With the combine officially over, it’s officially draft season! A time where mock drafts will change every week, and analysts will tell you a guy who was dominant in college should go lower in the draft because his 3-cone drill wasn’t great.
Today, we’ll be taking a dive into every team’s biggest needs headed into the draft! Some teams have multiple picks, while others won’t have any, and those situations will be addressed when the time comes. Without further ado, let’s dive in!
Needs: Literally anything
When you’re as bad as the Bengals were last year, the only real bright side is that almost any pick is a good pick. Now, it might be considered foolish if they pick anyone other than Joe Burrow with the #1 pick in the upcoming draft. With a defense that was among the worst in the league, and an offensive line that almost got Andy Dalton killed last year, it wouldn’t be a shock if they drafted Chase Young #1 overall to try and turn around the defense.
Needs: Defense, a new nickname, and also defense
Good news Washington fans! Your organization brought in a coach that is a proven winner, and your rookie QB a season ago had a nice year, and Trent Williams might actually return! Here’s the bad news, the defense was terrible a season ago, and your skill position players on offense are lack luster to put it kindly. The Redskins are a prime candidate to trade down from the two spot if they want to pick up more picks in this draft. If the choice is between drafting Chase Young or trading down, it would make more sense for the Redskins to take Young.
Needs: Pass Rusher, a healthy QB, Secondary help
This is actually a great spot for Detroit to be in. The Lions weren’t as bad as their record showed last season. Matthew Stafford and Kerryon Johnson were hurt for a good portion of the season, and that really slowed down the Lion’s offense. With the #3 pick, Detroit has a lot of flexibility. They can trade down if a team wants to try and snag a QB, they can keep the pick if Chase Young slips to them, or they can take another position of need.
New York Giants
Needs: Offensive line, Pass Rusher, Receiver
The Daniel Jones era in New York started off in typical Giants fashion, it started out with a bang and quickly came back to reality. The Giants rookie QB had a fine season. It definitely helps when you have Saquon Barkley in the backfield. New York needs to work on protecting Jones and Barkley, which is why offensive line makes a lot of sense here for the Giants. However, if they went defense, New York had a bottom five secondary last season, this could be a great spot for Ohio State corner Jeff Okudah.
Needs: QB, RB, Defensive Line
Outside of Cincinnati at #1, Miami at #5 seems like the easiest choice. Just take Tua Tagovailoa and let him cook in the AFC East. Miami has three first-round picks in this year’s draft, and can use the other two to get Tua some help.
Los Angeles Chargers
Needs: QB, Offensive Line, Defensive Line
With the decision to not bring Phillip Rivers back, Los Angeles now becomes an obvious QB needy team in the draft. If the draft falls the way it’s going right now, the Chargers will be able to pick between Justin Herbert and Jordan Love. Honestly it will come to who Los Angeles prefers, and that could change by the hour. The nice part for Los Angeles is no matter which QB they pick, that player will walk into an offensive huddle with Melvin Gordon, Hunter Henry, and Keenan Allen. Not a bad spot to be in.
Needs: Healthy Cam Newton, Linebacker, Receiver
New Panthers head coach Matt Rhule has his work cut out for him in Carolina. With Cam Newton still recovering from injury, Luke Kuechly retiring and Greg Olsen getting released, Carolina has Christian McCaffrey and not much else on offense. The Panthers could go out and take a receiver to help out Cam, but their linebacker core needs a shot in the arm too. The Panthers would be a great landing spot for Isaiah Simmons at #7. Simmons is everything you could ever want out of a modern-day linebacker, and would be an impact player on day 1 for the Panthers.
Needs: Receiver, Defensive Line, Offensive Line
Look on the bright side Cardinals fans, you went from the #1 pick in the draft last year to the #8 pick this year. Kyler Murray looks great, and you were in a ton of games last year. The other good news is that you have some definite holes to fill. The offense needs another receiver; Larry Fitzgerald isn’t getting any younger and it would make Murray more dangerous in the passing game. It would also make sense for Arizona to draft an offensive lineman to try and protect their franchise QB.
Needs: Stable QB situation, Receiver, Defense
Whether the future is Nick Foles or Gardner Minshew, the Jaguars need a steady presence at QB if they want to compete in the AFC South. Once they figure that out, Jacksonville can work on getting help to one of those QB’s. If they didn’t want to address offense here, the defensive line, specifically the interior, needs some help. Derrick Brown would be a great player at this spot for the Jaguars if they decided to go defense.
