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NFL Draft Needs for Every Team Post-Free Agency (2024 Fantasy Football)

NFL Draft Needs for Every Team Post-Free Agency (2024 Fantasy Football)

One way or another, NFL teams are going to – or try to – plug the holes and improve their rosters this offseason. Whether they accomplished that through the 2024 free agency period or the 2024 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 free agency dust has settled. 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 off-season strategy and how they attack the NFL Draft.

Below you’ll find a breakdown of the needs of all 32 teams for the 2024 NFL Draft that can serve as your compass to draft coverage from a fantasy and betting angle.

2024 NFL Draft Guide

*Graphics provided by FantasyPros mad data scientist Sam Hoppen.

2024 NFL Free Agent & Draft Needs for Every Team

AFC EAST AFC NORTH AFC SOUTH AFC WEST NFC EAST NFC NORTH NFC SOUTH NFC WEST
BUF BAL HOU KC DAL DET TB SF
MIA CLE JAC LV PHI GB NO LAR
NYJ PIT IND DEN NYG MIN ATL SEA
NE CIN TEN LAC WAS CHI CAR ARI

Arizona Cardinals

Team Needs: WR, DL, CB

There’s a reason why the Arizona Cardinals are so closely tied to drafting a wide receiver in this year’s draft. They need to bolster that position with Marquise Brown departing to the Chiefs in free agency. With a surplus of draft picks (six inside the top 90, by far the most of any team) and salary cap space, Kyler Murray will find himself in a much better position to score points in fantasy football than in 2023 after returning from a torn ACL. He’s a buy for me across the board, in fantasy football dynasty, best ball, etc.

Murray was the QB11 in points per game and 10th in expected points per game after returning from his torn ACL injury in 2023. Much of his production came from rushing, which you wouldn’t think given his injury status. Combine his rushing with a second-year Michael Wilson, tight end Trey McBride, and another top rookie WR, and we can easily see Murray get back into the top-tier fantasy QB conversation. Greg Dortch is also back as an RFA, who might have a staple role in the offense after the Rondale Moore trade was executed to acquire a solid cheap backup/mobile quarterback in Desmond Ridder.

The other needs on offense are on the offensive line, particularly at left guard. They have guards hitting free agency this season and more OL pieces entering the last year of their deals. They got a stud last year with Paris Johnson Jr. and also drafted IOL Jon Gaines in the 4th round. Gaines missed the year on IR, but he is an extra body that can compete for the LG job in a full year back to help. Trystan Colon was also re-signed to compete for a guard spot. Elijah Wilkinson is penciled in to start at guard after being re-signed but he was horrible last season (82nd-lowest graded guard per PFF last season).

Arizona recognized the OG issue and signed former Seahawk, Evan Brown, at guard a week after free agency kicked off. Former Bengals RT Jonah Williams signed with Arizona to replace D.J. Humphries (released).

Running back they might invest later on in the draft, given James Conner is entering the final year of his contract. They signed DeeJay Dallas as depth. Dallas got a pretty decent chunk of change – three years, $8.25 million – which likely suggests the team won’t draft another RB of consequence. Conner RB1 szn is a full go.

Simply put, Arizona’s offensive needs are still headlined by WR/OL, but it’s not as glaring as what they need on the other side of the ball.

Defensively, they need help everywhere. Jonathan Gannon’s squad ranked 32nd in expected points added in 2023, 32nd in PFF defense and in DVOA. You find a defensive team metric across any platform, and the 2023 Cardinals are probably ranked dead last.

For starters, they must add a pass-rusher which was part of the nucleus behind the Eagles’ defensive success under Gannon in past years. They drafted B.J. Ojulari last season. But they still rank bottom-10 in spending on the DL. During FA, they added Bilal Nichols to a three-year deal. He started all 17 games for the Raiders last season. DT Justin Jones signed a three-year 30 million contract. Depth pieces, but hardly needle-movers.

Perimeter cornerback highlights their other primary need. Second-year man, Garrett Williams is locked into the starting slot role, but the boundary CBs are total unknowns with Antonio Hamilton signing with the Falcons in free agency.

On the roster currently are Kei’Trel Clark, Divaad Wilson and Starling Thomas. Woof. At least they have Sean Bunting now, but he has been traditionally more of a slot CB. Played outside last season for the Titans, so it’s plausible Arizona will also start him on the boundary.

With a flurry of picks inside the top rounds, Arizona will surely take a cornerback who can play on the perimeter. Nothing in free agency changes that.

Note that in Monti Ossenfort’s first draft calling the shots for Arizona, he was aggressive with trades. He also was not afraid to take shots at guys who fell due to injury concerns. So perhaps Arizona doesn’t stick at No. 4 and instead trades down if another team wants to move up for a QB.

We don’t usually see season-long betting odds move too drastically after NFL Free Agency and the NFL Draft concludes, but I’d bet the Cardinals’ odds shorten. Their team is going to look a hell of a lot better by the time May kicks off.
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Atlanta Falcons

Team Needs: DL, CB

It’s been three straight seasons that the Falcons have drafted a skill position player within the top 10 picks of the NFL Draft. With defensive head coach Raheem Morris taking over, he and GM Terry Fontenot might flip the script and likely look HARD at the highest-ranked defensive player on the board.

Morris did so as much in 2 of the last three seasons with the Buccaneers as their previous head coach, with selections of game disruptors Gerald McCoy and Adrian Clayborn. And as the Rams defensive coordinator this past season, LA’s defense ranked first in interior pass-rush win rate.

Cornerbacks A.J. Terrell and Mike Hughes will hit FA in 2025. With Jeff Okudah (Texans) and Tre Flowers gone, cornerback is another area that Atlanta may need to improve. They added Antonio Hamilton in free agency to a one-year contract, formerly of the Cardinals. They also signed Kevin King.

Especially because the coverage unit ranked in the bottom-10 last season, compared to the run-stuffing defense that ranked second in PFF’s run-defense grading.

Of course, addressing the defense early in the draft comes easier with the quarterback situation resolved. Hello Kirk Cousins….

For a full breakdown of the Cousins to Falcons landing spot, read this: Kirk Cousins Agrees to Deal With Falcons: Fantasy Football Impact & Takeaways (2024). With Cousins under center, the Falcons are in the driver’s seat to win the NFC South and finish with a strong W-L record. They have one of the easiest SOSs in 2024, just like last season.

Moreso on offense, they added another WR behind Drake London.  They already released tight end, Jonnu Smith.

In free agency, they signed Darnell Mooney to a three-year deal worth $39 million. The immediate thought with Mooney to Atlanta is that it’s not a great landing spot with him competing for targets with so many other options in the passing game. However, something very critical to keep in mind. Atlanta will have less injury luck than the team did in 2023. Because they were the healthiest offense last season. If injuries hit guys like London or Pitts, Mooney would likely see an increased role and deliver, based on his track record as a productive WR in prior prominent roles.

They signed blocking tight end, Charlie Woerner, in free agency to a 3-year deal worth $12 million.

They also re-signed Khadarel Hodge, signed Ray-Ray McCloud from the 49ers and traded Desmond Ridder for Rondale Moore. Taylor Heinicke will be the backup for another season.

OL is in good shape, but DL needs pass-rush juice. Death, taxes and the Falcons needing a player who can generate pressure. Calais Campbell (free agent), at 38 years old, led the team in sacks and pressures last season. Atlanta signed NT Eddie Goldman.

With the 8th overall pick, it’s still going to come down to CB or EDGE.

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Baltimore Ravens

Team Needs: OL, WR, DL, CB

Offensive tackle, interior offensive line, DL, and/or edge are the top needs for the Ravens to get back to the AFC Championship Game in 2024. It’s going to be an uphill battle regardless with so many losses (including their defensive coordinator) on the defensive side of the football.

A wide receiver also makes sense, given the lack of depth behind Zay Flowers with Odell Beckham Jr. released. How Baltimore adds to the WR room will be a litmus test about how they feel about Rashod Bateman entering the final year of his rookie contract (5th-year option withstanding). They signed Deonte Harty but he is more of a specials teams return specialist.

And even if the Ravens don’t like investing in running backs, they will have to add to their room. Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins both signed with the Chargers in free agency.

At running back, they upgraded in a big way with Derrick Henry. Keaton Mitchell is coming off a torn ACL. Justice Hill is the other healthy back currently on the roster.

They’ve got impending FAs across the OL this season – John Simpson (Jets), Kevin Zeitler (Lions) – and next season – Patrick Mekari, Ben Cleveland, and Morgan Moses. Moses was traded to the Jets. Massive need now at OL (tackle).

Left tackle Ronnie Stanley is under contract for two more seasons but has gone through ups and downs since his injuries started piling up. If the Ravens see an opportunity to upgrade from Stanley, don’t think they won’t pull the trigger to do so. The front office is not happy they are paying him like a top-5 LT. If they see a future franchise tackle on the draft board, they will pull the trigger. Hence, the Ravens are listed with -175 odds to draft an OL first per DraftKings Sportsbook, followed by DL/EDGE (+300), and then CB (+500). Remember that the Ravens will enjoy the fruits of drafting OG Andrew Vorhees after an essential redshirt rookie season after the former USC product tore his ACL at the 2023 NFL Combine. They also signed Josh Jones as an additional depth piece.

Patrick Queen is one of the few better NFL linebackers, but he signed with the AFC North rival, Pittsburgh Steelers, for 3 years and $41 million. Queen’s loss would make linebacker another area to address. However, they have 2023 3rd-rounder Trenton Simpson waiting in the wings for an expanded role in 2024 and beyond.

The same goes for EDGE. With all the pass-rush leaders from Clowney (signed with the Carolina Panthers) and Madubike (franchise-tagged and extended) headlining the Ravens’ 2024 free-agent crop, third-year edge LB David Ojabo NEEDs to step up after being limited to just six games the last two seasons. He’s another uber-talented player who has been plagued by injuries.

Another cornerback across from Marlon Humphrey would also make some sense. Brandon Stephens is entering a contract year, while the Ravens have several other CBs on expired deals. Arthur Malet was re-signed to man the slot as the projected Nickelback.
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Buffalo Bills

Team Needs: WR, DL, CB, OT, S, LB

The top need for Buffalo is easy to identify. WR. Joe Brady took over as offensive coordinator in the second half of the 2023 season, and his approach with more WRs will be at the forefront, with Gabe Davis signing with the Jaguars in free agency and Stefon Diggs being traded to the Texans. They already released Deonte Harty as well. Veteran Mack Hollins should slide in and take up the majority of cardio routes, while Curtis Samuel adds a speed element that the offense has been lacking.

Per DraftKings Sportsbook, the Bills’ shortest odds are to select a WR with their first selection at +115, followed by DL/EDGE (+175) and OL (+500).

