Free Agent & NFL Draft Needs for all 32 Teams
With everything going on in the NFL right now (Combine, free agency, draft), we thought it’d be a good time to sit down and go through each of the 32 NFL teams and talk about the biggest needs prior to all these events taking place.
Now keep in mind that some teams have more needs than others, so it may come across as nit-picking, but we’re here to talk about how each team can improve their situation. Some may be able to snag a player or two in free agency, while other teams may be strapped for cash and need to hit on those players in the draft. The estimated cap space is courtesy of spotrac.com, and will change as players are cut/released.
Arizona Cardinals (Estimated Cap Space – $22.4 million, 20th-most)
They’re a team that has more holes than most would think, especially when you consider they were supposed to be a Super Bowl contender just a year or two ago. Their biggest needs land on the quarterback position now that Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, and Blaine Gabbert are gone. Equally as important, though, is the offensive line, as they could legitimately use upgrades at four of the five positions. Expect them to draft a quarterback extremely early in the draft, and possibly even trade up to get the one they want. From there, they’ll need to protect him, so look for them to add multiple lineman throughout the draft.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: QB, OT, OG
Atlanta Falcons (Estimated Cap Space – $12.8 million, 28th-most)
They don’t have too many holes, but they do have two of their bigger names on the defensive line about to hit free agency in defensive end Adrian Clayborn and defensive tackle Dontari Poe. They’re also lacking funds, so the draft will be extremely important. Not factoring in the free agent losses, the Falcons can really use an upgrade at right guard, as Wes Schweitzer was the weak link on the line last year. Still, it’s an above-average unit, so don’t be shocked to see them address the cornerback position first, as Brian Poole was routinely burned out of the slot last year. There should be some good targets for them at the end of the first round.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: CB, RG, OLB
Baltimore Ravens (Estimated Cap Space – $11.7 million, 29th-most)
It’s no secret that the Ravens need a wide receiver, but even more-so now that Mike Wallace is hitting free agency. They don’t have the cap space to be players in the free agent market, either. As much as Ravens fans may cringe at them drafting another Breshad Perriman, it’s their biggest need. They could also use a couple interior offensive lineman, as James Hurst just isn’t cutting it at left guard, and starting center Ryan Jensen is about to hit free agency. A few secondary needs include tight end (could help fill some of the wide receiver role) and an outside linebacker.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: WR, OG/C, TE
Buffalo Bills (Estimated Cap Space – $29.4 million, 16th-most)
All we keep hearing is that the Bills are trying to trade Tyrod Taylor rather than release him, though that’s unlikely to happen with all the quarterbacks in the free agent market. The issue with this is that the Bills have a ton of holes for a team that just made the playoffs. Kelvin Benjamin is having offseason knee surgery, Zay Jones was disappointing, Jordan Matthews is a free agent, and Andre Holmes is just a guy. They need a wide receiver, but more importantly, they need help to stop the run. Defensive tackle Kyle Williams and cornerback E.J. Gaines are about to hit free agency, and they desperately need an outside linebacker. We haven’t even mentioned the sudden loss of starting center Eric Wood, who had to retire due to health concerns. Fortunately for them, they own four of the top 56 picks in the draft.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: OLB, OG/C, QB
Carolina Panthers (Estimated Cap Space – $15.2 million, 26th-most)
The biggest question for the Panthers right now is whether or not to franchise tag offensive guard Andrew Norwell, who happens to be one of the better guards in all of football. Though they have limited cap room, the Panthers don’t have many severe holes. They could use a better left tackle, as the signing of Matt Kalil went almost exactly as most thought it would… badly. The issue is that they paid him a ton of money, and likely have to live with him. They also haven’t been a very good secondary since losing Josh Norman, and could use a cornerback to help James Bradberry shoulder the load of Julio Jones and Michael Thomas twice per year. Defensive end Julius Peppers is also set to be a free agent, but at 38 years old, it’s not the loss it once was.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: OT, WR, CB
Chicago Bears (Estimated Cap Space – $51.1 million, 8th-most)
There are two massive needs for the Bears, and they’re losing even more depth at the positions of need in free agency. Not only is wide receiver Kendall Wright about to hit free agency, but so are cornerbacks Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara. The Bears have a lot of cap space and are expected to be in the running for Allen Robinson or Sammy Watkins, should they not get tagged. They’ve also been linked to cornerback Malcolm Butler, so it’s likely the Bears land at least one of the big names in free agency. Their secondary needs come on the offensive line and linebacker corps, though a lot of what they do in free agency will affect their draft. The release of guard Josh Sitton makes it a real possibility the Bears take Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson if he’s there at No. 8.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: WR, CB, ILB
