AFC North Pre-Draft Special
What’s up Scout Army?!?!
I know what you’re thinking, “What the hell is The Daily Armory doing up this early in the year?’ Well friends I will tell you. The Armory is expanding its reach into more of the seasonal game, which was tested out last summer with articles focusing on individual teams and where players line up for our fantasy football drafts. Since I get bored easily, I thought it might be worthwhile to get started even earlier and hit the ground running before the annual NFL draft. What this means is that I have started the process of building depth charts for each team with both offensive and defensive players which you will find included right here. All teams have been updated with free agent moves as of March 29th, 2018. These will be updated weekly through the season and will be posted at the end of every month (Early May for rookie insertion post draft). I will also be attending this year’s draft in Arlington, TX so I can be more immersed in the pageantry and frankly……I need what amounts to a vacation and there’s nothing I would like more than to work on The Daily Armory while enjoying the warmer temps. Each Sunday in April will find a new Armory article focusing on draft prospects that mean the most to us. Of course, I mean running backs, wide receivers, quarterbacks and tight ends. Well, I’ve rambled on enough. Let’s get started…….
What I’ve got for everyone is a quick overview of each team with a recap of 2017 and more importantly, where I’m seeing deficiencies on the offensive and defensive sides of the football. What I also have is some DVOA numbers (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) to share from footballoutsiders.com. It’s my favorite site for looking at strengths and weaknesses of an offense and defense and using the data to help make weekly decisions in dfs. DVOA is also used for offenses as well and helps determine its true authenticity. The site also uses a weighted DVOA which adjusts weekly so that earlier matchups become less important and helps to determine that offense or defense’s true rank. I will show these values as such……
Offensive Rank/Weighted O Rank/Rush O Rank/Pass O Rank
Defensive-Rank/Weighted D Rank/Rush D Rank/Pass D Rank
I will also include offensive and defensive line ranks which will look like this….
OL Rush Rank/OL Pass Rank
DL Rush Rank/DL Pass Rank
Confused? It should make sense in the end. Like I said earlier, check out the site. It’s very good at explaining the numbers in full.
HC: John Harbaugh (9-7)
The Flacco led Ravens just missed the post season due to a regular season finale loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. That doesn’t mean Baltimore had a good season. Yes, the defense seemed to be headed in the right direction. The problem is that the offense still can’t seem to put it together. This team needs to make the playoffs otherwise I can see the 2018 season as Harbaugh’s last.
OC: Marty Mornhinweg
As mentioned before, the offense isn’t really good. Flacco is just an average quarterback. Correction, he is an average and overpaid quarterback. As much as I want to like the additions of Michael Crabtree and John Brown the problem is Flacco drags down their potential. It’s amazing to me the season that Alex Collins put together when I don’t hold their offensive line in high regard. Outside of Marshall Yanda the rest of the offensive line doesn’t rate very well player by player. This is something that should be addressed through the draft and wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple potential starters being drafted. I don’t see them going after a wide receiver until late and running back is a slight position of strength. There have been rumblings of the Ravens selecting Flacco’s potential replacement, but I’m not on that train. They could try and get another tight end as well, but I think they just need to give Nick Boyle and Maxx Williams the opportunity to succeed or fail and not rotate a mish mosh of mediocre tight ends.
NEEDS: OL, WR, QB
DC: Don Martindale (NEW)
The strength of the team and with good reasons. Every position is really strong and really only needs depth at defensive tackle and linebacker. I believe the focus will be on improving the offense and selecting a small amount of defensive players that can fill backup roles and possibly be groomed to become starters.
NEEDS: DT, LB
HC: Marvin Lewis (7-9)
Brett Favre leads the Bengals into 2018 after a potential retirement scare. Oh wait, that’s not Favre that’s Marvin Lewis! Nothing like pulling a diva move to stave off a well-deserved kick to the curb. Anyways, here we are with the damn Bungles who completely underachieve year in and year out. That’s not completely true. The Bengals were going to be hot garbage last season and we all knew it. Letting good offensive line starters will do that to a team. In the end it cost them an opportunity to try and make the playoffs.
