What does this team need right now, today? What does this team need to win Super Bowl LI? A solid quarterback? Check. An all-pro offensive line? Check. One of the best receivers in the game? Yep, got that one too. I'll throw in a hall of fame tight end, just for kicks.
That's nice, what about defense? Well, we're getting there. For starters, how about a solid 3 technique for your Tampa 2 scheme? Yeah we got one of them puppies. If only we had a defensive end that posted 8 sacks in 8 games last seas – oh wait – yeah we got one of those. Cool. How's that secondary look? Well, meh. We've got a free safety who looks to have the makings of something special, and arguably one of the most underrated defensive backs in football in Orlando Scandrick. You're losing me here, Ian. What if I told you we have a pair of nickel linebackers comprised of a first and second round pick, one of whom made the pro bowl last season? That's a little better. But the team certainly still feels incomplete.
What if we signed the best (taking talent and youth into account) defensive end on the market? You're getting there. I'm not done yet. What if I throw in a nickel defensive back who's only 26 years old, had 6 interceptions his rookie season, and is only reaching free agency because of the log jam of talent at his position on his team? Well that fixes the secondary issues, but what about that gaping hole at 1 technique? Whelp, the NFL thought of that a bajillion years ago and implemented this nifty recruiting metric called “The NFL Draft.”
In all seriousness, this draft is STACKED at defensive line. So stacked, that I firmly believe we'll nab Nick Hayden's replacement at pick #34.
So let's recap. Demarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, Pick #34, Olivier Vernon, Casey Hayward, Mo Claiborne, Orlando Scandrick, Sean Lee, Rolando McClain, Barry Church, and Byron Jones. I firmly believe that is a Super Bowl winning defense.
What about the offense? Well, we have the best offensive line in football. I'm not sure I'll get much argument about that, unless your name is Jason Peters. What goes really good with an offensive line?
I'm not sure about you, but I'd like to throw a running back behind it who can do damage. A running back who can be on the field for all three downs. A running back who some people believe could be an all-pro. I'm starting to think that the best option for this team is to take Ezekiel Elliot with the fourth overall pick. I won't go into a ton of details now, but in terms of win now AND win in the future, this could be the guy.
So to give you a free agency recap, I want to haul in Olivier Vernon, and Casey Hayward this week. I think Miami being willing to put the transition tag on Vernon says a lot. Usually with free agents, teams will either franchise tag, or let them test the market. Miami basically said, “We'd be willing to pay this guy X amount of dollars, but he's still technically on the market.”
Casey Hayward has gotten overshadowed in Green Bay by better players, but showed a ton of promise and shouldn't completely break the bank, and with our lack of corner depth, would easily walk into the 3rd cornerback spot.
This is one potential route we could go. Do I think it's possible? Yes. Do I think it's realistic. Maybe. It's a little too rich for what our front office has done in recent years, but given the success of John Elway's “just buy all the good players,” method, we may be a little more inclined to put money on the table. Keep an eye on a name like William Hayes. Under the radar production and a perfect bridge player to get us into Randy's prime.
Whelp, news just broke that Charles Johnson is going back to the Panthers. Market's getting pretty thin there, Jerry.