Philadelphia Eagles wide receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Every NFL Team Roster's Biggest Strength Amid 2024 OTAs

BR NFL Scouting Department

The initial waves of free agency and the 2024 NFL draft are over, and organized team activities (OTAs) have begun. Offseason optimism should be at an all-time high since it at least feels like every team has improved since the start of free agency.

Of course, not every roster is stronger than it was entering the offseason. Some franchises inevitably lose more than they gain, and some evolve to highlight new areas of strength—not always successfully.

However, every team should have one area it should feel good about as OTAs and minicamps unfold.

Throughout the 2024 offseason, B/R's Alex Ballentine (AFC) and Kris Knox (NFC) will provide updated analysis for how each team can improve ahead of the 2024 campaign. This week, they'll dive into every team's biggest strength and how those may differ from the strengths that teams possessed before free agency.

When identifying where it needs to improve, after all, an NFL team will often start by deciding where it doesn't.

Here, you'll look at each headlining group's top returning players, new additions and some players whose offseason development could help create an even stronger unit.

Arizona Cardinals

Cardinals QB Kyler Murray Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Offensive Backfield

Key Returning Players: QB Kyler Murray, RB James Conner

Most Impactful Addition: RB Trey Benson

Player to Track in OTAs: RB Trey Benson

Before the offseason, we ranked the Arizona Cardinals' offensive backfield as their biggest strength. While Arizona improved its defensive front significantly and added an elite wide receiver prospect in Marvin Harrison Jr., its group of quarterbacks and running backs is still the roster highlight.

In fact, the group has gotten even stronger.

Kyler Murray showed flashes of his Pro Bowl form after returning from a torn ACL last season. He's at least an above-average quarterback, and with playmakers like Harrison and Trey McBride around him, he could be much more this season.

Putting more time between Murray and the injury certainly won't hurt.

The Cardinals also added some valuable depth behind Murray by trading for former Atlanta Falcons starter Desmond Ridder. While Ridder never played like a high-level starter in Atlanta, the 2022 third-round pick has 17 starts on his resume. He'll provide insurance and a developmental project alongside second-year signal-caller Clayton Tune.

James Conner, who amassed 1,205 scrimmage yards and nine touchdowns in 2023, is back to lead the ground game. So is speedy change-of-pace runner Emari Demercado—who averaged 4.9 yards per carry last season. Arizona rounded out its group with third-round pick Trey Benson.

While the Florida State product might not steal a lot of third-down work from Conner initially, he has the breakaway ability to make an early impact for Arizona's offense.

"Benson has serious home run speed," Derrik Klassen of the Bleacher Report Scouting Department wrote. "He can cut through the second level with ease, and he's extremely tough to catch once he starts striding out at the third level."

With Benson in the mix, offensive coordinator Drew Petzing will have a slew of options in 2024. The Cardinals may continually keep defenses off-balance with screens, draws and RPOs, and they should be able to generate big plays and grind out games on the ground.

It'll be worth tracking Benson's development through OTAs and minicamps because he's a serious threat to eventually replace Conner, who is scheduled to be a free agent next offseason.

Atlanta Falcons

Falcons TE Kyle Pitts Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Skill Group

Key Returning Players: RB Bijan Robinson, WR Drake London, TE Kyle Pitts

Most Impactful Addition: WR Darnell Mooney

Player to Track in OTAs: WR Casey Washington

It was tempting to list the quarterback room as the Falcons' biggest strength after the additions of Kirk Cousins and rookie first-round pick Michael Penix Jr. However, Cousins is coming off a torn Achilles, while Penix is unproven at the pro level.

Atlanta's quarterback situation is undoubtedly better than a year ago, but there are still plenty of unknowns.

Instead, we'll stick with a skill group that oozes talent and should now benefit from serviceable quarterback play. The group did lose a couple of contributors in Cordarrelle Patterson and Jonnu Smith. However, wide receiver Drake London, tight end Kyle Pitts and running backs Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier are all back.

It'll be particularly interesting to see how Cousins and/or Penix can boost pass-catchers like London and Pitts—who is looking to return to the Pro Bowl form he showcased as a 2021 rookie.

"If we can get this guy going, we all know what he could be," new head coach Raheem Morris said of Pitts, per D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Even with an underwhelming QB tandem in Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke, the Falcons ranked 17th in yards per carry, 17th in net yards per pass attempt and 17th in total offense last season.

Atlanta added to its skill group early in the offseason by signing Darnell Mooney and trading for Rondale Moore. Those two will provide depth to a receiver room that previously lacked reliable targets behind London. Mooney, who was a 1,000-yard receiver in 2021, should be particularly impactful.

Fans should also keep an eye on rookie sixth-round pick Casey Washington. The Illinois product is a big (6'1", 197 lbs), physical receiver who could begin pushing for playing time during OTAs. His size and play strength could quickly make him an asset as a perimeter run-blocker.

Rookie running back Jase McClellan should also be fun to follow after his productive 2023 campaign (1,027 scrimmage yards) with Alabama. However, seeing him push past Allgeier and Robinson for playing time this season is unlikely.

Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Offensive Backfield

Key Returning Players: QB Lamar Jackson, FB Patrick Ricard, RB Keaton Mitchell

Most Impactful Addition: RB Derrick Henry

Player to Track in OTAs: RB Rasheen Ali

The Baltimore Ravens might be replacing three starters on the offensive line, but they are still going to be a nightmare for opposing defenses to defend.

While most backfields in the league are a product of the offensive line in front of them, the Ravens are the rare exception where the backfield will elevate the offensive line. As long as the players replacing last year's OL starters are serviceable, reigning MVP Lamar Jackson and free-agent addition Derrick Henry will take care of the rest.

In a league where nickel is the base defense and everyone is geared up to stop the pass, they are perfectly suited to run the ball on everyone. It starts with Jackson and his unique skill set that led to 821 rushing yards and five touchdowns.

Defenses will have a whole new layer of headache with Derrick Henry coming to town. The 30-year-old has proved to be a physical anomaly boasting the eighth-highest breakaway run rate and third-most yards after contact despite being over the hill by running back standards.

Jackson and Henry will be the stars, but Patrick Ricard and Keaton Mitchell contribute to the unique talent of the backfield. Ricard is one of the few remaining fullbacks in the league. Having a 6'3", 305-pound movable blocker that can serve as a third guard makes them even more difficult to defend.

Mitchell showcased some real ability to be a high-end change of pace back last season. He piled up 396 rushing yards in eight games before a torn ACL put a damper on the campaign.

The Ravens continued to add talent in the backfield through the draft with fifth-round pick Rasheen Ali. The 5'11", 206-pound back could provide more depth, but he tore his biceps tendon during Senior Bowl practices, so his progress will be important to watch at OTAs.

Buffalo Bills

Josh Allen and James Cook Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Offensive Backfield

Key Returning Players: QB Josh Allen, RB James Cook

Most Impactful Addition: RB Ray Davis

Player to Track in OTAs: RB Frank Gore Jr.

The Buffalo Bills had many notable losses this offseason. Most were on defense, where they moved on from multiple veterans who had been mainstays, but receivers Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis and center Mitch Morse were important pieces for the offense.

Yet the Bills remained relatively high on the offensive power rankings (eighth) because of Josh Allen and the stability the offensive backfield will bring.

