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NFL Draft Changes My Team Projections

Mill Woods

Posted on April 30, 2019 02:42

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Too much is made of the NFL draft; teams are mostly what they were last season. The addition of key free agent acquisitions has a stronger effect on how a team will perform in the upcoming season. Nevertheless, the draft does matter, especially in the long run. So here is my image of the top contenders and their draft moves.

The draft added just a little icing to the cakes of the NFL's top teams. Unlike other writers, I am not terribly concerned with listing the names of all those new players; what's more important is discussing the holes that these teams were trying to fill. Answering that question helps me focus on what holes these teams still have, and that helps me revise my view of how things might go in 2019.

Let's start with the Rams and Patriots, who have earned top honors in their conferences.  The Rams picked up a top safety from the college ranks, while the Patriots filled a big need for a new wide receiver.  These two teams were contenders before the draft, and still are contenders. They were both fairly complete teams (offense and defense) before the draft, although I will agree that the Patriots are often short on speedy wide receivers.  

The Rams edged out the Saints in the NFC championship, in part, I believe, because the Saints' defense is still not top-level.  But the Saints had a strong need for a new center, and whatever that offense needs, it gets.  The Saints' defense will be about where it was in 2018.

The Chiefs pushed the Patriots right to the brink in the AFC championship. The biggest post-Super-Bowl news for the Chiefs came in free agency, improving that soft defense. But the Chiefs also added some speed to their offense.  Speed is, after all, the Chiefs' trademark.

The Bears needed a running back, and got one who should prove to be a good investment. The Bears were close to the NFC Championship last season, and should be right back in the mix this season, but mainly due to their defense.

The Titans are one of the teams I think could move up quite dramatically from last season, and adding a strong player on both offense (a receiver with star potential) and defense (yet another player in that tough pass rush), did not hurt their chances one bit.

The Falcons used their top two picks to solidify their offensive line, which, at times, was quite offensive (parroting the old joke). Some pundits questioned the heavy focus on linemen recently, but it seems the Falcons are betting that line play is their only real weakness. Several key defensive players return from injury in 2019, so another sub-.500 season is not likely.

The Eagles' big draft-day move was taking an offensive tackle. The Eagles are still a contender, but I wonder if the 2019 defense will be as stout.

The Chargers focused on improving an already strong defense. I feel that player talent is not their main issue. They need a deeper offensive playbook if they are to climb to the next level.

Obviously, most of the NFL draft news was made by the teams having high draft picks. But the teams I just discussed will likely make 2019 playoff news - and that's what really matters.

 

 

 

 

Mill Woods

Posted on April 30, 2019 02:42

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