1. Seattle Seahawks
They now have two redzone threats with the addition of Jimmy Graham to go with Marshawn Lynch.
2. Arizona Cardinals
A healthy Carson Palmer will make all the difference for the Cardinals this season.
3. San Francisco 49ers
With all the changes to the roster this will be a transition year for the Niners.
4. St. Louis Rams
With Sam Bradford gone they will look to start over at the quarterback position.
Head Coach: Pete Carroll
Key Position: Quarterback
When the Seahawks traded for TE Jimmy Graham immediately everyone pinned at least 25 touchdowns for Russell Wilson. At least ten of those touchdowns would go to Graham, but this offense is built around the running game. Both Marshawn Lynch and Wilson contribute to that rushing attack. Will Seattle alter that gameplan now that they have Graham? This is a big year for Wilson to see if he can be a top tier passer.
Key Acquisitions: TE Jimmy Graham (New Orleans Saints), DT Ahtyba Rubin (Cleveland Browns), CB Cary Williams (Philadelphia Eagles)
Key Rookies: DE Frank Clark, WR Tyler Lockett
Head Coach: Bruce Arians
Key Position: Defense
A lot has been made of the impact that former defensive coordinator Todd Bowles had on the Cardinals defense. The philosophy won’t change, but newly hired James Bettcher has never been a coordinator before. The personnel hasn’t changed much on the field and expect the Cardinals to get close to 40 sacks as a team once again. They might suffer in the run defense because of Dan Williams’ departure.
Key Acquisitions: G Mike Iupati (San Francisco 49ers), LB Sean Weatherspoon (Atlanta Falcons), LB LaMarr Woodley (Oakland Raiders), DL Cory Redding (Indianapolis Colts)
Key Rookies: T D.J. Humphries, LB Markus Golden, RB David Johnson
Head Coach: Jim Tomsula (San Francisco 49ers)
Key Position: Quarterback
The run heavy oriented offense has been replaced with a pro style play-action system. It could benefit Colin Kaepernick in his progression to be a more polished passer. That is all up to him though as with his division rival up in Seattle, this is a big step for Kaepernick to prove his doubters wrong. If he can get out of the shadow of former coach Jim Harbaugh he could be the franchise quarterback the Niners have been looking for.
Key Acquisitions: WR Torrey Smith (Baltimore Ravens), RB Reggie Bush (Detroit Lions), RB Jarryd Hayne (Rugby)
Key Rookies: DL Arik Armstead, S Jaquiski Tartt, LB Eli Harold
Head Coach: Jeff Fisher
Key Position: Wide Receiver
Former starting quarterback Sam Bradford was hardly on the field to throw to the current crop of receivers the Rams have. With Nick Foles aboard the Rams hope that they can have some continuity between the two most important positions for an offense. Kenny Britt and Brian Quick are two tall and deceptively fast receivers who can fight the jump ball. Tavon Austin has so much potential, but the Rams don’t seem to know how to utilize him. Maybe Foles can help in that department.
Key Acquisitions: DT Nick Fairley (Detroit Lions), LB Akeem Ayers (New England Patriots), QB Nick Foles (Philadelphia Eagles), T Garrett Reynolds (Detroit Lions)
Key Rookies: RB Todd Gurley, T, Rob Havenstein, G Jamon Brown