NFL Offseason Report Card: Handing Out Grades To All 32 NFL Teams
This was a pretty quiet offseason by NFL standards, in large part due to the lack of a new collective bargaining agreement. Many players who would have been unrestricted free agents under normal circumstances, were instead restricted free agents, and most teams were not willing to give up the draft picks it would have taken to sign a restricted free agent.
There were still some big free agent signings as well as some major trades this offseason.
And of course an entire group of draft picks who will be coming in this year to try and help their new teams.
Here's a look at how each team did this offseason based on their draft picks, free agent signings, trades, and losses in free agency, injury, and retirement.
Key Additions - Brandon Marshall, Karlos Dansby
Key Losses - Jason Taylor, Ted Ginn Jr
Notable Draft Picks - Jared Odrick (DT), Koa Misi (OLB)
Overview - The Dolphins went heavy on the defensive side of the ball in the draft, selecting defensive players with seven of their eight picks. Also added this offseason was linebacker Karlos Dansby who was signed to a lucrative contract which made him one of the highest paid linebackers in the league.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Dolphins added Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall to a young receiving group that includes Davone Bess and Brian Hartline. Marshall will be taking the roster spot of disappointing first round pick Ted Ginn Jr., who was traded to the 49ers for a fifth round draft pick.
The AFC East is one of the toughest divisions in football, but the Dolphins have a chance to compete with Patriots and the Jets with the additions they made this off-season.
Grade B +
New York Jets
Key Additions - Jason Taylor, Santonio Holmes, Antonio Cromartie, Ladainian Tomlinson
Key Losses - Thomas Jones, Leon Washington, Alan Faneca
Notable Draft Picks - Kyle Wilson (CB) Vladimir Ducasse (OG)
Overview - The Jets were one of the busiest teams this offseason and are the favorite to win the Super Bowl, at least according to Rex Ryan. Ryan also forgot that the Jets were still in the playoff hunt last season after a loss to the Falcons, so take his hubris with a grain of salt.
Rather than pay Thomas Jones the Jets released him and picked up LaDainian Tomlinson. Thomas proved last year he could still be a productive back, while Tomlinson looked like a player at the end of his career, so expect Shonn Greene to get the majority of the carries.
Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie are both talented players, but come with a lot of baggage, including a four game suspension for Holmes. Jason Taylor was a long-time rival when he was with the Dolphins and now will be used mainly as a situational pass rusher in the Jets defense.
Even with all the a changes the Jets made to their roster this year it is likely that the two players who will have the most say in the success or failure of their season are both second-year players, RB Shonn Greene and QB Mark Sanchez.
Grade B -
New England Patriots
Key Additions - Torry Holt
Key Losses - Benjamin Watson, Adalius Thomas
Notable Draft Picks - Devin McCourty(CB), Rob Gronkowski (TE), Aaron Hernandez (TE)
Overview - The Patriots had 12 picks in the draft for the second straight season. Some might question the quantity over quality method if it were any other organization, but considering their recent history they are given the benefit of the doubt.
The loss of tight end Benjamin Watson should be softened by the additions of Rob Gronkowski and fourth-round steal, Aaron Hernandez.
The biggest concerns for the Patriots this offseason do not involve new additions or key loses, but rather a couple of veteran Patriots. Tom Brady is reportedly unhappy with his contract and Wes Welker is still recovering from a knee injury sustained last season. If Brady reports to camp on time and Welker is fully health when the season starts, there is no reason to think the Patriots should not be the favorites in the AFC East.
Key Additions -None
Key Losses - Brad Butler, Terrell Owens
Notable Draft Picks - C.J. Spiller
Overview - After firing Dick Jauron last season the Bills set out to find a new head coach and settled on Chan Gailey who will be implementing a 3-4 defense.
First round pick C.J. Spiller is an explosive offensive threat, but unfortunately he will not have much of an offensive line to run behind. As poor as their offensive line was last year, the Bills still waited until the fourth round to select an offensive lineman, tackle Ed Wang.
Quarterback is still the most glaring issue for the Bills. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Brohm, and Trent Edwards will be battling it out this training camp, but none of the three will inspire any confidence in an offense that ranked 30th in total yards last season.