That, and a more established ground attack with James Cook as the bell cow. They will add another RB at some point – either in free agency or the NFL Draft – given that Cook is the only healthy RB currently under contract. They recently released Nyheim Hines to clear cap space. Ty Johnson was brought back as the current RB2.

The entire starting OL is back under contract for 2024, but both tackles – Dion Dawkins and Spencer Brown – are entering the final year of their deals. They re-signed guard David Edwards to a two-year extension but cut center Mitch Morse. Dawkins signed a new 3-year deal with $60.5 million. Look for Buffalo to invest some draft capital in an offensive tackle prospect even after they signed former Cowboys/Bengals OT La’el Collins.

The Bills are mostly set on offense but need to revamp the defensive side of the ball if they want to get back into the AFC Powerhouse conversation.

They need to improve everywhere. Their run defense was fourth worst per PFF last season.

And they have a surplus of interior and edge defenders hitting free agency – without salary cap space to retain them. Von Miller has been a shell of his former self since coming to Buffalo, creating a massive need for a pass rush. A.J. Epenesa will return on a two-year deal.

After the team lost DL DaQuan Jones in the middle of the season, their run defense fell off a cliff. He will be back on a 2-year $16 million deal.

Safety might also need to be addressed, given that Micah Hyde and Taylor Rapp are free agents. Rapp was extended. Jordan Poyer was slated to be FA in 2025, but Buffalo already cut ties with him. Poyer signed with Miami.

And lastly, cornerback. Taron Johnson and Rasul Douglas re-signed for longer extensions. Dane Jackson is a free agent and signed with the Panthers. Tre’Davious White was released, and Kaiir Elam has been unable to get on the field as a former 2022 first-round selection.

Losing linebacker Tyrel Dodson to Seattle could also be detrimental, given that he was the Bills’ highest-graded defender per PFF in 2022.
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Carolina Panthers

Team Needs: WR, OT, CB, DL, TE

The Panthers sold the farm to acquire Bryce Young in last year’s draft. And they are now facing a massive uphill battle to compete. Young must have a massive turnaround in Year 2, or Carolina will be back to picking at the top of the draft in 2025.

Offensively, they need to give him ACTUAL weapons at WR and TE. Not the hodgepodge group they trotted out last season. D.J. Chark Jr. is a free agent. They traded for Diontae Johnson to be their new No. 1 WR.

Hayden Hurst signed a lucrative deal with the Panthers last offseason but landed on IR after suffering from Post-Traumatic Amnesia. He was released after one season with the team. The team can also cut ties with Ian Thomas to save close to $3 million in salary cap space.

The Panthers could be a very sneaky fantasy football landing spot for a tight end – given that Canales “awarded” Buccaneers tight end Cade Otton an elite role. Played nearly every single snap and ran a route on 80% of the dropbacks (3rd among TEs). Look out for Tommy Tremble.

The offensive line was horrible in 2023 in both pass and run blocking. The “starters” are all returning, but nobody’s job security should be safe, given how poorly they played up front. The two starting guards will be FAs in 2025, so guard depth might be required. Last year’s draft selection, Chandler Zavala, struggled as a rookie. IOL seems like a more problematic position than at tackle. We saw the addition by subtraction regarding the Colts’ OL after they fired Frank Reich from 2022 to 2023. We could see something very similar with the Panthers under much better coaching.

Adding Robert Hunt from Miami on a 5-year deal worth $100 million was a strong start to bolstering the OL. He was PFF’s 6th-highest graded OL piece in 2023. They double-down on the IOL with Damien Lewis at guard. 4 years and $53 million. He wasn’t great last year but has ties to Canales from their time spent in Seattle.

The team also released last year’s starting center, Bradley Bozeman (signed with LAC). Both guard spots have been upgraded from last season.

I love the staff that Canales brought in, with many joining him from the Buccaneers – a team that drastically played above expectations. Joe Gilbert was the Buccaneers’ OL coach last year and got the most out of the unit the team did not invest much money into. Will Harriger was hired as the QB coach after stints in Dallas (2023) and USC (2022), where we saw some impressive QB performances from Dak Prescott and Caleb Williams. It’s early, but I want to be “higher” on Carolina than the market heading into next season.

On defense, EDGE is the most logical position given the loss of Brian Burns. He was traded to the Giants for a 2nd and 5th-round pick.

Yetur Gross-Matos left for the 49ers. They drafted Oregon edge rusher D.J. Johnson last season to underwhelming results. DL D.J. Wonnum played over 800 snaps on the Vikings’ DL last season and signed with the Panthers. They also signed K’Lavon Chaisson. Late into March, the Panthers further improved their defensive line with the addition of Jadeveon Clowney. 2-year $20 million contract.

The Panthers also had the league’s worst run defense in terms of DVOA, making any interior defenders alongside Derrick Brown a must-add.

They added A’Shawn Robinson from the Giants, who provided the second most AV on New York’s DL in 2023, behind Dexter Lawrence. DL bolstered? Check.

At cornerback, they’ll need a slot DB/Nickelback with Troy Hill (re-signed) and safety Jeremy Chinn signing with the Commanders. They were able to bring back Hill on a cheap one-year deal. They also signed Jordan Fuller as a new strong safety from the Rams.

The Donte Jackson trade creates a need at perimeter CB. Dane Jackson signed with the Panthers as a cornerback replacement.

Off-ball linebacker becomes an issue if they don’t bring back Frankie Luvu (Commanders) and/or Deion Jones. But I’d argue they got the perfect upgrade at LB with ex-Broncos LB, Josey Jewell. They also let go of safety Vonn Bell. He signed with the Bengals.

All in all, the Panthers fixing their offense will make everything better across the board. It will help prevent the defense from getting RUN all over. And if that happens, we could see a bounce-back effort from Carolina, given that their pass defense was underrated last season. Sixth-lowest yards per pass attempt faced.

Holding the 33rd overall pick, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Panthers invest another Round 2 selection in a WR in a jam-packed class filled with talent. Jonathan Mingo did nothing as a rookie to earn any benefit of the doubt he can improve or be a dominant player in Year 2.

Looking back at what former Scott Fitterer did as the Panthers GM (new GM Dan Morgan served under Fitterer since 2021), I’d bet he continues to chase the trend of drafting athletic-gifted players with high-end draft capital. Before selecting Ikem Ekwonu in 2022, he drafted Jaycee Horn and Terrace Marshall Jr. Both were two uber athletes from the SEC.

Like last season – where I projected they would select Mingo – I’d anticipate they draft athletes from the SEC that fit the team needs at EDGE and WR first.

I also think the Panthers will run back the same backfield as last season, given the fully guaranteed money for Miles Sanders. Last season, two of Chuba Hubbard‘s best games were against the Buccaneers’ elite run defense. As the Bucs’ OC, Canales saw in person what Hubbard could do against a strong defensive front. Think that bodes well for Hubbard to be the team’s RB1 to start in 2024.

After the draft, the Panthers signed RB Rashaad Penny.
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Chicago Bears

Team Needs: QB, DL, OL, CB

The Bears finished with the second-fewest sacks and PFF’s 32nd-ranked pass rush grade. A pass rush is what they need defensively after they draft their new franchise QB (Caleb Williams). They traded for Montez Sweat before the trade deadline last season, but they still need more guys to get after the QB.

Moreso on defense it’s focusing on their secondary because the Bears’ run defense was elite down the stretch under Matt Eberflus.

Safety Eddie Jackson is gone, and top CB Jaylon Johnson got extended. The cornerback depth is decent behind Johnson, so I’d say the Bears continue to just add to their defensive line where possible and look at safety over cornerback, especially with Johnson back on the tag.

Kevin Byard signed a 2-year deal worth $15 million to fill the safety void after he was cut by the Eagles. The Bears also signed safety Jonathan Owens to a two-year deal.

The Bears should be the “betting favorites” to win the NFL offseason, given the salary cap space AND draft picks they have at their disposal. Ergo, bet on Bears’ futures NOW, as the odds will likely shift as the roster improves.

Other than adding a new QB on offense after the Justin Fields trade they needed to add WRs behind D.J. Moore. Darnell Mooney signed with the Falcons. They drafted Tyler Scott in the 4th round last season, knowing they would likely let Mooney walk in 2024.

But instead of hoping for a second-year breakout from Scott, they sent a 4th-round pick to the Chargers for Keenan Allen. Allen will reunite with former Chargers WR coach Chris Beatty (new Chicago WR coach) in the Windy City.

Across the OL, it’s tricky. The Bears were a bottom-10 blocking unit across most metrics, with Lucas Patrick at center being the worst of the bunch. He’s a free agent and the Bears would be wise to move and upgrade at center. They signed guard Coleman Shelton to be their new center. He was PFF’s 12th-highest graded run-blocker last season among centers. A big upgrade from Patrick.

The rest of the offense line is returning, with only LG Teven Jenkins entering a contract year. Chicago should be okay at offensive tackle between Braxton Jones (the Bears’ best pass-blocker) and Darnell Wright entering Year 2. If they upgrade OL in the draft, my best estimate is it will be across the interior for starters and then address tackle for additional depth. Note that the OL for the Bears was always put in precarious situations last season because Justin Fields held the longest time to throw in the NFL last season. Caleb Williams held the ball a ton (highest in the draft class) in his final year at USC. Another year of a similar group might be enough for them to gel and improve even with the same personnel grouping. Shane Waldron got a lot out of the Seahawks’ young OL; he could so something similar with the Bears.

I hardly would say this is a “need,” but the Bears, under  Waldron, will almost certainly add more tight ends. Not great for the fantasy value of Cole Kmet. They added Gerald Everett for two years and $12 million, who formerly played under Waldron with Seattle and the Rams. Woof.

Last season, the tight end usage never got to a point with the Chargers where Everett could fully be unleashed, aside from occasional spiked weeks of production when other guys missed time. Everett was by far Easton Stick‘s No. 1 target after Justin Herbert went down with an injury. But he never had one game with 50 or more receiving yards. Logged a 55% snap rate on the year (33rd). Everett will be 30 in 2024 after posting career lows in yards and yards per route run as the TE24 overall and TE21 in points per game (5.7). He was the TE15 overall and TE14 in points per game in 2022 (7.4).

The Bears backfield got shaken up in NFL Free Agency with the addition of RB D’Andre Swift, who signed a 3-year $24.5 million contract with Chicago. I’d expect Khalil Herbert to get traded (Raiders perhaps?).

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Cincinnati Bengals

Team Needs: OT, WR, DL

The Bengals lost RT Jonah Williams in free agency (signed with Arizona) setting the stage for Cincy to draft his replacement in the 2024 NFL Draft. They could insert another Alabama tackle prospect in JC Latham, who can slide seamlessly into the starting RT spot with Orlando Brown Jr. operating at LT. Latham took a slight step back in 2023, as he was PFF’s second-highest graded pass-blocker in 2022. But that Crimson Tide pedigree suggests he comes with a high floor.

