NFL Offseason

All Eyes On: NFC South and AFC South​

NFC South-

Carolina Panthers: D.J. Moore- As Sports Illustrated so perfectly put it “Any team that has Devin Funchess and especially Torrey Smith as projected starters obviously needs help at wide receiver”. With a receiving game as weak as the Panthers drafting a player like Moore seems like a great choice. He had a solid college career and seems like he’ll have a great NFL career as well. That’s why this season, eyes will be on Moore to see what he can bring to Panther’s receiving core.

New Orleans Saints: Marcus Davenport- The number 14 pick Marcus Davenport is a defensive end who will perfectly accompany Cameron Jordan. The “explosive edge rush” that Davenport contributes will give a great boost to the Saints’ pass rush. This pick shocked many, as most people thought once the Saints traded up they would take Lamar Jackson and train him as Brees’ future replacement. Nevertheless, the Saints’ selected Davenport instead. This season Davenport will be under heavy surveillance to prove he was worth the pick.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jason Pierre-Paul- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a struggling defense for a while now. Last year “They had the NFL’s worst total defense last season in terms of yardage given up per game. They were also last in the NFL in sacks, with just 22.” With the Buccaneers recent addition of Jason Pierre-Paul, things are looking up for the Bucs weak defense. Jason Pierre-Paul is a fantastic pass rusher coming off two solid seasons with the Giants. This season fans will be watching to see how the addition of JPP will impact Tampa Bay’s defense.

Atlanta Falcons: Terrell McClain: Arguably the best free agent the Atlanta Falcons signed during the off-season McClain fills Atlanta’s obvious gap at defensive tackle. McClain didn’t have the greatest season last year, but that seemed to be because the Cowboys couldn’t find the right fit for him. However, based on what we’ve seen thus far McClain has found his fit in Atlanta. This has 2 huge impacts, first it bolsters the Falcons defense as it fills a huge gap, and secondly, it benefits McClain as we’ll finally be able to see what he’s capable of now that he’s found his place. McClain will definitely be a player to be on the lookout for this upcoming season.

AFC South-

Jacksonville Jaguars: Corey Grant: Last year he proved himself to be a very strong player. Teams couldn’t seem to stop Grant last year when he was catching balls from the backfield. Now with the opportunity for Grant to get an increased amount of touches on the ball, he’s become even greater a threat. With the Jaguars release of Chris Ivory that leaves Grant and TJ Yeldon in the backfield behind Leonard Fournette. Grant has shown he’s a reliable option to take a few snaps when Fournette needs a breather or even when’s he injured. Corey Grant has proved himself very impressive in the past and if he has a successful training camp, he could get even more snaps than anticipated. I believe Grant has the potential could become a real star this year, so definitely keep watch of him.

Houston Texans: Deshaun Watson- Deshaun Watson had a breakout rookie season, putting up some of the best rookie stats ever since until week 8, stats that put him as a contender for the league MVP award. In week 8 the Texans played the Colts, but before Watson even had a chance to take the field, he would tear his right ACL in practice placing him on injured reserve for the rest of the season. Just about three years earlier, in his freshman year at Clemson, Watson had torn his left ACL. Will Watson be able to come back and maintain or even improve his performance from last year, or will he fall after coming back from injury? Only time can tell, but one thing for sure is that Watson will most certainly be a player to keep your eye on this season

Tennessee Titans: Kenny Vaccaro- The Titans made quite a few moves during this off-season, including signing safeties Jason Thompson and more importantly, Kenny Vaccaro. Many believe that Vaccaro’s stats show “Pro Bowl-caliber”. This acquisition will provide the Titan’s defense with a massive boost and could definitely improve upon their poor defensive stats from years previous. This Titans safety will definitely be drawing lots of attention throughout the year.

Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck- Suffering from a shoulder injury Luck needed surgery in the 2017 off-season. Then, after week 8 it was announced that Luck would also miss the second half of the season after the shoulder and begun aggravating him again. With a whole season of rest and recovery from that injury Luck will return behind the snap this season. With Luck returning, the Colts offense will get a much-needed push. When that happens the fans will turn to Luck, just like they will to Watson, to see how he rebounds from his injury.

Sources:

https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/04/26/carolina-panthers-nfl-draft-picks-selections-grades

https://www.sbnation.com/2018/3/22/17151412/jason-pierre-paul-trade-giants-buccaneers

https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/deshaun-watson-done-for-season-after-suffering-torn-acl-in-texans-practice/

https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2017/11/2/16466114/2017-nfl-injury-andrew-luck-injured-reserve

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/24282890/tennessee-titans-agree-deal-safety-kenny-vaccaro

https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/04/26/new-orleans-saints-nfl-draft-picks-selections-grades

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