Buying or Selling Biggest 2018 Draft Question for Each NFL Team

Zach Kruse@@zachkruse2Senior Analyst IMay 9, 2018

Buying or Selling Biggest 2018 Draft Question for Each NFL Team

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    The dust on the 2018 NFL draft is finally starting to settle. Most teams are preparing to integrate their incoming rookies with the returning veterans during offseason workout programs, a vital step in turning college kids into professional football players and creating competitive 90-man rosters before training camps open later this summer.  

    The weeks right after the draft are an eternally hopeful time. But these long days are also littered with questions that need answering: Did this team fill that hole? Is this team now a contender? Will that top pick pay off immediately? Could this first-round quarterback be the answer?

    Let's take a look around the NFL and explore each team's biggest question coming out of April's draft in Arlington, Texas. 

Arizona Cardinals: Do They Have Enough Talent Around Their QB?

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    Rookie wide receiver Christian Kirk
    Rookie wide receiver Christian KirkAssociated Press

    The Arizona Cardinals spent big in free agency to acquire two veteran quarterbacks (Sam Bradford, Mike Glennon) and then moved up in the draft to get UCLA's Josh Rosen at No. 10 overall, solving both their immediate and future needs at the game's most important position. But they look a little thin everywhere else on offense. 

    While All-Pro running back David Johnson is returning after missing all but one game in 2017 because of a wrist fracture, the Arizona offensive line is a shaky mix of veterans, and the options in the passing game look barren behind Larry Fitzgerald, who turns 35 in August.

    Maybe Johnson will resume his role as the do-it-all back, the offensive line will jell into a consistent group and second-round rookie Christian Kirk will emerge into a legitimate No. 2 weapon behind Fitzgerald. That's a lot of maybes, and it doesn't even factor in the injury history of Bradford, the disaster of a season from Glennon in 2017 and the inexperience of Rosen. The Cardinals offense will likely be a work in progress in 2018. 

    Verdict: Selling

Atlanta Falcons: Did They Do Enough to Replace Dontari Poe?

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    Deadrin Senat
    Deadrin SenatMichael Hickey/Getty Images

    The Carolina Panthers signed Dontari Poe in free agency, creating a 6'3", 346-pound hole in the middle of the Falcons defense. Atlanta will likely ask a rookie to eat up the majority of Poe's snaps at nose tackle. 

    Can third-round pick Deadrin Senat handle the role? 

    At 6'0", 314 pounds, he doesn't have Poe's size or incredible athleticism, but Senat wins at the point of attack with leverage and strength (35 bench-press reps). He can take on blockers inside and collapse the pocket on quarterbacks. 

    "We're going to put him at nose tackle and put him right into the mix with the other guys—with Jack [Crawford] and Grady [Jarrett] and all the guys inside," head coach Dan Quinn said, according to Will McFadden of the team's official site. "Let's let him come in and compete and battle. But he's got really good quickness for a big guy, strong, square and the effort and toughness and all the things we look for at that position."

    Senat wasn't a sexy pick, but he's well-developed physically and capable of filling a major need on the Falcons defense. 

    Verdict: Buying

Baltimore Ravens: How Much Better Will They Be in the Passing Game?

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    First-round draft pick Hayden Hurst
    First-round draft pick Hayden HurstWesley Hitt/Getty Images

    The Baltimore Ravens retooled their passing game after finishing 29th in passing yards (3,030) and dead last in yards per attempt (5.7) last season. Joe Flacco now has legitimate competition behind him at quarterback, and the Ravens made several big offseason moves at receiver and tight end. 

    They signed wideouts Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead IV in free agency, and the draft brought in tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews and receivers Jaleel Scott and Jordan Lasley. 

    There's a lot of talent in that group, but big changes can create growing pains. Flacco is coming off a disappointing season and now has first-round pick Lamar Jackson breathing down his neck, so he can't afford a long orientation period. 

    He needs to produce in a big way in 2018. However, his 10-year history—which includes an 84.1 career passer rating and an average of just 6.8 yards per attempt—strongly suggests he's nothing more than a middle-of-the-pack NFL quarterback. An influx of new weapons won't be enough to change that reality.