The Bengals are listed with -140 odds to draft an OL first per DraftKings Sportsbook, followed by DL/EDGE (+400), and then CB (+600). They have already re-signed guard Cody Ford to a one-year extension. And the Bengals are prepared for whatever happens in the draft by signing OT Trent Brown as another RT option.

Tee Higgins has been hit with the franchise tag which he expects to play under. But Tyler Boyd remains unsigned. The Bengals drafted two WRs last season, so they were prepared for the WR room to look different. Still, if they don’t believe either Andrei Iosivas or Charlie Jones can step into a full-time role, they will likely add another WR – probably by ways of the NFL Draft, given the cost versus WRs in free agency. They also brought back veteran, Trenton Irwin.

Tight end is another glaring need, with last year’s main contributors all hitting free agency.

Mike Gesicki signed with the Bengals. With the team done with Boyd, Gesicki could become a full-time slot player in that high-powered offense. Alas, Gesicko mode did not last very long with the Bengals. Cincy re-signed Tanner Hudson, who was a hyper-target machine at times last season. From Week 9 onward, Hudson posted an elite 26% target rate per route run. Hudson was PFF’s 13th-highest-graded tight end in 2023, ranking 9th in yards per route run.

The Bengals and Patriots opened the free-agent period as the only two teams with no tight ends currently on the roster. Cincy eventually re-signed blocking tight end, Drew Sample, to a three-year extension. Went from zero to three TEs on the roster.

Running back was also addressed as Joe Mixon was traded to the Texans. The team opted to sign Zack Moss as a two-down grinder replacement for Mixon. Even after Jonathan Taylor returned from injury, Moss was still used in some capacity, given how well he performed in relief as the starter. I’d be concerned about him winning out a backfield competition – something he has never done – so don’t be overly bullish should he fly up the RB rankings on “projected workload” alone. Chase Brown flashed in a limited capacity last season.

On defense, they need more depth on the interior defensive line. After D.J. Reader went down last season, the Bengals’ defense crumbled. B.J. Hill is their next-best interior defender, and he will be an FA in 2025. They signed DT Sheldon Rankins to a 2-year, $26 million contract as Reader left in free agency to the Lions.

Trey Hendrickson will also be an FA in 2025 after generating 20 sacks. The Bengals drafted edge rusher Myles Murphy in the 1st round last season.

As for the Bengals secondary, everybody is back from last season. Mike Hilton will reprise his role as the highest-graded CB from the slot, but he will be in FA in 2025.

Chidobe Awuzie left in FA for the Titans, putting Cam Taylor-Britt and D.J. Turner into projected starting roles. Taylor-Britt improved in his second season, generating a 67.6 passer rating when targeted. Turner struggled at times as a rookie, but that’s par for the course with a rookie CB. Don’t expect the Bengals to do anything too crazy with secondary pieces. They signed safety Geno Stone and Vonn Bell for cheap after cutting Nick Scott. Scott signed with the Panthers.

I feel very strongly about the Bengals rebounding in a big way in 2024. They should benefit from better injury luck, and their favorable salary cap situation suggests they can push their chips in on the 2024 season before they are slammed with cap hits from Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase.

I wrote more about it in my way-too-early 2024 NFL Futures article for BettingPros. Buy the Bengals.
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Cleveland Browns

Team Needs: OL, WR, DL, RB

The Browns don’t have a 1st-round pick or a favorable salary cap situation, thanks to Deshaun Watson. Their 2024 season will ultimately come down to Watson delivering on his lofty expectations, which has still not happened two years in. They brought in Jameis Winston as the backup on a 1 year, $4 million deal. They also signed Tyler Huntley to bolster the depth behind Watson. The Browns are not going to let QB injuries dictate their 2024 season as it did in 2023.

Watson’s supporting cast is still solid on offense, although some areas could use some fine-tuning with a plethora of guys hitting the final years of their contracts.

OL was decimated by injuries in 2024, so there’s a need for additional depth. Jedrick Wills is in the final year of his rookie deal, while his LT backup – Geron Christian – is a 2024 free agent.

But the fact that they hit on Dawand Jones in last year’s draft – the highest-graded rookie pass-blocker – makes tackle less of a priority. The team also drafted Luke Wypler as a guard in the 6th round of last year’s draft.

And although it doesn’t appear like an initial need on the surface, WR will be addressed by the Browns. That’s because Amari Cooper and Elijah Moore are both 2025 free agents. It was smart for them to take a low-cost flier by trading for Jerry Jeudy, and then extending him. They also drafted Cedric Tillman last season.

RB Nick Chubb – coming off a season-ending knee injury – will also be an FA in 2025. Very possible this is his final year as a Brown after he restructured his contract. There have been rumors he could also be released before this season to save money against the salary cap. The only other RB the Browns added was pass-catcher Nyheim Hines.

Given the salary cap restrictions on Cleveland, they will have to be savvy in signing low-cost veterans while adding depth in the NFL Draft. They signed D’onta Foreman off the street.

However, RB specifically, I’d bet the Browns are fine going right back to Pierre Strong Jr. and Jerome Ford while Chubb comes back from injury.

Free agent Kareem Hunt was signed off the coach by the Browns after the team lost Chubb. Hunt was productive in terms of TDs, but not as a rusher or receiver in any capacity. He was dead last in yards after contact per attempt, with nine forced missed tackles on 143 carries (6%). The soon-to-be 29-year-old doesn’t have the juice he once had.

I’d expect the team to move on from Hunt – and his ELEVEN TDs – with Chubb returning and younger guys like Ford/Strong Jr. on the roster. Hunt and Ford COMBINED for 20 TDs scored for the Browns in 2023.

On defense, DL and LB highlight the major needs. The Browns could easily regress on defense after a record-breaking year, given the sheer volume of key defensive contributions they will lose in FA like linebackers, Anthony Walker Jr. (Dolphins) and Sione Takitaki (Patriots).

Shelby Harris re-signed for two years. Za’Darius Smith and Maurice Hurst are also back. The Browns tried to get ahead of the roster reckoning by drafting DT Siaki Ika and Isaiah McGuire, but neither did much as a rookie to suggest they could be as productive as the guys playing ahead of them did in 2024.

Off-ball linebacker is a top need with the Browns retaining the majority of the DL from 2023. Although, they did add Devin Bush and Jordan Hicks are plug-ins.

The Browns did a great job of retaining their key defensive players to prevent taking a massive step backward on defense. It’s a strong accomplishment, given the lack of picks and salary cap space. They also have just two picks in the first four rounds.
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Dallas Cowboys

Team Needs: OT, IOL, RB, CB, WR, DT, S, LB

Offensive tackle is a glaring issue for Big D. 33-year-old Tyron Smith signed with the Jets in free agency. Terence Steele is penciled in as the other starting tackle, but he finished as a bottom-15 pass blocker in 2023. He allowed more QB hits than any other tackle.

Dallas could also go the “sexy” route in the NFL Draft and give Dak Prescott another WR weapon. WR is still a major area of need, given that there’s virtually no reliable depth behind CeeDee Lamb. Brandin Cooks is entering the last year of his deal. Michael Gallup has not been the same since his knee injury and has been released as a salary cap casualty. Jalen Tolbert has shown nothing two years into his NFL career. Martavis Bryant?

Still, I think they might make a “boring” selection with an OT like Jordan Morgan, a three-year starter at Arizona State with 2,400 snaps under his belt as a left tackle.

Or they could also lean on second-year tackle Asim Richards, last year’s 5th-rounder. He did not play as a rookie. But don’t be surprised if he’s in the offensive line rotation in 2024 and beyond.

The Cowboys are listed with -150 odds to draft an OL first per DraftKings Sportsbook, followed by DL/EDGE (+300), and then WR (+400).

Last year’s starting center, Tyler Biadasz, is now in Washington with the Commanders. OG Zack Martin is an FA at the end of the season, entering at age 34. Hence, the need for IOL.

But it’s not nearly as dire as the CB position. Trevon Diggs is returning from a torn ACL injury. Stephon Gilmore is still a free agent. Jourdan Lewis was re-signed to a one-year contract. Lewis was the primary nickel back and is coming off a horrible season covering from the slot.

Plugging up the interior defensive line also needs to be at the forefront of Dallas’ offseason plans. They were exposed at times versus the run in 2023. And two of their major interior disruptors are free agents between Johnathan Hankins and Neville Gallimore. Gallimore signed with the Dolphins. Hankins signed with the Seahawks.

DeMarcus Lawrence was one of their top run defenders in addition to his pass-rushing, but he’s in the final year of his contract.

Former first-round pick Mazi Smith figures to take on a bigger role in Year 2. But he struggled as a rookie – the 7th-worst graded run defender per PFF in 2023.

Dallas also drafted LB DeMarvion Overshown highly last year, and he will be relied on heavily, given their thinness at linebacker. Leighton Vander Esch was entering the last year of his deal before he was released upon his announcement to retire from football entirely. He will be replaced by LB Eric Kendricks. However worth noting that no team is spending less at linebacker than the Cowboys.

RB is also a major hole after Tony Pollard signed with the Titans. Rico Dowdle was re-signed, making him and Deuce Vaughn the only healthy RBs on the roster (Malik Davis and Snoop Conner were on IR). Dallas is the prime remaining landing spot for the current remaining RB FAs and for the 2024 rookie RB draft class. They added Royce Freeman as another RB warm body, but they will surely add a rookie to the RB room.

On defense, they need to replace safety Jayron Kearse. Horrible coverage safety this past season and will likely not be brought back as a free agent.

The big picture with the Dallas Cowboys is that they cannot afford to spend big this offseason, given that Dak Prescott, Micah Parsons, and Lamb are ready for new contracts. As a result, they did not make much of any noise during the free agency period. Again, Dallas is another team that could regress in 2024 based on the sheer volume of turnover.
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Denver Broncos

Team Needs: QB, WR, OL, DL, CB, S, LB

Russell Wilson is gone in Denver slating the team to select its next signal-caller of the future with the 12th overall pick or in free agency (or both). This team is tied to Sean Payton, and he will undoubtedly have the final say when it comes to selecting his future QB over GM George Paton. And he will likely do whatever it takes to get his guy. Bo Nix is rumored to be viewed very highly by Payton. In an ideal world, the Broncos trade back to collect picks and scoop up a quarterback later in Round 1 or early in Round 2, similar to what we have seen in recent years with Will Levis, Jordan Love, Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson and Drew Lock.

