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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Omar Kelly: Which NFC team had the best off-season in 2022?

About half of the teams in the NFC are either rebuilding, or seemingly tanking themselves to position themselves higher in what is considered the quarterback-rich 2023 NFL Draft.

This opinion is based on a lack of head-scratching moves and roster improvements made for about a dozen teams in NFC.

While there are few franchises to dethrone the Los Angeles Rams as Super Bowl champs, there are plenty of teams out there that are starting a youth movement and what comes with it.

With training camps open at the end of the month, let’s take a look at the NFC teams that have improved the most over the past year, front office and head coach changes, free agent signings and defection, trades and 2022 draft picks.

1. Los Angeles Ramso

The Rams signed Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp for extensions, putting their Super Bowl-winning team center back together for at least two more seasons. Given the franchise’s all-in strategy each season, those moves should not be overlooked. The addition of former Bears receiver Alan Robinson should have helped ease the loss of Odell Beckham Jr., who suffered an ACL injury in the Super Bowl and was not re-signed, and Robert Woods, who was traded. . And signing linebacker Bobby Wagner could add volume to the physicality of the team. The Rams lost notable players such as Andrew Whitworth, who retired and was replaced by Joseph Notebook, Von Miller, Darius Williams, Sebastian Joseph-Day and Austin Corbett. The added eight bottom round drafts will likely strengthen the team’s depth.

2. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles re-signed center Jason Kelsey, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, safety Anthony Harris and pass rusher Derek Barnett, and added pass rusher Haasan Reddick, linebacker Kazir White and receiver Zack Pascal, who started 44 games in his first four seasons. have done. But there was no bigger move than the Titans getting 2020 Pro Bowl receiver AJ Brown. His addition should give Jalen Hurts a chance to take his game to another level. Defensive tackle Jordan Davis with the 13th pick, center Cam Jurgens with pick No. 51, and then dabbling on linebackers by picking Georgia’s Nkobe Dean and Kansas’ Kieron Johnson makes the Eagles a keen team.

3. Green Bay Packers

The Packers retained Aaron Rodgers, signed him for a three-year, $150 million extension, and re-signed linebacker Preston Smith, and linebacker Devondre Campbell should have been overlooked. But Green Bay lost Pro Bowl receiver Davante Adams, who was traded to the Raiders, and receivers Equinimus St. Brown (Bears), and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (Chiefs). North Dakota State’s Christian Watson (34th pick), Nevada’s Romeo Dobbs (No.132) and Nebraska’s Samori Toure (No.258) were the three receivers, and were responsible for filling offensive vacancies. Linebacker Z’Darius Smith (Vikings), and offensive linemen Billy Turner (Broncos) and Lucas Patrick (Bears) also moved in as free agents. But if the Packers have Rodgers, they have a legal chance to win the Lombardi Trophy.

4. New Orleans Saints

Shaun Payton isn’t easy to replace, but Dennis Allen will get his second shot at proving that he has grown from his stint as the Raiders’ coach from 2012–14, when he posted an 8-28 record. The re-signing of Jameis Winston, who had recovered from a knee injury, was a bold move. And so Marcus was signing to secure Marcus May and Tyrone Matthews to replace Williams, who signed with the Ravens. Adding Jarvis Landry to a receivers unit that already features Michael Thomas, and former Ohio State standout Chris Olev in the first round may have been added. The Saints drafted Trevor Penning with the 19th pick and are expected to be a substantial replacement for Taron Armstead, a three-time Pro Bowl pick, who signed with Miami as a free agent.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tom Brady’s retirement then overturning his decision was huge as it leaves the Buccaneers title contenders for another season. But losing coach Bruce Arians to retirement will make the journey difficult because his replacement Todd Bowles, who was 24-40 in his four seasons as Jets head coach, is not as experienced or knowledgeable. Re-signing Chris Godwin, adding tailbacks Leonard Fournet and Giovanni Bernard, and receiver Russell Gage gives Brady decent arms. But the retirement of Rob Gronkowski and OJ Howard, who signed with Buffalo, hurts. So does Alex Kappa losing Cincinnati and Ali Marpett to retirement. But Shaq Mason was added to the offensive line.

6. Washington Commanders

Washington traded for Carson Wentz, hoping he would upgrade over Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke. It’s a big gamble, but one Ron Rivera is ready to take his team back to the playoffs. Washington signed guard Andrew Norwell, and re-signed tailback JD McKisick, offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas and safety Bobby McCain. Replacing Brandon Scherf and Erek Flower, the team’s two starting guards from last season, will not be easy. But the commanders signed Andrew Norwell and Trae Turner. The selection of Penn State receiver Jahan Dotson with the 16th pick could provide Wentz with a much-needed weapon to complement Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuels.

7. Dallas Cowboys:

Dallas’ period of free agency was spent trying to maintain themselves, but the Cowboys still lost two members of the starting offensive line to L’El Collins (Bengal) and Connor Williams (Dolphins), and two receivers. , Amari Cooper (via trade Brown) and Cedric Wilson Jr. (Dolphins). Pass rush Randy Gregory (Broncos), safety Keanu Neal (Buccaneers) and kicker Greg Zuerlein (Jets) were also released as free agents. Tyler Smith, the 24th pick in the 2022 draft, will likely replace Williams as a starting guard, and the Cowboys also added linebacker Dante Fowler and receiver James Washington to fill other holes.

