Every NFL Team's Biggest Potential Distraction for 2019

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2019

Every NFL Team's Biggest Potential Distraction for 2019

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    David Richard/Associated Press

    Distractions can make an NFL team's pursuit of a goal harder than it has any right being.  

    Winning in the NFL is hard enough as it is. But some self-inflicted wounds like quarterback competitions, the lack of extensions for major stars and more tend to lead teams astray as focus wanes and the media frenzy picks up. 

    These distractions don't have to be self-inflicted, either. Losing former contributors, coaching shifts, leaning into new players or hoping a younger player takes a leap also count. 

    Some of these potential distractions, primarily on the financial side, could end up addressed well before training camps start. Others, no chance. The following items could make the goal of winning all the more difficult in 2019. 


Arizona Cardinals: The QB "Battle"

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    Matt York/Associated Press

    It's fitting the Arizona Cardinals are up first because they serve as the poster child for self-inflicted wounds. 

    The Cardinals have only themselves to blame by taking Kyler Murray at No. 1 and then turning around and botching the Josh Rosen trade process. They got little back in return for a guy they originally traded up to get in the top 10. 

    This throws a ton of pressure on Murray. Even worse, general manager Steve Keim and new head coach Kliff Kingsbury have given different answers as to whether Murray will start

    Murray is talented enough to start, but like the buildup to the first overall pick itself, the Cardinals will probably try to keep it a mystery, pretending Brett Hundley of all people has a chance. They would probably be better off just naming Murray the starter now, but that simply isn't how they have operated this offseason. 

Atlanta Falcons: Julio Jones' Next Contract

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    Jason E. Miczek/Associated Press

    The longer the Atlanta Falcons drag feet with a Julio Jones extension, the longer silly rumors and speculation can pop up and distract. 

    Jones has two years left on his current deal, yet chatter is already starting to make the rounds. 

    "We'll continue to talk with both Julio and his representation," general manager Thomas Dimitroff said Wednesday, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "[We] have had really good conversations with them. There is no particular time on that. I'm not concerned about it, nor is he. We'll get that figured out."

    That doesn't sound like a front office in a rush. But maybe it should be: The Falcons want to get back to contending and made big strides this way by getting Grady Jarrett back and reinforcing the offensive line in front of Matt Ryan

    Wrapping up Jones serves as a way to remove one more potential distraction. 

Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson's Evolution

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    The Baltimore Ravens slammed the reset button on offense again, this time to help QB Lamar Jackson as much as possible. 

    To that end, Michael Crabtree and others are gone. In are top-100 picks like Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin at wideout. Mark Ingram arrived via free agency, and complement Justice Hill comes via the fourth round. 

    All of this tends to add more pressure to Jackson, though, who told the media this offseason's goal was to "keep a wide base and improve his accuracy," according to The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec

    Jackson's play last year was fun and got the Ravens far. But attempting 170 passes to 147 rushes isn't sustainable. Defenses will adapt to the film, and Jackson's body might not hold up under such a consistent rushing tally, so the bright lights will be on his every throw during training camp. 

Buffalo Bills: The Weapons Surrounding Josh Allen

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    Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    Buffalo's Josh Allen also has some maturing to do as a player. 

    But the focus there tends to shift more toward the weapons around the passer because that aspect has been disappointing for quite a while now. 

    And the Bills didn't appear to do much to fix the problem. Right tackle Cody Ford at No. 38 was a good get for the running game, but it only features veterans Frank Gore and LeSean McCoy. New arrival at wideout John Brown hasn't had notable production since 2015, and Cole Beasley is an aged-30 slot man who slipped to market for a reason. The Zay Jones holdover isn't inspiring confidence. 

    If Buffalo's new weapons aren't looking good in camp or the preseason, whispers about how odd this offseason's approach was will only get louder. 

Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton's Shoulder

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    What else? 

    Cam Newton's shoulder has been the hottest topic for the Carolina Panthers over the past few months, and it only got worse when the front office decided to draft Will Grier in the third round. 

    Speculation Newton could miss time next year hasn't exactly been quieted, either. Newton still isn't throwing, and it's an unknown whether he will do so before training camp. And when camp arrives, who knows? 

    "Just the rehab process," Newton said, according to ESPN's David Newton. "...Being honest, that's one of the main things on both sides. Not only with the training staff to me, but me with training staff, me letting them know how my body feels, coming up with a plan for practice to being on a pitch count, do I even need a pitch count, and staying on top of the signs before things kind of roll off the hinges."