Cincinnati Bengals (Estimated Cap Space – $36.3 million, 12th-most)
It’s pretty clear what the Bengals need, right? Their offensive line was a disaster, as expected, once they lost left tackle Andrew Whitworth and guard Kevin Zeitler in free agency last offseason. If we’re being honest, they have one startable piece on the offensive line, and that’s left guard Clint Boling. Because of that, don’t be shocked if the Bengals spend two of their first three picks on offensive lineman. They can also use an outside linebacker, which may happen if they feel they’re reaching too far for an offensive lineman. They have money to spend in free agency, but there aren’t too many top-tier offensive lineman expected to hit the market. There’s discussion right now on whether or not the Bengals will place the franchise tag on oft-injured tight end Tyler Eifert, and it makes sense because of the low commitment/cost for the tight end position.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: OT, OG/C, OLB
Cleveland Browns (Estimated Cap Space – $110.7 million, Most in NFL)
What a position to be in for new GM John Dorsey, as he’s got the most cap-room in all of football, as well as five draft picks in the first two rounds. It’s almost as if this was planned… hmm. For a team that didn’t win a single game last year, they have less holes than you think. Quarterback is obviously the big one, but they’ll get one either in free agency or with the first pick in the draft. Their offensive line is one of the better ones in the league, though a right tackle wouldn’t hurt. They’d ideally move Jabrill Peppers back to his natural strong safety position, so acquiring a free safety could also be high on the list. The only big name on their team about to hit free agency is running back Isaiah Crowell, so expect them to add someone who compliments Duke Johnson in the run game. There are so many directions this team can go.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: QB, OLB, S
Dallas Cowboys (Estimated Cap Space – $20.3 million, 22nd-most)
It’s no secret that the Cowboys need and want a wide receiver, but do they have the money to spend on one in free agency? Most likely not, considering it seems likely they’re going to have to retain defensive end Demarcus Lawrence with the franchise tag, eating up $17.5 million in 2018. They also have linebacker Anthony Hitchens about to hit free agency, creating another need for them, especially considering that Sean Lee has been unable to stay healthy. They need to draft a defensive tackle, someone who can plug the middle of the field. Fortunately, this is a great class to target one of them in the first or second round.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: DT, WR, OLB
Denver Broncos (Estimated Cap Space – $25.9 million, 18th-most)
The Broncos tried to upgrade their offensive line through the draft and free agency last year, though it didn’t work out as planned. That’s going to be a focus again this offseason, but first, they need to land a quarterback. While some have tied Kirk Cousins to them, it may not be a likely scenario due to their cap situation. They’re reportedly going to cut running back C.J. Anderson, but that’ll create another need, as Devontae Booker didn’t impress in a workhorse role. They also have to think about the wide receiver and tight end positions, as Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are both on the wrong side of 30 years old. Inside linebacker Todd Davis is slated to be a free agent, which will create the biggest need on the defensive side of the ball.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: QB, OG, OT
Detroit Lions (Estimated Cap Space – $47.1 million, 10th-most)
It seems the Lions are consistently running a backfield by committee, and one that hasn’t worked very well, putting a lot of stress on Matthew Stafford. That’s a big need, but not one they’ll need to spend a first-round pick on. Instead, they’ll look to fill the voids created in free agency, as it’s hitting them quite hard. Defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (might be franchise tagged), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, linebacker Tahir Whitehead, and safety Tavon Wilson are all slated to hit the open market. They also have a need on the interior of their offensive line, which is part of the reason they can’t run the ball. Expect the Lions to try and fill some of their defensive losses early in the draft, while snagging a running back in the 3-4 round range.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: OG, RB, DT
Green Bay Packers (Estimated Cap Space – $19.3 million, 23rd-most)
If you’ve paid attention to the Packers over the last few years, you know that their secondary has been a big issue, specifically the cornerback position. And unfortunately for them, the player who started to play better towards the end of the year (Davon House) is a free agent. Safety Morgan Burnett is also about to hit the open market, so the poor get poorer. Outside of their secondary, some of the bigger needs on the Packers team include the interior of the offensive line, tight end, and defensive end. With the way the draft shapes up this year, don’t be shocked to see them try to snag both a cornerback and defensive end in the first couple rounds. The Packers are traditionally not spenders in the free agent market. They did last year with Martellus Bennett, and we all know how that ended.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: CB, OG/C, DE/OLB