    Verdict: Selling

Buffalo Bills: Do They Have Anyone to Catch Passes from Their QBs?

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    The Buffalo Bills are starting over at quarterback with 2014 fifth-round pick AJ McCarron and rookie first-rounder Josh Allen, but it might not matter who is throwing passes to the team's underwhelming group of pass-catchers. 

    Kelvin Benjamin managed only 16 receptions over six games after arriving from Carolina last October, and second-round pick Zay Jones suffered through a miserable rookie season (27 catches on 74 targets). Tight end Charles Clay and running back LeSean McCoy were Buffalo's leading receivers in 2017, and the Bills did next to nothing to fix the issue during the draft. 

    Arguably no team has more question marks in the passing game. Having two quarterbacks with little or no starting experience won't help. Expect Buffalo to struggle throwing the football in 2018. 

    Verdict: Selling

Carolina Panthers: Can They Protect Cam Newton?

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    The Carolina Panthers addressed their secondary with two high picks—second-round cornerback Donte Jackson and third-round safety Rashaan Gaulden—and they added playmaking receiver D.J. Moore in the first round and ascending tight end Ian Thomas in the fourth.

    But they didn't add help along the offensive line to protect franchise quarterback Cam Newton, who was sacked 35 times last season (tied for ninth). That's a risky strategy from general manager Marty Hurney, and it could easily backfire, especially given all the question marks up front. 

    All-Pro left guard Andrew Norwell is gone, left tackle Matt Kalil is nothing if not inconsistent and center Ryan Kalil is 33 and has missed 18 regular-season games the last two years. This group is one injury away from collapsing like a house of cards.

    The draft could have added some immediate depth and a few long-term answers. Instead, the Panthers will have to cross their fingers that a below-average collection of starters manages to stay healthy in 2018.  

    Verdict: Selling

Chicago Bears: Do They Have Enough Edge-Rushers?

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    Aaron Lynch came over from San Francisco in March.
    Aaron Lynch came over from San Francisco in March.Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    The Chicago Bears went all-in on adding weapons around quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in free agency and the draft and hit the jackpot with Butkus Award winner Roquan Smith in the first round at No. 8 overall, but it's still fair to wonder if they did enough to develop a pass rush on the edge for defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. 

    2016 first-round pick Leonard Floyd is the star of the group, but he'll likely be lining up opposite Aaron Lynch, a free-agent acquisition with only 2.5 sacks over 14 games since 2016. The Bears made no other effort to add help besides using a sixth-round pick on Kylie Fitts, who battled through injuries and tallied only three sacks during his final season at Utah. Fourth-round linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe won't be rushing the passer. 

    The Bears are banking on Lynch and career backup Sam Acho to provide consistent production disrupting the passer. That sounds like a losing bet, especially in an NFC North division with Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Kirk Cousins. 

    Verdict: Selling

Cincinnati Bengals: Did They Do Enough to Fix the Offensive Line?

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    John Minchillo/Associated Press

    The Cincinnati Bengals engineered a cheap swap for left tackle Cordy Glenn and took Ohio State center Billy Price in the first round, solidifying two spots on a beleaguered offensive line. But was it enough? 

    The Bengals still look unsettled at both right guard and right tackle, where Trey Hopkins and Jake Fisher, respectively, are being penciled in as the early favorites to start. 

    The draft presented several options for Cincinnati outside the first round, including Connor Williams of Texas and Tyrell Crosby of Oregon, but the Bengals passed. The offensive line is heading in the right direction, but two big holes on the right side could derail the makeover.

    The guess here is the group will be better than the one that allowed 40 sacks and averaged 3.6 yards per rush in 2017. Finding a strong left tackle and center is a good start.

    Verdict: Buying

Cleveland Browns: Do They Finally Have the Right Pieces in Place to Compete?

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Teams aren't built on paper, and the Cleveland Browns know better than anyone that games aren't won in the spring and summer. But it finally looks like they have enough talent and depth to legitimately compete in 2018. 

