This off-season has been all about teams strengthening their offensive skill groups. And while some teams have traded and/or signed big names who have remained in the starting roster, others have taken quieter steps to add depth.
Like last year, I’m looking at the 11 busiest position groups in the league, listing the players in each group based on predicted touches (most to least). (I admit I haven’t been incredibly accurate in my 2021 predictions, but this time I feel much better in this exercise.)
Darnold would be a starter If the 2022 NFL season started today, according to coach Matt Rule. The coaching staff love what is seen from the former first-round pick under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. However, we know who Darnold has been throughout his career – a streaked and fluid quarterback. If this is the QB room that Carolina is going to enter the season with, I’d like to think about rookie Matt Corral, who impressed Rule. during off-season training, would get a real look at the starting position. Let’s find out what he brings to crime. And, of course, all of that would go down the drain if the Panthers acquired Baker Mayfield or Jimmy Garoppolo.
Trubisky seems to be driving start at 1 weekhosting first team representatives throughout the spring. However, I think the Steelers have prepared for the preseason in this position. Trubisky may be the favorite to enter the season as QB1, but it will be difficult to keep Pickett, this year’s No. 20 pick, on the sidelines for 18 weeks. The Steelers know rookie QB will have to learn, but head coach Mike Tomlin said right after the jump that Pickett had a chance to be the team’s starter right at the net. If Trubisky stumbles early or falls short of the organization’s expectations, the merry-go-round could turn.
Singletary was RB1 last season, racking up a career-high 870 yards and seven rushing touchdowns, while Moss, a 2020 third-round pick, fell by the wayside and assisted in goal line situations. Singletary should be a starter again in the first week, but I believe rookie James Cook will work harder as the season progresses. A second-round draft pick can be a game-changer in both running and passing games due to its speed and ability to catch passes. Cook should play a good role in the Bills’ explosive attack.
I love what the Dolphins did this offseason, finishing 30th in the league in yards per game (92.2). Freshman head coach Mike McDaniel plans to take full advantage of the position’s overhaul, telling the NFL scouting rally in March that “you’ve got 300 to 400-odd touches in this position.” Expect all four of these defenders to get opportunities in McDaniel’s zone blocking scheme. However, Mostert should be the favorite to lead the group in touchdown in 2022. He’s the most explosive running back I’ve seen in this system, as evidenced by his career average of 5.7 yards per carry. However, he has not been healthy throughout the season since 2019, missing half of 2020 with ankle and knee problems and all but two of 2021 with another knee injury. If Mostert, who strives to be ready to go by training camp, beaten, I like Michelle to take on the role of the bell. He is less explosive but has good speed and provides consistency and a championship pedigree in the group. Edmonds should be a great option for Tua Tagovailoa, able to catch the pass and take third, while Gaskin should fight for the opportunity to take third with Edmonds.
Carter had a solid rookie campaign with 639 yards on 147 carries, which is 4.3 yards per tote. He will be a big part of the Jets system, but Breece Hall should see the majority of the carries. The second-round pick has the size (6’1″, 220 pounds), the patience and footwork to break tackles in a running game, and he’s got the arms and elusiveness to be an off-field asset for Zach Wilson in a passing game.
Russell Wilson loved his deep threat recipients, D.C. Metcalfe and Tyler Lockett, in Seattle. An excellent route runner and 2020 first round pick, Judy should be Wilson’s first to read many of the concepts. Sutton is a great asset to Wilson paired with Judy. The big wide out doesn’t match the center and he still has the speed to go deep and gain yards after contact. Expect Hamler to play a major role in the slot once he recovers from a hip dislocation and anterior cruciate ligament tear he suffered last season, while Patrick, who signed a three-year extension in November, will be a valuable WR3. All of these players will undoubtedly benefit from having Wilson in the center.
The Packers’ passing game will look much different without world wide receiver Davante Adams, who had more receptions (123) and receiving yards (1,553) than all other Green Bay receivers combined (117 catches, 1,533 receiving yards) in 2021. In fact, Adams accounted for 34.3 percent of Green Bay’s receiving yards last season, the third-highest percentage of the team’s receiving yards of any player. league. So who’s in charge of producing Adams in 2022?
Looking at this group, it’s a tough estimate, but I believe Watson will be Aaron Rodgers’ top target. The Packers traded to select him 34th overall and he is the most popular Packers player since Rodgers became the starting QB in 2008. breaks and speed in the fall. Watkins, entering his ninth season, has a real opportunity to spend a career season catching back-to-back MVP passes, but he MUST stay healthy.
Cobb has great chemistry with Rogers, so expect the vet to get his fair share of goals. Lazar, who signed as a restricted free agent last week but still desires a long-term deal, has a shot at becoming a playmaker in 2022, but it’s significant to me that the Packers selected two players to fill his position. This brings me to Du, whom I have only heard good things about since he arrived in Green Bay. He has strong hands and can take the top off the defense. I wouldn’t be surprised if a fourth round player becomes the team’s WR2 at some point in the season.
The Jags handed Kirk a four-year contract worth up to $84 million, so he is expected to be Trevor Lawrence’s new favorite target. The former cardinal brings an explosive element to the offense as a guy who can win on the street or in the slot. Marvin Jones, who led the team in receiving, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns last season, is projected to be the team’s WR2 opposite Kirk. As he has done many times in his career, the veteran will often be a sure target anywhere on the field and should build on his scoring in 2021 (73/832/4). Chenault should benefit from Doug Pederson’s offensive play. He can contribute in many ways, including on screen, bootlegs, and even in the backfield due to his ability to break tackles in the open. Zay Jones, who signed a three-year deal in the offseason, will help expand the field, as he did last season with the Raiders. Agnew should continue to assist on special teams and provide depth to the reception.
Make no mistake, tight end Travis Kels is the Chiefs’ best wide receiver. But who will make up for the losses lost due to the departure of Tyreke Hill? Hardman can certainly be a handyman and is familiar with the Chiefs’ offense, elite speed, and home-running ability. However, he has yet to surpass 700 receiving yards for the season. Valdez-Scantling, who averaged 17.1 yards per goal in 2021 (according to Next Gen Stats), is a bigger target for Patrick Mahomes. Hardman and MVS will have to find consistency to help the Chiefs avoid flopping a deep passing game. JuJu and Moore will thrive in Andy Reed’s system as recipients of slot machines with more gaming options. However, JuJu has the potential to be the No. 1 wide receiver behind Kelce because we’ve seen his track record of playing second fiddle to one of the league’s best. With a lot of talent around Mahomes, the Chiefs attack must find a way to do it. It just might not look like the unit we saw…