The Bills had many areas of need to address this offseason, and they just did not do enough to fill those needs. The good news is they should have another top-10 pick in draft next year.
Key Additions - Donovan McNabb, Larry Johnson, Willie Parker, Jammal Brown
Key Losses - Jason Campbell
Notable Draft Picks - Trent Williams (OT)
Overview - A year after signing the biggest free agent available in Albert Haynesworth, the Redskins were a bit quieter in free agency, but still managed to make some drastic changes to a team that finished last in the NFC East.
Highly sought after new head coach Mike Shanahan brought in defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and his 3-4 defense, much to the dismay of Haynesworth.
To the offensive side of the ball the Redskins traded for QB Donovan McNabb who should be a substantial upgrade over Jason Campbell, and first round pick Trent Williams, and new addition Jammal Brown should help protect him, but the Redskins receiving corps is still a question mark.
Also added were running backs Willie Parker and Larry Johnson to a group that already includes Clinton Portis. They may have been a talented group in their prime, but all three have substantial injury histories and are approaching 30.
The Redskins already had a solid defense, and the addition of McNabb should make them better Still, if they want to compete with the Eagles and the Cowboys, they will need to add some weapons to an offense that averaged fewer than 17 points a game last year.
New York Giants
Key Additions - Antrel Rolle, Deon Grant
Key Losses - Domenik Hixon (IR), Antonio Pierce
Notable Draft Picks - Jason Pierre-Paul (DE), Linval Joseph (DT)
Overview - After starting last season with a five-game winning streak, the Giants lost eight out of their next 11 and failed to make the playoffs. The main cause of their collapse was their defense which allowed over 26 points a game and 40 points or more in five games.
Not surprisingly the Giants drafted heavily on the defensive side of the ball, selecting talented yet raw pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul in the first round, and massive defensive tackle Linval Joseph in the second round.
To boost their secondary the Giants signed free agent safeties Antrel Rolle and Deion Grant.
Unfortunately, the Giants lost Domenik Hixon to injury this preseason, but they should still have enough weapons to maintain a top-10 offense and if the new additions to the defense can keep opponents scoring to a reasonable level, they should be back to contending for a playoff spot this season.
Grade B –
Key Additions - None
Key Losses - Flozell Adams
Notable Draft Picks - Dez Bryant (WR)
Overview - With no salary cap to hold him back, many thought Cowboys owner Jerry Jones would open up the pocket book this off season and pick up some big name free agents. However, Jones and the Cowboys exercised restraint this year and did almost nothing in free agency.
The Cowboys lack of activity this offseason has less to do with fiscal responsibility and more with the talent that is already on this team. Last year saw Dallas get their first playoff win since 1996, and this year the Cowboys are a popular Super Bowl pick.
The Cowboys got a steal in first round pick Dez Bryant who should add another playmaker to an already potent offense.
The biggest question mark the Cowboys have is their offensive line which was not upgraded this offseason and proved to be their Achilles heel in a playoff loss to the Vikings last year.
Key Additions - Ernie Sims, Mike Bell
Key Losses - Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook
Notable Picks - Brandon Graham (DE), Nate Allen (S)
Overview - The Eagles had enough faith in Kevin Kolb after a couple of starts last season to trade franchise QB Donovan McNabb to division rival Washington Redskins. 2010 will also be a test for second year running back LeSean McCoy who will be asked to take over for RB Brian Westbrook who was released after a series of concussions.
In the draft the Eagles went heavy on defense, drafting nine players on the defensive side of the ball.
With young players taking over key positions on the offensive side of the ball and a fresh group of defenders trying to make the roster there are questions of whether or not the Eagles can improve on their 11-5 season of last year.
We will see this year if the decision to go younger backfires on them, but you have to give Eagles management credit for making such tough choices.
Key Additions - Donte Stallworth, Anquan Boldin
Key Losses - None
Notable Draft Picks - Sergio Kindle (OLB), Terrence Cody (DT)
Overview - For years the Ravens have had one of the most feared defenses in the NFL, but their offense was never on quite the same level. This year the Ravens hope to change that by trading for Pro Bowl wide receiver Anquan Boldin. Also added to the receiving group was Donte Stallworth, who was suspended last year after pleading guilty to DUI and manslaughter charges.
