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The Brandt Report

Jets, Dolphins, Eagles among teams with best offseasons so far

Now that OTAs are in full swing, we've reached a turning point in the NFL offseason. The off-field moves that have dominated the past few months -- the free-agent signings, trades and draft picks -- are giving way to honest-to-goodness on-field action. As we leave the transaction-heavy portion of the offseason behind, I thought I'd review all the wheeling and dealing to see which teams have been most productive.

Below is my list of the six teams that have had the best offseasons, with five more to consider at the end for good measure:

1) New York Jets

Key additions: CB Darrelle Revis, DT Leonard Williams, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.

When you add one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL and the best defensive lineman in the draft, you know you've had a good offseason. The Jetsranked sixth in overall defense last season but 14th against the pass; Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Buster Skrine and Marcus Gilchrist will improve what was considered a weak secondary last year. Linebacker David Harris -- the quarterback of their defense -- was retained. Williams, meanwhile, will only bolster a fearsome front that already included Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson.

I'm a Geno Smith backer, and I think he can make good on the flashes of promise we've seen, especially under new coordinator Chan Gailey, who will iron out the erratic throws and forced passes and help Smith establish consistency. Receivers Brandon Marshall and Devin Smith, running backs Stevan Ridley and Zac Stacy and guard James Carpenter will further boost the offense and improve Geno's chances of breaking out. And if the young quarterback falters, New York can turn to veteran backup Ryan Fitzpatrick, whom Gailey knows well from their days together in Buffalo.

New head man Todd Bowles is an exceptional coach, and new general manager Mike Maccagnan has done a heck of a job, especially in the draft. Much depends on the quarterback play, but if Smith makes a leap, the Jets can definitely contend for a wild-card spot.

2) Miami Dolphins

Key additions: DT Ndamukong Suh, TE Jordan Cameron, WR DeVante Parker.

Suh might have cost a lot, but it's hard to overstate the impact he can have on a team. He's a tremendously competitive and hard-working guy who makes everyone around him better, and he should seriously elevate a defense that was already decent (12th overall in 2014) before he arrived.

Health has been an issue for Cameron, but if the tight end can stay on the field, he'll be a boon to quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Cameron's larger, faster and more athletic than departed tight end Charles Clay. Parker and second-year pro Jarvis Landry are two very good young receivers, while trade acquisition Kenny Still also should help. (UPDATE: Ian Rapoport reports that Parker underwent foot surgery this week. He is expected to be ready for the season opener.) Getting back tackle Branden Albert -- who missed seven games in 2014 with ACL and MCL tears -- will be huge.

I think there's a great chance either the Dolphins or the Jets join the Patriots as AFC East teams in the playoffs. I like the Jets' overall roster a bit better, but the Dolphins do have Tannehill under center and could snag a wild-card berth if the Jets stumble.

3) Philadelphia Eagles

Key additions: QB Sam Bradford, LB Kiko Alonso, RB DeMarco Murray.

Trading quarterback Nick Foles for Bradford was a bold move, one that can pay off brilliantly, provided the oft-injured former No. 1 overall pick can have a healthy 2015. In terms of ability, I like everything about Bradford; he's athletic, smart and accurate. Even accounting for the risk he'll miss significant time, I would have made this trade if I were in Chip Kelly's shoes, because the potential upside is so high -- and because the quarterbacks behind Bradford (Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley) can be effective enough in this offense, should they have to play.

Some thought the Kiko Alonso-LeSean McCoy trade was somewhat lopsided in favor of the Bills, but I like Alonso quite a bit. The playmaking linebacker had 159 tackles and four picks as a rookie in 2013 before missing the 2014 season with a torn ACL. He's a tough-minded competitor who makes your defense better, and I think he'll have a significant impact playing for his old Oregon coach. Veteran cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond and second-round pick Eric Rowe will boost a pass defense that finished 31st in 2014.

Losing McCoy and receiver Jeremy Maclin could hurt, but I really like rookie receiver Nelson Agholor; the first-round pick has a chance to be special, like Odell Beckham was with the Giants last year. Murray might not approach his league-leading yardage total from last season, but Philly's system suits him. Between Murray, free agent Ryan Mathews and incumbent Darren Sproles, the Eagles are set at running back.

Kelly's a pretty smart guy. In Year 3 of his tenure, opposing teams are bound to have adjusted to his scheme somewhat, which no doubt motivated Kelly to adjust his roster to better match his approach.

4) Houston Texans

Key additions: QB Brian Hoyer, WR Jaelen Strong, DT Vince Wilfork.

