The Biggest Standout of Every NFL Team's 2021 Offseason So Far

Brent Sobleski@@brentsobleskiNFL AnalystJune 21, 2021

The Biggest Standout of Every NFL Team's 2021 Offseason So Far

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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    With last offseason's unprecedented situation, how NFL players viewed the current offseason process changed. Less of a priority has been placed on formerly important activities.

    As such, the opportunities for individuals decreased depending on actual attendance to rookie minicamps, organized team activities and mandatory minicamps. But they still existed for those who showed up, and some turned heads.

    Basically, a standoff occurred between teams and the NFLPA. The players learned a full offseason isn't necessary to put a good product on the field.

    "If we want to talk about success, I think this is the first time in a long time players felt like they actually had a choice," NFLPA president and Cleveland Browns center J.C. Tretter told reporters. "I think we created an environment that allowed guys to make a clear, honest decision of whether they should." 

    It's easy for an established veteran to skip voluntary sessions. The same doesn't apply to rookies or young veterans trying to hone their craft.

    "We're teaching, and the pace doesn't have to be full speed. The amount of coaching and learning that's getting done out there has been outstanding," reigning NFL Head Coach of the Year Kevin Stefanski explained. "We really value the work that you can get done in a walkthrough and the work you can get done in these individual periods, and these virtual meetings are a huge component to this."

    For those players, the offseason was a success, with the following individuals impressing with the work they put in since the end of the 2020 campaign.

Arizona Cardinals: QB Kyler Murray

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    The Arizona Cardinals' Kyler Murray is already one of the NFL's most exciting young quarterbacks. But he's prepared to take a significant step in year three thanks to his preparation this offseason.

    "I know he's been working really hard this offseason to try and take that big jump," head coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters.

    Murray showed he's a dynamic playmaker as a passer and runner in his first two seasons. Last year, the 23-year-old posted 4,790 combined yards and 37 total touchdowns. Now, he's on track to be a more complete quarterback based on a growing comfort level in his role.

    "He definitely is very confident right now," Kingsbury added. "He's mastered our system."

Atlanta Falcons: WR Russell Gage

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    Kevin Sabitus/Associated Press

    No one will ever truly replace Julio Jones in the Atlanta Falcons' lineup. Still, the franchise's greatest player does leave a void that someone must try to replace. After all, the 32-year-old wide receiver, whom the Falcons traded to the Tennessee Titans, leaves behind a significant role.

    Calvin Ridley will pick up some of the slack. Russell Gage is the obvious candidate to flourish without Jones. Gage finished last season with 72 receptions for 786 yards. His usage should dramatically increase under new head coach Arthur Smith.

    "Russ has done a nice job in the slot, but we'll move Russ all over the place and then we got to make a decision as we get closer to the season, all right, we're giving him a shot here," Smith told reporters. "He's done well. He's grown his game. Done this with a lot of players, and everybody's on a different timeline."

Baltimore Ravens: OG Ben Cleveland

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    Gail Burton/Associated Press

    Baltimore Ravens guard Ben Cleveland impresses even before he dons a helmet and pads. At 6'6" and 357 pounds, the rookie blocker is a mountainous man with Paul Bunyan-like qualities.

    He's a people-mover on the field, too.

    The Ravens plan to have a competition at right guard between Cleveland, Ben Powers and Tyre Phillips. Cleveland just may have the inside track since his skill set lends well to Baltimore's offensive scheme. The Baltimore Sun's Childs Walker reported that head coach John Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman have "spoken glowingly" about this year's initial third-round pick.

    Cleveland set a goal to start as a rookie. Considering the physicality he brings to the offensive interior, that achievement is well within his reach.

Buffalo Bills: Edge A.J. Epenesa

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    Joshua Bessex/Associated Press

    A player's first full offseason in an NFL weight program can make a significant difference. The Buffalo Bills' A.J. Epenesa is a prime example.

    Too many prospects drop weight before their rookie seasons in an attempt to test well for the NFL combine and/or pro days. In Epenesa's case, he struggled to put quality weight back on before he began his first campaign.

    The second-year defensive end added good weight this offseason and could be a much different player.

    "He's growing really well, and I'm very excited to see what A.J. does next," Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins said, per The Athletic's Matthew Fairburn. "But he took that first step, and that was to get his body and his weight right. And he's on the right course, and that's all we can ask as teammates, that he's headed in the right direction to better yourself and better the football team."

