2018 NFL Season Preview
The 2018 NFL edition will be the 99th season of the National Football League, the most quality league in the World. The season will start on 6th September 2018 and will conclude with the Super Bowl match scheduled for 3rd February 2019 in Atlanta.
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Dez Bryant and Jason Witten have been an integral part of Cowboys' offense for almost a decade now, but both have gone in the offseason. Bryant was released due to financial reasons, while Witten announced his retirement days later.
For sure these are very poor news for their quarterback, Dak Prescott, as they both were very effective players in a squad like Cowboys were. However, Prescott alone had a step backward in the previous season. His completion percentage dropped from 67.8 to 62.9 and YPA from 8.0 to 6.9.
Players around him aren't much better for the new season. That's the reason why the Cowboys need to rely on recently signed Allen Hurns, but also third-round rookie receiver Michael Gallup. At least, strong rushing attack with Ezekiel Elliott seems like a quality option for them.
There are many different opinions about whether Cowboys' defense should depend on Sean Lee - but one thing is sure, they are a weaker team without him. Just as an example, Dallas has surrendered close to twenty-one point with him in the team and close to nine points more in five matches he missed in the previous season.
Of course, those substitutes were needed. That's why Leighton Vander Esch came, however with injury concerns for now. If fine, there's no doubt that he will be a decent addition to Cowboys.
The position of pass-rusher will be problematic for them at first since their first choice David Irving serves a suspension in the first four weeks. His replacements such as Jihad Ward or Maliek Collins both have struggled in the previous season.
Safety pair doesn't seem to be very good either, although Xavier Woods didn't look that poor at times being one of the more notable rookies last season. Jeff Heath, however, has been quite inconsistent during a single game.
New York Giants
As for the offense, it seems that staying of quarterback Eli Manning for another season will be the biggest reinforcement for the Giants. They have opted for very talented Saquon Barkley as a running back at this year's draft.
Together with Odell Beckham Junior, this duo can be really difficult to defend - even for the best defensive lineups. Especially when we add Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram to these two. Shepard looked really great in the absence of Beckham Jr last season and should only improve further.
With such great players around him, it shouldn't be that difficult for quarterback Manning to improve his numbers in the new season. Their blocking unit should be better now, as Nate Solder was signed as a free agent. Meanwhile, Will Hernandez came on a 62$ million contract for four years.
Rest of the offensive line isn't that powerful as their players such as John Jerry, Ereck Flowers, and Brett Jones didn't show improvement in previous seasons.
The defense was one of the strongest points of the team in previous seasons. Damon Harrison and Dalvin Tomlinson seem to be sure to start in their 3-4 scheme for the new season. Okawara is favorite to start the season opener in front of newly signed Mauro. However, that spot should remain the weak link for them.
Defensive end might be weaker since Jason Pierre-Paul left for Tampa Bay this Summer, so his position should get Olivier Vernon and Kareem Martin. The first one disappointed in the previous season, while Martin was signed in offseason for a 21$ million deal for three years. He has been decent so far. Still, the Giants will need the support of third-round rookie Lorenzo Carter and his improvement as well.
Alec Ogletree was signed from the Rams and it's actually unclear why the Giants would place them in the same formation where he failed last season. The Giants have also lost two cornerbacks this offseason, so Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple will have a difficult task. Jenkins missed half of the previous season and his return should be morale-boosting, while Apple will remain a question mark, especially due to his problematic behavior.
Positive news at least, the position of safety play is by far the best spot of Giants with Landon Collins being one of the best players at his position in whole NFL.
Quarterback Carlon Wentz got injured and not many gave the chances of the Eagles to win the Super Bowl last season. He threw at the OTA's individual drills, however, he still may not be ready for the first week or two. Nick Foles, on the other side, showed his best performances when it mattered the most and is surely able to lead the Eagles to positive ways in case Wentz misses again.
They will also have huge support from the blocking unit, as left tackle Jason Peters lost almost whole previous season but seems ready now. He is already thirty-six years old, but also has huge experience and will be an improvement to the solutions they had in a previous year. There's also top right tackle in the whole league - Lane Johnson.
Other players and positions look more than decent as well, as the Eagles still have center Jason Kelce, right guard Brandon Brooks two great players plus left guard Stefan Wisniewski who was rock solid last season.
They have also signed deep-speed receiver Mike Wallace as a free agent. LeGarrette Blount is one of the players the Eagles have lost in the offseason, but Jay Ajayi looks seems more than fine there - with depth in the underrated footballers such as Corey Clement and Darren Sproles.
The defensive lineup is somewhere where the Eagles will have changes in comparison to the previous season. Vinny Curry, Patrick Robinson, and Mychael Kendricks have gone. The latter one is the biggest loss who has a great previous year.
However, the Eagles are getting Jordan Hicks back from the injury and now remains to be seen if he can release some of his talents. Nigel Bradham returns as well, who was excellent in a previous season. Michael Bennett was signed instead of Vinny Curry and he seems like an improvement for the Eagles.
He should be rotating with Brandon Graham, one of the big guys in the defensive ends in the whole NFL. Haloti Ngata was signed in the offseason and together with Timmy Jernigan should be great defensive block. Graham might not be ready for the first match due to his back surgery earlier this Summer.
Finally, it could be that the loss of Patrick Robinson remains the biggest one. After his brilliant performances in the previous season, it's obvious that the Eagles doesn't have a decent substitution for a player of his level. Sidney Jones seems to be like an option to be used there for the start.
Ronald Darby should finally have a chance to start the season from Week 1. The Eagles have no worries as for the safeties options, as Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins both have performed on a great level last season.
The Redskins were troubled by injuries in the offensive line a lot in the previous season. Everything started great for them, however, with injuries of left tackle Trent Williams, right guard Brandon Scherff, and right tackle Morgan Moses the things went south for the Redskins. They all now seem to be healthy for the season opener which should be morale-boosting news for the complete squad.
Recently signed Alex Smith will be useful in case of injuries again. But he also seems to be upgraded in comparison to how Kirk Cousins played in the previous season. Second-round pick Derrius Guice also seems like a strong option, while Chris Thompson will return as a potential receiving threat.
Paul Richardson was added as a free agent, but this doesn't seem like the best possible solution for the Redskins. He is a deep threat and Smith doesn't seem to be throwing downfield that often. It would be of great benefit in case Jordan Reed remains healthy for the most of the season after playing just six games last season.
We could again talk about the injuries in the defensive line too in the previous season. Most of their players have missed some of the action and most notable, it was a huge blow to see Jonathan Allen being injured since he was a first-round pick in previous year's NFL Draft.
He was enjoying great times being a rookie in the new campaign but got injured after just a few matches. From that moment on, the Redskins were struggling a lot, especially once Matt Ioannidis started missing too. They are both back for the new season and should bring stability in their defensive line. In addition to Da'Ron Payne who was the 13th overall pick, their defensive line should be far better than in previous season.
Pernell McPhee was signed as a free agent and should be playing next to Preston Smith. Josh Norman should prove that he is one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL this season after dealing with injuries in the previous one. They have a decent pair of safeties to go along with Norman and the rest of the cornerbacks, while the return of Mason Foster should also be a positive sign for the Redskins.
New coach Matt Nagy seems like the most important puzzle of the team when we speak about the offensive part of the team. He was an offensive quality control coach / offensive coordinator in Eagles and Chiefs and seems that it's just what the Bears need. They improved when receivers are in question. The big name is Allen Robinson who surely is an improvement in comparison to the previous choices the Bears had.
Taylor Gabriel and Anthony Miller are also persons of improvement in their roster. Miller was very productive in Memphis and surely has a chance to improve himself further with Nagy. Former Eagle Trey Burton was signed for a 32$ million deal for four years contract. Tarik Cohen should also be one of the players who could explode under Nagy. He simply wasn't given enough ball during the match under the previous coach.
James Daniels was selected as a 39th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He should be starting as a left guard but is capable of covering position of center as well coming from Iowa. As for the tackles, this isn't their best part of the team but Charles Leno has been solid for last few seasons. Right tackle Bobby Massie seems to be their weak link up front.