But when it comes to the complete overhaul of the roster, the Broncos don’t have many assets to work with from both a financial salary cap and draft picks standpoint. No 2nd-round picks this year. If they go all out to draft a QB by trading up or splurging on an FA QB, it’s going to come at a big expense to the remainder of the roster.

Aside from a different QB, this roster might not be too different, aside from the losses of their own FAs. There are hardly any household names on the Denver FA list.

Tim Patrick and Lill’Jordan Humphrey will return but Jerry Jeudy was traded to Cleveland for a 2024 5th round pick (#135) and a 2024 6th round pick (#202). A Full breakdown of the trade can be found here. In a corresponding move, WR Josh Reynolds signed a two-year deal with the Denver Broncos.

The Broncos may have to get a new center with Lloyd Cushenberry leaving in free agency for the Titans.

Tackle Garrett Bolles is in the final year of his deal with backup LT Cam Fleming already a FA.

The linebacker room might need some fine-tuning, given how bad rookie Drew Sanders was in Year 1. Last year’s third-rounder was the second-lowest graded rookie defender per PFF in 2023.

They are losing two starting CBs to free agency, and Damarri Mathis is horrible – 2nd-worst coverage grade per PFF in 2023.

Ja’Quan McMillian is an okay slot starter, but the Broncos hardly have any answers outside of Pat Surtain II. Riley Moss was their third-rounder whom they traded up to select last season, and he had a delayed rookie campaign due to a core muscle injury. It’s very possible that Denver skips CB and hopes Moss can develop in Year 2 with a healthy offseason. That would keep McMillan slotted inside, with Moss/Surtain operating on the perimeter.

They signed CB Levi Wallace the week of the NFL Draft.

Worth noting that safety Justin Simmons is also in the final year of his deal. He has been since released as the Broncos look to mitigate their salary cap situation. They signed safety Brandon Jones and P.J. Locke.

Tight end Adam Trautman‘s return also puts a damper on the Greg Dulcich TE1 conversation after he missed the entire 2023 season.

Josey Jewell is a do-it-all linebacker, so his loss to the Panthers will be felt tremendously. However, given how well Baron Browning played for them last season – the highest-graded defender per PFF on Denver – that could be curtains on Jewell’s tenure in Mile High.

On the defensive line, Denver needs more pass rush after finishing with the 4th-worst pressure rate in 2023. Their defense was also atrocious against the run – see 70-burger in Miami – and IDL Mike Purcell is a free agent. Fellow IDL D.J. Jones will be a free agent in 2025.

The new QB will headline Denver’s 2024 offseason, but it will be undoubtedly accompanied by an overall worse roster. FantasyPros own Same Hoppen said it best, with Denver having just six picks, things will most likely get worse before they get better. Jarrett Stidham is currently viewed as the team’s starting QB.

The team also acquired first-round bust QB Zach Wilson from the Jets for a late-pick swap.

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Detroit Lions

Team Needs: DL, CB, WR, OL

The Lions’ Achilles heel on defense showed up at the worst time in 2023, with their secondary getting shredded by opposing offenses. Kindle Vildor (re-signed) and Will Harris are free agents. CB Cameron Sutton has been designated as a post-June 1st release. No cornerback played more snaps on defense last season than Sutton…

The team did re-sign Emmanuel Moseley to a one-year deal. They also traded for Carlton Davis from Tampa Bay and signed Amik Robertson as another CB starter in free agency. They revamped their secondary in free agency, making it less likely they draft a CB. And there’s no better way to accompany an improved secondary than with a strong pass rusher opposite the up-and-coming superstar, Aidan Hutchinson.

However, the Lions are still listed with +110 odds to draft a CB first per DraftKings Sportsbook, followed by OL (+200), and then DL (+300).

Two-pass rushers from last season that were both FAs: Jalen Reeves-Maybin (re-signed) and Romeo Okwara. Also, they added DE Marcus Davenport after he got hurt last season.

They bolstered the run defense though, with a massive addition of DT D.J. Reader.

Offensively, the Lions look like sure-fire bets to add a WR. Josh Reynolds signed a two-year deal with the Denver Broncos. Donovan Peoples-Jones re-signed for 1-year.

And I don’t think the Lions can’t risk going ALL-IN on Jameson Williams in Year 3. Williams has had a tumultuous two years in the NFL. His rookie year was lost because of a torn ACL, and 2023 started slow because of a suspension. When he’s been on the field, he’s teased big-play upside with a lot of inconsistencies and injuries. Entering Year 3, the former first-rounder will likely be viewed as a logical breakout candidate. After all, the WR2 job should be all his with Reynolds gone in free agency. But Jamo’s hardly without his warts, with just a 10% target share earned, 15% target rate per route run, and 6.4 fantasy points per game scored in 2023 (WR66, same as Reynolds).

Williams might be overrated heading into 2024 because of his draft capital. But everything he showed in his second season suggests he still has a long way to go, especially as the “at best” third or fourth receiving option on the Lions.

At the combine, HC Dan Campbell praised Williams’s growth in 2023 but claimed he’s going to “push” for a full-time starting job. It’s Year 3 and we don’t even have a full role locked in for Williams? Good grief.

Detroit also may need to overhaul the interior OL, as they could lose two starters. Halapoulivaati Vaitai is a FA alongside the bigger name, Jonah Jackson (now with the Rams). Dan Skipper is another IOL depth piece they could lose in FA, but they were able to bring him back for one more season. They have in-house options between Skipper and Kayode Awosika that could plug in the LG spot vacated by Jackson. Awosika – a former Eagles OL piece – could be a diamond in the rough. He played 7 games last season after Jackson got hurt. They also added Kevin Zeitler, formerly of the Ravens/Giants.

Still, both of their starting tackles are also due for new contracts at the end of 2024, as is Amon-Ra St. Brown. Also, some of their DTs are in the final year of their contracts in 2024.

Given all the CB additions the Lions made in free agency along with an in-house guard option on the OL, I think the best value for betting the Lions is still for them to take a DL/Edge player at +300. I made this bet before free agency in my 2024 NFL Draft Prop Bet Card, and feel great doubling down based on Detroit’s moves during free agency. They’ve met with several EDGE/DT prospects that project to be picked at the end of Round 1.

Given their positive salary cap status, I am not surprised to see the Lions keep most of their core guys intact while making one or two splash FA signing in hopes of getting back to the NFC Championship Game. Detroit has gone from being a team that had to overpay for free agents to a franchise that FAs will WANT to play for. With Ben Johnson back as the OC, the Lions have a strong shot as any team to get back to the NFC Championship Game with a few key additions this offseason. In Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell, we trust. They each got contract extensions for a reason.
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Green Bay Packers

Team Needs: OL, CB

I’d envision the Packers either going IOL or CB with decent draft capital. Green Bay has also drafted a center/interior offensive lineman in four of the last five drafts – two of which have been selected inside the top 65. After foregoing IOL in 2023, look for the Pack to add more big bodies to bolster the inside of the line. Especially given their surplus of selections on Day 2 of the draft.

Jon Runyan was the only OL projected to start who is no longer on the team. He is now in New York (Giants). But they do have Sean Rhyan in-house as a potential plug-in option. Although he struggled in action as the team’s starting RG last season. Center Josh Myers is in the final year of his contract.

The elephant in the room entering free agency was the availability of All-Pro tackle David Bakhtiari. He’s 33, entering the last year of his deal…coming off a season-ending knee injury. The Packers cut him, clearing nearly $21M worth of cap space. If given the chance, the Packers should look hard at finding a new franchise left tackle. They have the draft capital to do so.

The Packers are listed with +130 odds to draft an OL first per DraftKings Sportsbook. The other odds are DL/EDGE (+400), and then CB as the slight favorite (+125).

Cornerback is a big issue, given that all the ones that played last year besides Jaire Alexander weren’t very good or were injured. Eric Stokes is going on the final year of his rookie deal after missing most of the 2023 season with injuries. Keisean Nixon was last year’s starting slot CB and re-signed for a 3-year deal worth $18 million. CB Corey Ballentine will also return on a one-year deal.

The two DBs they drafted late last season in Round 7 – Carrington Valentine and Anthony Johnson Jr. – shockingly didn’t pan out.

Also, both of the team’s starting safeties from last season are FAs. They signed safety Xavier McKinney to a four-year contract worth $67 million. GB has no immediate needs at the secondary positions.

On the offensive skill side of the ball, it’s difficult to view Green Bay needing anything super substantial. The young nucleus of super young players sets them up so well for the future. RB was the only position they needed to add to realistically, given Aaron Jones‘ age/injury history entering a contract year. However, the Packers addressed the backfield differently, opting to sign Josh Jacobs in free agency and cut Jones. More on the Jacobs to Green Bay signing here.

A.J. Dillon is returning as well on a cheap team-friendly one-year deal. Any offensive pieces selected in the draft should be centered around the offensive line.
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Houston Texans

Team Needs: CB, OT, DL, WR

Houston entered free agency with needs ranging from OT, DT, DE, and CB, with so many impending free agents on the roster. Their “needs” have changed since the free agency wave hit.

They also don’t have a 1st-round pick anymore after making a trade with the Minnesota Vikings: Minnesota acquired a 2024 1st-round pick (#23) and a 2024 7th-round pick (#232). Houston acquired a 2024 2nd round pick (#42), 2024 6th round pick (#188) and a 2025 2nd round pick.

For starters, they brought back CB Desmond King and Kris Boyd on a one-year deals. CBs Lonnie Johnson Jr., Jeff Okudah and Michael Ford were all signed during the FA period. Johnson wasn’t great in his final year in New Orleans (12 games, 1 AV).

Denico Autry and Danielle Hunter (2 years, $49 million) were both signed across the DL as was a linebacker, Azeez Al-Shaair (three years, $54 million). He’s going to get a ton of tackle work in the box. Top-10 in tackles last season. They traded Maliek Collins to the 49ers. In the second week of free agency, they added Mario Edwards.

WR Noah Brown will return. Safety Eric Murray is also returning.

GM Nick Caserio loves drafting guys from Alabama, so that’s always something to keep in mind. That, and guys that test well in the three-cone drill.

In addition to the tackle position, WR/RB/TE are all areas that Houston would be wise to improve on, with starters like Devin Singletary and Dalton Schultz from last season on expired deals. The team re-signed Schultz to a three-year deal. Singletary signed elsewhere with the Giants. He was replaced by former Bengals RB, Joe Mixon.

The team made the blockbuster trade of the offseason with the acquisition of Stefon Diggs from Buffalo, but it’s only a one-year deal. Given Caserio’s track record of drafting WRs – I’d still expect another WR to be drafted by Houston.

I could also see them going with more OL depth after they got decimated by injuries. The OL unit underwhelmed as a whole – Tytus Howard‘s career low passing grade, Kenyon Green missed the entire season – so I wouldn’t rule out any additional assets invested to protect franchise QB C.J. Stroud.