    The young roster has weapons at receiver, running back and tight end, good players up front on the offensive line and difference-makers at every level of the defense. If Tyrod Taylor can steady the ship or first overall pick Baker Mayfield emerges as the second coming of Russell Wilson, the Browns will be in business. 

    Of course, a question mark at quarterback can make or break a season. But Taylor is an underrated veteran, and Mayfield won over everyone in Cleveland with his playmaking ability, accuracy, toughness and confidence.

    The Browns have something cooking. It might not mean competing for a playoff spot in 2018, but the construction of the roster and the new guys at quarterback suggest they could jell late and make a serious run at finishing at least .500. 

    Verdict: Buying

Dallas Cowboys: Who Will Be Catching Passes from Dak Prescott in 2018?

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    Third-round wide receiver Michael Gallup at Colorado State
    Third-round wide receiver Michael Gallup at Colorado StateDustin Bradford/Getty Images

    The Dallas Cowboys lost two of their three leading pass-catchers from last season (Dez Bryant, Jason Witten), leaving third-year quarterback Dak Prescott to develop a connection with a new set of players. The team signed Allen Hurns in March and used draft picks on receivers Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson and tight end Dalton Schultz, but this will be an unproven group.

    Expect growing pains. It's unclear how the depth chart at receiver will shake out, and the four tight ends left on the roster have little to no experience catching the football at the NFL level. 

    Even though Gallup often looked like a young Bryant at Colorado State, it's tough to envision immediate improvement in the passing game without Bryant and Witten. The Cowboys might take another step back before they can take a couple of steps forward. 

    Verdict: Selling

Denver Broncos: Do They Have a Plan for the Future at Quarterback?

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    Paxton Lynch
    Paxton LynchAssociated Press

    The Denver Broncos signed Case Keenum in free agency after his breakout 2017 season with the Minnesota Vikings and still have 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch on the roster, but general manager John Elway had a chance to take a quarterback with the fifth overall pick and instead selected edge-rusher Bradley Chubb.

    There's nothing wrong with that selection, as Chubb could give the Broncos an ideal inside-outside pass-rusher to team with Von Miller. But it does beg the question: Who is the future at quarterback?

    Keenum is 30 years old and only signed a two-year deal, while Lynch has clearly lost a great deal of trust within the organization after losing back-to-back camp battles to Trevor Siemian to start his NFL career.

    The wild card is Chad Kelly, a 2017 seventh-round pick, but the Broncos would probably like a more secure future at quarterback than an older, overachieving veteran, a middling former first-rounder and an unpredictable late-round pick. 

    Verdict: Selling

Detroit Lions: Who Will Rush the Passer?

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    Ezekiel Ansah
    Ezekiel AnsahAssociated Press

    The Detroit Lions were willing to trade up in the second round to take a running back (Kerryon Johnson) but wouldn't do the same to get a pass-rusher. In fact, Detroit didn't take a single pass-rusher in the draft, unless you count 297-pound defensive end Da'Shawn Hand.

    That strategy will be interesting to monitor as the Lions attempt to compete in a division with two established quarterbacks and an up-and-coming second-year passer. 

    Ezekiel Ansah is back on the franchise tag, but on the other side, the Lions are banking heavily on Anthony Zettel and Kerry Hyder (who missed the entire 2017 season with a torn Achilles). Detroit had obvious concerns at the most important position on defense but did nothing of note to fortify it. It needs a monster year from Ansah. 

    Verdict: Selling

Green Bay Packers: Did They Do Enough to Fix Their Pass Defense?

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    The Green Bay Packers made wholesale changes on defense, swapping out coordinator Dom Capers for Mike Pettine, adding one-time Pro Bowlers Muhammad Wilkerson and Tramon Williams and selecting two cornerbacks (Louisville's Jaire Alexander and Iowa's Josh Jackson) and a linebacker (Vanderbilt's Oren Burks) with their first three picks in the draft. 

    Will it be enough to solve one of the NFL's most unreliable pass defenses of the last two seasons? 