Even though the side as a whole didn't look perfect in the previous season, it should be said that they did look quite competitive in the defense. No team overscored the Bears that easily, while most of their losses came with a single digits number. Plus they have signed Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith as eight overall for the new season. He should be a major addition to their team with Danny Trevathan being the other starter.
Akiem Hicks is coming off a great campaign in the previous season and should continue where he stopped. He should be starting next to Eddie Goldman and Jonathan Bullard. Their secondary has plenty of talent and potential too. The young duo of Eddie Jackson and Adrian Amos seems more than perfect for their age. Especially the second one who might become one of the best players in his position.
Bit of a problem could be their replacements if needed. The Bears managed to retain cornerbacks Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara so they should continue to play well. Bryce Callahan should continue with the brilliant job. However, the weak point of the Bears could be edge rush position.
Pernell McPhee and Willie Young are lost in the offseason. With Leonard Floyd now as the only available for this position. The other starter could be Sam Acho who had just three sacks in a previous season.
For offense, a lot was expected from first overall pick Matthew Stafford last season when he penned a six years deal with the Lions. However, they failed to make it to the playoffs and will be looking to do better in the new season.
The injuries with offensive players were their biggest loss in a previous season ending with a disappointing finish. Taylor Decker missed the previous seven matches, however, once he got back on the field he didn't look fully fit for a long time. Other three members of the offensive line (Wagner, Lang, and Swanson) also missed some of the match and disappointment looked like a sure thing.
If the players manage to stay healthy during the regular part of the season, there's no doubt that they can do big things and be one of the most potent NFL offensives. They have signed LeGarrette Blount and a second-round pick Kerryon Johnson. Another difference is that Eric Ebron is gone and will be replaced by Luke Willson. Receiving corps is identical to last season's and their top guys will be Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, and Kenny Golladay.
Their defensive squad was a real reason why their previous season ended in disappointment and it seems to be the same for this one as well. They were leaking in many areas, were unable to stop the run, also had major issues containing aerial attacks and it's something that they'll need to work on badly again.
Linebacking corps was terrible. At least Jarrad Davis who was the first-round rookie last season now has experience and should improve at least a bit. He should also be playing next to better guys, as the Lions signed Devon Kennard as a free agent. The Lions tried to repair the secondary also but lost their biggest transfer market targets in the end. Now, Jalen Tabor who was a second-round pick of 2017 draft could challenge for the starting position.
The big problem last year was the fact that aside from Ezekiel Ansah nobody was anywhere close to reliable in sacking. Kerry Hyder is back now after losing a complete previous season due to injury and might be a bit of a boost. As well as Anthony Zettel in his third season. A dynamic interior disruptor was needed. However, the Lions failed to sign any aside from fourth-round rookie Da'shawn Hand.
Green Bay Packers
A complete season for Packers got lost once their best offensive player Rodgers got injured. After that game against Minnesota, everything went south for the club and it's their biggest worry - to keep the players healthy in the new season.
There are a couple of other concerns when we speak about their offense. Right guard Justin McCray has struggled a lot in the previous season. Left guard Lane Taylor seems to be pretty pedestrian as well. Center Corey Linsley is reliable but also comes from a poor previous season due to an ankle injury. According to news, he should be healthy and fit for the start of the new season.
Blind-side protector David Bakhtiari is one of the top players on his position. The Packers have cut Nelson, so with him gone, they will continue with Davante Adams. He improved a lot last season, but also Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison as top receivers.
Jimmy Graham was signed as a free agent and he will remain a huge threat in the end zone. Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones are expected to very quality rushing threats for the opponents. Jones is however suspended for the first two weeks for violating the substance-abuse policy.
Their defense will also about protecting Aaron Rodgers, however, they do need to improve things in their game plan (secondary) as well. The Packers were really poor when defending any sort of quality passing attacks and it's something that simply can't be repeated this season. New manager Brian Gutekunst did a fine job by finding some upgrades in the defensive backfield.
He spent his first two picks in the 2018 Draft by signing Jaire Alexander and Joshua Jackson. Both of them could be solid starters for the team. They have also signed a cornerback Tramon Williams as a free agent bringing him from Cleveland. The Packers have also lost safety Morgan Burnett this offseason, leaving just Clinton-Dix as the lone returning player at that position.
Muhammad Wilkerson was also signed and is one of the biggest deals in the division. The player disappointed at Jets, but could improve here since he is only on a one year deal and fights for a better contract. He and Mike Daniels could be a really great duo at the position. Starting edge runners Clay Matthews and Nick Perry could do a fine job for the Packers once again. The club also has young linebacker Oren Burks who could improve in the new season.
Kirk Cousins was one of the most important players of free agency this offseason. Obviously that the Vikings got the best possible solution and a player they wanted. He is not a complete star quarterback and it might look like he is now under a lot of pressure to meet up the expectations since. Especially since Cousins never reached the playoffs in Washington.
No doubt that the Vikings will miss Keenum's mobility since they generally look quite dubious in the offense. Left tackle Riley Reiff struggled at the blind spot last season and similar is expected now too. Interior of their front isn't any better since center Pat Elflein was rookie last season. Now he will be together with poor guards Nick Easton and Danny Isadora. They were expected to sign someone more there but passed on that and it could be a problematic position.
At least, they have some decent additions for Cousins to work with. Stellar receivers Adams Thielen and Stefon Diggs are looking more than decent. Especially with Diggs being a very physically gifted guy. Tight end Kyle Rudolph should be potentially great threat in the end zone after he hauled in fifteen touchdowns in last two seasons.
Of course, this is the biggest weapon of the Vikings for seasons now. One of the problems could be Xavier Rhodes as he didn't perform up to expectations so far. Unless he improves, he should be the only weak link in the Vikings secondary. Harrison Smith is without any doubt, the best safety in the entire NFL. Andrew Sendejo has done a great job of improving in each previous seasons.
Their defensive line should place a huge amount of pressure on any opposing quarterbacks and this should be of a great help. Even though they already looked more than fine in the defense, the Vikings got an upgrade in offseason by signing Sheldon Richardson. He signed only one year contract. So, there's no doubt that Sheldon will be eager to impress from the first week.
The Vikings edge rush is once again expected to be excellent. They still have one of the best defensive ends in the league in Everson Griffen. Meanwhile, Danielle Hunter has proved to be as worth as possible. Their linebacking corps might be considered as the weakest unit in the defense, but still, have Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr who are both rock solid guys. Ben Gedeon, who was selected in fourth round of the NFL Draft, will be their third linebacker.
The Falcons had great expectations in the previous season, but the numbers of their quarterback Matt Ryan have declined. He won the MVP award two seasons ago leading them to a Super Bown appearance however it turned out not to be easy to repeat the success again. They didn't have any real change in offensive part of the team, so much of the blame went on shoulders of their offensive coach Steve Sarkisian.
Obviously that losing their previous offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan had a huge impact on the club. Sarkisian's game plan and his play-calling were quite predictable and ineffective all season long, so the choice to move on from him was a logical one.
Due to different circumstances, the Falcons remained with him in charge and it will be very difficult for them not to regret such decision. They signed great route-runner Calvin Ridley using the 26th overall pick.
This is positive and important news for them since they were shut down at most of the cases once Julio Jones got injured having no real replacement. Ground attack will be led by Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman who seems to be perfect duo. Offensive front returns intact and having continuity might be crucial for the Falcons.
Brandon Fusco came as an upgrade. Blind-side protector Jake Matthews should continue to have rock solid performances, while right tackle Ryan Schraeder has been very constant in last three seasons.
Probably against all the odds, the defensive lineup of the Falcons improved last season in comparison to the previous one when they reached the Super Bowl. The biggest reason ere their linebacking corps as Delon Jones and De'Vondre Campbell was one of the top rookies during the Falcons Super Bowl run. They did great in 2017, especially Jones who was terrifically dynamic already becoming one of the top players on his position.
Opening round choice was used on safety Keanu Neal, making now an excellent tandem together with Ricardo Allen. Cornerback group is strong as well. Desmond Trufant remains one of the most talented players, who should start across from Robert Alford. The only key defender who regressed last season was rusher Vic Beasley but he suffered an early injury in the season and that might be the reason.
