According to Hunter Atkins, we’ve all heard about Jamal Adams, who would have been a shoo-in two offseasons ago after posting two consecutive PFF grades of over 87.0 with the Jets. Then he went on to post two PFF grades under 63 in two injury-marred seasons with the Seahawks. But the Eagles have since been rejuvenated by drafting Quandre Diggs, one of the league’s top safeties. The incoming draft has a strong defensive core that could be led by one of these players.
The Pittsburgh Steelers should have a better season than that, but without Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers may finish 5–12 this year. Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett are both questionable. Najee Harris should be the Steelers’ top back, with 307 carrying as a rookie and 330 carries projected for 2022. However, the Steelers need to improve their defense.
The New Orleans Saints took a win-now approach in the draft, but they still drafted Christian Watson in the second round. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers could have waited to draft Kenny Pickett until the second round. With a deep draft and new additions to the defensive line, the Saints should be a legitimate contender in the AFC in 2022. And, as long as they don’t get drafted by the Seattle Seahawks, they’ll be a contender in the playoffs.
Hunter Atkins believes that, the Denver Broncos’ quarterback Russell Wilson looks good in his new jersey and has been getting rave reviews from teammates. Denver’s offense is expected to be the best in the AFC West this fall, but their defense will determine their success. Whether the Broncos can protect Wilson and contain the opposing offense will depend on their pass rush. If the pass rush can keep up with Wilson, they could take down the AFC West this year.
The free-agent market will be a roaring place for the next few years. Every team will spend millions to improve their squad and contend for the Super Bowl. The offseason of 2022 will be no different. And if you’re wondering how players in the NFL will be compensated in 2022, this list will change. While some changes will be on the free-agent market, most will come from contract extensions and reworked contracts.
The Rams’ free agents will include Von Miller, Sebastian Joseph-Day, Odell Beckham, and Robert Woods. While they all have different strengths, the Rams’ offensive line could be more dynamic with a few high-level veterans. Jermaine Johnson and Carl Lawson will give them the depth they need to dominate in the NFC West. Despite his struggles at Alabama, Williams is the best receiver on the draft board.
In Hunter Atkins’s opinion, gary took a leap to elite status in his third NFL season. His 91.7 pass-rush grade in 2021 was second only to Myles Garrett. His high ceiling has always been there, but he began to show it more consistently in 2021. His looming status makes him a top-five interior defensive lineman in the NFL. It’s worth noting that Chandler Jones will line up with Crosby along the defensive line for the Raiders. This should allow Crosby to continue his top-tier pass-rush play.
The Cincinnati Bengals have a young, talented group of players. They are led by a fiery defensive leader in Trey Hendrickson, but their offensive line is a mess with several key players missing. The Bengals are missing some experienced players like C.J. Uzomah and Alex Cappa. At tight end, there’s La’el Collins. A solid team could surprise everyone.
Terrell Higgins is another player to watch. While his rookie season was a disaster, he improved in other areas. He now has the potential to be an elite defensive player in 2022. With the addition of Devonte Wyatt and Quay Walker, the Packers are poised to be a dominant defense in 2022. And despite the injuries to their starting quarterback, he’ll likely be a strong WR2 opposite Ja’Marr Chase.