Houston Texans (Estimated Cap Space – $65.2 million, 6th-most)
They’re a team who needs to be prepared to spend money in free agency this year, because some may have forgotten that they don’t have a pick in the first round due to their trade to move up and select Deshaun Watson last year, as well as no pick in the second round due to their trade of Brock Osweiler where they had to give the Browns a second round pick to get him off the books. That’s a big issue because the entire offensive line is a mess. Last year’s second-round pick of center Nick Martin may be the only salvageable piece, and he wasn’t great in his rookie year, either. Outside of the needs on the offensive line, they really need to upgrade their cornerbacks, and that was before knowing that Johnathan Joseph potentially leaves via free agency. They’ll need to spend money in order to keep Watson safe and upright in 2018.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: OT, OG/C, CB
Indianapolis Colts (Estimated Cap Space – $79.2 million, 3rd-most)
There are so many holes on the Colts team, but it gets even worse when you think about the possibility that Andrew Luck may need another shoulder surgery. Assuming all is well with him, they need to address both guard positions on the offensive line, as Jeremy Vujnovich was brutal last year, and Jack Mewhort is slated to be a free agent. On top of that, they may be losing their best cornerback Rashaan Melvin, No. 2 wide receiver Donte Moncrief, and starting linebacker Jon Bostic to free agency. With all the holes they have on their team, the Colts should be expected to take best player available in the draft, which is likely Bradley Chubb at No. 3. It also shouldn’t shock you to see them trade down to acquire more picks and rebuild the team from the ground-up. They have money to spend in free agency, but are they in a position to attract the top free agents?
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: OG, ILB, CB
Jacksonville Jaguars (Estimated Cap Space – $23.4 million, 19th-most)
When watching the Jaguars defense, it’s hard to find holes there, but we know their offense could use some pieces. While they’re expected to franchise tag Allen Robinson, they’ll lose Marqise Lee, linebacker Paul Posluszny, and cornerback Aaron Colvin to free agency. Losing them would hurt, but they’re in a good spot overall to take whichever position they choose in the draft. Blake Bortles played well enough to buy him another year, but can the Jaguars afford to not draft a quarterback? The only other real needs this team has glaring holes at is left tackle (Cam Robinson wasn’t good in his rookie year), right guard, and tight end. Knowing how much they rely on running the ball and great defense, expect them to attack the offensive line early in the draft, provided they aren’t reaching too much.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: OT, OG, QB
Kansas City Chiefs (Estimated Cap Space – $17.7 million, 24th-most)
The Chiefs did a great thing in trading Alex Smith, because it not only took a lot of money off their cap, but they also got a position of need in return; and that’s not to say the Redskins made a bad deal. There is a such thing as a good trade for both teams. The Chiefs are going to need help at linebacker, as they’re letting Derrick Johnson walk, though his play started to slip a bit. They’re also expected to lose defensive tackle Bennie Logan, who is a run-stuffer up the middle. The Chiefs should be looking at an outside linebacker/defensive end in the draft, though you have to remember they don’t have a first round pick because of the trade-up for Patrick Mahomes last year. As most teams can, the Chiefs can also use help on the interior of their offensive line. Wide receiver is a position of need, but the other positions should take precedence.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: OLB/DE, OG, ILB
Los Angeles Chargers (Estimated Cap Space – $33.3 million, 13th-most)
If you’re a fan of the Chargers, you’re in a good spot. They don’t have very many holes on their team, have good cap space, and are picking in the middle of the first round. They have two important role players hitting free agency in safety Tre Boston and linebacker Korey Toomer, but they have the cap space to retain them if they choose. The biggest needs they have are the center position and a defensive tackle. Where they’re picking in the first round, I’d expect them to land one of Vita Vea, Da’Ron Payne, or Maurice Hurst, any of which would be just devastating in between Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. After hitting on those positions, expect them to snag a linebacker or two later in the draft.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: DT, C, OT
Los Angeles Rams (Estimated Cap Space – $45.1 million, 11th-most)