Probably the weakest part of Atlanta's defense has to be interior of the defensive line, with Grady Jarret being a strong one - however, the Falcons have no one to play next to him. Dontari Poe was a disappointment last season, while the Falcons were expected to replace him, but that happened only in the third round when they opted for Deadrin Senat. It's unclear whether Senat will be able to help them right away.
It's all about Cam Newton as for the offense of the Panthers. He was an MVP back in 2015 but actually failed to improve further and live up to expectations in the last couple of seasons. He failed to complete 60 percent of his passes which is a setback in comparison to previous seasons.
He also threw just six more touchdowns than interceptions (22 to 16). He remains the Panthers strongest weapon but must be said that he criticised the club in the offseason stating that the club needs reinforcements.
Their front office did make decent moves, spending their first-round pick on D.J. Moore. Other top receivers the Panthers have are modest guys such as Devin Funchess, Torrey Smith and the second-round pick from 2017 Curtis Samuel. He is expected to improve in his sophomore season after he did decently well in the first one but suffered injury towards the end of the regular part of the season.
Running back Christian McCaffrey should be more implemented into the team this season as he looked very dynamic in the rookie season. The Panthers have also signed C.J. Anderson from the Broncos as he rushed 1007 yards last season despite a quite poor backup from his teammates. As for the blocking, Andrew Norwell left the team and no doubt that this will be a downgrade for the Panthers.
They don't have a reliable replacement for him and will need to depend much on Amini Silatolu. Center Ryan Kalil is set to retire after this season while he anyway missed much of previous one, so his fitness is questionable. Left tackle Matt Kalil had a difficult season, however, his bookend Daryl Williams could explode even further in the new one.
Whatever we said about their offense, could be said similar for the defensive lineup of the team. The Panthers had great defense two-three seasons ago, but are also making backward steps after that. The fact is that they lost Josh Normal and it's a departure they can't forget that easily. Simply since they failed to find a real replacement for such a prolific defender.
Once again, it seems that they failed to improve on that position this offseason. The Panthers have signed Ross Cockrell as a free agent. He is a solid cornerback, but not that special to be able to push the whole team into the right direction. A second-round pick was used to get Donte Jackson from LSU and that guy may end up being their first option in the end - something that speaks about their quality in that position.
Their safety situation isn't in far better shape either. The best player Mike Adams is now even close to forty and for sure his performance can only get worse. However, the side is much stronger at the front seven, especially at the position of linebacker. Luke Kuechly is one of the best in the NFL, while his helper Thomas Davis has been suspended for four matches.
The defensive line has some new names as well, with nose tackle Donatri Poe who came from the Falcons to replace Star Lotulelei. Players at edge rush positions are quite old, so they acquired fourth-round pick Marquis Haynes to improve there.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jamies Winston progressed in recent years and looked like a hot stuff in the NFL, however, regressed in the previous season. His touchdown count dropped significantly, while his biggest problem was huge inconsistency. Additionally, his personal life seems to be involved too much "off the field" things, while he will be suspended for the first three weeks due an incident with an Uber driver.
Decent enough, Ryan Fitzpatrick will be given the opportunity to show what he is capable of in his absence. Receiver Mike Evans is going into similar direct since he has great physics however his work ethic is a question mark. Evans will start across from DeSean Jackson and this duo doesn't seem to be working fine. The Buccaneers have some young guys to work around.
Chris Godwin, who was a third-round pick in previous NFL Draft, certainly has high potential and should be used even more. Tight end O.J. Howard will also take on a full-time role in the new season and he might improve strongly. Ronald Jones, young offensive play-maker, is also between those emerging guys.
Left tackle spot is a mess for the Buccaneers as Donovan Smith has struggled a lot there, but the club didn't sign anyone. Right guard J.R. Sweezy got released so rookie Alex Cappa is expected to take the position. Center Ryan Jensen was signed as an upgrade to the front. He isn't a great blocker but should bring some improvement in their roster.
The club failed to bring some huge names in the offensive line, however, no doubt that the Buccaneers have improved the situation with the defensive line. Defensive linemen is the position where they improved the most since they got first-rounder Vita Vea from Washington. He will be a nice complement to Gerald McCoy, while newly obtained Beau Allen will also add great depth at that position.
They have two edge runners as well. Vinny Curry and Jason Pierre-Paul were both signed as free agents. These two should be combined together with Noah Spence who has great potential. The secondary was expected to be improved, but that didn't happen this time. They will have to use Chris Conte and Keith Tandy once again hoping that some of them will improve suddenly.
The second-round choice was used to improve the position of cornerback united. Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves are sure started, but the first one is expected to regress soon due to his age - 35. No changes were made in the linebacking corps as Lavonte David remains one of the top players at this position. Kwon Alexander is a solid starter but will need to stay fit for most of the Weeks. Kendell Beckwith is expected to improve after his poor rookie season.
New Orleans Saints
When we speak about Saints' offense, we can't skip Drew Brees from the first line. Even though he just turned 39, he seems to be as stable as possible. Having in mind he said he will play for several more seasons, there's no reason to doubt his motives. The side looks really compact with him and with a bit of lack could have progressed even further than what they did in the previous season.
Running game will depend a lot of Alvin Kamara again who impressed a lot in the previous season, scoring a total of thirteen touchdowns. He is one of the most dynamic players in the entire NFL, while the coach said he plans to involve Kamara even more - so that should be a plus thing. Zach Strief retired in the offseason, however, the Saints still have two great edge blockers - Terron Armstead and second-year Ryan Ramczyk.
Right guard Larry Warford seems fine, however, left option Andrus Peat and center Max Unger have both struggled a lot in the previous season. The Saints have improved their passing roster, as they signed Cameron Meredith as a free agent. He tore up his knee in the preseason of the previous year and it's to be seen if he is healthy enough to lead the Saints. Michael Thomas remains one of most talented and quality receivers in the NFL.
We must say that the Saints have improved their defense a lot in the recent years. Apart from improving the running game, it's surely one of the positive factors in their game-plan in previous seasons. The Saints have also found major upgrades in their defensive line as cornerback Marshon Lattimore proved to be a great addition to the squad. He is set to start across from Ken Crawley who is a solid player as well.
Marcus Williams is expected to rebound from the previous season, while Vonn Bell remains their second safety. He is decent in coverage, while Kenny Vaccaro is gone from the roster. Patrick Robinson was signed as a replacement and in case he starts playing at expected level - this will be a great boost for the Saints' secondary. Defensive end Alex Okafor should not be fine right away for the first matches after suffering a season-ending injury in 2017.
Lucky for them, the side still has Cameron Jordan who will be a great threat, while the Saints have signed Marcus Davenport to overcome the problem with Okafor's injury. Positions seem granted for Sheldon Rankins and Tyeler Davison who will start between Jordan and Davenport.
Linebacker Alex Anzalone was also injured towards the end of the season but performed well in first four weeks. He should be back from the first week and will join newly signed Demario Davis.
San Francisco 49ers
Looking at the previous season, 49ers had one of the weakest offensive lines in the whole NFL however it changed with the signing of Jimmy Garappolo from the Patriots as a second-round pick. He entered slowly into the 49ers schedule and is expected to be even better this season since his ending was great in previous one. Players such as Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard are decent, but can't be compared to Garappolo in any way.
However, the club needed some more talent around Garappolo and that's why Jerick McKinnon was signed. A lot of fans complained about the money spent on him, however, sees that the 49ers are counting big time with him. However, it's difficult to see him staying that stable so Matt Breida and Joe Williams will surely have their own chance to impress. Pierre Garcon, team's top wideout last season, is back now and is fully fit for the start of the new one.
The interior offensive line was quite a liability for them in the previous season. However, this time they should be boosted with the signing of center Weston Richburg. He has dealt with too many injuries but is more than the reliable solution when fully fit.
Starting guards Laken Tomlinson and Josh Garnett will surely need his huge help. Left tackle Joe Staley is performing at the very high level, while the bookend will be rookie and overall ninth pick at the 2018 NFL Draft Mike McGlinchey.
Richard Sherman who was signed from the Seahawks expects to be ready for the new season after torn Achilles in the previous season. He is set to start across Ahkello Witherspoon, a third-round pick in 2017 as he showed decent potential in the rookie season. They also lost important defensive back since Eric Reid went as a free agent. Adrian Colbert is expected to replace him and is set to start next to Jaquinski Tartt one of better safeties in the division.