They will have time to figure out their new wide receiver hierarchy and the passing game because of what Josh Allen and James Cook can do as runners. Allen led all quarterbacks in rushing EPA by a comfortable margin.

Cook emerged as the Bills' featured back last season. Christian McCaffrey and Breece Hall were the only backs with more yards from scrimmage than Cook's 1,567.

The Bills turned to the draft to add depth behind Cook. They re-signed Ty Johnson, but he'll battle with fourth-round pick Ray Davis and undrafted free agent Frank Gore Jr. to make the roster and earn some carries.

Davis and Gore are both stout, powerful runners who could take some of the between-the-tackles work off Cook's plate.

Some of Cook's more notable receiving lines came when Joe Brady took over as offensive coordinator for the second half of the season. He should contribute more as a pass-catcher, which will keep this offense going through early growing pains with a new receiving corps.

Carolina Panthers

Panthers WR Adam Thielen Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Skill Group

Key Returning Players: WR Adam Thielen, RB Chuba Hubbard

Most Impactful Addition: WR Diontae Johnson

Player to Track in OTAs: WR Xavier Legette

The Carolina Panthers had one of the league's worst skill groups in 2023, but the franchise put serious effort into improving Bryce Young's supporting cast this offseason. That has allowed the group to supplant the pass defense as Carolina's biggest strength.

Trading away cornerback Donte Jackson and pass-rusher Brian Burns—and losing C.J. Henderson and Jeremy Chinn in free agency—certainly didn't help Carolina's defense.

The list of returning players isn't particularly impressive. Adam Thielen did an admirable job of filling the No. 1 receiver role, while Chuba Hubbard was serviceable as the lead back. Prized free-agent addition Miles Sanders struggled early and quickly lost his starting job to Hubbard, but rookie receiver Jonathan Mingo (418 yards) flashed some promise as a rookie.

The trade for former Pittsburgh Steelers standout Diontae Johnson should substantially aid Young's development. While he wasn't always the most consistent pass-catcher in Pittsburgh, Johnson is a proven veteran with a 2021 Pro Bowl on his resume.

Johnson's experience and positional versatility will give new head coach Dave Canales options for supporting his quarterback and scheming up easy completions.

The Panthers also traded into the first round to secure South Carolina receiver Xavier Legette, who has the traits needed to evolve into a No. 1 target.

"Legette is a devastating contested-catch player," Klassen wrote. "Legette is also an effortless and flexible mover in the air, which allows him to contort his body as needed to get the ball."

Rookie second-round pick Jonathon Brooks could quickly cut into Hubbard's playing time, and rookie fourth-round pick Ja'Tavion Sanders could finally give Carolina a capable pass-catching tight end. However, Legette's early development will be critical because Young needs reliable receivers.

This still isn't an elite group—there are a lot of new faces, and the Panthers still don't have a proven high-level tight end. However, it's vastly superior to the lineup Carolina trotted out in 2023, and it should give Young a real chance to make a jump in his second season.

Chicago Bears

Bears WR DJ Moore Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Receiving Corps

Key Returning Players: WR DJ Moore, TE Cole Kmet

Most Impactful Addition: WR Keenan Allen

Player to Track in OTAs: WR Rome Odunze

The Chicago Bears used the No. 1 overall pick on USC quarterback Caleb Williams only three years after taking quarterback Justin Fields in Round 1. However, the Bears have done a much better job of setting up Williams for success than they did Fields.

Chicago's new-look receiving corps has improved enough to supplant its run defense as the team's biggest strength.

The Bears defensive front, which ranked fifth in yards per carry allowed and first in rushing yards allowed last season, is still quite impressive. However, the receiving corps has the potential to be one of the NFL's best.

Returning receiver DJ Moore is already an established star who tallied 1,364 yards last season. Tight end Cole Kmet (719 yards, 6 TDs) is on the cusp of being a Pro Bowl player, While Darnell Mooney departed in free agency, Chicago landed a significant upgrade when it traded for Keenan Allen.

The former Los Angeles Chargers star is 32 and missed time with a heel injury last season, but he remains one of the most impactful receivers in the league. In 13 games last season, he amassed 1,243 yards and seven touchdowns on 108 receptions.

Allen's experience, route savvy and after-the-catch ability will make Williams' transition to the NFL far easier than Fields' was. The Bears also added former Chargers tight end Gerald Everett, who should be a more productive TE2 than Robert Tonyan was last season.

The X-factor in the offense is rookie ninth overall pick Rome Odunze. The former Washington standout was one of the top receiver prospects in this draft class and is a pro-ready prospect who can make an instant impact.

"Odunze is a quarterback's best friend. He's a reliable route-runner with good size and an accuracy-erasing catch radius," Klassen wrote.

Williams will undoubtedly be the talk of OTAs, but Odunze's development will be very important. If he can replicate the sort of rookie success 2023 first-round picks Jordan Addison and Zay Flowers had for their respective teams last season, the Bears' receiving corps could be elite as early as this season.

Cincinnati Bengals

Ja'Marr Chase Ryan Kang/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Pass-Catchers

Key Returning Players: WR Ja'Marr Chase, WR Tee Higgins

Most Impactful Addition: TE Mike Gesicki

Player to Track in OTAs: WR Jermaine Burton

It's easy to see why the Cincinnati Bengals are having a hard time letting go of Tee Higgins. It's tough to break up a wide receiver duo as good as Ja'Marr Chase and Higgins. The pair has been a foundational aspect of the Bengals passing attack since they drafted Chase.

Injuries slowed Higgins last season, but he's one of the rare No. 2 receivers in the league who is capable of a 1,000-yard season when healthy.

Chase makes life a lot easier for his quarterback, averaging 5.4 yards after the catch.

The loss of Tyler Boyd will hurt the depth a bit, but signing Mike Gesicki and drafting Jermaine Burton will at least cover for it.

The Bengals tried to get Irv Smith Jr.'s career going last season and had to settle for Tanner Hudson as their best receiving tight end. Gesicki could bounce back to his 2021 form where he had 780 yards with the Miami Dolphins.

Even if Gesicki doesn't get back to his old form, the Bengals drafted a promising vertical threat in Jermaine Burton. Burrow and the rookie quarterback have already been spotted working together during OTAs.

There were some maturity concerns about Burton coming out of Alabama. Dane Brugler of The Athletic had mentioned that there were concerns about the rookie receiver's consistency on and off the field.

If there's an early chemistry there that will keep Burton focused, he could easily outperform his third-round draft slot and become an impact player in Year 1.

Cleveland Browns

Shelby Harris (93) and Myles Garrett (95) Ryan Kang/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Defensive Line

Key Returning Players: Edge Myles Garrett, Edge Za'Darius Smith, DT Dalvin Tomlinson, DT Shelby Harris, Edge Ogbo Okoronkwo

Most Impactful Addition: DT Quinton Jefferson

Player to Track in OTAs: DT Michael Hall Jr.

The Cleveland Browns went from a middling defense to one of the best in the league last season. Jim Schwartz's ability to get the most out of a rebuilt defensive line is one of the biggest reasons.

The group is anchored by one of the best defenders in the league in Myles Garrett, but they've also poured a lot of resources into maximizing the unit around him. Za'Darius Smith, Dalvin Tomlinson, Shelby Harris and Ogbo Okoronkwo were all new additions in 2023 that aided the turnaround.