After completely rebuilding the team last offseason, the Rams have a lot of players slated to hit free agency next month. Those who were big contributors included: wide receiver Sammy Watkins, safety Lamarcus Joyner, cornerback Trumaine Johnson, center John Sullivan, defensive tackle Dominique Easley (missed 2017), and cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman. They’re expected to tag someone, but we don’t know exactly who just yet, though some are spectating Watkins. They have money to spend in free agency, so there’s a lot up in the air. They do need an outside linebacker/edge rusher and right guard before any happens, but it’s hard to say which direction they’ll go in the draft until we know what happens in free agency.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: OLB/DE, OG, ILB
Miami Dolphins (Estimated Cap Space – $-8.8 million, 32nd-most)
Well, the franchise tag has already been placed on Jarvis Landry, eliminating the questions about how they’re going to fill his role, but there’s still plenty of needs for this team with absolutely zero cap space. In fact, they’ll need to cut some salary. The move to left tackle didn’t go so well for Laremy Tunsil, but it also created a void on the interior of the offensive line. Heck, even Mike Pouncey hasn’t been good at center since his injuries started piling up. They could use help at every position on the offensive line, so expect them to pay a premium for some of them in the draft. They’re still losing defensive end William Hayes to free agency, someone who was a bright spot on their poor defense in 2017. Outside linebacker and tight end are two other positions of need, though they come after the offensive line. It’s going to be hard for them to draft a quarterback, like some are suggesting.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: OG, OLB, OT
Minnesota Vikings (Estimated Cap Space – $53.2 million, 7th-most)
There are a lot of people talking about Kirk Cousins going to the Browns, Jets, and Broncos, but the Vikings are a team that Cousins would likely take less money to go to. They need a quarterback now that Case Keenum, Sam Bradford, and Teddy Bridgewater are all free agents, and they have the cap space to make it happen. Outside of that, the Vikings only true needs prior to free agency lie on the offensive line, where they could upgrade left guard (provided they don’t lose right guard Joe Berger to free agency) and center. They’re losing Jerick McKinnon, but they won’t feel that with Dalvin Cook returning from injury. The only other significant loss in free agency is defensive tackle Tom Johnson, who led their interior lineman with 20 quarterback hurries. If they land Cousins, look for them to continue building on the offensive line, or add a cornerback to replace Terence Newman.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: QB, OG/C, CB
New England Patriots (Estimated Cap Space – $17.3 million, 25th-most)
After returning to the Super Bowl for the third time in four years, the Patriots have some decisions to make in free agents. It seems all but certain that cornerback Malcolm Butler is gone, and their starting Pro Bowl left tackle Nate Solder will also hit the open market. While some have brought up a potential franchise tag for him, it’s in his contract that they cannot tag him this year. On top of that, their right tackle Cameron Fleming is also set to hit free agency, as well as wide receiver Danny Amendola, and running backs Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead. The Patriots offense wasn’t the reason they lost the Super Bowl, and it’s clear they need help generating a pass rush. It’s why they’ll likely attack both defensive end and outside linebacker early in the draft. Still, they need to keep Tom Brady upright, so working out something with Solder to remain a Patriot would be in their best interest.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: DE, OLB, ILB
New Orleans Saints (Estimated Cap Space – $32.9 million, 14th-most)
It was wild to see the transformation in the Saints defense so quickly, but you should expect that growth to continue, as the only player of significance heading to free agency is defensive end Alex Okafor. While Drew Brees is also slated to be a free agent, it’s well understood that they’ll work out something with him, though it’s important to note that his contract has a clause stating they cannot franchise tag him. Of the Saints needs, outside linebacker and safety are atop the list on defense, while on offense, they could really use a tight end. Brees targeted the tight ends on just 11.8 percent of his attempts in 2017, easily the lowest mark in the NFL. They don’t have a second-round pick in the draft, so they’ll need to hit on their first-rounder. I’m expecting the Saints to go with the best player available at that time, as their team was closer in 2017 than it had been in a long time, and the window is closing for Brees.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: OLB, TE, S
New York Giants (Estimated Cap Space – $21.8 million, 21st-most)
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that the Giants don’t need a quarterback to develop (even though we haven’t even seen Davis Webb), but I don’t care if they had Tom Brady behind their current offensive line, he wouldn’t succeed very often. Yes, Eli Manning is on the downturn of his career, but the offensive line should be the top priority for this team. Everything starts there. Look at the teams in the playoffs, or drafting late in the first round… do any of them need to fill both left and right tackle positions? The answer is simple – no. The Giants are also slated to lose both offensive lineman Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg in free agency. While the defense had its issues last year, I don’t think they’re lacking talent as much as some think. Sure, they can use a few linebackers, but a big part of the issue was where this team was at mentally. New head coach Pat Shurmer saw what a rebuilt offensive line could do with the Vikings in 2017, so expect him to take the same approach with his new team. *If* Josh Rosen is off the board, I’d expect the Giants to either select offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey with the second pick, or trade back a little bit (stay in the top-10) and take him there. They should still be able to land a solid linebacker at the start of the second round.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: OT, QB, OLB