They were expected to make changes in the linebacking corps since their players Reuben Foster was arrested for a sexual assault. He was supposed to get cut or suspended, but the accuser dropped charges in the end. This is great news since Foster has a chance to become one of the better players at his position. Otherwise, they will need to count at third-round rookie Fred Warner.
Soloman Thomas will also need to improve. Third-overall pick from the 2017 NFL Draft was fairly poor as a rookie having just three sacks. He'll start across from Arik Armstead who also didn't show his full potential yet. One defensive lineman who lived up to expectations so far is DeForest Buckner, who is coming off from a really good season. However, there's no much depth behind him with Sheldon Day having just decent potential.
Los Angeles Rams
There were many in and out transfers with the Rams this offseason. For the start, their head coach Sean McVay did a great job in the previous season in offensive part of the game. Quarterback Jared Goff improved really a lot, while his supporting players such as Marc Bugler and Josh Freeman had good seasons too - at least till they had a good offensive coaching staff with Olson and LaFleur included.
These two are now in other teams, however, quarterback Goff isn't expected to regress. All of their important blockers stood in the club, even though there were some fears before the offseason started. The great news is that they will be having entire front completely the same again. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth and center John Sulivan will be seventy years old together till the season ends, but shouldn't regress that much.
Left guard Rodger Saffold and right tackle Rob Havenstein were both solid and should continue in that tempo. On the negative side, right guard Jamon Brown needed reinforcement but that didn't happen. Todd Gurley has improved more than well in the previous season and could be said that he is one of the best players in the league on that position. With Gurley and Goff in the team, the Rams are really looking strong from that side of the ball.
The Rams made some really decent signings in the defense this offseason. The biggest name would be defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh who came from Miami Dolphins. He could combine with Aaron Donald, probably one of the best players in the NFL right now, while Michael Brockers isn't that far either. All three players are very talented and it seems that the Rams have improved strongly on those positions.
The secondary have also been boosted with signings, as the Rams will be counting at Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib who came from the Chiefs and Broncos. Peters was sent off from his previous club due to problematic behavior, while Talib should do really well with the Rams being together with defensive coordinator Wade Philip. Shields should also be an important player in their defense in case he stays healthy.
The Rams didn't reinforce their safety but should do just fine at those positions. Lamarcus Joyner is an exceptional player, while rookie John Johnson also showed big potential. Edge rush position might be a bit weaker now, as Matt Longacre doesn't inspire with confidence.
Neither Samson Ebukam or Ogbo Okoronkwo (their fifth-round rookie) look any better. Inside linebacker is a bit problematic position as well. Alec Ogletree was traded to the NY Giants and no re-inforcement came. Mark Barron and Corey Littleton seem like mediocre players.
The management inside the Cardinals was desperate to find the real quarterback for the new season and it seems that they have overpaid Sam Bradford this time. He didn't play much in the previous season and its a huge question mark for the new one. He is good when healthy, but his fitness is very doubtful. The Cardinals have also drafted Josh Rosen knowing that Bradford might not be the most reliable link.
Even if Josh will be forced into the big play in earlier Weeks, he still should be a bit of an upgrade in comparison to what the Cardinals had in a previous season. David Johnson is one of the options, but the Cardinals had him for only one game in previous season due to a broken wrist but is healthy now. The big difference in the offensive line should be signing of Justin Pugh who missed some of the weeks but has been very prolific when fully fit.
Left guard Mike Iupati and center A.Q. Shipley both struggled last season and could be one of the weakest parts of their offensive line. Third-round rookie Mason Cole could improve the situation. Newly signed right tackle Andre Smith will start as a replacement for Jared Veldheer who signed for the Broncos. Athletic tight end Ricky Seals-Jones had some really good performances in the previous season. Larry Fitzgerald also remains one of the strongest points in their offensive line.
The Cardinals had to release very talented defensive back Tyrann Mathieu and that's one of the facts which they won't be able to neglect that easily this season. His contract appeared to be a financial issue and no doubt that he will be very difficult to replace as he looked like a key man in Arizona's defense last season. NO doubt that whole secondary will be much worse without Mathieu.
Things to be worse, he wasn't the only important defensive back who left the Cardinals. They also lost cornerback Tramon Williams and safety Tyvon Branch. Both of them were influential players despite age and injuries they had, respectively. Still, they have top cornerback Patrick Peterson and Budda Baker who was a second-round pick in previous Draft 2017.
They also lost key member nose tackle Xavier Williams who signed with the Chiefs as a free agent. He was an excellent run-stuffer, but at least the Cardinals will put their hopes on Corey Peters to replace him. Olsen Pierre also showed some promise in the latter stages of the previous season.
At least edge rusher has to be considered as a positive part of the team since Chandler Jones still remains as one of the better players on his position as he comes from an excellent season. The linebacking corps needs to improve a lot in comparison to the previous season. Haason Reddick and Deone Bucannon both looked pretty poor last season.
Everyone expected the Seahawks to upgrade their pass protection in the offseason, but it didn't happen. Their blocking unit will be pretty much the same with some minor signings and that can't be good news for Russel Wilson. It seems that D.J. Fluker, a minor signing, will start at right guard. It should be together with left guard Ethan Pocic and center Justin Britt. The latter one isn't that poor, but the first two could be huge troublemakers for the entire team.
The situation should be better at tackle as they have George Fant who awaits his chance in front of right tackle Germain Ifedi who is yet to show his potential. Their new three-down back will be Rashaad Peny from San Diego State which makes only new troubling questions.
Wilson is still more than decent quarterback, however, he has very little quality players to play with. Together with Doug Baldwin, he could do some positive things, but that's pretty much it as for Seahawks potential.
The Seahawks suffered huge changes in the defensive line this offseason. Richard Sherman was released for the 49ers as a free agent. Earl Thoma was traded to the Cowboys and the team is was left with Kam Chancellor who announced his retirement in the meantime due neck injury.
Now with those three players left, it's really difficult to imagine their defensive backfield working well, especially early in the season. Shaq Griffin is the best remaining defensive player in the secondary. He performed well as a rookie in the previous season and should continue improving - at least that's what Seahawks are counting at. Byron Maxwell should start across from him.
Their safety position is even more questionable, as their starters should be Bradley McDougald and Delano Hill. Both mediocre and not that trustable players. Few more players have left, leaving the team with Frank Clark as decent edge solution. Third-round rookie Rasheem Green will need to perform well from the first Weeks.
The defensive interior is in an even worse situation as top two defensive tackles now remain Jarran Reed and Tom Johnson. Linebacking corps could be one of the positive things in their squad, as Bobby Wagner remains rock solid and K.J. Wright does a decent job as well. However, apart from these two, there's nothing more to be positive about in their depth.
New England Patriots
Tom Brady will once again be the main quarterback of New England Patriots despite being 41 years of this August. No quarterback had his own peak at such age, but nobody is questioning Tom's level of fitness and work out dedication. There's plenty of quality players around him, so he should be capable of making another excellent season for himself.
Brady will once again work with Rob Gronkowski heavily, despite the possibility of Rob's retirement earlier this year. Brandin Cooks was talented to the Rams this offseason, while they will also miss Danny Amendola. Julian Edelman returns from injury and will be a great addition once his four Weeks ban ends.
The Patriots also lost Dion Lewis who was their best running back last season. Sony Michel will be now to replace him, a first-round selection from Georgia. He will be a part of a unit together with Rex Burkhead, James White and Mike Gillislee (who might be the weakest link here).
Blocker Isaiah Wynn also came into the franchise as the first-round pick. Trent Brown came from the 49ers and he should replace departed Nate Solder, so he'll bookend Marcus Cannon. The left guard should be Wynn, sharing the destiny together with center David Andrews and right guard Shaw Mason who both did well in the previous season.
Their defensive line was actually below the expectations in the previous season. Stopping the pass looked like mission impossible for most of their players, especially at the beginning in first few Weeks. Of course, the things have improved after that. To be very honest with the Pats, of course, that some injuries helped them having a poor defensive record.
