Picking the top bounce-back candidates for all 32 NFL teams

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Training camp isn't only a chance for players and coaches to get reacquainted with one another, but it also can be an opportunity to change a narrative. While many players are hoping to grab starting positions or simply make a roster, others are looking to redeem themselves from uncharacteristically disappointing seasons.


That's where we come in. With the help of our friends at Pro Football Focus, we identified 32 players with pedigree who are looking to turn the page after slumping in 2018, then had our NFL Nation reporters provide context on their upcoming season. These players are ready to spike 2018 from their systems and move forward, and here's how they can do it.


AFC East


Buffalo Bills

Tre'Davious White, CB
2018 PFF overall grade: 61.0

What went wrong in 2018: After recording three sub-40.0 single-game coverage grades in 2018, White finished the season with just a 62.5 coverage grade. It's highly unlikely he replicates that this upcoming season considering just how dominant he was in 2017 (90.1 coverage grade). He has allowed a passer rating of just 69.1 and a completion percentage of 51.9% since 2017, top marks among qualifying cornerbacks in the two-year span. -- Austin Gayle, PFF


Outlook for 2019: You either figure the league out or it figures you out -- and the league figured out White in his second season. The Bills' top cornerback was still effective, with a pair of interceptions and eight passes defended as opponents shied away from him, but he committed 11 penalties in 2018 compared to only three in 2017. White and the Bills' other cornerbacks have practiced while wearing oven mitts during training camp in an effort to offset the frequent defensive holding calls they were flagged for last season. If he can cut back on the penalties, White should return to or surpass his 2017 form. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques



Miami Dolphins

Josh Rosen, QB
2018 overall PFF grade: 49.1

What went wrong in 2018: Rosen really has nowhere to go but up after a disappointing rookie season in Arizona. Rosen earned just a 48.2 passing grade across 781 offensive snaps as a rookie, ranking 39th in that category and in overall grade among qualifiers. With a year of experience under his belt and trading the desert for South Beach, Rosen should see an uptick in performance and perhaps inch closer to what we saw from him at UCLA. He earned passing grades above 75.0 in each of his three seasons with the Bruins from 2015 to 2017. -- Austin Gayle, PFF


Outlook for 2019: A dose of humility after a tumultuous rookie season could motivate Rosen to become the QB many thought he'd be as a top-10 pick in 2018, but first he has to earn the starting job over Ryan Fitzpatrick. The good news for Rosen is that the Dolphins want him to be the guy and pass this one-year tryout. He should have more stability within the coaching staff and an improved WR crew that features playmaking veterans such as Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson. Rosen didn't have much of a chance to succeed in 2018 with the chaotic Cardinals. Although the Dolphins aren't projected to be a playoff team, he gets a second chance to make a first impression in 2019. -- Cameron Wolfe



New England Patriots

Jamie Collins Sr., LB
2018 overall PFF grade: 62.3

What went wrong in 2018: Collins earned impressive grades across the board in his final two seasons in New England (2014-15), including high-end marks as a pass-rusher and run defender. However, he didn't have the same level of success in a new scheme in Cleveland, earning sub-70.0 overall grades in each of the past three seasons with the Browns. Fortunately for Collins, he returns to play a part in the Patriots' defense in 2019. Working as a depth/rotational piece behind starters Dont'a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy, Collins could get his career back on track. -- Austin Gayle, PFF


Outlook for 2019: One of the strengths of Bill Belichick's defense is a knack for maximizing a player's strengths while masking deficiencies, and Collins' return to the Patriots' system sets him up for a bounce-back season. This is different from 2016, when the Patriots traded Collins for the low price of a late third-round draft pick, because Collins has received a big payday from Cleveland and is now all-in to whatever role he carves out in New England. Collins' athleticism can be tapped in a variety of ways on a defense that alters its scheme and approach on a week-to-week basis, playing sub packages more than 85% of the time. Collins is also on a modest one-year deal, which means he's playing for a bigger payday in 2020 and beyond. -- Mike Reiss



New York Jets


Kelechi Osemele, G
2018 overall PFF grade: 53.7

What went wrong in 2018: Much like the rest of the Raiders, Osemele drastically underwhelmed in 2018. After earning 75.0-plus overall grades in each of the four years prior to this past season, Osemele limped to just a 51.0 run-blocking grade in 735 offensive snaps. A clean bill of health and a change of scenery should help keep Osemele's one bad season from turning into a downward spiral. -- Austin Gayle, PFF


