By: Alec Pulido | @AlecMPulido
New Year’s Resolution: Get a Quarterback of the Future
The Steelers are a 12-win team this season, which is always impressive. However, they have shown an inability to consistently get the ball downfield. They need to get themselves a quarterback. They should approach the New York Jets about the price for Sam Darnold, who fits exactly what they want to do on offense and the Jets will likely move on from him now that they are drafting second overall.
New Year’s Resolution: Retain Gus Edwards, Cut Mark Ingram.
The Ravens have a very solid team that will bounce back to top contention next season when they get healthy on their Offensive line. Gus Edwards has been phenomenal for them this year and will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season. If they can keep Gus Edwards and cut Mark Ingram, who only causes $1.3 million in dead cap, then they will be in a good place with their running game.
New Year’s Resolution: Win a Playoff Game.
The Browns have been the joke of the league for some time but they are finally on the upswing. They are not guaranteed a playoff spot as of right now but they control their own destiny. If they can get into the playoffs and win a game, just one playoff game, they will finally remove the stigma of their past and be able to be respected at a high level throughout the league.
New Year’s Resolution: Protect Joe Burrow
This is not a tough one right here. Joe Burrow showed tremendous promise in his time starting this year before getting injured. The Bengals need to build that offensive line before they allow Burrow to start again. He can be one of the best quarterbacks in the league if properly protected. If the Bengals are not in range for Penei Sewell (Oregon), they should consider moving back a few picks and taking Samuel Cosmi (Texas) or Christian Darrisaw (Virginia Tech).
New Year’s Resolution: Replace Logan Ryan.
Logan Ryan leaving the Titans was a huge loss for them this season and it showed. They must replace that ability on the back end of their defense. Their best bet would be to draft Syracuse safety Andre Cisco with a move back out of the first to acquire more draft assets. This is a need they will have to address in the draft though. They do not have the cap space to go after a high-end safety in free agency.
New Year’s Resolution: To Not have Carson Wentz on their Roster in 2021.
It is very tempting to project a trade between the Eagles and the Colts to reunite Frank Reich and Carson Wentz. But this does not help this team in the long run. Wentz’s tape has been declining for a while and his cap hit will never be worth it. They need to address the quarterback position but they are set up well with a young defense and young offensive line that are both tops in the league. They may be best suited waiting one more year for a Quarterback and going all in for a top prospect in 2022 (a very deep class).
New Year’s Resolution: Keep Will Fuller.
Will Fuller proved to be a top option this season after the controversial trading of Deandre Hopkins last off-season. They should not let another top option go for their talented quarterback in Deshaun Watson. They need to re-sign or tag Fuller, it is not often you get a wide receiver with that much talent in the building. If they can re-sign Fuller, the next step will be to handle some of their poor cap decisions of the past.
New Year’s Resolution: Fix the Defense in Free Agency.
No one will be shocked to hear Trevor Lawrence have his name called for the first pick this season. That is all but locked at this point. The Jaguars have approximately $100 million in cap space coming to them and it’s time for them to fix that defense. They have six guys who are developmental/starter level in Josh Allen, K’Lavon Chaisson, CJ Henderson, Myles Jack, Davon Hamilton and Joe Schobert. They can use that money to sign players like Mackensie Alexander, Justin Simmons, or Kareem Jackson. If they can fix the defense with the addition of Lawrence, they can contend real soon.
New Year’s Resolution: Get a Game-Changing Running Back.
The Bills have been so impressive this year and are looking like a contender for a while in the AFC. If they could add a dynamic game-changing running back to an already stellar offense, they will be one of the most unstoppable offenses in the league. Three guys come to mind here: Najee Harris (Alabama), Travis Etienne (Clemson), or Javonte Williams (North Carolina). At least one of which should be there at their pick in the first round and all of which fit the description.
New Year’s Resolution: Get Tua Tagovailoa Two Weapons in the first round.
Tua Tagovailoa will be fine but it would be excellent for his development if you could surround him with weapons. The Dolphins’ defense is already one of the best in the league and while it could still improve, they should spend both first-round picks on offensive weapons. Ja’Marr Chase (Louisiana State), Jaylen Waddle (Alabama), or Devonta Smith (Alabama) make the most sense early in the draft. With their second first-round pick, they could go with a top Running back, or they could get a slot receiver like Kadarius Toney (Florida) or Rondale Moore (Purdue). Pairing this up with Mike Gesicki, and Devante Parker would be tremendous for this offense and Tagovailoa.