Needs: No more Baker Mayfield commercials, Offensive Line, Linebacker
The Browns need to protect Baker Mayfield better. With Greg Robinson getting caught running drugs on the border, it’s pretty safe to say he won’t be in their plans. This opens up the opportunity for the Browns to draft an offensive lineman. With defense and QBs crowding the top 10, the Browns could get some great value if they’re able to take a guy Jedrick Wills out of Alabama or Tristan Wirfs from Iowa.
New York Jets
Needs: Offensive Line, Receiver, Defensive Line
Another team that needs offensive help, the Jets have a good young QB in Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell who can still be effective if he wants to be. The Jets just really need to get better upfront. Taking an offensive lineman here will help keep Darnold upright and get the offense back on track.
Las Vegas Raiders
Needs: QB, Defensive Line, Secondary
It would be a real surprise if Derek Carr was in Las Vegas next season. It’s a possibility but highly unlikely. Without a trade, the Raiders are looking at picking from Jordan Love and Justin Herbert, whichever QB Los Angeles doesn’t select. If the Raiders decided to not go QB, they desperately need help on the defensive line and in the secondary.
Needs: Wide Receiver, Linebacker, Secondary
All things considered; the Colts did a great job of salvaging their season after Andrew Luck retired during the pre-season. Jacoby Brissett looked like a serviceable QB playing behind one of the best offensive lines in football. Indy just needs to get him some receiving help. Outside of T.Y. Hilton, Brissett was throwing to a different bunch of receivers every week. If Indianapolis can lock down another playmaker, they will be well on their way to competing in the AFC South.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Needs: Offensive Line, QB, Secondary
Whatever happens with the QB situation in Tampa, the Bucs need to address their O-line situation. The Bucs ranked in the bottom ten of the league in run and pass blocking. No QB can operate in that kind of environment. Andrew Thomas would be a great pick here. He’s one of the best run blockers in this class, and has quick feet in the passing game.
Needs: Secondary, Offensive Line, Receiver
John Elway is in a unique spot here. He can go in a few different directions in this draft. He can trade up to try and get a top receiver for Drew Lock. He could stay put and take an offensive lineman, or he could take a secondary player with Chris Harris Jr. possibly leaving Denver in free agency this summer. The broncos could even trade down to pick up additional draft capital.
Needs: Defensive Line, Secondary, RB
The Atlanta defense has been the Achilles heel for years for the Falcons. Addressing it here would be beneficial for head coach Dan Quinn. Either on the defensive line, or in the secondary, the Falcons need help on the defensive side of the ball, where they ranked 25th against the pass last season.
Needs: Secondary, Receiver, Linebacker
This analysis hangs on the logic that the Cowboys bring back Dak Prescott. If they don’t then it’s a whole new ball game. But for now, let’s assume Dak is back. It would behoove the Cowboys to try and take a secondary player here. With Byron Jones entering free agency, Dallas will need to replace him. They could also take a safety here. However, if they want to go offense, they could go receiver with an Amari Cooper extension still not yet complete.
Needs: Receiver, Receiver, Receiver
If the Eagles don’t take a receiver here, then what’s the point of a front office? The Eagles need help BAD in the passing game. Zach Ertz had a good year, but it’s just him and a hobbled Alshon Jefferey out there. CeeDee Lamb or Henry Ruggs would be a great fit here for Philly.
Needs: Receiver, Offensive Line, Tight End
Another offensive needy team, Buffalo survived last year because their defense was legit. Josh Allen could use another weapon in the passing game. Buffalo should go receiver here, but if they don’t, they could address the offensive line.
New England Patriots
Needs: Offensive Line, Receiver, Pass Rusher
Once again, let’s assume that Tom Brady comes back. It’s up in the air right now, but for this exercise we’re going to assume the G.O.A.T. is back in a Patriot uniform. New England has to address the offense here. Julian Edelman was the only reliable pass catcher last season for the Pats, and with Mohammad Sanu getting surgery on his ankle, who knows when he will be one hundred percent again. New England could also beef up the offensive line, or even go with a pass rusher.