OC: Bill Lazor
The Bengals decided last season to not bother having an offensive line, instead installing a set of turnstiles instead. Its pretty simple folks, the better your offensive line is the more chances that your offense will succeed. They should invest heavily here with the possibility of picking up yet another wide receiver that they won’t play and possibly a tight end for when Tyler Eifert goes down again. Tyler Kroft isn’t very highly rated, but he showed that in this offense the tight end is involved heavily near the goal line and can hide the deficiency of the player. Some folks are clamoring for the Bengals to find a replacement for Andy Dalton, but come on people what can one man do when he’s trying not to die? He’s fine, but he needs the offensive line upgrade and so does Joe Mixon if he’s going to succeed as well.
NEEDS: OL, WR, TE
DC: Teryl Austin (NEW)
The defense is a lot more talented than what they showed last season. The problem was that the offense couldn’t sustain drives which put way too much pressure on the unit. There are two problem spots I have noticed. They are weak at one linebacker spot with Nick Vigil and at one cornerback spot with Dre Kirkpatrick. They need to look at corner for depth and should look for either a new starter or select a corner who can back up and potentially replace Kirkpatrick if he fails. Vigil needs to be straight up replaced. They do need some depth along the defensive line, but it is an incredibly talented front that should bounce back as long as the offense improves.
NEEDS: LB, CB DT, DE
HC: Hue Jackson (0-16)
For the love of everything holy can someone please fix this team. The city of Cleveland doesn’t deserve this train wreck of a franchise. There is talent on this team and it shouldn’t have come close to a completely defeated record. This was a five win team and Hue Jackson should’ve been fired, but he was retained. If he doesn’t get it going by mid-season he’s gone!
OC: Todd Haley (NEW)
The Browns have made a few moves this offseason. They shipped DeShone Kizer off to Green Bay and acquired Tyrod Taylor to replace him. Taylor IS the starter even with the expectation of them selecting a QB with the top pick. It’s a nice place holder to have at QB as Taylor is a talented, but flawed player. The Browns also went out and traded for Jarvis Landry which should only help Josh Gordon and hopefully Corey Coleman. The team has a plethora of wide receivers so unless they get a complete value on a stud they will probably stay away. Carlos Hyde was signed to help fill the backfield with Duke Johnson. Terrible move in my opinion as it seems they will now not select Saquon Barkley with the fourth pick. If they use that pick to select an offensive tackle, I’ll allow it as Joe Thomas retired and the left tackle position is the only real weakness along the whole line. They may look at an offensive guard for depth purposes.
NEEDS: QB, T, G, WR, RB
DC: Gregg Williams
There is a simple way to fix the holes for the Cleveland Browns. Start right up the middle at defensive tackle and flow all the way back to safety. Again, here is a defense that was hindered by an inept offense. They cannot use that as an be all end all excuse though as their current players have to play to their potential. Especially Jabril Peppers who was drafted a round too high in my opinion. They made some nice acquisitions with EJ Gaines and TJ Carrie projected to hold down the fort at the cornerback positions. I’m rooting for you Cleveland!
NEEDS: DT, MLB, S
HC: Mike Tomlin (13-3)
Sometimes you just keep rolling and rolling and rolling and suddenly, BOOM ninja kick to the groin. That’s how I imagine Steelers fans felt as they cruised through most of the season before being dispatched in the Divisional Round by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Folks were calling for Mike Tomlin’s head, but Pittsburgh made the right decision to keep him at the helm.
OC: Randy Fichtner (NEW)
New coordinator this season as Todd Haley left and became the OC in Cleveland. There should be few hiccups in the transition as Fichtner was Big Ben’s quarterback coach. Just a couple areas of concern for the offense as they may want to look at TE for the draft as Jesse James is kind of bland and uninteresting as a receiving target. This also hinges on their feelings about Vance McDonald as he can’t seem to stay on the field. They are also a little weak at center and guard. I can see them seeking out a guard in the draft but doubt they will replace Maukice Pouncey at center.
NEEDS: G, TE, C, WR
DC: Keith Butler
Another strong defensive unit within the division. They did start falling off a bit when Ryan Shazier went down for the season and probably his career. He was the unit leader and with him gone the Steelers need to replace him long term. The defense is thin at outside linebacker and this might be the first place they look when drafting defense as they need someone to push Bud Dupree for the starting job to avoid another lack luster season. They are weak at free safety as they acquired Morgan Burnett to man the strong safety spot, but I can tell you for a fact that they will want someone good who can back Burnett up WHEN he gets hurt.
NEEDS: LB, S, DT
As always, any questions or comments leave them here or reach me on Twitter @roydawg_13