We’re in a bit of a down period around the NFL so it’s time to see who has spent their time poorly and left their rosters deeply flawed. We’re three weeks removed from the 2021 NFL Draft, rookie mini-camps just took place, and we now await June 1 when teams will purge some higher-earning players. So…
Which Teams Have the Most Flawed Rosters in the NFL?
Las Vegas Raiders
2020 Record: 8-8
Las Vegas is certainly taking a gamble in the 2021 season with how they re-worked their roster coming off of quarterback Derek Carr’s best year since 2016. They moved on from 60 percent of their starting offensive line, one of the best and most durable around the NFL. Detroit also gave up their fewest sacks since 2017. They took Alex Leatherwood to play right tackle but most considered him a late first-round prospect, if not a second-rounder. Vegas took him 17th overall.
They did something similar with Clelin Ferrell back in 2019. And while Pro Football Focus gave him a very good grade last season, the Raiders still had to go to free agency to find pass-rushing help. The return of Karl Joseph also doesn’t inspire much faith in a group that ranked 26th against the pass, but Trevon Moehrig might. It all still comes down to whether or not they can get to the quarterback with regularity this coming season.
It’s hard to say the Raiders got better in any area. In fact, it is much easier to make the case they have regressed in several key areas including the offensive line and in the wide receiver room, though the departed Tyrell Williams was never healthy enough to make an impact. It could be a cursed year in Sin City.
Green Bay Packers
2020 Record: 13-3
Key Additions: None
Now, Green Bay isn’t really a big free-agent destination nor do they pursue them as most teams do. That being said, not adding anyone has rarely proven to be a successful endeavor, especially when that team has fallen short the past two years. Oh, and the Hall of Famer under center is reportedly unhappy too.
It needs to be said that, independent of the Aaron Rodgers situation, the Packers are actually handling everything about as well as you could want a front office to do. They addressed the defense and offensive line in the draft, retained their playmaking running back in Aaron Jones, and they get Devin Funchess in the mix after he opted out last season.
None of that will matter if Rodgers leaves, though. His gripe is understandable; Green Bay hasn’t used a first-round pick on an offensive weapon since drafting Rodgers. They’ve been tremendously successful given the constraints they operate under. But those are largely self-imposed and ticking off only the second starting quarterback in the last 30 years won’t make things any better.
2020 Record: 4-12
Key Losses: Benardrick McKinney
This is another team that, were it not for a quarterback controversy, would be mentioned among those having a solid if unspectacular offseason. The potential impact of Cannon and Lindsay on this offense shouldn’t go unnoticed. Mark Ingram is great for the locker room and Tyrod Taylor gives them a capable backup should something happen to Deshaun Watson (like a trade).
But Watson’s scandal has put Houston in a bind. They were adamant they wouldn’t move the 2020 passing yards leader when the offseason began. His off-the-field troubles with masseuses claiming impropriety had many writing the obituary for his career. Since then, though, the public rhetoric has died down and it seems he might find a way to make this “go away”.
That leaves Houston right back at square one and reports are they are willing to move him now but only for fair value. Having once thought they would be the winners in this situation no matter the outcome, they still can if they get the return they seek. But since they waited, the compensation teams can give up is far less. And we never even talked about the lack of a true number one wide receiver.
2020 Record: 5-11
One of the NFL’s most wayward franchises, the Lions will now try to scuttle from under that dark cloud without the services of Matthew Stafford. Jared Goff comes from one of the best offensive systems in the league. He now joins one in Detroit that is, at best, a work in progress. Detroit has also lost the one advantage it often had over opposing defenses in their wide receivers. Williams and Perriman are several classes below Golladay and Jones.
Detroit did snag the top offensive lineman, Penei Sewell, in the 2021 NFL Draft. They heavily fortified the defensive line as well. Most successful teams are built in the trenches so it may very well be that the Lions are on the right path. But this was a team that was supposed to be a contender when they had a better roster.
This, again, isn’t to say the Lions aren’t on the right path. It’s just hard to believe they will be able to get more out of Goff than the Rams did, let alone more than they (Detroit) were able to get out of Stafford. Looks like another season of no playoffs is on the way for the Lions in Dan Campbell’s (who was their second choice by the way) first season.
The NFL’s Most Flawed Rosters
This is not a definitive list. Any number of teams could have made it or be added later. But for now, these are the teams with the most imbalanced rosters around the NFL. We still have June 1 cuts where we’ll see a number of big names released. This could lead to a few of the teams listed above plugging enough holes to get by or resolving whatever issues they have with personnel.