Outlook for 2019: New team, new scheme, new mindset. Osemele, who fell out of favor with the Raiders and was traded, hopes to regain his Pro Bowl form. He's healthy (he battled knee and toe injuries last season) and carrying less weight. His movement skills should fit nicely into the Jets' zone-blocking scheme. He's probably their best overall lineman. He's still only 30, so there's time for a turnaround. -- Rich Cimini

AFC North


Baltimore Ravens

Jimmy Smith, CB
2018 PFF overall grade: 61.7

What went wrong in 2018: Smith stumbled out of the gate in 2018. After serving a four-game suspension to start his eighth NFL season, Smith earned sub-60.0 coverage grades in each of his first four games. It wasn't until Week 9 that we started to see the Smith who earned an impressive 84.1 coverage grade in 355 snaps in 2017. He improved his overall grade from 43.8 in Weeks 5-8 to 71.5 in Weeks 9-17, a trend that favors him returning to form in 2019. -- Austin Gayle, PFF


Outlook for 2019: Smith played his best football down the stretch last season and will look to carry that over into an important 2019 season. He's entering his contract year, and, for the first time in a while, is considered the second-best corner on the team (Marlon Humphrey has surpassed him). There's plenty of motivation for Smith to show he has something left at age 31. -- Jamison Hensley



Cincinnati Bengals

Cordy Glenn, OT
2018 PFF overall grade: 60.9


What went wrong in 2018:
Injuries have taken a toll on Glenn in recent years. The 2012 second-rounder recorded 82.0-plus pass-blocking grades while playing north of 1,000 snaps every season from 2013 to 2015. He hasn't played more than 800 snaps in a season since, and his play has dropped as a result. He has earned 73.5 and 71.3 pass-blocking grades in 2017 and 2018, respectively. With rookie first-rounder Jonah Williams out for the season because of a shoulder injury, Glenn should assume left tackle duties in 2019. If he can find a way to maintain a clean bill of health, Glenn should improve on his uncharacteristically low recent marks. -- Austin Gayle, PFF


Outlook for 2019: Glenn spent the first six years of his career in Buffalo before the Bengals traded for him prior to the 2018 season. Cincinnati hoped the veteran could shore up the left edge of its offensive line. But according to PFF, Glenn struggled at times during his first season with the Bengals. He also battled a back injury that kept him out of three games. With the retirement of guard Clint Boling and the loss of Williams, Glenn's improvement is imperative for a unit looking to make strides under new offensive line coach Jim Turner. -- Ben Baby



Cleveland Browns

Jarvis Landry, WR
2018 PFF overall grade: 74.7

What went wrong in 2018: After earning 80.0-plus receiving grades in three consecutive seasons with the Dolphins (2015-17), Landry dropped down as Baker Mayfield's and the Browns' primary target this past season. With a much higher average depth of target (11.5) than he had in Miami, Landry didn't have many opportunities to make plays after the catch. He recorded career-low marks in forced missed tackles (eight) and yards after the catch per reception (3.5) as a result. With former LSU teammate and NFL standout Odell Beckham Jr. added to the fold, new head coach Freddie Kitchens can afford to pivot Landry's role a bit to play to his strengths more and get the best out of the 26-year-old veteran in 2019. -- Austin Gayle, PFF


Outlook for 2019: Though Landry might not have been as efficient last season in terms of targets to completions, he still turned it on down the stretch, with 20 first-down receptions in 45 targets after Week 9, per PFF. Landry should be able to operate even more efficiently as the No. 2 option in underneath coverage with Beckham on board commanding the attention of opposing defenses. -- Jake Trotter



Pittsburgh Steelers

James Washington, WR
2018 PFF overall grade: 49.4

What went wrong in 2018: Washington's rookie season couldn't have gone much worse. Earning just a 50.5 receiving grade across 525 offensive snaps in 2018, Washington really struggled to separate against NFL competition. But if his time at Oklahoma State is any indication, Washington's best play is still ahead of him. He earned 81.7 and 82.8 receiving grades in his last two collegiate seasons and entered the 2018 NFL draft as the No. 24 overall player on PFF's board. -- Austin Gayle, PFF


