Jul 26, 2018; Tampa Bay, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Vinny Curry (97) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) talk during training camp at One Buccaneer Place. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The 2018 NFL regular season kicks off in just a day and every general manager, coach, fan and everyone in between are eager to see their team’s performance when the lights are on and the games finally matter again. While navigating the constraints of the salary cap, each team has used this past offseason to build their new roster via free agency, the draft and trades.
While some of the NFL’s better units remain mostly unchanged, below are six new-look units across the NFL that we’ll be keeping an eye on as they’ve gone through significant overhaul since 2017.
While McCoy continues to anchor this unit, the Bucs utilized free agency to add former Eagles Allen and Curry, along with a former Bear in Unrein. On draft day they completed the overhaul of the defensive line by trading a third-rounder for Pierre-Paul and selecting Vita Vea 12th overall.
Allen brings some might as an early-down run stuffer who had the league’s eighth-highest run-stop percentage (11.3 percent) among defensive interior linemen. Vea, who ranked in the top 10 in both pass-rush productivity and run-stop percentage among FBS interior d-linemen in 2017, was often kept on a snap count in college. The two should make for a stout rotation in the middle alongside McCoy and when Vea is healthy after he missed all of the preseason with an injury.
Pierre-Paul (40) and Curry (27) both had more pressures in 2017 than any player employed by the Bucs last season.
2018 – Clinton-Dix, Jones, King, House
S Kentrell Brice (70.2 – 2018 preseason grade)
CB Tramon Williams (93.3 – 2018 preseason grade)
CB Jaire Alexander (78.2 – 2018 preseason grade)
CB Josh Jackson (93.4 – 2018 preseason grade)
The Packers again loaded up on cornerbacks through the draft by selecting Alexander and Jackson in the first and second rounds, respectively, after making King the first pick of the second round in 2017. Williams returns via free agency and projects as the starter across from King.
When targeted in 2017, Williams allowed only a 58.4 passer rating, eighth best in the league while Alexander was impressive at Louisville a…