Linebacker Sergio Kindle and defensive tackle Terrence Cody both add some youth and depth to a defense that ranked in the top three in both points and yards allowed last season.
The Ravens have become an early Super Bowl pick and for good reason. They have a top-three defense and added offensive playmakers to go along with third year quarterback Joe Flacco and Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice.
Key Additions - Jake Delhomme, Benjamin Watson, Scott Fujita
Key Losses - Brodney Pool, Corey Williams, Kamerion Wimbley, Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson
Notable Draft Picks - Joe Haden (CB), Colt McCoy (QB), T.J. Ward (S)
Overview - This offseason the Browns hired Mike Holmgren to take over as team president. One of Holmgren's first moves was to hire Tom Heckert as the new General Manager. Holmgren and Heckert made substantial changes to the roster, bringing in veterans like Scott Fujita and Benjamin Watson and parting ways with long time Browns like Kamerion Wimbley and Brodney Pool.
Joe Haden was considered by most to be the best cornerback in the draft, and second round pick T.J. Ward could make a run at the starting free safety spot.
The biggest question mark for the Browns remains the quarterback position. Although Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn were not going to be leading the Browns to the Super Bowl any time soon, I don't think Jake Delhomme, who is coming off a horrible year, is the answer for the Browns. Third round pick Colt McCoy may be the answer someday, but he is not likely to see much playing time this year.
The Browns are in a pretty tough division with the Bengals and Ravens both making the playoffs last year, and the Steelers only a couple of years removed from a Super Bowl Victory. Any chance the Browns have of making the playoffs this year are very slim, but give Holmgren and Heckert a few years and they could become competitive.
Grade B -
Key Additions - Adam "Pacman" Jones, Matt Jones, Antonio Bryant
Key Losses - Laveranues Coles
Notable Draft Picks -Jermaine Gresham (TE), Carlos Dunlap (DE)
Overview - The Bengals continued to load up their team with players of questionable character, signing cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones along with wide receivers Matt Jones and Antonio Bryant, all who have been in trouble with the law during their careers.
First round selection Jermaine Gresham should give Carson Palmer a nice sized target in the red zone, something that the Bengals missed last season. Carlos Dunlap has the potential to be an impact player in the NFL, but their are questions about his consistency.
Last year the Bengals surprised a lot of people by not only winning the division, but by sweeping their meetings within the division. This year they won't be able to sneak up on anyone, but as long Carson Palmer stays healthy, and the off-field distractions are kept to a minimum, the Bengals could compete for the division again this year.
Key Additions - Byron Leftwich, Larry Foote, Antwaan Randle El
Key Losess - Santonio Holmes, Willie Parker, Willie Colon (IR), Limas Sweed (IR)
Notable Draft Picks - Maurkice Pouncey (OL), Jason Worilds (LB), Thaddeus Gibson (LB)
Overview - The Steelers had one of the more tumultuous offseasons in the NFL. Quarterback Ben Roethilisberger being accused of sexual assault resulted in a suspension of up to six games. Due to off-the-field issues, 2008 Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes was traded to the Jets for only a fifth round pick. And both tackle Willie Colon and wide receiver Limas Sweed will miss the season due to injuries.
After a year in Tampa Bay, Byron Leftwich was traded back to Steelers and will likely be the starting quarterback while Roethlisberger serves his suspension. Also back for the Steelers are linebacker Larry Foote and wide receiver Antwaan Randle El after time with the Lions and Redskins respectively.
First round pick Maurkice Pouncey should help solidify what has been a shaky offensive line, and both Thaddeus Gibson and Jason Worilds should inject some youth into the Steelers linebacking corp.
The key for the Steelers season will be the first four to six games of the season. If they can win a few games while Roethilisberger is suspended and avoid getting in too deep of a hole they should be in the hunt for a playoff spot at the end of the year.