Carolina Panthers: Edge Brian Burns

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    Daniel Kucin Jr./Associated Press

    Brian Burns is only 23, but the Carolina Panthers are placing a lot on his shoulders as the edge-rusher enters his third season.

    "I had like limited snaps my first year, but I had to grow up [in the second] because basically, the defense was almost fully rookies, I think like six or seven rookies playing at a time," Burns told reporters. "So I had to grow up, kind of showed them the ropes, and I'll go into this year like I definitely got to have a leadership role because now we're adding even more rookies. But that's something that I'm going to embrace and take part of, so I'm going to do it."

    Burns led the Panthers last season with nine sacks and 57 total pressures, according to Pro Football Focus. Yet his role continues to expand with the potential to become one of the league's best young defenders.

Chicago Bears: TE Cole Kmet

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Whoever starts behind center for the Chicago Bears should feel at ease knowing his supporting cast continues to develop at a promising rate.

    In particular, tight end Cole Kmet should provide a security blanket over the middle of the field.

    Last season, Jimmy Graham served as the Bears' No. 1 tight end. As a rookie, Kmet managed 28 receptions for 243 yards. But the second-year target should be a much bigger threat with an aging Graham no longer being a top target.

    "After being a year in the offense and kinda understanding what coach [Matt] Nagy and coach [Bill] Lazor are kinda doing with this offense, I'm a lot more comfortable with it," Kmet told reporters. "I'm stronger. I feel like I'm quicker and faster right now. Just a lot of confidence going in with the offense and in myself."

Cincinnati Bengals: QB Joe Burrow

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    Aaron Doster/Associated Press

    Recovery from a torn ACL and MCL, along with damage to the PCL and meniscus, is no small feat. Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is less than seven months removed from the devastating injury, yet his recovery has been impressive.

    The quarterback isn't at full strength or practicing at full speed, of course. But he seems to be much further along than expected. The Cincinnati Enquirer's Lindsay Patterson caught Burrow working on roll-outs to his left during organized team activities.

    At this juncture, the quarterback expects to be ready for the start of training camp.

    "We were still working that rehab throughout the whole offseason, meaning throughout OTAs," Burrow told reporters, "but couldn't do as much as usual just because of practice, fatigue, all that. So we'll ramp that back up now and get back to 100 percent before camp."

Cleveland Browns: LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    The Cleveland Browns will sport an almost entirely revamped defense this fall. Currently, nine new starters can be found among the projected lineup.

    Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah's addition is one of the most exciting because the team never expected to land the reigning Butkus Award winner after drafting cornerback Greg Newsome II in this year's first round. The unanimous All-American slid all the way to the 52nd overall pick, where the Browns traded up to nab him.

    "To me, it felt like we got two first-rounders, for sure," defensive coordinator Joe Woods told reporters.

    Owusu-Koramoah's value lies in his versatility. He's not a traditional linebacker; he's a defensive chess piece.'s Terry Pluto reported he's heard the phrase "freak of nature" multiple times from team officials when describing this year's second-round selection.

Dallas Cowboys: WR CeeDee Lamb

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    CeeDee Lamb played well as a rookie, but he can be even better.

    Last year's 17th overall pick finished second on the Dallas Cowboys last season with 935 receiving yards. He should easily top the 1,000-yard mark in year two based on his continued growth and a healthy Dak Prescott in the lineup.

    "I think CeeDee is an excellent example of what you are looking for in your second-year player," head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters. "The second-year player benefits the most in the full offseason program. They make the second-year jump. He is very comfortable, very natural. CeeDee is definitely making that move you like to see in your second-year players."

    Lamb may even reach the point where he surpasses Amari Cooper as the top receiving threat in the Cowboys offense.

Denver Broncos: WR Jerry Jeudy

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Jerry Jeudy was considered the most polished wide receiver prospect in last year's draft class. Even those who look ready for the professional ranks need time to adjust.

    Timing and concentration became issues through Jeudy's rookie campaign, though he still led the Denver Broncos with 856 receiving yards.

    "You want to get to a certain spot, in a certain place, with that exact timing," last year's 15th overall draft pick told reporters. "Knowing how to make the defender move him [off] where you want to be and get to that spot at that exact timing in the play, that was the biggest thing."