They will be lead once again by Dont'A Hightower who missed the season opener last year and the team could be depending much on him this time. Simply since his rest of the unit will consist of Marquis Flowers and Kyle Van Noy who are below decent players overall. Defensive end will consist of Derek Rivers, Adrian Claybourn (newly signed) and Trey Flowers who led the Pats in the previous season with 6.5 sacks.
The Pats have also traded for Danny Shelton from the Browns and he is set to start next to Malcolm Brown. Cornerback Malcolm Butler signed for the Titans in offseason, so the Pats will be counting at Jason McCourty who had a solid season with the Browns. Stephon Gilmore should be across from him. Devin McCourty will be the top safety of the club in a new season.
The whole previous season has gone wrong for the Dolphins once Ryan Tannehill got injured during the training camp before the start of competitive part of the season. Many thought Jay Cutler would do just fine, however, he proved to be disastrous when it was needed the most with so much below pair performances.
The positive news is that Tannehill will be fully fit for the start of 2018 season. He was really great in 2016 scoring a total of twenty touchdowns, throwing also twelve interceptions in the process. Even if he gets fully fit and working, it's a huge question mark what quality he has in supporting cast?
The most notable departure was Jarvis Landry who was traded to the Browns in offseason. He was a top offensive threat on their roster last year and as such, he will be missed for sure. With him gone, quarterbacks will need to rely on DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills, Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola. Parker seems to be the most talented guy here, but his work ethic has been questioned so far.
Tannehill will have different starting running back and tight end from the season he played. His tight end should be better as Mike Gesicki seems more than capable of doing well now. Kenyan Drake will be a primary runner this season replacing Jay Ajayi who had a fantastic season together with Tannehill in 2016. The offensive line is radically different from the start of 2016, with the only one position being the same - Ja'Wuan James should continue.
The interior of Dolphins' front look pretty poor - however, left guard Josh Sitton should help to play on a decent level for the Bears in last season. He is far better than rest of the starters - right guard Jesse Davis and center Daniel Kilgore.
The Dolphins made some rotation with the defensive line as well. Surely their best defensive player Ndamukong Suh was released in the offseason as he was considered problematic in the locker room. The overall atmosphere will probably be improved, but there's no doubt that the quality of Suh will be missed considering other players they have at the position.
Davon Godchaux, a fifth-round pick from the previous season's Draft is their top defensive tackle and it speaks enough for itself. Still, he could improve to a decent starter, however, the rest of the gang are far less potent players.
On the positive side, they signed Robert Quinn from the Rams. He is an explosive edge rusher and he should do even better in a 4-3 scheme. He is set to start across from Cameron Wake who is not showing signs of downtrend despite being 36 years old. The Dolphins also have decent depth on this position with William Hayes and Charles Harris being in the roster. Their second-round pick from 2017's Draft Raekwon McMillan missed the entire rookie campaign.
Now, it's unclear how good he is, but his presence should improve their linebacking corps. This was one of the weakest points of last season's performances for the Dolphins. This still should be a problem with two veterans, Kiko Alonso and Stephone Anthony.
Safety team was reinforced with the signing of Minkah Fitzpatrick, who is a versatile defensive back who can play almost anywhere in the secondary. The cornerback position is again one of the problems for the Dolphins, as they have young guns there. Xavien Howard and Cordrea Tankersley are having potential, but haven't fully blossomed yet. They had struggles in the previous season, but Howard finished strongly and could improve further.
New York Jets
Quarterback team will consist of re-signed Josh McCown and newly signed Teddy Bridgewater as a free agent. Their first-round pick was Sam Darnold from USC, a player who has huge talent but is yet to develop into a real prolific NFL material.
Robby Anderson was their best receiver last season, but has been arrested recently and could be suspended. In case he remains unavailable for the early start, the Jets will need to rely on Quincy Enunwa, Jermaine Kearse, and Terrelle Pryor. Neither of those is a guarantee for any kind of success in the new season.
Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins was signed by the Jaguars and surely will be missed. He will be replaced by ex Miami Dolphins' Chris Herndon. They lost running back Matt Forte too, replacing him with Isaiah Crowell.
The best blocker in the unit remains center Travis Swanson, but it's always tricky with him and his health issues. If not, they have Spencer Long as a deputy and that's quite a downgrade. Guards should be James Carpenter and Brian Winters and both were poor in the previous season. Finally, things are bit better at the tackle since the franchise has decent left tackle Kelvin Beachum and fine talented right tackle Brandon Shell.
Jets did improve in the previous season in comparison to the earlier one, however, it's far away from a top-notch side. Nothing even close. Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye performed well in the last year as rookies and it will be a test for them to see if the duo can continue in the same rhythm. Naturally, they both should be better but needs to be said that Maye has a permanent problem with his ankle.
Cornerbacks have struggled a lot in the previous season, but we should see a decent improvement in the new one. They signed nice talented Trumaine Johnson who surely is an upgrade in comparison to Morris Claiborne. Linebacker Avery Williamson was a great deal in the free agency this offseason. He is an excellent run defender and should bring much bigger quality than what they had. He will be starting next to Darron Lee who is yet to convert his talent.
Jordan Jenkins is their top edge rusher, but far away from a quality player till now in the career. Inconsistency is his biggest problem. However being negative side is that they don't have real subs for him. At least, Leonard Williams is one of best 3-4 ends in the league while newly signed Henry Anderson could be a decent addition.
The Bills should be led by A.J. McCarron whom they signed away from the Bengals in the offseason. However, they needed some more quality on that position and managed to get their way to sign Josh Allen. No doubt that he is a talented player, but also extra raw talent with excellent mobility. Their blocking unit, however, lost three valuable players this offseason.
Left tackle Cordy Glenn was traded to the Bengals, center Eric Wood and guard Richi Incognito both retired. Now the starter should be Dion Dawkins who impressed last year as a rookie and should be even better in the new one. Meanwhile, Vlad Ducasse comes from his best season until now but still remains just a decent option. Two new starters should also be left guard Ryan Groy and center Russell Bodine. Both of them are worse players than what they had in the previous season - no question about it.
At least, the franchise remains with LeSean McCoy who is still one of the best running backs in the NFL. However, due to problems in the offensive line, his numbers may decrease in the new season. Kelvin Benjamin should be solid this season, while Zay Jones remains a huge question mark for now. Jeremy Kerley and Charles Clay will probably need to become more involved in the offense.
The Bills were actually quite decent in the previous season when talking about the defense. Their secondary was surely the best part of the line and it will be the same in 2018 season. Rookie cornerback Tre'Davious White was exceptional, while his teammates Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde were also more than improved. However, they suffered quite a loss with cornerback E.J.Gaines signing for the Browns.
They may struggle with this position now unless Vontae Davis somehow improves by miracle his performances since injuries hurt him so much in previous seasons. Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds was signed as a first-round choice and should be a massive upgrade for the new year. Matt Milano should be the second player next to him, even though he had a disappointing run last year.
A deep group should be doing well this season since Jerry Hughes looks like a sure thing to be better this time. Shaq Lawson is also favorite to start across him. Trent Murphy signed a 21$ million contract after missing complete previous NFL edition and no doubt that his presence will help his teammates. Another new signing is Star Lotulelei who signed huge 50$ million contract in the offseason.
Great news for the Steelers is the fact that Ben Roethlisberger continues to play and actually, saying that he feels like playing for a couple of more seasons. They will continue to have more than decent options in attack, including Antonio Brown surely one of the best receivers in the entire NFL. Juju Smith-Schuster impressed a lot in his rookie season and should continue to improve.
Le'Veon Bell will surely have a huge task in front of himself, as he remains one the best running backs in the league. However, there's no capable backup for him in the roster as James Conner remains best reserve option. The offensive line is very dynamic once again for the Steelers as they continue to have great tackles in Alejandro Villanueva and Marcus Gilbert. Moreover, Chris Hubbard has moved to the Browns and might be missed in case one of two primary players are absent.
Right guard David DeCastro is the best blocker in the roster, while center Maurkice Pouncey is talented but yet to reach his peak coming from a disappointing season. Left guard Ramon Foster seems to be the only liability in their unit mostly due to injuries he had in previous years.
