Last Year’s Five Worst Teams’ 2017 Season Projection and Explanation
Will the Patriots repeat? Will the Browns improve? Who will be the next breakout rookie? Questions like these fill the minds of football fans like myself. Based on what I happened in the draft, trades, and more, I will project each team’s performance next year.
Cleveland Browns: 3–13
The thing about the Browns is that they shouldn’t be as bad as they are. They posses a decent running back in Isiah Crowell, a star receiver in Terell Pryor, a veteran tight end in Gary Barnidge, and a prow-bowl corner in Joe Haden. However, the Browns had no chemistry last year, and lacked a quarterback since Robert Griffin III has the injury bug and Johnny Manziel has been cut. However, the Browns picked up Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett with their #1 overall pick this year, Michigan running back Jabril Peppers by trading to get a late first round pick, and Notre Dame QB Deshone Kizer in the second round. The Browns didn’t draft a quarterback in the first round, and traded the Texans the 12th overall pick, where they chose Heisman winner Deshaun Watson out of Clemson. I think Cleveland will be regretting that very soon, and Watson will become the next Julio Jones/Carson Wentz (players Cleveland passed on that turned out to be superstars). Last year, Cleveland traded their third round pick for Pats star linebacker Jamie Collins, who wasn’t so hot on the 1–15 Browns. However, the Browns now have a quality defensive line, a great cornerback, a decent tight end, a good receiver, an okay running back, a decent quarterback, and a terrible everything else. If Jamie Collins can start playing like he did with the Pats, then him and Garrett will give the franchise the building block they need to start progress back towards their glorious position in the 1950’s. It’s a slow but sure journey for Cleveland.
San Francisco 49'ers: 1–15
San Fran had a tough decision to make in the draft. After the predictable #1 overall pick of Myles Garrett, who comes next? In the question for San Francisco was safety Jamal Adams out of LSU, corner Marshawn Lattimore out of Ohio State, running back Leonard Fournette out of LSU, D-Tackle Solomon Thomas from Stanford, and quarterback Mitch Trubiski from North Carolina. However, the 49'ers traded spots with the Bears in exchange for picks 67, 111, and a third round pick next year in order for the Bears to get someone who the 49'ers were unlikely to select. After this surprise pick from Chicago, the 49'ers quickly selected Solomon Thomas, the fantastic Defensive Tackle out of Stanford. However, I doubt this will help much with their lack of a quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, defense, offensive line, and a good coach. After his ugly on-field and controversial off-field performances, 35 year old quarterback Colin Kaepernick was cut from the niners, leaving them with Blaine Gabbert, who would be the worst starting quarterback in the NFL. Despite Solomon Thomas being expected to be a franchise player, I can only see San Fran going down rather than up.
Chicago Bears: 7–9
I see a distinct improvement coming Chicago’s way. With Jordan Hayward only getting better, and a weird but good pick for them in the draft, I see Chicago going from one of the NFL’s worst teams to a midway point between the Browns and the Patriots. In the draft, the Bears traded their 67 and 111 overall picks and a third round pick next year in order to move up just one spot to get someone who wasn’t going to be selected anyway. They took quarterback Mitch Trubiski out of UNC to replace Mike Glennon and solve their QB dilemma. Nevertheless, I think Trubinski will prove his worth next season and have a great year along with his quality offensive line and promising youthful running back. He has some good targets on the field in Alshon Jeffery, Cameron Meredith, and Zach Miller. Despite having a mediocre defense, I can only see it going up for Chicago.
Jacksonville Jaguars: 3–14
The Jags don’t have much going for them right now, but the draft might have shaken things up for them. Jacksonville picked up LSU game-changing running back Leonard Fournette with their 4th overall pick to settle their running back dilemma. Chris Ivory, after getting traded from the Jets, has been a disappointment. T.J Yeldon simply isn’t good anymore. Blake Bortles struggled this year, and so did the O-Line. Allen Robinson and Julius Thomas did not perform last year, and Marquise Lee was their #1 receiver. Despite the nice addition of Fournette, frankly, I don’t see much changing for Jacksonville.
Los Angeles Rams: 2–14
I am very doubtful of the Rams going into this season. They are lacking essentially every important position except for running back, have no chemistry whatsoever, and didn’t get a first round pick in the draft. Jared Goff is one of the worst #1 overall picks of all time, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Keenan Allen getting the majority of the Rams’ starts next season. Despite winning rookie of the year in the 2015–16 season, Todd Gurley was underwhelming this season. Fantasy-wise, he wasn’t a top 5 running back this year, let alone a top-5 overall pick like he was. Many predicted the rams being a playoff team between a franchise quarterback and a franchise running back, but neither of those ended up being near what they were projected. The Rams lack a star receiver, a star quarterback, a good offensive line, a good defense, and good coaching. When your two best players are your Nose Tackle (Aaron Donald) and your Punter (Johnny Hekker) are your two best players, you are doing something wrong.