    Cam Newton watch is officially in full force without a discernible end in sight. 

Chicago Bears: Kicker

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Kicker has been one of the bigger talking points surrounding the Chicago Bears since late last year in the same way officiating has been the concern of New Orleans Saints fans over a similar time frame. 

    The Bears didn't draft a kicker after the debacle last year, which is at least somewhat understandable considering the front office only had five picks. 

    Instead, the route to finding a fix came in an almost unbelievable manner: They brought eight kickers to rookie minicamp. 

    This would be a funny development for Bears fans if the position hadn't hurt them so badly last year and consistently since moving on from Robbie Gould, who is now a franchise-tagged leg in San Francisco. 

    The Bears will trim the position before training camp, but the mind wanders at how they might put the finalists through the ringer to narrow it down to one. 

Cincinnati Bengals: Are A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd Sticking Around?

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    John Minchillo/Associated Press

    The Cincinnati Bengals would normally slot as a team worth zooming in on given the fact they have a new head coach for the first time in 16 years. 

    Perhaps more interesting, though, is how this new staff intersects with the realization both A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd are heading into contract years. 

    Does the new staff view both guys as critical to the operation? The Bengals are known for wrapping up their own like they did Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap last year. But two star wideouts is a different animal. 

    Green has question marks, too. He's a top-10 player at his position, but he's also turning 31 in July and has missed significant time in two of his last three seasons. Boyd is only 24, but he's coming off a breakout year with 1,028 yards and seven scores. 

    If the Bengals want to shut down speculation, they could go ahead and wrap both up—but it is rarely that simple. 

Cleveland Browns: The Hype Machine

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    The Cleveland Browns are offseason champs, which as most sports fans know, doesn't mean much. 

    That hasn't stopped the hype, which even has new star wideout Odell Beckham Jr. talking about turning the Browns into the New England Patriots

    And hey, why not? Baker Mayfield was electric last year. The front office made the right call at head coach with Freddie Kitchens, even if he is green for the job. Beckham is in town. So too, quietly, are defenders like Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson, as well as a well-regarded draft class. 

    But there is always a catch. A sophomore slump is a thing for a reason. New York was willing to get rid of Beckham for a reason. Defenses have plenty of film on Mayfield now. Kitchens is new to this. As a whole, the Browns haven't won more than seven games in a season since 2007 and are one season removed from a zero-win campaign. 

    It's a thing of beauty to see a fanbase as loyal as Cleveland's to be this amped up. But it comes at risky cost. 

Dallas Cowboys: Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott Extensions

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    Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

    Where in the world do the Dallas Cowboys even start? 

    The star-studded trio that is the Cowboys' offensive heart needs extensions. Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper are on the final years of their deals. Ezekiel Elliott has an additional season after the team picked up his fifth-year option. 

    Who gets what and when? Executive vice president Stephen Jones has said Prescott and Cooper are up first. But in today's quarterback market, how much is Prescott getting? He's thrown 67 touchdowns to 25 interceptions over three seasons, but what is the financial cutoff? 

    And how much for Cooper? He came over from Oakland and put up 725 yards and six scores. And don't forget about Elliott in the land of leverage put on by individuals such as Le'Veon Bell lately. Few backs are averaging 4.7 yards per carry over three seasons while handling 868 attempts. 

    These are the questions that will chase the Cowboys all summer. 

Denver Broncos: Joe Flacco's Ability to Fend off Drew Lock

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Whether the Denver Broncos like it or not, they are probably going to have a quarterback controversy on their hands this summer and into next season. 

    After adding Joe Flacco and dumping Case Keenum after one season, Denver went out and drafted Drew Lock in the second round—which, in other words, means Flacco is once again in a position to lose a starting job to a rookie like he did Lamar Jackson in Baltimore a season ago. 

    And it wouldn't be too surprising. Flacco has seemingly been fading for years. He's 34 years old and completed just 61.2 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns and six picks last season. Backed by a superb defense and budding offensive cast, his new team's fanbase isn't going to have much in the way of patience. 

    Rest assured each and every one of Flacco's and Lock's throws this summer are going to be picked apart on social media. 

Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford's Future

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    Mike Roemer/Associated Press

    It's never a great sign when a front office has to enter an offseason defending its franchise passer. 