New York Jets (Estimated Cap Space – $84.7 million, 2nd-most)
Reportedly, the Jets are going to back-up the Brinks truck to Kirk Cousins‘ door and give him a ton of money to play for them. They obviously have the cap space to offer him the guaranteed money that he seeks, so it’s a realistic possibility he goes there. The issue, though, is that they still need to completely rebuild the offensive line, as there is one startable player on the entire line, left tackle Kelvin Beachum. That should be their first priority, while adding an inside linebacker and cornerback aren’t far behind. The free agents they’re losing include linebacker Demario Davis, cornerback Morris Claiborne, and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Adding Cousins won’t fix this team immediately, but they do fortunately have two of the top 40 draft picks in this year’s draft. They really need to weigh their options and holes at other positions before committing that much cash to Cousins.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: QB, OG/C, ILB
Oakland Raiders (Estimated Cap Space – $27.9 million, 17th-most)
Not only was the Raiders defense not very good last year, but they’re losing a few of the pieces they did have. After cutting cornerback David Amerson, they have a few players slated to hit the free agent market. Those players include cornerback T.J. Carrie, safety Reggie Nelson, linebacker Navorro Bowman, and defensive tackle Justin Ellis. With none of those players expected to be franchise tagged, the Raiders have a lot of work to do on their defense. Look for them to add an inside linebacker and cornerback via free agency or early in the draft, as those are the two biggest needs on the defense. Right tackle Marshall Newhouse was awful last year trying to replace Menelik Watson, so they could potentially try to add to the offensive line, especially when we know that new head coach Jon Gruden wants to be able to run the ball. They have some cap space, so look for them to try and solidify some of their needs in free agency.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: ILB, CB, OT
Philadelphia Eagles (Estimated Cap Space – $-6.1 million, 31st-most)
After winning the Super Bowl, you have very little concerns as an Eagles organization, but being in the red versus your salary cap is never a good thing. They’ll have to make some cuts, but fortunately, this is a team with not many holes. They do have a few notable free agents they’re likely to lose in linebacker Nigel Bradham, cornerback Patrick Robinson, and safety Corey Graham. The biggest holes would be at linebacker and cornerback, especially if they lose Bradham. They also don’t have a second- or third-round pick in the draft, so they really need to address team need in the first round. It’s also expected that they cut Torrey Smith to save some cap space, which would add wide receiver to the potential needs later in the draft, though Mack Hollins may be the next guy up.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: CB, ILB, WR
Pittsburgh Steelers (Estimated Cap Space – $7.0 million, 30th-most)
We’ve all heard about the Le’Veon Bell contract by now, right? The Steelers would like to keep him there and may ultimately use the franchise tag, but that move would put them in the red and force them to make some cuts. The only other big name that’s slated to hit free agency is starting right tackle Chris Hubbard. As for their needs, the Steelers can really use a strong safety, as they just haven’t filled the void left by Troy Polamalu. The loss of Ryan Shazier is a big one, creating a void at inside linebacker, and they already had one at outside linebacker, as Bud Dupree is looking more and more like a bust from a few years ago. With Ben Roethlisberger mentioning retirement almost as much as Brett Favre did, the Steelers have to know their window is closing. Expect them to try and find someone to contribute on day-one. If strong safety Derwin James is there at pick No. 28, expect them to snag him.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: OLB/DE, S, OG
San Francisco 49ers (Estimated Cap Space – $78.0 million, 4th-most)
