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NFL Draft Needs for Every Team: Post Free Agency (2023 Fantasy Football)

One way or another, NFL teams are going to – or try to – plug the holes on their roster this offseason. Whether it be through free agency or the 2023 NFL Draft will depend on each organization’s discretion as many teams approach team-building from different perspectives.

Either way, rosters will start to look much different from last year, and it’s important to stay ahead of these transactions by identifying the needs after the first big wave of free agency in March. That way, you can acquire an edge in early best ball drafts or in dynasty trades with your moves considering real-life team needs that have yet to transpire. It also helps to call out the draft capital and salary cap space teams possess, as that will factor into their offseason strategy.

Dynasty Rookie Draft Kit

Below you’ll find a breakdown of the needs of all 32 teams for both free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft that can serve as we continue into the 2023 offseason.

*Salary cap numbers provided by Spotrac*

NFL Free Agent & Draft Needs for Every Team

Team Estimated Cap Space Salary Cap Space Rank 2023 High Draft Capital Team Needs
Arizona Cardinals $22,522,630 6 3rd, 34th, 66th, 96th, 105th EDGE, CB, OL, WR
Atlanta Falcons $23,431,211 3 8th, 44th, 75th, 110th, 113th EDGE, CB, WR, QB, LB
Baltimore Ravens $7,569,807 26 22nd, 86th, 124th WR, CB, EDGE, DT, IOL, QB
Buffalo Bills $13,634,681 16 27th, 59th, 91st WR, OL, LB, EDGE, S
Carolina Panthers $22,921,010 4 1st, 39th, 93rd, 114th QB, EDGE, CB, WR
Chicago Bears $41,642,146 1 9th, 53rd, 61st, 64th, 103rd, 133rd OT, CB, EDGE, DT, WR
Cincinnati Bengals $18,303,889 10 28th, 60th, 92nd CB, TE, FS, RB
Cleveland Browns $11,389,833 18 42nd, 98th, 111th LB, EDGE, RB, WR
Dallas Cowboys $19,501,625 9 26th, 58th, 90th OL, LB, TE, RB, CB, WR
Denver Broncos $7,749,474 25 67th, 68th, 108th EDGE, LB, WR
Detroit Lions $10,845,224 21 6th, 18th, 48th, 55th, 81st DT, EDGE, S, CB, LB, OT, QB, WR
Green Bay Packers $24,754,860 2 15th, 45th, 78th, 116th WR, S, TE, DT, CB
Houston Texans $22,529,924 5 2nd, 12th, 33rd, 65th, 73rd, 104th QB, WR, DL, IOL
Indianapolis Colts $21,297,990 7 4th, 35th, 79th, 106th QB, CB, IOL, WR, EDGE, S
Jacksonville Jaguars $3,937,488 28 24th, 56th, 88th OT, DT, EDGE, S
Kansas City Chiefs $10,316,098 22 31st, 63rd, 95th, 122nd WR, DT, S, EDGE, CB, OT
Las Vegas Raiders $19,668,759 8 7th, 38th, 70th, 100th, 109th QB, CB, EDGE, DT, TE, LB, OT
Los Angeles Chargers $16,245,886 12 21st, 54th, 85th, 125th WR, DT, NCB, S, LB
Los Angeles Rams $11,257,346 19 36th, 69th, 77th OL, S, CB, DT, EDGE, WR, LB
Miami Dolphins $7,754,614 24 51st, 84th OL, EDGE, TE
Minnesota Vikings -$8,195,861 32 23rd, 87th, 119th DL, WR, EDGE, LB, RB, QB
New England Patriots $16,406,653 11 14th, 46th, 76th, 107th, 117th WR, OL, FS, LB, CB
New Orleans Saints $15,221,930 14 29th, 40th, 71st EDGE, DT, OL, LB, CB, WR
New York Giants $4,190,051 27 25th, 57th, 89th, 128th WR, C, S, CB
New York Jets $12,426,496 19 13th, 43rd, 74th, 112th QB, OL, DT, EDGE, S, LB
Philadelphia Eagles $3,585,488 30 10th, 30th, 62nd, 94th DT, EDGE, S, IOL, LB
Pittsburgh Steelers $14,514,751 15 16th, 32nd, 49th, 80th OT, S, CB, DT, EDGE, LB
San Francisco 49ers $8,884,319 23 99th, 101st, 102nd OL, S, CB
Seattle Seahawks $15,924,570 13 5th, 20th, 37th, 52nd, 83rd EDGE, WR, LB, CB, DT
Tampa Bay Buccaneers $733,898 31 19th, 50th, 82nd QB, S, EDGE, DL, OT
Tennessee Titans $11,062,262 20 11th, 41st, 72nd CB, OL, WR, LB, QB
Washington Commanders $3,609,445 29 16th, 47th, 97th CB, S, OL, QB

Arizona Cardinals

  • Estimated Cap Space: 6th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 3rd, 34th, 66th, 96th, 105th
  • Team Needs: EDGE, CB, OL, WR

Addressing the offensive line must be at the forefront of Jonathan Gannon’s off-season plan. The new head coach saw first-hand how effective an offense can be when playing behind an elite offensive line, considering his coaching tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles. Arizona has massive holes across its entire offensive line, with LG Max Garcia and C Billy Price gone in free agency.

And they have backup offensive linemen also slated to hit the market, including Justin Pugh and Cody Ford (Bengals). Although they did re-sign RT Kelvin Beachum and RG Will Hernandez while bringing in Hjalte Froholdt to plug the interior at center/guard.

Even so, the last thing the Cardinals can allow to happen is for Kyler Murray to return from a devastating knee injury to a patchwork offensive line. The OL actually played surprisingly well in pass protection in 2022 as PFF’s 13th-graded unit and 15th-ranked unit per DVOA. Run-blocking from the interior was a massive problem, as the team ranked sixth-worst in adjusted line yards and 31st in PFF run-blocking grade.

On defense, pass rushers and cornerbacks round out the remaining needs. The Cardinals were a bottom-10 pass defense in most metrics (second-highest Passer rating faced), allowing the league’s most yards after the catch as the second-heaviest blitzing unit.

Arizona currently has zero cornerbacks on the roster that earned a top-40 PFF grade in 2022. Their best CB from last season, Byron Murphy Jr., (Vikings) is gone. Although they did re-sign Antonio Hamilton. They need to add to their secondary with a cornerback in the draft like Kelee Ringo or Emmanuel Forbes. Currently, 2022 7th-rounder Christian Matthew is pegged as CB3.

The Cardinals also lost J.J. Watt to retirement and defensive end Zach Allen signed with Denver after a career year as an interior rusher. Watt and Allen combined for two of Arizona’s top three spots in pass-rush productivity in 2022. The team also released pass-rusher Markus Golden. The only DL addition they made was former UDFA Kevin Strong from the Titans.

Atlanta Falcons

  • Estimated Cap Space: 3rd
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 8th, 44th, 75th, 110th, 113th
  • Team Needs: EDGE, CB, WR, QB, LB

Death, taxes, and the Falcons’ sheer lack of a pass rush. Atlanta finished last in pressure rate (14.6%) in 2022. They need to spark the pass rush with a draft prospect like Myles Murphy or with a veteran acquisition. They added Kaden Elliss from the Saints in FA who finished 5th in pressures among linebackers. Eliss reunites with new Falcons defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen, who spent the last six years coaching the Saints defensive line.

Atlanta also needs help on the backend after finishing 29th in DVOA versus the pass in 2022. Slot CB Isaiah Oliver was their highest-graded cornerback last season, and he was signed by the 49ers during free agency. Two weeks before the draft, Atlanta traded for ex-Lions CB Jeff Okudah with a 2023 fifth-round pick.

The roster is also barren behind Drake London in the wide receiver room, but it remains to be seen how much investment will go to the position in a run-heavy offense. The team was wise to re-sign RT Kaleb McGary after a career year without any direct in-house replacement. McGary will return to the Falcons on a three-year deal worth $34.5 million.

Linebacker and free agent Rashaan Evans may also need to be replaced after leading the team in tackles in 2022.

They added safety Jessie Bates from the Falcons to help address secondary needs.

Baltimore Ravens

  • Estimated Cap Space: 26th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 22nd, 86th, 124th
  • Team Needs: CB, EDGE, DT, WR, IOL, QB

The Ravens used the exclusive franchise tag on Lamar Jackson, making him a Raven for at least 2023 unless he is traded. But he apparently requested a trade at the beginning of March, making it that much more likely that he does end up getting moved to another team. I’d love to see Jackson land in Miami, New England, New York (Jets), Washington or Atlanta as favorable landing spots — with Miami/Atlanta the obvious headliners of the group. Speaking in more realistic terms, the Colts have been rumored to be higher in the Jackson camp so he could easily end up there even if it’s not quite the best spot for fantasy. But with Jackson’s game being so tied to what he offers by himself as a rusher, he’s almost team-agnostic. Wherever he goes, he’ll likely be a fringe top-5 fantasy quarterback. He’s a steal as the QB6 in early best-ball drafts. In his six games played with wide receiver Rashod Bateman last year, Jackson averaged nearly 27 fantasy points, 2.1 passing TDs and 208 passing yards per game. Jackson also averaged nearly 70 rushing yards per healthy start.

