NFL Preview

by Jessica Citronberg

Graphic by the Buzz's Online Design Team

It’s been a long seven months without football. This offseason has been full of trades, injuries, contract negotiations and of course, drama. Here’s a look at just some of what the 2016-17 NFL season will bring and what to expect.

Top Five Picks in the Draft

1. Jared Goff

The LA Rams gave up a lot in order to draft Jared Goff as the number one pick. This team has a new location, but the struggle to find a stable quarterback go way back.. In the past 10 years, the Rams have had 13 starting quarterbacks, including busts A.J. Feeley and Sam Bradford. Based on training camp and preseason games, it appears as though Case Keenum, an undrafted free agent in 2012, might get the start over superstar Jared Goff week one.

2. Carson Wentz

It seemed like everything was finally working out for the Philadelphia Eagles when they acquired the second overall pick in the 2016 draft. Like the Rams, the Eagles have suffered when it comes to stable quarterbacks, and drafting Carson Wentz felt like the answer they needed. That was all until the first 2016 preseason game when Wentz suffered a hairline rib fracture. Doug Pederson, new Head Coach and former Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator, had hinted that Wentz has the possibility of starting in the final preseason game on September 1.

3. Joey Bosa

This defensive end was drafted third, but finished last in signing. He has yet to sign a contract agreement with the San Diego Chargers causing him to miss all of training camp and precious time with his new professional teammates. The complaints from the Bosa side and the Chargers side reach unprecedented levels of idiocy. Bosa’s camp originally complained because the Chargers didn’t respond promptly to a contract proposal. Then, there was comparison to the other 31 first-round draft picks’ contracts. Now, San Diego has pulled the latest offer altogether. While it’s a very entertaining middle school soap opera, it’s juvenile for professionals. It’s unclear at this point how many games Bosa will miss.

4. Ezekiel Elliott

Another Ohio State hot-shot missed some weeks of practice and two weeks of preseason due to a hamstring injury. Elliott was able to play an impressive game in the third week. Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly) enough, something so minor is getting more attention than something much more major—a domestic abuse claim. Neither the Dallas Cowboys nor Ezekiel Elliott has acknowledged the allegations of an assault on Elliott’s ex-girlfriend. Lucky for good ol’ Ezekiel, however; he is in the safe haven of Dallas where domestic abusers like Greg Hardy get playing time.

5. Jalen Ramsey

Following a meniscus tear mid-May, the former Florida State Seminole put up a solid performance in Jacksonville’s second preseason game, and it’s clear that the Jaguars made defense a priority this off-season. Along with fellow cornerback Prince Amukamara, free safety Tashaun Gipson and linebacker Myles Jack, Ramsey is in good company.

Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo

Your stance on Deflategate officially doesn’t matter anymore, although that won’t stop everyone from talking about it. Tom Brady is serving a four-game suspension over something that may or not have happened involving the air pressure of footballs.

Jimmy Garoppolo has been getting his feet wet in the preseason, but come September 11 in Arizona, the Patriots will not be able to rely on Tom Brady until October 9.

The Greg Hardy Situation

Here’s another guy who sat out with a four-game suspension. With rumors circulating of potential signage in Jacksonville, Hardy unfortunately has a chance to play again. While no offers have been reported, it seems that this buffoon will actually have another chance to play in the NFL.

ICYMI, Greg Hardy threw his then-girlfriend onto a futon full of assault weapons and said, “I hope I come out guns blazing,” in his first game back from suspension. Post-suspension, Hardy also got in a verbal altercation with fellow teammate Dez Bryant, and a physical altercation with a special teams coach.

Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell told CBS Sports there’s “no imminent plans,” to sign the free agent, but Hardy’s trip down to visit already happened.

Watt on Top

J.J. Watt was voted the #1 NFL player in the 2016 NFL Rankings, two years running. The all-star defensive end has also been burdened by injury, two years running. His broken hand last season caused his disrupted dropback rate to go down 3 percent, dropping him from almost best in the league to the lower-middle end of the league. During mid-July of this year, Watt suffered a back injury that might cause him to miss up to three games of the regular season. The skill set and determination are there, but he needs to stay healthy in order to live up to the potential of that number one spot.

What Goes Up Must Come Down

The reigning Super Bowl Champions have some rebuilding to do. Following the retirement of all-star quarterback Peyton Manning, the Broncos were suddenly down two quarterbacks that made an impact on the winning season. Brock Osweiler, responsible for saving the day when Manning was struggling, went to the Houston Texans.

There’s some uncertainty at the moment regarding who the next quarterback will be. Denver’s current options right now are 2016 1st round draft pick Paxton Lynch, 2015 7th round draft pick Trevor Siemian and Mark Sanchez. Mile High Stadium might be low with yardage this season.