Three Teams That Could Take the Next Step in 2022
The fate of the Philadelphia Eagles season depends on Jalen Hurts in 2022. I know that every team is overly-reliant on their quarterback, but this is the year he needs to take that next step. With a player like AJ Brown on the outside, Devonta Smith in his second year, Miles Sanders healthy, and Dallas Goedert entering his prime; the Eagles have a lot of young talent that will give teams problems. Not to mention, the Eagles have to bookend tackles and a center who is most likely playing his final year. Defensively, this team is leaps and bounds ahead of where they were last year. The Eagles still have their vets: Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, and Darius Slay, but they have added a few more pieces. Jordan Davis, Nakobe Dean, James Bradberry, and Hasson Redick are all players who will help put the Eagles at the top of the division. I have always been a Jalen Hurts believer, but this is the year he needs to turn other people into believers. This is a make-or-break year for Hurts, but I think the Eagles are in a really good position.
New York Jets
You can get an idea when teams are building and starting to gain momentum, and that is exactly what is happening in New York. It all starts with the big three: owner, coach, and general manager, and you can tell those three guys want to win. I love the job that Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh have done to surround Zach Wilson with a ton of talent. The Jets' biggest hole was in the secondary, and they were able to sign an underrated corner, DJ Reed, who can play inside and outside and has familiarity in Robert Saleh's system. They also drafted Sauce Gardner who is a perfect scheme fit for Saleh's base cover three. This defensive line, led by Quinnen Williams, has also been completely revamped. Carl Lawson is coming back from injury, the Jets traded up for Jermaine Johnson II, and signed Solomon Thomas in free agency. This defense got a whole lot better, but the offense is where the true jump will happen. Everything on offense starts with the quarterback, and I believe Zach Wilson is going to make a major year two jump. This is his first full offseason as a pro, and he is going to be able to develop with Elijah Moore and Michael Carter alongside of him. The Jets also picked up my number one receiver and running back in the draft class with Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall. Not to mention, Mekhi Becton is back, Alijah Vera-Tucker is entering year two, and Laken Tomlinson is now on the team. The Jets are fun and exciting; there hasn't been this much hope within the building since the early Mark Sanchez days.
New Orleans Saints
I'm not quite sure how the Saints managed to do it, but once again they have avoided salary cap hell and found a way to sign big free agents with money to spare. Let's start with who the Saints have coming back: Jameis Winston and Michael Thomas. Before his injury in 2021, Winston was putting the Saints in a position where this team would be competing in the playoffs. Now let's add Michael Thomas back to the mix alongside Chris Olave, Jarvis Landry, and Marquez Calloway. I expect Thomas and Landry to be heavy volume low yardage guys while Olave and Calloway are the light volume deep yardage guys. Not to mention, the Saints still have Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram in the back field. Defensively, the Saints might have the most talent in the NFL. I am just going to name a few names: Cameron Jordan, Marcus Davenport, Payton Turner, Demario Davis, Marshon Lattimore, Tyrann Mathieu, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Paulson Adebo, Marcus Maye, and Bradley Roby. This defense is STACKED. People are overlooking the Saints this year, and I could see them making a run at the Buccaneers in the NFC South.