immediate impact on their defensive line and fill in for Bucker nicely, while also being a lot cheaper. Then later, the Niners traded up to 25th overall to get Brandon Aiyuk, an athletic freak at wide receiver who will help the 49ers greatly in the pass-catching department.

Losers

#1- New England Patriots- The Patriots traded out of the first round, so how can they be losers? Well, whether the Patriots want to admit it or not, they have holes all over their roster, not just at quarterback.  They could have used the 23rd pick on another position to simply make their team better, like a linebacker like Kenneth Murray or Patrick Queen, or a pass rusher like Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos. Instead, they just sound plain stubborn. They have 13 picks in the final six rounds, but due to their actions on Thursday night, they take an L this time around.

#2- Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons have glaring needs all over the defensive side of the ball, and it felt like they reached at pick 16 with Clemson’s A.J. Terrell. He is a very unpolished prospect that is going to need some development to really reach his full potential. I would’ve rather seen LSU’s Kristian Fulton or even a linebacker like Kenneth Murray or K’Lavon Chassion with their pick. It just did not feel right from the start and felt like a panic move due to the run on cornerbacks and seemed a bit high for where they were picking.

#3- Detroit Lions- They are certainly not losers because they took Jeff Okudah. Simply put, they did not want to take Okudah as high as they did. It was no secret Detroit wanted to move out of the number 3 spot, and they seemed to have suitors, but never got a deal done. The Lions need so much more help besides Okudah and the fact that they didn’t collect any more picks was a failure on their part.  I love the pick but I felt they could’ve had so much more on top of it, for that they are a loser.

Surprises

#1: Damon Arnette Goes in the First Round 

The Las Vegas Raiders stunned everyone when they selected Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette 19th overall.  Arnette had a high second round grade and was head-scratching to most because the Raiders probably could have gotten him in the second round.  There were probably more talented cornerbacks still on the board, but the Raiders showed that you should always go with your guy, no matter where you are picking.  Time will tell if it was a good pick for them.

#2: Packers Shock Everyone, Take Aaron Rodgers Successor…We Think?

The Packers traded up in the first round to select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love, and let us just say most people didn’t take it all that well.  Aaron Rodgers is only 36, ironically the same age as Brett Favre when the Packers took Rodgers as the succession plan, and is still playing at a high level, so why now?  What makes this pick even more surprising is that the Packers desperately need weapons on offense and there were plenty of those still on the board.  Now there is no guarantee they will be able to get one with their later picks. The Packers better hope Love is what they think he can be or else this is a all-time bust.

#3: Andrew Thomas Was the First Offensive Tackle Taken 

The Giants took Georgia’s Andrew Thomas with the number 4 overall pick. It’s not that the Giants took a tackle, but rather who that is surprising.  Thomas was not the highest rated lineman on most experts’ boards due to his balance issues in college.  It was a surprising pick considering it was expected Alabama’s Jedrick Wills Jr or Iowa’s Tristian Wirfs was going to be the first tackle selected.  Hopefully, Danny Dimes has the protection he needs to succeed.

#4: The Eagles Take Who? 

To say the Eagles needed a wide receiver is an incredible understatement.  Carson Wentz was throwing the college quarterbacks next season.  So with the 20th pick, the Eagles took a wide receiver, Jalen Reagor out of TCU.  When he was first drafted most asked who he was, because he had a 2nd round grade on most boards.  He’s a raw talent at receiver that has great potential, but it seemed the Eagles could have played it safer with LSU’s Justin Jefferson, who was still on the board, or Colorado’s Laviska Shenault Jr., who were more higher rated prospects.  But they took a chance on a player with high potential to change a receiving core that desperately needs it and proved that experts’ boards mean absolutely nothing in the NFL Draft.