Bill O'Brien's squad -- which won nine games with three starting quarterbacks in 2014 -- has talent. Signing Hoyer, who I expect to beat out Ryan Mallett for the top job, will go a long way toward stabilizing the position and should help Houston reach double digits in wins this season. O'Brien coached Hoyer in New England and knows how to get the most out of him, especially with a promising rookie (Strong) joining rising youngster DeAndre Hopkins on the receiving corps. Re-signing Derek Newton, one of the more underrated right tackles in the NFL, was key, as Newton is a good run-blocker and pass protector.

Wilfork might be entering his 12th NFL season, but I think he played pretty good, all things considered, last year; I wouldn't say he's over the hill just yet. Safety Rahim Moore will also help this J.J. Watt-led defense. First-round pick Kevin Johnson (cornerback) and second-round pick Benardrick McKinney (linebacker) are both capable of starting; Johnson, who can cover and play the run, has Pro Bowl potential, while McKinney brings size and competitiveness. I also like sixth-round pick Reshard Cliett (linebacker), who should be a great addition to the special teams unit. Getting 16 effective games out of Jadeveon Clowney, who lost 12 games to injury in 2014 and underwent knee surgery in December, will be key.

O'Brien is a heck of a coach with a history of shepherding quarterbacks to success, and I expect Houston to compete for a playoff spot.

5) Indianapolis Colts

Key additions: RB Frank Gore, WR Andre Johnson, DE Trent Cole.

I can't say enough good things about Andrew Luck, but the Colts really needed to address the running game. Gore is a tough, hard-nosed guy who will block, runs well and can catch the ball when needed. I'm not sure he'll reach the 1,000-yard mark, but I'm not sure he'll need to; 750 or so should be enough, considering the Colts reached the AFC title game without a single back topping 520 last season. Johnson isn't the big-play threat he once was, but the veteran wideout can still make the clutch reception when you need a first down. He'll also help keep defenses from keying on T.Y. Hilton. Plus, he'll likely be on something of a crusade after the less-than-rosy way his 12-year tenure in Houston ended.

The Colts boosted their pass rush by signing Cole (85.5 career sacks) and shored up the defensive line with Kendall Langford. And while they didn't use their first-round pick on defense, they did help the unit in the draft; I like third-rounder D'Joun Smith, a cover corner who can play in the slot, and fellow third-rounder Henry Anderson, a big defensive lineman with pass-rushing skills. Presuming the Colts had receiver Phillip Dorsett rated well above the defensive players available at the time, I can't fault them for prioritizing talent over need with the 29th overall pick.

6) St. Louis Rams

Key additions: RB Todd Gurley, QB Nick Foles, OTs Rob Havenstein and Jamon Brown.

Jeff Fisher wants to run. He hasn't had a 1,000-yard back in St. Louis since Steven Jackson put up 1,045 in 2012, and none of his Rams squads have finished better than 19th in rushing, but I think he's finally found a back to build around in Gurley. The Rams also drafted three offensive linemen (Havenstein, Brown and Andrew Donnal), two of whom (Havenstein and Brown) have a chance to start. Between the fresh blood and what I expect will be the continued improvement of last year's second overall pick, tackle Greg Robinson, St. Louis' ground game should be in good shape.

I liked the decision to ship Bradford to Philly in exchange for Foles. (Yes, I thought the trade was win-win for both sides.) Foles might not have the star power or upside of Bradford. But while Foles has had his share of injury issues, I think he's more reliable, at this point, than Bradford, who hasn't played in a regular-season game since Oct. 20, 2013. The Rams can count on the big-armed Foles to be there and give them significantly more than they got from backups Shaun Hill and Austin Davis last season.

I loved the signings of defenders Nick Fairley (tackle) and Akeem Ayers (linebacker). Fairley has plenty to prove and will benefit from being part of a rotation in St. Louis. Ayers can rush the passer or drop into coverage, and he brings a solid veteran presence, despite his relative youth (25). The Rams have a good roster and a chance to make some noise, as long as the off-field subplot of a potential move to Los Angeles doesn't distract the players too much.


» Buffalo Bills: New running back LeSean McCoy was a big get.

» Dallas Cowboys: Defense should be helped by first-round pick Byron Jones.

» Green Bay Packers: Keeping Randall Cobb and Bryan Bulaga was crucial.

» Jacksonville Jaguars: Second-round pick T.J. Yeldon is a heck of a player.

» Seattle Seahawks: Any offseason in which you land a dynamic weapon like Jimmy Graham is a good offseason.

Follow Gil Brandt on Twitter _@GilBrandt_.

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