As a unit, the group was second in ESPN's pass-rush win rate and first in run block win rate. That led to 146 total pressures, 49 sacks and a league-high 113 tackles for loss last season. The Browns defense was dominant because the front four was unblockable.

Two offseason additions should make the group even better in 2024. Quinton Jefferson is another veteran with a history of getting after quarterbacks. He had six sacks as a member of the New York Jets dominant front last season.

Hall came in at 6'3", 290 pounds in the pre-draft process, which was a surprise after being listed at 280 at Ohio State. His versatility and athleticism should be a welcomed addition.

The biggest questions are his playing weight and how quickly he can adjust to the NFL game. OTAs might give partial answers to those. It will be especially intriguing to see just how athletic he looks at his weight.

If he can retain his burst while weighing in at 290, he will be a part of a defensive tackle rotation that proved hard to block last season.

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys CB Trevon Diggs Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Pass Defense

Key Returning Players: CB Trevon Diggs, CB DaRon Bland, CB Jourdan Lewis

Most Impactful Addition: Edge Marshawn Kneeland

Player to Track in OTAs: CB Caelen Carson

The Dallas Cowboys pass defense remains a team strength, even if it isn't as good, on paper, as it was a few months ago. Dallas lost complementary edge-rushers Dorance Armstrong and Dante Fowler Jr. in free agency and has yet to re-sign 2023 starting corner Stephon Gilmore or safety Jayron Kearse.

However, the bulk of a unit that ranked seventh in net yards per pass attempt allowed and eighth in passing yards allowed last season will return.

Safeties Donovan Wilson and Malik Hooker will be back, along with cornerbacks Trevon Diggs, DaRon Bland and Jourdan Lewis. Diggs is expected to be healthy following last year's ACL tear, so Dallas should have its starting corners set.

Bland stepped up during Diggs' 2023 absence, finishing the year with a league-high nine interceptions, five defensive touchdowns and a first-team All-Pro nod. He and Diggs may form an elite tandem on the perimeter.

Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence will again lead the pass rush, while rookie second-round pick Marshawn Kneeland will get chances to contribute early, though he may not have the athletic upside needed to contribute consistently.

"The Western Michigan product doesn't appear to be a good athlete, and he's a little stiff," Matt Holder of the Bleacher Report Scouting Department wrote. "That limits his pass arsenal and can make bending or turning a tight corner at the top of the rush difficult."

Fans will want to track Kneeland's progress during OTAs, along with that of rookie fifth-round pick Caelen Carson. The former Wake Forest cornerback is a smart, physical and versatile defender who could provide much-needed depth if Gilmore does not return.

The Cowboys have their quarterback (for now) in Dak Prescott and some terrific players at other key positions. After parting with receiver Michael Gallup, running back Tony Pollard, defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, left tackle Tyron Smith and center Tyler Biadasz this offseason, however, Dallas' pass defense is perhaps the only area on which it can hang its proverbial hat in 2024.

Denver Broncos

Mike McGlinchey (left) and Quinn Meinerz (right) Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Offensive Line

Key Returning Players: OG Quinn Meinerz, OT Garett Bolles, OT Mike McGlinchey

Most Impactful Addition: C Sam Mustipher

Player to Track in OTAs: C Alex Forsyth

The Denver Broncos offensive line might be one of the most underrated position groups in the league right now.

Unfortunately, most offensive lines are judged by the number of sacks they concede. They gave up the sixth-most in the league with 52. But sacks are also a quarterback stat, and Russell Wilson is notorious for taking a lot of them. His penchant for holding onto the ball is a big reason the pairing of him and Sean Payton didn't work out.

ESPN's pass-blocking win rate, which tracks how often a lineman sustains their block for 2.5 seconds, is a better indicator of how good the Broncos were up front. They ranked eighth in pass block win rate and third in run block win rate.

Quinn Meinerz is the star of the unit. He ranked third among all guards in PFF grade. Garett Bolles and Mike McGlinchey are a solid tackle combination on the outside.

This group should actually benefit from a quarterback like Bo Nix. He's going to play well within structure and should get the ball out quicker than Wilson did.

The biggest question for the unit will be who winds up starting at center. Lloyd Cushenberry III left in free agency, and it will come down to a competition that includes 2022 draft pick Luke Wattenberg, 2023 draft pick Alex Forsyth and free-agent signee Sam Mustipher.

Forsyth is especially intriguing. He was the center at Oregon in 2022 when Nix first transferred to the Ducks.

Mustipher could also emerge in the mix. The 6'2", 332-pounder brings good physicality to the table and gave up no sacks on 202 snaps last season.

Detroit Lions

Lions WR Amon-Ra St. Brown Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Skill Players

Key Returning Players: WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, TE Sam LaPorta, RB Jahmyr Gibbs

Most Impactful Addition: N/A

Player to Track in OTAs: WR Isaiah Williams

The Detroit Lions' secondary was considered after the additions of Carlton Davis, Terrion Arnold and Ennis Rakestraw Jr. However, Detroit is still in the process of turning that unit around, while the offensive skill group remains a substantial strength.

Now, it's worth noting that the Lions didn't add a significant piece to the unit this offseason. They actually lost wide receiver Josh Reynolds, who ranked second among Detroit wideouts last season.

However, the Lions did sign No. 1 wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown to a long-term deal and re-sign 2023 trade acquisition Donovan Peoples-Jones. Between Jameson Williams, Kalif Raymond and Peoples-Jones—who was an 800-yard receiver with the Browns in 2022—Detroit should be able to replace Reynolds' production.

Tight end Sam LaPorta, a rookie Pro Bowler in 2023, is back, along with No. 2 tight end Brock Wright. While Wright hasn't been a significant piece of the passing game plan, he's flashed enough as a blocker and part-time pass-catcher that the San Francisco 49ers signed the restricted free agent to an offer sheet, which the Lions matched.

Detroit's potent backfield duo of David Montgomery and 2023 rookie Pro Bowler Jahmyr Gibbs is also back. The tandem helped form the league's second-ranked rushing offense last season, and they'll again be an offensive focal point. Underrated RB3 Craig Reynolds returns as well.

Despite having no major additions, Jared Goff's supporting cast will again be strong. It could also get a boost from undrafted receiver Isaiah Williams, whose skill set and play at Illinois was overshadowed by a disappointing 4.63-second 40-yard dash at the scouting combine. He could make a rookie impact as a versatile after-the-catch threat.

"His limited catch radius requires a more accurate quarterback, but he plays with talent and determination once the ball is in his hands," NFL Media's Lance Zierlein wrote. "He can be asked to work across all areas of the field and has both gadget and punt return ability."

Williams, who had 1,055 receiving yards in his final college season, will be worth tracking throughout the offseason.

Green Bay Packers

Packers QB Jordan Love Ryan Kang/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Passing Offense

Key Returning Players: QB Jordan Love, WR Romeo Doubs, WR Jayden Reed

Most Impactful Addition: RB Josh Jacobs

Player to Track in OTAs: OT Jordan Morgan

Coming out of the 2023 playoffs, the Green Bay Packers' biggest strength was its passing offense, and that hasn't changed. Green Bay didn't make any major additions to its receiving corps, but it may see quarterback Jordan Love build upon his strong finish to last year's campaign.

Love hit a few road bumps early in the season but was playing at an elite level by the end of the year. In his two postseason outings, he had a cumulative 108.6 passer rating.