To keep their quarterback happy (or whatever quarterback they replace Jackson with) they should add more wide receiver weapons to his disposal after being decimated in that area in 2022.

CBs Marcus Peters and Kyle Fuller are both over 30-plus years old and are still on the open market in 2023. That leaves a glaring hole opposite Marlon Humphrey, with second-year pro Kyle Hamilton manning the slot. Day 3 picks from 2022, Damarion Williams and Jalyn Armour-Davis, struggled as rookies, making them far from locks to be starters. They did re-sign Trayvon Mullen to a one-year deal.

The defensive end spot is the only other glaring hole, as the Ravens were a bottom-10 pressure unit. Justin Houston led the team with 12 sacks and is going to be a free agent at age 34. Jason Pierre-Paul is also a free agent and is 34 years old. JPP played the second-most snaps as a pass-rusher and most as a run defender among the Ravens’ defensive ends. Calais Campbell was released and signed with the Atlanta Falcons.

The team also re-signed Justice Hill to a two-year, $4.5 million deal and added WR Nelson Agholor.

The Ravens lost guard Ben Powers in free agency, but they will likely promote Ben Cleveland into the starting left guard spot. If not, this would be an area they address in the draft.

Buffalo Bills

  • Estimated Cap Space: 16th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 27th, 59th, 91st
  • Team Needs: WR, OL, LB, EDGE, S

The Bills finished 5th-worst in PFF’s final season run-blocking grade while ranking 12th-worst in pass-blocking. The OL unit played a role in the Bills’ inevitable exit from the playoffs, and the team needs to make improvements for 2023. Starting guard Rodger Saffold will be 35 years old and be a free agent. Their depth also looks lackluster, with Bobby Hart and Greg Van Roten also hitting free agency. They re-signed David Quessenberry.

The team signed G Connor McGovern to a three-year deal from Dallas to plug the interior.

Gabe Davis was expected to take another step forward as the team’s true No. 2 WR, but an up-and-down 2022 season should have Buffalo looking for additional pass-catchers for Josh Allen. Davis is a solid role player, but the Bills need a bonafide No. 2 opposite Stefon Diggs.

A sneaky addition by the Bills was adding former Saints Pro Bowler, Deonte Harty. He was hurt all last season after an impressive 2021 campaign. But that didn’t stop him from earning a 2-year deal worth $9.5 million with $4.75 guaranteed. $5.51M in 2023. It’s more than double the contract the team gave Isaiah McKenzie (2 years, 4.4 million before getting released this offseason) last season. The signing also makes Harty the second-highest-paid WR on the team with Gabe Davis still on his rookie deal.

Harty saw an extremely high target rate per route run in 2021 (27%) and finished sixth in both PFF receiving grade (86.8) and yards per route run (2.69). Harty totaled over 52 receiving yards in three of Jameis Winston’s starts in 2021. I’m confident Harty would deliver fantasy goodness if a starting opportunity opens in the Bills’ offense. The undersized WR finished with a 99th percentile PFF receiving grade versus single coverage in 2021.

On defense, Buffalo can go in a lot of different directions. Linebacker needs attention with 2022’s leading tackler Tremaine Edmunds signing a mega-deal with the Chicago Bears. Although the team did also extend linebacker Matt Milano through the 2026 season.

Safety Jordan Poyer re-signed for two years. but Dean Marlowe remains unsigned. The team did bring back both Shaq Lawson and Jordan Phillips. Poyer played the fourth-most snaps on defense in 2022. Veteran Micah Hyde is still under contract but is returning from a season-ending neck injury. Former Rams safety Taylor Rapp signed a one-year deal with Buffalo in free agency.

The Bills’ pressure rate fell dramatically after the team lost Von Miller due to injury. They generated just a 5.1% pressure rate — a mark that would have ranked 31st compared to season-long standings. Expect them to bolster the pass rush at some point in the draft. There’s a strong chance that they look for an interior disruptor with DL DaQuan Jones, Ed Oliver, Tim Settle all hitting free agency in 2024. Former 2020 second-rounder and defensive end A.J. Epenesa will also be a free agent at the end of the year.

Buffalo flip-flopped backup quarterbacks with Kyle Allen coming in to replace Case Keenum (Texans). They also replaced Devin Singletary (Texans) with ex-Patriots running back, Damien Harris.

Carolina Panthers

  • Estimated Cap Space: 4th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 1st, 39th, 93rd, 114th
  • Team Needs: QB, EDGE, CB, WR

When new head coach Frank Reich first addressed the media after his hiring, saying that quarterback stability was at the forefront of the Panthers’ offseason plans, whether that be with a quarterback they draft or one they add during free agency. They have essentially accomplished both, by trading up for the No. 1 overall pick and by signing veteran quarterback Andy Dalton.

Other than quarterback, I wouldn’t say the Panthers have too many major roster holes, but they can definitely look to improve on the defensive side of the ball. Safety is a position of need, with Xavier Woods playing way too many snaps on defense as PFF’s 59th-graded safety last season. The safety unit collectively struggled from Myles Hartsfield (49ers) to Jeremy Chinn (missed time with injury). Cornerbacks could also use depth. Donte Jackson got hurt at the end of last season, and C.J. Henderson finished the year as PFF’s 13th-lowest graded cornerback in coverage.

Safety was a need, but it’s less so of important after the addition of Vonn Bell.

A defensive tackle addition would fill out the front-7 nicely, with Matthew Ioannidis slated for free agency. Defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos has also been a major disappointment three years in, so he could see a role reduction. No player that played at least 800 snaps generated fewer pressures than YGM. Former Saints defensive tackle Shy Tuttle should help plug up the interior after the Panthers inked him to a large three-year deal worth 19.5 million.

It made sense that Reich added Hayden Hurst to the tight end room as well. Reich has zero allegiance to incumbents Ian Thomas/Tommy Tremble and is too familiar with TE-heavy packages from his days coaching in Indy. Among TEs with at least 30 targets in 2022, Thomas and Tremble finished back-to-back as PFF’s lowest-graded tight ends.

The Panthers did trade away D.J. Moore as part of the package for the No. 1 pick, so they will need to make some moves at WR for their future rookie quarterback. After the first wave of free agency, the team signed veteran Adam Thielen to a three-year contract worth $25 million. In 2021, Thielen posted his lowest yards per route run and PFF receiving grade since 2016. In 2022, Thielen’s numbers dropped even more. Career-low in yards per route run (1.08) and PFF receiving grade (65.7). Finished WR43 in points per game. Entering his age 33-year season in 2023, I will be firmly off the Thielen fantasy football draft train in 2023 with a rookie QB under center for the Panthers.

The Panthers also brought in veteran vertical threat, D.J. Chark Jr. on a one-year deal. Chark led the Lions in air yards share (30%) when healthy and in total deep targets (15). And when he came back to a full-time role from his early-season injury, Chark ended on an extremely high note. From Weeks 13-17, the former Jaguar averaged 10.5 fantasy points and 61 receiving yards per game. He went over 90 receiving yards in half of his last six games played.

Running back should be set, with Miles Sanders slated to take on the load left over from D’Onta Foreman.

Chicago Bears

  • Estimated Cap Space: 1st
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 9th, 53rd, 61st, 64th, 103rd, 133rd
  • Team Needs: OT, CB, EDGE, DT, WR

The Chicago Bears’ defense was a mess in 2022, ranking dead last in total DVOA. 32nd versus the pass and 30th versus the run. They need playmakers everywhere, but especially on the defensive line. Head coach Matt Eberflus needs to find his Chicago version of DeForest Buckner to disrupt the B Gap. They should strongly consider Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter inside the top 10. He graded out as PFF’s third-highest-graded defensive tackle in 2023. His run-stop percentage ranked second-best in the nation. Edge is also a priority.

Linebacker Nicholas Morrow led the team in tackles after Roquan Smith was traded, and he is a Philadelphia Eagle. And only the Falcons boasted a lesser pressure rate than Chicago did in 2022 (16%). Tremaine Edmonds and T.J. Edwards help plug the huge LB holes, and Demarcus Walker boosts the defensive line.

Getting Fields more weapons and an offensive line is essential. Right tackle Riley Reiff was signed by the Patriots, and the Bears don’t have any reliable in-house options between Larry Borom and Alex Leatherwood as plug-in starters. Nate Davis can play guard, but tackle is still a question mark.

Chase Claypool and Darnell Mooney are nice WR pieces, but the need for a true WR1 as needed. No team earned a lower PFF receiving grade than the Bears did in 2022. Insert D.J. Moore.