Link between Hip-Hop and Sports

We have all heard the adage rappers want to be athletes and athletes want to be rappers.  A great example of this today is Toronto Raptors super fan and arguably one of the most successful rappers of this Generation is Drake. He can always be seen court-side at Raptors games.  When you see athletes today, they barrow fashion and mannerisms from the culture of Hip-Hop. The pioneer of this movement of bringing hip-hop culture into the sports world was. The National Basketball Association Hall of Famer, THE Answer Allen Iverson. A.I.  would come to the arena with long chains, earrings, and pieces of jewelry with the bagging pants, long t-shirts, and the fitted hats were all reminiscent of early 2000’s Hip-Hop fashion. Iverson’s impact on the basketball world became so prevalent that the NBA’s commissioner at the time David Stern Instituted a dress code outline of what players could wear to the games. This is why in today’s NBA many players are wearing suits and such things to the games.  Iverson’s influence has leaked into other professional leagues as well such as the National Football League. The NFL racial makeup is about 70% African American players in the league and the NBA is about 74%. This may be true because many of the athletes and rappers share the similar upbringing of impoverished neighborhoods and use their smart along with athletic ability to become the successful people they are today. Hip-Hop music is the soundtrack to many of these athletes’ lives because the music tells the story of a community of people of triumph and struggle. The rise in Hip-Hop as a mainstream genre of music and the popularity of the two biggest sports here in North America coincide with each other as The Rap music genre was taking off so was basketball with one of the most popular players of the 90’s Michael Jordan was winning his six championships in the NBA. Also, there was Prime-Time Deion Sanders who was the Iverson of the NFL with his gold chains and his flamboyant swagger. He would be seen and associated with one of the most successful Hip-Hop stars at the time MC Hammer. These two forms of entertainment however different in what they provide will be permanently linked to each other because of the connection and impact they have on the culture and society today.

By: Thomas Burton

AFC East and NFC East Offseason 2020

The National Football League off season is in full swing and with the draft right around the corner here is my breakdown of the offseason thus far and potential moves in the 2020 NFL draft.

 AFC East 

New England Patriots: 

The biggest free agency move in the National Football League was the loss of Tom Brady for the Patriots was Six-time Superbowl Champion Tom Brady and how will they move on and fill the void at the Quarterback position. The projected replacement is former Auburn Quarterback and former Fourth Round Draft pick, Jarrett Stidham. The Patriots have brought back and signed veteran Quarterback Brian Hoyer on a one-year deal. Hoyer will tutor and teach Stidham how to be a Quarterback at the pro level. Devin McCourty resigns with the team on a two-year deal. McCourty is still playing at a high level and is the defensive captain and leader in the secondary. He may be the new guy who will carry out the “Patriot way” while carrying the messages between coaches and players. Beau Allen is the replacement for Defensive Tackle Danny Shelton who moved on to the Detroit Lions on a two-year contract. He fits into the defensive system of a big-bodied Defensive tackle that will take up space during the early downs and will be taken off the field during pass-rush situations. Brandon Copeland, the Outside Linebacker, signs with the team and is seen as a guy who will compete and fill depth on the roster. He is a replacement for Kyle Van Noy who moved onto the Miami Dolphins and Jamie Collins who moved onto the Detroit Lions. Copeland is more effective when being used in pass-rush situations.

Draft needs:  Tight-end, linebacker, Offensive line, Wide receiver

The Patriots will select  Zack Baun, OLB, Wisconsin with the 23rd pick. He will replace Kyle Van Noy with his ability to get after the quarterback with 12.5 sacks and be versatile in the front-seven.  

Buffalo Bills:


The biggest free agent move for the Bills is the acquisition of star Wide-out Stefon Diggs from the Minnesota Vikings via trade. This pick up gives the Bills the number one receiver they have been looking for to add more punch to their offense and help the development of third-year Quarterback Josh Allen. Quinton Spain signs a 3-year deal that will bring back all five starters who will protect Josh Allen. E.J. Gaines and who will add more depth on the outside to help their excellent young corner Tre’Davious White. Josh Norman had his most productive years in Carolina under Sean McDermott as the Panthers Defensive Coordinator who is now the Bills Head Coach. Mario Addison replaces Shaq Lawson who is now a Miami Dolphin. His 9.5 sacks would have tied the lead for sacks in Buffalo last season. Quinton Jefferson signs a 2-year deal. He adds a championship pedigree with his time in Seattle. He also adds versatility with his ability to play defensive tackle and defensive end.  

Draft needs:  Edge rusher, Wide-receiver 

Chase Claypool WR, Notre Dame will add a red zone threat and a big body receiver for Josh Allen. The Bills have many downfield threats with Stefon Diggs but not a receiver who can get you those 50/50 balls. 