I don’t think they will draft another center, as Juice Scruggs was drafted to be the center of the future in the 3rd round of last year’s draft. Injuries forced him to play left guard.

On the defensive side of the ball, the area of weakness for Houston is their pass defense after they finished second-best in run defense DVOA. Acquiring another top-tier CB across from Derek Stingley would be ideal.

After all the moves Houston made I think the DL/EDGE spot is solid, but CB is still a bit of a sore spot. I like the longshot +425 odds of them drafting a CB with their first pick in the NFL Draft per DraftKings Sportsbook.

And OL depth can never hurt, even if they have their starting five locked in. They added David Sharpe from the Panthers in free agency, but he couldn’t crack the Panthers’ starting lineup last season. Woof.
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Indianapolis Colts

Team Needs: CB, DL, TE, WR

The Colts’ best cornerback, Kenny Moore was re-signed for a 3-year 30 million contract.

Still, they need to shore up the remaining back end after selecting two CBs later in the draft last season. They are 30th in spending on defensive backs.

Indianapolis has a track record – no pun intended – of selecting athletic players with ideal size and speed. Per DraftKings Sportsbook, the Colts have the shortest odds to draft a CB (+125), followed by a tight end (+250) and then WR (+380).

After CB on defense, it’s pass rush efficiency that needs a major boost alongside rush defense on the DL. Grover Stewart will return after signing a three-year deal worth $39 million. It’s a big move as the Colts’ run defense took a major hit when he missed time last season. Raekwon Davis was another DL body added to shore up the Colts’ run defense.

DeForest Buckner signed an extension, but former first-rounder Kwity Paye is entering the final years of his contract. Tyquan Lewis signed a two-year deal worth $12 million. He was the team’s second-highest-graded pass rusher. Indianapolis cannot rest on its sack numbers (5th-most) as a reason to stay stagnant at pass rush. They boasted the 11th-lowest pressure rate in 2023.  If they don’t add any more pass rushers, they will need to get more from second-year player Adetomiwa Adebawore.

Safety needed to be addressed, so the team re-signed Julian Blackmon. He will join forces in the secondary with safety Ronnie Harrison. LB Zaire Franklin will also return on a three-year deal.

Offensively, I expected them to re-sign Michael Pittman Jr., so WR is not as important in my estimation as tight end is for the Colts offense. I was correct, as Pittman got the tag right before the deadline. The two parties agreed on a long-term 3-year deal, cementing Pittman in Indy for the long haul.

I initially loved Hunter Henry as a possibility for the Colts. Get this man reunited with Shane Steichen in Indianapolis from their days spent in San Diego. Third-year tight end Jelani Woods can’t be relied on after missing all of 2023, and the Colts don’t have another difference maker at tight end on the roster. That was so apparent last year when they would split tight-end snaps between three and even four tight ends at times. Mo Alie-Cox can be cut for a zero dead cap hit with a potential “out” in the final year of his 2024 contract. Henry could have Anthony Richardson with a big red-zone target, which is by far Henry’s biggest asset to an offense. But with Henry signing back to NE, we might see the Colts draft a tight end. Georgia tight end Brock Bowers could be an option at No.15 overall.

Across the OL, all the starters are expected back, with Ryan Kelly the lone starter on the last year of his deal. Rookie RT Blake Freeland struggled in action as a rookie, but he’s a nice depth piece with experience under his belt. No need to overly address the OL aside from depth with the strong core intact from 2023. Top-10 PFF pass and run blocking unit in 2023.

Other backup pieces were added on offense between RB Trey Sermon and QB Joe Flacco.
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Jacksonville Jaguars

Team Needs: CB, OT, WR

The Jaguars are in an interesting position in the NFL Draft with the 17th overall pick because the odds are in their favor that they can get a solid CB or tackle option to solve their team’s most obvious needs after a disastrous second half of the 2023 season. Four top 100 draft picks (as well as a projected 3rd-round compensatory draft pick coming their way).

Both their starting LGs from last season are free agents. Left tackles Cam Robinson and Walker Little will be FAs in 2025. Ezra Cleveland was signed to a three-year deal to be the stalworth and starting LG. This signing ensures that have a starting OL intact before the 2024 NFL Draft. They further bolstered the OL with center Mitch Morse, inking him to a two-year deal worth $10.5 million. Gives them more interior depth alongside Luke Fortner as a backup.

Two of the starting CBs – Tyson Campbell and Darious Williams will be FAs at the end of the season. The only CB they are losing this season is Tre Herndon, but he can be easily replaced in-house by Antonio Johnson (2nd-highest graded CB on the Jaguars last season). Williams didn’t make it to the end of his deal, getting released already. He signed with the Rams (where he started his career). He will be replaced by Ronald Darby among the veteran CBs.

Darby and Campbell are the two starting CBs.

They also signed safety Darnell Savage to a three-year contract, formerly of the Packers.

WR becomes a top priority if they can’t keep Calvin Ridley. Zay Jones will be an FA at the end of the year. The Jaguars didn’t wait to figure out Ridley’s plans, opting to sign Gabe Davis to a three-year $39 million deal. Real-life JAG becomes a Jacksonville JAG. They also added Devin Duvernay from the Ravens.

Josh Allen signed a monster extension, keeping the pass rush at a high level in DUVAL alongside Travon Walker. Allen alone helps make up for the potential losses of other FA edge rushers who played in Jacksonville last season. Still, they will need depth across the DL. They drafted Yasir Abdullah last season, who can probably fill the void vacated by someone like Dawuane Smoot. DL Arik Armstead signed with the Jaguars (former Trent Baalke draft pick connection).

Per DraftKings Sportsbook, the Jaguars have the shortest odds to draft a CB (+105), followed by WR (+200) and then OL (+450).
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Kansas City Chiefs

Team Needs: WR, CB, OL, RB, DL

I have to imagine that the KC Chiefs invest heavily in surrounding Patrick Mahomes with more weapons. With Rashee Rice entrenched as the possession receiver but facing a potential multi-game suspension, they have to add a rookie WR like Oregon’s Troy Franklin or Texas’ Xavier Worthy as another (and reliable) big-play threat to Mahomes’ arsenal. Note that they only signed Marquise Brown to a one-year deal worth $7 million. Marquez Valdes-Scantling is gone. Justin Watson and Kadarius Toney are all free agents at the end of the season. Mecole Hardman and Richie James are free agents this offseason.

The Chiefs are listed with -125 odds to draft a WR first per DraftKings Sportsbook, followed by OL (+175), DL/EDGE (+1300), and then CB (+400). The CB odds have shortened dramatically since I first bet this in my BettingPros featured piece: 2024 NFL Draft Prop Bet Card (+750).

Brett Veach drafted a defensive lineman in five of the last seven drafts in the top three rounds. Last year, the trend continued with the selection of defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah.

Elsewhere offensively, the offensive tackle might need some love. OT Donovan Smith is a free agent. They drafted Wayna Morris in the third round last year, but he hardly showed out as a rookie. Still, he could theoretically slide in as the starting LT in 2024 and beyond. Lucas Niang is another option in-house at tackle, but he is in the final year of his deal as well. Same for starting center Creed Humphrey.

Running back needs some depth behind Isiah Pacheco. Jerick McKinnon is a free agent, but Clyde Edwards-Helaire re-signed on a one-year deal. The same goes for tight end, with Travis Kelce not getting any younger. Irv Smith Jr. was added as tight end depth.

Chris Jones and L’Jarius Sneed were the Chiefs’ two most high-profile defensive FA agents entering free agency.  Jones signed a massive 5-year deal with the Chiefs before the free agency period. Given that KC has superior depth at CB, I’d bet they still could trade Sneed after franchise-tagging him. He is still a firm tag and trade candidate. The Colts and Titans are heavily rumored to be in on acquiring him.

My beliefs were confirmed to be true, with Sneed getting dealt to the Titans for a 2025 3rd-round pick and 2024 7th-round pick (#221). Sneed immediately signed a 4-year $76 million contract extension.

Across the DL, KC drafted Felix Anudike-Uzomah in the first round last season. DT Derrick Nnadi needs to be upgraded from badly – as one of PFF’s lowest-graded defenders the last two seasons. But like last season, he’s back on another super cheap deal. Charles Omenihu was fourth in pressures generated and will be a FA in 2025. Pass rusher Mike Danna returned on a three-year deal. Still, there’s room for more pass-rush juice unless the team expects a leap from Anudike-Uzomah.

Lastly, safety needs to be fine-tuned. Mike Edwards signed with Buffalo in free agency and Justin Reid will be one in 2025. However, the in-house options are strong between last year’s fourth-rounder Chamarri Conner and Bryan Cook. Conner was yet another hit that the Chiefs organization has made on a Day 3 secondary player. They also signed Deon Bush as a veteran safety piece.

Leo Chenal stepped up among the team’s linebackers as a 2022 third-round pick, making it less important for KC to be concerned about losing Drue Tranquill and/or Willie Gay. The Chiefs addressed the linebacker room early on during the FA period, by re-signing Tranquill to a three-year deal. Gay signed with the Saints.
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Las Vegas Raiders

Team Needs: QB, CB, OL

Aidan O’Connell flashed at times as a rookie, but he hardly has a vice grip on the QB1 job in Las Vegas. The team has discussed bringing in QB competition for him, and they will have to add at least another body, with Jimmy Garoppolo released to sign with the Rams. Jimmy G signed with the Rams They signed Gardner Minshew to a two-year deal, with enough compensation that gives him a legitimate chance to lock in the QB1 role.

Josh Jacobs left for the Packers in free agency. Looks like Zamir White is in the driver’s seat to be the RB1 for the Black Hole. Makes sense, given how well a much cheaper White played the last part of the season. The team also re-signed Ameer Abdullah. I’d keep tabs on a potential trade for Bears RB Khalil Herbert. He has ties to both Luke Getsy and assistant GM, Champ Kelly, both formerly of the Bears. The Raiders also brought in Alexander Mattison as another part of their backfield.

Hunter Renfrow was released to clear nearly $8M in cap space.

The OL has holes on the right side. The entire ride side of the OL was hitting FA, along with center Andre James. The team re-signed James to a three-year deal before FA started ($24 million).

Thayer Munford can probably kick over to one of the starting roles, but that won’t fill all the holes blocking upfront. D.J. Fluker was penciled in as the starting RG during the start of the offseason but was already released. He had not played an NFL game in two years…Ergo, they have a massive hole at guard. Ben Brown is the other option, but he has 8 snaps played in the last two seasons. Woof.

The Raiders recently signed Cody Whitehair – who spent the last five seasons with the Bears. He’s familiar with OC Luke Getsy and projects as the Day 1 starter at LG.

