The start of this season has me getting strong 2017 vibes in all of the wrong ways. We came of a successful 2016 season based on a free agency splurge and the pundits talked us up as a title contender. We lost some early games that we should have won and then the entire WR corps was lost in one game.
While 2020 was not a playoff year, things seemed to be moved in the right direction. We had a successful free agent splurge and the team improved. We started this year with 3 games that should have been winnable and lost all 3. And now, we have lost several key players, 2 OL, 2 WRs, Blake Martinez. Hope appears to be fading fast.
So, I thought that I would look at the roster and see if Gettleman had actually improved the talent in comparison to the 2017 team, using the rosters at the beginning of the season as the best judge of the talent acquisition of the GMs.
In 2017, we had 8 players that had made a pro bowl or all-pro team within the prior 3 seasons in Eli, Odell, Snacks, Vernon, Collins, Jenkins, Harris and DRC. Plus, JPP has made the pro bowl since he was traded. So, there was some top end talent.
In 2021, we have 3 in Saquon, Engram and Bradberry and Engram was actually drafted by Reese. This shows a lack of top end talent.
Let's go position group by position group
QB: Eli IMHO was better than Jones is now. I am a Jones fan, but he has yet to take the team on his back in the 4th quarter. I think he will get there, but an old Eli was still the better QB
RB: Orleans Darkwa versus Saquon. While Saquon is not yet his old explosive self, I am hard pressed to take Darkwa. This should be a no doubter, but Saquon does not look like himself yet and it is closer than it should be.
WR: Odell, Shephard, Marshall versus Golladay, Shephard and Slayton. Odell alone makes the 2017 group better. IT was Odell's injuries that sunk the 2017 as much as anything.
TE: Ellison and Engram versus Randolph, Engram and Smith. I prefer the 2021 group even though Engram in 2021 is a head case, but Randolph and Smith are better than Ellison.
T: Flowers and Hart versus Thomas and Solder. I will take 2021 without question. Thomas is starting to look like a high 1st round pick whereas Flowers and Hart were just bad.
G: Pugh, Jerry, Fluker is hands down better than Hernandez, Lemieux and Bredeson. Both Pugh and Jerry would be the best guards on the 2021 team and both were very good pass blockers. Fluker would be the best run blocker on the 2021 team. IMHO, I would take any of the 2017 guards over any of the 2021 guards.
C: Richburg, Jones over Gates, Price. This was closer than I expected as Gates had really developed, but Richburg when healthy was a near pro bowl talent.
The defenses run very different systems, but I will do my best to compare.
Edge: It is not close. JPP and Vernon were both better than any edge on the 2021 team. Out of Ojulari, Carter and Ximines, only Ojulary looks any good. Four years later and older, they are both probably still good enough to start for the 2021 team. We hope that Ojulari develops, but the hope is that he becomes as good as JPP.
DT/DL Snacks, Tomlinson were better against the run while Williams and Dexter are better pass rushers. I think that you have to go with the 2021 version, particularly because there is better depth.
LB: A clear win for the 2021 version. Kennard, Goodson and Casillas versus Martinez, Crowder, Ragland. Blake is far and away the best of the bunch. Kennard was OK and the rest are JAGs. So, Blake alone wins this category for 2021.
CB: Should be close, but 2017 was better. Jenkins, DRC and Apple were a better and more accomplished trio than Bradberry, Jackson and Holmes. Jackrabbit and Bradberry were both coming off pro bowl years, but DRC was better than Jackson. Apple was a disappointment, but Holmes has already been benched.
S: the 2021 version is better overall and definitely deeper although Landon Collins at the time was better than any of the 2021 crew. But, Peppers, McKinney and Ryan are a stronger core than Collins, Thompson and Adams. They are most definitely better in coverage.
P: Wing versus Dixon: To me it is a push. Both had their moments and both have disappointed.
K: Rosas versus Gano. Clear victory for 2021 as Gano is better in every way over Rosas.
The position groups are pretty even. It looking at the teams, the 2021 has better depth, but really lacks elite talent that wins games. So I would take a healthy 2017 team over the 2021 version. However, when one realizes that the 2017 team won only 3 games, the fact that the 2021 team does not have a clear talent advantage is damning.
Gettleman, IMHO, has utterly failed to put together a quality roster. After four years of high draft choices, to not have a single draft pick be a difference maker is mind-boggling bad. The fact that He has failed to put together a better roster than the one he took over by now is a disaster. We need a new GM now.