NFL Offseason

Biggest roster holes for each NFC team:

Two weeks ago I talked about newly formed position groups that aren’t talked about enough. Now I want to look at one spot for each team that has to be improved. This article is not about adding depth or planning for the future, but rather where a team needs help this upcoming season. You could make a case for multiple teams having to upgrade their quarterback play, but there aren’t many solutions out there. That’s why I focused on other positions.

I wanted to give an overview on each team and discuss why they need to improve at that specific spot. This week I talk about the NFC teams.


NFC North:

 

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears: Wide receiver Bears

A couple of years ago you could have argued the Bears had the best receiver-duo in the entire league with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Today they play with a bunch of dudes average NFL fans don’t even know. Kevin White was a top-ten pick in the 2015 draft and some people even liked him better than Amari Cooper (not including me), but he has barely been healthy and when he was on the field he lacked that explosive ability scouts saw in him coming out of West Virginia. After that Eddie Royal has been the most productive pro and he has averaged just a little more 400 yards per year. Cameron Meredith had a solid 2016 campaign for a guy who’s name nobody knew this time last year, but Marcus Wheaton never grew into the number two role for Pittsburgh. The guys with the most potential outside of White are Kendall Wright, who followed a 1000-yard sophomore-campaign with inconsistency, and Rueben Randle, who showed flashes in New York and steadily increased his numbers, but didn’t play a snap last season after being released by the Eagles in late August. None of those guys on the roster are proven receiving weapons. The offensive line has quietly become pretty good and I thought Jordan Howard had a phenomenal rookie year, ranking third overall in total rushing yards in the entire league, but their new quarterbacks Mike Glennon and Mitchell Trubisky don’t really have anyone else to trust throwing the ball to. I know the defense was pretty bad last season, but they had a bunch of players hurt and I believe they will be much better on that side of the ball. I thought an energizer like LSU safety Jamal Adams would have really helped them, but at least they got a steal in Alabama’s Eddie Jackson in the fourth round. To me this is all about giving your young QBs tools to work with and help them grow.

(UPDATE: The Bears have signed Victor Cruz to a one-year deal)

Detroit Lions: Running back Lions

Matthew Stafford played at an MVP-type level for most of last season, but not a single other player on the Lions really played great throughout the year. The offensive line was the biggest question mark for the team heading into the offseason and they addressed that area with free-agent signings of guard T.J. Lang and the top available tackle in Ricky Wagner. The weapons around the quarterback were solid, but he needed more help. I think having someone in the backfield, who can pound the ball inside and take some pressure off Stafford would help him immensely. The defense didn’t do much last year either, but they don’t really have any glaring needs in my opinion on that unit, maybe outside of an edge rusher, which will be forgotten if Ziggy Ansah stays healthy and turns it on again in 2017. I know the Detroit front office is high on Ameer Abdullah because of the potential he showed coming out of Nebraska, but the best play he ever made in the NFL was a preseason run his rookie season. Theo Riddick is an excellent change-of-pace and third-down back, but not a full-time starter. And Zach Zenner is basically a full-back, who never rushed for more than 70 yards so far. I really believe somebody who can take 20-25 carries a game and make defenses come up more would open up the passing game in a completely new way. That’s why I didn’t understand why the Lions didn’t go after somebody like LeGarrette Blount in free agency or draft some running back. This class was loaded and there was a ton of talent left in the later rounds. If Abdullah finally breaks out that problem might be solved, but so far I haven’t seen why they should trust him. The third season has to be his year or the organization will look to find someone else to get the job done.

Green Bay Packers: Inside linebacker Packers

If you talked to anybody who watched the NFC Championship game in January they’d say the Packers need to rebuild their secondary, after watching Matt Ryan pick that unit apart, but to me that’s not necessarily the case. What you got to understand is that the Packers had a ton of cornerbacks injured. They went out there with their fourth and fifth corners starting and to me that only proved they have some solid back-ups. A guy, who had his fair share of struggles, but I really like is Ladarius Gunter. He was thrown in the fire, but didn’t back down against anybody. Now they get Damarious Randle and Quinten Rollins back, signed Davon House, who started his career in Green Bay, and drafted Kevin King out of Washington at the top of the second round. That’s a lot of talent that still has to develop. You could also look at the edge rush department, but with Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, who had a breakout, 11 sack campaign, they should be fine for now. The real problem for me are the two inside linebacker spots. Blake Martinez had a solid rookie year and Jake Ryan has been serviceable for the Pack, both being hard-nosed players, but they were fourth-round picks and are no actual difference-makers. Martinez at least had one sack and interception each, but Ryan had none in either category, nor did one of them force a fumble. If you design your defense to have your linebacker more cleaning up the mess that’s fine, but those two guys simply don’t really produce on passing downs, especially Ryan. I think a more versatile and dynamic linebacker would take this defense to a new level. I thought Joe Thomas fit that mold better, but apparently Dom Capers likes those other two guys better. Bottom line is – their defense needs to get better. Aaron Rodgers and company can’t put up 30+ points every single week.

