NFC South 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: Dan Quinn (10-6)
The 2017 season on its front looked like a success. Even with a trip to the playoffs and a Wild Card win the offense lacked the explosiveness from the previous Super Bowl season of 2016. The defense played well at times but sputtered at times. It didn’t help with the switch at offensive coordinator with the loss of Kyle Shanahan to San Francisco, but this team isn’t dead yet.
OC: Steve Sarkisian
It’s not going to take a lot for the offense to get back on track. Another year under Sarkisian should help especially since Matt Ryan usually does better under the second year of his offensive coordinator. The starters for the offense are incredibly talented and I would expect them to bounce back. The only thing they lack is a truly special player at tight end, but whether they can find someone better than Austin Hooper remains to be seen.
DC: Al Holcomb (NEW)
What I said about the offense holds true for the defense. Even though they had a semi-down year last year, they are talented and don’t have a lot of weaknesses. Outside of Jack Crawford at defensive tackle there isn’t much else they need for starters. It also depends if the Falcons view him as weak or notice that he has improved over the last two years and leave him be. They need depth, whether it be at defensive tackle, any linebacker spot, safety or cornerback spot. I can see them primarily focused on building that depth throughout the draft. FYI, this might be the greatest spot to find top level value for our fantasy teams. I’m saying for the offensive fantasy assets not just the defense. I think if they can navigate the regular season and get into the playoffs that they are primed for another Super Bowl run. Why am I dropping this here instead of the offense? Keeping everyone honest, seeing if everyone is reading the material.
NEEDS: DT, LB, S, CB
HC: Ron Rivera (11-5)
Nice little rebound season for the Cats of Carolina. After a one season hiatus the Panthers made a return to the playoffs losing to the Saints in the Wild Card round. Somehow the mish mosh backfield worked out and the wide receiving core made Cam Newton have an almost 180-degree reversal of fortune. Hell, he even made it through the whole season without a significant injury. It will be interesting to see if they can build on the success or fall behind the rest of the NFC South pack.
OC: Norv Turner (NEW)
Norv Turner is the new offensive coordinator for the Panthers. What does that mean? Hold on to your butts Panthers fans, because this ride could get bumpy. Everywhere Norv Turner seems to travel these days the offense seems to disappoint. Will that happen again this year? Hard to tell. Its also an even year so Cam is historically going to fail. If I was to jump to conclusions I would say the offense would fail, but I’ll bite my tongue until I see what happens after the draft and how the team looks come August. For now, we focus on their needs and what they need the most are a high class wide receiver and better offensive lineman along the left side. That’s right, I’m not high on the Kalil family of line mates.
NEEDS: OL, WR
DC: Eric Washington (NEW)
The defense is solid outside of its weakness at cornerback. The numbers tell a different tale, but when this team takes on a top end wideout it tends to fail. If they can address that issue alone it will make the defense really, really good. Secure the corners, remain alive for the division and most of all attempt to stun the league on the way to the Super Bowl.
New Orleans Saints
HC: Sean Payton (11-5)
Does everyone believe in the Saints defense now? Because it was hilarious that almost no one was on top of them with the moves the previous offseason. Also, how did Adrian Peterson work out for everyone? Not only was Ingram the more valuable running back when we had the debate last offseason, but Alvin Kamara was even better as the handcuff or wait and see prospect. I’ll give Steve Renner the credit for forcing me to take a harder look at Kamara last offseason and he was right. A lot of people within the industry didn’t want to take a shot on this backfield and it burned them in the end. It was unfortunate that they lost in the Divisional Round to the Minnesota Vikings because they would have taken down the Eagles and finished off the Patriots for the title in 2017.
OC: Pete Carmichael Jr.
The Saints don’t have too much they have to improve on for their offense. Andrus Peat and Max Unger didn’t rate out very well along the offensive line, but they’re fine. The offensive line will have another solid year if they don’t have to switch players around due to injury. They brought in Ben Watson at tight end and I’m not incredibly high on him or the tight ends that are still on the roster. That doesn’t mean they’ll go out and get one in the draft, but I feel like this will be a rotation and won’t elevate anyone in terms of value. The Saints should really look at quarterback where Drew Brees has only a couple years left and if they think they can rely on Tom Savage if Brees goes down they have another thing coming. They might as well take advantage of not having to fill many other spots and grab a promising rookie. If they don’t want to go that route they should look at improving the wide receiver depth behind Thomas and Ginn. I’m not sold on Huff, Lewis or anyone else and I don’t give a shit what Renner says.
NEEDS: WR, QB
DC: Dennis Allen
The defense is really good but could be even better. Although they had a stellar pass defense their rush defense needs attention. Now they have tried to help fix this by grabbing Demario Davis and Kurt Coleman in free agency, but I would still expect the Saints to look at a rookie linebacker and possibly safety this year. Other than that…. Solid!
NEEDS: LB, S
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
HC: Dirk Koetter (5-11)
What a mess this team turned into after what was assumed to be the sneaky team of the division. “When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me!” Lesson learned as I fell into the Tampa Bay improvement narrative just like most. Famous Jamesis was fine for the most part outside of getting hurt during the season, but Mike Evans took an absolute dump on fantasy teams until it was too late because most of those teams were eliminated from the playoffs. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities for this team to improve, but when you’re trying to climb out of the basement anything helps.
OC: Todd Monkin
A lot of issues for this offense, but at least they don’t have to seek out a new quarterback. They could really use a couple of pieces for the offensive line. I’d like to see them try and grab at least one guard and one tackle and that should help improve the overall unit. They should also grab a new running back as Sims, Rodgers and Barber are not workhorse material. They are nice complimentary pieces, but not something you can rely on week to week. I might also like them to grab a wide receiver, but don’t feel they have to reach for one as I do like Godwin and Humphries as tertiary pieces.
NEEDS: G, T, RB, WR
DC: Mike Smith
This area of the Buccaneers was probably a bigger surprise than the offense. I could see the possibility of the offense failing, but I did not see this defense imploding. They have addressed most of the problems with the defense through free agency and even trading for Jason Pierre-Paul from the Giants, but they cannot go into the season with Ryan Smith as one of their starting cornerbacks! I’d also like to see a replacement for Beckwith at linebacker who isn’t very good either. They could also look at safety, but if they passed on the position I wouldn’t hate the thought to stay with what they currently have now.
As always, any questions or comments leave them here or reach me on Twitter @roydawg_13