    Jeudy added: "I'll be so quick to catch and run and hurry up and make a play, instead of catch first and then run. That's mostly what it is, trying to make plays too fast and not focusing on the bigger picture, which is catching the ball first."

    A locked-in Jeudy will make him a dangerous weapon no matter who becomes the Broncos' starting quarterback.

Detroit Lions: RB D'Andre Swift

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    The Detroit Lions' offensive approach under new head coach Dan Campbell and coordinator Anthony Lynn is rather plain to see. The team's strength is its offensive line with a beefed-up backfield capable of carrying the load since the Lions lack talent at wide receiver. 

    D'Andre Swift should be the offensive focal point after finishing with 878 yards from scrimmage as a rookie. Lynn plans to utilize the 22-year-old back even more in the passing game this fall. Swift impressed as a receiver during organized team activities.

    "He has natural hands," Lynn told reporters. "He's learning coverage and how to read coverages and sit in zones and run through lanes and things like that. He's doing good. We can use him in a plethora of ways, in my opinion. I like his skill set so far."

Green Bay Packers: Edge Rashan Gary

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    Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press

    Rashan Gary has yet to actualize his full athletic potential, though he appears close to a breakthrough. The 2019 12th overall draft pick did register five sacks and improve his pressure rate in his second season with the Green Bay Packers.

    "He learns quick, and whatever he learns in the meeting room he takes to the field," teammate Za'Darius Smith said, per Mike Spofford of the Packers official site. "He's progressing every year, and he's doing to be dominant for us this year, man, and I can't wait."

    Now 23, Gary is on the verge of becoming a top edge-rusher.

    "You talk about a guy that puts everything into whatever it is he's doing ... and you see it paying off for him," head coach Matt LaFleur said. "He's going to be a big-time player for us, and I think he's going to be a big-time player in this league for a really long time."

Houston Texans: QB Tyrod Taylor

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    Emilee Chinn/Associated Press

    The Houston Texans plan to make a decision before the start of training camp on the future of Deshaun Watson, who is being sued by 22 women alleging sexual assault and misconduct.

    "As we get more information, as we get closer to training camp, we'll try to make the best decision for the Houston Texans, whatever that entails," general manager Nick Caserio said during an interview on Sports Radio 610 (h/t ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio).

    Thus, the onus falls on veteran backup/potential starter Tyrod Taylor. The 10-year veteran provides a steady hand on the field and in the locker room.

    "There's a comfort level there," new head coach David Culley told reporters. "He knows how we go about things. He knows what we expect."

    Texans faithful may not be excited about the 31-year-old leading the offense this fall, but Taylor is a consummate professional setting the tone for a franchise in transition.

Indianapolis Colts: Edge Kwity Paye

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    The expectation for a first-round pick is to come into a situation and provide an instant impact. That's not always the case. Though the Indianapolis Colts may have gotten exactly what they needed when general manager Chris Ballard chose defensive end Kwity Paye with this year's 21st overall pick.

    Paye has been a quick study.

    "He has just been outstanding so far with us, working with the D-line coaches and everybody else," defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus told reporters. "Some of the things that you look for—you say, 'What makes him great? What are the examples of that?' I would say [it's] his attention to detail."

    No Colts edge-rusher currently on the roster managed more than four sacks last season. Paye should be the solution to complement DeForest Buckner's interior rush.

Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Laviska Shenault Jr.

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    New Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer caused a stir when this year's 25th overall pick, running back Travis Etienne, spent all of rookie minicamp playing wide receiver.

    Meyer and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell are searching for a hybrid to fill the H-back role in the team's new scheme. Etienne shouldn't be the only choice.

    Second-year wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. showed out during the offseason program as a true playmaker.

    "He's a guy that's right, in the right position, at that age gap. I love who he is, I love the way he practices, he's been there every day," Meyer told reporters. "He's a great puzzle piece for us to have on offense, plus his attitude every day is fantastic."

    Etienne can stay in the backfield since Shenault is a wide receiver with running back capabilities after catching the ball.

Kansas City Chiefs: LB Willie Gay

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Since the 2020 campaign went so well, relatively speaking, too many forget teams didn't have much of an offseason leading into the regular season.

    Some rookies adjusted well. Others did not.

    The Kansas City Chiefs chose linebacker Willie Gay in last year's second round. Gay's athletic profile makes him an ideal second-line defender in today's pass-first league. But he admitted to struggling last year. Now, he's making up for the lost time.

