Gosh, where do I start... I can't see how you can compare Teddy's second year with Cousins' second year in Minny. Cousins was a seasoned vet while Teddy was still learning. Cousins' Vikings teams were a lot better overall.
You mentioned that Teddy had Diggs in 2015. Diggs was a rookie then and was inactive the first 3 or 4 games. He also was not the complete receiver he is now. Neither was Thielen. As for AP, at times I found him to be more of a detriment than a positive. Most of the time AP got 2 yards or less per carry then would get an 80 yarder to boost his stats. We were often in third and long. Yet Teddy found ways to sustain drives and avoid three and outs. Minny had the fewest 3 and outs that year and 2nd lowest 3 and outs percentage.
Cousins situation is nothing like Teddy's. Teddy played all his home games outside, not in a dome. Minnesota was building their new stadium in those years. Teddy did not enjoy playing in great weather as Cousins has in the new stadium. Second, Zimmer was in his first and second years as head coach when Teddy played. He was very conservative and preferred to play ball control. This year Zimmer tried getting ultra conservative again (see first game) and Diggs and Thielen voiced their displeasure, leading to the coaches opening the offense again.
Cousins took over a team that had gone 13-3 with Bradford and Case Keenum 2017. We went 8-7-1 with Cousins as starter in 2018. And he was not a rookie.
As for the OLs, they have been bad since 2015. They look worse with Cousins because he has very poor pocket presence and he does not step away from pressure like Keenum did.
Unless you watched the games, it is hard for outsiders to understand.
Here’s the fatal flaw with undervaluing the DT position.
Lets play your game....
You yourself outlined our template of Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison.... and let’s add Edgerrin James, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark.
AND.... Freeney and Mathis at DEs.
Now.... ADD Warren Sapp in his prime and tell me how Brady, Rivers and Big Ben stand in the pocket like they did or their RBs flourish as Manning and Co. wrung their hands on the sidelines waiting to get back on the field.
Belichick and McDick have been masters at exploiting our soft spots in the interior trenches on both sides of the ball.
Aren’t we freakin tired of that? I sure am.
And I’m really glad that Ballard has made note of the importance of physical dominance in the trenches.... and has addressed it on offense with Nelson and Co.
Somewhere along with.... yes, figuring out the QB dilemma.... he needs to do the same at DT.
This Manning era stuff isn’t theoretical... it actually happened!
I did a comparison on Jeudy and Lamb and Jeudy is more explosive than Lamb if you watch his tape; but Lamb is the better route runner. I don't expect Ballard to reach for either player especially when the draft class is deep.
Some 2nd 3rd round options are Mims, Jefferson, and Aiyuk.