NFL News & Analysis

Weakest NFL position groups prior to the 2023 NFL Draft

East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Nick Foles (9) throws the ball as New York Giants linebacker Jaylon Smith (54) pursues during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

  • Tennessee Titans offensive line: After parting ways with Ben Jones and also cut left tackle Taylor Lewan, the Titans have failed to sufficiently bolster their offensive line.
  • Arizona Cardinals cornerbacks: Veteran Antonio Hamilton and third-year player Marco Wilson are the projected starters at this point, which should terrify Cardinals fans but excite every passing attack on their schedule in 2023.
  • Indianapolis Colts quarterbacks: The Colts may have three quarterbacks who took snaps in 2022, but none of them represent anything for Colts fans to get excited about.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Over the last month, many teams have made moves and signed players to address specific needs. However, there are still teams that have gaping holes on their roster, so here is a look at the weakest position groups in the NFL leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft.

Tennessee Titans offensive line

The Titans offensive line ranked dead last in our offensive line rankings at the end of the 2022 season, and they have done little so far to make us think that things will get better in 2023. Tennessee released veteran center Ben Jones and also cut left tackle Taylor Lewan, who had his fair share of injuries and appeared to be past his prime yet was still arguably the Titans' best offensive lineman. In addition, Tennessee also let guard Nate Davis, a capable run blocker, walk in free agency, as he was signed by the Chicago Bears. The Titans did sign two offensive linemen in free agency; however, neither is a guarantee to improve the unit. Guard Daniel Brunskill lost his starting gig in San Francisco prior to the 2022 season while offensive tackle Andre Dillard failed to get into the Philadelphia Eagles‘ starting lineup despite being a first-round pick in 2019.

Arizona Cardinals cornerbacks

The Cardinals’ starting cornerback tandem in their last game of 2022 featured Jace Whittaker and Christian Matthew, and while that was mainly due to injuries at the position, things are not expected to get much better based on the moves – or lack thereof – the Cardinals made at the position this offseason. Starting cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. left for Minnesota in free agency, but the Cardinals have yet to replace him. Veteran Antonio Hamilton and third-year player Marco Wilson are the projected starters at this point, and while Wilson played relatively well toward the end of the 2022 season, he still ranked 100th among cornerbacks in PFF grade after ranking 109th during his rookie campaign. Hamilton, on the other hand, has played only 1,071 snaps on defense in his career despite entering the league in 2016, and while he showed potential over his last two seasons, he still played on a limited basis and is past 30 years old, which is often a key age when looking at a cornerback's expected decline.

Indianapolis Colts quarterbacks

Indianapolis has three quarterbacks who started games in 2022; however, neither Nick Foles, Gardner Minshew or Sam Ehlinger played very well when they were thrown into action last year. Foles turned 34 years old in January and had two pretty rough outings when he was on to the field, earning 42.9 and 30.5 grades in his two starts for the Colts. Minshew had to step in to replace an injured Jalen Hurts toward the end of the season and while he played relatively well in Philadelphia’s loss to Dallas, his 35.4 grade against the New Orleans Saints in Week 17 was a big reason why the Eagles only scored 10 points in that game. Finally, Ehlinger started three games for the Colts in 2022 and saved the best for last, as he earned a 63.5 PFF grade when he started the last game of the season against the Houston Texans. However, he still only earned a 57.2 grade on the season and has played just 239 snaps in the NFL so far.

Las Vegas Raiders interior defensive line

The Raiders frequently had one of the worst interior defensive lines over the last couple seasons, and they have yet to fix the problem. Their projected starters include Jerry Tillery, who has failed to live up to his first-round pick status because he has been one of the worst defensive linemen against the run while not offering much as a pass-rusher, either. Bilal Nichols is projected to start next to Tillery in 2023, and while Nichols posted a couple of solid seasons in a limited capacity with the Bears, he has failed to live up to that potential in recent seasons, as he earned a 55.5 PFF grade in 2022. Finally, the top backup for the position is expected to be veteran John Jenkins, who is entering his 11th season and has topped 500 snaps in just one season so far.

Houston Texans wide receivers

The Texans departed with a true No. 1 wide receiver in Brandin Cooks, who they traded to the Cowboys in the offseason. One candidate to replace him is Nico Collins; however, he has played less than 1,000 snaps over his first two seasons and has yet to reach 1,000 receiving yards in his career. The Texans did bring in two receivers this offseason, but neither should be expected to replace Cooks’s production. Veteran Robert Woods arrived from the Titans but recorded fewer receptions and receiving yards than Cooks in 2022 despite playing four more games. In addition., Woods is also coming off his lowest graded season since 2015, when he earned a 68.0 PFF grade. Finally, Houston also brought in Noah Brown, who failed to carve out a bigger role for himself during his first five years in Dallas and had more receptions in his sixth year alone than he had between 2017 and 2021.

Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers

The Steelers were seemingly unhappy with their linebacker performance in 2022, as they released Myles Jack while letting free agents Devin Bush and Robert Spillane walk in free agency. However, it is debatable whether they have managed to upgrade the position over the last month. Pittsburgh brought in free agents Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts to replace its departed linebackers. Holcomb, a former fifth-round pick, had a promising sophomore campaign but has failed to live up to that potential in his two seasons since, as he missed more than half of the 2022 season and has yet to play more than 800 snaps in a season. Roberts, on the other hand, played mostly a situational role at his previous stops, as he never played more than 700 snaps in a season and earned an overall grade over 60.0 just once since his rookie season in 2016.


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