Outlook for 2019: Washington's struggles in 2018 culminated with a key drop in Week 12 that put him in Ben Roethlisberger's dog house. Confidence was an issue. But ending the season with two 60-plus-yard games in the final three weeks provided hope, and Washington lost about 10-15 pounds in the offseason to get quicker. The Steelers love his ability to make tough catches. Now they need him to cut down on mistakes, which he says he'll do. -- Jeremy Fowler

AFC South


Houston Texans

Whitney Mercilus, Edge
2018 PFF overall grade: 63.1

What went wrong in 2018: In his first year back from a devastating pectoral injury in 2017, Mercilus underwhelmed. He earned just a 68.0 pass-rush grade this past season, ranking in the bottom half of the NFL among qualifiers at his position. However, his pre-injury play was among the best in the league, as he earned 83.7 and 83.5 pass-rush grades in 2015 and 2016, respectively. A clean bill of health could be what the doctor orders to get Mercilus back on track in 2019. -- Austin Gayle, PFF



Outlook for 2019: Because of the way the Texans used J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney last season -- both pass-rushers were healthy at the same time for a full season for the first time -- Mercilus did not play the same role he had in prior years. The veteran linebacker was used more in dropback coverage instead of as a pass-rusher, and he said it was a big adjustment for him. "The route combinations were just jumbling around in my head," Mercilus said. If Clowney ends his holdout and he and Watt stay healthy again, Mercilus could be used in the same way, but he said he is now "better prepared and able to get the look that I need to do in my drops, and understand the route combinations that may be coming." -- Sarah Barshop



Indianapolis Colts

Devin Funchess, WR
2018 PFF overall grade: 68.4

What went wrong in 2018: Funchess has flashed high-end potential in bursts throughout his four-year career, but the former Michigan standout hasn't consistently performed above expectations. That could all change with his move to Indianapolis. If Andrew Luck can pick up where he left off in 2018, Funchess should benefit from improved ball placement and overall accuracy at the quarterback position -- which he desperately needs considering his lackluster ability to separate against NFL competition. -- Austin Gayle, PFF


Outlook for 2019: Funchess' 2018 season was considered disappointing because he had 19 fewer receptions and nearly 300 fewer receiving yards than the previous season. What can't go unnoticed is that he spent most of the season catching passes from quarterback Cam Newton, who was dealing with a shoulder injury that affected his throwing. Funchess is the front-runner to be the No. 2 receiver for the Colts. Funchess, like tight end Eric Ebron, will be a big red zone target to go along with being a possession receiver for Luck this season. -- Mike Wells



Jacksonville Jaguars

Andrew Norwell, G
2018 PFF overall grade: 66.7

What went wrong in 2018: A prized free agent in 2018, Norwell signed a lucrative deal with the Jaguars after four seasons of above-average play with the Carolina Panthers. He was sidelined due to injury for five games, which probably had an impact on his overall performance. He earned career-low marks in run-blocking grade (57.1) and overall grade in his debut season with Jacksonville. Health permitting, Norwell should see his grades jump up significantly this season. -- Austin Gayle, PFF


Outlook for 2019: Norwell hurt his calf in training camp and that injury lingered and impacted him in the 11 games he played before going on IR last season. He's healthy now, which will make a big difference. Norwell also should benefit from having LT Cam Robinson next to him at some point (Robinson is coming off a torn ACL and will be cleared sometime before the season opener). The Jaguars were on their fourth-string left tackle by the time last season ended. Norwell should have everything in place to prove he deserved the big contract the Jaguars gave him last year (five years, $66.5 million). -- Mike DiRocco



Tennessee Titans

Malcolm Butler, CB
2018 PFF overall grade: 67.1

What went wrong in 2018: Butler has yet to jump above 70.0 in coverage grade since he earned an 86.9 coverage grade in the Patriots' Super Bowl-winning season of 2016. And while he didn't have a great start to his debut season in Tennessee last year, he showed signs of returning to form late in the season. After Week 9, Butler earned 68.0-plus coverage grades in six of the final eight games en route to an 83.1 coverage grade that ranked sixth among qualifiers in that span. -- Austin Gayle, PFF


Outlook for 2019: Butler came on strong down the stretch last season once he was able to conquer the pressure of having signed a big free-agent deal. The veteran corner posted two of his three interceptions and six of his 12 pass breakups in the last five games. The hot finish gave Butler his swagger back. He's more comfortable in his second season under defensive coordinator Dean Pees. Added DB coach Kerry Coombs: "Malcolm was pressing early. Once he settled down and into his role he felt comfortable in a new environment and really worked on technique. The improvement in his performance level was dramatic and he's had a really good spring." -- Turron Davenport