Minnesota Vikings: Right guard Vikings

The Vikings received a huge blow before the start of last season when Teddy Bridgewater tore his ACL, but then signed Sam Bradford and started the season 5-0, due to his play, but much more thanks to their suffocating defense. After the bye-week they only managed three more wins compared to eight losses, because they struggled to move the ball offensively, much less put points on the board. Future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson missed all but three games, their number one receiver Stephon Diggs was kind of hot-and-cold because he was banged up a lot as well and their first-round pick Laquon Treadwell had one(!) catch. Adam Thielen emerged in that receiving group and the Minnesota front office replaced their star RB with Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, who I thought was a top-ten prospect. The unit I thought was absolutely horrific was the offensive line. Bradford had to get rid off the ball as soon as he got it and they averaged less than three yards a carry. Over the course of the season Minnesota used 12 different linemen – most in the NFL. Left tackle Matt Kalil once was a third overall pick, but he was let go. Alex Boone, who they signed in free agency, didn’t play up to the level we saw him do in San Francisco. T.J. Clemmings was a steal in the fourth round two years ago based on his potential, but he wasn’t ready to play yet. They signed Riley Reiff from their division rival Lions and drafted Ohio State’s Pat Elflein, who I thought clearly was the best center available. I believe the right guard spot, where Joe Berger is slotted as the starter right now, could use the biggest improvement. He’s had a nice career for a former sixth-round pick, but he’s 35 years old and starts to lose a step. I like the Miami kid they drafted called Dann Isidora, who I think is just a solid player and could be plugged in soon. No matter how, the Vikes need to do a better job protecting the quarterback and give the ground game a boost, as they averaged a league-worst 3.2 yards a rush.


NFC East:

 

NFL: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys: Outside cornerback Cowboys

Everybody knows about Dak and Zeke. This Dallas offense is loaded. They have the best offensive line in football, those two spectacular rookies from last season, a beast on the outside in Dez Bryant, future Hall of Fame tight-end Jason Witten and Mister Automatic on third down – Cole Beasley. So they headed into the offseason focusing on stopping people. I really like the Cowboys’ draft this year. They addressed the edge rusher position in the first round with Michigan’s Taco Charlton and then added two feisty defensive backs in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis. I’m a huge fan of both those players and I don’t have a doubt they’ll be successful in the league, but for both of them I see nickel as their ideal position. Lewis simply based on his size and that quickness over speed, while I liked Awuzie’s tape inside much better, where he played sticky coverage and was very effective as a blitzer from that spot. Dallas gave up two of their top three cornerbacks in free agency with Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr. The front office loves Orlando Scandrick – for good reason – but there is no number two outside corner on this roster to me. I think Awuzie could fill that role pretty well, but I just like him better inside. The guy who I think could step in as a full-time starter on the boundaries for the ‘Boys is Byron Jones. He was a freakish cornerback coming out of UConn and might be the only guy on their roster, who has the size and athleticism to to match up with the likes of Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Terrell Pryor. The problem with that is, they let two of their safeties walk in free agency and need Jones’ services in deep coverage. I know they signed Nolan Carroll, but he was a full-time starter for the first time in his career last season in Philadelphia and struggled in that role.

