Every NFL Team’s Biggest Reason to Look Forward to 2019 Season

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    The offseason can be as thrilling for NFL fans as the regular season. Player movement constantly refreshes rosterswhether through free agency, the draft or trades.

    Significant changes inject excitement into franchises, personnel and fanbases. A one-time league doormat can become the league’s “it’ team simply through a string of acquisitions.

    The Cleveland Browns have been the NFL’s most discussed organization since they acquired wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., defensive end Olivier Vernon and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson to work alongside quarterback Baker Mayfield, wide receiver Jarvis Landry and defensive end Myles Garrett.

    A team can’t consistently win without commensurate or better talent compared to its opponents. As such, every organization made moves to better position itself for the regular season. Some have achieved the goal; others, not so much.

    Until they take the field, no one knows exactly which direction teams will trend. But they all did something to get excited about this offseason.

             

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    Matt York/Associated Press

    Kyler Murray is too short, isn’t committed to football and has a style of play that won’t translate to the NFL. Or so the detractors say.

    The Arizona Cardinals didn’t allow surface-level concerns to sway their decision with this year’s No. 1 overall pick. General manager Steve Keim selected the top available quarterback prospect.

    Murray’s natural throwing ability, absurd athleticism and top-level gear make him arguably the most dangerous offensive weapon to ever enter the professional ranks.

    But the reigning Heisman Trophy winner isn’t a typical dual-threat quarterback; he’s a pocket passer who can run.

    “The ball gets there in a hurry and with accuracy,” a Cardinals staff member told The MMQB’s Albert Breer.

    Head coach Kliff Kingsbury brought a new vision to the Cardinals organization, and Murray is perfect for the approach.

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Atlanta Falcons will benefit most from internal improvements instead of outside additions.

    Grady Jarrett’s retention under the franchise tag was of the utmost importance. According to Pro Football Focus, the defensive tackle led the Falcons defense last season with 53 total pressures and 23 run stops.

    “He’s a really impactful guy on our team,” head coach Dan Quinn said of Jarrett, per Kelsey Conway of the Falcons’ official site. “His leadership and [how] he’s emerging in that way is a real factor for us.”

    Jarrett’s return is only part of the equation. Safeties Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen missed 28 combined games last season. A return to the field is imminent for both.

    “If they continue to hit the markers that they are, I think that would be more than realistic,” Quinn told reporters of the starters’ readiness for training camp

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    Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press

    Five first-round rookie quarterbacks started last season. Only one helped his team make the postseason.

    Lamar Jackson’s growth as the Baltimore Ravens’ starter is vital to the organization’s long-term future. So is building a strong supporting cast around the multidimensional signal-caller.

    As such, general manager Eric DeCosta, who replaced Ozzie Newsome this offseason, placed an emphasis on speed to open up the offense.

    “The idea of adding speed with Lamar is just an exciting thing to think about teams having to defend,” Ravens director of college scouting Joe Hortiz said, per ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley. “It’s a chance to really put fear into our opposing defenses.”

    The team’s first-, third- and fourth-round draft picks—Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin and Justice Hill—are blazing fast to spread the field vertically and horizontally.

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    Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    The Buffalo Bills did everything in their power to help second-year quarterback Josh Allen with multiple additions at wide receiver, tight end, running back and the offensive line.

    But Buffalo’s bread is buttered on the defensive side of the ball, and the organization landed one of the draft class’ best defenders in Ed Oliver to complete the unit.

    Last year, the Bills finished second in total defense. However, the unit lost its leader, Kyle Williams, to retirement. His departure left a massive void at 3-technique, which Oliver is more than capable of filling. The 287-pound defensive tackle attacks the line of scrimmage.

    “The closer you got, the more you felt the quickness, the more you felt the power, the more you felt the juice, and really more than anything the competitive nature of this young man,” Bills head coach Sean McDermott told reporters of watching Oliver work out at his pro day.

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    Bill Feig/Associated Press

    A significant in-house change will benefit the Carolina Panthers this fall.

    Since quarterback Cam Newton is still recuperating from offseason shoulder surgery, an even greater offensive emphasis will be placed on running back Christian McCaffrey.

    A bigger and better McCaffrey is ready to take the field this fall.

    “I’m way stronger than I was last year,” McCaffrey said, per ESPN.com’s David Newton. “The faster I can get, the better as well. You can always get bigger, faster, stronger. I don’t have any choice. I have to.”