The Packers' young receiving corps—headlined by Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, Dontayvion Wicks, Christian Watson, Bo Melton, Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft—remains intact. It was a very impressive group as a whole—the Packers ranked ninth in net yards per pass attempt—even if no one player reached 800 receiving yards.

The passing offense may get a boost out of the backfield this season following the addition of running back Josh Jacobs. While former starter Aaron Jones was no slouch as a receiver, Jacobs, the 2022 NFL scrimmage-yards leader, is a proven high-volume, dual-threat back when healthy. He and rookie running back MarShawn Lloyd (232 receiving yards in 2023) will regularly provide Love with outlet targets.

The potential wild card here is rookie offensive lineman Jordan Morgan. While some viewed the former Arizona standout as a guard prospect, he played left tackle in college, and that's where the Packers plan to develop him.

"I think (left tackle) is naturally where you'd look. That's what he's played his whole career," head coach Matt LaFleur said, per Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal.

While Morgan may indeed become the heir to longtime starting left tackle David Bakhtiari, the rookie will likely compete with Rasheed Walker, Zach Tom and Andre Dillard to fill out Green Bay's starting tackle spots this offseason. He could also compete at guard, a position that lost Jon Runyan in free agency.

Protecting Love will be critical in 2024, so the competition along the line, and Morgan's development, will be intriguing aspects of offseason workouts.

Houston Texans

Nico Collins and C.J. Stroud Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Passing Offense

Key Returning Players: QB C.J. Stroud, WR Nico Collins, WR Tank Dell

Most Impactful Addition: WR Stefon Diggs

Player to Track in OTAs: TE Cade Stover

Simply put, the exponential rise of the Houston Texans in 2023 doesn't take place without C.J. Stroud and the vast improvement of the passing game.

Going into the season there were some promising pieces and potential for a better-than-expected offense. The reality surpassed even the most optimistic projections, though.

Stroud won Offensive Rookie of the Year on the strength of a stat line that included 4,108 passing yards and 23 touchdowns to just five interceptions. According to PFF, he had the third-most completions of 20-plus yards while offering the lowest turnover-worthy play rate on those types of passes.

In other words, Stroud had an elite ability to target deep areas of the field without putting the ball in harm's way. There are still things Stroud can improve on, but he laid the foundation for a great career in 2023.

The Texans saw that, recognized it and got aggressive to make sure he has playmakers around him. Nico Collins had a breakout season and Tank Dell was an impressive weapon when healthy, but the Texans still made the aggressive move to bring in Stefon Diggs.

The 30-year-old might be starting to show some wear and tear from his career, but landing in Houston might be the perfect thing to get him back on track. Even after fading out of the Bills game plan late in the year, he still had 107 receptions for 1,183 yards and eight touchdowns.

Diggs should be a force multiplier in the passing game, allowing Collins to get more one-on-ones and Tank Dell to have more room to operate on underneath routes.

The Texans also found another potential weapon in the fourth round with tight end Cade Stover. The Ohio State product is a versatile in-line tight end who could allow offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik to get a little more creative.

Indianapolis Colts

Braden Smith and Bernhard Raimann Bob Levey/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Offensive Line

Key Returning Players: OT Bernhard Raimann, OG Quenton Nelson, OT Braden Smith

Most Impactful Addition: IOL Matt Goncalves

Player to Track in OTAs: IOL Tanor Bortolini

New head coach Shane Steichen deserves a ton of credit for how well the Colts offense played last season considering the injuries they dealt with. The offensive line deserves a lot of the shine too.

Steichen's ability to adjust to going from Anthony Richardson to Gardner Minshew II had a lot to do with an offensive line that was adept at both protecting the quarterback and clearing run lanes.

Left tackle Bernhard Raimann, center Ryan Kelly and right tackle Braden Smith all received top-10 grades for their position from PFF. Quenton Nelson was ranked 16th among guards. Offensive line analyst Brandon Thorn was impressed with Will Fries' first full season as a starter.

The group allowed pressure on just 18.3 percent of dropbacks, and the Colts offense was 10th in yards per carry at 4.3.

One of the biggest positives for the Colts going into next season is that they will retain their entire starting five up front. That should make life easier for Steichen and enhance the possibility that they can keep Anthony Richardson healthy in his second season.

The Colts didn't have to replace any starters, but that didn't keep them from investing at the position. They used back-to-back draft picks on the offensive line with the selection of Matt Goncalves in the third round and Tanor Bortolini in the fourth.

Goncalves played both left and right tackle at Pitt. He could become a swing tackle in Year 1, although Thorn ranked him as an interior offensive lineman.

Bortolini was actually ranked higher on our board, so the former Wisconsin guard is someone to watch in OTAs as he could move up the depth chart faster.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Travon Walker (left) and Josh Allen (right) Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Defensive Front

Key Returning Players: Edge Josh Allen, LB Devin Lloyd, LB Foyesade Oluokun

Most Impactful Addition: DT Arik Armstead

Player to Track in OTAs: DT Maason Smith

The Jaguars pass-catchers were the choice at the beginning of the offseason, but the loss of Calvin Ridley made it hard for that to remain the answer. Some of that will depend on how quickly Brian Thomas Jr. can be an impact player.

Instead, it's the defensive front that is the easiest to get excited about with the Jaguars. They weren't able to keep Ridley in the fold, but they extended Josh Allen's contract. That was huge after his 17.5 sacks last year.

He's joined on the edge by Travon Walker, who more than doubled his production in his second year. He put up 10 sacks and 61 total pressures, per Sports Info Solutions. He was always expected to take a while to hit his massive ceiling, so there could be even more in store for Year 3.

Devin Lloyd and Foyesade Oluokun form one of the better linebacker duos in the league. They combined for 300 total tackles in 2023, and Oluokun added some production as a blitzer with 10 quarterback hits and 2.5 sacks. Oluokun was ranked 21st among all linebackers graded by PFF while Lloyd was 14th.

They could have even better seasons in 2024 given the upgrades on the interior of the defensive line. Having Arik Armstead come over from San Francisco brings even more legitimacy to the defensive line. He's 30 and has had some injury issues, but still managed five sacks and 13 quarterback hits in 12 games last season.

Adding Maason Smith to the mix gives them another high-upside defender. He is a former 5-star recruit with immense talent, but some injury concerns probably impacted his draft stock.

Kansas City Chiefs

Isiah Pacheco and Patrick Mahomes Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Offensive Backfield

Key Returning Players: QB Patrick Mahomes, RB Isiah Pacheco

Most Impactful Addition: QB Carson Wentz

Player to Track in OTAs: RB Louis Rees-Zammit

The Kansas City Chiefs are trying to go on the greatest run in NFL history with three consecutive Super Bowls. Their defense was a key element of last season's title run, but they wouldn't have such a grip on the lead if it weren't for their offensive backfield.

Specifically, Patrick Mahomes.

When you take Mahomes out of the equation, the Chiefs offense looks pedestrian. If you swapped out Mahomes for someone like Derek Carr, who was 16th in QBR last season, the opposing defensive coordinator would sleep pretty soundly.

But with Mahomes at the controls, the Chiefs are one of the league's best offenses.

Isiah Pacheco has become an important cog in the offense too. He's not a superstar, but he was 11th in breakaway run rate last season and boasted the second-highest catch rate among running backs, per Player Profiler.