New York Giants: Offensive tackle Giants

I strongly believed the Giants would help out the offensive line in the draft, but they went on to add a dynamic weapon at the tight-end position with Ole Miss’ Evan Engram. They went to free agency and added D.J. Fluker, who is a mauler in the run-game, but is better suited inside. Justin Pugh is another guy who went into the draft as a tackle, but has been much better at guard himself. New York likes center Weston Richburg, so I think the team should be set on their interior three linemen. Where they could use some help is at the tackle-spots. Ereck Flowers struggled last season, but he has the tools needed to succeed in the league. He might be better at the right side at this point, but he has the potential to protect the blind-side in the future. To complement him they have Bobby Hart, who I think is a back-up in this league. Depending on where they decide to line up Flowers, they need someone else to lock up the other side. Unfortunately the offensive tackle market is very slim at this time and the best players have already been signed. That’s why I was confused they didn’t address the O-line at all in this year’s draft. Eli Manning needs better protection and the G-Men need to give a lift to the running game. I think they are set at four spots, but one more guy is missing. Those five guys up front struggled pretty bad last year. They have a Super Bowl-calibre defense already, but I’m not sure if they can get there without some more help up front. If Eli has more time, this could be one of the more exciting passing offenses in the NFL, but if he’s under duress, he might not be able to even get the ball to his playmakers.

Philadelphia Eagles: Nickelback / Strong safety Eagles

Starting off 3-0 and heading into the bye-week we thought this Eagles team could make some noise, especially with the way their defense and Carson Wentz played. After that we saw that this team still had some flaws, especially in the secondary, as opposing QBs started picking them apart. Last year the biggest position of need seemed to be at the wide receiver position, but they added Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith to the mix. A consistent banger inside at running back was added when they signed LeGarrette Blount and the offensive line should be better throughout next season with Lane Johnson back. I talked about how the Eagles D-line is one the best newly formed units nobody talks about (LINK!!) and I also like their linebacking corp a lot. So Philly could fully concentrate on the cornerback position in the draft back home. They selected Washington’s Sidney Jones in the second and West Virginia’s Rasul Douglas in the third round. Jones might miss the start of the season due to an Achilles injury at his pro day, but I loved his tape because of how aggressive he is with the ball in the air. Douglas is a long bump-and-run corner with outstanding ball-skills. It might take some time, but I think those two draft picks will eventually start on the outside for the Eagles. It’s kind of funny that I highlighted the nickel and strong safety positions, because this is where Malcolm Jenkins plays, who I think is one of the premiere defensive backs in the entire league. The reason I believe those two spots could use some help is the fact Jenkins can’t play both at the same time. He is the ultimate hybrid between those two positions and I’m a big fan of his game, but they need another player or two who can fill out the spot he’s not in depending on the defensive alignment and scheme. There’s not a lot of holes on this roster anymore and they could surprise some people.

Washington Redskins: Left Guard Redskins

When you asked me at the start of the offseason what the Redskins’ highest priority was, I would have told you they need to upgrade their front-seven on defense. Their secondary was re-worked over the last year plus with cornerback Josh Norman, linebacker-safety hybrid Su’a Cravens and now at free safety D.J. Swearinger. Now it was time to add some beef up front, especially after letting Chris Baker leave in free agency. It all started with the signing of the former Bills linebacker Zach Brown, who just came off a Pro Bowl campaign, including 149 tackles and four sacks. In the draft they added two Alabama guys in Jonathan Allen and Ryan Anderson, probably the two most physical players available overall. That’s why their defense should be fine heading into 2017. Offensively the ‘Skins gave up Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, but signed Terrell Pryor, who had a monster year for a quarterback-turned-receiver. They still haven’t seen what last year’s first-round pick Josh Doctson can really do and they want to increase the role of young Jamison Crowder. Jordan Reed is one of the most dynamic tight-end in today’s game and I like the pounding running-styles of the man they call Fat Rob and rookie Samaje Perine. So even though a year from now we might be talking about who’s going to run the show for them offensively, Washington’s biggest need is at left guard in my opinion. Trent Williams is at least the second-best left tackle in the league and Brandon Scherff just went to the Pro Bowl himself as a second-year man. Right now Shaun Lauvao seems to be their starter at that spot and I think there’s some room for improvement, displayed by the 39 QB pressures he allowed in 14 starts a year ago. He has had injury problems in the past and if I had to point on one weak link on that unit it’d be him. This might not be that glaring a need, so I’d say adding the services of a change-of-pace back would help this offense a lot as well.