New England Patriots
New Year’s Resolution: Do not Be Afraid to Reload.
The Patriots have had one of the most impressive runs in sports over the last 20 years but they are not going to like this next thought. They need to fully reload this roster. They do have some talented players but it is not enough to compete. They must trust their front office to retool for the greatest coach of all time and let him start a new dynasty.
New York Jets
New Year’s Resolution: Consider Keeping Sam Darnold.
It was a forgone conclusion that the Jets would take a quarterback if they had the first pick but that was probably more of praise of Trevor Lawrence than it was a knock-on Sam Darnold. Sam Darnold is still very young and he has shown some nice flashes. Let him develop and build around him unless you are head over heels for a specific quarterback not named Trevor Lawrence. You can still win with Sam Darnold if you build around him.
Kansas City Chiefs
New Year’s Resolution: Draft Trey Smith.
The idea of Tennessee guard Trey Smith on the Chiefs is just too exciting to pass up. They have a running back with a lot of talent in the draft last year in Clyde Edwards-Helaire. If you can get the best run blocker in the draft in Smith, then the development of Edwards-Helaire will improve exponentially. This would also limit the pressure that Patrick Mahomes gets up the middle and everyone can agree that more help for Mahomes is just scary.
Las Vegas Raiders
New Year’s Resolution: Get Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in the Draft.
The Raiders’ defense would be tremendously improved with a draft pick like Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu Koramoah. He is so versatile and will give you someone to match up with the likes of Hunter Henry, Travis Kelce and Noah Fant. The best way to get to the playoffs is to compete in your division and Owusu-Koramoah gives them options to match up with excellent tight ends.
New Year’s Resolution: Re-Sign or Tag Justin Simmons.
Justin Simmons is a very underrated safety around the league and he will have bidders when free agency opens. The Broncos need to keep him around for the sake of their defense. They have had a solid year on defense considering the missing pieces due to injury. If they can keep Simmons around and bring back some injured players, their defense would be greatly improved.
Los Angeles Chargers
New Year’s Resolution: Draft an Offensive Tackle.
The Chargers took a stab at a franchise quarterback last year and they hit the lotto. Justin Herbert looks phenomenal. The next step is protecting him. The best bet for the Chargers is drafting Christian Darrisaw (Virginia Tech) or Samuel Cosmi (Texas) with their first-round pick. This would be huge for Herbert and it would be the next step for the Chargers.
Green Bay Packers
New Year’s Resolution: Get a Cornerback to Play Alongside Jaire Alexander.
Every time the Packers do not take a wide receiver in the first round, they will continue to be ostracized but their best move is to get someone who can drastically improve their defense. A player such as Eric Stokes (Georgia) would fit with them and should be around when their pick comes up.
New Year’s Resolution: Go All-In and Move Up For a Quarterback.
Kirk Cousins has not been the worst but the Vikings are stuck in quarterback purgatory as Cousins will continually keep them out of range for a good prospect but will never be enough to get them over the hump. If they trade a whole bunch of draft assets, they could go up and get a quarterback in the early top 10.
New Year’s Resolution: Do Not Trade Matthew Stafford.
Matthew Stafford is still a very solid quarterback and will be for some time. It would not make sense for the Lions to trade him and go after a potentially solid quarterback prospect. They should just hang tight with Stafford and continue to build around him. If they can improve the defense, they could be able to compete soon.
New Year’s Resolution: Don’t Fall for Mitchell Trubisky’s Late-season Success.
Mitchell Trubisky is not a starting quarterback in the NFL. Just because he has had some success late, does not mean he is their starter of the future. It may not be a bad idea to bring him back if the price is low but do not plan on him as the starter of the future. The Bears are probably out of range for a Quarterback in the draft at this point so they may have to sit on Trubisky for another year.
New Orleans Saints
New Year’s Resolution: Build Around Alvin Kamara, Your Best Offensive Player.