After locking up their franchise quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers still have a ton of cap space to make some waves in free agency. Unfortunately, there’s a good number of their players hitting the market, including running back Carlos Hyde, defensive end Tank Carradine, linebacker Aaron Lynch, safety Eric Reid, and right guard Brandon Fusco. Expect them to try and retain Fusco, as he was one of the only bright spots on their offensive line last year. They have to address their linebacker position for a variety of reasons. Not only did they already have a hole at outside linebacker, but inside linebacker Reuben Foster is likely to be suspended after his off-the-field incidents, and losing Lynch in free agency would be the topper on the cake. They do have four picks in the first three rounds, so they won’t have to reach on players if they don’t want to. Cornerback is another position they must upgrade, though most coaches believe that a great pass-rush will cure a lot of the back-end stuff. Some have called me crazy, but putting someone like Vita Vea next to DeForest Buckner on the defensive line would be straight-up deadly to opposing offensive lines. We’ll get a much better picture of what they intend to do in the draft after free agency.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: OG/C, OLB, CB
Seattle Seahawks (Estimated Cap Space – $13.7 million, 27th-most)
The problems with the Seahawks start with the offensive line and end with the offensive line. They’ve had the worst line in the NFL the past few years, yet they’ve continually ignored the position in the draft. From my assessment, they can use massive upgrades at right tackle and both guard positions. Their defense is getting older and more banged-up, so they won’t ignore that, but they have to give Russell Wilson some support. They are getting hit a bit hard by free agency, losing tight end Jimmy Graham, defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, and wide receiver Paul Richardson. It would be wise of them to try and retain Sheldon Richardson, and may do so with the franchise tag. They don’t have a second- or third-round draft pick, so they’ll have to hit on their No. 18 pick, or trade back, which is something the Seahawks regime has been known for. If they don’t trade back, I’d fully expect them to use that pick on an offensive tackle. If not, well, R.I.P. Russell Wilson.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: OT, OG/C, OLB
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Estimated Cap Space – $74.9 million, 5th-most)
When the Bucs cut running back Doug Martin earlier this week, it made a statement. They have tons of cap room, so it has nothing to do with money, but more to the fact that they won’t live with mediocre play. At the same time, they now have a big void to fill, as Charles Sims is also a free agent, meaning they have Peyton Barber and Jacquizz Rodgers left on the depth chart, though Rodgers is another cut candidate because it wouldn’t cost them anything against the cap. With how much they’ve invested in their offense, it shouldn’t shock anyone to see them draft Saquon Barkley in the first round. The issue is that both cornerback Brent Grimes and safety TJ Ward are slated to hit free agency, which creates another issue because of how thin the Bucs secondary already was. As with most teams at the start of the draft, their offensive line is a big problem, as they have needs at left tackle and both guard positions. On top of all that, they can use help at outside linebacker, as well as defensive end. Sitting there with the No. 7 pick, they’ll have the ability to draft a difference maker, though which one is impossible to say without knowing what they’re doing with all that cap space in free agency.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: OT, OLB, RB
Tennessee Titans (Estimated Cap Space – $49.1 million, 9th-most)
It appears that the Titans aren’t going to use their franchise tag, which is understandable, but if they lose linebacker Avery Williamson, they’re going to be searching for a few linebackers in free agency and/or the draft. They could upgrade on Erik Walden at outside linebacker, and last year’s fifth-round pick Jayon Brown at inside linebacker. Williamson will mask some of their deficiencies, so he should be a top priority with all the cap room they have. Another few names set to hit free agency are starting right guard Josh Kline, and defensive tackle Daquan Jones. Fortunately, the Titans don’t have too many absolute needs outside of their free agents. Cornerback Adoree Jackson started to improve as the year went on, but they could use another cornerback to play opposite him and an upgrade at strong safety. All in all, the Titans have what looks to be a good future and can ultimately take the best player available when they are on the clock.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: OLB, ILB, CB
Washington Redskins (Estimated Cap Space – $32.8 million, 15th-most)
After making a splash right after the season ended, we no longer have to wonder about what will happen with them and Kirk Cousins. Instead, we’ll shift our focus to the soon-to-be free agents, which include defensive end Trent Murphy, and linebackers Junior Galette and Zach Brown. The biggest need for them as of this moment should be an interior defensive lineman, as they play in a division against the offensive lines of the Cowboys and Eagles, two of the best in the league. Fortunately, they should be able to land an elite defensive tackle with their No. 13 pick in the draft. They would ideally upgrade at left guard, because Shawn Lauvao is the weakest link on the line, and his replacement Arie Kouandjio wasn’t much better in 2017. Ask any Redskins fan and they’ll tell you they now need help at cornerback, as Bashaud Breeland is an unrestricted free agent, and they traded away slot cornerback Kendall Fuller to the Chiefs. And lastly, they could use a wide receiver to play opposite Josh Doctson, as the whole Terrelle Pryor experiment didn’t work, though the other needs are a bit more important.
Pre-Free Agency Biggest Needs: DT, CB, OG