    The running back came into the league at 202 pounds but now weighs in at 211. He needed to add bulk after leading all backs by playing 91 percent of the Panthers’ offensive snaps last season.

    His superhero-esque physique will help take some pressure off Superman in the Panthers backfield.

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    The transition to a new head coach takes time, even if a team experiences early success. Intricacies are established through added reps and a growing understanding of a staff’s philosophy.

    The Chicago Bears finished 12-4 and won the NFC North in Matt Nagy’s first season. Yet the offense is still developing.

    “The comfort level has gone up—with this offense, with your teammates, with your coaches,” quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said, per the Chicago Tribune‘s Rich Campbell. “That allows for learning and everything that’s in this offense to be accelerated. It allows us to grow that much quicker.”

    Trubisky’s growth and increased comfort are vital if the Bears want to enter Super Bowl contender status. He’ll be helped by a reworked backfield that now features David Montgomery and Mike Davis alongside Tarik Cohen.

    As a result, Chicago’s 21st-ranked offense should be much better in 2019.

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    Gary Landers/Associated Press

    The Cincinnati Bengals needed a major change in the worst way. Marvin Lewis’ approach became stale after 16 seasons.

    Enter Zac Taylor.

    Cincinnati’s players are already responding to the 36-year-old head coach and his staff.

    “The energy they’ve brought in and the new attitude, the winning culture they’re trying to create, I love every minute of it,” defensive end Sam Hubbard told 11 Warriors’ Dan Hope.

    Plus, a much greater emphasis will be placed on the offensive side of the ball considering Taylor’s background as a quarterback.

    “Playing with Coach Lewis, it’s all about the defense,” seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green told ProFootballTalk’s Chris Simms. “You don’t show up the defense at practice. But Zac is like, ‘OTA one, we’re going to kick the defense’s butt.’ That’s what we like to hear.”

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    David Richard/Associated Press

    A fervor surrounds the Cleveland Browns organization after general manager John Dorsey traded for wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and defensive end Olivier Vernon. But they’re not the reasons why Browns fans are excited.

    Cleveland turned from one of the league’s burgeoning young teams into an instant Super Bowl contender, according to Las Vegas oddsmakers. The talent found on Cleveland’s roster through adept drafting and opportunistic moves is impressive.

    However, the Browns wouldn’t be everyone’s darling without Baker Mayfield. Cleveland finally got it right after decades of trying to find a franchise quarterback. Last year’s No. 1 overall pick broke the single-season rookie record with 27 touchdown passes (in only 13.5 games). His accuracy and playmaking ability are uncanny.

    Mayfield quickly earned face-of-the-franchise status. His personality and unique skill set will be the driving forces behind any success Cleveland experiences.

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    Roger Steinman/Associated Press

    A full year with wide receiver Amari Cooper and re-signing Demarcus Lawrence to a long-term deal are both reasons for the Dallas Cowboys to be excited. However, the return of Travis Frederick to man the middle of the offensive line is far more pertinent.

    Frederick, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, missed all of last season while he recovered from Guillain-Barre syndrome. The autoimmune disease doesn’t appear to be a problem as the blocker readies himself for the 2019 campaign.

    “He’s been able to go through our entire offseason program up to this point,” head coach Jason Garrett told reporters during voluntary workouts. “He was on the field with the guys last week. It was good to see him out there in a stance, running football plays. He looks really good.”

    When healthy, Frederick is the game’s best center, and his return will help solidify the entire offense.

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    So much attention will be placed on the Denver Broncos quarterbacks that too many will overlook Vic Fangio’s influence on the other side of the ball.

    Von Miller and Bradley Chubb are now playing for a defensive mastermind.

    “How they used Khalil [Mack] and how they used Leonard Floyd,” Chubb said of watching Fangio’s defense with the Bears, per the Denver Post‘s Kyle Fredrickson. “I feel like it’s going to be special. … Sometimes they would have Khalil and Leonard on the same side. Sometimes they had Khalil at a 3-technique with Leonard on the other side. Just all of the things that you can do.”

    Miller and Chubb combined for 26.5 sacks last season. The duo could very well eclipse that number with a more creative mind game-planning how to utilize the talented pass-rushers in a myriad of ways.

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    For good or bad, the Detroit Lions organization continues to build the team in a similar manner to the New England Patriots. While this approach proved folly for other franchises, the Lions spared no expense to realize the vision. 

