Every NFL Team's Best & Worst Offseason Acquisiton
Every year, NFL teams are instantly graded on the overall success of their offseason. In year's past, teams like the Jaguars have notoriously made more negative moves than positive moves, while the 49ers are consistently praised as one of the top teams in the league in terms of adding talent.
This year is no different. San Francisco general manager Trent Baalke and head coach Jim Harbaugh are still two of the best when it comes to improving their 53-man roster. As far as the Jaguars go, they had a couple of strong moves under their new leadership, but they also had a couple of poor moves as well.
Let's examine the best and worst move every NFL team has made up until this point of the 2013 offseason.
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Best: Carson Palmer
When Bruce Arians took over for Ken Whisenhunt as head coach, few believed quarterback Kevin Kolb would be the opening day starter for the Cardinals in 2013. That notion rang true on March 15 when Kolb was released after two disappointing seasons in the desert.
Arians' system is based around a quarterback who vertically pushes the ball down the field. So acquiring Carson Palmer from the Oakland Raiders was a no-brainer. Palmer upgrades the most important position on the football field, and Arizona gave up very little to get the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback.
Worst: Chilo Rachal
Even though Chilo Rachal was given very little guaranteed money to backup both offensive guard spots, it's hard to like this offseason move. The Cardinals had one of the worst offensive lines in all of football last season, which means the organization should be looking for quality over quantity.
Sure, Rachal is a former second-round pick, but he's been awful over the course of his five-year career. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), he has surrendered 69 total quarterback pressures as a pass-blocker. Based on the number of snaps he has taken, he allows at least one sack, hit or hurry every 20 snaps.
A below average number for an interior offensive lineman.
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Best: Steven Jackson
Last year it was apparent that Michael Turner had lost his burst out of the backfield as a running back. The Falcons felt the same way as the general public and parted ways with Turner at season's end. His release paved the way for long-time St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson.
Even at 29 years of age, Jackson appears to have plenty of gas left in the tank. In 2013, he will gunning for his ninth straight 1,000-yard season. SJ39 will not only upgrade Atlanta's halfback position from a rushing standpoint, but he will be an upgrade in pass-protection as well.
He's a three-down back who will help reestablish the Falcons running game as one the league's elite groups.
Worst: Osi Umenyiora
The same praise directed towards the front office for the Jackson signing can't be handed out for the Osi Umenyiora signing. Over the course of the last year, Umenyiora has fallen off a cliff from a production standpoint.
Sure, he notched six sacks in 2012, but sacks don't always tell the whole story. Aside from the six sacks, he only mustered up 39 quarterback pressures for the New York Giants. Not to mention his play against the run is worse than it has ever been.
Based on Pro Football Focus' (subscription required) grading system, he was the 51st best 4-3 defensive end against the run last year. Clearly Umenyiora is no longer a three-down defensive end and is better suited as a situational pass-rusher.
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Best: Elvis Dumervil
Thanks to Elvis Dumervil's agent and a faulty fax machine, the Baltimore Ravens were able to replace Paul Kruger with Dumervil. At 29 years old, the three-time Pro Bowl selection is a bit of a streaky player, but rushes the passer and defends the run equally well.
Kruger didn't always do a good job against the run, so Dumervil is definitely an upgrade in that regard. Not to mention the Ravens saved substantial amounts of money overall by opting for the older, more experienced option.
Worst: Rolando McClain
When Ray Lewis retired and Dannell Ellerbe left in free agency, Baltimore had very few options going forward at inside linebacker. It was no secret that the organization would look to a player in the draft, yet no one expected them to take a flier on a guy who had multiple arrests to his name.
Rolando McClain's fit from a schematic standpoint is questionable as well. For the Raiders, McClain played middle linebacker in their 4-3 alignment. His talent never lived up to his lofty draft status, but he did flash immense talent from time to time. If he spent as much time focusing on his play as he did in handcuffs, the former first-round pick could turn into an impact player.
However, fans shouldn't get their hopes up. It doesn't seem like that will be happening anytime soon.
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Best: Robert Woods
Outside of Stevie Johnson, the Buffalo Bills haven't exactly had a legitimate No. 2 receiving option in year's past. In 2012, Donald Jones was the team's second-best wideout with 41 catches, 443 yards and four touchdowns.
With the NFL becoming a much more pass-happy league, 443 yards isn't going to cut it. Which is exactly why general manager Buddy Nix and head coach Doug Marrone drafted USC All-American Robert Woods. Woods should step in immediately and start opposite of Johnson at wide receiver.