    "It was tough," Gay admitted told reporters. "To only see the playbook for the first time during training camp, it was hard. To get that head start right now in OTAs, it's definitely helping a lot. I'm catching on to the things that I didn't catch on to last year.

    "I learned the basics. Now it's the small details that make good great."

Las Vegas Raiders: WR Bryan Edwards

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    John Locher/Associated Press

    A year ago, Bryan Edwards became the talk of the Las Vegas Raiders training camp. The wide receiver worked his way into a starting position to open the season thanks to an injury to veteran Tyrell Williams. The third-round rookie didn't perform as well as expected, though.

    Then, he dealt with an ankle injury. In 12 appearances, Edwards caught only 11 passes.

    "It definitely was a process, and it obviously was frustrating," Edwards told reporters. "Anytime I'm not getting the results I want to get, I'm frustrated and I'm trying to fix it. But Rome wasn't built in one day. All good things take time, and I'm just trusting the process."

    Once again, Edwards looks great in his preparation. Literally. As long as the second-year wide receiver stays healthy, he should be a far bigger contributor this fall.

Los Angeles Chargers: LB Kenneth Murray Jr.

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Not all rookies are placed in a situation to succeed. Some enter terrible setups and their play suffers. Then, they're placed in a system that plays to their strengths and they magically look like the player deserving of a first-round selection.

    Kenneth Murray Jr. wasn't a good fit in Gus Bradley's defensive scheme. New Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley brings a different approach, which better suits last year's 23rd overall draft pick.

    "I feel like this scheme fits me 100 percent to my strengths," Murray told reporters. "The big emphasis from him [Staley] is getting me to play more downhill."

    Staley's philosophy is built around lighter boxes and dropping more defenders in space. As such, the linebackers are important pieces against the run and even blitzing on occasion. The changes should allow Murray to thrive, as he has early in the process.

Los Angeles Rams: QB Matthew Stafford

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Rams went to a Super Bowl with Jared Goff behind center. But the organization came to the realization the 2016 No. 1 overall pick didn't do enough to elevate the play of those around him.

    As such, the Rams traded Goff plus multiple draft picks to the Detroit Lions for Matthew Stafford. It might be an understatement to say Stafford is everything the Rams wanted in their new quarterback.

    "I said, 'You're damn right I am,'" head coach Sean McVay told reporters when asked if he's liking working with Stafford. "This guy, he's a special guy."

    McVay added, "And he's one of those guys where I think he's a true ignitor—he makes everybody around him better."

    Los Angeles finished last season with a 10-6 record and made the postseason. Stafford makes them even better.

Miami Dolphins: QB Tua Tagovailoa

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    Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

    Forget about Tua Tagovailoa throwing five interceptions in one minicamp session. The second-year signal-caller responded exactly as he should have when questioned.

    "We wanted to be aggressive [Tuesday] within the pass game," Tagovailoa told reporters.

    "We wanted to see if we could fit throws in. We wanted to see what throws we could make under these conditions. We were just trying to push the ball vertical down the field."

    It's practice. Not a game. Practice. Tagovailoa and the Dolphins want to try certain things to see how the offense progresses. Lo and behold, the quarterback showed marked improvement a day later.

    Most importantly, last year's fifth overall pick is more comfortable with the scheme and leading the team.

    "I think he's really worked on all of [specific areas where he could get better] and made some improvements," head coach Brian Flores said. "I think he's going to not rest on that, and try to continue to improve. He'll be ready to go for training camp."

Minnesota Vikings: OT Brian O'Neill

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    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    The Minnesota Vikings have a lot of moving pieces along their offensive front.

    This year's first-round pick, Christian Darrisaw, will take over at left tackle after the organization released veteran Riley Reiff. Ezra Cleveland will move from right to left guard. Right guard will feature a training camp battle between Dakota Dozier, Mason Cole and third-round rookie Wyatt Davis.

    Right tackle Brian O'Neill now serves as the unit's anchor, and he's already taking on a bigger role this offseason.

    "Probably the biggest change since I've been here, not having Riley around," O'Neill told reporters. "But in terms of my mentality, I don't think it changes that much. You might have a few more pointers for the young guys, but at the end of the day, it's all about trying to progress myself and have the best season I possibly can and try to help lead this group the best way I can."