    Signing Danny Amendola and Justin Coleman will help propel the transformation, but Trey Flowers’ acquisition is the difference-maker. The Lions made Flowers the NFL’s fourth-highest-paid defensive end with a five-year, $90 million deal. 

    “He’s a three-down player, position versatility, affects the quarterback, affects the run game, knows the technique, knows the scheme,” general manager Bob Quinn said, per the Detroit NewsJustin Rogers

    Ziggy Ansah couldn’t stay healthy, and the Lions struggled to find another quality pass-rusher. So the organization let Ansah leave in free agency and invested heavily in Flowers, who is one of the league’s most versatile front-line defenders.

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    Mike Roemer/Associated Press

    After a scathing expose about Aaron Rodgers‘ crumbling relationship with previous head coach Mike McCarthy, one thing should make the Green Bay Packers faithful happy: The franchise quarterback appears to be on the same page with new head coach Matt LaFleur. 

    “I think the great thing about Matt is it’s been very clear messaging,” Rodgers said, per the Packers News’ Jim Owczarski and Tom Silverstein. “He’s been great in front of the room. It’s a forward focus. … He’s done a great job of talking about how the most important thing is us moving forward together and having a deference and appreciation for the past.”

    For Green Bay, nothing is more important than Rodgers operating at peak performance. The responsibility falls on LaFleur to keep the quarterback fully invested and buying into the offensive scheme. 

    The honeymoon portion of LaFleur’s tenure is far from over, but so far so good. 

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Any and all offensive line additions are a step in the right direction for the Houston Texans, even if Matt Kalil is one of them.

    The unit can’t get much worse than last year’s performance—defenses sacked quarterback Deshaun Watson a league-high 62 times. Left tackle Julie’n Davenport ranked second-worst among all linemen by allowing 12 sacks, according to Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson.

    The overhaul started in free agency when Kalil signed a one-year, $7.5 million deal (only $2.3 million is guaranteed, per Spotrac). The draft brought the type of reinforcements the Texans really needed.

    Houston spent first- and second-round picks on Alabama State’s Tytus Howard and Northern Illinois’ Max Scharping. Howard is an athletic, albeit developmental, prospect with experience at right and left tackle. Scharping allowed one sack during his final three seasons, per PFF College.

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    Michael Hickey/Getty Images

    The Indianapolis Colts defense exceeded expectations last season under the direction of coordinator Matt Eberflus. The unit finished 11th in total defense despite lacking major pieces to the puzzle.

    General manager Chris Ballard addressed need areas in free agency and the draft.

    The Colts didn’t splurge in free agency despite having the league’s most salary-cap space. Instead, Ballard accomplished two goals. First, he re-signed top cornerback Pierre Desir and starting 1-technique Margus Hunt. Second, the Colts knew the unit needed more from its edge-rushers, so Ballard signed Justin Houston.

    Indianapolis doubled up on both positions in the draft. Ballard traded out of the first round and still landed Rock Ya-Sin to bookend Desir. The team’s future starting “Sam” linebacker, Ben Banogu, came off the board 15 picks later.

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    Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

    Nick Foles is a better quarterback than Blake Bortles. It really doesn’t get much simpler than that for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    “I can tell you this, categorically, that as soon as the season was over, our dream was to get Nick Foles for all the different reasons that have been elaborated before, and it happened,” owner Shad Khan said, per ESPN.com’s Michael DiRocco. “I think that’s a critical part that we have addressed.

    “… Yes, we wanted to do whatever to get Nick here.”

    Foles is an easy sell: He’s a Super Bowl MVP, still in his prime at 30 years old and has a previous working relationship with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

    Bortles’ lack of development held back the entire organization. Foles has experienced ups and downs throughout his career, but his best is better than anything Jacksonville has had since Mark Brunell.

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    The Kansas Chiefs could have easily represented the AFC in Super Bowl LIII if the team’s defense provided anything to slow the New England Patriots.

    But the 31st-ranked unit failed as it did most of the season.

    In response, the Chiefs fired defensive coordinator Bob Sutton and hired Steve Spagnuolo. The defense also underwent a major overhaul. General manager Brett Veach traded Dee Ford to the San Francisco 49ers. The team released Eric Berry and Justin Houston. And the front office chose not to re-sign Allen Bailey or Steven Nelson.

    On paper, those losses appear significant, but they’re not.