Worst: EJ Manuel
Prior to the draft, it was all but certain that the Bills would draft a quarterback. Analysts felt like Ryan Nassib would be the choice because of the obvious head coach-quarterback connection from Syracuse. Yet, Buffalo surprised everyone when they drafted EJ Manuel with the 16th pick.
Plenty of scouts loved Manuel's upside as a player, but few felt he was worthy of a Day 1 pick. In the middle of the first round, Geno Smith would have likely been a player who was considered to be a more polished product.
Moreover, the organization didn't exactly need to go quarterback so early. It's not like they were only a quarterback away from being Super Bowl contenders. Manuel may turn into a fine quarterback someday, just don't expect immediate results.
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Best: Star Lotulelei
Since Cam Newton was a rookie, the Carolina Panthers offense has been light years ahead of their defense. With little attempt to improve their defensive front seven during the 2012 offseason, newly appointed general manager Dave Gettleman knew the organization's defense would never catch up with their offense until the defensive line saw a couple of major upgrades in the middle.
Kawann Short proved to be a nice value pick in the second round, yet there was arguably no better selection than Star Lotulelei on Day 1. Lotulelei is viewed as a pocket pusher who is disruptive in the run game and disastrous as a pass-rusher.
His presence at nose tackle will only help Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson on the outside.
Worst: Ted Ginn Jr.
As strong as the Panthers are at running back, they could stand a few upgrades at their other offensive skills positions. Outside of Steve Smith, Newton has had minimal help at wide receiver. It's baffling to think Carolina actually feels comfortable with Brandon LaFell at right wide receiver and Ted Ginn in the slot.
Ginn is nothing more than an above average return man. At no point in his career has he shown the ability to be a reliable pass-catcher. He's a poor route-runner, drops way too many passes and he struggles to get separation downfield.
An overall strong offseason was marred by the signing of Ginn.
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Best: Jon Bostic
After releasing long-time starting middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, Chicago was desperate for youth in the middle of its defense. Florida linebacker Jon Bostic appears to be the perfect fit for a defense that is looking for youth and speed at inside linebacker.
Bostic will push D.J. Williams for a starting job. At the collegiate level, he was in control of one the nation's best defenses. A majority of his plays were splash plays that showcased his sideline-to-sideline speed. The second-team All-SEC member will need to put on some weight, but outside of that he is as pro-ready as it gets.
Worst: Jermon Bushrod
Am I the only one who thinks the Bears made a mistake when they signed Jermon Bushrod? Chicago needed help at left tackle, that's a certainty, but they overpaid for Bushrod. There's no getting around that fact.
There were plenty of free-agent options who could have provided the same level of play at half the price. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Bushrod was the 44th best offensive tackle in the NFL last year.
Ty Schalter of Bleacher Report believes Kyle Long will be starting for Bushrod by 2015.
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Best: Tyler Eifert
It was apparent, especially in the playoffs, that the one thing holding the Cincinnati Bengals back last year was their lack of explosive playmakers. Wide receiver A.J. Green has been Andy Dalton's go-to guy since his rookie season, but outside of him there have been very few top-notch playmakers on the Bengals' roster.
Insert Tyler Eifert—even though Cincinnati drafted Jermaine Gresham with the 21st pick in 2010, Marvin Lewis wanted to add another tight end to Dalton's arsenal for the 2013 season. Eifert will not only be an in-line tight end, but he's a guy who can line up in the slot and work the middle of the field.
His speed and athleticism will allow offensive coordinator Jay Gruden to get creative with 12 personnel packages.
Worst: Aaron Maybin
Overall, Cincinnati made some very smart moves during the offseason. James Harrison and Mike Pollack were impressive under the radar moves, yet there was one move that was a bit of a head-scratcher.
The signing of outside linebacker Aaron Maybin seemed a bit odd. His most successful season came as a rush-linebacker in the 3-4. The last time I checked, the Bengals ran a 4-3. It's unlikely that he will rush the passer at strongside linebacker.
So where does he fit in? Is he a project player who will turn into a situational pass-rusher? Only time will tell.
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Best: Paul Kruger
Hiring Ray Horton as the defensive coordinator was quite possibly the Cleveland Browns best offseason move. In two short years with Cardinals, Horton turned Arizona's defense around in a hurry. Last year, they were the 13th best defense in the NFL. An incredible feat considering his defense received little offensive help.
One thing Horton never had in Arizona was an elite pass-rusher. He now has that in Cleveland. The Browns signed former Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Paul Kruger. During his contract year, Kruger notched nine quarterback sacks, 17 quarterback hits and 43 quarterback hurries.
The only 3-4 outside linebackers to finish with more quarterback hurries in 2012 were Ryan Kerrigan and Aldon Smith.