He gives them enough juice in the run game to keep defenses honest.

Carson Wentz is the most impactful addition because he gives them an experienced backup who should keep the offense afloat in the event of a minor injury to Mahomes. He won his only start as the Rams backup last season and should be an upgrade over Blaine Gabbert.

The Chiefs also grabbed an intriguing International Pathway free agent in Louis Rees-Zammit. The 23-year-old was a star rugby player from Wales. Now, he'll try his hand at football. He ran a 4.43 40-yard dash at a pro day and is already drawing attention at OTAs.

If he makes the roster, it's not hard seeing Andy Reid finding some creative ways to use him.

Las Vegas Raiders

William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Defensive Line

Key Returning Players: Edge Maxx Crosby, Edge Malcolm Koonce, DL Tyree Wilson

Most Impactful Addition: DT Christian Wilkins

Player to Track in OTAs: DL Tyree Wilson

The Raiders took on a new identity the day they fired Josh McDaniels and installed Antonio Pierce as the head coach. Going from a quarterback guru and offensively oriented apple from the Bill Belichick tree to a young, former linebacker kickstarted a strong defensive run to end the season.

From Weeks 9-18 they were the best defense in EPA allowed per rush and second in EPA allowed per play.

The defensive front is a big reason. The Raiders just gave Maxx Crosby a pay bump, and he certainly deserved it after leading the league with 100 pressures, per Sports Info Solutions. His durability and relentlessness are remarkable, playing 95 percent or more of the snaps over the last two seasons.

Malcolm Koonce came on at the end of the year as a second pass-rushing threat for teams to worry about. He had 36 pressures and eight sacks in the last half of the season.

With both of them flying off the edge, it was bad news for the rest of the league that Christian Wilkins decided to sign with the Silver and Black. Wilkins is a good run defender but upped his pass-rush game in his final season with the Dolphins.

He had 62 pressures and nine sacks from the interior. He should be the missing link for a defensive line that will be in the conversation as one of the best in the league.

A breakout year from last year's first-round pick Tyree Wilson would help their case. Levi Edwards of the team's website already noted Wilson has undergone a physical transformation over the last year.

That bodes well for the Raiders being even scarier in 2024.

Los Angeles Chargers

Khalil Mack and Justin Herbert Icon Sportswire

Biggest Strength: Defensive Line

Key Returning Players: Edge Joey Bosa, Edge Khalil Mack, Edge Tuli Tuipulotu

Most Impactful Addition: Edge Bud Dupree

Player to Track in OTAs: DL Justin Eboigbe

The Chargers have made it clear that they will be all about prioritizing the trenches under new general manager Joe Hortiz and head coach Jim Harbaugh.

The offensive line could be an emerging strength after Los Angeles drafted Joe Alt in the first round this offseason, but the defensive line is better than any unit on the roster.

Going into the offseason, the Chargers had a tricky cap situation with no room and four players set to carry cap hits of over $30 million. Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa were the two they decided to keep while cutting Mike Williams and Keenan Allen.

Injuries kept the Chargers' defensive front from reaching its potential in 2023, but the pieces are there to be a dominant group in 2024. Joey Bosa has played only 14 games the last two years, but he has 6.5 sacks in those games, so he's remained productive.

Khalil Mack is 33 years old, but he hasn't shown signs of slowing down yet. He was one of the few bright spots from last season's campaign, notching a career-high 17 sacks.

One upside of Bosa's injury situation was that Tuli Tuipulotu got a lot of important experience as a rookie. After notching 36 pressures and 4.5 sacks, he's in line to take the next step in defensive coordinator Jesse Minter's system.

The Chargers didn't need to make any major additions to the unit. They had much more pressing needs elsewhere, but Bud Dupree gives them the extra depth they didn't really have last season.

They also made an under-the-radar addition through the draft in interior defender Justin Eboigbe. The Alabama defender has a long build at 6'4", 292 pounds that could help him develop into a good 4i or 5-technique.

Los Angeles Rams

Rams WR Puka Nacua Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Passing Offense

Key Returning Players: QB Matthew Stafford, WR Cooper Kupp, WR Puka Nacua

Most Impactful Addition: G Jonah Jackson

Player to Track in OTAs: WR Jordan Whittington

We labeled the Los Angeles Rams' receiving corps as its biggest strength before the offseason. While we love how L.A. reloaded its defensive front—and the addition of running back Blake Corum—the receiver group is still one of the best in the league.

Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua—who set a new rookie record with 1,486 receiving yards last season—form arguably the top duo in the NFL. Tight end Tyler Higbee is back, and the Rams re-signed Demarcus Robinson, who emerged as a strong WR3 late in the season.

We'll now expand things to include the entire passing offense after L.A. tendered Alaric Jackson, re-signed Kevin Dotson and signed Jonah Jackson. The Rams should have an even better offensive line in 2024, which will aid quarterback Matthew Stafford, who returned to Pro Bowl form last season.

Dotson and Jackson might form the top guard tandem in the conference this year.

While Stafford is seeking a revised contract that includes more guaranteed money, he was present at the start of OTAs. A holdout appears unlikely, though his contract situation bears watching.

It'll also be interesting to track rookie sixth-round pick Jordan Whittington during OTAs and the rest of the offseason. The Texas product isn't considered overly athletic or fast, but he can add a different dynamic to L.A.'s receiver group.

"His value comes with his consistency and willingness to do any dirty work necessary," Zierlein wrote. "He can be found making tough catches in traffic or getting after opponents as a run blocker."

General manager Les Snead has a recent track record of finding value late in the draft—Nacua was a fifth-round pick—so when the Rams tapped into a deep receiver pool late, it was worth taking notice.

Whittington may not be expected to contribute early, but that sentiment could change if he quickly progresses in Sean McVay's offense. If the rookie emerges as a quality WR4 or viable slot alternative, one of the league's top passing offenses will be even better.

Miami Dolphins

Jaylen Waddle celebrates with Tyreek Hill, Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Skill Players

Key Returning Players: WR Tyreek Hill, WR Jaylen Waddle, RB Raheem Mostert, RB De'Von Achane

Most Impactful Addition: WR Odell Beckham Jr.

Player to Track in OTAs: RB Jaylen Wright

No team in the league is more synonymous with a single trait than the Miami Dolphins and pure speed. If the league put together a track meet everyone else would be running for second place.

The skill group of the Dolphins is more than track speed, though. It's functional speed from both the running back and wide receiver position that allows Mike McDaniel to get in his bag with new wrinkles and ways to get his playmakers the ball all the time.

Hill and Waddle were one of the most difficult duos in the league to defend at wide receiver. They combined for 2,840 yards from scrimmage. The running back duo of Mostert and Achane were big play-machines, combining for 2,184 total yards.

The only downside to the group is that both Mostert and Achane carry injury risks. Mostert has dealt with injuries throughout his career and he'll be 32 this season. Achane was limited to eight games because of various knee and toe injuries.

The Dolphins took a step toward addressing their running back depth by drafting Jaylen Wright out of Tennessee. True to form, he's a burner. He ran a 4.38 in the pre-draft process and was a home run hitter for the Volunteers last season.

The receiving corps needed a third receiver last season who could take advantage of the attention that Hill and Waddle draw from defenses. The Dolphins opted for a high-profile answer, signing Odell Beckham Jr.

