Same as last year. Nothing to discuss
Zeke Pollard, Jones, Davis, Dowdle, Vaughn, Luepke
It’s probably a little weaker but I’m happy that there’s no ambiguity over Pollard getting the majority of carries. However, we still need to cover the 800 yards Zeke gave us in 2022. I think Deuce could give us something but it’s unclear to me who picks up the short yardage, it could just be Pollard though I’d not be surprised if Jerry brings back Zeke during training camp.
Hilton Tolbert, Fehoko, Turpin Brooks
Cooks is a huge upgrade on Brown who statistically was our WR2 last season. I am expecting Gallup to be much better, he certainly needs to be. TY Hilton is a little bit harder to quantify as he only played 3 regular season games but was quite impactful. I’m hopeful one of the others can step up and take his role…or we get him back.
Schultz Schoonmaker, Ferguson, Hendershot, McKeon
Shultz was quite a bit down last year compared to 2021, he had 577 yards and 5 TDs. I think there’s a good chance we cover that kind of production with the guys on the roster but it’s perhaps a stretch to project they cover his 808 yards and 8 TDs from 2022. I do feel confident in all three guys though and that they can contribute a decent amount.
LT: Tyl.Smith, Waletzko
RT: Tyr.Smith Steele
I don’t think we went the right direction re-structuring Tyron Smith nor do I think he should start ahead of Steele but it’s probably not a bad idea for Steele to at least ease into training camp as the no.2 right tackle. Overall, the position is probably not worse considering Tyler Smith and Walezko should improve, this offsets the loss of Peters assuming he’s not re-signed during training camp.
OG: Martin, Farniok, Ball, Edoga, Richards
It’s the one position where I’m a little uncomfortable as it looks like Martin and then JAG’s. I don’t really trust any of them to step up and fill the starting LG spot adequately. I’d feel much better if we had targeted someone a bit better than Edoga in free agency (Risner, W. Hernandez, Saffold, Pugh, etc) and I’m still hopeful as some of them are still available.
OC: Biadasz, Farniok
Biadas improved a fair bit last year and we should be fine.
Overall: The offense is probably better structured but slightly worse with the left guard issues. It’s not a bad offense though and there are opportunities to get creative with jet sweeps, the screen game etc that we haven’t utilized well the last few years. We also still have options to address LG in free agency….fingers crossed we do something as it looks pretty grim to me unless we plan on moving Tyler Smith.
DE: Parsons, D-Law, Armstrong, Williams, Fowler Jnr
It should be pretty similar, I’m excited to see what Williams can do but that’s probably offset by the likelihood of a D-Law missing games through injury, we were fortunate that he didn’t in 2022.
DT: Smith, Odigzuwa, Hankins, Golston, Fehoko
It should be much much better, particularly against the run. I feel like Bohanna and Gallimore are up against it to even make the roster given the numbers and quality. That’s a bit of a waste IMO but I’m at least very happy we finally invested properly in the interior of our defense.
LB: LVE, Clarke, Overshown, Cox, Harper
Lineback should be pretty similar. We lost Barr but we should be able to make up for that with a full season of Clarke and Overshown. I wouldn’t write off Cox or Haper playing some time though they basically didn’t see the filed in 2022.
Safety: Kearse, Wilson, Hooker, Mukuamu, Wright, Bell, Thomas
No change at safety. It was good last season and I expect it to be good in 2023. I’m going to take a punt and say Wright tries to make the roster as a free safety given how many bodies we have at corner. We don’t have a lot of cover for that high-safety role so if he shows a bit he likely secures a spot as a versatile option and perhaps a succession plan to Hooker.
Depth: Lewis, Joseph, Scott Jnr, Goodwin
Gilmore is a huge upgrade on Brown and while it’ll be nice to get Lewis back I think there’s an opportunity to free up cap space and use it on a LG, I certainly wouldn’t be made. Even in this scenario where I’ve projected Wright as a safety, we’ve still got one too many bodies. It’s nice to have options though, and as they say, you can never have enough corners.
Overall: It’s a huge upgrade on defense in my opinion thanks to fixing the two glaring weaknesses (CB2 and 1-tech). We are not just talented here but we look really well-balanced with no real glaring weakness in the starting lineup.