New York Jets:

The Jets make a tremendous investment in protecting Quarterback Sam Darnold with the acquisition of George Fant an offensive tackle on a three-year, $30 million deal, Connor McGovern a center who was a 3-year starter in Denver on a 3- year deal worth up to $27 million, and Guard Greg Van Roten on a 3-year deal who is a former Panther. Pierre Desir signs a one-year deal he offers a starting-caliber Cornerback with the releasing of former starters Trumaine Johnson and Darryl Roberts. They also retain Brian Poole for a one- year as their slot corner which in today’s league is a starting position. Also, Poole played 68% of snaps on the Jets Defense last season which was the most by any other corner on the roster. 

Draft needs: Wide-receiver,  offensive-tackle  

Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama will give Sam Darnold the number one receiver he needs to help allow him to take that next step and add some punch to an offense that needs more playmakers on the outside with the loss of Roby Anderson. 

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins have made big moves in improving their defense based on versatility and fit with the headliner of these moves former Cowboys Cornerback Byron Jones who is now the league’s highest-paid corner thanks to the fins. Jones led the NFL in the percentage of targets into tight windows at 50%. He also fits the defensive scheme of Head coach Brian Flores who loves to play man to man. The Dolphins defense will have two stud Cornerbacks with the pairing of Xavien Howard. Kyle Van Noy joins his former defensive coordinator from his days in New England on a 4-year 51-million dollar contract. Van Noy’s versatility will be used as a linebacker and as an edge rusher. He also can help cultivate the new culture that the Dolphins started building on at the end of last season. Shaq Lawson signed on a 3-year deal worth 30 Million Dollars the dolphins had no pass rush last year Lawsonn’s 6.5 sacks would have led a team who had only 23 sacks combined all of last season. Also, he could help in run defense. Emmanuel Ogbah is another mid-tier free agent who can add a punch off the edge and against the run and only on a two-year contract worth 15 Million. Jordan Howard Signs a two-year deal. The Runningback will immediately improve the leagues worth rushing attack. Howard who is only 25 years old has shown the ability to be very productive with his time as a Chicago Bear and Philadelphia Eagles. Howard has the third most rush yards and the seventh most rush TDs since entering the NFL in 2016. 

Draft needs: Quarterback, Safety, offensive-line, Wide-receiver

Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon will be the future signal-caller with his prototypical size and a big arm. Miami will also select Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama who has the versatility and will step into to replace Minkah Fitzpatrick and add to the defensive overhaul that Miami had during Free Agency.  

NFC East 

 Philadelphia Eagles

Javon Hargrave signed a three-year deal worth $39 million. The Eagles have added another piece to their talented defensive line group with Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, and Brandon Graham. The Eagles added Will Parks and Nickell Robey-Coleman to a secondary that desperately needs help with the release of veteran and former defensive leader Malcolm Jenkins. The Eagles had a big splash move with a sign and trade for All-pro Cornerback Darius Slay to bolster the Secondary. Detroit received a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick. The Eagles sign Slay to a 3-year 50 million extension. Parks adds versatility with his ability to play safety and Cornerback. Coleman the former Ram is a starting-caliber Corner and probably will compete for playing time in the slot. Jatavis Brown will add more depth and competition to a Linebacker group with the loss of Nigel Bradham. Brown is the former Charger who has started 23 games in four seasons with the team. 

Draft needs: Wide-receiver, cornerback, Inside Linebacker

 Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU with the aging group of Wideouts like Desean Jackson and  Alshon Jeffery Jefferson will add big-play ability and allow the eagles to get younger at the position. Jordyn Brooks, ILB, Texas Tech who can become the day one starter and have an immediate impact. . 

 Dallas Cowboys:

The Dak Prescott situation with the Cowboys has gotten very tense with the placing of the exclusive franchise tag on their quarterback. Amari Cooper signed a huge five-year, 100 million dollar deal. Cooper was the number one receiver for the Cowboys and he and Dak Prescott gave the offense a tremendous boost. In 25 games, they have connected on 132 passes for 1,914 yards and 14 touchdowns. Anthony Brown resigns with the team on a 3-year deal, with the loss of Byron Jones to the Dolphins the Cowboys needed to keep Brown who has been very dependable in his first four seasons with the team. Ha- Ha Clinton-Dix reunites with his former coach Mike Mccarthy and signs a one-year deal. He adds depth with starting experience and a starting-caliber safety to the secondary. Gerald McCoy gets added after the loss of Robert Quinn. Mccoy can play different positions on the defensive line which will help in the new defensive scheme for Mike Nolan. Greg Zuerlein signs with the team on a 3-year 7.5 million dollar deal this move will improve the Special Teams unit and create stability in the kicking game where the Cowboys have had trouble the past few seasons.

