5 NFL Teams Gaining Momentum Heading Into Training Camp

5 NFL Teams Gaining Momentum Heading Into Training Camp

NFL Championship
Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports

The NFL preseason is the time of year when teams around the league frantically (and often compulsively) evaluate their roster top to bottom. This can often lead to coaching changes, roster changes or a combination of the two in an effort to improve their team any way possible. While many franchises undergo some sort of major offseason change, few change for the better. Here is a look at five teams making the right moves headed into training camp:

Honorable Mention: Oakland Raiders

Oakland Raiders OLB/DE Khalil Mack
Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports

Honorable Mention: Oakland Raiders

Oakland Raiders OLB/DE Khalil Mack
Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports

The Oakland Raiders franchise has unfortunately been the punchline of a variety of football-related jokes over the past decade or so. However, it finally looks like that is about to change. With promising young draft picks like Khalil Mack, Derek Carr, Juron Criner and D.J. Hayden mixed with a few saavy veteran acquisitions like Justin Tuck, James Jones and Charles Woodson, the Raiders are finally clawing their way from the depths of mediocrity.

5. Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel
Andrew Weber - USA Today Sports

5. Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel
Andrew Weber - USA Today Sports

The Cleveland Browns have been the talk of the NFL since the 2014 NFL Draft, having selected enigmatic QB Johnny Manziel in the first round. Manziel was a phenomenal college player, winning the Heisman Trophy his freshman year. However, it's the Browns' "other" first rounder, CB Justin Gilbert, who should excite fans. Gilbert will immediately team with All-Pro Joe Haden to give the Browns a devastating duo for their up-and-coming defense.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles
John David Mercer - USA Today Sports

4. Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles
John David Mercer - USA Today Sports

Five years from now, Jaguars fans will look back on this offseason as the turning point in their franchise history. Under head coach Gus Bradley's supervision, the Jags sought out a franchise quarterback. They accomplished that with the selection of Blake Bortles in the 2014 NFL Draft. Then, the Jags managed to steal WRs Marquise Lee and Allen Robinson in the second round, lending credibility to the offense and giving fans hope for the future.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Bucs Head Coach Lovie Smith
Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Bucs Head Coach Lovie Smith
Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

The Greg Schiano era was short-lived in Tampa Bay. Just one year after Tampa hired the former Rutgers head coach, Shiano was fired in favor of Lovie Smith. The former Bears head coach immediately got to work, showing high-price free agent Darrelle Revis the door in favor of far more moderately-priced free agents like Michael Johnson and Alterraun Verner. Smart moves like these have the Bucs' future looking brighter by the minute.

2. St. Louis Rams

St. Louis Rams DE's Chris Long and Robert Quinn
Jeff Every - USA Today Sports

2. St. Louis Rams

St. Louis Rams DE's Chris Long and Robert Quinn
Jeff Every - USA Today Sports

Despite the Rams status as last season's NFC West basement dwellar, St. Louis is a team on the upswing. Ever since Les Snead and Jeff Fisher joined forces, they have aggressively overhauled the roster replacing aging talent with young, hungry players like Janoris Jenkins, Robert Quinn and 2014 first-round draft pick Aaron Donald; all of whom are expected to help make the Rams' defense one of the NFL's nastiest.

1. Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins WR Mike Wallace
Steve Mitchell - USA Today Sports

1. Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins WR Mike Wallace
Steve Mitchell - USA Today Sports

The Miami Dolphins have become a trendy sleeper pick for many NFL analysts throughout the offseason. Apparently, the addition of offensive coordinator Bill Lazor is responsible for the buzz on South Beach. After coaching alongside offensive innovator Chip Kelly last season in Philadelphia, Lazor brings a new and exciting offensive approach to a team with legitimate playmakers in Mike Wallace, Charles Clay and rookie Jarvis Landry.


Around the Web