Presumptions -&- Off-Season:
- Expected Cap: $41M
- Retirements: Doyle (+ $4.7M)
- Internal Resignings: Matt Pryor (3 Year--$4.5M / Year); Quentin Nelson (5 year - $16.5 M / Year); Chris Reed (2 Year - $1.95M / Year); Tyquan Lewis (2 Year - $2M / Year); Al-Quadin Mohamed (2 Year -$3.75M / Year)
- Cap Hold (for in Season Moves): $3M
- External Acquisitions:
1. QB Teddy Bridgewater (3 Year - $6.75 M / Year); or
2. S Justin Reid (3 Year - $3.5 M)
ii. TE Durham Smythe (2 Year - $1.5M / Year)
iii. WR Josh Reynolds (2 Year -- $2 M / Year)
iv. S Deshon Elliot (2 Year -- $1.75M / Year)
i. Day 3 Pick-swap or 2023 7th Rounder: WR Miles Boykin Baltimore ($1 M cap hit)
As a quick defense of this, MAC would get the nod if he comes cheap, but we can't afford to pay him more than his current $3.5M to be the starting Y-TE, which I think he will get. I like Smythe as a run blocker and would just have a training camp battle for the remaining TE positions. If we attack QB (through FA), it needs to be a guy who will come somewhat cheap, so Teddy it is, which is not the end of the world since we don't give up draft picks this way! If we leave Wentz as the presumed starter, I'ld like us to take a strong look at Justin Reid, who was great when his team was good, but he seems to have given up since the Houston drama and the team falling apart. I've always loved Josh Reynolds. I think his injury last year keeps the price tag down, and he would take the job if he gets a fair shot to compete for a starting role. Elliot is my "insurance" safety that I would target, if I can't get Reid. Lastly, Boykin is a guy whose skillset (as a more refined, timing route runner) I thought never mixed with Lamar Jackson. I'ld like to bring him to camp and see if he can get a fair shake at showing his potential.
- Remaining Cap Space: $1M
2: Second Level Defender (SS / WLB) JoJo Domann (Nebraska): great awareness, really athletic, can set an edge really well, as a former safety excels in zone and can carry TEs in man.
3: WR Kyle Phillips (UCLA): Super shifty slot (only, at this point) WR, who has great route running; great hands; and is a willing blocker. May have been underutilized in the short yardage YAC and sweep games. Good Punt returner. Only question that I have is if he can be used outside and how he fairs against press alignments.
4: OT Tyler Smith (Tulsa): LT (#56) that may climb up draft boards during the draft process, but a "dancing bear" who handled everything that Ohio State could throw at him and dominated his lower level of competition. Good upper body strength to push edge rushers past their optimal rush arc. Not super nasty as a run-blocker but he does flash some aggression.
5a: TE Cole Turner (Nevada): Big-bodied, developmental F-TE. Primarily ran 3 routes (flats, posts, and fades) but he excelled on each route. Immediately translatable NFL skill: elite redzone presence (probably 10+ TDs over the past two years on back corner fades and back shoulder fades).
5b: Field Safety Quentin Lake (UCLA): Super smart FS safety who is athletically gifted enough to handle any deep zone assignments. Not afraid of physical play. Looks good in man too. #37 in the video.
6: SLB or MLB Nate Landman (Colorado): Modern NFL MLB (#53) not quite "sideline-to-sideline" speed but still very adequate and can cover RBs in man out of the backfield or get depth in his zone drops (if asked too). Very instinctual: reads plays really well, fills the hole, and lays the lumber. Extremely disciplined (searching for a man to cover) when playing zone. Probably a core special teamer early but could earn a bigger role rather quickly.
7a: DL Matt Henningson (Wisconsin): Slimmer DL, but Henningson projects as a guy that could play 3T or be an undersized NT. Played a lot of 3T, 4T, and 5T in Wisconsin's system this year. Rarely is driven off the ball and handles zone runs really well. Pass rush won't be why he is drafted, but he some get-off.
7b: FB Clint Ratkovich (Northern Illinois): Football player with great athleticism. Good athleticism for his size and can do it all. That's not hyperbole either. Both Northern Illinois and Eastern Illinois had him returning kicks! Reminds me a lot of an old Colts FB, Tyler Varga, who unfortunately didn't get a career because of a season ending (concussion?).
How about another of the Rat Dog!
RB Zaquandre White (South Carolina): Great scat back, with elite shiftiness, who never really got featured due to South Carolina's running back-by-committee approach, though he did lock down the third down back role with his good pass blocking and excellent receiving out of the backfield. SC fans lamented his not getting used more this year. Not afraid banging it inside; has some of Kareem Hunt's ability to "get small in the hole" and pop through into the second level. Competitive toughness off the chart. Also, doesn't have issues with indirect contact to his lower half that you commonly see with "shift" players.
RB Master Teague (Ohio State): Runs through contact and hits the whole hard. Lower body injury history and not being the featured back at Ohio State may make him undrafted.
WR Tay Martin (OK State): Super covid senior who is a capable run blocker and underrated route runner.
John FitzPatrick (UGA): If you don't get a Y-TE in the draft, get Fitzpatrick as a free agent! He's a good athlete with exceptional size and is a devastating run blocker--just a shade below Kittle when he was a prospect. Drops are definitely an issue here, but if you can clean up his hands to at least NFL average, you're looking at a steal. Otherwise, you will have a competent TE2 / TE3. Armani Rodgers (Ohio) is a QB to TE project but has exceptional athleticism.
Either: LB Nephi Sewell (Utah) or LB Baylon Spector (Clemson): Undersized LBs who are former Safeties and do really well in zone and should be good special teams players.
Both: CB D'Jordan Strong (Coastal Carolina) and CB Steven Jones Jr. (App State): Feisty smaller corners (5'11" and 5'10" respectively) who looked good in both press alignments and off zone coverage. Both are willing tacklers. Each has good athleticism to stay on top of routes in man coverage from press alignment. Both excel when getting to look in the backfield.
CB Shaun Jolly (App State): 5'9" zone corner who teams stopped mostly throwing at—except on sideline fades. When he was targeted more, 2019 PFF All American (and at least Sunbelt Honorable mention each of the past three years). If he gets to keep his eyes in the backfield, he can drive on the ball and the defender for good things to happen.
S Percy Butler (ULM): Core special teamer who excels as a gunner and box safety; George Odum replacement; 2x PFF All-Sunbelt Safety.