The team lost David Montgomery but signed Travis Homer. They will be fine with Khalil Herbert and newly-signed rusher D’Onta Foreman (one-year deal). Robert Tonyan also signed a one-year deal with the team to form a solid TE tandem between him and Cole Kmet.

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Estimated Cap Space: 10th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 28th, 60th, 92nd
  • Team Needs: CB, TE, RB, FS

Defensive backs Vonn Bell (Carolina), Jessie Bates (Atlanta), Eli Apple and Tre Flowers are all no longer on the roster. Bell, Bates, and Apple combined for three of the fourth most snaps played on defense (1,100-plus snaps). They drafted Daxton Hill and Cam Taylor-Britt with their top two picks in last year’s draft but still need additional bodies in the secondary to mitigate their potential losses even after re-signing 33-year-old free safety Michael Thomas to a one-year deal. The Bengals also added CB Sidney Jones to a 1-year deal.

Texas A&M draft prospect Antonio Johnson offers a versatile skill set with the experience covering as a slot cornerback combined with sure-tackling. He has been a top-15 PFF-graded run defender for the past two seasons. However, the veteran signing of thumping safety Nick Scott makes Johnson a less likely target based on their overlapping skill sets. Scott posted PFF’s second-worst coverage grade among qualifying safeties last season. Look for them to draft a safety with coverage skills in the draft like Florida State’s Jammie Robinson.

Hayden Hurst signed with the Panthers in free agency, making tight end another position the Bengals will be forced to address. No. 2 blocking tight ends Drew Sample was also re-signed. Look for them to draft one in a talent-rich class. The only major veteran move they made was signing Irv Smith Jr. to a one-year deal.

The former Alabama tight end has still yet to turn 25, but injuries have plagued him over the last two seasons. His impressive sophomore campaign seems like a distant memory, more than an actual way to project him moving forward. At least Smith was able to return from the high-ankle sprain that placed him on IR in 2022, and he will get the chance to be fully healthy during off-season activities. Before his injury in Week 8, ISJ was the TE23 in points per game (5.7) and caught at least two passes in all but one game. The former second-round pick still has talent and could easily rebound on a high-powered Bengals offense that features tight ends plenty in the passing game. His 20% target rate per route run ranked 12th among all tight ends with at least 30 targets in 2022.

Even after the Bengals spent big in free agency last season overhauling the offensive line, they still finished 31st in PFF pass-blocking grade. They have zero reasons to stop adding talent across their offensive line to protect the long-term health of quarterback Joe Burrow. Starting right tackle La’el Collins is coming off a Week 16 torn ACL and finished as PFF’s 15th-lowest pass blocker. His backup Hakeem Adeniji finished as PFF’s 7th-lowest pass-blocker. I seriously doubt that Cincy wants to open the season with Jackson Carman at right tackle after he couldn’t sniff the starting lineup until all injuries piled up. Carman has also taken zero snaps at right tackle in the NFL.

To address the glaring need, the Bengals invested in ex-Chiefs Orlando Brown Jr., signing him to a monster 4-year $84 million contract to bolster their OL.

The team surprisingly was unable to re-sign Samaje Perine (Denver) leaving them in limbo behind Joe Mixon amid his ongoing off-the-field issues and bloated contract. Chris Evans and Trayveon Williams are the only other RBs currently under contract.

Cleveland Browns

  • Estimated Cap Space: 18th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 74th, 98th, 111th
  • Team Needs: EDGE, RB, LB, WR

The Brownies don’t have a ton to work with this offseason to dramatically improve their roster that came in last in the AFC North in 2022. The offense is in relatively good shape with starting center Ethan Pocic re-signed on a three-year deal. Hjalte Froholdt signed with Arizona in free agency.

However, the team could also add another RB to replace Kareem Hunt/D’Ernest Johnson (Jaguars). Currently, 2022 5th-rounder Jerome Ford is penciled in as the No. 2 RB behind Nick Chubb.

The defense was the major problem for Cleveland in 2022, as they were bulldozed every week. Specifically by the run ranking fifth-worst in run defense DVOA. Jadeveon Clowney was the team’s highest-graded run defender on the line, and he won’t be back at the Dawg Pound in 2023. Adding any type of run-stuffing defensive lineman is a must for the Browns, as is adding a linebacker to their squad.

The Browns addressed their glaring need by adding the best interior defender on the open market with former Vikings defensive tackle, Dalvin Tomlinson. The Browns also signed Juan Thornhill to shore up their secondary at safety. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo is another pass-rusher addition, finishing as PFF’s 14th-highest-graded defensive end in 2022.

Linebackers Deion Jones is a free agent, with Sione Takitaki, Jordan Kunaszyk and Anthony Walker re-signed to one-year deals.

Dallas Cowboys

  • Estimated Cap Space: 9th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 26th, 58th, 90th
  • Team Needs: OL, LB, TE, RB, CB, WR

Dallas’ secondary got shredded after No.2 cornerback Anthony Brown tore his Achilles. As an impending free agent, Brown is no lock to return to the Cowboys coming off an injury. Jerry Jones is no stranger to investing high-draft capital into defensive backs, so a perimeter cornerback in the draft like Georgia’s Kelee Ringo could be an option. The former Bulldog has the size at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds coveted in the Dan Quinn defensive scheme.

But it’s less likely now that the team has acquired veteran/starter Stephon Gillmore through trade.

Dallas also maintained safety Donovan Wilson. Wilson played the second-most defensive snaps for Dallas in 2022. They also brought back linebacker Leighton Vander Esch on a two-year deal, after Luke Gifford signed with the Titans.

The wide receiver position also appeared like another obvious need for Big D because there’s nobody reliable on this roster behind CeeDee Lamb. Michael Gallup has yet to recapture his pre-injury form. Noah Brown signed with the Texans in free agency. And last year’s third-round pick Jalen Tolbert saw three targets as a rookie.

Dalton Schultz signed with Houston, further cementing the need for an additional pass-catcher.

The team made a major move during the first weekend following free agency, sending a 2023 5th-round pick and 2024 6th-round pick to the Houston Texans for Brandin Cooks. Cooks saw a reduced role in the Texans’ offense this past season, but he still has plenty in the tank. The soon-to-be 30-year-old earned a 22% target share in 2022 (6.7 targets per game). After re-entering the lineup in Week 16 for Houston, Cooks finished the year as WR18 in points per game. He also averaged 1.64 yards per route run (39th), which was superior to anyone on Dallas last season not-named CeeDee Lamb (Brown, 70th). The former first-rounder is a great fit in Dallas but be warned that a heavy-run approach will make Cooks extremely boom-or-bust for fantasy purposes. He finished 9th in the percentage of catches for 20-plus yards (23%) and as PFF’s 7th-highest graded WR on targets 20-plus air yards — highlighting his big-play ability. Gallup caught only one of his 11 deep targets last season.

Elsewhere on offense, the needs are across the offensive line. Starting LG Conner McGovern left for Buffalo.

Dallas will likely add another RB. Tony Pollard got the franchise tag but Ezekiel Elliot was released. Don’t sleep on them as a dark horse to select Bijan Robinson in the first round. The generational running back talent has obvious ties to Dallas as a Texas Longhorn, and his college head coach Steve Sarkisian coached under the Cowboys’ current defensive coordinator Dann Quinn for two years in Atlanta.

Denver Broncos

  • Estimated Cap Space: 25th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 67th, 68th, 108th
  • Team Needs: EDGE, LB, WR

The Broncos won’t be busy on draft night, with zero picks inside the top 65. But they were very active buyers during free agency, with a decent amount of available salary cap space. Shoring up the offensive line was a great way to kick off the Sean Payton era with Dalton Risner, Calvin Anderson (Patriots), Cameron Fleming, Graham Glasgow (Lions), and Billy Turner not under contract for 2023.

In FA, Denver did just that by signing Mike McGlinchey to a massive 5-year deal worth over $87.5 million. They also signed Ben Powers as a starting guard.

Denver’s defensive line could also use some extra juice after finishing bottom-10 in pressure rate. The team never replaced Bradley Chubb after trading him to Miami, and prized free-agent acquisition Randy Gregory was limited to just six games due to injury. Dre’Mont Jones led the team in total pressures but signed with the Seahawks in free agency (three-year, $51 million deal).

To combat the losses, they added Zach Allen from Arizona off the edge.

Denver wisely re-signed Alex Singleton, who was by far their best linebacker in 2022. His 118 tackles ranked 6th in the NFL – and he achieved the feat in just 15 games. The Broncos couldn’t afford to lose any top-tier tacklers after finishing missing the most tackles last season (98).