Worst: David Nelson
Despite having plenty of depth at wide receiver, the Browns still brought in the often-injured wideout David Nelson. Nelson was previously with the Buffalo Bills, yet they let him walk in free agency after he tore his ACL in the team's first game of the 2012 season.
Obviously the Bills were concerned about the overall health of his knee. If they weren't, they probably would have brought him back. If Nelson doesn't turn heads in training camp, it's unlikely he makes the final 53-man roster.
Right now, Greg Little, Josh Gordon, Davone Bess and Travis Benjamin are all in front of him on the depth chart.
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Best: Justin Durant
It has been said before, and it proves to be relevant after the Dallas Cowboys offseason in 2013, Jerry Jones is the NFL's new Al Davis. However, that doesn't mean every move Jones made during the offseason was a bad one.
One of the few that made sense was the signing of linebacker Justin Durant. For a team that was strapped for cash, Durant was a bargain-bin signing. For the Detroit Lions last season, he amassed 89 solo tackles, 49 defensive stops and four quarterback pressures.
Additionally, Durant was an above average run-defender for Detroit.
Worst: Gavin Escobar
This one was a toss up between Travis Frederick and Gavin Escobar. It's easy to see why the Cowboys drafted Escobar—Jason Witten is not going to be around forever. He just turned 31, which means he is now considered to be on the wrong side of 30 by NFL standards.
But did Jones really need to draft his replacement in the second round? Dallas is not a No. 2 tight end away from winning the Super Bowl. A defensive player, more specifically a 4-3 defensive end who can rush the passer, would have made more sense here.
DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer can get after the quarterback when standing up at outside linebacker, but can they provide an equally strong pass-rush with their hand in the ground?
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Best: Wes Welker
Acquiring Wes Welker in free agency was one of the best moves any team made this offseason. John Elway knows his Super Bowl window is slowly closing. Quarterback Peyton Manning is 37 years old, his past neck injury offers no guarantees and Denver's defense is one of the best the NFL has to offer.
Heading into the offseason, the Broncos were truly one-to-two players away from hoisting the Lombardi trophy. Bringing in Wes Welker now makes Denver one of the toughest teams to gameplan against. With Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker on the outside, Welker will rarely see double coverage.
He will make his presence felt across the middle of the field, and he will give Manning one of the best safety valves in the league. One would be hard pressed to find a better wide receiver trio than the one Denver will put on the field come September.
Worst: Terrance Knighton
Denver was one of the league's top teams in terms of rushing the passer, but when it came to playing the run there was room for improvement. Defensive tackle Terrance Knighton was an underrated player in Jacksonville because the Jaguars were so bad on defense, but he's simply not an every-down player.
Sure, he does a nice job of getting after the quarterback, but he's below average against the run. Yet the Broncos are looking for him to be the answer as an interior run-stuffing defensive tackle. Denver will find out sooner rather than later, he's not the answer.
The team would be better off if they started Kevin Vickerson at right defensive tackle. PFF (subscription required) had Vickerson graded out at a plus-5.5 against the run.
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Best: Glover Quin
Much like the Cincinnati Bengals, the Detroit Lions made all the right moves during the offseason. They added quality starters and backups at multiple positions without overspending. Reggie Bush was a strong addition with Jahvid Best's future up in the air.
Yet, there was no better signing than the Glover Quin signing at safety. For years, the free safety position has been a bit of a revolving door. Quin brings talent and experience to one of the most unstable secondaries in the NFL.
Last year, Quin was a sure-tackling safety who collected 78 solo tackles and nine passes defended.
Worst: Devin Taylor
Losing Cliff Avril to the Seattle Seahawks really hurt the Lions. Avril was easily the most consistent pass-rushing option Detroit had. So, it wasn't surprising to see the organization address a position of need in the draft.
If Ziggy Ansah can develop into a top-tier edge rusher, the Lions will be just fine. However, if he doesn't the team will rely on fourth-round pick Devin Taylor. Taylor is a lot like Ansah. He has all the tools, but he still has a long way to go in terms of development.
Moreover, his upside is questionable. Jim Schwartz and Co. could have done a lot better in Round 4.
Green Bay Packers
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Best: Datone Jones
Heading into the 2013 season, there was one glaring hole the Green Bay Packers had on the defensive line. They needed help at right defensive end. When Datone Jones fell to the Packers at No. 26 overall, they knew they had their guy.
Jones will be given the opportunity to start at defensive end immediately. He's a versatile player who was played in both the 3-4 and 4-3 at the collegiate level. He can player every spot along the defensive line, and can provide relief against the run while rushing the passer.
