Rodgers has much of the support he needs on offense thanks to the presence of players like Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams. Over the last half of 2016, Rodgers’ performance elevated all three of them.
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The Bills’ feel-good story last season with his emergence as a 3-4 edge rusher, Lorenzo Alexander as a strong side linebacker will not produce the career-high 12.5 sacks that earned him his second Pro Bowl in 10 seasons. (His previous career high was 2.5.) But that doesn’t mean he won’t be effective in his new role, dropping back in coverage more often and patrolling the field laterally.
The key to Buffalo’s defense will be the middle man, the Luke Kuechly position McDermott relied upon in Carolina. Reggie Ragland, who missed his entire rookie season due to an ACL injury, is the favorite to earn the starting spot over Preston Brown.
The Bills likely will line up in their nickel package more often than their base 4-3, but for those base situations, Ramon Hunter will be pushed by rookies Matt Milano and Tanner Vallejo at weak side linebacker.
When Johnson was serving his second career performance-enhancing drug ban, multiple players struggled to fill his spot, stretching them a little at left guard, too. The Eagles need to be able to trust Johnson, and if they can, Wentz and the rushing attack will get a stable boost.
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The fate of Pro Bowl center Jason Kelce, who turns 30 in November, is tied to competition on the interior line. Between second-year man Isaac Semaulo, Stefan Wisniewski and undrafted rookie Tyler Orlosky, there are fallbacks should the team move Kelce’s big contract later in the offseason. If Kelce hangs around, the Eagles’ best battle would emerge at left guard between Semaulo and 32-year-old, free-agent-to-be Allen Barbre. However you look at it, a non-banned Johnson makes this a very deep and talented unit.