2017 NFL Draft: 5 Teams Who Will Still Stink Next Season
There are some teams that can’t be fixed in one offseason, here are five teams that will still stink even after the 2017 NFL Draft
With the 2017 NFL Draft quickly approaching, hope is in the air for many NFL franchises. This is the time of year they truly begin to make their championship push. The draft is how teams are built and how success is maintained.
It’s also how mediocrity is maintained. There are several NFL franchises that have just become plain awful. These teams can’t seem to get out of their own way and no matter what they try to do, they fail. When they go for free agents, they overpay and find guys who don’t fit their scheme. When they draft, they get players who never pan out at the professional level.
Once a team gets to such a pungent level it becomes way too hard to correct in one season. Currently in the NFL there are several teams that fit squarely into this category. Here we will look at five such organizations.
These teams have done such a bad job of talent acquisition that they will need more than one offseason to recover from. Not only will it take years, but the track records of some of these franchises are so bad that it starts to feel like they may never get out of that abyss, which brings us to our first team that will still stink in 2017, even after the NFL Draft.
5. San Francisco 49ers (2-14 in 2016)
This team is a mess. They were a force for several years with head coach Jim Harbaugh, but his weird antics and ultra-intense personality wore thin. He and former general manager Trent Baalke had trouble fitting their egos into the same city and in the end CEO Jed York seemed to prefer Baalke.
He’s gone now, too. So is Harbaugh’s replacement at head coach Jim Tomsula. San Francisco gave him just one year as a coach and, while his qualifications for the job were questionable to begin with, he still deserved more than a year to see what he could do. They replaced him with Chip Kelly, which made even less sense than the hiring of Tomsula.
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Tomsula at least had the respect of his players, whereas Kelly was openly bashed by every player that left Philadelphia as he was dismantling the once-proud Eagles franchise. Again, the hire wasn’t good, but even worse he was also given just one year to work with a bunch of players that weren’t very good.
Now they hired former Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to be the head coach. This hire at least makes sense because Shanahan is not only an accomplished coordinator, but is also the son of a Super Bowl winning coach in Mike Shanahan. The younger Shanahan has produced solid offenses in Houston with Matt Schaub at quarterback and in Washington with Robert Griffin III at the helm. Once he finally got a good quarterback in Atlanta with Matt Ryan, he helped him win the MVP award and they were a few better play calls away from winning a Super Bowl.
The problem is there still aren’t enough good players in Frisco. While they can improve with a good draft, they have too many holes to fill to realistically expect a huge improvement. It’s also hard to believe in their hire of general manager John Lynch. While Lynch was a great safety in the NFL and a pretty good commentator, he has no experience running an front office. With that and the fact that Shanahan will be learning how to be a head coach, things could be rocky for a year or two before they get better.
Hopefully the brass understands that now and Shanahan isn’t fired after just one season like his two predecessors.
4. New York Jets (5-11 in 2016)
They went 10-6 and just missed the playoffs in 2015. The following year they completely fell apart. Their starting quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick finally got paid the big bucks and then forgot how to play. He threw a ton of interceptions, including six in one game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
On top of that they foolishly refused to turn things over to 2016 second-round pick Christian Hackenberg. After seeing Fitzpatrick flop they turned back to one of their worst draft picks ever in Geno Smith. Despite years of him being a bad player they were sure that one more chance would be all he needed. Instead he suffered an injury and was sidelined. From there they tried out 2015 fourth-round pick Bryce Petty. He was awful too, throwing just three touchdowns and seven picks, but still no Hackenberg.
Now they’re entering the 2017 season knowing that former starters like Smith and Fitzpatrick are not the answer. They also know that Petty isn’t their guy. What they don’t know is if Hackenberg is a gamer. So this season will either be one in which they try and see what he can do, or they again go with a veteran band aid.
On top of that their wide receiver Brandon Marshall is poking a big bear as he is talking about New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Marshall is the only guy in the world who seems to think calling Brady the best ever is premature. Probably not the best move to make the team that dominates your division mad.
