NFL Mini-Camps, no pads, no hitting? It’s time to read the NFL Depth Chart tea leaves to get a read on things.
No hitting or pads, NFL Rookie Mini-Camps are in full swing and everyone wants to know how their guys look. Problem is the “no hitting” part as you really can’t tell too much about talent translation from the NCAA to the NFL without those pads on. What you can do, however, is take an up-close look at a teams depth chart and try and see how things will be different for clubs than the season before.
To me, there are three that immediately stand out.
San Francisco 49ers
With the 2nd pick of the 1st round of the NFL draft the 49ers DL officially became a thing.
- DE Dee Ford 1/14 (by KC)
- DT DeForest Buckner – 1/19
- DE Arik Armstead – 1/15
- DE Nick Bosa – 1/19
- DE Thomas Solomon – 1/17
The 49ers play a base 4-3 D and they have five first-round picks up front counting Solomon who is the first guy in the rotation behind Bosa. Deep, strong, quick, nasty, and technical are some of the superlatives you would use to describe this group. The LA Rams were the best DL in the NFC West last season. Not any more. The talent is there for the Niners to claim the title of the best front four in the NFL.
New York Jets
Unlike in previous NFL Drafts (pick one), when DL Quinnen Williams fell to the Jets in the draft they didn’t blink. They made the right move and took the nastiest DL in the whole shebang. Yes, one man can make a difference.
When you put Leonard Williams 1/15 and Quinnen Williams 1/19 together on the same 3 man front does it matter who the third guy is? Williams is the player the Jets hope will give Tom Brady fits and put a kink in the Steelers ground game that sets up Big Ben. The combo of the two stud pillars in the middle of the field on game day entirely changes how teams will try and attack this defense. With former Steeler RB Le’ Veon Bell augmenting the effect the potential for a really fun year for long-suffering Jet’s fans is here.
Late in the first round, the ‘Skins found a plummeting Montez Sweat staring them in the face. They happily pounced and opposing NFC East’s QB’s all looked incredibly at the pick knowing what it will mean on game day.
- DE Jonathan Allen 1/17
- NT Da’Ron Payne 1/18
- WLB Ryan Kerrigan 1/11
- SLB Montez Sweat 1/19
That is not counting under-rated second-rounder LB Ryan Anderson who is no slouch. Sleeper, seventh-round selection CB Jimmy Moreland out of James Madison adds a special dimension. Undersized but incredible instinctive. The kid can play and the secondary will be backed by newly minted free agent SS Landon Collins (Giants). This is NOT the same defense from last season. The changes on the offensive side are even more impactful starting at QB but NOT stopping there by any means. They had one hell of a draft. Perhaps the best.
- QB Dwyane Haskins – 1st round
- WR Terry Mclaurin – 3rd round
- RB Jonathan Love – 4th round
You now have the NFC East cellar dwellers sd part of the conversation in one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL.
The above are three that jumped out. There were several others that could have easily made the list. Which NFL Depth Charts jump out to you for 2019?
What say you Sports Nation?
Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over