    So it goes for the Detroit Lions, though. Stafford set his lowest touchdown total (21) and passer rating (89.9) within the last four years. In January, general manager Bob Quinn went out of his way to defend Stafford's standing and dismiss the idea of a trade.

    Lions team president Rod Wood had a recent meet with fans and did much of the same. 

    "We didn't have as much success last year, including Matthew, and I'm sure he'd tell you the same thing," Wood said, according to Zach Harig of Fox-17. "He has a unique arm. He makes throws that nobody else can make. With the offense that we'll have this year and the ability to keep teams on their back feet, hopefully, and not know that number 9 is going to drop back and pass it 50 times, he'll have the year that many people expected him to have last year."

    The Lions have made some moves in an effort to get Stafford back to form, such as taking T.J. Hockenson in the first round. But the fact that Stafford's contract has an out after 2020 instead of two additional years is something to keep in mind, too. 

Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers' Fit with Matt LaFleur

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    Mike Roemer/Associated Press

    Much has been written and speculated about Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers and the items that led to a coaching change. 

    The real distraction now is how it all fits together. 

    Rodgers' fit with new head coach Matt LaFleur is the key to everything. Forget the personalities involved, too, as much will center on the on-field action. LaFleur's West Coast will feature a zone run to help the quarterback, but the coach has also detailed where he wants to see Rodgers change, as explained by Packers News' Pete Dougherty

    "LaFleur's choice of that throw is a sign of how he wants his quarterback to play. It suggests he wants Rodgers to stay in the pocket and get the ball out faster than he has in recent years. It suggests he doesn't want him routinely holding the ball, then bolting and ending up throwing it away, as became so common last season," Dougherty wrote. 

    The sensationalist will focus on the personalities. But the real story will be told on the field as the Packers' fate is tied to how the new quarterback-coach tandem adjusts under live pressure during camp and beyond. 

Houston Texans: The Battle in the Trenches

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    The odds of Deshaun Watson making it through the 2019 season can't be good (if they exist at all). 

    The Houston Texans managed to let their franchise passer suffer an astounding 62 sacks last season, all of one year removed from watching him suffer a season-ending injury. 

    One could have expected a major response from the front office. Instead, Matt Kalil arrived via free agency, and the draft produced offensive linemen Tytus Howard and Max Scharping at No. 23 and No. 55, respectively. 

    Keep in mind, there was a reason Carolina was just fine cutting Kalil, even with Newton's shoulder issues. The Texans were not treated kindly in most grading processes because both rookies were considered reaches. 

    There are new bodies in front of Watson, yes, but whether it makes a difference is hard to say. 

Indianapolis Colts: The Weight of Expectations

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    It was much easier to write about the Indianapolis Colts one offseason ago when Andrew Luck's return was a big unknown. 

    Unlike the Browns, the Colts have been hit with massive expectations thanks to elite performance. Luck came back and completed 67.3 percent of his passes with 4,593 yards and 39 touchdowns, throwing 13 scores at new arrival Eric Ebron. The defense only allowed 21.5 points per game while getting a massive breakout from Darius Leonard. 

    This offseason the front office went with a reserved approach despite droves of cap space. Devin Funchess may or may not help the offense. Justin Houston could have enough left to boost the pass rush. A trade down resulted in pushing assets to the future while making three picks in the second round. Corner Rock Ya-Sin (No. 34) could have a big impact and so could wideout Parris Campbell (59). 

    Nobody is sleeping on the Colts this year, and the expectation is Luck flirts with another 40-burger while playing like a top-five passer. Anything less goes down as a failure. No pressure. 

Jacksonville Jaguars: Nick Foles in the Regular Season

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    Bill Feig/Associated Press

    It's all about Nick Foles for the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

    Those Jaguars hit the former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback with a contract that could pay him more than $100 million in the hopes he can pull off some more postseason magic. 

    But he'll have to perform in the mundane regular season too. 

    Keep in mind Foles is a career 61.6 percent passer. In 2017, for example, he appeared in seven games and completed 56.4 percent with five scores and two picks. Back in 2015, he appeared in 11 games and completed 56.4 percent with seven scores and 10 picks. 

    Foles works magic in the postseason. He's a Super Bowl MVP, after all. But if his defense isn't 2017 elite and the running game isn't carrying the load and no true No. 1 emerges, regular-season Foles might not have the juice to even get him to the playoffs. 