Jones was one of the most coveted defensive linemen in the draft.
Worst: J.C. Tretter
In 2012, Green Bay's offensive line was one of the best in terms of protecting the quarterback. Aaron Rodgers was well protected more often than not, so it seemed a bit odd when the organization selected offensive tackles in back-to-back rounds in this year's draft.
Depth is surely a good thing to have, especially when you're protecting the highest paid quarterback in NFL. David Bakhtiari could have easily been the best player available on general manager Ted Thompson's board in Round 3, but there's no way J.C. Tretter was the best player available in Round 4.
Drafting safety help in the fourth round would have made more sense.
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Best: DeAndre Hopkins
For some time now, the Houston Texans have been trying to find a wide receiver to pair with Andre Johnson. Outside of Johnson, quarterback Matt Schaub has had to rely heavily on tight end Owen Daniels. Daniels has practically lined up everywhere on the field to create mismatches.
They've used him as an in-line tight end, he has been positioned in the slot and at times they even split him out wide as wide receiver. With the addition of Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, Schaub will hopefully have a third pass-catcher who is viewed as reliable.
Hopkins' presence should open things up for both Johnson and Daniels. The last ACC wide receiver the organization selected in the first round turned out to be a great success, I'm sure they are hoping for similar results from their second first-round wide receiver out of the ACC.
Worst: Ed Reed
As good as Ed Reed once was, it's debatable whether or not he is as good as he once was. Reed is an incredible playmaker who often garners the spotlight with highlight reel plays. However, those same highlight reel attempts don't always turn into positive plays for the defense.
Most teams would rather have a free safety who displays good range and keeps everything in front of him. Which is exactly why the organization should have paid Glover Quin. Quin may not intercept as many passes as Reed, but at this point in his career he is a younger, more consistent player.
Moreover, he's a very good defender against the run. Odds are Quin will keep getting better, and Reed will slowly continue to fall off.
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Best: Darrius Heyward-Bey
As much as general manager Ryan Grigson has been praised for his moves on the defensive side of the ball, one of the better, more underrated moves was the signing of former first-round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Heyward-Bey never lived up to his lofty draft status during the length of his rookie contract, but he did continuously make strides from year-to-year when he was healthy. Over the course of the last two years, he caught 105 passes and scored nine touchdowns.
With Andrew Luck taking snaps under center in Indianapolis, Heyward-Bey has real breakout potential in 2013. Don't be surprised if he's pushing 1,000 yards receiving by season's end. He almost eclipsed that milestone in 2011 with Carson Palmer at quarterback.
Worst: Erik Walden
Plain and simple, the Colts overspent for outside linebacker Erik Walden. They were desperate to replace Dwight Freeney in their 3-4 scheme at outside linebacker, so they went with a flash-in-the-pan-type player.
While in Green Bay there was nothing Walden did exceptionally well. He was an awful pass-rusher, he stunk against the run and he was below average in coverage. The only thing he did with any success was tackle the ball-carrier.
In 2012, he only missed two tackles.
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Best: Luke Joeckel
The jury is still out on quarterback Blaine Gabbert. No one really knows if he will turn into a franchise quarterback, or if his better days are already behind him. Chances are we will find out this season. Head coach Gus Bradley and general manager David Caldwell have invested heavily into improved play on both sides of the ball.
After a poor showing from the right side of the offensive line in 2012, the Jaguars decided to pair Luke Joeckel with blindside protector Eugene Monroe. There should be no more excuses for Gabbert going forward. Joeckel and Monroe will give the former first-round pick plenty of time to find his receiving targets down the field.
A once glaring weakness in Jacksonville has now turned into a strong point on the offensive side of the ball.
Worst: Ace Sanders
One could argue that both Ace Sanders and Denard Robinson were questionable draft selections. Robinson doesn't exactly have a position in the NFL, he is a jack-of-all-trades-type of player. Yet the overall risk in selecting him in the fifth round is low.
Sanders, on the other hand, carries more of a boom or bust factor. He was selected one round earlier than Robinson, but offers up a lot of the same characteristics. When the Jaguars picked in the fourth round, there were better receiving options on the board.
Chris Harper should have been the target with the 101st pick if they were looking for a sure handed pass-catcher.
Kansas City Chiefs
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Best: Anthony Fasano
At one point in his career, Tony Moeaki appeared to be the Kansas City Chiefs tight end for the foreseeable future. However, that all changed when Moeaki went down with a torn ACL in 2011. Last year the Chiefs offense was futile, and the former third-round pick never regained his footing as a reliable pass-catcher.
He caught 33 passes and found the end zone once.
