New England Patriots
»Chris Hogan has the size and ability to play on the outside, pushing Danny Amendola into the third receiver role. Then again, Julian Edelman and Amendola may not be ready for the season opener following their dueling surgeries. Either way, the Patriots are likely to run more two tight end sets than ever with Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett.
»The tackle positions are set, although Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer need to stay healthy because the position is thin. The three interior line spots are wide open. The return of Dante Scarnecchia should help Tom Brady's pass protection immensley, but Bill Belichick wasn't taking any chances while loading up on depth at center and guard this offseason. Second-year guard Shaq Mason is a decent bet to start. Third-round pick Joe Thuney will compete at center and at guard. Former top-ten pick Jonathan Cooper, acquired in the Chandler Jones trade, may have an uphill battle to beat out veteran Josh Kline.
New York Jets
» I expected general manager Mike Maccagnan to address the offensive line more this offseason. Ryan Clady is a boom or bust risk at left tackle and Breno Giocomini is a below average starter at right tackle.
»In theory, the Jets run a 3-4 defense. In practice, they found a way to start Sheldon Richardson, Leonard Williams, and Mo Wilkerson together along with Damon "Snacks" Harrison last year. Harrison has been replaced by free agent nose tackle Steve McLendon, but coach Todd Bowles will find creative ways to keep his best players on the field by moving them around.
» The Jets' best players definitely aren't at outside linebacker. They will ask Lorenzo Maudlin to step up after a promising rookie season. The second "starting" outside linebacker spot is up for grabs. Third-round pick Jordan Jenkins should play, but is more of a run stopper. I listed only one starter at OLB for now, with first round pick Darron Lee beating out Erin Henderson for the inside linebacker spot. Lee has the skill set to be one of the safety/linebacker hybrids that are so popular with the kids these days.
»The Bills ignored upgrading their offense this offseason, which could come back to haunt them when Tyrod Taylor drops back to pass. Robert Woods is a shaky second receiver, and Sammy Watkinswill miss the majority of the team's offseason program after suffering a fracture in his foot. Veteran Leonard Hankerson is my best guess to win the No. 3 receiver spot among an uninspiring field. (That's assuming Watkins is even back for Week 1.) This will be a run-first team that could struggle when they are forced to pass.
»That's one reason to worry about the Bills. One reason to believe in offensive coordinator Greg Roman: The entire starting offensive line is back for the first time in 20 years. It's a strong group overall, especially the left side.
»The Bills essentially promised their first three draft picks starting jobs. That plan is in doubt after outside linebacker news broke Monday that Shaq Lawson will need shoulder surgery. Hughes and Manny Lawson could be listed as outside linebackers or defensive ends, depending on how many down linemen the Bills are using. Either way, Buffalo may look for another veteran pass rusher.
»Lawson, Reggie Ragland and Adolphus Washington need to come in a big way or general manager Doug Whaley will be under fire. It's a little odd to not make the rookies battle for the starting job, especially when Ragland and Washington have to prove they are worth keeping on the field on passing downs. Lawson has to prove he has the pass rush moves necessary at the pro level because he can't get by only on his strength. Surgery will put him behind pace.
»Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said that third-round pick Leonte Carroowas the second-ranked receiver on the team's entire draft board. They showed it by giving up their third- and fourth-round pick in 2017 to get him. He'll have a chance to unseat Kenny Stills, but the veteran is the favorite for now.
»The Dolphins' offensive line has some moving pieces. Branden Albert is getting paid like a franchise left tackle, but he could wind up moving inside to guard to make way for rookie Laremy Tunsil. They should start next to each other, the only question is where. Veteran Jermon Bushrod is also converting to guard and could wind up starting over Billy Turner.
»Mario Williams and Ndamukong Suh are the only two locks to start on the defensive line. Cameron Wake will be working his way back from Achilles surgery and could be used as a situational pass rusher to start the season. Free-agent pickups Jason Jones and Andre Branch will rotate with Wake. Last year's second-round pick Jordan Phillips could challenge Earl Mitchell for snaps. It's a deep defensive line overall.