When talking about the defense, we need to start with the impression that the Steelers simply had to find a replacement for Ryan Shazier, one of the top linebackers in the NFL. He was one of the huge reasons of the success of Steelers last season and should be hugely missed even though his recovery goes well after suffering a severe injury last year.
So, the two starters at the position should be Vince Williams and Jon Bostic - two kinda decent player but nothing more than that. It's the biggest reason why their defense should be struggling big time in 2018. The first-round pick was used on safety position to get Terrel Edmunds who is considered as far lesser prospect overall - however, given the circumstances he should start right away with newly signed Morgan Burnett.
The Steelers are having a talented trio of cornerbacks with Joe Haden who was fine signing last season, Artie Burns who is former first-round pick and Mike Hilton who can cover just fine. Their strongest point should be a defensive front as they have Stephon Tuitt and Cameron Heyward - more than serious names. As for the edge rushers, T.J. Watt impressed last season as a rookie and should continue improving.
First thing first, Cleveland Browns didn't have a proper quarterback for two seasons now. Their terrible experience with only one victory in two years is difficult to repeat and probably won't be a matter anymore after they have finally improved on the most important position in the team. The Browns have finally traded for Tyrod Taylor and added the first-overall choice on Baker Mayfield. It's sure that Taylor will be the first pick according to their coach Jackson.
The Browns have also improved their receivers unit as they obtained Jarvis Landry in their trade with the Dolphins. He scored nine touchdowns last season and should form decent duo together with Josh Gordon who claims to have passed on his turbulent life so far. Tight end David Njoku has some great matches last year and he is expected to continue improving.
Carlos Hyde should be a solid alternative this season for McCoy, as he played fairly well when fit. The biggest question mark seems to be if he will manage to stay healthy for more than a few Weeks. Neither his second-round rookie Nick Chubb replacement seems that bad. However, the Browns failed to get a replacement in offensive line when Joe Thomas retired. The rest of the blocking unit seems to be just fine with Chris Hubbard now at the right tackle and two guards - Joel Bitonio and Kevin Zeitler.
Their defensive line should definitely be better this season after the Browns made many moves on the market in that direction. Cornerback Denzel Ward came as a fourth overall choice in 2018 NFL Draft. He should start across from E.J. Gaines who was signed as a free agent. No doubt that Gaines was a huge power player for Buffalo last season.
They have also traded for Damarious Randall, ex-Packers cornerback. He should be making a move to safety which could suit him even more. The secondary unit is surely reinforced, as the Browns have Myles Garrett who already did fine in his rookie season. Finally, linebacking corps need to improve badly this year. Christian Kirksey didn't play as expected in the previous season and needs to improve already from the first Weeks. Joe Schobert was their best players last season and will be carrying huge burden now.
It's easy to say that the Ravens are in all sorts of problems when speaking about their offense. Quarterback Joe Flacco is overpaid in comparison to what he shows on the field and it's a huge question mark if he will ever be able to bounce back. Different injuries cost him a lot, while it could be said that signing huge 125$ million six years deal two years ago didn't help the Ravens at all.
Understandably, they have opted for Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson in the opening round this offseason. For sure that he is not completely ready to start right away, so we might see the Ravens maybe even starting with Robert Griffin in first Weeks.
They brought some new receivers in the offseason signing John Brown and Willie Snead earlier. For sure that Brown has better quality and more potential, but also huge medical problems.
If anything, their right end was reinforced. In any way, Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews should be able to help the unit as much as possible. Flacco's contract prevented them to invest more, even though they were screaming for some improvements in rushing attack this offseason. They definitely seem to be weaker after the departure of Ryan Jensen and Austin Howard, since neither Matt Skura nor right tackle Alex Lewis seem to reliable options.
Finally, we are coming to some of the positive parts of the team for the Ravens. Everything they do positive this season will probably be thanks to their defense. The secondary is surely packed with quality as Jimmy Smith remains to be an excellent cornerback for the stands of the Ravens. First-round pick Marlon Humphrey is also there and will be pushing for a starting position as well. Tavon Young will only add depth to their unit.
The position of safeties is also looking decently well with two talented players: Tony Jefferson and Eric Weddle. Both did a great job last time and for sure improvement is ahead of Weddle. Terrell Suggs is still one of better players at his position, while there are plenty of other younger guys to keep him motivated and learn from him.
The defensive line also has some talents, with Willie Henry and Chris Wormley being very prolific last season. Michael Pierce also did great in previous season.
Linebacking position with C.J. Mosley should be looking for an improvement this season with the Ravens not having much more quality at the position with Kamalei Correa and Patrick Onwuasor being other options.
The Bengals are declining in offense quality for years now. The team had only close to eighteen points per game in last season and it's actually surprising that they ended up with seven victories in the end. The primary reason for their failure as a team is for sure regression in their offensive line. The Bengals lost most of their talented blockers in the previous offseason, as Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler left the club.
Having that in mind, it seems that guard Clint Boling is now only capable blocker in the team. They have also traded for Bill's left tackle Cordy Glenn before the draft too place. They have also signed Ohio State center Billy Price and this two should make some impact if the team is to improve.
Glenn has quite a weird injury history and even though effective when fit - it remains to be seen how fit he can get. Right guard Trey Hopkins and right tackle Cedric Ogbuehi will make the offensive line too.
Tight end Tyler Eifert has played only ten games in last two seasons and it will be of crucial importance that he remains healthy during the season. In case he isn't fit, John Ross needs to step up - ninth-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft who has excellent speed but didn't show much so far, also having to deal with a shoulder injury in 2017. Joe Mixon is expected to have a big year now since he will have better linemen so it's a way for him to be much more effective.
Bad news hit the Bengals in the offseason when they understood that their very important linebacker Vontaze Burfict will be suspended for the first four matches of the season. No doubt that it's a huge setback for them in first weeks, as any other player can't be even close to his quality at that position.
On the positive side, they have signed Preston Brown who was solid last year. He is a solid second linebacker to have alongside Burfict, but the problem will struggle while the latter one misses.
For sure that the stop unit seems to be like one of their strongest points this season. Defensive tackle Geno Atkins is still one of the top players on his position, while they lack other defensive tackle on the roster. Ryan Glasgow did a decent job as a fourth-round rookie last year. They have also signed Chris Baker formerly from Washington and Tampa Bay. He did well in 2016, but looked fairly poor in previous one and was released by the Buccaneers.
The Bengals have solid edge rushers with Carlos Dunlap being their star player too. Across from him should start Michael Johnson even though he was disappointing last year. Third-round rookie Jordan Willis also showed some promise. The team has several talented cornerbacks including William Jackson. Darqueze Dennard has been a disappointment for seasons but has finally stepped up last year and he should improve further in his contract season.
Meanwhile, they will surely need Dre Kirkpatrick to rebound to better performances. The safeties aren't that quality side of the team, as returning starters George Iloka and Shawn Williams tend to be very mediocre, so it's logical that they spent second-round choice on Jessie Bates who should be close to challenging for the starting spot.
If we speak about the Colts, we can't skip asking ourselves first if Andrew Luck will be playing in the new season? Reports are saying that he might not be available for the Week 1, however many are afraid that the season could go in a similar way as the previous one. There were speculations that he wasn't ready for the season opener 2017, while his return continued to get punished all the way during the season.
Till it was obvious he wouldn't play at all. Power of their offensive line will be determined by his availability and effectiveness for sure. Even if he returns, it's a huge question mark how fit is he? The Colts are set to struggle at first, with or without him.
Given the circumstances, it was obvious that they need to improve the positions during the offseason. The most important prominent blocker added this offseason was Quenton Nelson, sixth overall pick in the most recent Draft. He will start with center Ryan Kelly and either Jack Mewhort or Braden Smith. Mewhort showed a lot of talent, but he hasn't been able to stay fit during the season.
Smith, who was chosen in the second round could be favorite to start. The Colts also added a tackle with Austin Howard now almost looking sure as their right option. He is a decent player and not more than that, but for the standards of Colts who could bring some reliability finally. He is likely to start across from left tackle Anthony Castonzo who was a top blocker in the team last year.
They have also signed a couple of players to improve Luck's receiving corps, however, neither of them being a guarantee to make a huge impact in the roster. Eric Ebron tends to make a lot of mistakes, but still is a better athlete than Jack Doyle.
