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.

AFC And NFC North Division Previews

By: Michael Markoch

Two of the most intriguing divisions in the NFL next season are the North divisions.  Both divisions have a team that was at the bottom of the league last year, each have a team that fell short of expectations, and each have a team that was top tier in the league last season.  Some of these teams have made head-scratching moves and some have made very predictable ones, but one thing is for certain, these two divisions are going to be some of the most intriguing next season.

AFC NORTH

Cincinnati Bengals (Last Season: 2-14, 4th place AFC North):  Entering this offseason, the Bengals were in clear rebuilding mode, and so far, all of their moves have replicated that notion.  In free agency, the Bengals were surprisingly active.  Starting with franchise tagging star wide-out A.J. Green, the Bengals added good pieces in many areas including former Texan D.J. Reader on the defensive line, Xavier Su’a-Filo on the offensive line, and Trae Waynes and Vonn Bell to shore up the secondary, and they have the first overall pick in the draft on Thursday.

            With that pick, the Bengals are expected to select LSU quarterback and reigning Heisman trophy winner Joe Burrow to become the face of their franchise. The Bengals hold six other picks besides number one and should look to address the significant lack of depth they experienced last season.  If all things go well, the Bengals could be a force in the AFC North next season, I’m not saying worst to first, but they could make some noise if young Burrow pans out.

Cleveland Browns (Last Season: 6-10, 3rd place AFC North): If there’s one question surrounding the Browns this offseason, it is what happened?  How did a team with such high expectations fall so flat on their faces?  Entering free agency, it was all about Baker Mayfield and his development after a rough sophomore season.  So they added All-Pro Jack Conklin to be their starting right tackle as well as one of last year’s leading statistical tight ends in Austin Hooper to give the offense a two-headed tight end monster.  They also added multiple defensive pieces on one and two-year deals such as safeties Andrew Sendejo and Karl Joseph, and pass rusher Adrian Clayborn without locking in any long-term commitments. 

            As for the draft, the Browns hold the tenth overall pick and have one glaring need; left tackle.  Fortunately, it is one of the best offensive tackle classes we have ever seen and the Browns are almost surely guaranteed one of the top tackles at tenth overall.  Other needs the Browns might decide to address are linebackers and overall depth on the defensive side of the ball.  The people who weren’t going around crowning the Browns champs last season said they were a year away.  Well, now with a new coaching staff and less optimism, the Browns are now primed to make a gigantic leap, but the AFC North is going to be a gauntlet to prove themselves in.

Pittsburgh Steelers (Last Season 8-8, 2nd in AFC North): The Steelers have a lot of question marks, especially surrounding Ben Roethlisberger, who is coming back for possibly his last season.  After season-ending elbow surgery a year ago, no one really knows what he will be able to bring to the team and how effective he will be.  However, there is one side of the ball the Steelers aren’t lacking in and that’s defense.  With a top five scoring defense last season and all of the main pieces still intact, the Steelers will most likely look to the offensive side of the ball to get the most out of Roethlisberger next season.  In free agency, Pittsburgh added tight end Eric Ebron, who will be a much-needed red-zone threat, guard Stephen Wisniewski, and fullback Derek Watt to help with the run game.

            Unfortunately for the Steelers, they do not have a first-round pick due to the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade last season, but that shouldn’t stop them from adding depth.  There aren’t many holes on this Steeler’s roster, but they should probably start looking for Ben Roethlisberger’s replacement because if last year proved anything, Mason Rudolph and Develin Hodges are not the answer at quarterback.   They could also use another wide receiver as Juju Smith-Schuster had a disappointing season as the number one guy.  But for the Steelers, it all depends on Big Ben, if he returns to old form the Steelers could be contenders, but if he shows his age and disappoints, they might just end up at the bottom of the dangerous AFC North.

Baltimore Ravens (Last Season 14-2, 1st in AFC North):  For a while last year during the regular season the Ravens were the best team in the NFL, and it wasn’t even close.  Then the Tennessee Titans happened.  It was arguably he biggest upset of the season because the Ravens had won 12 games in a row up to that point with the MVP at quarterback in Lamar Jackson.  However, Baltimore has almost everybody coming back this year and added some nice pieces such as former Bronco Derek Wolfe and kept some vital players in Matthew Judon and Jimmy Smith. 

            The Ravens have the 28th pick in the draft and have a few holes in their defense, mainly at linebacker.  In consecutive seasons, Baltimore lost Za’Darius Smith, C.J. Mosley, and Terrell Suggs, and are missing that x-factor linebacker Ray Lewis once was.  Maybe Wisconsin’s Zach Baun or Ohio State’s Malik Harrison will be a good fit, but the position must be addressed for this team to reach their potential.  As for that potential, the Ravens will be and should be the favorites in the AFC North next season with eyes set on the Super Bowl.

NFC NORTH

Detroit Lions (Last Season 3-12-1, 4th in NFC North): The Lions are in an interesting position this offseason.  After a lost season in which franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford suffered a season ending injury, some believed the Lions should consider taking a new quarterback with their 3rd overall pick.  That is not likely to happen because they believe Stafford is more than competent, plus the Lions need so much more help elsewhere.  Along with those rumors the Lions have made some strange moves this offseason by releasing Damon “Snacks” Harrison, trading Darius Slay, and signing even more former Patriots like Danny Shelton and Jamie Collins that haven’t showed much in their careers.

            With the trade of Slay, it makes complete sense for Detroit to take Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah with their pick, but recent news mentions that they may be looking to trade down with the right team.  The Lions have good pieces but lack significant depth and have a coach that is running out of time in the organization.  The thing the Lions need most is good football players, so taking the best player available might be the best thing for them.  The more talent and depth they gain, the closer they will get to climbing out of the NFC North cellar.