CB Jakorian Bennett struggled as a rookie, and they lost Amik Robertson as another CB starter in FA (signed with the Lions).

The Raiders also have some holes on their interior defensive line. They invested in defensive linemen highly in last year’s draft, but neither Tyree Wilson nor Byron Young showed much as rookies. So they splurged on the high-profile free agent: Christian Wilkins. 4 years and $110 million.

LV had the cap space to retain most of their own FAs (specifically in the trenches), but there’s likely to be one or two that slip through depending on how they approach the QB spot.

CB, IOL, and QB headline the team’s needs entering the NFL Draft. These align with the betting market’s views: +150 OL, +200 QB and +250 for a CB.

After the draft, the Raiders signed WR Jalen Guyton.
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Los Angeles Chargers

Team Needs: WR, CB, OL, DL, RB

It’s a new era in L.A. with Jim Harbaugh entrenched as the new head coach. They didn’t have much cap space at the start of free agency, but that was because they had a TON of bloated contract hits for 2024. They restructured contracts for Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack.

The WRs weren’t as lucky. Mike Williams was cut (signed with the Jets) and Keenan Allen was traded to the Bears for a 4th-round pick under new management.

The roster already looks extremely different from years prior, and I am here for it. LA needs a fresh coat of paint. And maybe a roster filled with fewer “superstar” names is the exact approach they need. They are given off strong vibes of “run the ball and play defense” not dissimilar to Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines and 49ers teams 10-plus years ago.

Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley are gone, making this backfield a prime spot for a rookie or high-end free-agent rusher. Gus Edwards landed here first, reuniting him with former Ravens OC, Greg Roman. 2 year $6.5 million contract should not dissuade them from adding more to the backfield. They added the former Raven, J.K. Dobbins later during the offseason

Tight end is also a need, with Gerald Everett in Chicago. The team signed Will Dissly to a three-year deal worth $14M and they also signed Hayden Hurst. But Harbaugh LOVES tight ends, so that may not stop them from adding another in the draft.

As I mentioned before, Williams has been released, making WR a top need. But it’s even more of a need given that Keenan Allen was traded to the Bears for a 4th-rounder. Josh Palmer is in the last year of his contract. Also, second-year WR Quentin Johnston? Yes, he’s already a bust.

Across the OL, the Chargers are returning all their starters. They were a horrible run-blocking unit in 2023 – last in PFF grading – which won’t fly under Harbaugh. Don’t be shocked to see this unit get shaken up with newer, improved talent.

Corey Linsley has been mulling retirement, making the center a positional need. Brenden Jaimes is a potential in-house option. Bradley Bozeman signed with LAC after being cut from the Panthers. Bozeman was very successful with the Ravens under Greg Roman. This is an upgrade.

Trey Pipkins III is the starting RT but finished in the bottom 10 in pressures allowed. There’s hardly any reason for the Chargers to forego drafting a top tackle in this year’s draft.

Defensively, edge rusher needs an injection of youth – given that Khalil Mack is in the final year of his deal, as is Morgan Fox. The Chargers did get a decent bit out of last year’s second-rounder, though, so don’t be overly aggressive in projecting them for a pass-rusher. Tuli Tuipulotu had 8 sacks as a rookie.

Interior DL is a larger need, given the long list of their FAs. Lastly in their secondary, they need help desperately after last year’s abysmal showing.

Asante Samuel Jr. is a lynchpin piece, but everybody else needs to go. Michael Davis (Commanders) and Essang Bassey are gone. Ja’Sir Taylor is a bad slot CB. This team cannot trot out Deane Leonard as a starter in 2024 as a former 2022 seventh-round pick.

They also needed another safety to line up opposite Derwin James, with Alohi Gilman as a free agent. He was one of the few bright spots on their defense in 2023. The Chargers wisely re-invested in Gilman, signing him to a two-year deal. He was PFF’s 7th-highest-graded safety in 2023.

They also recently released LB Eric Kendricks (signed with the Cowboys). He will be replaced by Denzel Perryman.

The first step 1 for the Chargers this offseason was to cut the guys blowing up their salary cap. They did that successfully, although it came at the expense of their QB’s weapons. Makes sense that the Chargers want to trade back in this draft, given all the needs they still need across the board ranging from RB, WR, OL, DL, and CB.
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Los Angeles Rams

Team Needs: DL, CB, WR, S

The Rams skated through last season with almost zero investment in their defense. No team had less money invested in their secondary than the Rams (or on defense overall). And that remains true even after the initial wave of 2024 free agency. Finishing 21st in pass defense DVOA with a no-name secondary unit is impressive, but there’s obvious room for growth – 32nd in PFF coverage grade.

I’d imagine they invest heavily in defensive backs in the NFL Draft. They have drafted more defensive backs in the first three rounds than any other position. In 2022, they drafted two cornerbacks and a safety with three of their first five selections. After completely foregoing any defensive back in last year’s draft, their draft strategy should normalize with secondary options.

In free agency, the only move they made was bringing back CB Darious Williams after his disappointing two-year stint in Jacksonville. They also signed Tre’Davious White to a one-year, $8.5 million deal with a max value up to $10 million. He tore his Achilles in Week 4 of the 2023 season. He has played 11, 6 and 4 games over the last 3 seasons while dealing with injuries.

Ahkello Witherspoon is a free agent, as are last year’s two starting safeties: John Johnson and Jordan Fuller.  Safety Kamren Curl (who led the Commanders in tackles in 2023) signed with the Rams (2 years).

After that, on defense, it’s the defensive line. Aaron Donald retired. Try as the Rams might the future HOFer cannot be replaced.

Bobby Brown is in the final year of his contract. Kobie Turner was a hit last season, and edge Byron Young contributed in a meaningful way. Michael Hoecht finished fourth on the team in snaps played and re-signed a one-year deal.

On the OL, tackle Joseph Noteboom is in the final year of his contract along with guard Coleman Shelton (signed with the Bears). Center Brian Allen was already released. Kevin Dotson was a free agent, but the Rams wisely re-signed him before he could hit the open market. He signed a 3-year $48 million contract extension. They also brought back RFA, Alaric Jackson.

So far though, they are taking the right steps by also signing Jonah Jackson at guard. 5 years and $51 million. A big loss for the Lions is a massive gain for LA.

Needless to say, offensive linemen were a top FA priority for the Rams after their unit performed well above expectations in 2023. They were a much better run-blocking team than the pass-blocking team. And the updated betting odds reflect the Rams’ strengths across their OL

The Rams are now listed with +550 odds to draft an OL first per DraftKings Sportsbook, preceded by CB (+125), and then DL/EDGE (+125). Elsewhere on the roster, only the Eagles were spending less financially at RB than the Rams before the 2024 free-agency period started.

I would expect another running back to join Kyren Williams in the Rams’ backfield. Should be noted that the team did re-sign RFA, Ronnie Rivers. Some coaching notes on the Rams that also deserve to be highlighted.  Former Bears/Falcons coach Dave Ragone was hired as the Rams QB coach. He’s worked closely with pass-catching specialist RBs like Cordarrelle Patterson and Tarik Cohen to solid success.

Same for WR and TE, given the recent injuries to Cooper Kupp and Tyler Higbee. Demarcus Robinson re-signed a one-year deal with the Rams, presumably as they did not want to run it back with Tutu Atwell as WR3.

For additional tight-end depth, the Rams signed Colby Parkinson to a three-year, $22.5 million deal including $15.5 million guaranteed.  Parkinson landed the biggest tight end deal with the Rams and could be in line for starting duties should Tyler Higbee start the season on PUP after tearing his ACL. The ex-Seahawk is only 25 years old after being drafted in the fourth round of the 2020 draft. With decent athleticism, he’s hardly the first tight end to be a fantasy producer on his second team at the professional level.

The Rams tight end role is very advantageous, given that Higbee finished the 2023 season with the 8th-highest routes run rate at 73%.

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Miami Dolphins

Team Needs: OL, DL, WR, CB, S

Miami could go in plenty of different directions with the 21st overall pick, with needs ranging from WR, OL or EDGE. But ultimately, I side with their OL as the No. 1 need. They have a boatload of interior guys hitting free agency, and the tackles have been inconsistent. Robert Hunt is gone. Brandon Shell is gone. Greg Little is gone.

Isaiah Wynn – shocker – is not the long-term answer, even though he re-signed with the team. Terron Armstead can’t stay healthy for a full season.

Liam Eichenberg was horrible again – PFF’s third-lowest graded center in 2023. Connor Williams is their top guy, but he’s still a FA coming off an injury.

The Dolphins added to their IOL with center Aaron Brewer, as their splashy offseason transaction. They also signed Jack Driscoll from the Eagles. Nice move by Miami after the initial free agency rush.

Per DraftKings Sportsbook, the Dolphins’ shortest odds are to select an OL with their first selection at -200, followed by DL/EDGE (+200). Then it’s a longshot for any other position. CB is +1800.

The current OL is a big concern, and they didn’t have any salary cap space to work with to mitigate the losses. They only have two draft picks inside the top 60. They are strong “trade-down” candidates.

The Tua Tagovailoa contract situation is also looming.

WR depth behind Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill should also be looked at. Waddle is playing in the last year of his rookie deal. They re-signed Braxton Berrios to a one-year deal.

Tight end – should Miami want one in their offense – also makes sense to upgrade after getting little production from the position a season ago. After he was released from the Falcons, Jonnu Smith inked a two-year deal with the Dolphins. 2 years worth $10 million. It’s not the worst landing spot for an overly athletic tight end who will be 29 in August. Given head coach Mike McDaniel’s ties to the 49ers with George Kittle, don’t completely knock at the Smith addition in South Beach.

On defense, Jaelan Phillips will also be up for a new contract at the end of the year. It comes at a really bad time with Miami’s DL missing guys like Andrew Van Dinkel (Vikings), Raekwon Davis (Colts) and Christian Wilkins (Raiders) all on new teams in 2024. To add legitimate insult to injury, Bradley Chubb‘s Week 17 torn ACL adds another wrinkle to the Dolphins’ pass rush woes into next season. The team also cut DE Emmanuel Ogbah to save close to $14M in cap space.

No team is spending less across the DL than the Miami Dolphins.

Miami’s trenches on both sides are decimated. Although they threw more bodies on the defensive side by signing DT Jonathan Harris, DE Da’Shawn Hand, DT Benito Jones, DT Neville Gallimore and OLB Shaq Barrett. Hand and Barrett are the only two that could be actual difference makers, so I don’t think the DL is finished from a drafting perspective. However, another late FA addition of DL Teair Tart – a big-bodied run-stuffer – suggests Miami is trying to fix it’s DL before the draft kicks off.

