After my Offense only managed to be the 25th in the League (even though I had the 3rd best OLine), I am going to see whether my Defense makes my drafting position better (I hope so, because I am usually quite good at sorting the Defense out) or worse…
Stats according to PFF.
DT Poona Ford, Trysten Hill, Khalen Saunders, Travis Jones
This group has been average for me over the years, with noone being really bad, but everyone being far from elite. I would love to upgrade at this position with a dominant player in the middle to go along with my elite passrushers.
DE Carlos Dunlap, AJ Epenesa, Carlos Basham
This is my power group, which helps me set the edge in the run game compared the next guys who constitute my speed group. This group is solid but a lot less flashy. It is a group that I am happy with but again has no star power.
EDGE Brian Burns, Haason Reddick, Justin Hollins
In Haason Reddick (16) and Brian Burns (12.5) I have no.2 and no.8 in the league in sacks. No other team had two players in the top 10. Hollins is a player I feel like could be better, he did contribute 4 sacks but the question is whether it makes sense to dip into the well of young passrushers this year. an area I believe is one of the strengths of the draft.
MLB Zaven Collins, Nakobe Dean
WLB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Troy Dye
My linebackers are not developing as fast as I would want them to. Seeing as I do not believe that the draft has anyone who really blew me away it might be a case of looking at free agents to improve this group.
LCB Tariq Woolen, JC Jackson, CJ Henderson
RCB Levi Wallace, Benjamin St-Juste, Amik Robertson
In the last offseason I made the big move for JC Jackson who I expected to be the guy for me. When he suffered his big injury I was gutted, but in stepped rookie Tariq Woolen and had himself a season, picking up the joint most interceptions in the league with 6. Across from him the ever reliable Levi Wallace also picked up 4 interceptions. With the injury Jackson suffered it is questionable whether he will return and be the same guy I signed, but I have a host of decent backups so it will be interesting to monitor this position.
Nickle Chauncey Gardner Johnson
The second DB from my team to join the elite interception club with the top number of interceptions in 2022. I continue to be in love with the grit and dawg that CDJ displays, which makes me really glad I drafted him and continue to have him in my team. He can Play any of the three interior DB positons and even help out at CB if needed.
SS Jeremy Chinn, Jamal Adams
FS Budda Baker
While Budda Baker hadBaker and Chinn both had bad seasons by their standards, only flashing their potential throughout the season. I am assuming this is just a blipp and that next season will be a different story again. Next season will hopefully see Adams back in action again too. Ideally in a situation where he can get down in the box and rush the passer.
So what do the numbers say:
1st (tied) in the league in takeaways (33)
1st in the league in turnover differential (+15)
2nd in the league in sack total with 65, 5 behind Philadelphia and 10 clear of no.3 chiefs.
This all sounds really good, but while I believe that the turnover differential is the biggest indicator for wins, there is one other factor which was harder to quantify, but I want to weight too: Run Defense. My run defense was average at best with no players playing outstanding and my Linebackers not being at the standard of what I would hope for. I will therefore give myself a middle of the pack grade for it: 16th.
Average everything out: 5th best Defense in the League
- the center: DT and LB
- pass rush
- Ballhawking secondary
How to proceed
I have got to a place now where I am pretty comfortable with my Defense. I have to strengthen DT and LB, but I might be able to do this ahead of the draft in free agency, meaning that I can focus on the part of my team that I really need to develop now (Offense) and maybe pick up a defender or two in the third round or later.
To add to my Offense and Defense I also have to add a grade for my Kicker/Punter. While the kicker’s grade is easy to determine based on completion percentages of PATs and FGs, the punter is far more difficult. On the one hand you could look at how far they kicked it (but this should also factor in the starting field position and where it ended up beild downed or carried to). Thats why I find it really problematic giving Punters a grade. Nonetheless I am simply going to go by the PFF grades given to punters.
Special Teams: 18th
Overall Team performance and Draft position
Special Teams: 18th
Overall Grade: 16th in the League
This is pretty frustrating because it means that I have overall not progressed from last year, where I also ended up with 16th. My Offense and Special Teams regressed going from 19th to 25th and from 12th to 18th respectively. On the other hand my Defense took a massive step forward going from 18th to 5th.
One big positive is that I do not feel like I need to change anything about my special teams, leaving me to focus on the Offense. Even here I already have a fantastic building block through the 3rd best OL. QB and the Skill positions just really need to have some bellcows added to it (A bizzare statement to have to make when I have Hopkins, Landry and Robinson in my WR corps).
Having the 16th best position means that i will be drafting 17th overall.
The next steps are to look at the contract situation of my players, follow that up with Free Agency and then at what gaps remain on the roster for the draft.