    The Packers still have some lingering question marks in terms of rushing the passer (namely depth behind Clay Matthews and Nick Perry), but adding Pettine's new scheme and Wilkerson's interior disruption ability should help. And the coverage at every level of the defense figures to be better with Williams, Alexander, Jackson and Burks expected to assume major roles. 

    It might take a few games for everything to click, but the Packers made the kind of moves necessary for getting better against the pass in 2018. 

    Verdict: Buying

Houston Texans: Can They Keep Edge-Rushers off Deshaun Watson?

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    The Houston Texans were put into a tough spot heading into the draft. It was never going to be easy having a big need at offensive tackle—in a weak offensive tackle class—with no picks in the first two rounds. 

    Houston snagged Mississippi State left tackle Martinas Rankin with its second pick in the third round, but he lacks length and might have to shift inside at the next level. 

    If Rankin can't provide depth at left or right tackle, the Texans will have only three legitimate options there: Julie'n Davenport, Seantrel Henderson and Kendall Lamm, leaving quarterback Deshaun Watson—who is coming back from an ACL tear—in potential peril from the league's best edge-rushers. 

    The Texans must believe Rankin can play on the edge, but Watson better be ready to step up and out of the pocket in 2018. He's unlikely to have consistent protection on either side. 

    Verdict: Selling 

Indianapolis Colts: Did They Finally Solve Their Offensive Line Problems?

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    It took general manager Chris Ballard two days in the draft to turn a major weakness into a potential strength. 

    Suddenly, the Indianapolis Colts offensive line looks strong in front of quarterback Andrew Luck

    Notre Dame product Quenton Nelson, selected sixth overall, should be a plug-and-play option at either guard position, while Auburn offensive lineman Braden Smith looks like another early starter at right guard. They'll join left tackle Anthony Castonzo, center Ryan Kelly, guard Jack Mewhort and veteran free-agent addition Matt Slauson up front. 

    The only question mark is at right tackle, where Denzelle Good and Joe Haeg will likely battle it out to start. If the Colts can get some consistency on the right side, they should be exponentially better running the ball and protecting Luck in 2018. 

    Verdict: Buying

Jacksonville Jaguars: Are They in Good Shape at Slot Cornerback?

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    D.J. Hayden came over from the Lions.
    D.J. Hayden came over from the Lions.Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    The Jacksonville Jaguars don't have many roster holes, but slot cornerback looks like a question mark after they lost Aaron Colvin in free agency. Jacksonville signed D.J. Hayden to a three-year deal in March but avoided the position in the draft. 

    Hayden is a 2013 first-round pick of the Oakland Raiders, but he's going on his third NFL team in six years and has only three starts over the last two seasons. The Jaguars will ask him to play a starting-level role as the third cornerback behind Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. 

    Colvin was a shutdown slot cornerback who could read and react in zone coverage, tackle in space and support against the run. Can Hayden play the same role? The Jaguars are banking on it. They probably should have added a fallback option in the draft.

    Verdict: Selling

Kansas City Chiefs: Are They Set at Cornerback?

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    Kendall Fuller came over from Washington in the Alex Smith trade.
    Kendall Fuller came over from Washington in the Alex Smith trade.Nick Wass/Associated Press

    The Kansas City Chiefs made big changes at cornerback this offseason, but they didn't take advantage of a deep draft class at the position. Instead of building some young depth, the team will bank on Kendall Fuller, David Amerson, Steven Nelson and a host of other inexperienced players to replace Pro Bowler Marcus Peters. 

    The team did select Tremon Smith in the sixth round, but the 6'0", 190-pounder is an undersized developmental prospect. 

    Taking a corner high in the draft could have helped stabilize the position. The Chiefs must like the depth they've established since dealing Peters to the Los Angeles Rams, but replacing his playmaking ability won't be easy, especially for a defense so reliant on takeaways. 

    Verdict: Selling

Los Angeles Chargers: Were They Right to Pass on a QB?

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Chargers' selection of Florida State safety Derwin James was one of the best team-prospect fits of the draft and a slam-dunk pick at No. 17 overall. Los Angeles also added a few nice defensive pieces later in the draft, but the franchise lacks a clear future at quarterback. 