It's hard to tell if he will ever be the same going forward, so adding Anthony Fasano in free agency was the right move. Fasano has proven over the course of his seven-year career that he can be counted on. He has only missed four games while catching 205 passes for 2,373 yards.
Fasano is also regarded as one of the best run-blocking tight ends in the league. It's rare to find a tight end who can catch passes and block in today's NFL.
Worst: Donnie Avery
Wide receiver Donnie Avery is fast player who can put stress on a defense vertically. But outside of that, he offers very little. He's not a good route-runner, he doesn't consistently get off the jam and he has a hard time getting open.
Avery can thank Andrew Luck for inflating his stock as a free agent. Alex Smith doesn't push the ball down the field the same way Luck does, making the speedy wide receiver a questionable pickup at best. Kansas City didn't invest much in the former second-round pick, yet it's unlikely he becomes a value signing in Kansas City.
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Best: Dion Jordan
Defensive end Cameron Wake needed a player who could get after the quarterback opposite of him. Jared Odrick hasn't developed into the pass-rusher the Dolphins hoped he would be. He was stout against the run, but outside of that he rarely got after the quarterback.
In 2012, he garnered 37 quarterback pressures on 951 snaps. General manager Jeff Ireland moved up in the draft for that reason. Ireland is hoping Dion Jordan can produce those same types of numbers on half the snaps.
Jordan also gives the Miami front seven flexibility. Not only will he have his hand in the ground, but he will stand up and rush the passer from the outside linebacker position.
Worst: Brandon Gibson
Former Rams wide receiver Brandon Gibson was the product of a weak offense. Quarterback Sam Bradford didn't have a ton of quality pass-catchers, so Gibson's numbers were inflated because of it.
The kid has potential, but he drops too many balls, plain and simple. If he wants to make an impact in Miami, he will need to become more sure handed. The Dolphins overpaid for a guy who could easily yield the same results as Armon Binns.
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Best: Xavier Rhodes
Losing Antoine Winfield to the Seattle Seahawks hurt. The Vikings wanted Winfield back, but he ultimately chose to leave the organization and pursue a Super Bowl title with the Seahawks. One can't blame him, his career is winding down and coming to a close.
His departure forced Minnesota to use one of its three Day 1 selections on a cornerback. After a few of the draft's top cornerbacks were off the board at the end of the first round, Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes seemed to make the most sense.
Heading into the draft, Rhodes was highly coveted by multiple teams. Analysts believed he would have ended up in Tampa Bay if the Buccaneers wouldn't have traded for Darrelle Revis. The 25th pick has already been penciled in as the Vikings right cornerback.
Worst: Greg Jennings
Aside from Adrian Peterson, Minnesota's offense lacked playmakers. General manager Rick Spielman knew the team couldn't count on one player to carry the offense yet again, so he knew he had to get to work in free agency and on draft day.
Greg Jennings gives Christian Ponder a reliable threat on the outside, but the move is hard to justify from a financial standpoint. There's no way Jennings comes close to earning the money the Vikings shelled out. Ultimately making the move look like an act of desperation.
New England Patriots
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Best: Danny Amendola
Wes Welker isn't someone who can easily be replaced. Over the years he emerged as Tom Brady's most reliable option at wide receiver. Even when the Patriots tried to phase him out of the offense in 2012, he found a way back in.
However, all good things must come to an end at some point. Welker's departure opened the door for a younger pass-catcher who resembles No. 83 in more ways than one. Danny Amendola didn't quite have the numbers Welker had, but he has proven he can get open and succeed in one of the worst passing offenses in the NFL.
Worst: Donald Jones
Signing Donald Jones was a bit of a risk for the Patriots. He had a couple of really good games against Bill Belichick in 2012, but a mysterious health condition could keep him from ever playing football again in the NFL.
Jones went on injured reserve towards the end of last season because of the condition. At this time, the condition hasn't been made public, which seems to be a bit fishy. Even though the Patriots invested very little in the wide receiver, the move seems to be a tad bit risky.
For Jones' sake, hopefully he can come back and perform at a high level in 2013.
New Orleans Saints
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Best: Victor Butler
Hiring Rob Ryan as the team's defensive coordinator meant one thing for the New Orleans Saints: They would no longer deploy a 4-3 defense, instead they would tout out an aggressive, up-tempo 3-4. Making the switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 in one offseason is not ideal, but it can be done with scheme familiar free agents who have played under the newly appointed defensive coordinator.
Former Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Victor Butler appears to be that guy who will be brought in to help teach Ryan's 3-4 defense. Additionally, Butler will be given the opportunity to be a full-time starter for the first time in his career.