Payton had previously name-dropped Latavius Murray, a 2023 free agent that the Broncos seemed more likely than not to re-sign with his former head coach operating at the helm. The two have obvious ties back to New Orleans, and Murray performed well when Denver scooped him up during the middle of last season after Javonte Williams went down with a devastating knee injury. In 12 games from Weeks 6-18, Murray was the RB24 in half-point scoring, averaging 10.3 points per game (RB30). He was PFF’s 10th-highest graded rusher (82.8) and averaged 15 touches per game. Murray also averaged nearly 70 yards from scrimmage and 3 targets per game. Not too shabby for the 33-year-old running back.

But instead of bringing back Murray, Denver signed ex-Bengals running back Samaje Perine after releasing Chase Edmonds (Buccaneers) and moving on from Mike Boone (Texans).

With Williams potentially delayed in return from his knee injury, I’d suspect that Perine picks up the slack to open the year if he stays in the Mile High City. The Broncos have zero other RBs of note currently under contract.

Therefore, Perine has the chance to provide immediate fantasy value to start the year after carving out a role in the Bengals’ offense alongside Joe Mixon last season. He served as the primary third-down back for the entire season. And when Perine got the starting nod from Weeks 11-13, the 27-year-old went OFF averaging 23.6 fantasy points per game. Perine is a legitimate threat to Williams’ workload as he could easily earn the passing-down work after finishing last season 6th in PFF pass-blocking and 14th in RB targets.

Denver also added a hodge-podge group of TEs and FBs in free agency between Michael Burton and Chris Manhertz to fill the holes left by Andrew Beck (Texans) and Eric Saubert (Dolphins).

A wide receiver might soon become a need if/when the Broncos trade away either Courtland Sutton and/or Jerry Jeudy. Either way, it’s stock up for Tim Patrick.

Detroit Lions

  • Estimated Cap Space: 21st
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 6th, 18th, 48th, 55th, 81st
  • Team Needs: CB, DT, EDGE, WR S, LB, OT, QB

The Lions addressed the defensive line with the addition of Aidan Hutchinson last season, and he helped boost their defense upfront over the second half of the season. However, Detroit was slaughtered in their secondary even though former first-rounder Jeffery Okudah had his best season to date. They need to shore up their secondary, and they started that process with the addition of CB Cam Sutton in free agency. It’s possible he puts them out of the cornerback market at the top of the draft, if they play him on the perimeter. They also signed Emmanuel Moseley to a one-year deal after he tore his ACL. Before his injury, the four-year pro ranked top-10 in forced incompletion rate and Passer rating generated when targeted (63.5).

Still, they could select a cornerback high in the draft, like Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon. Detroit hit on drafting safety Kerby Joseph from the same college program in the 3rd round of last year’s draft, as Joseph was named First-Team All-Rookie by a number of publications.

The Lions selecting a cornerback seems even more feasible since they have recently traded away cornerback Jeff Okudah to the Atlanta Falcons for a 2023 fifth-round pick.

Starting safety DeShon Elliott (Dolphins) is gone, but the team kept nickel back Will Harris. They also inked Chauncey Gardner-Johnson to a 1-year deal, and he can defend from the slot as well.

The Lions added running back David Montgomery to replace Jamaal Williams (Saints). WR also becomes a bigger need in lieu of Jameson Williams’ six-game suspension.

Middle linebacker Alex Anzalone led the Lions in tackles and snaps on defense and the team opted to bring him back on a three-year deal. Even so, 2022 six-rounder Malcolm Rodriguez showed out as a Day 3 pick and could potentially take on a larger role.

However, the overall LB depth across the board is weak for the Lions, especially with many ancillary guys also hitting free agency – Chris Board (Patriots), Josh Woods, and Jarrad Davis.

The front seven is fine from a pass-rush standpoint, but more firepower versus the run would be helpful. Only the Giants allowed more expected points versus the run than the Lions in 2023.

Green Bay Packers

  • Estimated Cap Space: 2nd
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 15th, 45th, 78th, 116th
  • Team Needs: WR, S, TE, DT, CB, OL

The Aaron Rodgers to New York Jets trade has been completed, meaning both teams can move forward.

I think the best move the Packers can execute is adding a tight end in the draft. They only have one tight end under contract entering the season (Josiah Deguara). Wide receiver weapons need to be added regardless with Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard not returning.

The New York Jets signed Lazard to a 4-year, $44M deal with $22M guaranteed. And Cobb is on Rodgers’ “wish list” to join forces in New York.

On defense, Green Bay needs to improve against the run. They finished 31st in run defense DVOA. The team has to hope that last year’s 28th overall pick, Devonte Wyatt, can pick up the slack after a lackluster rookie season. Two of the Packers’ interior defenders from last season – Dean Lowry (Vikings) and Jarran Reed (signed by Seattle) – are gone.

Safety Adrian Amos played the most snaps against the run but will be a 30-year-old free agent. He also was a major liability in coverage as PFF’s fifth-lowest graded safety in coverage. His teammate Darnell Savage ranked 4th-worst in that category.

Needless to say, a safety with coverage skills needs to be on top of the Packers’ off-season priorities.

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Houston Texans

  • Estimated Cap Space: 5th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 2nd, 12th, 33rd, 65th, 73rd, 104th
  • Team Needs: QB, WR, EDGE, IOL

The Houston Texans showed us last draft season the kinds of players they want to target. Among their first six selection in the first four rounds, five came from the SEC. Including two players from Alabama. It’s clear the front office has done their homework on the Crimson Tide, which pushes me in the direction that they really wanted Bryce Young as their future franchise QB.

They obviously liked what they saw from John Metchie III (selecting him in Round 2 of last year’s draft) when he caught passes from Young during his tenure with Alabama from 2020-2021. Young followed up his 2021 Heisman Trophy campaign as PFF’s highest-graded passer in the nation (91.3) in 2022. His 94.2 PFF passing grade at the intermediate level (10-19 yards downfield) also ranked first.

Finding a franchise quarterback should be everything for this team, with all other needs completely secondary. However, they still need to surround their young signal-caller with weapons, and trading away Brandin Cooks doesn’t help accomplish that goal. Neither does trotting out a receiving corps of Robert Woods, Noah Brown, and Dalton Schultz. I fully expect the Texans to draft another WR or add one in free agency with Nico Collins and Metchie cemented as their current top-two projected wide receivers.

On defense, addressing the trenches should be at the forefront. Houston was decimated against the run – 32nd in PFF run defense – so any additional run-stuffers will be greatly appreciated. Former Jets DT Sheldon Rankins and Hassan Ridgeway will help plus up the interior.

Defensive end Ogbonnia Okoronkwo was a bright spot with a career-high PFF pass-rush grade, but he signed with the Browns. The Texans need a pass rusher with Jerry Hughes not getting any younger at age 35.

A new center would be great for the Texans, considering Scott Quessenberry was the worst center in the league last year, per PFF. Luckily this is one of the best years to need a center with a talent-rich class at the position.

Houston also signed Chase Winovich and quarterback Case Keenum.

The one position I’d don’t see Houston adding to in the draft is their secondary. They were underrated last year — 15th in defensive EPA/dropback — and added safety Jimmie Ward from the 49ers. They also re-signed one of their top cornerbacks back to the roster, Tavierre Thomas.

Indianapolis Colts

  • Estimated Cap Space: 7th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 4th, 35th, 79th, 106th
  • Team Needs: QB, CB, IOL, WR, EDGE, S

The Colts need to face the reality that they can’t run back another retread at quarterback. From Philip Rivers to Carson Wentz to Matt Ryan, they need a young franchise quarterback in 2023. And having a top-5 pick allows them to acquire one way or another. Gardner Minshew will be their bridge quarterback having a built-in rapport with the new Colts head coach and former Eagles offensive coordinator, Shane Steichen.

After quarterback, it’s extremely important the Colts re-tool their offensive line. The unit underwhelmed tremendously last year, specifically at right guard. Will Fries graded out as the 8th-worst pass-blocking guard. His backup Danny Pinter ranked fourth-worst. With other depth pieces between Matt Pryor (49ers) and Dennis Kelly not returning, the Colts could really use another starter along the right side of their offensive line. A potential draft target is IOL Joe Tippman from Wisconsin. He’s a pulling center with a versatile skill set to play guard.

There aren’t many WRs of note left on the Colts outside Michael Pittman Jr. Parris Campbell is a Giant. Ashton Dulin re-signed on a two-year deal up to $9.2 million. The team also added Isaiah McKenzie after his release from the Bills.

On defense, it’s upfront that needs seasoning. Several key players on the defensive line, like Yannick Ngakoue and Ben Banogu are free agents. LB Bobby Okereke is also now a Giant.

They swapped out those DL players for the likes of DE Samson Ebukam and DT Taven Byran. However, I am still very suspicious of how strong this front is. Although, Ebukam is an obvious upgrade over Ngakoue after finishing last season 17th in pass-rush win rate on true pass sets. Ngakoue finished 36th out of 40 qualifiers.