    Behind 36-year-old Philip Rivers are Geno Smith, Cardale Jones and undrafted free agent Nic Shimonek. That'll work for another year, but it hardly screams long-term security at the game's most important position. 

    Should the Chargers have used some draft capital to get a quarterback? It was probably time. The franchise hasn't made a pick at the position since 2013.

    The team needs to establish the future behind Rivers, but it's hard to argue with the Chargers' draft haul. The right quarterback wasn't around at No. 17, as Lamar Jackson wasn't the best fit, but the perfect prospect was. 

    Verdict: Buying

Los Angeles Rams: Did They Fill Their Edge-Rushing Void?

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    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Rams have the NFL's most dominant interior rushing group with Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh, but defensive coordinator Wade Phillips needed at least one edge-rusher via the draft. 

    General manager Les Snead waited until the fifth round to address the hole, but he might have hit a home run. Waiting for Snead was Oklahoma's Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, an undersized (6'2", 253 lbs) but highly productive pass-rusher who can provide the Rams with the developmental outside linebacker the defense needed. 

    The Rams are so good up the middle that the edge-rushers probably don't have to be dominant. Okoronkwo and Samson Ebukam might be all Phillips needs to ensure quarterbacks are always uncomfortable in the pocket. 

    Verdict: Buying

Miami Dolphins: Can Mike Gesicki Unlock the Passing Game?

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Don't sleep on the Miami Dolphins' passing game, even without Jarvis Landry. Miami has a vertical threat (Kenny Stills), a talented youngster (25-year-old DeVante Parker) and two productive slot options (Danny Amendola, Albert Wilson). 

    Throw in a field-stretching, Travis Kelce-like weapon at tight end, and quarterback Ryan Tannehill might look good in 2018. 

    The 6'6", 247-pound Mike Gesicki isn't a polished all-around player, but he has the rare combination of size and athleticism that should make him a handful in a variety of passing-game concepts. Push him down the seam, get him in space against a linebacker or run him across the field against a cornerback—he'll be tough to cover in all three situations. 

    Better yet, Gesicki should draw attention from others, opening opportunities on the outside and in the middle of the field. Tannehill and the Dolphins might have all the ingredients necessary for creating fireworks in the passing game. 

    Verdict: Buying

Minnesota Vikings: Did They Miss the Boat Along the Offensive Line?

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Most expected the Minnesota Vikings to attack the offensive line in the draft, with the potential of finding a starter at right guard or right tackle with their first pick. Instead, the team went cornerback in the first round (Mike Hughes) and then added a few developmental prospects later. 

    Second-rounder Brian O'Neill is athletic and raw and could compete at right tackle. Sixth-round pick Colby Gossett will need development at guard. Neither is a great bet to play significant snaps as a rookie. 

    The Vikings added talent along the offensive line but found no sure-fire answers for 2018. The group could have used an immediate upgrade for at least one position up front. Will that matter during quarterback Kirk Cousins' first season as the Vikings' starter?

    Verdict: Buying

New England Patriots: Are They in Trouble at Left Tackle?

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    Bill Sikes/Associated Press

    Losing Nate Solder in free agency looked like a crippling blow to the New England Patriots offensive line, but the recovery has been swift and effective. 

    New England went out on a limb, taking Georgia's undersized left tackle Isaiah Wynn (6'3", 313 lbs) in the first round, and then it doubled down by pulling off a deal with the San Francisco 49ers for veteran Trent Brown. The Patriots also have in-house options such as Antonio Garcia and Cole Croston. 

    Wynn doesn't have ideal length (33 ⅜" arms), but he might be the favorite to be the Week 1 starter. He's an elite pass-blocker and a consistent all-around performer, two traits the Patriots will covet on Tom Brady's blind side. Brown has experience playing the position and rare size (6'8", 355 lbs). 

    Left tackle is an important spot, and the Patriots should have enough depth and talent to adequately replace Solder. 

    Verdict: Selling

New Orleans Saints: Was Marcus Davenport Worth the Price?

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    The New Orleans Saints were one of the most aggressive teams during the draft's first round, moving up 13 spots from No. 27 to select UTSA edge-rusher Marcus Davenport at No. 14 overall. It cost New Orleans a first-round pick in next year's draft and a 2018 fifth-rounder. 