NFC South:

 

NFL: Preseason-New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints

Atlanta Falcons: Right guard Falcons

The Falcons offense was historically great last season, as they averaged 33.8 points a game, which is the same number as what the 2000 Rams or ‘The greatest show on turf’ put up. The defense has quietly become one of the fastest and best young units in the league, with quality players at every position, including a book-end to go with Vic Beasley, as they picked the relentless fast-ball Takkarist McKinley (UCLA) in the first round of this year’s draft. That’s why I think there’s a bigger need on offense. The Falcons had a lot of firepower on that side of the ball during their Super Bowl run, but I certainly thought the difference to previous years for them was the offensive line. With the signing of center Alex Mack that unit came together and gave Matt Ryan time, as well as opening up holes for their two young backs. Yet, there’s one spot on this front-line that could be upgraded and it’s the right guard slot. Chris Chester is out of the building and I think Wes Schweitzer struggles with lateral movement as well as standing his ground against power-rushers. The O-line should be fine as a whole, but when I look at who loses the most one-on-one battles this guy jumps out to me. I like Sean Harlow, who they drafted in the fourth round out of Oregon State, and I’m curious to see how that battle for the starting spot will pan out. If neither one of them clearly earns that job in training camp, they should look to find the answer on the free agent market or the offensive front will need to slide to the right side more to keep the reigning MVP clean. I thought for them to go back to the Super Bowl they needed to find another edge-rusher to go with Vic Beasley and reduce the number of hits on Matty Ice. Task two is still to be done.

Carolina Panthers: Left guard Panthers

I don’t think anybody expected the Panthers to go 15-1 during the regular season a year ago, but neither was there a person who believed the Super Bowl losers would finish with a 6-10 record the following season. The reigning MVP Cam Newton did not nearly look like the same player, the defense allowed almost a hundred points more and the team just didn’t seem to have the same kind of swagger or fun anymore. You can find different reasons for their disappointing campaign – the departure of Josh Norman, Cam’s downfall or the change in turnover differential from +20 to -2. To me though the biggest problem for Carolina last season was the poor offensive line play. The man wearing number one took a lot of big shots. You could see that already week one in the Super Bowl rematch when the Broncos continued to hit Newton the way they did in the big game and conversations started on why he doesn’t get the same calls like the other top QBs in the league. This led to a completion percentage of 52.9 and a reduction of total touchdowns by the number of 21. You can’t solely blame the O-line here, as I have been quite critical about the Panther’s signal-caller in recent years, but there’s no way a player goes from MVP-level to an average starter if not for some struggles around him. The offense couldn’t stretch the field the same way because of the inconsistent receiver play and opposing teams got after at in the pass rush department. In just 14 starts Cam was sacked 36 times and he’s usually a pretty hard guy to bring down. With the draft additions of Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel the front office added speed and they will create some easy targets, which will lead to the ball coming out of the QB’s hands much quicker. Now the protection needs to improve. Carolina signed former third-overall pick Matt Kalil to be their left tackle, his brother Ryan has been one of the top centers for a while now, Trai Turner was a Pro Bowl guard a year ago and their draft pick Taylor Moton (Western Michigan) should fit right in at the opposing tackle spots. That leaves the left guard position open. I think Andrew Norwell is the odd man out, as he struggled at times last season. An upgrade needs to be found in my opinion. If the Panthers don’t sign anybody else they might need to move Moton inside and start Michael Oher at right tackle.

New Orleans Saints: Defensive end Saints

You know Drew Brees-led offenses will be spectacular, but they have made a transition to a much more physical brand of football. The Saints have built one of the better offensive lines in the league and with their three-headed monster in the backfield they want to move the ball down the field without their quarterback having to drop back 50 times a game. They gave up Brandin Cooks at receiver, but only because the emergence of Michael Thomas, who they drafted last year. Willie Snead caught 72 balls and Coby Fleener became a more consistent target at tight-end throughout the year. The issue has really been more the defense in recent years. To put their struggles on that side into numbers – they have allowed an average of 28.2 points a contest over the last three years. It also led them to a 7-9 record in each of those seasons. Their biggest problem has been slowing down opposing passing games. Their safety tandem of Vonn Bell and Kenny Vaccaro was built through the draft, but Marcus Williams might even take over at free soon. Delvin Breaux has been pressed into the number one corner spot, but he needs help. New Orleans will have high expectations for the 11th overall pick Marshon Lattimore (Ohio State), as he has all the qualities of being a primary cover-man. Now they need to put more pressure on quarterbacks to make the job easier for the secondary. The Saints’ only real threat in the pass rush department has been Cameron Jordan over a few years now, but Sheldon Rankins has shown flashes of what they drafted him for at a similar spot, as far as producing interior disruption goes. Still, NOLA needs a book-end opposite of Jordan to wreak havoc on Matt Ryan, Cam Newton and Jameis Winston if they want to win the NFC South. Alex Okafor was picked up from the Cardinals after a reduced role due to the edge-duo they have in place there and looks like the starter right now. Other than that, Hau’oli Kikaha showed some promise as a rookie, but missed all of last season to an injury, and in this year’s third round they drafted FAU’s Trey Hendrickson – a twitchy, high-motor edge player. I’m interested to see how they will approach rushing the passer in 2017.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sam linebacker Buccaneers

