Sure, it is easy to list winners and losers after the NFL Draft has come and gone. In fact, there will be no shortage of articles covering this very subject. I ask you, for scientific purposes, how many of your favorite fantasy writers will provide this information prior to the NFL draft? Just one team…the team over here at Razzball is the only one looking out this far to provide this kind of pre-draft analysis.
@BobbyLaMarco and @stiles08 will be chatting about these teams/names and their potential and how they may win/lose based on how their team manages the upcoming draft Tuesday night on the Razzball YouTube channel. Tune in and be a part of the discussion with your questions and comments. Who do you think each team will pursue in the draft, and how might those draft picks help/hurt the current veterans? As always, if you want to discuss anything in this article, feel free to drop notes at the bottom of this thread.
Justin Fields (Chicago Bears) – You will hear it often from Bobby LaMarco as he screams “Always Fields” from the mountaintops. Fields was a fantasy game-changer in 2022, but he needs a lot of help to avoid becoming today’s version of the running QB with a lackluster arm. I was not impressed with Fields in 2022, sans the running, and the Bears took note. OK, OK, maybe the Bears do not actually care what I think, but they certainly made some moves to shore up the offensive weapons around Fields by adding Chase Claypool and D.J. Moore via trade. Add those two to Darnell Mooney, and the Bears suddenly have an interesting WR room heading in 2023. Sprinkle in Cole Kmet at TE, who flashed from time to time in 2022, and the pass catchers in Chicago are head and shoulders above where they have recently been. After watching David Montgomery move to Detroit, the Bears made another relatively quiet, adding D’Onta Foreman to Khalil Herbert to shore up their RB stable. All of that to say this…none of this will matter if the Bears do not spend early and often on the O-Line. Fields will be one-dimensional, again, if Chicago does not add talented protection in front of him. Knowing the Bears usually find a way to mess these drafts up, I am going to list Fields as a loser headed into the 2023 draft, as I think the front office will focus on the defensive side of the ball and hope to grab O-Line guys later in the draft. This, in my humble opinion, will come back to haunt them. On the flip side, this may be nice for fantasy owners who subscribe to “Always Fields” based on his running abilities.
Jared Goff, Jameson Williams (Detroit Lions) – Coming off their 95th straight non-playoff season, the Lions look to be on the come up after spoiling the Green Bay Packers Wild Card dreams. HC Dan Campbell is a renowned defensive coach, but his offense was fun to watch in 2022. The Lions watched a 17-TD guy walk during free agency as Jamaal Williams signed with the New Orleans Saints. For a guy as successful, albeit in one season, at the RB position, it was curious to watch Williams walk especially considering it had become painfully obvious to fantasy owners the Lions were unwilling to give D’Andre Swift the full RB load. The Lions, after watching Williams head to the Big Easy, scooped up free agent David Montgomery from their division rivals in Chicago. With Swift and Montgomery, a formidable 1-2 punch at RB, the Lions can pivot away from that position in the 2023 draft until late when they add depth and youth. In fact, they can probably ignore the position in this year’s draft considering the depth they currently have in Justin Jackson and Craig Reynolds. Detroit also lost D.J. Chark to free agency. His departure opens the door for Jameson Williams to become the guy Detroit drafted not so long ago. I see Jameson Williams as a winner leading up to the draft. The Lions want and need him to be a WR2 across from Amon-Ra St. Brown. If the Lions do what I think they will at the draft, both Goff and Williams will be winners. If Campbell goes away from O-Line and TE/WR, I think both players could end up being losers in this equation. I trust Campbell will be able to locate some of the defensive players/positions he covets while also helping Goff stay upright (O-Line) while providing him additional weaponry at TE/WR.
T.J. Hockensen, K.J. Osborn, Kirk Cousins (Minnesota Vikings) – On offense, the Vikings may be winners, albeit via addition by subtraction. The aforementioned subtraction is the departure of Adam Thielen (CAR). Hockensen and Osborn are both easy winners as they no longer will see Thielen vulturing short yardage TD from Captain Kirk. With a healthy Dalvin Cook (will he ever truly be healthy for an entire season?), Cousins also looks to be a winner based on the fact he has the best WR in the league not named Cooper Kupp in Justin Jefferson and the mid-season addition of Hockenson. The Vikings’ offense is stacked with the 2-year contract extension handed out to Alexander Mattison. There is still a chance the team could release Dalvin Cook to help with the salary cap, but that remains to be seen. The only way these players trend toward losers is the same way those in Chicago could trend negatively…lack of O-Line help/depth. The Vikings can win this division again if they play a little defense and keep Cousins clean. They proved they could score with any team in the league. In fact, they just scored another TD against the Colts as I am typing this article. Minnesota needs to focus on the O-Line while adding in some valuable pieces on defense, so Cousins does not have to put up 30+ every game to win.
Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Josiah Deguara (Green Bay Packers) – Speaking of addition via subtraction, enter my Green Bay Packers. If/when the final Aaron Rodgers is finally written, and the team hands the offense over to Jordan Love, I think the younger players can take a breath and relax and get back to simply playing football. I think Rodgers will be moved to the Jets, but for what compensation is anyone’s guess at this point. I just wish it would happen sooner rather than later so we can all move forward. I think both Watson and Doubs will come out as winners in this equation, as they will be the WR1-2 for Love. Green Bay has some young depth at WR (Samori Toure) and will probably add some WR help in the draft. Where I think the Packers will go heavy is at TE, as I will not be surprised to see them trade up to get the TE1 on the board and follow that pickup with a second TE later. This means Deguara is the obvious loser to me. The kid has not lit up the NFL, even with Robert Tonyan (CHI) out more than he was in. I did understand or like the Deguara pick when it happened, and it appears as if I may have been right this time. Green Bay will need to address O-Line just like the three teams discussed above. The O-Line is an area all teams will need to address with starters and depth. It is rare in the NFL for an entire NFL O-Line to play intact for a full season. Therefore, when the right name is available at O-Line, the Packers will need to pounce.
Thank you for coming back to read our stuff and be a part of the podcast by listening and commenting. We are here for you! We will come in the next few weeks to discuss other FAs.