Their defensive back situation is also precarious. Safeties DeShon Elliott (Steelers) and Brandon Jones (Broncos) are both gone. Jevon Holland is in the last year of his deal. CB Keion Crossen was released.

Even with older CBs, I don’t think Miami will overly pursue the position. Cam Smith was a top draft pick last season and only played 5 games. They might “try” to get ahead of the potential downfall of Xavien Howard – but the dead cap hit is massive in 2024. He has since been released. Bring on the dead cap.

CB Kendall Fuller signed with the Dolphins They added Jordyn Brooks at linebacker. Jordan Poyer was slated to be FA in 2025, but Buffalo already cut ties with him. Poyer signed with Miami.

All in all, the Dolphins aren’t in great shape post-free agency and it will be tough to improve with just two draft picks in the top 150.
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Minnesota Vikings

Team Needs: QB, CB, DL, OL, WR

Minnesota acquired a 2024 1st-round pick (#23) and a 2024 7th-round pick (#232) in a trade with the Texans. Houston acquired a 2024 2nd round pick (#42), 2024 6th round pick (#188) and a 2025 2nd round pick. This is a likely move for the Vikings to build trade compensation to move further up in the NFL Draft to acquire one of the top rookie QBs after they failed to re-sign Kirk Cousins in free agency.

On defense, the Vikings generated PFF’s second-worst pass-rush grade in 2023 despite blitzing at the highest rate in the NFL (51.5%). Simply put, Brian Flores’ scheme is trying to make up for the lack of sheer talent across the barren defensive line. They need to address the glaring issue by investing in a premier pass rusher.

Harrison Phillips is a 2025 free agent and Dean Lowy was released (signed with Pittsburgh). To make matters worse, they had four other 2024 free agents on the DL. D.J. Wonnum played over 800 snaps on the Vikings’ DL last season and signed with the Panthers. Therefore, Minnesota made a splashy FA signing with DL Jonathan Greenard, who signed a 4 year $76 million contract with Minnesota. They also signed Andrew Van Ginkel from the Dolphins.

As I have learned studying the tendencies from Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s drafts as GM include his willingness to have no fear of targeting players that come with injury red flags at a suppressed price. He also apparently loves PFF, so it is something to keep in the back of your mind as we link certain players to the Vikings in the 2024 NFL Draft. He also knows the value of quantity over quality when it comes to the NFL Draft, which I envision him taking advantage of with only two picks inside the top 100 selections. They might draft one player (QB) in the first 100 picks (they have pick 108) before it’s all said and done.

At CB, Byron Murphy is entering the last year of his contract. They drafted two CBs last season, with Mekhi Blackmon playing well enough to be a feasible piece in 2024. Still, Andrew Booth Jr. has barely played over the last 2 seasons. Akayleb Evans should not be viewed as a legitimate stater after finishing as the team’s worst CB in 2023.

The Vikings really could use an improved slot CB/S considering both Murphy and Josh Metellus were bad defending the inside in 2023.

LB Jordan Hicks signed with the Browns, so they might need a new primary off-ball LB. I would imagine they roll the dice on Ivan Pace Jr., who exceeded expectations as an undrafted free agent last season. But Pace might not be enough with Anthony Barr and Troy Dye (Chargers) gone. They signed LB Blake Cashman to a three-year deal.

Back on offense, the most pressing need is QB. That and the Justin Jefferson extension. The Vikings’ inability to retain Cousins landed them Sam Darnold on a one-year deal worth $10 million.

Give credit Darnold for providing a spark to a lifeless Carolina Panthers offense over the team’s last five games during the 2022 season. The former first-round selection tied a bow that season, averaging 18.1 fantasy points per game as the QB13 from Weeks 12-17. Overall, his 8.2 yards per attempt marked a career-high. Darnold is far from elite, but among the former first-round castoff QBs available on the market, he’s probably the best option in the short-term/long-term. He will only be 27 by the time the season starts, so perhaps the story with him as NFL quarterback isn’t finished. If he’s in a favorable system, he can be an average QB for fantasy purposes.

LT Christian Darrisaw needs to get signed long-term as well. All of the backup tackles and guards in Minnesota are FAs. Last year’s starting RG Dalton Risner is still a FA. They re-signed Blake Brendel to a three-year deal to be the team’s starting guard in 2024.

As a result of the QB downgrade, the offense will likely not be as productive, hurting the likes of WRs Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison, etc.

WR3 also might need to be upgraded with slot WR K.J. Osborn signing with the Patriots. Brandon Powell was brought back for cheap as was WR Trent Sherfield. This might be a bigger need than most would anticipate, given that the offense will likely miss T.J. Hockenson for some time to start the season after he tore his ACL late in 2023. Another tight end could make some sense. However, the team re-signed Johnny Mundt to a contract extension. Mundt could inherit the TE1 receiving role while Hockenson rehabs from a torn ACL injury. Mundt was productive in that starting tight end role in the last two weeks of the 2023 season, playing in 76% of the snaps while posting stat lines of 4-39-1 and 5-58-0 on 6.5 targets per game.

Alexander Mattison was released and signed with the Raiders. Ty Chandler RB1 szn lasted for a few weeks, but it didn’t last long with the Vikings adding Aaron Jones on a one-year deal less than 24 hours after his release from the Packers. As written in FantasyPros’ Aaron Jones Agrees to Deal With Vikings: Fantasy Football Impact & Takeaways (full article by Pat Fitzmaurice) Jones missed time with injuries in 2023, playing just 11 games. He was terrific for Green Bay down the stretch, closing out the regular season with three consecutive 100-yard rushing games, then rushing for more than 100 yards in each of the Packers’ two playoff games, including a 118-yard, three-TD performance in a win over the Cowboys. Should be noted that Dillon missed time during that period, and Jones may have greatly benefitted from “fresh legs.”

The headline with Jones landing in Minnesota is completely tied to his health, which is a real concern for the 29-year-old RB who will be 30 in December. There’s also no long-term commitment from his new team, so Minnesota can “churn and burn” as they please. Jones has never been a touch monster, so he has to win with efficiency. I for one am skeptical that an RB like Jones – the lowest rushing yards over expectation in his last four seasons in 2023 – will beat me in fantasy. Especially in an offense led by Sam Darnold or a rookie QB. I was “off” Jones last season, to success. He’s never been a true “featured” RB, specifically in the red zone. This rookie RB class has massive RBs. No need to change the script now. Fade Jones. 19% bust rate in 2022. 20% bust rate in 2023.

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New England Patriots

Team Needs: QB, LT, WR

The 3rd-overall pick is where the NFL Draft could get wild with the first two picks back-to-back QBs. With Eliot Wolf and Jerod Mayo coming in as the new Patriots GM/HC duo, this deprived roster could go in any direction. QB is the chalk pick (among the top names in the draft remaining), BPA on offense between WR/OL or trades down – all cannot be ruled out.

I rest in the camp that unless the Patriots LOVE the top QB with the third overall pick, they will go in a different direction between a receiver or tackle. If Belichick were still calling the shots – trading down would be the most logical outcome. But under the new regime, I think that’s less likely to happen in this year’s draft. But the Vikings might make them an option they cannot refuse.

Mac Jones was traded to the Jaguars for a sixth-round pick. End of an era. Any guesses on what the Patriots will do with the third overall pick?

The Patriots added Jacoby Brissett as a bridge QB for one year and $8 million. I don’t think it will impact their draft plans to select a QB. They need talent point blank, position scarcity withstanding.

Wolf’s tenure with the Cleveland Browns suggests that he is analytical-driven and that strongly points in the direction of the QB position. If that position hits, it’s the biggest win for the roster overall. If not a QB, then I’d presume it’s a trade-down scenario where they look to draft another QB either later in Round 1 or the start of Round 2.

They desperately need another tackle. Trent Brown was the best pass-blocker and he is a FA. The rest of their tackles were a disaster, with the strengths of the OL, primarily the interior, regarding run-blocking. It kills them that Mike Onwenu is also an FA. Luckily they were able to retain him on a 3-year $57 million deal. He will be their starting RT.

But other than Onwenu, they don’t have any starting left tackles on the roster. At least ones they should be confident in. Conor McDermott might be able to fill one spot, but he’s under contract for just one more year. They signed OT Chukwuma Okorafor from the Steelers as another potential plug-in. They also signed OT Calvin Anderson.

Ergo, they might have done “enough” during FA to move away from OL if they stick and pick at No. 3. Still, New England needs to get up to speed badly with a franchise LT after they hit IOL with depth in the last draft. The only IOL I could see them drafting is an early successor to center David Andrews, who is in the last year of his deal. Note that they do have center Jake Andrews on the roster, who they drafted in 2023.

On offense, it’s better to just say the only position they don’t need is RB. Feed Rhamondre Stevenson for a contract year till he throws up. And dear lord, get Jalen Reagor OFF THE FIELD. Antonio Gibson was brought in as the new RB2 and Reagor was re-signed for special teams. But at least they finally moved on from DeVante Parker.

The Patriots also re-signed Hunter Henry to a 3-year deal worth $27 million ($30 million max). Step 1 to building around a rookie QB is getting him a security blanket. Check. And as I projected in the FA tight end primer, Austin Hooper also signed with the Patriots. He played under new OC Alex Van Pelt with the Browns, who loves to utilize two tight ends sets in his offense. Still, don’t expect any to make much noise in fantasy unless he gets a boatload of volume. Hooper’s 81% catch rate ranked top-5 last season. Hooper’s top-6 fantasy finishes in Atlanta from 2018-2019 seem like a distant memory.

The Patriots re-signed Kendrick Bourne to a 3-year, $19.5 million contract. He will be 29 years old in 2024, coming off a Week 8 torn ACL injury. Before his injury, Bourne was the fantasy WR28 averaging 10.2 points per game in half-PPR (38th). Led the Patriots with a 19.4% target share with a 28% air yards share. Additionally, on offense, the Patriots signed ex-Vikings slot WR, K.J. Osborn, to a 1-year deal worth $4 million. Somewhat of a redundant asset to Demario Douglas and JuJu Smith-Schuster as slot WRs. Although last season, Osborn played more on the perimeter than he has done previously.

It’s crazy that a team that owned the third-worst record in the NFL boasted a top-10 defense in DVOA without its two best players for most of the season (Matt Judon, Christian Gonzalez). Judon is entering the last year of his contract.

Gonzalez was just one of the Patriots’ draft picks that “hit” last season, as they got notable contributions from Keion White and Demario Douglas. There’s bound to be some regression as the team (especially early on) without head coach Belichick, specifically if they lose safety Kyle Dugger. Dugger did get hit with the transition tag, which projects him to remain a Patriot. He signed a 4-year, $58 million extension on April 7th.