A lot of talk about the Buccaneers in recent weeks has been about their dynamic receiving corp. They are poised to break out with their leader Jameis Winston and the versatility of skill players. Although I still don’t believe this offensive line is good enough, as they were ranked in the bottom five in QB hits allowed and yards per rush, I decided to go with a defensive player. Outside of soon-to-be 34-year old Brent Grimes, Tampa Bay has built an excellent young secondary. The defensive line has been upgraded through free agency with Robert Ayers and Chris Baker, as well as in last year’s draft with Noah Spence, adding to the supreme Gerald McCoy. Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander make for one of the better young linebacker duos in today’s NFL, but the Bucs need somebody else to take over the strong-side linebacker position. I’m telling you Cameron Lynch and Jacquies Smith aren’t the solution. Defensive coordinator Mike Smith loves to blitz his linebackers, as David and Alexander combined for eight sacks last year. By adding a SAM, who can be another threat to shoot gaps and run all over the field, this defense could take the next step. There was a five-game stretch during the back-end of last season in which the Bucs gave up an average of about 13 points a game, including holding the Seahawks to a field-goal offensively and limiting a Drew Brees-led team to 11 points. It’ll be very interesting to see if this team can play at such a high level throughout an entire year, as they only ranked in the middle of the pack based on all of 2016/17. Once again the Bucs are everyone’s offseason darling, but I think they could finally break through and win double-digit games. Forming a strong LB trio could go a long way for them in that regard.


NFC West:

 

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Seattle Seahawks

Arizona Cardinals: Tight-end Cardinals

The Cardinals are a team that’s primed to rebound in 2017. A year ago we were talking about them having the best overall roster in the league and being one of the premiere contenders in the NFC. Things didn’t pan out the way viewers or the team itself expected them to. Carson Palmer took a big step back from his 2015/16 campaign and their passing game wasn’t nearly as prolific as we expected it to be with the weapons they had. What’s not talked about at all is that they lost a couple of games primarily on special-teams. Their kicker Chandler Cantanzaro missed the would-be game-winning field goal in week one against the Patriots as a sign of things to come, converting on just 75% of his FG attempts. He’s off the team. And there’s a lot positive things the Cards have going for themselves – they bring back the league-leader in yards from scrimmage and touchdowns in David Johnson, their two edge-rushers Chandler Jones and Markus Golden combined for 23.5 sacks last year, Tyrann Mathieu should be much healthier and they had an excellent draft throughout. You could look for a running-mate for Patrick Peterson, but Marcus Cooper improved over the course of the season at that spot and made some splash plays, as well as Mathieu and second-round pick Budda Baker having experience covering in the slot. That leads me back to the offensive side of the ball and the tight-end position. I can’t remember the last time Arizona had a difference-maker at that spot. Rob Housler once seemed like he could make some plays for them, but his touchdown total in the NFL still stands at one. I like Jermaine Gresham because he is a solid blocker and does his job – but as a number two. The offense seems very locked on stretching the field from the perimeter with John Brown and J.J. Nelson, but I think they should start putting stress on defenses with speed along the seams. The ageless Larry Fitzgerald has made a marvelous transition to the slot role, but I think if you had a dynamic tight-end streaking downfield he would either be open or at least give Fitz some more room to operate. The O-line struggled for most of last year, but they have the pieces to turn that around.