3. Los Angeles Rams (4-12 in 2016)
They made one of the biggest jumps in NFL Draft history, moving all the way up from pick 15 to number one overall in a deal with the Tennessee Titans. It wasn’t an easy move though as it cost them dearly to get themselves a player they believed would be the face of their franchise as they moved to Los Angeles.
The terms of the deal were broken down by NFL.com’s Connor Orr:
“Tennessee gets: Rams’ first-round pick (2016), two second-round picks (2016), a third-round pick (2016), a first-round pick (2017) and another third-round pick (2017).
Rams get: Titans’ first-overall pick (2016), a fourth-round pick (2016) and a sixth-round pick (2016).”
Unfortunately they picked the wrong guy. While rookies like Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles (second overall pick) and Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys (fourth-round pick) looked like seasoned team leaders, Goff was completely lost. He wasn’t inserted into the starting lineup until the final seven games, and when he did finally play he threw seven interceptions and just five touchdowns. His completion percentage was a dismal 54.6 percent and his quarterback rating was a low 63.6.
Compare that rating to other rookies like Wentz (79.3), Prescott (104.9), Paxton Lynch of Denver (79.2) and Cody Kessler of Cleveland (92.3) and you can see what a disappointment Goff was. Of course, his defenders will point to his lack of talent around him, but that’s a cop-out. His predecessor, Case Keenum, completed more than 60 percent of his passes and had a rating 76.4. He was by no means great, but he was better than Goff and with all due respect, at no time should a first-overall pick be less effective than Case Keenum.
To their credit they have tried to get better this offseason. They fired their perpetual losing head coach Jeff Fisher and hired the youngest coach in football in Sean McVay. While a move had to be made there, McVay better be a miracle worker with quarterbacks or else the Rams will continue to be a sad franchise.
2. Chicago Bears (3-13 in 2016)
It looks like they are finally ready to move on from quarterback Jay Cutler. That’s good because he simply hasn’t been very effective in recent seasons. He also has the stigma of not caring, and while that’s not something any of us can prove, it may have taken a toll on some of his teammates if they believed it.
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The problem is they don’t have a legitimate replacement and this season’s draft doesn’t offer a ton of depth at the most important position. They’re also in danger of losing one of their biggest weapons, receiver Alshon Jeffery. With him hitting free agency this off season Chicago needs to decide if they want to dedicate big money to him when they have questions all over the roster and he’s coming off a season in which he missed six games.
Outside of Jeffery, there isn’t a lot to get excited about. Running back Jordan Howard was a lone bright spot for a team that was 28th in the NFL in points scored in 2016. Then there is their defense. The Bears gave up 24.9 points per game, which ranked 24th in the league. They were actually top 10 against the pass, but they were gashed for 121.9 rushing yards per game. That put them at 27th in the league.
There’s a lot to be fixed and with questions at quarterback there’s no reason to think things will improve from one offseason.
1. Cleveland Browns (1-15 in 2016)
At some point you just start feeling bad for a franchise. Since seeing the original Cleveland Browns head to Baltimore and become the Ravens, Cleveland football fans have suffered. The Ravens have won two Super Bowls and are a good team on nearly an annual basis. The Browns on the other hand haven’t had a winning season since 2007. That season was only their second winning year since re-joining the NFL in 1999, the other coming in 2002.
Now they have the first overall pick after narrowly avoiding becoming the second ever 0-16 team in NFL history. And what are the rumors saying they will do with that pick? According to most they should be selecting Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett.
If this is true, there’s no reason to think the Browns will be any more competitive than they were in 2016. While Garrett is the best prospect, he isn’t the biggest need for the Browns. While most teams shy away from allowing need to dictate their board, Cleveland doesn’t have that luxury. They have swung and missed repeatedly in trying to find a franchise quarterback and that’s the reason they struggle to win.
Until they get a legitimate franchise quarterback they will continue to be a bad team. While North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky, or Clemson’s Deshaun Watson may not be the top rated players entering this draft, they should be the only two people Cleveland looks at. They won’t be, which means once again the “Factory of Sadness” will keep manufacturing a bunch of Ls.