Draft needs: Cornerback,  edge rusher

CJ Henderson, CB, Florida  With the loss of Byron Jones the Cowboys need to bolster their Secondary and Henderson is an athletic playmaker with great coverage skills. 

 New York Giants

The Giants have added defensive help in the secondary group and the front seven. James Bradberry has signed with the team on a 3-year deal worth 45 million dollars. The team has added a veteran presence in a young secondary. He will automatically be the team’s number one corner. He has shown the ability to hold its own against the league’s top receivers. Blake Martinez signed a 3-year deal worth 30 million dollars. The Giants needed a signal-caller for their defense. Martinez was a tackling machine with 155 combined tackles. Also added to the Linebacker group was another former Packer, Kyler Fackrell on a one-year deal. Fackrell added a pass rusher with not being in the running for the big name pass rusher. Leonard Williams was franchised tagged by the team on an expected salary of 16.1 Million for one year. Williams was the best defensive player on the team through the last eight games. He had 20 quarterback pressures and 14 hurries, tops among Giants defensive linemen after joining the team. Dion Lewis was added to the team on a one-year deal. He could help take some of the load off of Saquon Barkley during the passing downs which can help preserve him for later in the season. 

Draft needs: offensive line, Wide-receiver, Outside-Linebacker 

Isaiah Simmons, OLB/S Clemson Simmons is a do it all Linebacker and can be a playmaker they have been missing on their defense. Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor Mims has great size and speed who will give Daniel Jones a great target in the red zone. 

Washington Redskins

The Redskins have added some secondary help and some protection for the young Quarterback Dwayne Haskins with keeping guard Brandon Scherff and adding Wes Schweitzer. Scherff was franchised tagged by the team. The team can not afford to lose any more offensive line to help with the rocky relationship with tackle Trent Williams. Wes Schweitzer was signed to the team on a 3-year deal worth 13.5 Million after losing Erik Flowers to Miami. The Redskins have added secondary help after bringing back Kendall Fuller on a 4-year deal. His time with the Chiefs was not that impressive but maybe a change of scenery will help. They also add Sean Davis and Ronald Darby. Davis can add some versatility because he has played Cornerback and Safety with his time with the Steelers. Darby adds more depth in the secondary and on the outside. 

Draft needs: Wide-receiver, Tightend, cornerback  

Chase Young, DE, Ohio State He is the best defensive lineman and one of the best players in the draft. With this move, the Redskins could be building a young disruptive group up font similar to the San Francisco 49ers.

A Recap of the AFC and NFC off-season

By: Matt Popotnik
NFC South
New Orleans Saints:
            Coming off of a 13-3 regular season that ended in a playoff loss to the Vikings yet again. It would seem that the Saints don’t need to make many big moves in the free agency, and that is exactly what they did. The saints aimed to sure up their roster signing players for depth more than starting roles.

 The biggest signing the saints had on the offensive side of the ball is wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders will most likely slide into the number two slot on the depth chart behind All-Pro wide out Michael Thomas. On the flip side of the ball         

Malcolm Jenkins was brought on to help with the secondary.
Going forward to the draft the Saints are probably the best overall team in the NFC South, so what does that mean for the draft? They take the best player available, plain, and simple. With 411 year old Drew Brees the window is closing to bring home another title for the city.

Atlanta Falcons:
          The Atlanta Falcons had a mediocre 7-9 record last season, so there is some room for improvement for this squad. Improvements needed to be made across the bored for this squad in order to get back to playoff form.


The Falcons bring in former LA Rams RB Todd Gurley to pair with former MVP QB Matt Ryan and All-Pro WR Julio Jones. Even coming off of an off-year Gurley is considered a top back in the NFL and should be a great fit in the Atlanta backfield. Dante Fowler Jr. headlines the defensive acquisitions for the Falcons. Fowler had some very productive years in Jacksonville and LA but he had help on those defenses so it will be interesting to see him own his own.