New Orleans Saints
Needs: Receiver, Secondary, Linebacker
When Drew Brees is your QB, he makes everyone look good, but even he needs a little help. As good as Michael Thomas was last year, adding a second receiver will only open up the offense more. Justin Jefferson from LSU is a nice fit here if New Orleans goes receiver. They also could use another linebacker and secondary player to beef up the defense.
Needs: Secondary, Defensive Line
The time is now for Minnesota! With the Lions and Bears struggling, and Aaron Rodgers getting older, the Vikings need to take advantage of this window. The offense played well last year, but the defense needs to step it up. The Vikings ranked 30th against the rush last year, and need to beef up on the defensive line. Minnesota also has two of their starting corners due for a contract extension. If they decline, Minnesota could also address that need in the draft.
Needs: Defensive Line, Offensive Line, RB
For years, Seattle was known for their ferocious defense. While the defense is still good, it’s not as elite as it once was. The Seahawks ranked in the bottom half of the league in defending the run and pass rush. For Seattle to get back to its dominating ways, they need to add a pass rusher who can create havoc.
Needs: Pass Rusher, Linebacker, Secondary
When you have the MVP of the whole league at QB in Lamar Jackson, he covers up a whole bunch of holes. The Ravens have the luxury of just focusing on retooling the defense. Saying that, Baltimore could use another playmaker at linebacker. They haven’t taken a true edge rusher since Terrell Suggs; this could be a great draft to try another one.
Needs: Offensive Line, Receiver, QB
It’s not an exaggeration to say that this is one of the most important off-seasons in franchise history for Nashville. Both of their QB’s in Marcus Mariota and Ryan Tannehill will be free agents, along with star running back Derrick Henry. The Titans will have to make a decision on if they want to sign one of veteran QB’s in free agency, or take a chance and sign one in the draft. If they sign a QB in free agency, look for the Titans to add another stud on the offensive line, or get another playmaker at receiver.
Green Bay Packers
Needs: Receiver, Secondary, Linebacker
As mentioned above, Aaron Rodgers is getting older. He’s still making more than enough plays, but he needs some help. Davante Adams draws so much attention from the opposing defense, that any number two receiver will have an easier time getting open. It would also make sense for Green Bay to go secondary here.
San Francisco 49ers
Needs: Linebacker, Receiver, Kyle Shanahan not calling plays in the Super Bowl
After the epic collapse in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs, the 49ers will look to bounce back starting with the NFL Draft. It would make sense for the 49ers to take another playmaker at linebacker to play alongside Fred Warner. It also wouldn’t be a surprise if San Francisco were to pick up another receiver or offensive lineman.
Kansas City Chiefs
Needs: Secondary, RB, Linebacker
Hard to find any holes when you win the Super Bowl. But that’s what you have to do in the NFL if you want to stay on top. Look for Kansas City to add pieces to the defense in the draft. The Chiefs have been tied to corners Kristian Fulton and Noah Igbinoghene in several mock drafts. Kansas City could also look at a running back in round 2, after Damien Williams missed a good portion of the year with an injury.
Needs: QB, Receiver, Defensive Line
Without a first-round pick in this year’s draft, the Steelers will have to really hit on their other picks. Ben Roethlisberger should be back next season, but Pittsburgh will have to look at a contingency plan if he’s not the same guy. A start would be getting Ben another receiver to throw to, and this class is super deep at receiver.
Needs: Receiver, QB, a QB not named MitchTrubisky
It’s tough to evaluate the Bears offense with Mitch Trubisky at the helm. The former North Carolina QB just hasn’t been good in the NFL, and without a first-round pick, it’ll be tough for Chicago to upgrade that position. The Bears could also take a flyer on a guy like Jake Fromm if he falls to the second or third round, to at least give Mitch someone to compete with.
Los Angeles Rams
Needs: Linebacker, Secondary, Offensive Line
The Rams are a prime example of what happens when going all in on a Super Bowl goes wrong. Los Angeles has its back up against a wall, and no real avenues to get better. The Rams will be without a first-round pick for the foreseeable future. With their later picks, look for the Rams to get a playmaker at linebacker, along with another secondary piece.
Needs: Offensive Line, Secondary, Defensive Line
The Texans actually made an effort to protect Deshaun Watson by trading for Laremy Tunsil. However, you need more than just one guy, and Houston still needs to invest in its O-line. That’ll be tough in this draft considering the Texans don’t have a first round pick, and this offensive line class isn’t particularly deep. That being said, Houston still needs to find a way to keep Deshaun upright.