Safety Rodney McLeod will be 33 years old when the season kicks off and remains unsigned. He was impressive in his 11th season and first year with the Colts, capping the year as PFF’s eighth-highest-graded safety. His coverage grade ranked second.

The Colts also have a hole at cornerback after trading away Stephon Gilmore to the Dallas Cowboys. Brandon Facyson returned to the Raiders on a 2-year deal. The projected starters are Dallis Flowers and Isaiah Rodgers. Rodgers was actually pretty solid last season ranking second among all CBs in coverage snaps per target (10.4). Flowers is a former 2022 UDFA.

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Estimated Cap Space: 28th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 24th, 56th, 88th
  • Team Needs: OT, DT, EDGE, S

The Jaguars have a nice starting cornerback with Tyson Campbell, but question marks at the other defensive positions. Shaquill Griffin was released and Darious Williams struggled from the slot in his first year in Jacksonville. Bringing back slot CB Tre Herndon was a smart business decision because it allows the team to kick Williams back to the perimeter where he played much better last season.

The worst issue might actually be starting safety Rayshawn Jenkins. He posted the sixth-worst PFF coverage grade among safeties and whiffed on 28 tackles (18.3%) – the second-most in 2022. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if Jenkins loses playing time to Andrew Wingard off his new three-year extension.

Therefore the Jaguars need to improve their 30th-ranked DVOA pass defense and backend by bolstering their secondary. Alabama safety Brian Branch is a potential option from the draft. Branch has experience playing the nickel/slot – 2nd-most slot snaps among college safeties in 2022 – and is a fierce tackler. Per PFF, Branch has missed just 4 tackles on 170 attempts (2.3%) against the stiffest competition the SEC has to offer.

Other defensive needs include defensive linemen, with reserve players Corey Peters hitting the open market. The team was able to retain Adam Gotsis signing him to a super-cheap two-year contract.  Pass-rush reserves Arden Key (Titans) and Dawuane Smoot are both gone, and they combined for 11 sacks in 2022.

Jacksonville franchise-tagged Evan Engram with Dan Arnold and Chris Manhertz departing as free agents. They also signed ex-Browns running back D’Ernest Johnson to a one-year deal.

The offensive line is solid, albeit for the right tackle spot. Jawaan Taylor played well during his contract year to earn a strong deal from the KC Chiefs. He finished sixth in PFF blocking efficiency among eligible tackles. Third-year pro and former 2021 second-rounder Walker Little is the next man up at right tackle. Cam Robinson is also facing a potential PED suspension, further bolstering the case for more offensive tackles.

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Estimated Cap Space: 22nd
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 31st, 63rd, 95th, 122nd
  • Team Needs: WR, DT, S, EDGE, CB, OT

Kansas City was wise to reinvest into the tackle position with their top two starting tackles – Orlando Brown Jr. and Andrew Wiley – signing onto new teams. Wiley signed with the Washington Commanders re-joining Eric Beineiemy. Meanwhile, the Bengals signed Brown to a monster 4-year $84 million contract to bolster their OL.

The Chiefs address the need by inking former Jaguars tackle Jawaan Taylor to a 4-year deal, $80 million. The plan is to play Taylor at left tackle, even though he has not played there at the NFL or college level. Therefore, I wouldn’t completely rule out the Chiefs taking another stab at a left tackle if the right guy falls to them in the draft like North Dakota State’s Cody Mauch or USC’s Andrew Vorhees.

WR also needs to be addressed (as it was last season), with JuJu Smith-Schuster (Patriots) and Mecole Hardman not returning. I don’t envision KC overpaying for WRs, though, as playing alongside Patrick Mahomes will increase receiver production/efficiency – almost regardless of the player.

On defense, KC will need to find a way to either retain or replace S Juan Thornhill (Browns) and DE Carlos Dunlap. Safety was filled by former Buccaneer Mike Edwards, while Charles Omenihu fills the void on the edge with a 2-year $20 million contract. Omenihu finished second in pressures on a stacked 49ers defensive front last season.

The cornerback position could also use some love, with 2022 7th-rounder Jaylen Watson penciled in as a starter for 2023. Three of the team’s top-4 cornerbacks will be second-year players, so adding veteran depth would be a strong investment for the Chiefs.

The defensive interior might also need some fine-tuning behind Chris Jones. Free agents Khalen Saunders (Saints) and Derrick Nnadi ranked right behind Jones in snaps played from the defensive interior in 2022. The team re-signed Nnadi, but he’s not any good. Among DLs with at least 400 snaps, Nnadi finished as PFF’s 83rd-graded interior defensive lineman among 87 qualifiers.

Las Vegas Raiders

  • Estimated Cap Space: 8th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 7th, 38th, 70th, 100th, 109th
  • Team Needs: QB, CB, EDGE, DT, TE, LB, OT

Derek Carr is a Saint and Jarrett Stidham is a Denver Bronco. Hello Jimmy Garoppolo. Jimmy G will keep the Raiders afloat, but his addition does not take them out of the rookie QB market. Would not surprise me at all if Las Vegas trades back into Round 1 to snag someone like Hendon Hooker.

After quarterback, Las Vegas should shift their draft focus to their defense which ranked 31st in pass defense DVOA in 2022. They have multiple cornerbacks on expired contracts – Anthony Averett, Rock Ya-Sin, Sidney Jones (Bengals) – and need to add to the position. It was smart for them to bring back Brandon Facyson on a 2-year deal and sign Marcus Epps from the Eagles. But it’s not enough.

Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez could be a great option in the draft. He can tackle – earned the 12th-lowest missed-tackle rate in class at 4.9% – and make plays on the ball. And Gonzalez has hardly hit his peak since a 2022 breakout campaign; he still has yet to turn 21 years old.

Elsewhere on offense, the team fixed the right side of their offensive line. Tackles Brandon Parker (re-signed after missing all of last year with injury) and Jermaine Eluemunor (re-signed) are both back. And they have depth with 2022 7th-rounder Thayer Munford as a direct in-house replacement after seeing plenty of snaps as a rookie.

On defense, safety Duron Harmon, linebacker Denzel Perryman (Texans), linebacker Jayon Brown, DL Andrew Billings (Bears), and DL Clelin Ferrell (49ers) are gone from the roster. Harmon finished second in defensive snaps and led the team in tackles, but Epps fills the hole. Perryman was second in tackles and PFF run defense grade on the roster. Robert Spillane was brought in from the Steelers but he has never been a true full-time off-the-ball linebacker.

Billings finished third in run stops and second in PFF pass-rush grade on true pass sets. The Raiders retained DT Jerry Tillery, but he has been AWFUL since entering the NFL as a 2019 first-round pick. But it didn’t stop Las Vegas from signing him to a two-year contract for $7M, worth up to $8M. Starter-level money. Woof.

The team traded away tight end Darren Waller to the Giants for a 2023 third-round pick (100th overall). And they have not re-signed Foster Moreau opting for cast-off O.J. Howard and Austin Hooper are on one-year deals. They added WR Jakobi Meyers as another pass-catcher, but are severely lacking tight ends. Moreau will actually be stepping away from football, as he found out that he has Hodgkin’s Lymphoma during a routine FA physical. Praying for a speedy recovery.

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Estimated Cap Space: 12th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 21st, 54th, 85th, 125th
  • Team Needs: WR, TE, DT, NCB, S, LB, RB

The Chargers need another weapon for Justin Herbert. Look no further than the speedy/vertical wide receiver threat, Jalin Hyatt. Hyatt broke out in a massive way in 2022, catching 67 balls for 1,267 receiving yards and 15 receiving touchdowns en route to a 32% dominator rating. After an injury-plagued sophomore campaign, his elite junior season earned him the Fred Biletnikoff Award and unanimous All-American honors. The 6-foot and 176-pound Tennesse Volunteer played 87% of his snaps from the slot, finished sixth in yards per route run (3.27), and boasted the No. 1 Passer rating (and almost perfect) when targeted at 156.5.

The Chargers re-tooled their offensive line agreeing on a three-year contract with RT Trey Pipkins. The team also has Jamaree Salyer as solid depth, who they drafted last year in the sixth round. He performed well above expectation starting at left tackle after Rashawn Slater was placed on season-ending IR.

On defense, any type of run-stuffer on the line or at linebacker would be ideal. The Chargers have not been able to stop the run in any capacity since Brandon Staley took over as head coach, and it needs to be improved. Linebacker Eric Kendricks was a smart signing as PFF’s 15th-highest graded run-defender among linebackers.

Two key starters on defense from last year are free agents in DE Morgan Fox (re-signed) and linebacker Drue Tranquill (Chiefs). The new KC linebacker led the team in snaps played on defense. Fox finished second in total QB pressures behind only Joey Bosa so it was wise for them to bring him back. Kendricks fills the roster spot smoothly left by Tranquill.