Los Angeles Rams: Left guard / Right tackle Rams

Last year’s offseason was pretty exciting for the Rams. They moved to the City of Angels, they brought back Offensive Rookie of the Year Todd Gurley and traded for the first overall pick to select their franchise quarterback Jared Goff. They came back to reality pretty quickly when they were blown out 28:0 by the 49ers in the season opener, who then went on to win only one more game over the entire campaign. The defense was pretty average, but the offense was horrific. They ranked dead-last in yards and points allowed, Gurley rushed for an average of 3.2 yards and the team scored just under one-and-a-half touchdowns per game. L.A.’s coaching staff understood they have to surround Goff, who they didn’t even dress for about half the season, with more weapons. So they went out and drafted Eastern Washington’s Cooper Kupp, a great route-runner and catcher of the ball, and South Alabama’s Gerald Everett, a dynamic tight-end with a ton of run-after-catch ability. The Rams need to push the ball down the field more and it showed in Goff’s ridiculously low 5.3 yards per attempt. The receiving corp looks much better already, but the offensive line has to be a focus as well. New left tackle Andrew Whitworth was a nice addition and will be a much-needed veteran presence up front. Depending on where the coaches decide to line up Greg Robinson, there will be an open spot. I like Rob Havenstein because he is technically sound, but due to his lack of lateral agility they might move him inside, which would open up the right tackle slot. Robinson was drafted as a tackle out of Auburn and is expected to take over Havenstein’s position from last year. That leaves a hole at left guard, where they have a couple of options. Rodger Saffold has had problems staying healthy and never really became the player he was expected to, while Cody Wichmann did a solid job filling in a year ago. The reason I’d give Wichmann the advantage in that position battle is the fact he’s a more powerful run-blocker, but I’m not sure if either one of them is starter material at this point. If Robinson stays at guard, there is major need for a right tackle and they might be rotating guys through. Not a good sign for their QBs, as they were sacked 49 total times last season – second-most in the league.

San Francisco 49ers: Cornerback 49ers

After what the 49ers showed last year you’d say the entire roster needs a complete overhaul and there’s a lot of impending needs for this team still, but I think new GM John Lynch has done an excellent job since stepping into the building. What impressed me the most was the way he made Chicago pay big to get their quarterback for the future. For moving down just one spot the Niners received third-round picks in this and next year’s draft, plus they still got their guy in Solomon Thomas (Stanford). I also loved trading back into the first to grab a top-ten talent with Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster. Throw those two guys into the mix together with NaVorro Bowman and the Oregon D-tackles they selected over the last two years and that defensive front looks pretty darn good on paper. In the secondary is where I see some flaws. With Jimmie Ward’s move to free safety, Dontae Johnson is San Francisco’s number one corner. After that they have Rashard Robinson, rookie Ahkello Witherspoon and a bunch of other guys. I like Witherspoon coming out of Colorado because of how long he is and how often he gets a hand on the ball. Still, I don’t see three starting corners at this point, which you need in today’s game as you spend the majority of your time in nickel- and dime-packages. You could argue that the offense lacks skill-positions players and they definitely need to find their signal-caller for years to come, but I don’t think there’s a quick answer right now to either one of those problems. I believe in head coach Kyle Shanahan to work some magic on offense and at least score some points, but I also believe this defense could improve immensely a year after being ranked dead-last in both yards and points allowed. They just need some help at corner.

Seattle Seahawks: Right tackle Seahawks

When you hear people talk about the Seahawks they automatically assume this team will be a contender once again. Sure, there’s a lot of reasons to believe they will be back in the mix. The have one of the elite defenses in the league (as long as Earl Thomas returns), one of the superstars at quarterback with Russell Wilson and a nice running back-trio, that offers a wide skill-set. What those people completely ignore is how bad Seattle’s offensive line actually was a year ago. The team averaged 3.8 yards per rush and Wilson was sacked 42 times. I know he was banged up and couldn’t escape with the kind of magic he usually has shown over the years, but you should be able to help your QB win from the pocket and he was hit a lot. Just think about who was starting for them at left tackle. George Fant is a former basketball player, who appeared in two total collegiate games. That’s crazy-talk for a position many consider the second-most important on offense. The Hawks signed former second-overall pick Luke Joeckel, who has yet to live up to his talents, but I wouldn’t consider him a franchise blindside-protector at all. I thought the transformation started a year ago with the selection of Germain Ifedi and the decision to move Justin Britt to center. That’s not enough though. Mark Glowinski might hold down the left guard spot for now, but he biggest problem to me is at right tackle. Seattle took LSU’s Ethan Pocic with their second pick in round two and I believe they plan on moving him outside, but he was a center for all his time down in Baton Rouge. He will have to learn a new position and while I see the length to counter some of those edge-rushers, I don’t see much power in his game. The Seahawks should still be the favorites to win the NFC West, but this O-line was atrocious for a large part of last season.

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