As a reserve linebacker in Dallas, Butler tallied three quarterback sacks, three quarterback hits and nine quarterback hurries on 132 pass-rush attempts in 2012. That means he pressured the quarterback once every eight snaps as a pass-rusher.
Worst: Jason Smith
Jason Smith has never lived up to the expectations that were placed upon him as a rookie. He never became the blindside protector the St. Louis Rams had hoped he would become. Shoot, he didn't even become a viable option as a right tackle in the NFL.
Injuries and poor technique have led to his downward spiral. Even as a backup tackle, he offers little to no value. The Saints better hope Zach Strief stays healthy for all 16 games because if he doesn't Drew Brees is in for a world of hurt.
New York Giants
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Best: Damontre Moore
General manager Jerry Reese loves collecting as many pass-rushers as he can. He believes in building both the offensive and defensive lines first. After that, he proceeds to work his way out and fill in the other positions as he goes. If this wasn't the case, the Giants wouldn't have won two Super Bowls on his watch.
Based on this theory, drafting Damontre Moore in the third round was a home run for the organization. Early on in the draft process, many believed Moore would be a late Day 1 or an early Day 2 selection.
The defensive end from Texas A&M won't start as a rookie, but he will be worked in as a situational pass-rusher with the hopes of starting down the road. Moore was a first-team All-SEC selection in 2012.
Worst: Justin Pugh
Moore may have been considered a steal, but Syracuse offensive tackle Justin Pugh was not a steal. Only a handful of draft analysts attached a first-round grade to his name. New York could have easily gotten more value in the first round by selecting another player.
Sure, the Giants needed a right tackle. Their offensive line has been declining for sometime now, but Pugh was a reach. The way offensive linemen were flying off draft boards dictated this pick. He wouldn't have been available in Round 2 forcing the organization to take a Day 2 player on Day 1.
New York Jets
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Best: Antwan Barnes
Even though Antwan Barnes isn't a household name yet, that doesn't mean he won't be one at the end of the 2013 season. The New York Jets' defense needed an outside linebacker who could provide a consistent pass-rush off the edge.
Barnes will do that for the Jets. Last year, he tallied 15 total quarterback pressures in under 200 snaps. This season will be his first year as a full-time starter. There's not much wear and tear on his body, making him one of the best under the radar free-agent signings in the NFL.
He will start the season off at right outside linebacker. With little competition behind him, it will be his job to lose when the season rolls around.
Worst: Willie Colon
The Jets offensive line has arguably gone downhill in year's past. Both offensive tackle spots have been okay, but the interior of the offensive line has been less than impressive. Which is exactly why the organization felt like it would be a good idea to bring in new blood at both guard spots.
Stephen Peterman at right guard is definitely an upgrade, but the same can't be said about Willie Colon at left guard. The fact that Colon has two bad knees makes him more of a liability than a viable option. If he goes down, Brian Winters will need to step in and take over.
New York should have made more of an effort in free agency. Colon's injury history makes him the Jets worst offseason signing.
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Best: D.J. Hayden
The Raiders have been gutted since Reggie McKenzie took over as general manager. Yet it needed to happen, someone needed to come in and pick up the pieces. Al Davis' final years at the top set Oakland back further then anyone could have imagined.
Defensive back was one of those positions that was hit the hardest over the years. From Stanford Routt to Chris Johnson, top-dollar contracts were given to mediocre cornerbacks time after time. McKenzie finally said enough is enough and drafted a player who he felt was worth the No. 1 cornerback designation.
D.J. Hayden wasn't well known leading up to the draft, but draft analysts like Mike Mayock and Greg Cosell had him as the draft's best corner late in the process. Despite the fact Hayden is a small school guy, he will surely turn heads in Oakland for all the right reasons.
Worst: Pat Sims
Along with a remade defensive secondary, the Raiders are also in the process of remaking their defensive line. A majority of the moves made by the new look front office have been plus moves, but the one bad move that stuck out was the addition of Pat Sims.
Sims is a player who spent time in Cincinnati before heading over to the west coast. He was a rotational defensive tackle who had a hard time cracking the starting lineup because of inconsistent play. What makes the Raiders think he will better off Oakland?
He has hit his ceiling as player. He will have a hard time keeping his starting job, even for a talent depleted time like the Raiders.
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Best: Bradley Fletcher
While in St. Louis, Bradley Fletcher was considered one of the best tackling cornerbacks in the NFL. The only thing that stopped him from reaching his full potential was a knee injury he suffered early on in his career.