Grade C -
Key Additions - Kyle Vanden Bosch, Corey Williams, Tony Scheffler, Nate Burleson
Key Losses - None
Notable Draft Picks - Ndamukong Suh (DT), Jahvid Best (RB)
The Lions had arguably the most productive offseason in the NFL. With the selection of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, the free agent signing of Kyle Vanden Bosch and the trade for Corey Williams, the Lions have completely transformed their defensive line.
On the offensive side of the ball the Lions gave Matthew Stafford some weapons with the selection of Jahvid Best, the free agent signing of Nate Burleson and the trade for Tony Scheffler.
The Lions still have some work to do on their offensive line and in their secondary but they at least seem to be on the right track which could not be said a few years ago.
Key Additions - Julius Peppers, Chester Taylor, Brandon Manumaleuna
Key Losses - Alex Brown
Notable Draft Picks - Major Wright (S)
Overview -This year the Bears picked up two of the biggest free agents on the market, DE Julius Peppers and RB Chester Taylor. Peppers should make an instant impact on the Bears pass rush and Taylor should take some of the workload off of third year running back Matt Forte.
The Bears were without their first and second round picks in this year’s drafts due to the trades for quarterback Jay Cutler and the late Gaines Adams. In the third round the Bears selected safety Major Wright who should help a much-maligned secondary.
Another key pick up for the Bears was not a player but rather new offensive coordinator Mike Martz who brings his pass-heavy offense to the Windy City. I don't think anyone, including the Bears themselves, know how the Martz/Cutler show will turn out, but they could be a fun team to watch.
One area the team failed to address this offseason was their offensive line which was one of the worst in the league. If the Bears have any real chance at competing for the NFC North crown they are going to need to find a way to give Cutler more time this season.
Green Bay Packers
Key Additions - None
Key Losses - Aaron Kampman
Notable Draft Picks - Brian Bulaga (OT), Mike Neal (DE) , Morgan Burnett (S)
Overview - The Packers were not active in free agency this year which is not surprising given General Manager Ted Thompson's history, but they did make a few key additions through the draft.
Iowa's Brian Bulaga who was projected as a possible top ten pick in the draft fell to the Packers at 23. Bulaga should help solidify an offensive line that was shaky at best last season. Second round pick Mike Neal's role with the Packers probably just grew substantially with last week’s suspension on Johnny Jolly.
The Packers are a young team that was ascending towards the end of last season, and there is no reason, barring any major injuries, that the Packers should not continue to improve. Expect the Packers to challenge the Vikings this year for the NFC North and make a deep playoff run.
Grade C +
Key Additions - Lito Sheppard
Key Losses - Chester Taylor
Notable Draft Picks - Chris Cook (CB), Toby Gerhart (RB)
The Vikings has a pretty quiet offseason, but there was not a lot that needed to be added to a team that was one Brett Favre interception away from the Super Bowl.
With cornerback Cedric Griffin doubtful for week one after tearing his ACL, veteran Lito Sheppard and rookie Chris Cook were brought in to add some depth to the secondary.
Rookie Toby Gerhart will likely take over as the number two running back behind Adrian Peterson due to the free agency departure of Chester Taylor. Whether or not Gerhart will be able to contribute in the screen game the way Taylor did remains to be seen, but the powerful runner should be able to help keep Peterson fresh deep in to games.
If, as everyone expects, Brett Farve returns this season the Vikings should be Super Bowl contenders.
Key Additions - None
Key Losses - Dunta Robinson
Notable Draft Picks - Kareem Jackson (CB), Ben Tate (RB)
Overview - The Texans had there first winning season in franchise history in 2009, and this year they have their sights set on a playoff berth. However, for a team with playoff aspirations they had a pretty quiet offseason.
First round selection Kareem Jackson should help ease the free agent loss of Dunta Robinson.
Second round pick Ben Tate will most likely start the year behind both Steve Slaton and Arian Foster, but could push for playing time as the season goes on.
Quarterback Matt Schaub and wide receiver Andre Johnson should put up huge numbers again this year, but the question remains, will those numbers translate into wins for the Texans?
Key Additions - None
Key Losses - Ryan Lilja
Notable Draft Picks - Jerry Hughes (DE)
Overview - After their loss in the Super Bowl, General Manager Bill Polian stated that the Colts offensive line was "outplayed" by the Saints defensive line. Surprisingly the Colts did very little this offseason to bolster their line, other than releasing guard Ryan Lilja and promoting Pete Metzelaars to offensive line coach.