AFC West


Denver Broncos

Justin Simmons, S
2018 PFF overall grade: 60.9


What went wrong in 2018: Simmons, a former third-rounder out of Boston College, exploded onto the scene with a 75.3 overall grade and 75.4 coverage grade as a rookie in 2016. He has taken a few steps back from a coverage standpoint since his rookie year, earning a dismal 51.2 coverage grade across 631 coverage snaps a year ago. Vic Fangio and his zone-heavy scheme could play to Simmons' benefit, though. His career coverage grade in Cover 2 and Cover 3 (74.1) is much better than his coverage grade in Cover 1 and 2-Man (56.2). -- Austin Gayle, PFF


Outlook for 2019: Simmons, who has started 32 games in his first three seasons, finds himself in a contract year with a new defensive staff. He is one of the team's most athletic defensive backs but has also been the target of opposing offensive coordinators at times, especially in the deep middle of the field. Last season was a struggle for many of Denver's defensive backs, but opposing offensive coaches believed Simmons would bite on motion or play fakes at times. Fangio and defensive coordinator Ed Donatell will ask the defensive backs to play a bigger variety of coverages this season. Simmons has acclimated well and had three interceptions in team drills in the first two weeks of training camp. -- Jeff Legwold



Kansas City Chiefs

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, G
2018 PFF overall grade: 63.3

What went wrong in 2018: Duvernay-Tardif earned a career-low overall grade through the first five weeks of the season before going on injured reserve because of a fractured fibula. In the two previous seasons (2017-18), the Canadian-born veteran earned 70.0-plus overall grades and 75.0-plus pass-blocking grades. He should return to that production in 2019 if healthy. -- Austin Gayle, PFF


Outlook for 2019: Duvernay-Tardif missed most of last season because of a broken leg. But he's healthy now and the Chiefs will welcome him back to the starting lineup at right guard. If he plays a full season, there's no reason Duvernay-Tardif shouldn't return to previous form in 2019. -- Adam Teicher



Los Angeles Chargers

Joey Bosa, Edge
2018 PFF overall grade: 72.2

What went wrong in 2018: Bosa earned 81.9 and 91.3 pass-rush grades in 2016 and 2017, respectively, before finishing an injury-plagued 2018 campaign with just a 70.8 pass-rush grade. Sidelined because of a foot injury through Week 10, Bosa finished the year with just 31 hurries, four hits and 5.5 sacks while earning a career-low single-season pass-rush win percentage of 19.9%. Health remains a concern for Bosa going into Year 4 of his career, but one should expect him to be dominant if he can find a way to stay on the field. -- Austin Gayle, PFF



Outlook for 2019: After missing nine games last year because of a bruised left foot, Bosa is back to being explosive, which should mean more production for the Chargers. Bosa finished with a career-low 5.5 sacks in seven regular-season games in 2018. However, Bosa says he feels strong and fully healthy after last season's nagging injury, and should be back to double-digit sacks again in 2019. -- Eric D. Williams



Oakland Raiders

Antonio Brown, WR
2018 PFF overall grade: 79.3

What went wrong in 2018: Even though he finished with over 1,300 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns, Brown finished his 2018 campaign with a career-low 79.0 receiving grade and the second-lowest yards per route run average (1.84) of his career. He also caught just five of 27 contested targets and recorded 29 receptions of 15-plus yards -- two relatively low marks compared to what we've seen from Brown in his career. Expected to star as the focal point of the Raiders' passing attack in 2019, Brown should see his efficiency numbers jump back up to the level we saw from him in previous seasons. -- Austin Gayle, PFF


Outlook for 2019: After being an offseason workout warrior for Oakland, impressing coaches and teammates alike with his work ethic and skill, Brown's first Raiders camp got off to an ignominious start. He is on the non-football injury list with an undisclosed injury and was walking gingerly around the practice field Saturday. Still, sources say the malady is not serious and he will return soon, which is good news for a team that needs his firepower. Coming in with a chip on his shoulder after his unceremonious exit from Pittsburgh will only help ... so long as Derek Carr, sacked 51 times last season, has time to get him the ball. -- Paul Gutierrez