He had 565 yards and three touchdowns in the Ravens' run-heavy offense last season. His days as a good No. 2 receiver might be over, but he's a strong third option.

Minnesota Vikings

Vikings DL Harrison Phillips Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Pass Rush

Key Returning Players: DL Harrison Phillips, LB Ivan Pace Jr.

Most Impactful Addition: Edge Jonathan Greenard

Player to Track in OTAs: Edge Dallas Turner

The good news for rookie quarterback J.J. McCarthy is that the Minnesota Vikings' receiving corps is still quite good, even if it isn't currently the team's biggest strength. Justin Jefferson is one of the NFL's best receivers, and rookie Jordan Addison (911 yards, 10 TDs) showed a lot of growth as a rookie.

However, standout tight end T.J. Hockenson is recovering from multiple torn knee ligaments and could miss a significant amount of time in 2024. Minnesota also lost No. 3 receiver K.J. Osborn (540 yards, 3 TDs in 2023) in free agency.

The Vikings also lost star pass-rusher Danielle Hunter, but turnover at the edge position may make a pass rush that produced 43 sacks last season even better.

To replace Hunter, the Vikings added Jonathan Greenard, an ascending 26-year-old who recorded 12.5 sacks and 32 quarterback pressures in 2023. They also brought in Andrew Van Ginkel (6.0 sacks in 2023), Jihad Ward (5.0 sacks) and Jonah Williams (2.0 sacks) to bolster edge depth.

Defensive lineman Harrison Phillips (3 sacks, 8 QB pressures) will still be a factor in the middle, along with newcomer Jerry Tillery (2 sacks, 9 QB pressures). Do-it-all linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. (2.0 sacks, 10 pressures), is also back following a very impressive rookie campaign.

Minnesota used its second first-round pick on Alabama pass-rusher Dallas Turner, who has the physical upside needed to become a Pro Bowler in coordinator Brian Flores' defense.

"Turner's athleticism stands out as a pass-rusher, as he's able to execute a difficult ghost rush move at a high level," Holder wrote. "A lot of that has to do with his bend, as he has a limber lower half to turn tight corners at the top of the rush."

Turner and Greenard could be one of the league's best edge-rushing duos by the end of the year. While Minnesota's receiving corps could be back to form by then too, the Vikings are positioned to lean on their defense early while getting McCarthy acclimated to the NFL.

New England Patriots

Josh Uche and Christian Barmore Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Run Defense

Key Returning Players: DT Christian Barmore, LB Jahlani Tavai, Edge Anfernee Jennings

Most Impactful Addition: LB Sione Takitaki

Player to Track in OTAs: DL Keion White

There weren't many things the New England Patriots were good at last season, but stopping the run was one of them. The offense might not have been able to take advantage, but teams couldn't just close out the lead by running the ball against the Patriots defensive front.

If we want to get really specific, the defensive tackle tandem of Christian Barmore and Davon Godchaux probably created the best position group for the Patriots. Barmore was the eighth-highest-graded interior defender by PFF and he was especially potent against the run, racking up 16 tackles for loss and 65 total tackles with an average depth of 1.8 yards, per Sports Info Solutions.

Godchaux had less gaudy numbers but has been a strong, space-eating nose tackle in the middle of the defense. Linebackers Jahlani Tavai and Ja'Whaun Bentley are good downhill gap-fillers behind them.

Sione Takitaki will join the group after a run as a part-time starter for the Cleveland Browns.

The Patriots spent most of their draft picks and free-agency dollars on the offensive side of the ball, so there are no new additions to watch in OTAs. However, it will be interesting to track Keion White as he could be primed for a second-year breakout season.

By the end of the season, he seemed to have overtaken Deatrich Wise Jr. as a starting defensive end. He has the tools to continue the trend of dominant run defenders if he finds the right role.

New Orleans Saints

Saints CB Marshon Lattimore Ryan Kang/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Secondary

Key Returning Players: CB Marshon Lattimore, S Tyrann Mathieu, CB Paulson Adebo

Most Impactful Addition: CB Kool-Aid McKinstry

Player to Track in OTAs: S Millard Bradford

The New Orleans Saints weren't exactly elite in any one area last season, but their secondary was a team strength. While the defense didn't get much help from the pass rush (34 sacks), it finished the year ranked a solid 12th in net yards per pass attempt allowed and 10th in passing yards surrendered.

The secondary should still be New Orleans' biggest strength, even though free safety Marcus Maye remains unsigned. Star cornerback Marshon Lattimore, standout safety Tyrann Mathieu, cornerback Paulson Adebo and cornerback Alontae Taylor are all returning, along with 2023 fifth-round pick Jordan Howden.

Howden showed some potential as a rookie, notching five passes defended and a forced fumble. He appears poised to replace Maye—who was suspended for three games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy and landed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury—full-time.

Along with Maye, the Saints parted with cornerbacks Isaac Yiadom and Lonnie Johnson Jr. However, they also added defensive back Will Harris in free agency.

General manager Mickey Loomis wisely used a first-round pick on offensive lineman Taliese Fuaga, but he came back in Round 2 to snag a first-round-caliber prospect in cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry.

McKinstry was the 15th-ranked overall prospect on the B/R Scouting Department's final draft board and has the traits needed to become a solid starter quickly.

"His skills are undeniable and gives defensive coordinators the versatility to play multiple schemes," Cory Giddings of the B/R Scouting Department wrote.

Fans will undoubtedly follow McKinstry's development during OTAs and minicamps, but they should also keep an eye on undrafted safety Millard Bradford. The TCU product flashed some strong coverage skills in college (4 passes defended, 2 INTs in 2023) and could provide some additional depth behind Howden.

As long as free-agent addition Chase Young can help improve the pass rush alongside Carl Granderson and Cameron Jordan, New Orleans should have a top-10 pass defense in 2024.

New York Giants

Giants edge-rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux Michael Owens/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Defensive Front

Key Returning Players: DT Dexter Lawrence II, DL Rakeem Nuñez-Roches, Edge Kayvon Thibodeaux

Most Impactful Addition: Edge Brian Burns

Player to Track in OTAs: DT Jordon Riley

The New York Giants added quite a few players this offseason, including rookie receiver Malik Nabers, rookie safety Tyler Nubin, guard Jon Runyan, offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor and trade acquisition Brian Burns.

It's the addition of Burns that will help New York's defensive front remain a team strength.

Burns is a top-tier edge-rusher when he's playing at his best, and getting him for second- and fifth-round picks was a bargain. He should pair with 2023 breakout star Kayvon Thibodeaux (11.5 sacks) to form one of the better pass-rushing tandems in the conference.

Burns finished his final campaign in Carolina with eight sacks and had 20.5 sacks and 51 quarterback pressures over the past two seasons.

While the Giants' defensive front did lose players like Jihad Ward and A'Shawn Robinson in free agency, Pro Bowl defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence II, Rakeem Nuñez-Roches and Boogie Basham all return along with Thibodeaux.

New York also brought in former Bills defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, who logged 15 tackles and 2.5 sacks last season.

Naturally, fans will want to see how Burns and Phillips fit with the holdovers in new defensive coordinator Shane Bowen's scheme during the early offseason. However, they should also keep an eye on second-year defensive lineman Jordon Riley.

Riley, a 2023 seventh-round pick out of Oregon, only saw 136 defensive snaps as a rookie. However, he generated a fair bit of attention last offseason.