Former Redskins wide receiver Ryan Grant was also added and he is set to replace Donte Moncrief. They were expected to sign someone at the position of running back, however, the club did not act in the end, since the Colts spend fourth and fifth round picks on Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins.
Wilkins seems to be having a better chance of challenging Marlon Mack at the position of starting running back. Mack didn't impress last season averaging just 3.8 yards per carry while he was also stumbled by shoulder injury later in the season.
Even though many eyes are set to Luck's fitness, the truth is that the Colts are also having huge troubles making the defensive line fit for the starting game. Their stop unit was one of the NFL's worst in the previous season and it will be difficult for them to largely improve for this one.
The front office needed many upgrades on every level this offseason. Their secondary unit seems to be the worst as they had only two "real" cornerbacks last season. One of them was Rashaan Melvin who signed for the Raiders as a free agent.
The other one was Quincy Wilson who didn't play much till late in the season, but in the end, did have some decent performances. He should be starting next to Kenny Moore who was undrafted agent following the previous' season draft. It's obvious that the Colts will be having major problems stopping the pass once again.
One of the positive things should be their safety play. Malik Hooker has performed well as a first-round rookie last year until the injury. He is set to start next to Matthias Farley who also played well last year. Unlucky for them, there will be not much of a game plan in the defense as they have only one edge rusher - Jabal Sheard.
He did a decent job for Colts' standards, while it remains unclear who will start across him. Second-round rookie Kemoko Turay is likely favorite for now, with Tarell Basham also being in the mix - as well as Denico Autry who signed a three years deal during the offseason.
Johnathan Hankins was Colts top defender last years, but the team had to let him go since they opted for a new 4-3 scheme. The team will continue with Al Woods and Hassan Ridgeway as the starting defensive tackles. Such a duo seems to weird at the moment, as they don't seem to fit well while Ridgeway's quality is anyway kind of a mystery.
Thanks to 4-3 move, John Simon will switch to strongside linebacker. He performed well in a 3-4 scheme, but now remains unclear how he'll transition to the new tactics. He is set to start along with Antonio Morrison and second-round rookie Darius Leonard.
The Texans had a huge setback last season when their important player and rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson got injured. He is expected to be fully fit for the start of the new season and needs to be said, according to all the news he has been working really well to get ready and continue where he stopped. DeAndre Hopkins will be there to help him as much as possible and he is for sure one of the top wideouts in the entire league.
They, however, didn't have any chance to upgrade the offensive line having no pick in first two rounds of the NFL 2018 Draft. Therefore, blocking units should be quite poor this season. Starting tackles should be Julien Davenport and Seantrel Henderson - awful options. A third-round pick was used to get Martinas Rankin and looking at the quality of previous two - rookie is set to start from Week 1.
Nick Martin is for sure their best blocker, but it speaks only about the lack of quality in the unit. He will be together with Zach Fulton and Jeff Allen, first one quite ineffective while the second have been injury haunted for seasons. Running back corps is also in a difficult situation as D'Onta Foreman won't be ready early in the season.
The Texans also suffered difficult destiny with their defensive players and injuries in the previous season. Whitney Mercilius and J.J. Watt were also lost for a complete season in the very same game. It seems that Watt will be fully fit for the Week 1. That should really be a positive impact, especially in case he remains fit for the most of the season.
He will start together with Christian Covington and D.J. Reader on the defensive line. Mercilius is sure next to Jadeveon Clowney who comes from a very satisfying season and now seems as one of the most quality edge rushers in the division. Tyrann Mathieu looks almost sure to start at strong safety. He should help the team a lot and as such, he is a huge signing for the Texans.
The newly signed player is also cornerback Aaron Colvin who played decently well for Jacksonville last season. They will need some improvement in this section from younger guys since Johnathan Joseph seems to be far away from his best days. Zach Cunningham and Benardrick McKinney seem like a decently fine duo at the positions of linebacking corps.
Well, the biggest change with the Titans' offensive line should be the fact that they have a completely new coaching team. It should mean a different way of using Marcus Mariota who surely can contribute much if used properly. It seems that he will bounce back in the new season since many other guys were signed in order to actually help him.
The Titans have signed Dion Lewis who had great communication with Tom Brady and now is expected to do the same with Mariota. Corey Davis was a fifth overall pick in last year's Draft but almost didn't play at all during his rookie season. He is expected to improve much in the new season and is expected to start across from Richard Matthews.
Finally, the offensive line should stay completely the same and it could be a weapon for the Titans. Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin remain their best two tackles. Guards Quinton Spain and Josh Kline are quite mediocre making their interior of the offensive line not that bad of a group. Center Ben Jones shouldn't improve much either.
Cornerback Malcolm Butler was surely their biggest signing in the defensive sector of the team. He has been one of the best cornerbacks in recent years and no wonder the Titans choose to give him five years deal worth of 61$ million contract.
The top defensive back in the roster could be Kevin Byard who comes off from an excellent season. Other safety Johnathan Cyprien didn't do that well in the previous season but mostly due to injuries all season. The Titans have however upgraded their linebacking corps finally getting Rashaan Evans. He is set to start next to Wesley Woodyard.
Second-round choice gave them Harold Landry. He is set to start the next season, together with Derrick Morgan and experienced Brian Orakpo as two edge rushers. The Titans also signed nose tackle Bennie Logan who did a decent job at the Chiefs last season. Jurrell Casey and DaQuan Jones should be solid options as well.
Thanks to a bit of luck, easier schedule at start and thanks to a healthy season of their most important players, Jaguars were able to be one of the surprises in the previous season. Their quarterback Blake Bortles started all sixteen matches and was the only one who didn't miss the game due to injury in AFC South Division. Bortles now surely returns as a starter without real competition in the Jaguars, which is naturally a bad thing.
His lifestyle can be bit problematic and even if given enough playing time, it remains to be seen whether he can confirm the stats from the previous season. In case he fails in 2018, there will be no space to blame the other players inside the offensive line. The blocking unit was problematic at past, but now when the team signed guard Andrew Norwell for a 66.5$ million five years deal - there will be no excuse.
No doubt that such a huge deal was deserved for Norwell, as he stands out as one of the top guards in the whole NFL. He is not the only one strong starters on the front, with center Brandon Linder and right tackle Jermey Parnell as well. Bit lower profile the Jaguars have at left tackle Cam Robinson and right guard A.J. Cann. There's a chance for the first one to improve since he is only second-round rookie last year.
Allen Robinson left the team to a free agency during the offseason. He barely played in 2017, but no doubt that the club will miss his healthy appearances. Dede Westbrook, Keelan Cole or D.J. Chark will have to step up and take the job seriously this time.
It seems like Dede Westbrook might be the one who has the most potential as a fourth-round choice in 2017. One of their plus points in offense remains to be rushing attack. Leonard Fournette had a great start in the previous season as a rookie but later slipped into problems. In case he improves his blocking, Fournette could be even better in the new season.
Even though the Jaguars definitely had decent quality in the offense, there's no doubt that the defense was the most reliable part of the team and looked dominant during the previous season. The signing of a Calais Campbell was a great addition last offseason, as he proved to be one of the top defensive linemen in the NFL.
He could be at the similar level this season, while the Jaguars have some serious quality with Malik Jackson and Marcell Dareus. They could even be better in this part of the game, as they got the first-round choice Taven Bryan, who is set to be Campbell's replacement in next years.
Yannick Ngakoue had a great season as well, applying huge pressure on opposing quarterbacks in his sophomore campaign. Their secondary was one of the NFL's top units. Jalen Ramsey developed himself into one of the top cornerbacks in the entire game. A.J. Bouye who was signed as a free agent two years ago also had a lot of influence in their game and he should also continue to perform at a high level.
The rest of the secondary is mostly the same. Safeties like Tashaun Gipson and Barry Church will both return - both being reliable and solid. Still, the Jaguars spent a third-round pick on safety Ronnie Harrison. On the other side, nickel corner Aaron Colvin will be missed this season.
Linebacker Paul Posluszny decided to retire, but Blair Brown should be doing a decent job there after promising previous season. Moreover, they also have Telvin Smith and Myles Jacks, guys who are more than dominant and can step up anytime.
