Best, Worst-Case Depth Chart Scenarios for Every NFL Team

Adam OdekirkContributor IIMay 29, 2012

Best, Worst-Case Depth Chart Scenarios for Every NFL Team

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    The depth chart is like the thermostat for most players; hot or cold, it is always there as a reminder of exactly what the feeling is about a player or position.

    Not much can be learned this early in the OTA season, but there are definitely players looking to make moves this early on in the game.

    Some teams find themselves in favorable spots with players or positions but there are others who are hanging on by a thread.

    Here are some of the best- and worst-case scenarios that could play out of for every team.

Arizona Cardinals

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Kevin Kolb clearly wins the job over John Skelton at quarterback. However, if Skelton plays well he could become trade fodder for a desperate team that is facing injury and open the door for Ryan Lindley to possibly take the backup role from Richard Bartel.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: Greg Toler doesn't fully return to form after his injury and rookie Jamell Fleming is pressed into action too early at cornerback behind Patrick Peterson and William Gay.

Atlanta Falcons

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Akeem Dent steps in and performs perfectly for the Falcons at inside linebacker as a replacement for the departed Curtis Lofton, keeping the Falcons from requiring Lofa Tatupu to be anything but an experienced veteran who fills in on an as needed basis.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: Something happens to Tony Gonzalez at tight end, because the Falcons (aside from Gonzalez) have a combined four years experience in the NFL at the position spread out over five players.

Baltimore Ravens

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Courtney Upshaw learns the ropes of the NFL quickly and makes the potential season-long loss of Terrell Suggs (despite his optimistic timetable for return) a much softer blow than it originally seemed to be.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: The Ravens actually enter the season without adding a veteran running back to compliment Ray Rice. Bernard Pierce and Damien Berry are not going to cut it.

Buffalo Bills

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Mark Anderson and Shawne Merriman are effective veterans that, combined with superstar Mario Williams, make the Bills' pass rush one of the most feared and effective in the AFC.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: All of the new receivers that were brought in fail to be effective, leaving Stevie Johnson and Ryan Fitzpatrick scrambling to find a way to get Johnson open in the secondary without legitimate threats from sideline to sideline.

Carolina Panthers

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Joe Adams delivers on being a steal coming from his fourth round draft position and helps the continued growth of the Cam Newton-led Carolina offense.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: Luke Kuechly has trouble learning to cover in the NFL and gets exploited by division rivals like Tony Gonzalez and Jimmy Graham.

Chicago Bears

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Michael Bush proves to be the true compliment to Matt Forte that Marion Barber wasn't, adding another level to the Bears offense.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: Brandon Marshall has trouble adjusting to the football-crazed market of Chicago and the pressure that comes with it, and becomes a drain on the locker room like he did in Denver.

Cincinnati Bengals

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: The Bengals find huge success with their draftees and have six or more members of the 2012 class make significant impacts on the field for the team next season.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: The Bengals get extremely unlucky and only see one or two players make solid contributions next season from this year's draft class.

Cleveland Browns

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Brandon Weeden comes in and takes the reigns from Colt McCoy immediately and wastes no time becoming the starter of the new-look Browns offense.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: Both Weeden and Trent Richardson take longer than expected to develop and become the every-down players that the Browns need them to be.

Dallas Cowboys

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Darrell Scott comes in and is competitive in camp. He relieves the concern about the depth at running back considering Felix Jones does not have a track record of perfect health.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: None of the young reserve offensive lineman show any versatility to float from right to left side, where Tyron Smith and Nate Livings have no real backups to speak of at their positions.

Denver Broncos

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Rahim Moore comes in and has a tremendous camp, making Mike Adams a capable backup with experience at the SS position in the absence of Brian Dawkins. Moore needs to play right away and not waste more time playing behind anyone.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: Peyton Manning gets injured. Simply put, the Broncos' depth at QB is such that an injury to Manning would make Denver the 2012 version of last season's Colts.

Detroit Lions

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Kellen Moore performs extremely well and shows signs that he may become a capable backup to Matthew Stafford, overtaking Shaun Hill at some point.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: The Detroit Lions aren't able to help themselves by landing a veteran safety. The talent is thin past Amari Spievey and Louis Delmas.

Green Bay Packers

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Marc Tyler makes up for the loss of Ryan Grant in the backfield, and doesn't make it seem likely that the Packers will be overly reliant on John Kuhn to carry the load with James Starks.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: Randall Cobb does not make the strides that he is expected to in the offseason and the Packers are forced to rely on Donald Driver for another season as the aging wideout continues to lose a step.

Houston Texans

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Matt Schaub stays healthy and the Texans don't need to find out how many quarterbacks deep they can go again in 2012.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: The Texans actually have to find out whether or not Case Keenum would be a better starter in a jam than John Beck, which would mean that the Texans' first and second string quarterbacks went down again.

Indianapolis Colts

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Darren Evans or Vick Ballard steps up and becomes a huge contributor to the rushing game, assisting in the assimilation of star quarterback Andrew Luck.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: Dwight Freeney has trouble transitioning to the outside linebacker position in the new defensive alignment and underplays the cost of his huge contract.

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Blaine Gabbert makes huge strides at the quarterback position and doesn't open the door for a major quarterback controversy with Chad Henne sitting behind him.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: Laurent Robinson fails to deliver and proves that he was just a one-hit wonder with the Cowboys, leaving Justin Blackmon on his own as No. 1 receiving threat in his rookie season. 