Not to mention he immediately fell out of favor with the Rams' coaching staff in 2012. By the end of the season he found himself buried on the depth chart. Yet Chip Kelly recognized his skill set, and has now given him the opportunity to be a starting corner in the NFL again.
He will start the season out at left cornerback for the Eagles. If Fletcher can avoid the injury bug, he should have no problem turning in a fine season in 2013.
Worst: Cary Williams
From one cornerback signing in Philadelphia to the next.
As strong as the Fletcher signing was, the same can't be said about the Cary Williams signing. Williams rode the coat tails of an above average postseason into the offseason. But if one goes back and looks at his 2012 season as a whole, they will see that he's an average player on his best day.
The Eagles needed cornerback help, but Williams has no business starting at right corner. Why not start Brandon Boykin on the right side?
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Best: Markus Wheaton
Losing wide receiver Mike Wallace in free agency was a tough pill to swallow, but in true Steeler fashion they reloaded and found his replacement during the draft. Markus Wheaton may not be as fast as Wallace, but he possesses the skills to be a more well-rounded player.
He's definitely not a one-trick pony. Wheaton should see plenty of action at left wide receiver given the Steelers pass-heavy attack. It's hard to tell whether or not he will be used in two wide-receiver sets right away, but eventually his time will come.
Emmanuel Sanders is in the last year of his contract, so it shouldn't shock anyone if Wheaton sees an increase in playing time over the second half of the season.
Worst: Guy Whimper
There's a reason offensive tackle Guy Whimper didn't sign on with an organization until this past week. He's one of the worst tackles in the game. Unfortunately, there are very few good things to be said about his level of play.
He enjoys surrendering quarterback sacks, hits and hurries. While playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012, he allowed 26 quarterback pressures as a spot starter. It's hard to believe he even has value as a backup offensive lineman.
San Diego Chargers
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Best: Derek Cox
Quentin Jammer's departure at the end of the 2012 season signaled one thing: There would be a younger player manning the right cornerback spot in 2013. The San Diego Chargers decided that Derek Cox would be that guy going forward.
As a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cox proved to be the most consistent player in an overall weak secondary. In coverage last year, he only gave up one touchdown and posted a quarterback rating against of 69.0.
Moreover, he picked off four balls and registered four passes defended. Even though Cox isn't a star-studded name, he brings an improved level of play to a Chargers team that desperately needs it.
Worst: King Dunlap
Left tackle King Dunlap had handful of quality starts for the Eagles while subbing for the injured Jason Peters, however he doesn't appear to be anything more than a spot starter at best. He is susceptible to the bull-rush and he often plays heavy footed.
Yet it appears San Diego doesn't have many options heading into the season. By default Dunlap will be the starting left tackle come September. A year from now the Chargers will be looking to draft his replacement.
San Francisco 49ers
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Best: Anquan Boldin
Has there been a better general manager in the NFL than San Francisco's Trent Baalke? It seems like he is always making all the right moves in free agency. This year, the Ravens needed to move Anquan Boldin due to salary cap implications, so Baalke decided to swoop in and offer up a sixth-round pick for the Pro Bowl wide receiver.
The 49ers didn't necessarily need Boldin, but he was too good to pass up, especially for a late-round pick. Boldin will start immediately at right wide receiver, making him one of the best value pickups of the entire offseason.
Worst: Adam Snyder
There's a reason why the 49ers let Adam Snyder walk in free agency a year ago. He wasn't worth the high-dollar contract the Arizona Cardinals gave him. Shoot, he may not even worth a low-dollar contract. He hasn't shown a strong ability to pass-protect or dominate the line of scrimmage as a run-blocker.
Even as a backup, it's hard to like this move.
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Best: Percy Harvin
Much like the Anquan Boldin move in San Francisco, the Seattle Seahawks weren't exactly in the market for a wide receiver. They seemed fairly set with Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin. But wide receiver Percy Harvin was on the market, and the Seahawks were intrigued by the dimension he could add to their offense.
They arguably gave up a king's ransom for Harvin, but it may prove to be the right move if he helps brings a Super Bowl championship to the Pacific Northwest. Look for the Seahawks to use him in a wide variety of roles—wide receiver, running back and returner.
Worst: Brady Quinn
Due to the lack of playing time, it's hard to argue against a backup quarterback signing. However, the acquisition of Brady Quinn seemed a little bit out of character for Seattle. He doesn't exactly fit Darrell Bevell's style of offense, and as a spot starter he has been underwhelming to say the least.
A younger, more mobile quarterback would have seemingly fit the bill. The free-agent class of quarterbacks was weak, so the draft would have been a perfect opportunity to snag Russell Wilson's backup.
Obviously the 'Hawks saw something in Quinn that few others have.