The Saints are one of the few teams in the league that can use their running back as their most valuable offensive player. Most teams will want it to be their quarterback but the Saints can use this opportunity to build around Kamara. The quarterback position looks bleak for them but with building around Kamara and the short pass-catching abilities of Michael Thomas, it might make sense to take Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder either in the first or with a move back to the early second round. He would give them a playmaker at the quarterback position that fits what they want to do on offense.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New Year’s Resolution: Build Sustainably.
The Buccaneers have put themselves in a good position to win now but they are locked into that philosophy. They need to start to draft depth pieces and get developmental guys to keep this roster competing well after Tom Brady retires. If they cannot do that, they will be in full rebuild mode the second Brady calls it quits.
New Year’s Resolution: Fix the Offensive Line.
It is obvious that the Panthers need to find a starting quarterback but no quarterback will have any fun behind this offensive line. Fixing the offensive line first will allow any quarterback that comes in to have a chance at success, as well as unleashing Christian McCaffrey a bit more.
New Year’s Resolution: Draft Pass Rush.
This resolution is not necessarily first-round dependent. They probably should draft Matt Ryan’s replacement in the first since they are drafting so high but they need to address the edge rusher position on day two of the draft. Jayson Oweh (Penn State) or Patrick Jones (Pittsburgh) might make a lot of sense for them on day two. They might need to spend both day two selections on pass rushers as it is a serious weakness for them.
Washington Football Team
New Year’s Resolution: Get an Offensive Tackle.
The most likely scenario for this is taking one in the draft. With where they are supposed to be drafting now, a player such as Liam Eichenberg (Notre Dame) or Spencer Brown (Northern Iowa). They are missing Trent Williams after the draft-day trade that sent him to San Francisco. This pick would replace that and hopefully extend Alex Smith’s career enough to find his replacement.
New Year’s Resolution: Re-sign Dak Prescott.
The Cowboys will be drafting very high in the draft unless they sneak into the playoffs (which is still possible). The best thing they can do is sign Prescott long-term and draft defense. Their defense has been horrible all year and they could use a cornerstone player. Three guys come to mind here: Patrick Surtain (Alabama), Jaycee Horn (South Carolina) and Micah Parsons (Penn State). All these players would be upgrades for them and improve their defense drastically. Prescott will get their offense back on track next season with the amount of talent they have.
New York Giants
New Year’s Resolution: Get a True Number One Receiver.
The Daniel Jones experiment is not looking great now but in his defense, he has never had a true number one receiver. If the Giants can get him that then they will finally be able to finish up a fair evaluation on what they have at the quarterback position. Ja’Marr Chase (Louisiana State) or Devonta Smith (Alabama) would make the most sense for them in the draft.
New Year’s Resolution: Internally Scout Your Quarterback Situation.
The Eagles will have an opportunity to draft high this year so they better know what they have in the building. They could very well draft another quarterback if they do not feel like Jalen Hurts or Carson Wentz are answers for them. They are getting a good look at Hurts and have had a good look at Wentz. They must now decide on these prospects.
New Year’s Resolution: Re-Sign KJ Wright.
This is an easy one. KJ Wright is very important to what they do and the replacement is not in the door yet. Jordyn Brooks wouldn’t be able to fill the role as well as KJ Wright does and losing him would be a huge loss. The Seahawks do not have the best of salary cap situations, so they would need to move some money around. IF they can do that, it would be worth it.
Los Angeles Rams
New Year’s Resolution: Try and Bring Back Leonard Floyd.
The Leonard Floyd experiment has worked out well for the Rams and it was low risk, high reward. This plan is dependent on what Floyd gets on the market. If Floyd is cheap to bring back, he fits well with what the Rams do. If he is not, they will have to let him walk considering they are not the most financially stable team.
New Year’s Resolution: Get Another Cornerback.
The fun pick for Arizona has always been Kyle Pitts (Florida Tight End) and if they’re in that range it would still make a ton of sense. However, they are also in desperate need of a Cornerback. Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech) or Jaycee Horn (South Carolina) could make a ton of sense for the Cardinals in the first round.
San Francisco 49ers
New Year’s Resolution: Move on from Jimmy Garappolo
Jimmy Garappolo is not the answer for this team. They need to move on and draft a quarterback this season. Zach Wilson (BYU) or Trey lance (North Dakota State) would make a ton of sense for this team. Once healthy, this team will be back to competing as long as they fix their Quarterback situation.