8. New York Giants

Newly appointed general manager Joe Shoen and coach Brian Dabol will charter a new course for the Giants, and on this season’s agenda is finding out whether Daniel Jones, who owns a 12-25 record, is a quarterback worth developing. Tight end Ricky Seals-Jones was signed to replace Evan Engram, who had joined the Jaguars. And guards Mark Glowinsky and John Feliciano were added to strengthen the offensive line. The Giants, designed like a rebuilt franchise, should touch almost every area of ​​that team but the tailbacks and quarterbacks. Oregon pass rusher Kyvan Thibodaux (No. 3) and Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal (No. 7) should open the day.

9. San Francisco 49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo is still in the building, which means Trey Lance has yet to be anointed starter, despite the 49ers trading three first-round picks to gain quarterback. In free agency, the 49ers signed cornerback Charvarius Ward, who started 43 games for the Chiefs over the past four seasons, and added safety George Odom. Guard Laken Tomlinson joined the Jets and offensive tackle Tom Compton signed with the Broncos. Tailback Raheem Mostart and receiver Trent Sherfield signed with the Dolphins. From a draft standpoint, the nine players selected will likely begin their NFL careers as role players, who are gradually being drafted.

10. Carolina Panthers

The Panthers traded their 2024 fifth-round pick for Baker Mayfield to give Sam Darnold the competition as the starting quarterback. Former Ole Miss standout Matt Coral, a third-round pick, could have pushed both, but it’s a long shot. With the sixth pick, the Panthers were able to put their future left-facing side at Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina State, the most physically dominant offensive lineman in the class. And in free agency they added Austin Corbett and Bradley Bozeman, so hopefully rebuilding the line, and bringing back a healthy Christian McCaffrey, will improve the offense.

11. Arizona Cardinals

Losing Deandre Hopkins for six games because he violated the NFL’s individual-conduct policy puts a disadvantage on this 2022 playoff team, especially since Christian Kirk left to sign with the Jaguars. But getting the Marquis Brown on draft night should benefit quarterback Kyler Murray, his college teammate. Losing Chandler Jones to the Raiders in free agency was a blow. Colorado State’s Trey McBride (pick number 55) was the best tight end in the class. However, everything else was filler.

12. Atlanta Falcons

While 37-year-old Matt Ryan may no longer be seen as a franchise quarterback, let’s not pretend that Marcus Mariota has proved he is a quality NFL starter. So it was a wise move to pick former Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder in the third round. Receiver Calvin Ridley has been suspended for the 2022 season for allegedly gambling on NFL games, and the Falcons addressed that loss by drafting USC’s Drake London with the eighth pick. He also added Damier Bird, Khadarrell Hodge and Auden Tate to fill a slim receiver unit. Cordrell Patterson was also re-signed and Atlanta added tailback Damien Williams.

13. Chicago Bears

The new regime in Chicago had some tearing to do before building a new foundation, and this led to a trade that sent Khaleel Mack to the Chargers, and allowed receiver Alan Robinson to sign with the Rams. The Bears signed receivers Byron Pringle and Equinimus St. Brown to help facilitate the departures of Robinson, Damier Bird (Falcons) and Jackiem Grant (Brown). Chicago made 11 picks in the draft that should aid in the process of rebuilding the Bears under new coach Matt Eberfluss, but it would not be an overnight rebuild until quarterback Justin Fields took a major step forward.

14. Detroit Lions

In the second year of a multi-year rebuild, the Lions gave quarterback Jared Goff an improved arsenal of weapons, included receiver DJ Clark in free agency, re-signed receivers Josh Reynolds and Calif Raymond, and former Alabama standout Jameson Williams, who is in rehab for an ACL injury he suffered in the national championship game. Aidan Hutchinson landing with a second pick should provide a more powerful bite to the Lions defense. But he will be responsible for replacing Trey Flower, who was released.

15. Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings either believe that former coach and general manager was the issue, or see the phase as a major rebuild under rookie head coach Kevin O’Connell and first-time general manager Kwesi Edofo-Mensa as offseason moves barely move the needle. Is. Linebacker Za’Darius Smith signed a three-year deal worth $42 million. Linebacker Jordan Hicks, defensive lineman Harrison Phillips and offensive linemen Jesse Davis and Chris Reed joined the Vikings. Most of the draft picks were used on defenders such as security Lewis Caine and cornerback Andrew Booth.

16. Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks secured quarterback Drew Locke, tight end Noah Fant, and defensive tackle Shelby Harris in a trade to the Broncos that sent Denver quarterback Russell Wilson. Locke is competing with Geno Smith to determine who starts at quarterback for the Seahawks. Seattle also signed defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson, linebacker Uchena Navosu and cornerback Artie Burns, and re-signed tailback Rashad Penny, tight end Will Disley and offensive lineman Kyle Fuller. The draft was where Seattle’s biggest move forward was made. Offensive tackles Charles Cross (No. 9) and Abraham Lucas (No. 72) can make rookie starts.

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