St. Louis Rams
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Best: Jake Long
This one was truly a toss up between left tackle Jake Long and Tavon Austin. Austin is a game-changer who possesses the ability to score a touchdown on any given touch. Sam Bradford has never had a wide receiver of his caliber to play with in the pros.
Although, sometimes it's better to err on the side of caution. Austin is just a rookie, he's not a household name like the former No. 1 overall pick. One could argue that Bradford has never played with a blindside protector of Long's caliber as well, making the signing just as important as the wideout acquisition.
For the first time since being drafted, No. 8 has a top-tier offensive line and a wide receiving corp that is littered with playmakers.
Worst: T.J. McDonald
The St. Louis Rams needed safety help in the worst way after they let Craig Dahl and Quintin Mikell walk. When they didn't add veteran help in free agency, it was all but a foregone conclusion that general manager Les Snead would select two safeties on draft day.
Yet that didn't end up being the case. Snead snagged one safety in the third round. It was USC safety T.J. McDonald. Outside of Travis Frederick to the Dallas Cowboys, there couldn't have been more of a reach. Prior to the draft, analysts had him pegged as an early Day 3 selection.
He has NFL bloodlines, but that doesn't mean he will be more successful than some of the other safeties from this year's draft class.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Best: Darrelle Revis
There wasn't a bigger offseason acquisition in the NFL than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade for Darrelle Revis. Tampa's secondary has been hurting for sometime now. Eric Wright has been an utter disappoint since he was signed away from the Detroit Lions, and E.J. Biggers left the Bucs for the Redskins in free agency.
Assuming he is 100 percent healthy, Revis alone turns Tampa Bay's secondary into one of the league's premier defensive backfields. Couple his addition with the signing of Dashon Goldson, and Greg Schiano's team has now become instant contenders in an already stacked NFC South.
Worst: Brian Leonard
LaGarrette Blount is long removed from his days as a starting running back, however he proved to be an okay situational player for Tampa Bay. He was far from great, but backups are typically backups for a reason. Expectations are usually low, and backups are rarely counted on when there is a superstar in front of them.
The Buccaneers have that superstar in Doug Martin, so it was interesting to see them trade away Blount. Trading him away means one thing, Brian Leonard is now Martin's backup. For those of you who thought Blount was bad, you will quickly be clamoring for him back as Leonard will prove to be worse running the football.
The only role Leonard will excel at is a pass-protector on third down.
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Best: Delanie Walker
Losing Jared Cook to the St. Louis Rams in free agency created a giant need for a pass-catching tight end. Head coach Mike Munchak knew Cook would ultimately be out of the Titans price range, so he opted for the next best option on the free-agent market, Delanie Walker.
Walker was Vernon Davis' backup in San Francisco, so he never was able to log the snaps and targets he would have liked to. This sentiment led him away from the 49ers in free agency. He felt as if it was his time to be the "guy" somewhere.
He will have the opportunity to be that "guy" in Tennessee. If Walker can clean up the inconsistent drops, he should turn into one of the top multi-threat tight ends in the NFL.
Worst: Shonn Greene
Based on the fact that the Tennessee Titans are already paying running back Chris Johnson gobs of money, why sign Shonn Greene to such a lucrative deal? It signals two things. The Titans either have little faith in Johnson, or they have gone off the deep end.
Greene is a fine player in a rotational backfield, but he's no where near the price Tennessee paid. They could have easily used one of their draft selections on one of the draft's top running backs. The organization would have gotten similar talent at three fourths the price.
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Best: E.J. Biggers
For years the Washington Redskins have tried to rely on DeAngelo Hall for top-notch corner play. Well, it appears as if his time has finally run out. Washington brought Hall back for the 2013 season, but they will no longer rely on him as the teams starting left cornerback.
Instead they signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback E.J. Biggers. He is a younger, more consistent player who is entering the prime years of his career. As a member of the Bucs last year, Biggers garnered eight quality starts while intercepting one pass and registering a quarterback rating against of 93.1, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
With a strong pass-rush, it would be wise to expect Biggers to take another step forward in 2013.
Worst: David Amerson
Cornerback David Amerson from North Carolina State was regarded by some as one of the top players in this year's corner class. Which makes the pick a superb one based on Amerson's talent, but from an immediate results perspective it is a bit of a head-scratcher.
Most second-round picks will be counted on as impact players right away. On Washington's roster, he's no better than the fourth best cornerback right now. If that notion holds true, he will only find the field on special teams and dime package situations.
With tight offseason salary cap implications, the Redskins could have easily found a player in the second round who would have made more of an impact right away.