The Good: The bright spot for this Falcons team is the athleticism they put on the field. While not always the best-rated players, the Falcons do field the 3rd ranked defense and 10th rated offense in terms of athleticism. Outside of athleticism, the next best thing about this team is Matt Ryan’s 15th ranking in adjusted QB rating as well as the 15th rated pass rush per the ORR.
The Bad: As athletic as the defense is, they are lacking in ability. The 31st rated man coverage and 27th rated zone coverage make the Falcons one of the worst coverage units in the league. The team’s ability to stop the run is in question as well with a 31st ranking in run defense. The final straw is the 29th rated cap situation which could have long-lasting impacts on team construction.
The Bottom Line: There’s no denying this Falcons team can fly around the field. However, the ability of the guys as they move around the field is questionable. There is some upside specifically on the offense, as they do have stars such as Gurley, Jones, Ryan, and potentially Ridley. The issue with this team is one we have seen throughout these write-ups: cap space.
While not as bad off as the Eagles, the Falcons will have to make some moves to secure their long term stability. One guy who is going to need to be moved is Alex Mack. Not that Mack clears space but he won’t be able to be re-signed so it’s important to try and get something back from him while you can. Similar to Mack, I’d look at the potential of moving one of Tak McKinely, Keanu Neal, or Todd Gurley because of similar cap considerations.
The Falcons have enough appeal offensively to pull them up the franchise team selection process. While they have some appeal, they also have some serious issues that I would be leery of taking on. The cap situation will hang around for a while so an owner who doesn’t handle tight cap situations should avoid this team if possible.
The Good: Another of the ultra-athletic teams, the Panthers especially shine on the offensive side, coming in 4th in offensive athleticism. Along with being on the elite side athletically, the offensive weapons as a whole rank 6th. The Panthers find themselves in a solid position on the offensive line ranked 13th and 15th in pass and run blocking ratings respectively.
The Bad: The major issue for the Panthers is their secondary. The Panthers secondary is the worst coverage unit in the game with a 31st man coverage ranking and 32nd zone ranking. Outside of the coverage issues, the Panthers’ other problem is their quarterback. Teddy Bridgewater is the 24th rated QB in adjusted QB rating. While not as bad as other teams, the 21st ranking in ORR is of concern as well.
The Bottom Line: The Panthers are a team with some upside. Christian McCaffrey alone will be enough for some people to take the Panthers, but add the speed at wide receiver and they shouldn’t be a hard sell. My concern is focused on a secondary that just can’t cover anyone, but they do have some speed to chase them down after the fact. The other issue is Teddy Bridgewater is below average at QB with a contract that can’t be moved for at least 2 years.
This team needs help in the secondary. The thing that makes this team so attractive, offensive speed, is the thing you will most likely have to use to acquire some help. I’d look to move one of the wide receivers in an attempt to get some help in the secondary. If you can get a corner opposite Donte Jackson this team gets a lot more appealing.
People will like this team because of the athleticism on both sides of the ball, but specifically the offensive side. In Madden where speed kills, the Panthers have enough of it to make owners take the Panthers high in their franchise team selection. There are worse rebuilds. However, if you are a guy looking to build up a QB this may not be the team for you because of the situation with Bridgewater.
The Good: The offensive weapons on this team are spectacular out of the gate. Three players with abilities on offense, where they rank 4th by the way, make this offense the 3rd rated weapons unit in the game. On the defensive side, the Bucs have the 1st ranked run defense along with the 10th rated pass-rushing unit. Even with all this talent, the Buccaneers are 10th in salary cap available.
The Bad: This could be good or bad depending on your view, however, Tom Brady at his advanced age is ranked 25th in adjusted QB rating. Defensively the Buccaneers have issues in the secondary with 28th ranked man coverage and 30th ranked zone coverage units. For as much passing as this team plans to do the 21st rated pass blocking ranking is a slight concern.
The Bottom Line: The Buccaneers will be one of the first teams off the board because they have star power all over. The offense will only get a year out of Brady and Gronkowski most likely, however, a replacement at tight end already exists in O.J. Howard. On the defensive side of the ball quality players at linebacker and defensive line make this team really appealing.
You have a couple of options you can go with here. If you are in the “win now” mentality then I am looking to trade O.J. Howard for help in the secondary. Cameron Brate is a capable back up to Gronk and you can look for your future TE down the line. If you aren’t ready to sell Howard to win now then potentially you trade Gronkowski to another team in desperate need for a TE for a lesser quality secondary player.
The Bucs are one of the teams being most talked about around the franchise community. With all of that star power, especially on offense, people will have fun playing with them. While Brady only lasting a year likely will be a negative to some, I personally view it as a positive as I am one who likes to develop a QB throughout a franchise.
The Good: The Saints are an explosive group on offense ranking 1st in offensive weapon rankings, and that unit is supported by one of the top offensive lines in the league. The offensive line is 3rd ranked pass-blocking and 7th ranked run-blocking. On the other side of the ball, the 7th ranked pass-rushing unit gives the defense a spark. All of this is multiplied by the fact that the Saints are the 7th youngest team per the YPI.
The Bad: The Saints’ biggest issue is their 31st ranked cap situation, which is understandable with this much talent. While the offense is one of the best in terms of skill, in terms of athleticism they check-in at 20th. Drew Brees’s career is about over and with that in mind, he finds himself at 20th in the adjust QB ratings.
The Bottom Line: The Saints are a juggernaut of a team and one of the best in the game. The offense will be electric while the defense has stars dotted throughout to help keep games from becoming a shootout. The concern around cap becomes less of a concern after recently learning that Drew Brees will retire after year 1 in most franchises.
While Brees will retire after the season, that means re-signing guys during the year will still be an issue. With that in mind, the Saints hold one of the more interesting assets in the game year 1 in Jameis Winston. With a few teams in need of a QB, Winston becomes a really intriguing asset. And with no immediate needs other than cap space moving Winston for a package of picks makes a lot of sense for the Saints.
The Saints are a personal favorite of mine. Similar to the Bucs they will need a QB after year 1 which will give owners a chance to develop a QB throughout the cycle. Beyond QB however, this team does not need a lot of maneuvring which means they give owners a lot of freedom to take the team whichever direction they like.