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Time to Tank for These Four NFL Teams

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Every year there are a couple of teams that appear to make strategic moves to lose on purpose so they can have as high of a pick in the coming NFL draft as possible. This dawned campaigns such as “Suck for Luck” and various other catchy phrases.

Nevertheless, most of the time, the teams that were deemed to be tanking were doing it for a shot at a top-tier quarterback prospect such as Andrew Luck. This year, there doesn’t appear to be a franchise quarterback in this draft; however, that doesn’t mean that some teams shouldn’t pack up shop and tank for the rest of the 2015 season.

These teams aren’t your typical bottom-dwellers that find themselves on the bottom of the NFL standings every year, they are teams with the talent to contend, but a variety of reasons have led to their playoff hopes being smashed. These teams are one or two players away from being serious playoff and Super Bowl contenders; thus, having a top-10 or 5 pick wouldn’t hurt in those efforts.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at each of those four teams who should tank the last eight weeks of the season.

Miami Dolphins

Perfect Fits in Draft: Vernon Hargreaves III

Other Fits: Mackensie Alexander, Joey Bosa, Jaylon Smith

The resurgence of the Miami Dolphins under Dan Campbell appeared to be premature after the shellacking the Dolphins took from the New England Patriots. While Campbell may have the team playing tougher and headed in the right direction, they just don’t have much hope of making a dent in the playoffs this season. They are currently 3-5 and winless in their division, which basically eliminates them from any opportunity of winning a tiebreaker to get into the playoffs.

Despite these facts, the Dolphins are a team with a lot of talent, but they were stymied by poor coaching that put them in too big of a hole to overcome; therefore, they would be best to pack up ship and tank the rest of the season. That may mean that Campbell doesn’t become the full-time head coach after the season, but it is the best direction the team can go right now. The Dolphins have a lot of great parts, with players like Ryan Tannehill, Ndamukong Suh and Jarvis Landry, but they still need to sure up some parts of their team if they hope to contend with the likes of the Patriots.

Currently, the Dolphins are in position to have the 12th pick in the NFL draft, which is a good spot to get a potentially great player, but it has them just missing out on potentially getting one of the blue-chip prospects that can change a franchise’s course. If they could end up somewhere in the vicinity of 4-12, they could be in position to get a player who could be a huge contributor early one.

Ultimately, the best fit for the Dolphins would be cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III. He has the type of cover skills to step in immediately and take on some of the best receivers the NFL has to offer. He would be a great compliment to Brett Grimes and he would give the Dolphins a formidable secondary to take on the high-flying offenses in the AFC.

San Diego Chargers

Perfect Fits in Draft: Laremy Tunsil

Other Fits: Ronnie Stanley, Laquon Treadwell, Robert Nkemdiche

One of the most disappointing teams in the NFL has to be the San Diego Chargers. Usually, if you have a great quarterback it will automatically make you a playoff contender every year. Nonetheless, the Chargers have that with Philip Rivers, but they still reside in the dumpsters of the NFL with a 2-6 record. Even the Chargers two wins are nothing to be happy about, as they beat the lowly Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns by eight combined points.

Despite Rivers lighting up Sundays, the Chargers are being held back by a subpar run defense and a slew of injuries that have crippled them. Even though Rivers is known as a fighter, it is time for the Chargers to start angling their targets toward getting a top-five pick. This doesn’t mean they should sit Rivers, but should they rush any of their injured players back? Definitely not.

Right now, the Chargers are in position to receive the fourth pick in the 2016 NFL draft, which would give them an opportunity to go in a variety of different ways. Ultimately, their best option would be to pick the best offensive tackle available and that appears to be Laremy Tunsil at this point in time. Tunsil would be a huge upgrade over the tackles the Chargers have trotted out this season and it would bring an ease to Rivers that his blindside is protected.

After the Chargers get healthy and get a player such as Tunsil, the Chargers could be ready to contend in 2016.

Baltimore Ravens

Perfect Fits in Draft: Laquon Treadwell

Other Fits: Josh Doctson, Joey Bosa, Robert Nkemdiche

The trendy Super-Bowl pick, the Baltimore Ravens, have played terribly for most of the year as they have made many analysts look foolish. The Ravens have been hampered by the fact that they don’t have many weapons on offense for Joe Flacco and numerous injuries on defense, which have crippled their ability to play at the high level they are used to playing.

Like the Chargers, the Ravens are sitting at 2-6 with no hope of making the playoffs. Now, they could try and gain some momentum going into next season with some late season wins, but that would be a short-sided attempt to improve the moral of the team. The best course of action would be to continue at this pace and get a top-eight pick in the draft. This would put them in prime position to improve the weapons Flacco has at his disposal.

The best weapon the Ravens could pick in that slot would be receiver Laquon Treadwell. In the mold of Dez Bryant, Treadwell is a hulking wide receiver who physically dominates opposing defensive backs on a consistent basis. Treadwell is the type of player who is open even when the cornerback blankets him. He would give Flacco a bonafide No. 1 receiver to get the ball to from day one. This would improve the Ravens offense dramatically and let them live up to the expectations everyone had for them going into this season.

Dallas Cowboys

Perfect Fits in Draft: Josh Doctson

Other Fits: Ezekiel Elliot, Jalen Ramsey, Laquon Treadwell

It is amazing how much one player can affect a team’s trajectory over the course of the season. During Week 2, the Cowboys were beating the Philadelphia Eagles and looked to be a team on the cusp of a Super Bowl contending season; however, a Jordan Hicks hit on Tony Romo and six weeks later, the Cowboys are a bottom-dweller in the NFL with little to no chance to make the playoffs.

The only reason the Cowboys are having this poor of a season is because of the injury to quarterback Tony Romo. They have lost six straight games since his injury and their offense has looked anemic in each loss. There was hope that the Cowboys could weather the storm and be in contention once Romo is eligible to return on November 22, but that appears to be gone as the Cowboys would likely need to be near perfect when Romo returns, which is a ton to ask of any player, let alone one coming off a broken collarbone.

Therefore, the best course of action for the Cowboys should be to keep Romo on the bench, save him from any injuries that could potentially affect him next season, and ride out these losses in an attempt to get a top-eight pick in the draft. At the moment, the Cowboys are in position to have the ninth pick in the 2016 NFL draft, which would give them an opportunity to go in a variety of directions.

The Cowboys biggest hole may be at running back, but there is no running back in this draft that is worthy of a Top-10 selection; therefore the Cowboys should look elsewhere. The best option for Dallas would be to look to into their own state and draft TCU receiver Josh Doctson. When Dez Bryant was hurt, the Cowboys found out that they are without a real weapon outside of Bryant; Doctson would change all of that with his game-changing ability. He would allow the Cowboys offense to operate at their peak on a consistent basis because of Doctson’s ability to win one-on-one matchups consistently.


About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and DraftBreakdown.com