Bucky Brooks ranked the ten scariest position groups in the NFL last week, which got us thinking. What equivalent groups around the league look the most unfinished heading into the season?
Here's a look at the weakest position groups on offense heading into the 2015 season. We'll hit the defensive positions later in the week:
Weakest quarterback group: Cleveland Browns
There are plenty of unfinished quarterbacks to choose from, but Cleveland stands out because they have a sub-par "stop gap" option and little hope for the future. Josh McCown is the definition of a journeyman on his seventh roster in 14 NFL seasons. His single promising stretch as a starter came in five starts for Chicago in 2013, but he failed to survive an ugly situation in Tampa last year. The Browns' boffo offensive line should help McCown improve in Cleveland, but he has a shaky group of weapons to throw to. (See below.)
Ignoring the off-field issues, Johnny Manziel looked lost as a football player during his rookie season. Early progress reports this offseason have not been promising. The Browns' stated strategy is to "minimize" the quarterback position, which doesn't sound like a great idea in the year 2015.
The Bills have a similar situation to Cleveland, although we trust Matt Cassel more than McCown. ... We still haven't given up on Geno Smith improving in year three. ... Derek Carr still has a lot to prove, and the Raiders backup is now Christian Ponder.
Weakest running back groups: Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots
Joseph Randle showed plenty of burst in limited work last year and broke more tackles than expected. He's not just a product of the Cowboys' system. But Randle would be better off splitting carries, and Raiders castoff Darren McFadden hasn't showed any juice in years. It wouldn't be a surprise if McFadden is out of the league next season. The Cowboys should look hard at the running backs cut by other teams in camp, or think about giving up a late round pick for a better veteran who could split snaps with Randle.
The Patriots have won plenty of games with rag-tag running back groups before (Sammy Morris and LaMont Jordan sound familiar?), and their system will create yards. But LeGarrette Blount has a limited skill set and is stretched as a starter over the course of an entire season. With Blount suspended for the opener, the Week 1 starter could be Jonas Gray, James White or Brandon Bolden. Put this group on another roster and they would flail.
The Bucs group is just as shaky as the teams above, but we had mercy on them. Doug Martin has fallen off a cliff since his rookie season, and his roster spot isn't guaranteed. Charles Sims looked stiff in his rookie season. ... The Titans expected more out of Bishop Sankey as a rookie. It wouldn't be a surprise if fifth-round pick David Cobb earned time ahead of Sankey or Shonn Greene.
Weakest wide receiver group: Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs knew they needed to add talent, and paid Jeremy Maclin like a superstar. He's a solid starter, but not a game changer. He never topped 1,000 yards until Chip Kelly hit town. Albert Wilson has a chance to emerge as the No. 2 receiver, but it's a wildly unproven group after Maclin.
The Browns could easily take the spot, but it felt cruel for them to lead two different categories. Their new No. 1 (Dwayne Bowe) was cut by Kansas City. Andrew Hawkins is a good option in the slot and Brian Hartline should help. ... The Rams have a lot of depth, but it's tough to know who will emerge between Kenny Britt, Brian Quick, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. ... Seattle's outside receivers were so unsettled last year that they essentially used Chris Matthews extensively for the first time in the Super Bowl.
Weakest tight end group: Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals don't value tight ends in the passing game, which shows on the roster. Last year's second-round pick Troy Niklas will be counted on to lead the way after John Carlson's retirement. Darren Fells looks like his backup.
The Falcons' replacement for Tony Gonzalez last season was Levine Toilolo. They now have Jacob Tamme and Tony Moeaki in the mix as well. The Browns are rolling with Gary Barnidge and Rob Housler atop their depth chart.
Weakest offensive line: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs are hoping that rookies Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet save them. This group can only get better with improved coaching, but they struggled to run block and pass protect last year. It's a recipe for trouble for Jameis Winston.
The Chiefs, Jaguars and Rams have all invested early picks on tackles and are still waiting to see results. It's another reminder there's no such thing as a "safe" top-five pick, even at tackle. The Panthers are rolling with Michael Oher at left tackle and possibly a fourth-round rookie at right tackle. The Chiefs' line did not play well last year overall and lost their best player in Rodney Hudson.
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