Defensive end Jerry Hughes will add another pass rusher to a defensive line that already includes Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney. Hughes will also be a good insurance policy for Freeney who has missed time due to injuries the past few seasons.
The Colts are generally not very active in free agency and this year was no different. Last years team could of gone undefeated if they didn't rest their starters the final two games of the season, so even without upgrading their offensive line, the Colts are still a championship caliber team.
Key Additions - None
Key Losses - Keith Bullocks, Kyle Vanden Bosch, LenDale White
Notable Draft Picks - Derrick Morgan (DE)
Overview - The restructuring of running back Chris Johnson's contract was arguably the Titans biggest offseason move. The star running back was threatening a hold out of training camp if he was not given a raise this season. The Titans and Johnson came to a agreement that did not include any extra years added to his contract, but will pay him some more money this season.
With the loss of defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch to free agency, first round selection Derrick Morgan should have an opportunity to start this season if he can overcome the injuries that have plagued him in OTAs
Like many teams in the NFL the Titans season will depend a lot on the play of their quarterback. The question is: which Vince Young will show up this season? The one that lost his job to Kerry Collins in 2008 or the one that lead the Titans to wins in eight out of their last 10 games last season.
Key Additions - Aaron Kampman, Kirk Morrison
Key Losses -John Henderson, Quentin Groves
Notable Draft Picks - Tyson Alualu (DT), D'Anthony Smith (DT)
Overview - The Jaguars surprised a lot of people by selecting defensive tackle Tyson Alualu with the 10th overall pick. Partly because draft experts had Alualu graded as a second round pick and partly because they passed up the chance to draft local hero Tim Tebow.
The Jaguars recorded an incredibly low fourteen sacks last season which was eight fewer than the next worst team, which would explain why the Jaguars not only selected Alualu, but also defensive tackle D'Anthony Smith and defensive end Austen Lane.
Also brought in to help get to the quarterback was free agent Aaron Kampman, who if fully recovered from the knee injury he suffered last season, is a pass rushing threat.
The Jaguars definitely put an emphasis on their defense, but in doing so they neglected the offensive side of the ball. If they are going to compete with Colts and Texans they will need to score more points than they did last season.
Grade C -
New Orleans Saints
Key Additions - Alex Brown
Key Losses - Mike Bell, Bobby McCray
Notable Draft Picks - Patrick Robinson (CB)
Overview - The Saints had a pretty quiet offseason, which is not surprising for a team that won the Super Bowl last year.
With the signing of Alex Brown, defensive end Bobby McCray was expendable and was released in June. Rookie cornerback Patrick Robinson probably won't start this year, but adds depth to their secondary.
Most importantly the Saints re-signed safety Darren Sharper, who was instrumental to the Saints defensive turnaround last year. New Orleans should still be the favorite to win the NFC South and will have a legitimate shot at going back to the Super Bowl.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Key Additions - Reggie Brown
Key Losses - Antonio Bryant
Notable Draft Picks - Gerald McCoy (DT), Brian Price (DT), Arrelious Benn (WR), Mike Williams (WR)
Overview - With the loss of Antonio Bryant it is quite possible the Buccaneers could start two rookie wide receivers this season. Second round pick Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams, who had early round talent but dropped to the fourth round due to character concerns, appear to be penciled in as the starters going into training camp.
Defensive tackles, number three overall pick Gerald McCoy and second rounder Brian Price will hopefully be able to help a defense that ranked dead last in stopping the run last season.
The Buccaneers still have a long way to go before they are contenders, but if McCoy is as good as advertised and Williams and Benn can become reliable targets for second year quarterback Josh Freeman, the Buccaneers will at least have some pieces to build upon.
Key Additions - Dunta Robinson
Key Losses - None
Notable Draft Picks - Sean Weatherspoon (LB)
Overview - Last season, Despite injuries to both quarterback Matt Ryan and running back Michael Turner, the Falcons were able to post back to back winning seasons for the first time in franchise history.