    The Saints went all-in on the big, athletic pass-rusher. The 6'6", 264-pound Davenport will probably need to be a multiyear Pro Bowler and help New Orleans advance deep into the playoffs to make the investment worth it. The Saints probably won't mind giving up their first-rounder next year if it's pick No. 32. 

    Can Davenport team with Pro Bowler Cam Jordan and give the Saints the kind of dominant pass rush they need to win the NFC? He has the talent, but that's a lot to ask from a young kid who's facing a big transition and huge expectations. It'll be hard for him make up the cost of an extra first-round pick.  

    Verdict: Selling

New York Giants: Did They Make the Right Choice at No. 2?

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    Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

    It's a question that will stick around for years: Should the New York Giants have selected the franchise quarterback over the ultra-talented running back? 

    New York went with Saquon Barkley, bypassing the four available first-round signal-callers at No. 2 (Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Lamar Jackson). 

    There's no denying the 6'0", 233-pound Barkley's talent. He looks like a combination of Ezekiel Elliott and David Johnson. A bigger LaDainian Tomlinson (5'10", 215 lbs). A can't-miss prospect. 

    But the Giants have an aging, declining quarterback in the 37-year-old Eli Manning, and opportunities to use the second overall pick don't come around often in New York. Even if Barkley is great, there'll be a huge opportunity cost if one of those quarterbacks becomes a Pro Bowl talent elsewhere. The value of the two positions don't compare. 

    Verdict: Selling

New York Jets: Can Sam Darnold Win the Quarterback Competition?

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    The third overall pick is being dropped into a veteran-heavy quarterback room in New York. He'll have an opportunity to sit and learn from the sideline if he's not ready to win the job as a rookie. 

    But can he take it? 

    Josh McCown will turn 39 years old in July and has been inconsistent year to year late in his career. Teddy Bridgewater hasn't played a full game since 2015. Christian Hackenberg has done nothing to suggest he's a starter. The Jets already dumped Bryce Petty. 

    The door is more open for Darnold than it originally appeared. If he's the best guy this summer and the Jets have no reservations about his playing early, Darnold could jump McCown and Bridgewater and be the starter early in 2018. 

    Verdict: Buying

Oakland Raiders: Will Their Draft Risks Pay Off?

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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    No team took a pair of bigger risks than the Oakland Raiders, who used a third-round pick on LSU edge-rusher Arden Key and a fifth-round pick on Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst. Both are first-round talents, but they carry varying degrees of off-field uncertainty. 

    Key has pass-rushing talent when focused and properly motivated, while Hurst is a dominant interior presence with a potentially life-threatening heart condition. 

    Teams can hit it big when they're willing to take a major chance. Key and Hurst were large risks individually. Combine them, and the Raiders are playing with fire. But the reward is worth it. The defense could improve drastically if Key and Hurst make good on their undeniable talent. 

    Verdict: Buying

Philadelphia Eagles: Do They Have the NFL's Most Complete Roster?

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    Daryl Wilson/Associated Press

    This offseason, the defending Super Bowl champions did little to hurt their chances of repeating. In fact, the Philadelphia Eagles still have as talented a roster as any. 

    Philadelphia has offensive weapons all over the place and football's best defensive line. It'll bring back quarterback Carson Wentz (torn ACL) at some point in 2018, and the draft brought new, athletic toys such as tight end Dallas Goedert and defensive end Josh Sweat. 

    Generally, Super Bowl champions take a hit in the talent department during the ensuing offseason. The Eagles stayed aggressive and might have improved. That's scary for the NFC. 

    Verdict: Buying

Pittsburgh Steelers: Do They Have a Fill-in for Ryan Shazier?

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    Fred Vuich/Associated Press

    Most expected the Pittsburgh Steelers to target a young replacement for Ryan Shazier early in the draft. While Pittsburgh made seven picks, it didn't use one on a linebacker. 