The biggest concern for the Falcons coming into the offseason should have been O-line help and they really did not accomplish that. Matt Ryan got sacked 3rd most in the league last year and they will need to improve to help their new RB find some holes. Look for some O-line help to be taken in the draft.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
        The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also finished a below average 7-9 also needed improvement in order to make it to the playoffs. The Bucs let their starting QB walk and for good reason once they replaced him. With a solid defense and one of the best wide receiving corps in the NFL the Bucs are poised to make a massive leap next season.

In perhaps the most surprising offseason move off all time future hall of famer Tom Brady has left his longtime home of New England to move down south. Not only is TB12 going to Tampa but his long time target Rob Gronkowski has come out of retirement to join him.

Out of the teams previously mentioned the Bucs have definitely improved the most but still need to improve more. Like Matt Ryan Jameis Winston got sacked a ton last season so if they want to keep Brady healthy, they need some offensive line help. Look for both a O-line man and a running back to be taken by Tampa Bay.

Carolina Panthers
        The Panthers finished dead last in the NFC South with a 5-11 record on the year. An injury to starting QB Cam Newton spelled disaster for the season and led to the poor record. This also led to a new head coach and former MVP Newton being released as well. On top of that All-Pro LB Luke Kuechly shocked the sports world and retired at 29 years old. All of this says one thing, rebuild.


Carolina brought in Teddy Bridgewater to replace Newton. Most would agree that this is a major downgrade at the position despite Bridgewater having a great year when he got to play. Other than resigning Christian McCaffery the Panthers did not do much this free agency when it came to improving the team.

The panthers should go full rebuild going into the draft but unfortunately the top quarterback prospects will most likely be gone by the time Carolina come up at 7. Maybe Bridgewater will surprise us now that he has another chance at a starting job.

AFC South
Houston Texans:
        The Texans won the division with a 10-6 record on the backs of Deshawn Watson and All-Pro wide receiver Deandre Hopkins. With a solid defense to boot the Texans look to make it back into the playoff picture next year… except.


In what is maybe the most puzzling trade in NFL history they shipped their top 3 receiver in the league to Arizona for an aging and injury prone David Johnson and some picks. Johnson when healthy can be a top back in the league but he has been unable to stay on the field for the pat few seasons. The team brought in Brandin Cooks from LA to replace Hopkins but lets be honest that like trading a Lambo for a Toyota.


Without a first round pick it would seem the Texans big moves in the offseason are done without addressing their biggest concern, offensive line help. Watson was sacked a league leading 55 times last season, aside from a few backup linemen signed they did not do anything to strengthen their line.

Tennessee Titans
        With a 9-7 record the Titans fought their way into a wildcard spot where they socked the league beating both the Patriots and the Ravens before being beat by the Super Bowl champion Chiefs. This team really played as one cohesive unit with lead NFL rusher Derrick Henry and with coach Mike Vrabel the Titans look to improve on what was already a great year.


The Titans had a pretty quiet offseason which is something you would come to expect from Vrabel as he did come from a Bill Belichick, who typically build up from the draft. While losing some players the Titans still did improve. They used their franchise tag on Derrick Henry to secure the star back for another year. They also brought in Vic Beasley to help an already solid defense


They did however lose starting right tackle Jack Conklin and long-time tight end Delanie Walker. The team should look to the draft to replace these to players. The Titans also should look to grab at lest one corner back to help the secondary out.

Indianapolis Colts
        After Andrew Luck surprised everyone and retired due to injury many people thought a full rebuild could be on the way but after a decent 7-9 season maybe not so much. With Marlon Mack having a breakout year at running back and the defense being much improved from years passed the Colts are in place to make a leap and possibly win the division.


In maybe the busiest offseason covered in this article the colts made big moves on both sides of the ball. They signed long time Charger QB and Hall of Fame trash talker Philip Rivers to man the ship for the next few seasons. This obviously isn’t the long-term answer, but Rivers should excel in Indianapolis. For defense, the Colts made a massive move and traded their first-round pick for stud DT DeForest Buckner. Buckner should elevate the already solid defense to one of the best next season. Add on Xavier Rhodes in the secondary and watch out for this unit.


The Colts have just been waiting for the right guy ever since Luck got hurt a few seasons back and Rivers along with what is a very solid team should be able to take the division this year. Look for a wide receiver to be taken by the colts in this draft to help a struggling passing game.

