I don't think it's any secret that I've been skeptical and perhaps even pessimistic about this team for awhile. But I'm starting to believe. The stories I'm reading aren't the same kinds that I read previous years. There seems to be something different.
Take JL Skinner. Everyone thought he was good and thought he was going to be amazing. I thought he was mediocre and was uncertain about him, though I thought he'd probably be solid this year. Now I read this story where he goes through a whole personal journey where he realized that he was a mediocre safety when he should be a great safety. He's drastically transformed himself since then. To me, this story speaks to the reality of the situation last year and so I believe in its optimism.
I'm a believer that we need an NFL guy at almost every major position group to have an elite team, to have a 2010 type team.
Well, let's take inventory.
D line: scale I, maybe D Washington (though I'm skeptical with his injuries)
Linebackers: nope. This position worries me. No depth, limited talent. I like Whimpey though and hope he can hold down the fort.
Secondary: JL Skinner.
O Line: Ojukwu, Stetz
QB: not Bachmeier. There's cause for concern. Though Hedrick wasn't NFL tier, so there's precedence for being elite without an elite QB. Major question mark for me still.
TE: probably not. But Smith made huge strides in off-season. Put on necessary weight. And TE can be supplemented by WR and OL groups imo.
Special teams: it was only one year, but I'm not putting a ceiling on Dalmas. When's the last time we had a kicker slamming in 50+ yard kicks left and right? Hell, when's the last time we felt confident kicking it more than 35 or 40 yards? (Other than Sasche, who came in for one year because our K situation was so bad. But Sasche didn't have nearly the big leg that Dalmas does)
There's still a lot of questions with this team, but there's also some really nice pieces. I think our NFL situation is the best since at least 2014. And many of the stories I'm reading seem more than just off-season hype and coach speak. Players are transforming their bodies in big ways and we can see that in pictures. Scale I looks more and more like an actual NFL guy. I already mentioned Smith and Skinner.
Could this be an elite, top 10 type of team? I don't know for sure, but I'm seeing signs in the stars that I haven't seen for a long time.