New addition Dunta Robinson was one of the biggest free signings this offseason, and he should help improve a secondary that ranked in the bottom five in passing yards allowed last season.
First round pick Sean Weatherspoon may not start this season, but he should still see plenty of action in the Falcon's nickel defense.
If they can avoid being bitten by the injury bug the Falcons could make a run at a Wild Card spot this year or even push the Saints for the division title.
Grade - C +
Key Additions - None
Key Loses - Jake Delhomme, Julius Peppers, Muhsin Muhammad
Notable Draft Picks - Jimmy Clausen (QB), Brandon Lafell (WR)
Overview - The Panthers were without a first round pick in this year's draft due to a trade last year with the 49ers.
In the second round they selected quarterback Jimmy Clausen, who was projected by most draft experts as a first round talent. Clausen is not likely to see a lot of action this year as fourth-year quarterback Matt Moore is expected to start.
Wide receiver Steve Smith will miss most of training camp with a broken arm suffered while playing flag football. Third round pick Brandon Lafell could line up as the number two starter once the season starts.
The retirement of Muhsin Muhammad and the release of Jake Delhomme should not be hard to overcome, but the loss of Julius Peppers is another story. Peppers was incredibly productive in his eight years with the Panthers, accumulating double digit sack totals six of those years.
Based on their performance last year and what they did this offseason it does not appear that the Panthers will be able to compete at the same level as the Saints or the Falcons.
Key Additions - Jason Campbell
Key Losses - Jamarcus Russell, Kirk Morrison
Notable Draft Picks -Rolando McClain (LB)
Overview - Much to the surprise of almost everyone, Al Davis did not do anything crazy this offseason. In fact, the Raiders had a pretty good few months.
The trade for Jason Campbell gives them some much-needed leadership on the offensive side of the ball. First round pick Rolando McClain should provide a spark to an underachieving defense.
Moving on from JaMarcus Russell may have been the Raiders biggest and best move. It can't be easy parting ways with a number one overall pick this early in his career, but Davis and the Raiders made the right choice to move on. The Raiders aren't a great team, but in the weak AFC West they should be able to improve on their 5-11 record.
Kansas City Chiefs
Key Additions - Thomas Jones
Key Losses - None
Notable Draft Picks - Eric Berry (S), Dexter McCluster (RB)
Overview - The 4-12 Chiefs needed a lot help on both sides of the ball. QB Matt Cassel was a big disappointment his first year with the Team, but in his defense, Cassel did not have much to work with.
On offense they signed the recently released Thomas Jones, who, at the age of 31, is coming off one of his best seasons. Combined with Jamaal Charles and second round pick Dexter McCluster, the Chiefs could have a very effective running game.
On Defense they picked up safety Eric Berry with the fifth pick in the draft. The highly touted Berry gives the Chiefs secondary an instant upgrade.
Thomas and Berry are nice additions and could have an immediate impact, but the Chiefs have too many holes to fill to make me think, that even in the AFC West they will be much better in 2010.
San Diego Chargers
Key Additions - None
Key Losses - LaDainian Tomlinson
Notable Draft Picks - Ryan Matthews
Overview - The Chargers seem to be perennial Super Bowl picks, but they never quite seem to get there. Will this be the year they finally get over the hump?
Much of their Super Bowl hopes will rest squarely on the shoulders of first round pick Ryan Matthews. Matthews will be replacing future Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson who was released and has since signed with the Jets. That's a lot to ask of a rookie RB, but the Chargers felt confident enough in him that they were willing to move up 16 spots in the draft to get him.
Even with Vincent Jackson being suspended the first three games of the season the Chargers still have enough weapons to make them the favorites to win the division, but Did they do enough this offseason to actually get them to the Super Bowl?
Key Additions - Jamal Williams
Key Losses - Brandon Marshall, Tony Scheffler
Notable Draft Picks - Demaryius Thomas (WR), Tim Tebow (QB)
Overview - Make no mistake about it, this is Josh McDaniel's team. A year after running franchise QB Jay Cutler out of town, McDaniels went to work on two of his other most talented players, Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler who are now with the Dolphins and Lions respectively.