Jacksonville Jaguars
         Coming in last on the AFC South the Jags have been on a downward turn since 2017 when they almost made it to the Super Bowl. Running back Leonard Fournette, a decent passing defense and Gardner Minshew’s mustache were the only real positives this past season.


As far as free agent acquisitions the Jags did not make any big splashes. Their best signing is probably Joe Schobert at MLB. The former Cleveland Brown while a solid line backer has failed to elevate his play to the next level.


With very few moves made the Jags either look to make a quick bonce back with 2 first round picks or go for a full rebuild. With a division that is relatively open it will be very interesting to see what Jacksonville decides to do.

The Future of the AFC and NFC West in 2020

AFC West

Denver Broncos: The Broncos did a lot of good things in free agency this off season. Denver acquired running back Melvin Gordon to team up with Phillip Lindsay to create one of the best backfields in the NFL, Guard Graham Glasgow to improve their offensive line, tight end Nick Vannett to add depth at that position. The Broncos also traded for defensive lineman Jurrell Casey and only gave up a seventh-round pick, and A.J. Bouye for a fourth-round pick.

Denver also changed their coaching staff by adding Pat Shurmur as their new offensive coordinator, and Mike Shula as their new quarter backs coach. Together Shurmur and Shula should be able to improve the play of Drew Lock, who was able to win 4 out of his 5 starts at the end of last year’s season.

Looking ahead to the draft Denver still needs some more help on their offensive line, especially on the outside, as Garrett Bolles has been one of the biggest disappointments so far in his 3 years in the league. Denver also needs to address their receiving core to give Courtland Sutton assistance, as well as their spots at corner after losing Chris Harris Jr. in free agency. With Denver picking 15th in this year’s draft, players such as offensive tackle Andrew Thomas, wide receiver Henry Ruggs, and corner back C.J. Henderson should all be available when the Broncos are on the clock. Whichever of these positions they don’t draft in the first round should be addressed in later rounds.

If the holes are filled through the draft and with the addition of all of the free agents Denver has acquired, we can expect to see an improved Broncos team this year.

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs are the preseason favorites to win Super Bowl 55 and repeat as champions. They were able to re-sign some key pieces like receiver Demarcus Robinson and corner Bashaud Breeland, as well as franchise tagging Chris Jones. But there is still more improving that the Chiefs can do.

In the draft the Chiefs should look at improving their secondary, as well as the interior of their offensive line. With the Chiefs holding the last pick in the first round, it is still possible for players such as safety Grant Delpit or center Cesar Ruiz to be available. Kansas City might also want to look at drafting a running back to give themselves a better ground attack to go along with their incredible aerial attack. If that is what they desire the most they might have to trade up to select running backs such as D’Andre Swift or J.K. Dobbins.

With a championship repeat extremely possible for the Chiefs, especially if they nail the draft this year, there are high hopes Andy Reid’s team once again. We can definitely expect another terrific offensive performance from Patrick Mahomes and his familiar, and potentially new weapons.

Los Angeles Chargers: The Charges did a lot of work adding pieces to their defense and their offensive line in free agency. They acquired defensive tackle Linval Joseph and corner back Chris Harris Jr. to add to defense that already features Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Casey Hayward, and Derwin James. As for the offensive side they acquired tackle Bryan Bulaga and guard Trai Turner.

With all the new additions we still can’t forget that the Chargers lost their longtime quarterback in Philip Rivers, and I’m not exactly sure Tyrod Taylor is who the Chargers have in mind as their future QB. With that being said, the Bolts should for sure look for a new signal caller. Picking 6th in this year’s draft should give them that opportunity, it’s just a matter of who’s available.

With concerns regarding Tua Tagovailoa’s health, the idea of the Dolphins, who hold the pick before the Chargers who had been previously believed to take Tagovailoa, to instead take Justin Herbert is circulating. So one option for the Chargers would be to take Tagovailoa and let him sit for a year to recover from his injuries and to learn the game at a professional level. Another option would be to draft Jordan Love if they don’t want to risk drafting Tagovailoa. And the final option would be to trade up ahead of the Dolphins to take Herbert.

After losing Melvin Gordon, and not having a clear idea of who will be leading the offense for the Chargers, we can most likely assume that the Chargers offense will struggle this year. Their defense on the other hand, should be dominant against other teams, and should help them focus on improving only one side of the ball going forward.

