What-If Wednesday: The Bottom Five

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Anyone who has ever read a sports preview for the start of the league has heard it; “They’re one guy away.” Sure, that’s true for some middle-of-the-road teams, but what would happen if we did it for all of them? That’s the point of this column, to look at the “science” behind this saying and what teams really are one guy away. To start, we’ll do the worst five teams in the NFL: the Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, and the Arizona Cardinals.

 

Miami Dolphins (0-4)

 

As of Week 4, the Dolphins have been outscored 163-26 in four games. FOUR. GAMES. Now, at first glance, you might think that this defense is horrific and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who disagrees. But if you look at Miami’s throwing stats, I think that it is clear to see that what they truly need is a quarterback. 693 yards through four games sounds bad, but don’t worry, it gets worse. They have a completion percentage of 52.5%. That is why, with the first pick in The What-If Wednesday 2019 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select Pat Mahomes.

Pat Mahomes is the NFL’s reigning MVP and he doesn’t look like he is going to slow down anytime soon. This doesn’t make the Dolphins a playoff team; far from it in fact. If you threw “The Mahomie” on the Dolphins, I think they easily become a 6 win team. This doesn’t seem like much of an upgrade from where they are, but even though the game gap doesn’t look very good, the skill gap sure does. The problem that is holding this team back is not their new lethal offense, but their horrible defense, a defense a lot worse than the current Chiefs D.

 

Washington Redskins (0-4)

 

The Redskins had hope going into this season; unfortunately, that hasn’t lasted very long. Much to everyone’s shock, the trio of Case Keenum, Colt McCoy, and Dwayne Haskins hasn’t turned out so well. Wow, who would’ve ever guessed that? Sadly for ‘Skins fans, the pain doesn't end there. Their budding star, Derrius Guice, will be out another five or so weeks until he heals from his knee surgery. Also, the Redskins faux-star CB has not been worth his money and he doesn’t look like he will anytime soon.

Dwayne Haskins is still young and has room to improve. His fellow rookie, Terry McLaurin, is already proving his NFL readiness. What they really need is to improve their offensive line, and who better than Shaq Mason. The Patriots guard did a great job stopping Aaron Donald in last year's Super Bowl and only allowed one sack on Tom Brady. Although this would be a great addition for the ‘Skins, I struggle to see them getting much better because of it. I see the Washington Redskins as another 5-11 team.

 

New York Jets (0-3)

 

Without Sam Darnold, it is hard to see this team being very good whatsoever. That being said, he isn’t the only thing that puts the Jets as the 29th worst team in the league. If you polled the average football fan, put one Jets receiver on it and made up the other three, I am pretty sure everyone would just guess. Robby Anderson, Josh Bellamy, Jamison Crowder, Demaryius Thomas, and Braxton Berrios are the Jets leading receivers. So, what if we put a real wide receiver with Darnold and Adam Gase?

Julio Jones has been one of football’s best receivers for the last five years, averaging 1,400 yards throughout. Even though he might not be off to a fiery start this year, that doesn’t mean that he is going to slow down anytime soon. The 30-year-old wide receiver would not only be great on the field, but he would also be a great role model to the young Darnold. With this Pro Bowler added to the Jets roster, it is hard to see them not going at least .500.

 

Cincinnati Bengals (0-4)

 

Last week’s Monday Night Football was rough. Not only for the Bengals as a whole, but also for everyone who thought they would enjoy watching it. The Bengals have a usable running back in Joe Mixon as long as he keeps the off the field issues controlled, and Andy Dalton is serviceable. The Bengals have not been to the playoffs since 2015 and even with the addition of this player, I don’t see it coming anytime soon.

They need a defense, bad, and even though they took Germaine Pratt in the third round, they still need a linebacker. Since he is available, there is no reason not to take Bobby Wagner. The Seahawks linebacker has one stat from 2018 that sticks out above all the rest: two missed tackles. Not only will the Bengals get an excellent defensive player, but they also get a good leader in the locker room. Even though they need more, if everyone stays healthy on this Bengals team, there isn’t any reason that they don’t improve to at least seven wins.

 

Arizona Cardinals (0-3-1)

 

Even though the Cardinals are winless right now, they are by far the team in the best position on this list. They have a good young quarterback already and a good running back. The glaring issue with this team is a big one: their offensive line. Anyone who has watched this Arizona team can tell you that. What the Cardinals need is Quinton Nelson.

The sophomore guard helped protect former Colts QB Andrew Luck. If you paired him with Murray, they could live their careers out as pals. With someone guarding Murray, he can show us the potential that everyone saw in his college years. Maybe this team won’t win a lot, but they would be a fun team to watch. That being said, I still see the Cardinals as a six win team.

 

Stats: NFL.com

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