    Frank Clark, whom the Chiefs acquired from the Seattle Seahawks, is a better all-around defender than either Ford or Houston. The newly signed Tyrann Mathieu is healthy, whereas Berry is not. Kansas City added Alex Okafor, Bashaud Breeland and Emmanuel Ogbah as well.

    The Chiefs don’t need their defense to be great; it just has to be better with Patrick Mahomes leading the offense.

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    Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

    One of the league’s best secondaries is on the verge of becoming even better.

    The Los Angeles Chargers made sure to reinforce their defensive front by re-signing Brandon Mebane and drafting Jerry Tillery in this year’s first round. The linebacker corps received a boost with the additions of veteran Thomas Davis Sr. and rookies Drue Tranquill and Emeke Egbule.

    The defense’s potential is greatest along the back line after the Chargers drafted Nasir Adderley in the second round.

    “Man, it’s incredible,” Adderley said of playing alongside Derwin James, per ESPN.com’s Eric D. Williams. “We can be one of the best safety duos in the league. I can promise you that.”

    The rookie may be overly enthusiastic, but his skill set meshes well with James’. Adderley is a converted cornerback with outstanding range. The Chargers use James all over the field, and the duo will allow defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to experiment with dozens of different looks.

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    Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

    The Los Angeles Rams’ recent success is built upon adept veteran acquisitions.

    Andrew Whitworth, Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks, Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters were either signed in free agency or acquired via trade. The list doesn’t include Ndamukong Suh and John Sullivan, both of whom entered free agency after the 2018 campaign.

    Now, safety Eric Weddle is expected to create a similar impact.

    “An Eric Weddle signing is very similar to probably an Andrew Whitworth signing in that I think he definitely helps the Rams now,” general manager Les Snead told reporters, “but I do think when he does decide to move to the next chapter in life, all of our young playerson defense and on offensewill be better for him being a Ram.”

    The mixture of experience, leadership and talent meshes well with the Rams’ young core. Weddle will be accountable at free safety and the new voice of the defense.

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    The Miami Dolphins deftly orchestrated a potential franchise-changing trade when they acquired quarterback Josh Rosen from the Arizona Cardinals.

    Dolphins general manager Chris Grier didn’t bid against himself, allowed other potential suitors to leave the market and traded down in the second round, thus adding draft assets, including a 2020 second-round pick, before completing the deal.

    Rosen provides some hope to a rebuilding organization. Granted, the second-year signal-caller will not be handed the job with Ryan Fitzpatrick on the roster. But the Dolphins will have to play the 22-year-old at some point and find out what they have before investing in another quarterback.

    Rosen is one year removed from being a top-10 pick. An underwhelming rookie campaign in an awful situation shouldn’t define his career. He still presents franchise potential. If he starts to blossom, it will expedite Miami’s rebuilding process.

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    Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

    The Minnesota Vikings offense is in the hands of coordinator Kevin Stefanski and assistant head coach Gary Kubiak after last year’s failed John DeFilippo experiment.

    The duo is expected to bring concepts better suited to the Vikings personnel.

    “It’s no secret [quarterback Kirk Cousins] came up under both coach Shanahans and had some success in that system,” Stefanski said, per Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper. “There are a lot of similarities then to what we are doing moving forward. … Obviously you evolve, I would hope, year to year, and I hope really week to week that our offense looks different.”

    The Minnesota scheme will become more reliant on a zone-running attack, play-action passing and pocket movement. This became evident with the organization’s shift toward more athletic offensive linemen, especially first-round center Garrett Bradbury.

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    Life is pretty good when you’re the reigning Super Bowl champions.

    The New England Patriots are never satisfied, though. Plus, the organization underwent significant roster turnover with defensive end Trey Flowers, left tackle Trent Brown, defensive tackle Malcom Brown and wide receiver/running back Cordarrelle Patterson signing elsewhere.

    Rob Gronkowski retired, too.

    Normally, the Patriots replace their departed players with other competent options in their system, and they continue to win. Something a little different than usual occurred during the draft, though, as head coach and de facto general manager Bill Belichick used a first-round pick to select a wide receiver for the first timewhich speaks highly of N’Keal Harry.

    Harry provides the Patriots with a true outside-the-numbers threat. His size (6’4″, 213 lbs), physicality, reliable hands and ability to create yards after the catch should make him an instant contributor.