Las Vegas Raiders: The Raiders did some decent work in the off season, resigning Richie Incognito, and adding tight end Jason Witten to give the Raiders some veteran leadership. With deep needs at wide receiver, Las Vegas also added Nelson Agholor, who is coming off of rough season with the Eagles. On the defensive side the Raiders managed to acquire players like linebacker Cory Littleton, defensive tackle Maliek Collins, safety Jeff Heath, and defensive back Damarious Randall. So no huge signings for the Raiders this off season, but they made some solid small signings which should be beneficial to the team.

The Raiders have two first round picks in this year’s draft, numbers 12 and 19. With the lack of a true number one wider receiver after the aftermath of the Antonio Brown situation from last year, the Raiders should look to draft one with their first pick. Guys like Lamb and Ruggs should definitely be available when the Raiders pick at 12. Vegas should also look to add depth at corner with their 19th pick. Players like Travon Diggs and A.J. Terrell should be their primary targets.

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks were able to sign Tight end Greg Olsen, offensive tackle Brandon Shell, guard Mike Iupati, receiver Phillip Dorsett, defensive end Bruce Irvin, and were able to trade for corner Quinton Dunbar that sent a fifth-round pick to Washington. These additions should really help improve a team who is already a solid playoff contender, and a team that was one win away from having the #1 seed in the playoffs last year.

The main concern for Seattle is their defensive line as they lost Al woods and Quinton Jefferson to free agency, and appear to not want to spend a large sum of money to re-sign Jadeveon Clowney. As previously mentioned Seattle was able to sign Bruce Irvin and retain Jarran Reed, but will need than that to dominate at the line of scrimmage. In the draft Seattle should look to take someone else to add to their defensive line. Defensive ends A.J. Epenesa and Yetur Gross Matos would be good additions to their defense.

Arizona Cardinals: Arizona pulled off one of the most insane trades in NFL history this off season by trading the expensive contract of David Johnson, a 2020 second-round pick, and a 2021 fourth-round pick, to the Texans in exchange for DeAndre Hopkins and a 2020 fourth-round pick. This trade saved the Cardinals a bunch of cap space, got rid of the injury-prone Johnson while still maintaining a solid running back in Kenyan Drake, and gave Kyler Murray an elite receiver to throw to.

In the draft the Cardinals are picking 8th and it would be hard for them to pass on offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs if he is still there, to fortify that offensive line and protect Murray. They should also look to load up on defensive pieces as they need help in pretty much every which way. Free agent signings De’Vondre Campbell, Devon Kennard, and Jordan Phillips are nice additions, but they will need more to improve their defense.

San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers re-signed key pieces in safety Jimmie Ward, defensive end Arik Armstead, and center Ben Garland, who stepped up for San Francisco when starting center Weston Richburg went down with an injury. They did give up defensive tackle Deforest Buckner in a trade to the Colts for the 13th pick, giving them two in the first round.

With the 13th and the 31st picks, the 49ers should look to add to their secondary as they got repeatedly burned late in Super Bowl 54 by the Chiefs receivers, as well as add another receiver after Emmanuel Sanders left for New Orleans. Targeting Henry Ruggs if he is still there with their 13th pick and corner Jeff Gladney at 31 should be what the 49ers focus on in the first round. Later down the line they should look to replace Buckner to keep that defensive line as dominant as possible. Justin Madubuike and Ross Blacklock would be solid options to replace Buckner.

Los Angeles Rams: The Rams brought back defensive tackle Michael Brockers, offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth, and guard Austin Blythe, as well as signing linebacker Leonard Floyd. However they lost running back Todd Gurley to the Falcons and they traded Bradin Cooks to Houston for a second round pick, leaving the current offense limited.

The Rams don’t have a first round pick as they traded it to Jacksonville for Jalen Ramsey last season, so the Rams will have to look to do their work later in the draft or trade their way into the first round. They need a running back to replace Gurley. Seeing as their first pick isn’t until number 52 the Rams may need to trade up to get backs such as D’Andre Swift, J.K. Dobbins or Jonathan Taylor. They should also look to add another weapon on the perimeter to replace Cooks. Seeing as this draft is deep with receivers, finding a quality one in the second round is very possible. Brandon Aiyuk or Laviska Shenault Jr. could be available for the Rams to take.