By: Lucas Sreniawski
24: Cleveland Browns (6-10) 10th pick in draft
The Cleveland Browns were one of the biggest disappointments of the season. Baker Mayfield regressed to one of the worst QBs in the NFL, and as a result the Browns were somehow worse than they were last season. Throw in the whole Myles Garrett thing and you have a typical Cleveland Browns mess. It’s hard to determine what kind of position the Browns are in because I just don’t know what they have in Baker Mayfield. Rookie year Baker? Really good. Sophomore year? Horrible. Was his rookie year a fluke? His sophomore year? Is he somewhere in the middle? I guess the third option is the most likely but that is far from guaranteed and in all honesty that isn’t good enough. If he improves on his rookie year the Browns will be a solid team for many years, if he doesn’t, it’s more time in the dumpster.
23: New York Jets (7-9) 11th pick in draft
The Jets were also at least a minor disappointment, in all fairness to them though the team was absolutely ravaged by injuries on both sides of the ball. Well injuries and mono for QB Sam Darnold. As for the Jets going forward, they have a few undesirable contracts, and I for one and far from convinced that Darnold is going to be any good. He turned the ball over consistently in college, and nothing has changed once he got to the NFL. For some reason everyone ignored that when he entered the draft and now it is coming back to bite the Jets. We will see if time continues to prove me right about him or if I’m forced to eat my words.
22: Jaguars (6-10) 9th pick in draft
The Jaguars Super Bowl window slammed shut this season, just a few years after they probably should have been in the big game themselves. They tried to hold it open a little bit longer by giving a ridiculous contract to Nick Foles, just for him to be benched for late round pick Gardner Minshew. Now, they will look to trade that huge contract, although they will surely have to eat some money to do so. I suppose it’s possible that Minshew will take a big step forward with an entire training camp as the starter, and they will fill some holes with all the money they do save from trading Foles, but to me it is extremely unlikely they make the playoffs next season.
21: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9) 14th pick in draft
Bruce Arians returned to coaching last year, and in the process led Jameis Winston to a historic 30 for 30 season, passing for at least 30 TDs and also 30 INTs. The Bucs will have some interesting choices to make this offseason, as they have already been linked to QB Phillip Rivers. To me, signing Rivers would signal Tampa calling a Hail Mary for one or two more years before committing to another inevitable rebuild.
20: Atlanta Falcons (7-9) 16th pick in draft
The Falcons are another team whose best years are probably behind him. They are still wildly talented on an offense led by stars Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, but defense is an entirely different story. Their pass rush is basically nonexistent and they can’t stop the run worth anything. If the Falcons want to make it back into the dance, they will either need to fix the multitude of holes on their offense or score like 35 points a game.
19: Las Vegas Raiders (7-9) 12th pick in draft
I know they technically aren’t the Las Vegas Raiders yet but what the hell, let’s get started early. The Radiers were ok last season, and to be honest 7-9 is about what the record many thought they would have. Going forward, the Raiders seem to be interested in Tom Brady, but I really don’t know why they’d move on from Carr. But whatever, I’m sure the thinking that Tom Brady will sell tickets has something to do with that.
18: Denver Broncos (7-9) 15th pick in draft
Going into the draft last year, Drew Lock was actually my top rated QB in the draft. When he fell to the second round to the Broncos, I knew they got themselves a steal. Fast forward one season, and he is still very much in play for the best QB in his draft class, even with the success of Kyler Murray. Regardless, with a few more pieces on offense, and a little bit of an injection of youth on defense, and this Broncos team could become a force sooner rather than later.
17: Indianapolis Colts (7-9) 13th pick in draft
Before the season, the Colts had aspirations of winning the division and more, until all those dreams ended with the surprise retirement of superstar QB Andrew Luck. Jacoby Brissett and the Colts fought hard, but the emotional hit his retirement took and the gap of talent between him and Luck was too much to overcome. The Colts path forward is a bit muddy; they have a solid roster, a good head coach, and a lot of cap space. But, like many other teams in the league, they need to find that franchise QB to make themselves true contenders again.