Kansas City Chiefs: The Big Defensive Transition

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    The Kansas City Chiefs are going back to basics. Just ask new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo: "The emphasis on fundamentals and just building a rock-solid foundation will be the main focus."

    Not that they have any other choice: The Chiefs allowed 26.3 points per game last year, ranked 27th against the rush at 132.1 yards allowed per game and 31st against the pass at 273.4. The miserable unit, despite decent-looking pressure numbers, managed to spoil a 50-touchdown show from Patrick Mahomes. 

    So the Chiefs are ripping it all up. The scheme is now a 4-3, and Dee Ford, Justin Houston and Eric Berry, to name a few, are gone. Propping up the new system are Tyrann Mathieu and Bashaud Breeland, not to mention big trade win Frank Clark. 

    Good headlines aren't going to come from Chiefs camp: Mahomes is going to attack the massively changing unit constantly. It is going to be a long, interesting summer for another team with gargantuan expectations thrown at it. 

Los Angeles Chargers: Philip Rivers' Future

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    Philip Rivers is saying and doing all the right things, but it's hard to trust a 37-year-old arm.

    The Los Angeles Chargers' star passer enters a contract year in 2019, meaning it is the first time since 2015 either party has had to think hard about the topic. 

    "I'm thankful for that if that opportunity comes, but I'm fine right where we are," Rivers said, according to Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith. "I'm under no immediate stress or urgency to get this done. If that means playing it out, that will be fine. It really will."

    Rivers sounds cool and collected about it, but the Chargers are low-key serious contenders going into the next season, and it would seem foolish to let this overarching storyline hover over the team. The fourth pick in 2004 sounds like he wants to keep playing, so a quiet Chargers offseason could go ahead and resolve one of the biggest question marks as a housekeeping note and save everyone a lot of stress. 

Los Angeles Rams: Todd Gurley's Knee

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    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Rams have been sending all kinds of warning signs about Todd Gurley's knee. 

    Gurley notably missed time in the Super Bowl of all games. The Rams then turned around in free agency and matched an offer on restricted free agent Malcolm Brown. That wouldn't have been the biggest deal in the world, but the Rams then proceeded to draft Darrell Henderson in the third round. 

    Taking a top-100 prospect with a running back like Gurley on the roster says quite a lot. 

    Jeff Howe of The Athletic reported in March that Gurley has arthritis in his knee. It doesn't really matter how the Rams damage control it from here. Gurley clearly won't see a ton of work over the summer or preseason, while the coaches stress they want a deeper rotation or more two-back sets. 

    Regardless of the attempted narrative control, a back who has rushed for 1,100-plus yards in three of four seasons with 46 touchdowns is now a major question mark at the age of 24. 

Miami Dolphins: Josh Rosen

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    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    Every single throw of Josh Rosen's time with the Miami Dolphins is going under the biggest of microscopes. 

    What went wrong? What's wrong with him? Why did the Cardinals ship him away for next to nothing? 

    The reality is the Dolphins took on very little risk by acquiring a top-10 quarterback prospect one year into his career. Miami has to love the upside, though the big drawback is the fact Rosen will have to deal with yet another new coaching staff a year removed from a now-fired staff in Arizona damaging him. 

    Is Rosen beyond repair? Doubtful. But a ho-hum supporting cast of Kenyan Drake, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills isn't inspiring much. The Dolphins spent most of free agency and the draft desperately trying to cobble together a fieldable defense, which means Rosen enters a positional battle with Ryan Fitzpatrick on the worst roster right next to Arizona's while underneath an unwavering spotlight. 

Minnesota Vikings: Kyle Rudolph's Fate

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    Jose Juarez/Associated Press

    Much of the attention surrounding the Minnesota Vikings tends to feature Kirk Cousins, both because of his inflated contract and struggles in big games. But we're still talking about a guy who completed a career-high 70.1 percent of his passes with 30 scores and 10 picks during his first year with the team. 

    Perhaps more interesting is the outlook for someone such as Kyle Rudolph. 

    The star tight end was viewed as an extension candidate as he entered a contract year—until the draft. There, the Vikings grabbed Alabama's Irv Smith Jr. in the second round. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network has since reported extension talks are off. 

    As of this writing, the Vikings have less than $1 million in cap space. Rudolph hasn't been bad, but he's also entering his aged-30 season and only scored four times last year despite the Cousins upgrade with no 100-yard performances. 