Chicago Bears (Last Season, 8-8, 3rd in NFC North): Who is going to play quarterback for the Chicago Bears?  Will they give former number two overall pick Mitchell Trubisky another chance, or will they turn the reigns over to Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles, who they recently acquired in a trade?  This is the main question surrounding the Bears next season.  The defense will still be pretty good, and they have decent weapons on offense, they just need to pick someone to get them the ball. 

The Bears paid Jimmy Graham a head-scratching amount of money and signed Robert Quinn and Artie Burns to help their dominant defense, but without a first-round pick, they aren’t in a great position to add more pieces. For the Bears, it’s simple, settle on a quarterback and stick with him.  The Bears were 12-4 two short years ago and have all the pieces to do that once again, but if not they will have another rough season.

Minnesota Vikings (Last Season, 10-6, 2nd in NFC North): The Vikings are one of the only teams that arguably got worse this offseason.  They released All-Pro Xavier Rhodes and traded star wide receiver Stefon Diggs to Buffalo.  They also lost veterans Andrew Sendejo and Everson Griffin on their defense as well, which makes a person wonder, what are they doing?  The Vikings are going all in on Kirk Cousins, signing him to a 2-year, $66 million extension to remain their quarterback.  Running back Dalvin Cook and wide receiver Adam Theilen are back as well to give their offense some firepower, but defensively, they ae missing key pieces.

            If there was any positive from the Diggs trade, the Vikings acquired a second first-round pick.  They desperately need a cornerback, as well as another bookend pass rusher.  They also could use significant upgrades on the offensive line.  That doesn’t sound like a team that was in the Divisional Playoff round a year ago, but they were, and if they want any chance of getting back there or even farther, they will need to hit on their draft picks.

Green Bay Packers  (Last Season, 13-3, 1st in NFC North): If there was a glaring need for the Packers last year, it was wide receiver.  Sure, they have Davante Adams who is one of the best wideouts in the game, but after him it’s hard to even remember anybody’s name.  They added Devin Funchess in free agency, but he hasn’t shown much in his career, so they need to hope someone falls.

            Top draft receivers such as Jerry Jeudy, Henry Rugss III, and Ceedee Lamb will most likely not be on the board when the Packers pick at 30th overall, so they’ll have to find a diamond in the rough.  Maybe Colorado’s Laviska Shenault Jr. or Baylor’s Denzel Mims will be a good pick, but they need to give Aaron Rodgers someone to throw to.  Add one of them with their already top ten defense and the Packers can be Super Bowl contenders.

Top 5 Songs From 5 Seconds of Summer’s “CALM”

Established in 2011 in Sydney, Australia, 5 Seconds of Summer have been climbing to the top. Their careers were boosted in 2013 when they opened for One Direction on their Take Me Home Tour and again in 2014 when they opened on their Where We Are Tour. On March 27th, they released their 4th album, CALM. The album’s name comes from the four members, Calum, Ashton, Luke, and Michael. 

I have listened to the album quite a few times through now and picked my top 5 songs. This was no easy task. Each song has its own meaning and conveys different emotions.  

At #5 is Lonely Heart. I am a fan of faster songs and at first, this song is slow. What I really like is that the first impression of the song is that it is going to be slower and sad, however, it quickly picks up for the refrain, which surprised me when I first heard it.

At #4 is Wildflower. First impression when the song came out was, “WOAH.” It starts off strong. This is the perfect song to dance to and get prepared for the day. This song shocked many 5SOS fans because bassist Calum Hood is the singer, which has become slightly uncommon in the recent years. 

At #3 is Red Desert. Many fans have speculated that this song depicts the band’s move from Australia to LA, or north. The band performed this song during an event for the Australian bushfires, which makes sense if the song is about their love of their home country. The song is fast paced. While it’s not the hype song that Wildflower is, it could definitely be a good tune to listen to while driving. 

At #2 is No Shame. No Shame was released about a month and a half before the album came out. It was my absolute favorite. The sound instantly mesmerized me because it sounds so different than other songs they’ve produced. After listening a bunch, I tried to figure out the meaning, but I struggled. Is it about having “No Shame” being in love with someone in particular? I searched the internet to see if there was a better answer and it turns out people think the song could actually be about their fans having “No Shame” when viewing them. If any of the members do anything that would make fans mad, they would have “No Shame” bashing them or to stop being fans. 

Before I get to the #1 song, I’d like to give some honorable mentions. These songs didn’t make the list, but definitely have huge potential. 

Old Me- It might be because the music video shows flashbacks to 5 Seconds of Summer when they were younger and just starting their career or because they are saying the past shaped them to be where they are today, and I think that is a very true and strong statement. This song is a solid 8/10. 

High- In the honorable mentions section, this is the only song that didn’t come out before the album. This song is about wanting a past relationship to think “High” of you. It’s a little slower, but I don’t mind that. A faster paced song would have ruined the sentiment and the emotion. This song is a solid 8/10 also. 

Easier- The first song to be released on the album definitely paved the way for what was to come. The theme for this song is leaving a toxic relationship. The song was written along with Charlie Puth, which once you know it, you can’t stop hearing Charlie Puth’s style. This song is a 9/10. 

At #1 is Not In The Same Way. I’ve been thinking for a while what about this song strikes me as the best on CALM, since that is a big title to hold. Honestly, I still think back to a few years ago when Luke Hemmings and his ex-girlfriend broke up. From my perspective, it was messy and nasty. However, I was not a part of it, so I can’t really say. What I can say is that 5 Seconds of Summer’s third album Youngblood talked about the break up a lot. This song is about deciding whether to stay or a leave a relationship, but has a very upbeat sound, which I love.”

By: Christina Faessel