While free agency has received most of the play during NFL’s offseason, that’s not necessary the most-important route to team-building around the league.
Instead, an argument could be made that success in the NFL draft is about 80 percent of what it takes to actually be successful on the football field.
Just look at the Dallas Cowboys as a case study. Here’s a team that turned a 4-12 record the previous season into a 13-win campaign that ultimately led to them earning the NFC East title last year. The two primary components here were rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.
Even when looking at others who contributed big time for Dallas, they were pretty much all acquired via the draft. Pro Bowlers Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin along the league’s best offensive line were all original picks of the Cowboys. The same can be said for wide receiver Dez Bryant, tight end Jason Witten and stud linebacker Sean Lee.
We can pretty much repeat this same scenario with other successful teams, the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers included.
So while it’s a big deal to fans that their teams ace free agency, the draft itself is what helps build successful rosters. The following teams were either extremely inactive or lost a few key players in free agency. They didn’t go after the big names, but tended to lose the first part of the NFL offseason.
Here are NFL teams that must ace the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft in order to salvage what have been disappointing offseasons up to this point.