by Johnny Cumbleton and Duncan Terry
On Wednesday journalist Benjamin Allbright published his prediction for the team picking number 1 in the 2019 NFL Draft, that team being the one with the worst record in the 2018 season – The Seattle Seahawks.
With 2 Superbowl appearance in 2013 and 2014 – have had a vast turnover in players due to salary cap issues, career ending injuries and even a hold out from one of the best Safeties in a generation. These are worrying times in an undoubted season of transition in the Pacific North West but as long as star quarterback Russell Wilson can stay fit, surely fans were right to ask Benjamin, “really? Who are they trading up with?”
Fellow ninetynineyards.com writer Johnny Cumbleton and I have come up with 6 teams we feel could be far more likely to be “B#ll@cks for Bosa” or “Excrement for Ed (Oliver)”.
Cincinnati Bengals – I’ve written here about why the Bengals draft class is exciting but they could equally end up with the first overall pick. Andy Dalton regressed last year and turned the ball over way too much, especially in the red zone. If this continues there’s a good chance the Bengals finish bottom.
AJ Green is one of the NFL’s best receivers but disappeared at time last year, mainly because of play calling. Should speedy John Ross fail to turn up again, Green may find himself in a similar position as teams look to double team Green.
A tumultuous season from an unproven offensive line with wild snaps from first round pick Billy Price and failure to fine another edge rusher could spell doom for Cincinnati. Vontaze Burfict’s suspension for the start of the year is unlikely to make winning any easier.
Should the Bengals find themselves with the first overall pick they’ll finally find themselves free of Marvin Lewis and are likely to grab Dalton’s replacement.
Buffalo Bills – The main theme of Buffalo’s off season looks to have been talent clearance. After ending their 17-season playoff drought the Bills got rid of both its best lineman (Cordy Glenn) and its starting quarterback (Tyrod Taylor).
Buffalo thus far have no clear winner in the quarterback race. Failing to beat out AJ McArron and Nathan Peterman is a terrible sign for first round pick Josh Allen. Should Buffalo find itself changing signal caller multiple time this year they’ll definitely find themselves vying for the first overall pick
LeSean McCoy is facing the possibility of missing significant time for his alleged criminal activity. As their main weapon, this occurrence would mean the Bills will find themselves in a hole quickly. Even with McCoy, the Bills rushing attack will have his job cut out for them. This is an offensive line that has very little talent after left tackle Dion Dawkins.
At receiver the main producer, Kelvin Benjamin, saw his production drop last year after two and a half productive seasons for the Panthers. Which receiver shows up for his his first full season in Buffalo (Benjamin produced 1008 yards and 9 TDs in 2016, 941 and 7 TDs in 2017). Regardless, none of Buffalos returning wideouts had more than 316 yards or three touchdowns in 2018.
The Bills defence has some promising young standouts. First round pick Tremaine Edmunds joins Tre’Davious White, Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. However, there’s likely too many holes for them to remain competitive.
New York Jets – Should starter Josh McCown struggle in New York the Jets are likely to have Sam Darnold under centre for a significant amount of the 2018 season. Getting up to speed with the pro game on the fly isn’t a good situation for a player that has been criticised for turning the ball over too frequently. Personally, after seeing a long line of less than impressive USC pro quarterbacks this alone could torpedo the Jets season.
Whoever is under center will have to contend with a lack of weapons. Jermaine Kearse, Terrell Pryor and Quincy Enunwa won’t keep defensive in a state of high alert. The Jets have largely failed to get production from the tight end position and this should continue in 2018.
Running back is a position that the Jets have struggled to get production from in recent year. This off season they added Isiah Crowell, who flashed in Cleveland. He’ll have his work cut out behind a significantly sub par offensive line (anyone else seeing a pattern between bad lines and bad teams?).
Finally the other New York team will struggle generating a pash rush this season. Last year’s leader, DeMario Davis, had only 5 sacks and has taken his services to New Orleans. With no clear replacement this is a significant problem which is likely to keep these Jets grounded.
Miami Dolphins – In the last decade the only quarterback you might consider to be ‘good’ to lead their team to the number one pick in the draft was Marcus Mariota, and this was in his rookie season, a season which was finished by Zach Mettenburger due to Mariota’s MCL injury. Others included Matt Cassel, Curtis Painter and Cody Kessler. The big question would be – is Ryan Tannehill a true franchise quarterback? The jury is out and I’m really doubting it at this stage. The last quarterback to lead the Dolphins to the number one pick is Cleo Lemon, a player who helps prove the rule that bad quarterbacks lead you to the worst record, surely Tannehill is better.
The Dolphins do have some exciting young players such as Raekwon McMillan, Cordrea Tankersley and Mike Gesicki but their careers are just beginning, and anything can and will happen to them yet, they could be superstars but it can so easily come crashing down.
Another concern would be over their more experienced players, do Frank Gore and Cameron Wake have anything left in the tank? How much of a concern are Robert Quinn’s concussions which ultimately drove the decision for the Rams to trade him? and will Kenny Stills & Devante Parker ever have that long predicted break out year?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The fate of the Bucs really lay in the hands of capricious young quarterback Jameis Winston. Now banned for three games for similar offenses as he was in college, the team will be led against powerhouses the Saints, Steelers and Eagles by Ryan Fitzpatrick and it appears highly likely he will inherit an 0-3 record. How long it takes for him to get up to speed is crucial.
The Bucs have some great names on defence, mostly on the defensive line where Gerald McCoy has been joined by Jason Pierre-Paul, Vinny Curry and rookie Vita Vea. There is also some real talent at linebacker but it’s the secondary that lacks depth with really only Vernon Hargreaves and evergreen Brent Grimes who are household names.
Head Coach Dirk Koetter was a favourite in January to be one of the early firings on ‘Black Monday’ after the Bucs 5-11 season, if the team do start slow with those tough games and quarterback suspended, might an early exit be on the cards for the coach leading to more off field distraction for the players.
Indianapolis Colts – Any team led by Andrew Luck is far too good to finish the season in last place, but having just returned to training after 18 months out, the risk with such a serious injury is a relapse. I really hope not as he is great to watch, yet if anything was to happen the supporting cast in Indy is not up to the task.
In the offensive skill positions only TY Hilton shines. Colts will be hoping new signing Ryan Grant can help in that area. With Frank Gore now in Miami 2nd year Marlon Mack next up at running back, it’s an interesting position group as rookies Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins really looked good in college.
On the plus side for the Colts they do have 2 of the most impressive young linemen in the league in Quenton Nelson and Ryan Kelly, protection for Luck will improve. It looks highly likely that the same could not be said of their defence, which lacks pass rush and outside of Malik Hooker and stars in the secondary.
Josh Allen Denver Post.com
Quenton Nelson – onefootdown.com