BIGGEST OFFSEASON WINNERS

 

Prior to the start of free agency and the draft, we took screenshots of every NFL team roster to see which team would ascend the most in the overall team rankings after the player procurement window.

 

Based on our formulas, the five biggest risers were the Jets, Colts, Bucs, Browns, and Bears. Let’s take a look how they got to the top of the list.

 

NEW YORK JETS (+2.14 OVR)

 

Free Agent/Trade Additions:

QB Teddy Bridgewater (78 OVR)

QB Josh McCown (78 OVR)

RB Isaiah Crowell (81 OVR)

WR Terrelle Pryor (79 OVR)

TE Clive Walford (75 OVR)

C Spencer Long (78 OVR)

C Travis Swanson (78 OVR)

DE Henry Anderson (78 OVR)

LB Avery Williamson (82 OVR)

LB Kevin Minter (75 OVR)

CB Trumaine Johnson (87 OVR)

CB Morris Claiborne (84 OVR)

RS Andre Roberts (82 KR/79 PR OVR)

K Cairo Santos (78 OVR)

 

Draft/Notable UDFA additions:

QB Sam Darnold (81 OVR)

DL Nathan Shepherd (78 OVR)

TE Christopher Herndon (75 OVR)

CB Parry Nickerson (70 OVR)

DT Foley Fatukasi (71 OVR)

RB Trenton Cannon (70 OVR)

FB Dimitri Flowers (74 OVR)

 

The biggest catalyst for the Jets’ launch is addressing the QB position in both free agency and the draft. Continuing on offense, they added a complimentary RB to their stable in Isaiah Crowell and re-shaped the TE room by claiming Clive Walford off of waivers and snagging another former Cane in Chris Herndon during the draft. The Jets doubled down on fixing the center position with a winner-take-all double signing of Spencer Long and Travis Swanson. They were also aggressive in spending to add to their defense by adding Henry Anderson, Avery Williamson, and Trumaine Johnson as starters at each defensive level. While it all looks good on paper, everything really hinges on whether or not Sam Darnold turns into a franchise QB and how quickly he can escalate from his 81 overall collegiate scouting score.

 

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (+2.09 OVR)

 

Free Agent/Trade Additions:

WR Ryan Grant (79 OVR)

WR James Wright (70 OVR)

TE Eric Ebron (78 OVR)

TE Randall Telfer (73 OVR)

OL Matt Slauson (77 OVR)

OG Jack Mewhort (80 OVR)

OT Austin Howard (76 OVR)

DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches (73 OVR)

DE Denico Autry (78 OVR)

LB Najee Goode (72 OVR)

 

 

Draft/Notable UDFA additions:

OG Quenton Nelson (92 OVR)

LB Darius Leonard (77 OVR)

OG Braden Smith (79 OVR)

DE Kemoko Turay (78 OVR)

DE Tyquan Lewis (78 OVR)

RB Nyheim Hines (76 OVR)

WR Daurice Fountain (76 OVR)

RB Jordan Wilkins (72 OVR)

WR Deon Cain (75 OVR)

LB Matthew Adams (70 OVR)

LB Zaire Franklin (69 OVR)

LB Skai Moore (69 OVR)

 

 

Colts fans - before you start doing backflips, please know that this was less about hitting home runs in the offseason process and more about the roster being so bad to begin with that pretty much adding any warm body dramatically increases the overall score. Chris Ballard added some interesting pieces to the RB room with Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins and fans should be excited about pairing a player as dynamic as Hines with Frank Reich’s creativity as a play caller. The WR corps needed a complete overhaul in the worst way with TY Hilton and Chester Rogers being the only legitimate holdovers heading into the offseason and they did that by bringing in Grant, Fountain, Cain, and Wright. While none of these players will strike fear into the hearts of the likes of Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye in the division, again - warm bodies. Perhaps most importantly, the Colts invested plenty of resources both in the draft and free agency to make sure their most valuable asset, Andrew Luck, stays upright and healthy. Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith figure to be the bash bros at left and right guard for the next decade plus while players like Matt Slauson and Austin Howard will provide much-needed depth. On defense, the linebacker unit needed a bigger makeover than a Brandi Chastain plaque, but leaning on mostly rookies to get the job done is a tall order. The Colts got better, but to be honest, the roster went from abysmal to just not great.