Kansas City Chiefs

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    BEST CASE SCENARIO: Peyton Hillis comes back and proves that he still can play the running back position at an elite level and gives the Chiefs another complimentary style opposite Jamaal Charles.

    WORST CASE SCENARIO: Dontari Poe starts off camp, and the regular season showing signs that he is the "bust" many people felt he could be based on his poor collegiate highlight reel at Memphis.

Miami Dolphins

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: David Garrard comes back healthy and effective, allowing Ryan Tannehill time to develop his quarterbacking acumen at the NFL level.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: Garrard is completely unprepared to play and the Dolphins are forced to trot out Tannehill far earlier than they planned due to the demands of the fan base.

Minnesota Vikings

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Geoff Schwartz is able to come in and replace stalwart guard Steve Hutchinson, who departed for Tennessee this offseason. Schwartz which will be imperative to the success of the rushing game.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: The Vikings fail to find any sort of depth for their secondary, particularly at the cornerback position.

New England Patriots

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: All the money that the Patriots threw at the wide receiver position this offseason pays off and gives Tom Brady more consistent targets beyond Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: The gamble of letting both Mark Anderson and Andre Carter walk away does not pay off and the pass rush is worse off than it was last season. 

New Orleans Saints

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: The addition of a player like Curtis Lofton at middle linebacker softens the blow of losing emotional leader Jonathan Vilma on defense due to suspension for the season.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: The team does not get a deal worked out with Drew Brees soon enough and the team's offensive leader has no time to get on the same page with his offense. 

New York Giants

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Reuben Randle and David Wilson step in and fill the roles of Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs, respectively, and help keep the Giants offense on track.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: The Giants lose one or more secondary players to injury again and young players like Prince Amukamara, Jayron Hosley and Tyler Sash are required to step in full-time and replace them.

New York Jets

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Mark Sanchez rises to the occasion and doesn't gives fans, pundits and especially Rex Ryan a reason to doubt him (or in Ryan's case, bench him in favor of Tim Tebow).

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: Sanchez totally crumbles and the Jets are left with no other option (as Denver was) but to start the charismatic, if underdeveloped, quarterback that fans all want to see.

Oakland Raiders

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Taiwan Jones lives up to expectations and becomes a solid compliment to Darren McFadden in the Raiders rushing attack.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: The Raiders lose any member of their linebacking group and are left with unproven and untested backups to try and slow down some of the power rushing attacks of the AFC.

Philadelphia Eagles

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: DeMeco Ryans is the steadying presence in the middle of the defense that the Eagles have long been missing without a sturdy veteran linebacker.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: Vinny Curry comes in and has a tough time adapting to the "Wide 9" technique at the NFL level and fails to generate any pressure.

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Sean Spence, the rookie linebacker from Miami, comes in and delivers on the hype, taking over the job from one of the aging starters currently making up the linebacker corp.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: The two new offensive line additions from the first and second round, David DeCastro and Mike Adams, fail to play with poise early on and continue the problems Pittsburgh has had with depth on that line.

San Diego Chargers

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Eddie Royal regains the form he had in his rookie season with Denver and becomes a red zone threat for Philip Rivers and the Chargers.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: Melvin Ingram makes like Cory Liuget and doesn't live up his draft position right off the bat in his first season.

San Francisco 49ers

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Randy Moss and Mario Manningham deliver the sorely needed danger that the 49ers' passing attack was missing last season, helping Alex Smith take the next step in his quarterbacking career. 

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: The 49ers are a great defense, but they are dangerously thin past superstars Dashon Goldson and Carlos Rogers in the secondary. If there isn't growth from that position in training camp it could spell trouble.

Seattle Seahawks

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Tavaris Jackson, Matt Flynn and rookie Russell Wilson all look good in training camp and the preseason, allowing the Seahawks to dangle Jackson to the highest bidder with a serious need.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: Marshawn Lynch reverts back to his underachieving ways and leaves the team with only Kregg Lumpkin to tote the rock.

St. Louis Rams

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Isaiah Pead develops into a multipurpose player who poses a threat all over the field.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: Brian Quick could be an interesting player, but if he doesn't become a game-breaking wide receiver and the others who could have been drafted by the Rams (Blackmon, Floyd, etc.) do, then it will be hard to explain away to fans.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Dallas Clark comes in and teaches the younger tight ends, all while unlocking the real potential of the young and talented Bucs offense.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: Vincent Jackson continues to be a tough player to keep healthy and Dallas Clark winds up being the best, and most consistent receiver for the Buccaneers.

Tennessee Titans

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Mike Martin comes in and becomes a solid rotational defensive lineman right away, and helps give the Titans depth at defensive line that has been lacking since Albert Haynesworth was a Titan (and actually dominated).

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: The loss of Cortland Finnegan is magnified by the lack of an adequate replacement at cornerback, leaving the Titans rather shallow at the position after having only drafted one CB.

Washington Redskins

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    BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Kirk Cousins comes in and plays well and justifies Washington drafting him as a potential backup to RGIII. The Redskins can then use Cousins or Rex Grossman as trade bait.

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO: The Redskins offense is exciting, but lacks true punch because of the fact that there are no game changing running backs on the roster currently.