TE has been moving up my “urgency” scale recently.
Thinking about past success of TEs here with Peyton and Luck, how Rivers had success with a pretty good one, and how much Reich talked about TE use when he first got here.
We let that TE go to washington last year, but he was more of a blocker anyway. Travis showed some playmaking ability, but never really took the next step.
Anyone think Claypool could be transitioned. I’d love to see a TE with some twitch and physicalness. I really like Allie-Cox, but if he or Doyle go down, we will be in a bad spot. This offense NEEDS a good TE, right?
I believe that we will pass on drafting a QB this year.... so that is how I voted.
Had we jettisoned Jacoby Brissett when we brought Rivers in... I’d have selected Gordon.... but we didn’t, so I think they’ll have their sights set on next year’s crop of QBs.
Knowing we had 41 sacks last year, anyone who thinks we don't get more with the addition of Buckner is swinging for a bunt, instead of the fences...... We've only lost Sheard thus far (4.5 sacks), and I'd expect Buckner to at least give us that +3 at minimum. I think using Autry more at DE will likely translate into him getting more as well.
Justin Houston's also on the wrong side of 30. He played well last year, but I believe he's a FA after this season and he won't have many more left at a high level. That said, I don't think DE is a huge need right now.
Also, I think Reich, Ballard and Co. did their due diligence on the QBs in this draft. Either they like one who they think will fall to us, or they don't like any of them enough to trade up for them (i.e., Burrow/Tua). They may have their sights set on replacing the QB after next year. This year, with Rivers as starter and Brissett/Kelly as backups, I think the QB position is in pretty good shape.
Autry and Buckner can both play outside in this scheme. Sounds like Ballard still has hopes for Tyquan Lewis to improve (to TL's benefit, he's battled nagging injuries most of his career -- but I don't know if I believe he's going to be the answer, even if he is healthy). I also won't be shocked if Sheard comes back. As far as I can tell, he's still a FA. He does very well against the run and isn't terrible at getting to the QB. Anyway, I think this is the deepest DL we've had in quite some time.
Agreed... two straight years Hilton was severely hampered by lower leg injuries. At his size, he relies on his speed and agility to be good in this league. When he's not full speed, his drop off is very noticeable (for instance, a guy like Calvin Johnson, when he was playing and usually had some sort of nagging injury, because he was so big and strong could get away better off than TY if he wasn't full speed because he had tremendous physical attributes aside from speed).
That said, I'm not sure if we want to look for TY's replacement, per se. I feel as though a guy like Campbell, who has better size than TY, is that speed demon, quick, super athletic guy that can make things happen after the catch. I'd really like to see us get a bigger WR who can dominate because of size/strength (and speed) rather than just speed.
The only thing I could think is when Reich said he's really happy with our WR depth. Though, I read that more as he's happy that we have 4-5 guys who will likely be very solid 4th and 5th WRs. I know they're high on Campbell. Pascal played well last year (I think he's an average-above average #3 WR, and a very good 4th WR). Then it seems like a lot of hope for Fountain.
I agree with you... we need a WR who can complement TY. Especially given TY and Campbell's health issues last year. That's 2 years in a row where calf/ankle injuries have severely hampered TY. For a guy his size who depends on his speed and agility, and at his age, I would bet he's going to continue to have nagging injury issues.
IMO, the biggest needs on this team going into this season are:
1) WR (preferably a bigger guy who could be a 1A/1B to TY, allowing Campbell to be used kind of as a flex or slot guy)
2) TE (receiving TE who can stretch the field, allowing Doyle to be the blocking TE and the TE for outlet passes and short yardage situations)
3) Secondary depth (I am fine w/ Hooker and Willis starting, and even though the backups Odum/Milligan are very solid on STs, I'd like someone, potentially re-sign Geathers, who could replace Willis without declining if need be ... also think we'll be OK with Rhodes and Ya-Sin being starting outside CBs with Moore in the slot, but unless Tell or Wilson make leaps, I worry a bit about depth there -- could also see Wilson being tried out more at S this year).
4) OL Depth -- Haeg was our swiss army knife, and we lost Andrews to NYJ who was a quality backup C. Maybe Javon Patterson recovers from injury and is a solid backup C. I have faith in L. Clark as a backup T, but I think we need to add some depth across the entire line. Not safe to assume we'll be the only team to have all our starters play every game next year.
5) Edge DL -- I'm fine with Houston, Turay, Banogu going into the season as Buckner and Autry can play rush edge if needed... but it'd be nice to add another piece or two there (I'm not faithful that T. Lewis is going to be more than what we've already seen from him).
Other things for further down the line:
2) WR -- even if we add another piece this year, TY's a FA after the season and getting older
3) OT -- Castonzo isn't going to be around forever
4) Upgrades whereever else -- as Ballard always says, he's always looking for ways to improve this team.