After the monumentous ending to the 2016 college football season, and with the NFL Combine ending more than two weeks ago, we officially are beginning the countdown to the overload of NFL Draft conversations. This year it appears more evident what some teams need, while others it might be hard to see. In this piece, we will quickly look at each team and go over what they need going into the draft, and how it will help them become a playoff team. This is the Way Too Early 2017 NFL Draft Tools for Success.
We are going to tackle this by division, then by team.
- Dallas Cowboys: A backup quarterback, a defensive line star and a defensive backfield: While Jerry’s team was the top team in the NFC last year, it was all for naught as they lost in the divisional round of the playoffs. For the Cowboys to win the division again, they need to get a solid backup either in the draft or in free agency. They also need to spend their draft on defense as they don’t have the kind of defense that allows them to hold on to a big lead. If Dallas does this, they will win the division again.
- New York Giants: Defense fireworks. Originally, I was going to say that they need another receiver after letting go of Victor Cruz, but after picking up free agent Brandon Marshall, they can add a weapon later in the draft. For the G-Men to win, they need to get a leader of men on the defense, even if it means it comes from the draft. The Giants can win 10+ games, but it wont mean jack if they can win via the defense in the draft.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Same as the Giants, they need a stronger defense. Philly just picked up Alshon Jeffery, and if they get an even better running back in the draft, expect Philly to be a playoff team this year. Philly needs someone in the front seven to push the pace and stop offenses, and hopefully they get it.
- Washington: A new team. This is radioactive to the point that an Imagine Dragons song couldn’t write to it.
- Green Bay Packers: some offensive lineman and a defensive frontman. Green Bay is really good, hell they have a cyborg by the name of Aaron Rodgers. But in order to keep up with teams in their own division and out of it, they need to shore up both sides of the lines, with losses to the lines via free agency. If Green Bay doesn’t do that, you will see Aaron Rodgers get smacked around all day. The Packers also have to replace Julius Peppers, who went home to Carolina and with them being so thin at linebacker, Green Bay needs to make some serious moves on the defensive side of the ball to keep a stranglehold on the division.
- Detroit Lions: a solid cornerback, and another weapon. Originally, I was going to say Detroit needed to focus on the O-Line but after picking up Rick Wagner and T.J. Lang, piling onto the fact that the division is basically a two-team race between the Lions and Packers, I could make the argument they don’t have to worry about offensive lineman until Day 2 or 3 of the draft. Detroit needs to focus on getting a solid corner in the draft that can play opposite Darius Slay so that they can have both sides of the field covered. They also need a weapon at one of the following positions: running back, wide receiver, tight end. If Detroit gets healthy, along with a weapon in one of these three slots, expect Detroit to make a run at the playoffs for the second year in a row.
- Minnesota Vikings: Plan for Bridgewater or his replacement. Now Minnesota doesn’t have a first round draft pick, but they need to make a decision: either make the appropriate moves to give Bridgewater a solid team when he comes back in the 2018 season, or start planning to replace him via next years draft. Minnesota has an interesting draft to make, and the release of Adrian Peterson doesn’t make it any easier.
- Chicago Bears: Cutler’s been cut, begin the healing process. Now while Mike Glennon might be seen as the starting quarterback, he is only a placeholder. The Bears are either going to replace him in this years draft, or tank the season to get a QB in next years draft. The Bears also have to shore up their weapons as this is the second season in which they have lost an offensive weapon, so they need to refill the wideout corps and get a better running back in the draft.
- Atlanta Falcons: Absolutely nothing. No seriously, this team is too good and more than likely be one of the top teams in the NFC
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Small things on defense. Tampa went big by getting Jameis Winston a cruise missile in DeSean Jackson. But in order for Tampa to win the division, they need to make some acquisitions on the defensive side in order to be a complete team. In all honesty, if history is any proof, Tampa could be making a deep run this year.
- New Orleans Saints: Replace Cooks. Look I will never understand why Cooks was traded to the Pats, but if the Saints look to win back a division they have had a chokehold on in the past, they need to replace Cooks. They need an offensive weapon other than Drew Brees who will put fear into a defense. If they don’t make this a priority, New Orleans fans will only have the French Quarter to be happy about.
- Carolina Panthers: A Running Back. Carolina hopefully has come to a simple truth: they cannot rely on Cam to do it all on offense. If they are going to get back to the Super Bowl, then they need to go out and use this draft to pick up a running back in he first round. By doing that, they can make a push towards the playoffs.
- Seattle Seahawks: A solid two-man running game. Thomas Rawls is a good back when it comes to pass catching but if they want to make it work to perfection, they need to get a running back that is a bruiser and can get you those solid two to three yards. Seattle has been missing that for the past two seasons and if they don’t address it, they wont get back to the Super Bowl.
- Arizona Cardinals: A deeper wide receiver corps. Look, Michael Floyd is gone, Larry Fitzgerald isn’t getting any younger and they need some young guns to refill the ranks. Arizona is always in playoff contention, and while that’s great, they wont get anywhere if they don’t take care of this. If they do this, the Cards will be fighting for more than just a divisional crown.
- Los Angeles Chargers: Four Words: Get Geoff An Offense. That is all.
- San Francisco 49ers: The good news is that they got a new coach in Kyle Shanahan. Bad news is they don’t have a quarterback, their playmaker corps is bare, and the defense is absent. So essentially, this year, the 49ers goals should be to get a QB, and spend the rest of the picks bringing in some playmakers.
Well those are my thoughts on what each NFC team should do? What do you think? Leave a comment down below.