Slot cornerback Bryce Callahan is also slated to hit the open market, making an interior coverage man another area of need for the Bolts. Safety Nasir Adderly is also an impending free agent, and he generated the team’s lowest Passer rating when targeted (69.0). Adderly actually decides to retire, making safety that much more of a need for the Bolts to address. Specifically, a defensive back that can play in the slot would be ideal.

Los Angeles Rams

  • Estimated Cap Space: 19th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 36th, 69th, 77th
  • Team Needs: OL, S, CB, DT, EDGE, WR, LB

Strong safety Taylor Rapp signed with the Bills and former starting free safety Nick Scott signed a deal with the Bengals. The secondary is a big hole for the Rams to fill, especially with their cornerback position also in flux. Jalen Ramsey was traded to the Miami Dolphins. Troy Hill and David Long Jr. are free agents.

The defensive line might also look very different in 2023, with nose tackle Greg Gains (Buccaneers) and defensive end A’Shawn Robinson on expired contracts. The team also parted ways with future HOF linebacker Bobby Wagner, creating another void on an overhauled defense. The team is also expected to release edge defender, Leonard Floyd.

The Rams’ offensive line was abysmal in 2022, ranking 31st in pass protection DVOA. Ty Nsekhe was their best blocker at left tackle, and he is a free agent. Matt Skura started at left guard and is also a free agent. Same situation for right guard Oday Aboushi. L.A. was forced to constantly rotate their OL due to injuries that impacted their play horribly. With more holes to fill, I’d imagine the Rams use what little draft capital they do have – previously before the Ramsey trade – for major OL upgrades. The ONLY free-agent move they were able to make was re-signing Coleman Shelton as a guard/center.

Miami Dolphins

  • Estimated Cap Space: 24th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 51st, 84th
  • Team Needs: OL, EDGE, TE, LB, RB

The Dolphins needed to make adjustments in their tight end/running back rooms with Mike Gesicki, Adam Shaheen, Raheem Mostert, and Jeffery Wilson Jr. on expired deals entering the free agency period.

The team opted to bring back Raheem Mostert on a two-year deal ($5.6MM, $2.2MM guaranteed) and re-sign Wilson to a 2-year deal worth up to $8.2 million.

However, they let Gesicki walk to their division rival New England Patriots and traded away Hunter Long. Durham Smythe is slotted as the team’s starting tight end.

They could also use some help across their offensive line, specifically at tackle. Depth players like Greg Little (PFF’s lowest-graded tackle in 2022), Eric Fisher, and Brandon Shell are all free agents. Austin Jackson barely played last year after being placed on IR very early on. Guard Liam Eichenberg continues to struggle two years in as PFF’s fourth-lowest graded guard among 85 qualifiers. Miami added Dan Feeney from the Jets, but he is depth more than anything. Same for OT Geron Christian Sr.

On defense, there are not many pressing needs. Especially after trading for star CB Jalen Ramsey. Miami just needs to backfill the roster with a depth piece akin to Vic Fangio’s preferred defensive scheme. I’d say more pass-rush is what they need the most.

Free agents like DE Andrew Van Ginkel, (re-signed), LB Elandon Roberts (Steelers), LB Duke Riley (re-signed), EDGE Melvin Ingram, and safety Eric Rowe were all significant contributors in 2022. But they have essentially filled those roster spots with LB David Long and S Deshon Elliott. Long has missed a lot of games over the last two seasons, so I’d envision Miami trying to add linebacker depth.

Savvy move to sign QB Mike White to a two-year deal with Tua Tagovailoa’s long-term concussion concerns. They also added WR Braxton Berrios after his release from the Jets. Chosen Anderson was added to compete for No. 3 WR duties.

Minnesota Vikings

  • Estimated Cap Space: 32nd
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 23rd, 87th, 119th
  • Team Needs: DL, WR, EDGE, LB, RB, QB

Defense. Defense. Defense. The Minnesota Vikings ranked 26th in DVOA in 2022, “boasting” the league’s second-worst mark in passing yards allowed per game (265.6). They brought in Brian Flores as the new defensive coordinator, and his presence will be most felt in the team’s secondary. I’d bet they make a flurry of moves to blow up the team’s defensive backroom.

CBs Patrick Peterson, Chandon Sullivan, and Kris Boyd are all gone. They cut Cameron Dantzler (claimed by the Commanders). They drafted Andrew Booth in the second round during last year’s draft, but he was unable to stay healthy. The splash move they made in free agency was signing Byron Murphy from Arizona.

The other big question mark is filling the vacated spot left by DT Dalvin Tomlinson. He is by far the highest-profile Viking lost after posting a top-15 PFF pass-rush grade among interior defenders. He signed a massive four-year deal worth $57 million with the Browns.  The only worthwhile defensive line additions were ex-Saints defense lineman, Marcus Davenport and Dean Lowry.

On offense, a No. 2 wide receiver would be a wise investment. Adam Thielen signed with the Carolina Panthers and K.J. Osborn will be a free agent in 2024.

But the offensive line needs some love, with starting center Garrett Bradbury and his backup Austin Schlottmann both free agents. Both guys were graded out as bottom-15 pass-blockers among centers in 2022. The team however did re-sign Bradbury despite his lackluster play to a 3-year, $15.75 million contract. Schlottmann also returned on a cheap deal.

Running back could also look drastically different in 2023 if the team decides to move on from Dalvin Cook through trade. He won’t take a pay cut, so his days could be numbered based on his contract. Alexander Mattison re-signed with the team on a two-year, $7 million deal.

New England Patriots

  • Estimated Cap Space: 11th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 14th, 46th, 76th, 107th, 117th
  • Team Needs: WR, OL, FS, LB, CB

My New England Patriots NEED HELP. And I would be ecstatic if they drafted a wide receiver in the first round for once. But chances are they won’t do that based on Bill Belichick’s draft history. Even though the team could use more playmakers even after the moves they made in free agency.

Jakobi Meyers went to the Raiders in free agency. In response, the Patriots signed JuJu Smith-Schuster to an eerily similar deal with less guaranteed money than Meyers got from the Raiders (3 years, $33MM), to bolster a lackluster wide receiver room of Kendrick Bourne, DeVante Parker, and Tyquan Thornton.

Smith-Schuster easily projects in to take over the role vacated by Meyers in the slot, as the team’s favorite to lead the team in target share after a solid one-year stint in Kansas City.

He commanded an 18% target share as the WR28 overall and WR37 in points per game (9.7). For comparison, Meyers as a Patriot averaged a 23% target share and 30% air yards share as the WR32 in half-point scoring last season — 10.6 fantasy points per game (WR28).

However, Smith-Schuster’s numbers were drastically impacted with just three receiving TDs. He converted just one of his 15 red zone targets into a score in Weeks 1-17. Numbers like that tend to regress positively as we saw this past year with Meyers (who notoriously never scored).

It should be noted that Smith-Schuster led the KC wide receiver room with 78 catches (18th) for 933 yards (23rd) in 16 games. Smith-Schuster’s yardage was the fourth-most among all WRs with fewer than four touchdowns.

He was an integral part of the Chiefs’ short passing game – 11th-lowest aDOT – ranking 7th in the NFL in yards after the catch per reception (5.9), 12th in receiving EPA, and third in yards per route run on targets from 0-9 yards. Patriots quarterback Mac Jones has finished top-10 in PFF passing grade passing between 0-9 yards over the past two seasons.

The 26-year-old also played a key role in Super Bowl 57, commanding a team-high nine targets (38% target share) for seven receptions and 53 receiving yards. JuJu’s early best ball ADP at WR50 seems far too cheap as the projected No. 1 WR for New England. His target share and air yards share should be substantially higher in the Patriots’ offense without a proper alpha. He will also likely see his slot role spike after playing a career-low 42% of his snaps from inside in 2022. Meyers played in the slot on 70% of his snaps last season.

The team also signed tight end Mike Gesicki to a one-year deal, after trading away Jonnu Smith.

Addressing the offensive line is likely what they will do at some point in the draft. Even as the team already filled the snaps at right tackle between Isaiah Wynn and Marcus Cannon. Yodny Cajuste was re-signed. New England signed 11-year veteran tackle Riley Reiff and former Denver Bronco Calvin Anderson in free agency. But with Reiff’s age and Trent Brown entering a contract year, they could really use a future franchise tackle.

On defense, Devin McCourty‘s retirement is a major deal. He led the Patriots defense in total snaps and finished the year second in tackles. His 90.0 PFF tackling grade ranked 7th among all safeties last season.

Upgrading from CB Jalen Mills would also be a great idea after Mills posted PFF’s second-worst coverage grade in 10 games for the Patriots in 2022. The team cut ties with Mills (then re-signed him smh) and re-signed Jonathan Jones. They also brought back safety Jabrill Peppers along with linebackers Mack Wilson and Raekwon McMillian. Peppers is more of a run-stuffing box safety, so they still need a center fielder at the free safety position.