NFC East


Dallas Cowboys

Chidobe Awuzie, CB
2018 PFF overall grade: 63.9


What went wrong in 2018: Awuzie had more than three times as many targets in Year 2 than he did his rookie season (94 to 29) and struggled at stopping receivers in his coverage in what could be considered a sophomore slump. Compared to his rookie season, in which he was extremely strong in coverage, 2018 saw the former Colorado standout give up an average reception of 13.6 yards on throws into his primary coverage and 801 total yards, the latter figure being the 12th most in the league. A silver lining for Cowboys fans is that Awuzie has shown the ability to limit receivers in his coverage at the pro level before, as he allowed an average reception of just 7.0 yards in 2017. A regression to the mean is likely this season. -- Cam Mellor, PFF


Outlook for 2019: It's not that Awuzie had a poor season in 2018. It's just that he was in position to make plays and didn't make enough of them. With Byron Jones having a Pro Bowl season on the other side, Awuzie was a target, especially early in the season. The Cowboys believe he has the physical skills to do what Kris Richard wants from his cornerbacks, and Awuzie is a willing tackler. This is a big year for Awuzie. He needs to show he can be a cornerstone player for this defense into the future, especially with Jones in the final year of his contract. -- Todd Archer



New York Giants

Sterling Shepard, WR
2018 PFF overall grade: 67.3

What went wrong in 2018: Shepard failed to make much of an impact as the 2018 season wore on, finishing with just one touchdown grab and one game grade above 67.1 over the last seven weeks. While a lot of that can be attributed to lackluster quarterback play that might not be getting better anytime soon, Shepard failed to generate yards after the catch in those games as well, totaling just 100 YAC over the final eight weeks of the season. He's a much better receiver with the ball in his hands in space and if schemed open, should have no trouble bouncing back to a bigger season from a grading standpoint. -- Cam Mellor, PFF


Outlook for 2019: Shepard broke his thumb in training camp but appears in line to be back for Week 1 in an expanded role. He has averaged 2.4 more targets and 13.9 more yards per game the past two seasons when Odell Beckham Jr. wasn't in the lineup. Well, Beckham is now in Cleveland and Shepard can get comfortable as Eli Manning's top target. It should equate to a better season. -- Jordan Raanan



Philadelphia Eagles

Vinny Curry, Edge
2018 PFF overall grade: 58.4

What went wrong in 2018: This one is a no-brainer with Curry's return to Philadelphia. After five consecutive years with 32-plus quarterback pressures while with the Eagles, Curry's one-year stint in Tampa Bay saw him finish with a career-low overall grade and only 24 total QB pressures. His grades were down across the board, and returning to where he has had documented success has "bounce-back" written all over it. -- Cam Mellor, PFF


Outlook for 2019: Curry is going to be a regular part of the defensive end rotation, so he's going to have plenty of opportunity. Playing in defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's attack system is never a bad thing for a D-lineman's production. Healthy and happy to be back in Philly, Curry should experience a statistical uptick from a season ago. -- Tim McManus



Washington Redskins

Landon Collins, S
2018 PFF overall grade: 70.4

What went wrong in 2018: Ending his tenure in New York as the forgotten man, Collins finished the 2018 season with his lowest grade since his rookie season. He never really put it together in any game, achieving only one game grade above 75.0 and missing 13 total tackles. A liability in coverage, he allowed 76.7% of passes thrown into his primary coverage to be caught and a passer rating of 127.8 when targeted, all career-worst marks. A new stage and scenery gives Collins' career a revitalization that should bring him back to 2016-2017 levels of play, which ranked him among the best safeties in the NFL. -- Cam Mellor, PFF


Outlook for 2019: Collins said he didn't like how he was used by the Giants in recent years and, of course, enjoys how he'll be used in Washington. Collins said the Redskins will use him similar to how he was used in his early years with the Giants -- playing a lot of quarters coverage or Cover 3. They won't use him as a linebacker in sub packages, as he was used last season in New York. Early in camp he has shown an ability to cover deep or play in the box in Cover 3. Playing with a strong defensive line, Collins could be a major pest in the box again. -- John Keim