"The gifts he has, a coach can't give you that," defensive line coach Andre Patterson said, per Zach Braziller of the New York Post.

Riley impressed enough to see the field as a rookie. The towering 6'5", 315-pound defender could see an expanded role this season if he flashes enough during the offseason. Doing so would help flesh out a defensive line that looks like New York's most stable unit heading into training camp.

New York Jets

Sauce Gardner Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Secondary

Key Returning Players: CB Sauce Gardner, CB D.J. Reed, NB Michael Carter II

Most Impactful Addition: CB Isaiah Oliver

Player to Track in OTAs: CB Qwan'tez Stiggers

You can tell how much the New York Jets front office believes in their secondary by just how little they did to it this offseason. Their biggest move was signing Isaiah Oliver to a one-year, $2.5 million contract.

Oliver wasn't able to seize the starting nickel role with the Niners, but he's still a good pickup to bolster the depth of the room.

It's hard to do better than the Jets' projected starting trio of corners. Sauce Gardner is now a two-time All-Pro selection in as many years and D.J. Reed held opponents to an 80.3 passer rating when targeted.

Michael Carter II more than held his own in the slot. He surrendered just 4.8 yards per target.

There are some questions at safety. Jordan Whitehead left in free agency and the Jets haven't done anything to replace him. However, they are getting Chuck Clark back from the torn ACL he suffered last summer, Tony Adams collected three picks last season and the safety market still has some good players like Justin Simmons and Quandre Diggs who could help.

With so much talent in the defensive backfield, it's going to be hard for a younger player to break into the rotation. However, Qwan'tez Stiggers is still an intriguing name to watch in OTAs. He didn't play college football but was named the Most Outstanding Rookie in the CFL last season.

Stiggers had five interceptions for the Toronto Argonauts and took a unique path to get to this point in his career.

Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles WR A.J. Brown Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Skill Group

Key Returning Players: WR A.J. Brown, WR DeVonta Smith, TE Dallas Goedert

Most Impactful Addition: RB Saquon Barkley

Player to Track in OTAs: RB Will Shipley

The Philadelphia Eagles entered the offseason with arguably the top offensive line in the NFL. While the line should still be a team strength, the retirement of standout center Jason Kelce creates a bit of uncertainty.

There should be no uncertainty surrounding an Eagles skill group that appears scary on paper. The Philly offense and quarterback Jalen Hurts have long benefited from a stellar trio in DeVonta Smith, A.J. Brown and Dallas Goedert. However, the Eagles have struggled to find a consistent third receiver.

Brown and Smith both topped 1,000 receiving yards in 2023, while Goedert had 592. However, no other receiver or tight end reached 200 receiving yards.

Philly added a candidate for the WR3 role in Parris Campbell in free agency. It added two more in rookie receivers Ainias Smith and Johnny Wilson. Smith, a fifth-round pick out of Texas A&M well-suited for the slot, is particularly intriguing.

While running back D'Andre Swift was a Pro Bowler in 2023, the Eagles appear to have upgraded with do-it-all star Saquon Barkley. Landing Barkley wasn't cheap—he signed a three-year, $37.8 million deal—but his versatile skill set will make it extremely difficult for opposing defenses to consistently blitz Hurts.

While Barkley and returning backup Kenneth Gainwell will likely lead Philadelphia's backfield, fans should be interested in seeing rookie fourth-round pick Will Shipley during OTAs. The former Clemson running back can be a dangerous receiver out of the backfield and could carve out an early role.

"He's best as a simple checkdown and underneath option, though he flashed some ability to win down the field on wheel and seam routes," Klassen wrote.

With Hurts' dual-threat ability added to the mix, new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore should be able to craft some truly intriguing game plans. Provided Philadelphia finds an adequate replacement for Kelce at center, it should have a championship-caliber offense in 2024.

Pittsburgh Steelers

T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith Lauren Leigh Bacho/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Defensive Front

Key Returning Players: Edge T.J. Watt, Edge Alex Highsmith, DL Cameron Heyward

Most Impactful Addition: LB Patrick Queen

Player to Track in OTAs: LB Payton Wilson

It was hard to include the Steelers linebackers as a strength at the beginning of the offseason. The team had to lean on a rotating cast of veterans to fill in at the position last season. They weren't always a liability, but they also weren't a strength.

That shouldn't be the case in 2024.

The most notable addition on defense this offseason was signing former Raven Patrick Queen. He'll leave Roquan Smith to become the top off-ball linebacker on his own team. His athleticism and playmaking is a real upgrade over anyone they had last season.

Payton Wilson is one of the biggest boom-or-bust prospects in the draft. He has elite athletic tools but an extensive injury history and short arms (6th percentile) for the position.

He's already 24 years old, so there should be an expectation that he contributes right away. He'll need to make an early impression at OTAs.

The real strength of the front seven really lies on the perimeter, though. T.J. Watt remains one of the most productive players in the league, and Alex Highsmith has proved to be a worthy sidekick.

Watt notched 19 sacks and an impressive 17.7 pressure percentage by himself. Highsmith was the 10th-highest-graded edge defender by PFF last season. Throw in Cameron Heyward on the inside and you have a defensive front that serves as the engine for the entire Steelers roster.

San Francisco 49ers

49ers WR Deebo Samuel Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Skill Group

Key Returning Players: RB Christian McCaffrey, WR Brandon Aiyuk, WR Deebo Samuel, TE George Kittle

Most Impactful Addition: WR Ricky Pearsall

Player to Track in OTAs: RB Isaac Guerendo

Before the start of free agency, the 49ers' skill group was pretty much universally considered the best in the league. There was some speculation, however, that San Francisco might break up the group by trading wideout Brandon Aiyuk or receiver Deebo Samuel.

Speculation only grew after the 49ers used a first-round pick on Florida receiver Ricky Pearsall. The dynamic playmaker could easily be viewed as a replacement for Aiyuk, who is in the final year of his rookie contract. However, the 49ers don't appear to be moving on from their veterans just yet.

"We're excited about continuing down that path and Brandon being a part of this team," general manager John Lynch said in April, per ESPN's Nick Wagoner. "Deebo is a part of this team and a big part of this team. We feel great about that group and we feel like we just made it better with another really good addition to it,"

San Francisco tendered restricted free agent Jauan Jennings and used a fourth-round pick on Arizona receiver Jacob Cowing, so the receiver room is even deeper than it was a year ago. And the 49ers still have All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey, All-Pro tight end George Kittle and All-Pro fullback Kyle Juszczyk.

Following Pearsall and Cowing through OTAs should be fun, as fans should get a feel for how head coach Shanahan might deploy them in 2024. Fans should also keep an eye on former Louisville running back and fourth-round pick Isaac Guerendo.

Guerendo isn't a threat to take McCaffrey's starting role this season, but he could factor heavily into the offense. With a great combination of size (6'0", 221 lbs) and speed (4.33-second 40-yard dash), the Wisconsin transfer might jump Elijah Mitchell as RB2, provide a change of pace and help lighten McCaffrey's workload significantly.

McCaffrey led the league in scrimmage yards (2,023) last season, but he also led the NFL with 339 touches. If Guerendo can help keep the 27-year-old fresh for the postseason, San Francisco's skill group could be nearly impossible to contain.

Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks DL Leonard Williams Ryan Kang/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Defensive Front

Key Returning Players: DL Leonard Williams, DL Dre'Mont Jones, DT Jarran Reed

Most Impactful Addition: DL Byron Murphy II

Player to Track in OTAs: DL Byron Murphy II

Before free agency, we highlighted the Seattle Seahawks' receiving corps as a team strength. The group of DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Noah Fant is back and remains one of the better groups in the league. However, it's hard not to get excited about Seattle's evolving defensive front.

The unit wasn't great throughout the 2023 season—Seattle ranked 27th in yards per carry allowed and 30th in total defense—but it saw a jump with the in-season addition of Leonard Williams.

Williams racked up 41 tackles, four sacks and 15 quarterback pressures in only 10 games with Seattle. He's back on a new three-year, $64.5 million contract. It'll be very interesting to see how Williams, Dre'Mont Jones and Jarran Reed can evolve under new head coach Mike Macdonald.

Macdonald was the architect of the Ravens' top-ranked scoring defense in 2023—a unit that saw tremendous production from the likes of defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, defensive end Brent Urban and edge-rusher Jadeveon Clowney.

Fans should expect Seattle's new-look defense to lean heavily on its defensive front. Seattle added to that group by signing Johnathan Hankins and using the 16th overall pick on Texas defensive lineman Byron Murphy II.

Murphy was viewed as an elite defensive prospect and should begin pushing for playing time during offseason workouts. His ability to win reps early will command attention in practices.

"Murphy's get-off and overall quickness are what pops off the tape at first, especially for his size," Holder wrote. "The 308-pounder either gets into offensive linemen shortly after the snap or uses his impressive agility and quickness to beat guards across their faces when slanting."

Having Murphy on the same line as Williams could create nightmares for opposing offensive linemen.

Seattle's defensive line is both talented and deep, and it should become a focal point under Macdonald. While the receiving corps is still very, very good, the Seahawks defensive front has the potential to be dominant.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers WR Mike Evans John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Skill Group

Key Returning Players: WR Mike Evans, WR Chris Godwin, RB Rachaad White

Most Impactful Addition: WR Jalen McMillan

Player to Track in OTAs: RB Bucky Irving

Before the start of free agency, we identified the defensive front seven as a team strength of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, that unit took a bit of a hit when Tampa parted with pass-rusher Shaquil Barrett and linebacker Devin White during the early offseason.

It's still a talented unit, and additions like Randy Gregory and rookie second-round pick Chris Braswell will help reload the group. However, the Bucs' collection of skill players feels just a bit stronger coming out of the draft.

Tampa retained No. 1 receiver Mike Evans with a new two-year, $41 million contract in free agency. No. 2 receiver Chris Godwin is back as well, as is underrated tight end Cade Otton (455 yards, 4 TDs) and starting running back Rachaad White.

While White struggled to boost Tampa's ground game in 2023, he amassed 1,539 scrimmage yards and nine touchdowns. It'll be interesting to see if first-round rookie canter Graham Barton can provide more running room for the league's 32nd-ranked rushing attack. If White can find more open running lanes, he has Pro Bowl potential.

Rookie third-round pick Jalen McMillan could quickly boost Tampa's passing attack as well. He's a talented and explosive prospect who could quickly replace Trey Palmer as WR3 and could eventually replace Godwin, who is set to be a 2025 free agent.

"McMillan should contribute right away in the NFL," Klassen wrote. "His well-rounded athletic profile, route-running chops and reliable hands will allow him to be productive from day one, both from the slot and outside."

Fans should also keep an eye on rookie running back Bucky Irving during OTAs and minicamps. The Oregon product lacks ideal size (5'9", 192 lbs) but has the vision, short-area burst and pass-catching ability needed to make an early impact.

If Irving progresses quickly, he can provide Tampa with the quality second rushing option it lacked in 2023. As a pass-catcher and a change of pace, he could become a very valuable addition.

Tennessee Titans

DeAndre Hopkins Justin Ford/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Pass-Catchers

Key Returning Players: WR DeAndre Hopkins, TE Chigoziem Okonkwo

Most Impactful Addition: WR Calvin Ridley

Player to Track in OTAs: WR Treylon Burks

A year ago, the Titans had one of the worst receiver groups in the league. In the wake of the A.J. Brown trade, they didn't have a No. 1 receiver or even a collection of secondary options that could cause problems for defenses.

Fast-forward to the present and they have put together an ensemble that should give Will Levis every chance to prove he can be the franchise quarterback.

It started with the move to sign DeAndre Hopkins after the Cardinals released him right around this time last year. The roll of the dice on Hopkins worked out as he posted his first 1,000-yard season since 2020 and gave them a legitimate No. 1 option.

This offseason, they've added the depth.

Calvin Ridley worked just fine as the Jaguars' No. 1 receiver last year. However, his best fit is probably as a high-end second option. That's exactly what he'll be with the Titans after defecting from their division rival.

Chigoziem Okonkwo might have disappointed fantasy football managers, but he was the second-leading receiver in the Titans' run-heavy offense last season.

New head coach Brian Callahan went to a familiar face to create a good receiving trio. The Titans signed Tyler Boyd to a one-year deal. He'll give them a consistent veteran who can man the slot.

Whether the group can blossom will depend on the younger talent underneath the top three. This feels like a make-or-break season for Treylon Burks. Hopkins has publicly hyped Burks at OTAs already this offseason. His continued performance is a storyline to watch.

Washington Commanders

Commanders DT Daron Payne Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Biggest Strength: Defensive Front Seven

Key Returning Players: DT Daron Payne, DT Jonathan Allen

Most Impactful Addition: LB Bobby Wagner

Player to Track in OTAs: LB Jordan Magee

Entering the offseason, the Washington Commanders' wide receiver group appeared to be the team's biggest strength. However, that no longer appears to be the case after Washington experienced a ton of roster turnover in the offseason.

Rookie quarterback Jayden Daniels should still benefit from a strong receiver tandem in Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson. However, the Commanders lost Curtis Samuel in free agency and will look to replace him with an unproven rookie in Luke McCaffrey.

Meanwhile, Washington added significantly to a defensive front seven that already included standout defensive tackles Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen.

Edge-rushers Dante Fowler Jr., Dorance Armstrong and Clelin Ferrell will help replace Montez Sweat and Chase Young, who were both traded at last year's deadline. Linebackers Bobby Wagner and Frankie Luvu will help upgrade a second-level defense that had its fair share of issues in 2023.

Wagner, in particular, should be a massive addition because of his Pro Bowl talent, experience and leadership. New head coach Dan Quinn is looking to change the culture in Washington, and Wagner—a six-time All-Pro and one-time Super Bowl champion—can mirror that effort on the field.

While fans are likely to track every throw from Daniels during OTAs, they should also follow second-round rookie Jer'Zhan Newton as he looks to recover from foot surgery. Additionally, fans should keep an eye on rookie fifth-round pick Jordan Magee, an intriguing prospect with the sort of athletic upside teams get excited about.

"Magee's game is rooted in speed and athleticism. He also has a decent frame that has room for growth, which helps make him an interesting project at linebacker," Holder wrote. "However, Magee is more of an athlete than a football player right now,"

Even with Wagner and Luvu in the mix, Washington could use another playmaker at the second level. It'll be fun to see if Magee can develop quickly enough to become one as a rookie.

*Cap and contract information via Spotrac. Advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted.


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