 

 

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (+1.84 OVR)

 

Free Agent/Trade Additions:

TE Cameron Brate (85 OVR)

C Ryan Jensen (84 OVR)

DE Jason Pierre-Paul (88 OVR)

DE Vinny Curry (83 OVR)

DT Beau Allen (78 OVR)

CB Brent Grimes (82 OVR)

 

 

Draft/Notable UDFA additions:

DT Vita Vea (83 OVR)

RB Ronald Jones II (79 OVR)

CB MJ Stewart (76 OVR)

CB Carlton Davis (78 OVR)

OG Alex Cappa (75 OVR)

FS Jordan Whitehead (75 OVR)

WR Justin Watson (73 OVR)

LB Jack Cichy (74 OVR)

 

 

The Bucs’ biggest Achilles heel last season was their lack of pass rush, and boy did they address that in droves this offseason. Not only was GM Jason Licht aggressive in acquiring JPP, Vita Vea, Vinny Curry and Beau Allen to bolster the rotation, but the hiring of Brentson Buckner as the DL coach to put all the puzzle pieces together may be even more important in regards to amplifying production this upcoming season. On offense, they added a nasty new anchor in the middle of the offensive line for the ethereal RoJo2 to run behind in Ryan Jensen and then added more attitude by grabbing Alex Cappa in the draft. The biggest thing holding the Bucs back at this point is a bona fide presence at strong safety, considering the prospect of playing two smaller safeties in Justin Evans and Jordan Whitehead is a head scratcher for me. When you understand your biggest weakness and go overboard to make sure it is addressed, you’re going to move up.

 

 

CLEVELAND BROWNS (+1.61 OVR)

 

Free Agent/Trade Additions:

QB Tyrod Taylor (81 OVR)

QB Drew Stanton (75 OVR)

RB Carlos Hyde (83 OVR)

WR Jarvis Landry (88 OVR)

WR Jeff Janis (73 OVR)

TE Darren Fells (74 OVR)

OT Chris Hubbard (79 OVR)

OT Donald Stephenson (73 OVR)

DE Chris Smith (76 OVR)

CB EJ Gaines (83 OVR)

CB TJ Carrie (76 OVR)

FS Damarious Randall (81 OVR)

 

 

Draft/Notable UDFA additions:

QB Baker Mayfield (85 OVR)

CB Denzel Ward (85 OVR)

OT Austin Corbett (78 OVR)

RB Nick Chubb (79 OVR)

DE Chad Thomas (76 OVR)

WR Antonio Callaway (76 OVR)

LB Genard Avery (75 OVR)

WR Damion Ratley (69 OVR)

CB Simeon Thomas (69 OVR)

DT Trenton Thompson (70 OVR)

 

 

The Browns reason for improvement is really a combination of all three summaries for the teams above. First, it all hinges on whether or not Baker Mayfield can turn around the fortunes of a snake-bitten position in the city of Cleveland, a la Sam Darnold in New York. Second, the roster was worthy of a number one overall selection, so there was really nowhere to go but up, similar to the Colts. Third, the addition of Todd Haley to add some juice to the offense and take Hue Jackson’s bungling hands off the play calling will be an enormous coup for the Browns, just like Brentson Buckner factors more into the Bucs defensive line production than their new players will. While I want so badly to say the Browns are back, I said it before the 2017 season and it backfired. Let’s wait and see, but there is no doubt they added some tangible NFL production to the skill positions on offense and obviously placed a premium on players who can not only produce between the lines, but also shock the waters of a culture that has seemed to be polluted by ineptitude.

 

 

CHICAGO BEARS (+1.50 OVR)

 

Free Agent/Trade Additions:

QB Chase Daniel

QB Tyler Bray

WR Allen Robinson

WR Taylor Gabriel

TE Trey Burton

LB Aaron Lynch

CB Kyle Fuller

CB Prince Amukamara

 

 

Draft/Notable UDFA additions:

LB Roquan Smith

OL James Daniels

WR Anthony Miller

LB Joel Iyiegbuniwe

DT Bilal Nichols

LB Kylie Fitts

WR Javon Wims

 

 

Weapons, weapons, weapons. That’s what the Bears needed on offense to accelerate the development of franchise QB Mitch Trubisky, and GM Ryan Pace was not shy in spending both dollars and draft capital in making sure that comes to fruition. The WR room has received a total facelift and Trubisky will need to put in some serious work to build chemistry with a lot of pass catchers that will need name tags for the first few weeks of OTAs. James Daniels brings the run blocking prowess and versatility to contribute anywhere along the interior and will be a huge factor in giving Trubisky more time in the pocket. On defense, the Bears reloaded a depleted LB unit with speed and instincts. Roquan Smith and Joel Iyiegbuniwe will restore the roar of what it means to be a Bears linebacker and re-signing productive CBs Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara gives the secondary some much-needed consistency. Add a creative mind like Matt Nagy as the head coach of team that had gotten predictable and stale and the Bears are primed to turn some heads this season.

 

 

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