NFC North


Chicago Bears

Kyle Long, G
2018 PFF overall grade: 62.2

What went wrong in 2018: While injuries have decimated Long's past three seasons -- he hasn't played more than 575 snaps in any of them -- his 2018 campaign saw him finish with a grade below 70.0 for the first time in his career. He did not achieve a game grade higher than 70.8 after Week 1 and gave up multiple pressures in over half of his starts last season. Long has shown the ability to bounce back to form after injury. If healthy, he should return to his previous high level of play on a reformed offensive line with James Daniels at center and Cody Whitehair at the other guard spot. -- Cam Mellor, PFF


Outlook for 2019: Long is a strong candidate to bounce back. The former Pro Bowler sustained multiple serious injuries beginning in 2016, but Long is coming off his first healthy offseason in three years. Long is exceptionally talented and surrounded by a formidable offensive line. It makes sense to predict that Long will come close to recapturing his old form. -- Jeff Dickerson



Detroit Lions

Rashaan Melvin, CB
2018 PFF overall grade: 60.5

What went wrong in 2018: Just a year removed from a career-high grade while primarily playing outside, Melvin is now on his third team in as many seasons and his seventh since going undrafted in 2013. His 2017 level of play netted him a large contract with Oakland that ultimately fizzled after he gave up 604 yards into his coverage on only 40 receptions. Getting back to his top-25 overall grade play is doable, and that's the level of play Detroit will desperately need. -- Cam Mellor, PFF

Outlook for 2019:
Melvin is on a new team in a familiar defense, having played in New England in 2015. He's in a position where he might be needed as a starter, though, and he'll receive a lot of attention as teams tend to want to throw away from Darius Slay. It's still too early to say exactly how Melvin will fit in or whether he'll bounce back to 2017 form, which was the best year of his career. The Lions need him to be better than he was in Oakland last season, when he had one interception and nine pass deflections. -- Michael Rothstein



Green Bay Packers

Jimmy Graham, TE
2018 PFF overall grade: 59.3

What went wrong in 2018: After seven straight 74.0-plus graded seasons from 2010 to 2016, Graham has yet to recapture the top-level form that saw him rise to fame in New Orleans and star for two seasons with the Seahawks. After back-to-back sub-67.0 graded seasons, Graham's previous level of play could resurface in a Matt LaFleur-led offense that should be able to scheme him open. After the drafting of Jace Sternberger, Graham's time might be limited with the Packers, making 2019 a make-or-break year. Odds are he makes it. -- Cam Mellor, PFF


Outlook for 2019: A new offense won't just help Aaron Rodgers; it should help Graham, who late last season seemed at least slightly miffed about the way he was used in his first year in Green Bay. LaFleur's system could fit Graham well -- at least according to Rodgers, who said: "I think this offense sets up really good for him. It gives him opportunities to win with his routes and ... to win with his athletic ability and speed." -- Rob Demovsky



Minnesota Vikings

Xavier Rhodes, CB
2018 PFF overall grade: 58.2

What went wrong in 2018: Rhodes has been a polarizing player since he was drafted in the first round in 2013, and Vikings fans hope to see him get back on track. He had a promising two-year stretch in 2016-17, the only two multi-interception seasons of his career to date. Rhodes was subpar in coverage a season ago, allowing 65.2% of passes thrown his way to be caught, a career-high percentage. With his proven coverage ability, and an expected improvement from the Minnesota defense as a whole, it wouldn't be shocking to see Rhodes limit quarterbacks to the sub-50.0 completion percentage into his coverage that we've seen before. -- Cam Mellor, PFF


Outlook for 2019: Many of Rhodes' issues stemmed from a series of foot, hamstring and groin injuries that forced him to miss two games and limited him on the field. But Mike Zimmer didn't mince words this offseason when it comes to his top cornerback. "I just don't think he played as well as he can play, and he needs to play up to his ability level and I need to make sure he does that," Zimmer said. "We're paying him a lot of money, he needs to play up to that contract." Rhodes' penalty problems persisted, totaling nine, while he allowed the highest completion percentage of his career (65.2) and the second-highest passer rating (88.4) into his coverage. It doesn't appear that the 29-year-old cornerback has lost his speed or athletic ability, so he needs to stay healthy and sharpen his technique, according to Zimmer, to return to the "Rhodes Closed" form we saw in 2016-17. -- Courtney Cronin

