The 2017 NFL Draft produced great talent for some awful teams (cough Jaguars, cough Browns). The Draft gave us Myles Garrett, Mitchell Trubisky, Malik Hooker, Leonard Fournette, and others. Many teams, such as the Colts and the Eagles have upgraded their respective rosters in the Draft and the following offseason. Here are the top 5 NFL teams following the NFL Off-season.
5. Oakland (LV) Raiders
Oakland has picked up some huge talent, but their draft picks were very sketchy. Very sketchy. They drafted Gareon Conley, who was the centerpiece of the “off-the-field” lineup. This man had so many problems and was originally a top-10 pick before the problems occurred. He slipped to the 25th overall pick ,which is where the secondary-hungry Oakland Raiders were hiding out. In the second round, Oakland drafted Obi Melifonwu, who is a risk to draft because of his lack to produce. These two picks do not change the fact that their secondary has improved.
The Raiders picked up BEAST MODE. Okay, let’s think about this. Marshawn Lynch was a top 5 RB in the NFL prior to his retirement in 2015. Somehow, Oakland convinced him to come back and play! This seemed like a ploy for some NFL Promotion, but it actually happened. Their most needed position on offense was Running Back, so getting him was crucial.
In a broader sense, 2016 proved to be a step in the right direction for Oakland, as they produced a 12-win season and a loss in the Wild Card Round of the NFL Playoffs. Derek Carr stepped up and became an MVP caliber player behind a top-5 Offensive Line. They also had Khalil Mack, who will always be a complete monster on defense. Oh, and don’t forget about Marquette King, the charismatic, beast punter. Be prepared for a huge season for the Raiders.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers have been a Super Bowl contender since Ben Roethlisberger joined their team, so that adds up to about 30 million years. Yes, Ben Roethlisberger is old. They have the same offensive core with Big Ben, and AB. The remaining question is whether or not Le’Veon Bell will pickup his contract. The Steelers have still not offered their Franchise Tag to him yet, but there is still time. It seems that Bell will take a smaller contract and test Free Agency for a bigger contract next year. This is a smart move for the Steelers. It gives them a season to figure out his contract. They also have Martavius Bryant back, who was a key piece in their 2015 season while playing the secondary Wide Receiver spot that year. Their defense is what has changed, but only by a little. They drafted T.J. Watt in the late first round, who fills a big need in their Linebacker core with the loss of Lawrence Timmons and Jarvis Jones. The Steelers will probably be AFC Title Contenders with the New England Patriots until Big Ben retires.
3. Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers have been hotter than any team in the NFL. They ended the last 6 weeks of the 2017 Regular Season with a 6-0 record, along with outscoring their opponents by an average of 12 points. They reached the NFC Conference Championship, losing to the NFL’s best offense, the Atlanta Falcons. In Free Agency, they lost their starting tight end, Jared Cook. This looks as if that may hurt them, but he was not a huge factor this season due to the return of Jordy Nelson and the rise of Davante Adams. They replaced Jared Cook with a high quality tight end with Super Bowl experience, Martellus Bennett. They also lost Eddie Lacy, which was bound to happen. Lacy played like straight-up trash this past year. They have Ty Montgomery to play RB, who has proven to excel on the ground game. Overall, the Packers will be the Packers, and they will still be NFC Title Contenders.
2. Atlanta Falcons
Many teams have been victims of blowing leads. The Warriors blew a 3-1 lead, and the Falcons blew a 28-3 lead. Many say that the Falcons are simply not Super Bowl ready, but their roster proves otherwise. Matt Ryan is coming off of an MVP season and he has Julio Jones, one of the best Wide Receivers in the league. You know, sometimes Matt Ryan gets tired of throwing, so he can hand it off to Devonta Freeman, one of the best Running Backs in the NFL. Their defense is the youngest in the league, but they are still a great group of players. In the off-season, Atlanta signed Dontari Poe, a Pro-Bowl Nose Tackle to provide a stronger player at their weakest position. They also landed Takkarist McKinley in the NFL Draft. He is a fast, yet powerful pass rusher to rush the trenches for the team. He is a very energetic player, so his power and athleticism will be used to great lengths next season. Be prepared for a Super Bowl rematch next season.
1. New England Patriots
This was obvious, right? Their roster isn’t the strongest in the league, but Tom Brady makes any team better. They didn’t have any good draft picks, and we questioned some of the Patriots decisions at the beginning of the off-season. They arguably had the best off-season in the NFL, landing Stephon Gilmore, Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy, and Rex Burkhead. Their biggest needs were in the defense and they immediately solved those problems with Gilmore to play alongside Malcolm Butler, and Ealy to play next to Alan Branch and Trey Flowers. Yes, their team isn’t the strongest, but the Patriots, quietly and loudly, march their way into the Super Bowl for more wins.