<
>
Insider

Most improved teams after 2017 NFL draft

play
Philly receives high marks for hosting draft (5:51)

Louis Riddick and Jason Reid join OTL to discuss the festive atmosphere in Philadelphia for the NFL draft and the balance that franchises engage in when debating the drafting of players with character concerns. (5:51)

What I've done below is outline the five NFL franchises that saw their rosters get markedly better in the 2017 NFL draft. I could argue that the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys also should be on this list based on how they made the most of their draft assets, but how much can the bottom line improve when their combined 2016 regular-season record was 27-5?

This is all about the teams that should feel a lot better about their rosters right now, in comparison to before the draft.


Jacksonville Jaguars

This is really about the Jaguars changing their identity on offense. The best way to protect a quarterback like Blake Bortles, who is last in the league with 63 turnovers since 2014, is to take the ball out of his hands. That means running the ball more, working the clock and relying on an ascending defense to win games. With RBs Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon both having struggled with injuries, it made sense to target a workhorse back like Leonard Fournette in Round 1. He has a rare combination of size, speed and power, and was the best back in this draft for a team looking to become more ground-and-pound.

The Jaguars did well to draft OT Cam Robinson, who's a strong run-blocker, to help pave the way for Fournette on the ground. He's special once he gets a sliver of daylight. The offensive line is still a work in progress, but in a make-or-break season for Bortles, Tom Coughlin & Co. have given the quarterback his best supporting cast since his arrival in Jacksonville three years ago. Fifth-round linebacker Blair Brown doesn't need to be a star with Myles Jack and Telvin Smith also patrolling the second level, but his steady tackling ability will fit right in on a defense that ranked fourth overall in rushing yards allowed after first contact last season (1.42).