NFC South


Atlanta Falcons

Desmond Trufant, CB
2018 PFF overall grade: 69.5

What went wrong in 2018: Trufant struggled out of the gate in 2018, starting the season with a string of poor outings. In fact, eight of his first 12 performances saw him finish with game grades of 60.0 overall or below. He seemed to turn a corner down the stretch, and his level of play over the final four games were what we've come to expect from the seven-year veteran. Even in a down year, Trufant managed 12 pass breakups for the second season in a row. It's likely we see even more production from him, as he should head back toward his career baseline from a coverage grade standpoint. -- Cam Mellor, PFF


Outlook for 2019: The Falcons' defense wasn't the same as a whole last season after injuries crippled the unit. Trufant had some lapses -- most notably dropped potential interceptions -- but he's a player who has a swagger about him and needs to keep such confidence. If he can trust his technique and not worry about doing too much to make plays, he should bounce back. Not to mention there are young, hungry corners behind him in rookies Kendall Sheffield and Jordan Miller, which should keep Trufant on his game. -- Vaughn McClure



Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton, QB
2018 PFF overall grade: 70.9

What went wrong in 2018: Is Newton the same guy who won the MVP in 2015? No, but that's not to say he can't continue the upward trajectory he has shown over the past two seasons. Newton has improved his grade in each of the past two seasons but has yet to reach his 2015 heights from a passing perspective. His 70.0 passing grade in 2018 was the highest since 2015 but still ranked 23rd in the NFL. Shoulder injury aside, Newton has shown he can play at top-15 level and 2019 is probably the season Panthers fans see that type of performance again. -- Cam Mellor, PFF

What went wrong in 2018: Peat's 2018 season was a disaster by all accounts. He finished with the lowest overall grade of all guards, as Peat never graded higher than 63.7 overall in any game and even finished with eight games under 50.0. Over the first three seasons of his career, Peat graded 67.1 or higher and finished within the top half of all starters at his position each season. His 2018 season was not quite the performance you'd expect from a former first-round pick, but if his play before 2018 is an indication, he should return to form with relative ease in 2019. -- Cam Mellor, PFF



New Orleans Saints

Andrus Peat, G
2018 PFF overall grade: 39.2


What went wrong in 2018: Peat's 2018 season was a disaster by all accounts. He finished with the lowest overall grade of all guards, as Peat never graded higher than 63.7 overall in any game and even finished with eight games under 50.0. Over the first three seasons of his career, Peat graded 67.1 or higher and finished within the top half of all starters at his position each season. His 2018 season was not quite the performance you'd expect from a former first-round pick, but if his play before 2018 is an indication, he should return to form with relative ease in 2019. -- Cam Mellor, PFF


Outlook for 2019: Peat actually made his first Pro Bowl as an alternate last season, despite the uneven performances noted by PFF. And he is still a valued starter who is capable of sliding over to left tackle when needed. It didn't help that Peat missed three games because of minor injuries early last season -- then played in the playoffs despite having hand surgery during the first-round bye week. But he did some of his most important work in high-profile matchups against Aaron Donald and Fletcher Cox in the regular season. This will be a big season for the former first-round pick in the final year of his contract. -- Mike Triplett



Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ryan Jensen, C
2018 PFF overall grade: 54.9

What went wrong in 2018: Jensen's first year with the Buccaneers went down as the lowest-graded season of his career as he faltered after a career-high 71.4 in 2018. He failed to move defenders off the line in the running game and struggled in pass protection, giving up 25 pressures, which is three more pressures than he gave up in 2016 and 2017 combined in Baltimore. Inconsistency was a big issue a season ago, especially since being consistent was a major part of his success with the Ravens. He'll have to rediscover that consistency now that he's playing in new head coach Bruce Arians' passing game. -- Cam Mellor, PFF


Outlook for 2019: It wasn't only Jensen who struggled -- it was the entire Bucs offensive line, which could not open up holes in the ground game or protect quarterback Jameis Winston. The interior was especially bad, not just with Jensen, but also Caleb Benenoch, who looked so ill-suited at right guard that he was moved to backup offensive tackle. Even as the season wore on, they continued to be plagued by communication issues. Interestingly, the only real addition the new coaching staff made this offseason was signing Earl Watford, which raises concern. It's up to Jensen to set the tone, and he's certainly getting paid to do that with a four-year deal worth $42 million, but he needs someone reliable next to him. -- Jenna Laine