To replace Marshall the Broncos selected Demaryius Thomas in the first round, and to throw him the ball the Broncos gave away a king's ransom to pick up Tim Tebow. Tebow will be fighting it out in training camp with Kyle Orton and former first round bust Brady Quinn for the starting QB Job.
Jamal Williams gives them some depth on the defensive line, but on paper the Broncos got worse this off season.
Grade D -
San Francisco 49ers
Key Additions - Ted Ginn Jr
Key Losses - None
Notable Draft Picks - Anthony Davis (OT), Mike Iupati (OG), Taylor Mays (S)
Overview - The 49ers bolstered their offensive line by drafting Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis in the first round which should help their running game, as well as provide better protection for Alex Smith who is out to prove that he can be a starter in this league.
Ted Ginn Jr has been a disappointment thus far as a receiver, but he could help the 49ers in the return game.
With Seattle and St. Louis still rebuilding and Arizona dealing with the loss of Kurt Warner, San Francisco has become the favorite to win the NFC West.
Key Additions - Leon Washington, Charlie Whitehurst
Key Losses - Walter Jones, Patrick Kerrney
Notable Draft Picks - Russell Okung (OT), Earl Thomas (S), Golden Tate (WR)
Overview - After a successful stint as coach at USC, Pete Carroll has come back to the NFL to coach the Seahawks, taking over for Jim Mora who was fired in January after a 5-11 season.
The Seahawks draft was considered by many experts, to be one of the most successful. In the first round they were able to replace retired tackle Walter Jones with rookie Russell Okung and also picked up safety Earl Thomas who should be an instant upgrade to a secondary that ranked near the bottom of the league in passing yards allowed.
If he is fully recovered from the injury he sustained last year, Leon Washington should be a nice change-of-pace back and also be able to contribute to the return game. The trade for QB Charlie Whitehurst is really the only questionable move made by the Seahawks this offseason. With Matt Hasselbeck's injury history the Seahawks definitely needed a backup, but trading away a third round pick to get Whitehurst seems like a bit of a stretch.
St Louis Rams
Key Additions - None
Key Losses - Marc Bulger
Notable Draft Picks - Sam Bradford (QB), Rodger Saffold (OT), Mardy Gilyard (WR)
Overview - Obviously the Rams biggest move this offseason was the selection of first overall pick, quarter back Sam Bradford.
The decision the Rams will have this upcoming season is whether or not to start Bradford right away or let him sit behind veteran A.J. Feeley. Considering the lack of depth at the receiver position, letting Bradford sit a year might be the Rams best option.
The selection of Rodger Saffold in the second round could, combined with last year's first round selection Jason Smith, stabilize the offensive line for years to come.
In 2007 the Miami Dolphins finished 1-15, but still went on to make the playoffs next season. Don't expect the same kind of turnaround with the Rams. Even in one of the weakest divisions in football they still have a too many areas of need to win more than a handful of games this season.
Key Additions - Derek Anderson, Alan Faneca, Joey Porter, Kerry Rhodes
Key Losses - Kurt Warner, Karlos Dansby, Anquan Boldin, Antrel Rolle
Notable Draft Picks - Dan Williams (DT) Daryl Washington (LB)
Overview - The Cardinals were very busy this offseason, but unfortunately for them, they lost more than they gained.
The retirement of Kurt Warner and the trade of Anquan Boldin were the biggest blows to the offense. Matt Leinart will most likely be the new starting QB, although there could be some competition from newly signed Derek Anderson. Considering how horrible Anderson has been the past two seasons, if he is able to win the starting job away from Leinart the Cardinals could be in for a long season.
On the defensive side of the ball the Cardinals lost both Karlos Dansby and Antrel Rolle, two playmakers who are in the prime of their careers. In their place the Cardinals brought in Joey Porter and Kerry Rhodes, two players who are past their prime.
Dan Williams should help anchor the defensive line for years to come and Daryl Washington will probably start the season as a back up, but could eventually earn a spot in the starting rotation.
The Cardinals has a great run the past couple of years, and in a weak division they could still fight for a playoff spot, but with the loss of Kurt Warner it's hard to imagine them being serious contenders.
Grade C -