Note that all the defensive moves for the Patriots have been internal signings, whereas they have elected to bring in talent from other teams on the offensive side of the ball.

New Orleans Saints

  • Estimated Cap Space: 14th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 29th, 40th, 71st
  • Team Needs: EDGE, DT, OL, LB, CB, WR

New Orleans initially appeared to have a major need at the interior offensive line position. Andrus Peat has been unreliable due to injuries the last two seasons and the team can save almost $12 million versus the cap if they designate him a post-June 1st cut per John Sigler of Saints Wire. However, Peat restructured his deal, so it’s more likely now that he stays on the roster.

Still, the Saints should elect to get younger and draft Florida’s O’Cyrus Torrence as the No. 1 guard in the 2023 Draft Class. He finished 2022 as the highest-graded guard in the nation in his first season as a Gator after transferring from Louisiana-Lafayette.

The Saints got their quarterback with Derek Carr and even were able to bring back Jameis Winston as QB2. Overall, an upgrade from last season.

The pass-catchers are pretty set. WRs Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed are staples moving forward. Michael Thomas is on a new one-year deal. Jarvis Landry and Deonte Harty (Bills) are gone. TE Juwan Johnson is returning.

The running back room looks different with the addition of Jamaal Williams as Alvin Kamara insurance amid his potential suspension. Expect Williams to see plenty of work after signing a three-year deal even with Kamara in the lineup. Williams should see work on early downs and maintain a hefty red-zone role after leading the NFL in carries inside the 10-yard line (45) in 2022. Kamara totaled just eight carries inside the 10-yard line last season, while QB/TE Taysom Hill saw 12.

The defensive line – particularly pass-rush – needs to be bolstered for New Orleans. They finished with the 4th-worst pressure rate in 2022. And they have a boatload of defensive linemen that aren’t under contract anymore, headlined by David Onyemata (Falcons) Shy Tuttle (Panthers), Kentavius Street (Eagles) and Marcus Davenport (Vikings). The only true additions along the defensive line were Nathan Shepherd and Khalen Saunders.

Losing linebacker Kaden Elliss is also a major loss after he racked up eight sacks in 2022. He signed with Atlanta on a three-year, $21.5M deal with $11M guaranteed in FA.

The Saints also would be smart to bring in more cornerbacks. Marshon Lattimore dealt with injuries all last season, forcing Paulson Adebo and Alontae Taylor to play more than the team would have liked. Taylor came around as a 2022 second-rounder generating a 58.3 Passer rating when targeted. Adebo didn’t fare nearly as well, allowing a 123.6 Passer rating while drawing 10 penalties. The team likely needs a slot cornerback/safety versatile player with Bradley Robey and P.J. Williams hitting the open market.

New York Giants

  • Estimated Cap Space: 27th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 25th, 57th, 89th, 128th
  • Team Needs: WR, C, S, CB, RB

Entering the offseason, the Giants simply lacked the juice at the wide receiver position to take them over the top in the NFC. They needed to feature more weapons around quarterback Daniel Jones for him to continue improving.

The team re-signed both Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton while acquiring Darren Waller/Parris Campbell in trade/free agency. So far, they have done well putting weapons around Jones.

Saquon Barkley was finally healthy in 2022 and reaped the rewards of playing in a much better offensive environment. The 2023 free agent finished as the RB5 overall and in points per game, as he was able to recapture his explosive upside as both a rusher and receiver. Barkley finished second in overall touches (352) and backfield opportunity share (80%) behind only Josh Jacobs through 17 weeks. He also scored 10 rushing TDs with 23 carries inside the 10-yard line. In 2021, Barkley totaled just 13 red-zone touches all season. Let Barkley’s return to glory show that you want to target young impending FA RBs in improved offensive situations that project to earn high volume with proven records of production.

Former starting center Jon Felciciano is now a 49er and his backup Nick Gates. He signed a three-year deal with the Commanders.

They may need to draft/sign a replacement center.

Safety Julian Love led the Giants in snaps and tackles on defense in 2022.

He was an integral part of their defense and will be missed after he signed a two-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks. Strong safety Tony Jefferson is also a free agent. The team did add DB Bobby McCain on a one-year deal to help plug the slot.

Alabama draft prospect and safety Brian Branch makes sense as a draft target if he is available. Branch has experience playing the nickel/slot – second-most slot snaps among college safeties in 2022 – and is a fierce tackler. Per PFF, Branch has missed just four tackles on 170 attempts (2.3%) against the SEC’s stiffest competition.

New York Jets

  • Estimated Cap Space: 19th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 13th, 43rd, 42nd, 112th
  • Team Needs: OL, DT, EDGE, S, LB, WR

With Rodgers finally traded, the Jets can address the real needs of their roster. Atop the list of remaining needs is offensive tackle (and OL in general) due to some expiring contracts and underwhelming incumbents. The team also finished as PFF’s third-worst grading pass-blocking unit in 2022.

Northwestern’s left tackle Peter Skoronski is a prime draft target after finishing as PFF’s No. 1-graded pass-blocker in 2022. The center might also need to be tweaked if Connor McGovern exits Gang Green in free agency (still a free agent). McGovern ended up returning to the Jets filling their need at center.

The team signed IOL Wes Schweitzer from the Commanders while losing Nate Herbig to the Steelers. A major downgrade in my humble opinion, as Schweitzer was one of PFF’s three lowest-graded centers last season. Don’t be shocked if they draft a center late as well. They have depth after adding center Trystan Colon-Castillo from the Ravens.

Defensively speaking, the need for bodies upfront and at safety are the top-two priorities. Safety Lamarcus Joyner is a free agent. DT Sheldon Rankins signed with the Texans in free agency.

Linebacker might also need some fine combing to mitigate the impending losses of Kwon Alexander.

The team also could elect to re-invest into the WR position after trading away Elijah Moore.

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Estimated Cap Space: 30th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 10th, 30th, 62nd, 94th
  • Team Needs: DT, EDGE, RB, S, IOL, LB

The Eagles brought back James Bradberry after his impressive season (pre-Super Bowl hold). They re-signed Bradberry to a three-year deal worth $38 million ($20 million guaranteed) and originally looked to be ready to part ways with Darius Slay, allowing him to seek a trade. The latest reports indicate Slay will remain an Eagle on a two-year contract. Philly also picked up Greedy Williams to deepen their secondary.

It’s a rarity that a team playing in a Super Bowl finds itself picking inside the top 10 in the next draft. But the Eagles have been smart with how they have accumulated draft picks, providing them this luxury to re-tool their defense that will likely look much different with so many impending free agents, especially across the defensive line.

Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham will return to the roster, but Robert Quinn, Javon Hargrave,(49ers), Ndamukong Suh, and Linval Joseph will not.

On the offensive line, guard Isaac Seumalo is now in Pittsburgh. His backup Andre Dillard signed a start-level deal with the Titans. Cam Jurgens could be a candidate to fill the void at guard with Jason Kelce coming back at center. Seumalo inked a three-year deal with the Steelers.

Linebacker is never a priority for this team, but it’s worth noting they will need to replace T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White. Edwards is vastly underrated. He led the team with 135 tackles. White finished second with 83. They at least have 2022 third-round linebacker Nakobe Dean as an in-house replacement.

At safety, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (Lions) and Marcus Epps (Raiders) are both gone. Epps led the defense in total snaps with 88 tackles, but he was a liability in coverage (145.3 Passer rating when targeted). The duo played the combined snaps among the Eagles’ safeties. Reed Blankenship would be the in-house replacement. The team also signed S Terrell Edmunds in free agency to a one-year deal.

Miles Sanders left for the Panthers, while the Eagles signed Rashaad Penny and Boston Scott. I would not rule them out of drafting another RB. Also worth noting is that Penny’s deal is worth $1.35M with 600K guaranteed — less than Scott’s $2M with $1.08 guaranteed.

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Estimated Cap Space: 15th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 16th, 32nd, 49th, 80th
  • Team Needs: OT, S, CB, DT, EDGE, LB

The Steelers desperately needed help along the offensive line entering the 2022 season and did nothing in last year’s draft to address the roster hole. As a result, neither of the Steelers’ two starting tackles – Dan Moore Jr. and Chukwuma Okorafor – finished inside PFF’s top-60 graded tackles. Hence, the need for offensive linemen.

RG Nate Herbig and the Steelers agreed to a two-year, $8 million contract. Guard Isaac Seumalo also signed a 3-year deal with Pittsburgh which does help improve the interior OL. Tackle still needs work.

And it’s the trenches on both sides of the ball that need upgrades in the Steel Curtain after the team struggled when T.J. Watt missed time.

Chris Wormley, Larry Ogunjobi, and Tyson Alualu were all available in free agency. Cameron Hayward isn’t getting any younger at age 34, and eventually, his production will tail off. Ogunjobi will return on a three-year deal.