New England Patriots: Life Without Gronk

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Generally speaking, it seems the outside world tries to drum up some drama about the New England Patriots during the summer to at least make them interesting. 

    But this year nobody has to make anything up or exaggerate an otherwise moot point: Rob Gronkowski is gone. 

    Now that is interesting. 

    Gronkowski only made up 72 targets, 682 yards and three scores last year, but some of what he does as a blocker is irreplaceable. The Patriots have actually gone all-in on pumping up wideout since he retired, though the signings and draftees all have issues. 

    Phillip Dorsett (six touchdowns over four years), Demaryius Thomas (suffered second torn Achilles) and N'Keal Harry (first-round pick) aren't going to make life after Gronk easy. Harry has the best shot, but rookie wideouts often struggle. This point will understandably be the talk of the Patriots all summer. 

New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees' Future

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    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    It is speculation time about Drew Brees again. 

    This season is the second half of a two-year extension Brees signed with the New Orleans Saints in March 2018. There's a potential out in 2020, and the out would naturally be retirement for the 40-year-old gunslinger. 

    Brees was an MVP contender again last year, but one has to think his job will only get harder in 2019. His complementary defense should be good again, but his offense lost Mark Ingram, added tight end Jared Cook and otherwise ignored the skill positions by not signing a wideout in free agency and not even making a draft pick until No. 48. 

    When it comes to distractions, the Saints will have to chat plenty about officiating this summer. But Brees already had to answer retirement questions in January, so it's going to be a long summer in that regard.

New York Giants: Eli Manning

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Eli Manning is 38 years old, in the final year of his deal and watched the New York Giants draft Daniel Jones at No. 6 this year.

    Yet Dave Gettleman told the media, "We went into last year thinking that Eli had plenty left, and he proved it," according to Matt Lombardo of NJ Advance Media.

    "Proved it" consisted of a 66 percent completion rate, 4,299 yards and 21 touchdowns against 11 interceptions with 47 sacks. Wins aren't solely a quarterback stat, but feel free to throw in the 5-11 mark.

    New York is New York, so the supposed quarterback battle featuring a veteran who was benched in 2017 and the rookie pick most universally panned will dominate headlines.

New York Jets: Sam Darnold's Development

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    No more excuses for Sam Darnold.

    Last year's third overall pick completed just 57.7 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions yet showed some promise and had the excuse of a poor supporting cast.

    Not anymore.

    Leading receiver Robby Anderson is back. So is promising tight end Chris Herndon. Jamison Crowder has arrived to stretch the field. Most importantly, Le'Veon Bell is in the backfield. The defense added C.J. Mosley and Quinnen Williams.

    Rest assured the pressure is higher than ever on Darnold, whose every throw over the summer will go under the microscope.

Oakland Raiders: Derek Carr Is Everything

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders and Derek Carr are an especially interesting case.

    Many thought Jon Gruden could draft a rookie passer to get his guy and free him of Carr. The veteran wasn't necessarily bad last year, but his 68.9 completion percentage and 4,049 yards somehow produced only 19 scores while he took 51 sacks. There were silly controversies too, such as whether he cried on the field.

    But instead of replacing Carr, Gruden gave him a major endorsement. The Raiders added Antonio Brown, paid big money for offensive tackle Trent Brown and used their three first-round picks on positions other than quarterback—one of those being a potential every-down back in Josh Jacobs.

    The Raiders have a revitalized defense and one of the best wideouts in football, so the pressure is somehow even greater for Carr.

Philadelphia Eagles: The Running Game

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    Mark Tenally/Associated Press

    The Philadelphia Eagles know Carson Wentz is going to perform well if he's on the field. And if he's not, Nick Foles is no longer there to save the day.

    But a middling running game might be just as important to keep everything ticking.

    The Eagles didn't have that last year, as Josh Adams led the way with 511 yards and three scores, and no other back even passed him in the touchdown column.

    And the Eagles understood the issue, hence their trade for Jordan Howard and selection of Miles Sanders at No. 53 in the second round. There is a chance that will be the one-two punch at the top of the depth chart right out of the gate, so it will raise eyebrows if the duo does anything less than shred through the summer.

Pittsburgh Steelers: The Ever-Changing Defense

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    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    The easy thing would be to highlight the departures of Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell. That, or focus on Ben Roethlisberger, who just inked a two-year extension through 2021.