New England Patriots: WR Jakobi Meyers

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    The New England Patriots signed wide receiver Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne to free-agent deals worth a combined $37 million. Maybe the team already had its WR1 already on the roster.

    The Patriots signed Jakobi Meyers as an undrafted free agent two offseasons ago. He's outperformed expectations with 85 receptions for 1,088 yards through his first two campaigns. The one-time quarterback convert continues to develop and assert himself as the roster's best receiving threat.

    "He didn't drop a single pass in team drills over six practices open to the media," the Boston Herald's Andrew Callahan reported. "He routinely found soft spots in zone coverage. All four quarterbacks trust him." 

    New England's offense may be built around their two new tight ends—Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry—yet Meyers could blossom into the team's top outside threat.

New Orleans Saints: Edge Marcus Davenport

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    Brian Westerholt/Associated Press

    Three years ago, the New Orleans traded up in the NFL draft—the deal included a future first-round pickto land Marcus Davenport, whom the organization deemed to be a potential difference-maker as an edge-rusher.

    The team hasn't seen much of a return on its investment. In three seasons, Davenport produced 12 total sacks. New Orleans did exercise the fifth-year option on Davenport's rookie deal, though the 24-year-old knows he's still entering a critical season for his development.

    His approach changed as a result.

    "He's sort of taken this approach where he's asking a lot more questions than normal, for Marcus," teammate Cameron Jordan said, per The Athletic's Katherine Terrell. "It's more directed toward how is he going to better himself in terms of how I react to a certain play versus how he'll react to a certain play. And it seems like he's more locked in this early into the season."

New York Giants: Edge Azeez Ojulari

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    The New York Giants need a boost to their pass rush this offseason. But the team didn't add much in free agency and passed on doing so in this year's first round. Fortunately, Georgia's Azeez Ojulari fell to the 50th overall pick, where the Giants snatched him up.

    The New York Post's Paul Schwartz envisions him as an immediate pass-rushing specialist and possible starter based on the little seen so far.

    Middle linebacker Blake Martinez certainly gushed about his new teammate.

    "He's a freaky looking player," Martinez told reporters of Ojulari. "Just watching him today, he made some great plays out there in practice, showed some athleticism, things like that. Once again, it's OTAs, so you've got to wait until we put the pads on, things like that. So far I think he's done really well."

New York Jets: WR Elijah Moore

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Some prospects should have never fallen out of the first round. They prove why from the moment they step on a professional football field.

    Elijah Moore is one of those prospects.

    The New York Jets selected Moore with this year's 34th overall pick. Moore slid out of the opening frame because too many saw him as an undersized slot receiver.

    The Jets are now seeing what type of playmaker he is on a daily basis. The Athletic's Connor Hughes referred to the rookie receiver as the team's "most impressive player—offense or defense, any age—whenever he was on the field."

    Moore isn't just a slot receiver, either. Head coach Robert Saleh believes the rookie can play all three wide receiver spots. A trio of Moore, Corey Davis and Jamison Crowder will be difficult for defenses to handle.

Philadelphia Eagles: WR Jalen Reagor

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    Tim Tai/Associated Press

    First-round picks aren't just held up to a higher standard because of their draft status. They're also compared to everyone else from their position class and those picked after they came off the board. Pressure mounts when an individual doesn't produce early in his career.

    The Philadelphia Eagles selected wide receiver Jalen Reagor with last year's 21st overall pick. The Minnesota Vikings chose Justin Jefferson one pick later. Reagor struggled as a rookie, while Jefferson made the Pro Bowl after setting a rookie record with 1,400 receiving yards.

    Reagor could allow last season to snowball. Instead, he appears to be on the right track as his second season approaches.

    "I think he's calmer," Eagles wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead told reporters. "He's just letting his play speak for himself. He's always been a good worker. He's got a lot of talent, we know that, he's just doing the things that he needs to do to take care of himself, and I think that's really important."

Pittsburgh Steelers: DB Tre Norwood

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Seventh-round rookies rarely make positive first impressions. Tre Norwood did with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    "I think his draft description of a Swiss Army knife was very apt," secondary coach Teryl Austin told reporters. "He's a super-sharp guy. I'm really impressed with how fast he picks things up. Right now, he's playing a little nickel and a little safety. He handles it really well."

    Pittsburgh needs immediate secondary help after Mike Hilton signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in free agency and the organization released Steven Nelson. The Steelers still have Joe Haden and Cameron Sutton, though the slot could be a problem area.