    It appears the Steelers are content with Vince Williams and Jon Bostic starting at inside linebacker. It's possible Pittsburgh will use veteran safety Morgan Burnett at linebacker, a position he played in Green Bay, and rookie safety Terrell Edmunds might also be an option down in the box in a Shazier-like role. 

    It was never going to be easy for the Steelers to replace one of the game's impact inside linebackers, but was a big enough effort made to do so in the draft? Coach Mike Tomlin must have big plans for his deep, versatile safety group. 

    Verdict: Selling

San Francisco 49ers: Was Prioritizing the Offense the Right Move?

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    The San Francisco 49ers defense finished 25th in points allowed and 24th in yards allowed last season, but general manager John Lynch still used his first two picks on the offense, taking tackle Mike McGlinchey and receiver Dante Pettis. 

    San Francisco didn't add a defensive player until Round 3, where Lynch snagged BYU linebacker Fred Warner. 

    Don't knock the strategy. The 49ers have used significant draft capital on the defense in recent years (Solomon Thomas, Reuben Foster, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead), and the two early picks this year should help coach Kyle Shanahan keep the pressure off the other side of the ball. McGlinchey will pave holes in the run game, while Pettis should give Shanahan a big-play threat. 

    The 49ers defense is stocked with young talent. Now it's time for the offense to catch up. 

    Verdict: Buying

Seattle Seahawks: Did They Do Enough on the Offensive Line?

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    The improvements to one of the game's shakiest offensive lines were marginal at best. The Seattle Seahawks signed D.J. Fluker to a one-year deal and used a fifth-round pick on Jamarco Jones, but it looks like four starters will remain in place from the group that couldn't block in the run game or keep Russell Wilson clean in the pocket last season (43 sacks). 

    Seattle might be slightly deeper up front going into 2018, but that won't mean much if the starting five isn't considerably more effective. Fluker has never been a dominant pro player, and Jones lacks the athleticism teams are looking for at tackle. It's hard to envision either will make a significant difference for Seattle in 2018. 

    Verdict: Selling

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Will They Regret Passing on Derwin James?

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers completed their new-look defensive line with Vita Vea, a nose tackle-type with incredible movement ability for a man his size (6'4", 347 lbs). He could be a disruptive player with Gerald McCoy and Jason Pierre-Paul or Vinny Curry to either side. 

    But it's hard not to wonder if the Bucs will regret passing on Florida State safety Derwin James, who could have filled a big hole in the secondary and provided the Tampa Bay defense with a versatile playmaker all over the field. He was available to the Bucs at No. 12 and eventually went to the Chargers at No. 17. 

    It will be interesting to track their respective careers. The Bucs obviously liked Vea and his skill set, but he's a two-down player, and the hole at the back end of the defense remains. Keeping James in Florida seemed like such a no-brainer. 

    Verdict: Buying

Tennessee Titans: Will They Make Life More Difficult on Quarterbacks?

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    The Tennessee Titans gave up 3,828 yards and 27 touchdown passes to opposing quarterbacks last season. Both figures ranked in the NFL's bottom third. 

    Enter linebackers Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry. 

    Evans plays fast and proved highly capable as a blitzer at Alabama. Landry was college football's most disruptive edge-rusher when fully healthy in 2016. They both figure to play prominent roles as rookies for new head coach Mike Vrabel. 

    The Titans had a clear goal in the draft: Get better at creating havoc against the opposing quarterback from the front seven. Evans and Landry could provide instant impact in that area. 

    Verdict: Buying

Washington Redskins: Did They Solve Their Run-Stopping Issues?

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    Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press

    No team gave up more rushing yards (2,146) and only three squads allowed more yards per run attempt last season than Washington's 4.5. So it was only fitting that the Redskins used the 13th overall pick on Alabama run-stuffer Da'Ron Payne.

    But they weren't done.

    In the fifth round, the Redskins added 6'3", 335-pound Virginia Tech nose tackle Tim Settle, providing another big, strong block-eater to plug into the middle of the defense. 

    Throw in 2017 first-round pick Jonathan Allen, and the Redskins might put up a respectable run defense in 2018. At the very least, Washington has the big guys necessary for making it a fair fight. 

    Verdict: Buying


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