A couple months prior to the 2014 NFL draft, Mike O’Hara the Detroit Lions official stie pooled the results of 13 mock drafts in order to get a feel for where most analysts had top prospects going. The consensus at the time was that Blake Bortles was the top quarterback in the draft, but that Teddy Bridgewater was 1-A.
Two weeks later, Bortles and Bridgewater participated in their respective pro days. Bortles’ performance was widely praised, which along with a strong combine showing cemented his spot atop the quarterback pecking order.
A toothless defense signed starting-caliber corner Rashaan Melvin but parted ways with Sean Smith, T.J. Carrie and Denico Autry, while an offense lacking weapons appeared to downgrade the No. 2 receiver spot by cutting Michael Crabtree and replacing him with the older, less productive Jordy Nelson.
Aging running back Doug Martin isn’t likely to save them on that side of the ball after the 29-year-old averaged just 2.9 yards per carry the last two years in Tampa. It’s hard to see how a Raiders team that was relatively healthy last season will be a lot better in 2018.
That is unless Carr returns to MVP-caliber form, which is possible if he’s healthier in his fifth season.
The most lucrative safety deal signed this offseason was Tyrann Mathieu’s one-year, $7 million pact with Houston, followed by other relatively modest contracts signed by New Orleans’ Kurt Coleman (three years for $18 million with $4.5 million guaranteed) and Pittsburgh’s Morgan Burnett (three years, $14.3 million, $4.3 million guaranteed).
Some of the biggest names still available, like Kenny Vaccaro, Eric Reid and Mike Mitchell, remain unsigned because of dissatisfaction with the money being tendered. Another one is Tre Boston, who understandably finds himself dumbfounded at what has unfolded.
Boston thought he would be able to cash in after the best season of his NFL career; he posted career highs in tackles (79), pass break-ups (eight) and interceptions (five) last season with the Chargers. And with Boston not turning 26 until July, the best should still be yet to come.
The Cleveland Browns are undoubtedly getting better. They can’t really get worse than the last two years, and it’s hard not to improve when they’ve got that much money and draft capital.