Linebacker also needs additional juice, with several key contributors slated for free agency. That includes Robert Spillane (Raiders) and Devin Bush (Seahawks). And the last thing the Steelers want to do is rely on Tae Crowder, who led all linebackers in missed tackle rate (24%) in 2022. The team also recently released Myles Jack. FA-signee Cole Holcomb will be a plug-in piece, but he dealt with injuries last year in Washington.

The Steelers were also constantly attacked through the air last season, allowing the league’s second-most passing TDs. Starting safety Terrell Edmunds (Eagles) and perimeter cornerback Cameron Sutton were not re-signed. Sutton signed with the Lions, so in a corresponding move the Steelers signed veteran CB Patrick Peterson.

San Francisco 49ers

  • Estimated Cap Space: 23rd
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 99th, 101st, 102nd
  • Team Needs: OL, S, CB

The 49ers have some work to do this offseason, starting with their offensive line. Starting RT Mike McGlinchey and C Jake Brendel are both on expired contracts. The team was able to retain Brendel signing him to a 4-year deal worth $20 million.

Daniel Brunskill would have been next-in-line at the center position, but he signed with the Titans. Back-up tackle Colton McKivitiz is a restricted free agent and signed a two-year deal, putting him in the driver’s seat to be the team’s next starting tackle.

On defense, the 49ers’ biggest weakness was against the pass. No team could run on their No.1-ranked run defense, but it was a different story when teams dropped back to throw. Improving the secondary becomes even more pertinent when you consider the guys SF lost from their defensive backfield. CB Emmanuel Mosely (Lions) and S Jimmie Ward (Texans). S Tashaun Gipson re-signed with the team, but only on a one-year deal. The team also sneakily added Isaiah Oliver/Myles Hartsfield as starting slot defenders.

Ward operated as the team’s primary slot defender, and Gipson provided run support as an elite free safety tackler.

The top guys from the 49ers’ defensive line are all returning, but their depth will likely be tested in free agency. Samson Ebukam (Colts), Charles Omenihu (Chiefs) Azeez Al-Shaair (Titans) Hassan Ridgeway (Texans) Kerry Hyder (49ers) and Jordan Willis (Raiders) were all free agents, and SF was unable to retain the vast majority of them.

However, they signed Javon Hargrave to a 4-year $84 million deal in free agency to address DL needs. They also added Clelin Ferrell.

The team also added veteran quarterback Sam Darnold, likely as insurance with Brock Purdy coming off major elbow surgery.

Seattle Seahawks

  • Estimated Cap Space: 13th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 5th, 20th, 37th, 52nd, 83rd
  • Team Needs: EDGE, WR, IOL, LB, CB, DT

The Seattle Seahawks offense looks set on paper, with Geno Smith reprising his role as the team’s starting quarterback. Though the defense needs help with key members of the defensive line entering contract years. They need to inject more youth into their defensive front.

Tyree Wilson from Texas Tech makes sense for Seattle in the draft. The edge rusher finished eighth in pass-rush win rate on true pass sets among his 2023 draft class. But it’s not just pass-rush that Seattle needs after they were decimated by the run in 2022. They have plugs to fill on their defensive line with Poona Ford and L.J. Collier departed as free agents.

Although the huge addition of Dre’Mont Jones makes the interior defensive front less of a need. He was a much better pass-rusher than a run defender in Denver, so the fact that Seattle also added run-stuffer Jarran Reed was wise.

A No. 3 wide receiver would also be an ideal addition.

At linebacker, losing Cody Barton is a major hit. The 26-year-old tallied 98 tackles/47 run stops, second to only fellow linebacker Jordyn Brooks. He signed with the Commanders on a one-year fully guaranteed contract. Devin Bush was added as depth after his release. Seattle also brought back linebacker Bobby Wagner on a 1-year $7M deal after a one-year stint with the L.A. Rams.

On the offensive line, the team struck gold in last year’s draft by hitting on two starting tackles. But figuring out what to do at the center position will be their challenge heading into 2023 with Austin Blythe (retired) and Kyle Fuller no longer on the roster. Seattle did sign Evan Brown from the Lions, who could start at center.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Estimated Cap Space: 31st
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 19th, 50th, 82nd
  • Team Needs: QB, S, OT, EDGE, DL

Bruce Arians says, “The team is in good hands with Kyle Trask at quarterback.” Arians has infamously never told a lie, so I wouldn’t take this comment too seriously. If anything, it just means Trask is in the running to be the team’s starting QB in 2023. But he will have to compete with veteran Baker Mayfield who signed a $4M deal. Either way, replacing Tom Brady is no easy task. Just ask the Patriots.

The Bucs also have some pressing needs in their defensive secondary. Safties Mike Edwards (Chiefs), Logan Ryan and Keanu Neal (Steelers) are gone. CB Sean Murphy-Bunting signed with the Titans.

The team re-signed Dean to a four-year $52 million deal, but the team didn’t make any moves at safety.

On the defensive line, Rakeem Nunez-Roches (Giants), Akiem Hicks, and William Gholston require new contracts. Greg Gaines was added to help bolster the defensive interior on a one-year deal.

The Buccaneers are going to look drastically different on defense in 2023, with so much overhaul needed to last year’s roster. The one constant will be linebacker Lavonte David, who is returning on a one-year contract.

On the offensive line, the team traded away Shaq Mason to the Texans and released Donovan Smith. But they were able to retain guard Aaron Stinnie.

Leonard Fournette was also released, so the team added Chase Edmonds.

Tennessee Titans

  • Estimated Cap Space: 20th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 11th, 41st, 72nd
  • Team Needs: QB, CB, OL, WR, LB

The Titans are already making drastic changes to their roster under new general manager Ran Carthon. They opened the offseason by releasing WR Robert Woods, LB Zach Cunningham, and OT Taylor Lewan to free up cap space in lieu of 2023 free agency.

To address the losses, the Titans were very active in free agency. They added tackle Andre Dillard to start at LT, re-signed Nick Westbrook, and inked a deal with versatile guard/tackle Daniel Brunskill. All three project as starters on offense – for better or worse. The offensive line needed by far the most work because Lewan is not the only Titan gone from the team. Tackle Dennis Daley, tackle Le’Raven Clark, and guard Nate Davis (Bears) are no longer on the team.

Even with the FA additions, I don’t think the Titans avoid improving their offensive line. PFF graded them as the worst pass-blocking unit in 2022. That makes a franchise tackle still a priority. Paris Johnson Jr. from Mike Vrabel’s alma mater Ohio State fits the bill. Tennessee drafted a Buckeye offensive lineman in the 3rd-round last season (Nicholas Petit-Frere), so I won’t be a surprise if they decide to run it back with another. Except for this time, they would get the superior option. In Johnson’s first season as a left tackle, he finished as a consensus All-American.

Defensively, they’ll need an answer at linebacker without Cunningham and  2023 free agent David Long Jr. who signed with the Dolphins after his release. They brought in Luke Gifford from Dallas on a two-year contract, but he has mostly been a special teams player. The Titans also signed linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair, who Carthon is familiar with from their time spent in SF together.

Most of their starters are returning from their secondary, but it’s a unit that played horribly in 2022. The Titans ranked last in passing yards allowed per game (275). If they feel okay with their offensive line coming out of FA, then cornerback will be the position they go for in Round 1. They definitely will go after a perimeter CB after inking inside cornerback Sean Bunting to a one-year deal.

Washington Commanders

  • Estimated Cap Space: 29th
  • 2023 High Draft Capital: 16th, 47th, 97th
  • Team Needs:  CB, S, OL, QB, TE

Washington’s defensive line is loaded. And it’s because the front office has fluttered that area of the field with 1st-rounders. But that has had a negative impact on the secondary, which has been by far the weakest part of the defense over the last two seasons. They also released slot defender Bobby McCain.

Washington needs to inject their pass defense with someone like cornerback Joey Porter Jr., son of former Steelers linebacker Joey Porter. The Penn State cornerback was a pass-breakup machine in 2022, posting college football’s second-highest forced incompletion rate (41%).

I can’t see Washington going aggressively after another defensive lineman after they signed Da’Ron Payne long-term. They also added depth between Abdullah Anderson and Efe Obada.

The offensive line needed improvement after finishing bottom-10 in both pass-blocking and run-blocking efficiency per PFF in 2022. Last year’s starting right guard Trai Turner is a free agent. Reserve interior offensive lineman Wes Schweitzer signed with the Jets. Washington made key signings with G Nick Gates, OT Andrew Wylie, and C Tyler Larsen.

Linebacker is pretty barren behind Jamin Davis. But the team signed Cody Barton to make up for the losses of Jon Bostic and Cole Holcomb.

The team released J.D. McKissic but signed Jacoby Brissett at quarterback. He will compete with Sam Howell for QB1 duties.


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Andrew Erickson is a fantasy analyst at FantasyPros. For more from Andrew, check out his archive and follow him @AndrewErickson_.

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