    Beyond those veterans, the rest of the rotation must sort itself out during training camp. Norwood has the ability to play over the slot, outside and safety. Considering how well the rookie picked up things already, the Steelers may have found a gem with this year's final draft pick.

San Francisco 49ers: QB Trey Lance

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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    Trey Lance didn't play at the highest collegiate level. He only started one full season and played one game in 2020. On top of that, the quarterback commanded a run-first offense with only 318 total passing attempts.

    Each of these supposed negatives didn't stop the San Francisco 49ers from trading up to this year's third overall pick with Lance as their target.

    Now, the franchise is ecstatic with its rookie quarterback.

    "I think we're all very excited and fired up about where Trey is in terms of being coachable, wanting to be coached, his expectation for himself," offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel told reporters. "And whether it's a quarterback, a center or a running back, all you can ask for as a coach, is that someone is embracing the process. And I think that fires him up more than anything."

    Lance already absorbed everything the coaches threw at him.

    "I think he did a good job just being able to throw everything at him," head coach Kyle Shanahan said. "We got through the whole installation."

Seattle Seahawks: Edge Darrell Taylor

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    The Seattle Seahawks thought they had something when the team drafted edge-rusher Darrell Taylor with last year's 48th overall draft pick. Unfortunately, a shin injury and subsequent surgery robbed Taylor of his rookie season.

    Now in year two, the Seahawks are once again excited for Taylor.

    "Darrell was a real highlight to this time," head coach Pete Carroll told reporters after the team's minicamp. "... He is probably, of the guys coming back, the best-prepared guy on the football team right now, because of all of the time he spent. He invested in it, he came with a great attitude and work ethic and all of that."

    Taylor appears to be earmarked as the team's hybrid "Sam" backer capable of dropping into space or rushing the passer.

    "We hadn't really seen him with much to go on, and really he had one of the brightest camps," Carroll added.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: QB Kyle Trask

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    An old NFL saying goes, "The backup quarterback is a team's most popular player." 

    In Tampa Bay, it's a little different. Tom Brady validated the Buccaneers franchise on the organization's way to a Super Bowl victory. Brady will be the team's starting quarterback until he decides to retire.

    However, the team must prepare for the inevitable, whenever that may be.

    So, general manager Jason Licht drafted Florida quarterback Kyle Trask in this year's second round. The rookie signal-caller may not be starting anytime soon, but he continues to impress the Buccaneers coaching staff.

    "Yeah, it's not easy when you're going against our defense," head coach Bruce Arians told reporters. "He has seen a multitude of coverages and blitzes, so I'm really impressed. Having worked with guys for the first time in this offense, he's at the top of the list as far as the learning curve and he's throwing the football really well."

Tennessee Titans: OG Nate Davis

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    Terrance Williams/Associated Press

    The Tennessee Titans had a potential problem on the right side of their offensive line.

    Right tackle isn't entirely settled, though either veteran Kendall Lamm or rookie Dillon Radunz should fill the position.

    The team has higher expectations for right guard Nate Davis as well.

    "He's taken really big strides," offensive line coach Keith Carter told reporters. "Every year in the NFL, he's become a better pro. I'm talking preparation, offseason routine. He's figuring this thing out. The next step comes down to consistency."

    Davis is 24 years old and entering his third year. In his first two seasons, Derrick Henry led the NFL in rushing yardage. Further development from the guard will make the Titans' rushing attack even more difficult to defend. Plus, improved consistency from Davis will help whoever starts at tackle.

Washington Football Team: RB Antonio Gibson

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    Luis M. Alvarez/Associated Press

    So much attention is given to Washington's upcoming quarterback competition the talent at the team's skill positions has been somewhat overlooked.

    Running back Antonio Gibson has already built high expectations from those within the building as he enters his second season.

    "I do anticipate him taking another big step," head coach Ron Rivera told reporters.

    Gibson posted 1,042 yards from scrimmage as a rookie, but he wasn't entirely comfortable with the system and had to deal with turf toe as well.

    Now, he will be a featured part of an offense that includes some real speed merchants in Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and rookie Dyami Brown.

    "We've got a lot of weapons," Gibson said. "I feel like we've got a lot of deep threats, and that's going to do nothing but open it up for me and for the offense. I feel like we're going to be something to deal with."


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