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    One blown call ruined the New Orleans Saints’ Super Bowl aspirations. The organization didn’t need to make significant adjustments this offseason to remain among the league’s best, though.

    Instead, general manager Mickey Loomis made one significant move by signing Pro Bowl tight end Jared Cook. The 32-year-old posted career highs last season with 68 receptions for 896 yards and six touchdowns.

    The Saints have used a tight end-by-committee approach since they traded Jimmy Graham in 2015. Even at an advanced age, Cook is an outstanding athlete, and the Saints plan to implement some of the same concepts they once did for Graham.

    “The base is already here, the foundation for that is already here because they had a guy like [Graham],” tight ends coach Dan Campbell said, per the Times-Picayune‘s Luke Johnson. “Look, we’ve already got what we need, we can brush off some of the stuff we’ve done before without any problem.”

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    The New York Giants’ offseason couldn’t have gone any worse in many respects.

    General manager Dave Gettleman traded superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and defensive end Olivier Vernon, while this year’s sixth overall pick, quarterback Daniel Jones, was almost universally panned.

    But Gettleman smartly addressed the offensive line to maximize Eli Manning’s final year(s) and make life much easier on the reigning NFL Rookie of the Year, running back Saquon Barkley.

    New York acquired right guard Kevin Zeitler in the Beckham blockbuster with the Cleveland Browns. Zeitler received the highest pass-blocking grade of any guard from Pro Football Focus last season. The team also signed Mike Remmers to man the right tackle spot.

    With Will Hernandez and Nate Solder expected to improve on the left side, the Giants appear to have a formidable front.

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    If not for Baker Mayfield’s record-breaking performance last season, the NFL world would be abuzz about the game’s best young franchise quarterback, Sam Darnold. Darnold showed why he deserved to be the 2018 draft’s third overall pick and salve for the New York Jets’ long-term suffering.

    “I really like the way he works,” new head coach Adam Gase said of his 21-year-old quarterback, per Eric Allen of Jets 360 Productions. “I love the way he studies. The way he throws the ball is very impressive. He’s just naturally…When he rolls out of bed, he can sling that thing.”

    The Jets made sure Darnold won’t have to carry the offense this fall by signing running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Jamison Crowder.

    “We have the potential to make a huge step,” Darnold said, per Newsday‘s Al Iannazzone. “We have a ton of really good pieces. We had a lot of the same guys who made a really big impact for us last year. We’re ready to do bigger and better things this year. I’m just really, really pumped and really excited for what’s to come.”

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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    The Oakland Raiders’ acquisition of Antonio Brown from the Pittsburgh Steelers provided them with legitimacy.

    After struggling in Jon Gruden’s first season as head coach, the Raiders needed an identity. Gruden is an offensive-minded coach and didn’t have the necessary tools to compete on a weekly basis. Brown’s production, meanwhile, is unmatched over the last six seasons (686 receptions, 9,145 yards and 67 touchdowns).

    “I’ve never seen a better connection between a player and a coach than when these two got together,” Mike Mayock told reporters during Brown’s introductory press conference. “… They were like little kids in a laboratory. And that’s why we’re so excited.”

    Brown becomes the focal point, and his presence will create opportunities for the team’s other offseason additions: first-round running back Josh Jacobs and wide receivers Tyrell Williams, J.J. Nelson, Ryan Grant and rookie Hunter Renfrow.

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    The Philadelphia Eagles know what works for them. Their biggest offseason additions involved familiar faces.

    Defensive end Brandon Graham signed a three-year, $40 million extension before the start of free agency.

    “He fits us on and off the field,” general manager Howie Roseman told NFL Network’s Rich Eisen and Daniel Jeremiah during the scouting combine, via Chris McPherson of the Eagles’ official site. “He’s the kind of player and person that you want to invest in.”

    The Eagles also signed left tackle Jason Peters to a one-year, $6 million extension. They prepared for life without the 37-year-old by drafting Andre Dillard, but one more year of reliable blindside protection is expected.

    Philadelphia didn’t stop there. Roseman traded for wide receiver DeSean Jackson and signed defensive end Vinny Curry.

    The history each of those four has with the franchise only makes the team stronger.

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    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    Devin Bush Jr. brings qualities the Steelers lacked at the inside linebacker position after Ryan Shazier’s injury.

    “He’s a great leader, very vocal,” fellow rookie Justin Layne said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette‘s Gerry Dulac. “He’s going to be good. I can tell. You can tell. He was calling the right defenses and everything. He knows what’s going on.”