The Raiders were looking really good in recent years in the regular part of the season, but injuries cost them simply too much later on. Just when everyone took them very seriously last season, Derek Carr suffered yet another injury and it affected him all season long. Positive news for all Raiders fans is that Derek will be now fully fit from the Week 1.
Coach Jon Gruden was hired for the new season and his probably biggest signing was Greg Olson who should be controlling entire offense. No doubt that Olson is one of the top quarterbacks in the league and this is a potentially great weapon for the Raiders.
Amari Cooper should also be able to bounce back to positive ways after recovering fully. He is set to play alongside newly signed Martavis Bryant and Jordy Nelson. Influential player Michael Crabtree is gone, so it remains to be seen whether they will live up to expectations.
Left tackle Donald Penn was nowhere satisfying form in the previous season and will need to improve. That's the reason why the Raiders signed the first-round choice Kolton Miller from UCLA. The interior of their front should be very quality part of the Raiders. Right guard Gabe Jackson should do better, while left guard Kelechi Osemele and center Rodney Hudson inspire with confidence being one of better NFL players at their positions. The blocking unit also seems to have improved. Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin are looking like solid choices there.
Well, should be said that Oakland's defense wasn't up to the desired level last season. There were many problems in all the areas, especially with the secondary and linebacking corps which seem to have improved for the new season.
They are having two new cornerbacks: Gareon Conley who was a first-round pick in 2017 and will be one of the starters now. Across from him will be Rashaan Melvin who was signed from the Colts in the offseason. Melvin was excellent in the previous season and should be a great addition to the squad.
Safeties should be Karl Joseph and Reggie Nelson (seems like a bit weaker link overall in the roster). Linebacking corps is having two new starters, as the club signed Tahir Whitehead from Detroit Lions. He should defend their tight ends well now. Derrick Johnson is bit old now (36), but he can still do a proper job when needed.
No doubt that Justin Ellis has done a good job for now and is their best defensive interior. The rest of the unit will need to be healthy in order to give proper results. Mario Edwards is a decent lineman but needs to be fit. Last season's rookie Eddie Vanderdoes had a great start before getting injured.
They had to settle for ex-Viking quarterback Case Keenum in the offseason, even though it was obvious that their primary target was Kirk Cousins. Still, he should be a huge improvement as the player will bring much more mobility in their game-plan.
Left tackle Garett Bolles had a so-so campaign as a rookie in the previous season, but should only improve from that experience on. Jared Veldheer seems like an upgrade in comparison to Menelik Watson despite discussing retirement in the previous year.
Their blocking interior will give an additional boost to their offense. Left guard Ronald Leary is a great choice, while center Matt Paradis has solid seasons behind him. Right guard might be a bit problematic position since Connor McGovern struggled last year whenever he started.
The receiving corps were quite a disappointment last season and it will be a hell of a task to improve in this year. Emmanuel Sanders is going nowhere with his form, while Demaryius Thomas seems completely lost by destroying his body with the same diet that ruined Arian Foster's career.
Two early draft choices were spent here on Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton both looking to start later in the season. They will probably struggle to run the ball this season, as their best running back C.J. Anderson will be replaced by third-round rookie Royce Freeman or Deventae Booker.
Shane Ray failed to replace DeMarcus Ware last season and the Broncos had to react with the NFL 2018 Draft choices. They selected Bradley Chub as fifth pick overall and it seems that he is a great decision to start with. He is expected top defensive prospect and the Broncos can only benefit with him in time. Together with Von Miller, they should be a great duo.
The Broncos have two great cornerbacks in Chriss Harris and Bradley Roby. Especially the second one improved greatly last season. However, the weak part of their defense will be safety positions. It's unclear if young and talented Justin Simmons will be able to replace T.J. Ward right away. Darian Stewart seems more than fine on the other side of him.
Frontline Derek Wolfe is talented but hasn't played fully in last three seasons due to neck injuries that haunt him. Adam Gotsis will be other started and was arrested on rape charges. In case he can't play, this will be a hell of a task for the likes of Shelby Harris and Zach Kerr to deal with.
The linebacking corps are also not at the best possible level. Brandon Marshall seems like the only quality option but even he is coming from a poor season and has gone through several injuries.
Kansas City Chiefs
Their key quarterback Alex Smith was traded, but there shouldn't be much difference regarding their quality in the offense. Patrick Mahomes is more than capable of replacing him well. He had great working ethic till now and did well in all practice sessions, so this decision came as a reward for him. He will have great addition in Sammy Watkins who was signed as a free agent.
A former top-five draft pick didn't look that well in the previous year but needs to be said that he simply wasn't good duo with Jared Goff. He surely has potential and talent and it's about the time he shows it. Next to him, they have also Tyrek Hill and Travis Kelce as quality players too, both coming from a really good previous season.
They will be having quite strong ground attack as well. Kareem Hunt had a decent previous season as a third-round rookie. He should be used even more in the passing attack as it was announced by coach Reid. However, their blocking unit doesn't seem to be anywhere close to above mention parts of the team.
Left tackle Eric Fisher had been a simple pedestrian blind-side for seasons, while other solution left guard Bryan Witzmann seems completely below the NFL level. The rest of the offensive unit seems fine as they have center Mitch Morse who should improve in the new season after coming from injury. Right tackle Mitchell Schwartz is excellent, as well as right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff.
Kansas City actually lost a couple of really good players in the defense including Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hall, and Marcus Peters. The first two are close to finish their careers and might not be such a blow, however, Peters is still in his very prime. With three players gone, it will be challenging for the Chiefs to maintain a good record in the defense.
Cornerback Kendall Fuller was signed in the trade of quarterback Smith, so this is actually a decent move to get an excellent player. Eric Berry will return from injury and if healthy this season, he can give much to the Chiefs. He is expected to be ready for the Week 1. Rounding out the secondary, cornerbacks will be David Ameron, Steve Nelson, and safety Eric Murray. All three of them will need to up their game a bit in order to work in a positive way.
Two nose tackles were signed in the offseason as they brought Xavier Williams from Arizona Cardinals and got a third-round pick in Derrick Nnadi from Florida State. They should be starting alongside Allen Bailey and Chris Jones, the second one being top solution for sure.
Linebacker Anthony Hitchens signed a five years deal worth of 45$ million. He played excellent last season and should continue in the same manner. They might have bit of a problem in the edge rush position since they have no quality solution except Justin Houston.
Los Angeles Chargers
While we speak about the offensive players, the most important for the Chargers is for their players to remain healthy. In the last few seasons, it was completely different for them. Both talented guys Mike Williams and Forrest Lump suffered injuries early in the season and the improvement in their results was impossible to accomplish.
Forrest Lamp will be back for the start of the season. He will be joined by Mike Pouncey in the interior, who is a very skilled blocker. They will be together with Dan Feeney who wasn't very good as a rookie in a previous season.
Tackles Russel Okung and Joseph Barkslade aren't quite questionable. The first one has huge problems with injuries, while the latter one can't pull himself together in the last couple of season and will hardly be an upgrade this time.
Keenan Allen should be a dominant receiver this year too. Mike Williams will need to improve and deputize well Trevis Benjamin who obviously had a poor season. No doubt that Melvin Gordon will be a force in their passing game as a very stable running back.
No doubt that Joey Bosa is their key player in the defense for last two years now. Together with Melvin Ingram, they make a perfect duo and their contribution is amazing. Not only that, the Chargers are having a really great unit in their cornerbacks. Casey Hayward is one of the top players on that position, while Trevor Williams has also become more than solid starter especially after the previous NFL's edition.
Desmond King has probably been underrated at Draft the last offseason as he was just a fifth-round choice. However, the player had a great starting season and should continue to improve. However, the Chargers surely need improvement at safety positions. Jahleel Addae is a solid starter but nothing more than that. That's why they signed Derwin James from Florida State and he should be quite a deal for them at the Draft.
Justin Jones was added to improve the defensive tackle rotation and he should be starting option for them. Corey Liuget is having problems with injuries for seasons while the others were even worse in previous years. Second-round rookie Uchenna Nwosu should boost their linebacking corps for the new season as it was one of their weakest points in previous seasons.