A year ago, three teams that finished last in their division reached the playoffs. How was this offseason for the NFL’s 2021 bottom-dwellers?
There’s already been a look at how the eight teams that won their divisions in 2021 have fared this offseason. But what about the eight clubs that finished in the basement of those divisions?
It’s worth noting that a season ago, three clubs that finished in fourth place in 2020 rebounded to make the playoffs. The Philadelphia Eagles earned a wild card berth, the San Francisco 49ers did the same and reached the NFC title game. And the Cincinnati Bengals not only won the AFC North, Zac Taylor’s squad appeared in Super Bowl LVI.
Hence, here are how those last-place squads from a year ago have done so far this offseason.
8. Seattle Seahawks
All good things must come to an end and the club finished with its first losing season since 2011. Russell Wilson is now a member of the Denver Broncos in a trade that brought quarterback Drew Lock and tight end Noah Fant to the Pacific Northwest. General manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll are hoping rookie tackle Charles Cross (1-Mississippi State) can make an immediate impact. The secondary still needs a lot more help.
7. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers haven’t been to the playoffs since 2017 and have won exactly five games each of the past three seasons. There are currently four quarterbacks on the roster – including 2022 third-round pick Matt Corral – but who will wind up being the Week 1 starter? A defensive unit that started strong but slowly faded should benefit from the additions of safety Xavier Woods, linebacker Cory Littleton and defensive tackle Matthew Ioannidis.
6. Jacksonville Jaguars
It’s hard to believe just how far this franchise has fallen since reaching the AFC title game in 2017. That happened to be the same year Doug Pederson led the Eagles to a Super Bowl title. He’s now the head coach in Jacksonville and there seems to be a positive feeling around the franchise. Rookie linebackers Travon Walker (the first overall pick in April) and Devin Lloyd figure to make an immediate impact. Guard Brandon Scherff was a huge addition.
5. New York Giants
Big Blue has made only postseason appearance since 2012. There have been no playoff wins since the club’s victory in Super Bowl XLVI. There’s a new GM and head coach in Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll, respectively. The Giants added defensive end Kayvon Thibodeau and tackle Evan Neal with the fifth and seventh overall picks in April. And veterans Mark Glowinski (Colts) and Jon Feliciano (Bills) are also upgrades to the offensive line.
Ep 114: Aaron Rodgers, OBJ, and The New York Jets
by Full Press Coverage on March 25, 2023 at 12:09 am
4. New York Jets
Robert Saleh begins his second year as the team’s head coach and general manager Joe Douglas was very aggressive in free agency again. The veteran additions include guard Laken Tomlinson, tight end C.J. Uzomah and safety Jerome Whitehead. Meanwhile, first-round picks Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner (Cincinnati) and wideout Garrett Wilson (Ohio State) were excellent additions. Can the Jets reach the playoffs for the first time since 2010?
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3. Detroit Lions
To their credit, this was a very competitive football team for the most part during head coach Dan Campbell’s first year on the job. And the club had a very productive offseason, especially when it came to the NFL draft as the team added pass-rusher Aidan Hutchinson and wide receiver Jameson Williams, respectively, in the first round. And the free-agent signing of wideout D.J. Chark (Jaguars) figures to be solid addition and help for Jared Goff.
2. Denver Broncos
Denver’s last playoff win came in the team’s 24-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. Now Nathaniel Hackett inherits a club that has posted five consecutive losing campaigns dating back to 2017. A lot of eyes will be on this club this year as the team obtained nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks. Former Cowboys’ pass-rusher Randy Gregory and ex-49er D.J. Jones should aid the defense.
1. Baltimore Ravens
After looking like a club that was on the verge of making its fourth consecutive playoff appearance, the Ravens dropped their final six games in 2021. Injuries at running back, the secondary, and to quarterback Lamar Jackson were the biggest factors in terms of the Ravens’ downfall. Baltimore scored big in April in adding safety Kyle Hamilton and center Tyler Linderbaum. Safety Marcus Williams and cornerback Kyle Fuller were huge pickups.
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