NFC West


Arizona Cardinals

David Johnson, RB
2018 PFF overall grade: 63.8

What went wrong in 2018: The NFL world has yet to see the 2016 version of Johnson that set the league on fire. His 2017 season was lost after only 12 snaps and he failed to recapture his 2016 level of play last season on a lackluster team that struggled in all areas. The new-look Arizona team led by Kliff Kingsbury should feature a heavy passing attack, something that fits into Johnson's skill set perfectly. In that famous 2016 season, Johnson was awarded PFF's best receiver in a year when he hauled in 74.8% of his targets and forced 27 missed tackles after the catch. With a wide-open attack likely in the desert, Johnson should return to prominence doing what he does best. -- Cam Mellor, PFF



Outlook for 2019: Johnson is poised for a breakout season for multiple reasons. The first is that he's relatively fresh. He played less than one game in 2017 and wasn't used last season the way he was in 2016, when he finished with 2,118 all-purpose yards. The second is that Johnson will have a major role in Kingsbury's version of the Air Raid. Contrary to popular belief, the run is a major part of Kingsbury's scheme, which means Johnson probably will return to a full workload as a running back but also will be used consistently as a receiver, either lining up out wide or running routes out of the backfield. -- Josh Weinfuss



Los Angeles Rams

Marcus Peters, CB
2018 PFF overall grade: 62.1

What went wrong in 2018: Peters' career has been a tale of two halves, with two subpar seasons surrounding two above-average years in 2016 and 2017. His first year in Los Angeles saw him struggle in coverage compared to the previous two seasons, giving up 14.9 yards per reception and a catch rate of 68.5%, both career worsts. Even a regression to the mean signals improvement for a player who has the ability to be as sticky in coverage as any. -- Cam Mellor, PFF


Outlook for 2019: Peters is expected to start the 2019 season where he left off in 2018 --- on a high note. Though he struggled at times during the first half of last season, Peters adjusted and his play improved in the second half of the season and playoffs. The coaching staff has learned Peters' strengths, and Peters has learned what's expected of him in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' scheme. Peters also is entering the fifth and final season of his rookie contract and will be looking to earn a big payday. -- Lindsey Thiry



San Francisco 49ers

Weston Richburg, C
2018 PFF overall grade: 51.9

What went wrong in 2018: A coveted free agent, Richburg disappointed in his first season with the 49ers after an above-average start to his career in New York. His pass-blocking took a big hit in 2018, as he gave up a career-high 33 pressures that included four sacks. Limiting penalties also will be a big thing, as he was called for six a season ago, but his proven ability to man the interior of the offensive line with solid run and pass blocking should go a long way in distancing himself from a forgettable 2018. -- Cam Mellor, PFF


Outlook for 2019: Richburg's first season with the Niners was marred by a knee injury suffered in Week 4, though he missed only one game. Richburg had offseason surgeries on his knee and quadriceps, both of which required extensive rehab. Richburg began training camp on the physically unable to perform list, but the Niners hope to have him ready for the start of the regular season. A healthy Richburg should be able to take a step forward from where he was in 2018 and give the interior of the Niners' line some much-needed stability. -- Nick Wagoner



Seattle Seahawks

Shaquill Griffin, CB
2018 PFF overall grade: 50.7


What went wrong in 2018: The Legion of Boom is no more in Seattle and Griffin was a big reason why the Seahawks allowed Richard Sherman to head to San Francisco a season ago. As a rookie, Griffin gave up only 110 yards after the catch in his primary coverage, something he did extremely well at UCF in the PFF grading lens as well. He held opposing quarterbacks to just a 75.2 passer rating when targeted in that rookie season but saw that number jump to 101.2 a year ago. Entrenched as the Seahawks' No. 1 cornerback for the foreseeable future -- a role in which Griffin thrives -- his play should mirror that role in 2019. -- Cam Mellor, PFF


Outlook for 2019: Griffin has talked openly about how he overextended himself at times last season and focused too much on making big plays as he took over for Sherman at left cornerback. That might have been a factor in some of the big plays he gave up, which was something Griffin mostly avoided during a strong rookie season in 2017. He also dropped about 12 pounds with the help of a personal chef after feeling as if he lacked ideal endurance while playing above 200 pounds last year. A trimmer build and renewed mindset make Griffin an obvious bounce-back candidate, as does the potential for a big raise next offseason, as he will have played the three seasons required for an extension to his rookie contract. -- Brady Henderson