    The Steelers are often reserved in their approach. They don’t overspend in free agency and, usually, allow the draft to unfold in front of their picks. However, general manager Kevin Colbert made a calculated move by trading up for the 10th overall pick to select Bush.

    Colbert did the same to land Troy Polamalu in 2003 and Santonio Holmes in 2006. Bush’s sideline-to-sideline range and aggressiveness make him a perfect fit—just like the aforementioned standouts.

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    All the expectations heaped upon the 49ers last year carried over to this year thanks to Jimmy Garoppolo’s return.

    Garoppolo suffered a torn ACL during a Week 3 contest against the Chiefs.

    “When you’re doing rehab, everything is, ‘Do this movement, do this,'” the quarterback told the Mercury NewsCam Inman. “Well, in the game, you’re more reacting than thinking, getting used to those type of movements. We’ve been doing some of them and patterning them. It’s coming along well.”

    With Garoppolo expected back for training camp, he’ll be greeted by a few new offensive weapons.

    General manager John Lynch signed running back Tevin Coleman to share the backfield with Jerick McKinnon, who is also rebounding from a season-ending knee injury, and drafted a pair of wide receivers, Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd.

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Doug Baldwin’s apparent retirement placed a damper on the Seahawks’ offseason.

    But Seattle had the foresight to select a falling star in April’s draft. It chose DK Metcalf with the 64th overall pick after many touted the 6’3″, 229-pounder with 4.33-second 40-yard-dash speed as the class’ top wide receiver prospect.

    “Well, it’s almost like, what doesn’t [excite you]?” head coach Pete Carroll told reporters after the team’s rookie minicamp. “He’s big and he’s fast. He’s got really good feet. … Maybe [he’s] even more unique than we thought coming in.”

    Some might say expectations should be tempered since Metcalf is being asked to replace Baldwin. But Tyler Lockett was the team’s leading receiver. Gary Jennings, whom the organization selected in the fourth round, will fill the slot receiver role. Metcalf is entirely different.

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    Chris O’Meara/Associated Press

    When a top-five pick enters an organization, the spotlight falls on the talented rookie. This is especially true for linebacker Devin White.

    First, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense ranked among the league’s worst during the past three seasons. Second, the Bucs chose White over highly regarded prospects Josh Allen and Ed Oliver. Finally, the team may be without two defensive stalwarts in Gerald McCoy, who could be traded or released, and Jason Pierre-Paul, who suffered a fractured neck in a car accident.

    Thus, the onus falls on the first-year linebacker. That’s OK.

    “The tape speaks for itself,” head coach Bruce Arians said, per Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith. “People say we need a pass-rusher? He’s pretty good at that. … He fits everything we want as a human being and a football player. I couldn’t be more excited. I probably said six weeks ago, ‘This is our guy.'”

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    The Tennessee Titans made make life easier on quarterback Marcus Mariota this offseason.

    The team finished 25th in total offense last season, and general manager Jon Robinson knew the unit required a different approach. First, Robinson addressed the offensive line by signing the top available guard in Rodger Saffold. Later, the front office drafted guard Nate Davis in the third round.

    Wide receiver was also a focal point. Corey Davis needed help, so the Titans signed Adam Humphries in free agency to be a consistent threat out of the slot. Then the organization drafted A.J. Brown with the 51st overall pick.

    Furthermore, veteran tight end Delanie Walker (pictured) is expected to return from a fractured ankle. According to Pro Football Focus, Mariota posted the second-highest passer rating when throwing to tight ends last season.

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    The Washington Redskins are prepared for a quarterback battle between veteran Case Keenum and this year’s 15th overall pick, Dwayne Haskins, even if it won’t be much of a competition.

    “[Haskins] has a demeanor and aura about him, kind of similar to Cam Newton coming out, just an aura of confidence,” head coach Jay Gruden told The MMQB’s Albert Breer. “There’s something about him. When you’re around him, you feel like he’s got it, everything’s going to be OK—that he’s going to be successful, because he believes it.”

    Keenum simply can’t replicate what Haskins brings to the offense. The 6’3″, 231-pound rookie is a big-armed gunslinger capable of making any throw.

    “He has a cannon of an arm, but he doesn’t throw it hard all the time like some quarterbacks with big arms do,” Gruden said.

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