    But the defense is more important. The unit hasn't been right since it lost Ryan Shazier. Recent first-round picks like Bud Dupree and Artie Burns haven't met expectations, and Terrell Edmunds didn't inspire as a rookie, either.

    Devin Bush could change all that, which seems to be the expectation after the Pittsburgh Steelers traded up to get him in the first round.

    If Bush, free-agent add Steven Nelson at corner and rookie corner Justin Layne can have strong summers, there won't be many questions about the Steelers. But that would be a big change in tone for the defense given recent trends.

San Francisco 49ers: Defensive Gambles

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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    The San Francisco 49ers threw a lot of weight into the defensive side of the ball this offseason—and asked a lot from the luck department at the same time.

    Coughing up a 2020 second-round pick and then doling out $85.5 million for Dee Ford was exciting at face value. But Ford just had his first 16-game season since 2014 and missed 10 games in 2017, so there is some risk.

    It was a similar story with Kwon Alexander and his $54 million, as he's played one 16-game season in four years and missed four games in 2017 and 10 in 2018.

    If Nick Bosa doesn't seem like as big of a risk, keep in mind he's a rookie, so nothing is guaranteed. If the defense doesn't take a dramatic leap to match the investment cost, it might not matter how well Jimmy Garoppolo and the reshaped offense plays.

Seattle Seahawks: The Weapons Surrounding Russell Wilson

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    The Seattle Seahawks are in trouble from a weapons standpoint.

    Russell Wilson has often been asked to work miracles behind a bad offensive line, but some of his incredible plays have stemmed from the great weapons around him. That won't be the case anymore with Doug Baldwin gone.

    From an on-field perspective, the Seahawks didn't add any weapons in free agency, and they didn't draft a wideout until their third pick at No. 64 when they stopped DK Metcalf's fall.

    That means the Seahawks have to hope a committee approach in the backfield can diversify their attack, led by the quiet rookie performance of first-rounder Rashaad Penny a year ago. It means someone will have to open up the field for Tyler Lockett or he might not come close to 965 yards and 10 scores again.

    And it also puts an inordinate amount of pressure on Metcalf, who presumably fell because of his bust potential, which included poor agility numbers and a lack of big production in college.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston's Prove-It Year

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    Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

    Jameis Winston seems to have one more chance.

    The arrival of Bruce Arians granted that for Winston, who in 11 games last year completed 64.6 percent of his passes with 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. His response so far has been to add weight for the sake of durability.

    "I'm going to play bigger this year," Winston said, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. "I'm about 250. Yeah. A solid 250. It's just about hydration and being at the peak body, too."

    Fitting, as Winston is going to have to shoulder most of the load. The team didn't do much in free agency and then spurred a scheme change on the defensive side of the ball by using its first five picks in the draft on defenders.

    Meanwhile, the offense lost Adam Humphries and DeSean Jackson. Winston once again has a lot to prove, but the outlook isn't great.

Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota's Health

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    The same question as a year ago applies to the Tennessee Titans: Is Marcus Mariota going to be available at full strength?

    He wasn't last year, as he suffered from a shoulder issue while appearing in 14 games. He finished with a 68.9 completion percentage with 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions before it was revealed in December he wouldn't need surgery for nerve issues.

    Yet the Titans made a point to acquire Ryan Tannehill—a more drastic move than the front office has made in the past when it comes to Mariota insurance.

    Mariota has also said he's added weight, and his on-paper outlook certainly seems better than the situation around Jameis Winston. He's got the Derrick Henry-Dion Lewis tandem in the backfield, and Corey Davis will continue to develop alongside the consistent threat that is new arrival Adam Humphries.

    All that remains is for Mariota to actually play at full go.

Washington Redskins: The QB Battle

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    The Washington Redskins, as always, are all over the place.

    They made Landon Collins the highest-paid safety in the league when cap space seemed tight and will feature an odd quarterback battle.

    The Redskins still have Colt McCoy, and Alex Smith is hovering in the background while he recovers. But the front office also traded for Case Keenum after his single year in Denver and then added Dwayne Haskins at No. 15 in the first round.

    The result: If anyone but Haskins starts, it might create even more fan backlash for a team already suffering from it. The Redskins didn't do much to upgrade the positions around the position, either, so it might not be a good spot for a rookie to fall into right away.

    As always, it'll be a bated-breath approach under center.