Other than Dugger, the defense will look pretty similar to the 2023 version. Slot CB Myles Bryant signed with the Texans. Note that they will get a fully healthy Marcus Jones will be back after he played two games last season. Don’t be shocked to see Bryant reunite with Flores in Minnesota as a free agent.

But looking ahead to 2025, they could lose guys like Jonathan Jones, Jabrill Peppers, Davon Godchaux and Christian Barmore.

Anfernee Jennings was a great run defender in 2023. The Patriots re-signed him to a three-year $12 million deal. They also brought back OLB Josh Uche to a one-year contract.

Look for them to draft a grizzly DT to get ahead of some losses while continuing to add more depth at CB, as they tend to often do. So far this offseason they have already released DT Lawrence Guy, S Adrian Phillips and CB J.C. Jackson as they look to LOAD UP during free agency. The big DT signing was Armon Watts from the Steelers who was PFF’s 11th-highest-graded run defender in 2023.

The Patriots should invest every single asset in the draft into the offensive side of the ball. QB, OT, WR etc.

The defense looks set with another perimeter CB likely the only addition they need to address. This DL was elite versus the run last season and looked primed to be a run-stuffing unit in 2024.
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New Orleans Saints

Team Needs: OL, WR, TE, QB, DL, CB

The Saints have had a bottom-10 PFF pass-blocking grade in back-to-back seasons. Trevor Penning has been a colossal bust as a former 2021 first-round pick. Andrus Peat (also declining), Cameron Erving is gone. James Hurst took a pay cut to stay with the Saints. Ryan Ramczyk might not be ready for the 2024 season given the state of his rehabbing knee injury.

New Orleans should get back to the basics with an offensive tackle at the top of the draft.

Elsewhere on offense…

Michael Thomas has been designated as a Post June 1st cut. Juwan Johnson is also in the last year of his deal. WR/TE might not be obvious offensive needs, but the Saints could invest in these positions. They signed Cedrick Wilson to a two-year deal.

Overall, the Saints didn’t have a ton of free agents – hence their lack of salary cap space – so the roster doesn’t project to look much better heading into 2024.

Derek Carr did enough in the second half of last season to keep the starting job in 2024. But after the 2024 season, his dead cap falls to $17 million versus his $45 million salary cap hit. If he underwhelms in 2024, he could be on the way out of New Orleans. Ergo, I would not rule out the Saints adding a QB in this year’s draft class under new OC Klint Kubiak.

They didn’t add any QBs in free agency with Carr entrenched as the starter (aside from Nathan Peterman) so I think these odds will only improve that the Saints take a rookie passer, given that the Vikings, Raiders, Patriots, Broncos are in the market most for the QB position currently.  The fact that the Saints don’t have many “needs” per se makes them a strong candidate, in my estimates, to go QB if they cannot draft a premier OT or edge rusher as their two main needs.

Per DraftKings Sportsbook, the Saints are -135 to draft an OL player, followed by DL/EDGE at +165. QB is a distant 3rd at +1100. Bo Nix is listed at 15-to-1 odds to be drafted by the Saints, while Michael Penix Jr. is listed at 25-to-1 odds (BetMGM) as of March 18th.

New Orleans’ defense also posted a bottom-five pressure rate in 2023. They need edge rush presence after hitting defensive tackle selections in back-to-back in last year’s draft. Bryan Bresee was a non-factor in Year 1, whereas Isaiah Foskey made a larger impact from the get-go.

Their biggest FA splash came in the form of Chase Young, who signed a one-year deal worth $13 million.

At linebacker, the only FA is Zack Baun. He signed with the Eagles. Pete Warner and Demario Davis will see their contract ends in 2025. Davis signed a new two-year deal. They also signed Willie Gay. Same with safety, with expiring deals for both Marcus Maye and Tyrann Mathieu. The Saints re-did Mathieu’s deal with a two-year contract extension. But they cut Maye.

The cornerback position is in decent shape, but the injuries for Marshon Lattimore have to be concerning. Isaac Yiadom signed with the 49ers after his best season to date with the Saints. Paulson Adebo is a strong young starter, but will also see his contract expire at the end of the season. If anything, the Saints need a new Nickelback to replace Alontae Taylor, as no CB allowed more catches or yards per game from the slot than the former 2022 2nd-round pick.

Given all the money NO is spending, the roster is hardly represented by financial investment, with crucial holes on the offensive and defensive lines. And a team can only go so far with Carr who has already restricted his contract to create cap room (approximately $23 million). The Saints are already hard at work restructuring contracts to free up salary cap space ie. Carr, Nathan Shepard, Cesar Ruiz, Carl Granderson, Cameron Jordan and Erik McCoy.

Simply put, there’s a reason why HC Dennis Allen has the shortest odds of being the first coach fired during the 2024 season.

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New York Giants

Team Needs: WR, OT, IOL, CB, S, TE, QB

Evan Neal was horrible in 2023, grading out as PFF’s 3rd-worst tackle in 7 games played. Two years in, and the former 7th overall selection in the 2022 Draft has been a colossal bust. The Giants offensive line was horrible overall in 2023, with the league’s second-worst pass-blocking grade. So yet again, OL is at the top of the board for the Giants. Both of their starting guards from last season are also FAs. Mark Glowinski has already been released with him previously scheduled to hit FA in 2025.

They signed Jermaine Elumunor as a potential RT replacement. 2 years and $14 million. Guard Aaron Stinne also signed with the Giants. New York also signed Austin Schlottmann and Jon Runyan to a 3-year $30 million contract.

The Giants have made “enough” OL improvements to potentially skip on an OT prospect at the top of the draft. Eluemunor was better than Neal at RT last season, so they can justify going WR over OL in the draft if that’s the decision.

New York was connected to several of last year’s top WRs throughout the draft process but ultimately went the defensive route in Round 1 with Deonte Banks. They drafted Jalin Hyatt in Round 3, but that will not dissuade them from doubling down on an obvious area of weakness in one of the strongest WR classes in recent years. The Giants finished 32nd in total PFF receiving grade in 2023. Darius Slayton will be an FA at the end of the season.

The only WR FA move they made was signing Isaiah McKenzie. They also brought back Isaiah Hodgins.

RB was also addressed in free agency after they made no offer to keep Saquon Barkley. They drafted Eric Gray last season and replaced Barkley with Devin Singletary, who played with Brian Daboll in Buffalo.

On defense, it starts with edge rushers. They are going to lose guys Azzez Ojulari and Carlos Basham Jr. to FA potentially in 2025. However, it’s not an immediate need given they made a splashy trade by acquiring DE Brian Burns from the Panthers for a 2nd and 5th-rounders.

Next, it’s CBs. This is much more of an immediate need than an edge rusher. Adoree Jackson is a free agent, and Banks didn’t deliver as a first-round pick last year. They got some production out of RFA Nick McCloud, but it remains to be seen if they can rely on him in a full-time role in 2024 and beyond. McCloud will return after being tenured. But they also signed Jalen Mills from the Patriots. He’s bad folks.

Xavier McKinney was one of the few bright spots on defense last year at safety, and he is an FA that the Giants were not able to keep. Like Barkley, he left and signed with the Packers.

The team has Daniel Jones under contract with an out in his contract in 2025. Should they be feeling “buyer’s remorse” they might draft a new QB with three picks inside the top 50. The Jones’ contract has them in a bind for 2024. They signed Drew Lock in free agency, and it’s been reported he wanted to go to New York because he would be able to ‘compete’ for the starting job.

The tight end position also might need to add talent, with Darren Waller mulling retirement. The Giants may have seen this coming, given they signed Chris Manhertz and Jack Stoll during the free-agency period. Currently, 3rd-year tight end, Daniel Bellinger, is slated as the team’s TE1.

The sportsbooks recognize the Giants’ overwhelming need for WR with the odds at -150, followed closely by QB (+170). Although I like the odds present for OL, I am firmly in the camp that it will be a WR given that is what they have thrown the fewest resources at this offseason. New York is the 5th-lowest in WR spending. At QB, it’s 6th-highest (thanks to Daniel Jones) and OL ranks 13th.
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New York Jets

Team Needs: OT, WR, TE, CB

Two words. Offensive line. Whoever the top tackle remaining on the NFL Draft Board will inevitably be the Jets selection at No. 10 after they missed out on the top tier in last year’s class thanks to Bill Belichick. And this is even after they added during the free agency period with a few immediate band-aid fixes, as Aaron Rodgers isn’t getting any younger. 33-year-old tackle Tyron Smith signed with the Jets in free agency. 1-year and $6.5 million. The definition of a band-aid fix.

Interestingly enough, the Jets also traded for OT Morgan Moses (also 33 years old). Moses was traded from the Ravens after finishing last season as PFF’s 10th-highest-graded tackle. He figures to slide in at the starting RT position. He played with the Jets back in 2021.

Speaking of Rodgers, his age (40) and status coming off the torn Achilles injury make backup QB a position the Jets can’t afford to overlook in 2024. Tyrod Taylor is a great backup fit.

Still, rumor has it that GM Joe Douglas already has an affinity for the Oregon State tackle. This lines up with Douglas’ recent tendencies to draft players from Power Five schools. Taliese Fuaga was PFF’s second-highest graded tackle in 2023 lining up as the team’s starting right tackle the past two seasons.

Just how bad was the Jets’ O-Line last season? Alijah Vera-Tucker posted the highest PFF blocking grade in five games played. AVT is also entering the last year of his rookie deal (5th-year option withstanding).

Tackle Mekhi Becton (who is a free agent) was their highest-graded pass-blocker (60.7). He ranked outside the top 60 tackles. Essentially the worst starting-caliber tackle in the NFL last season.

OG Laken Tomlinson was released and signed with Seattle. Center Connor McGovern is also a free agent, but the Jets should be glad to move on. He was PFF’s 34th-graded center…out of 37 qualifiers. Expect 2023 second-rounder Joe Tippmann to be the starting center in 2024. They also signed IOL John Simpson from the Ravens.

Per DraftKings Sportsbook, the Jets’ betting odds to draft an OL with their first selection were listed at -145, followed by WR and DL/EDGE – before free agency. After the moves they made, the sportsbooks are throwing their hands up at what the Jets will do.

FanDuel has WR as the favorite at +150. DK/ESPN has WR/TE as split favorites. It’s +250 for them to draft OL. Do the books know that Tyron Smith’s next game might be his last? And that Moses is in the last year of his deal? WR depth is much more plentiful than OT in this draft. Unless Brock Bowers gets picked here, I am confident it will be OL over WR for Gang Green. Plenty of FA WRs left that New York could sign.

Case in point, Mike Williams was signed to a one-year deal worth $15 million, but he’s going to be 30 years old. It’s another band-aid fix that shouldn’t dramatically alter the Jets’ draft plans on a WR.

Still, I get WR as the favorite, given the lack of depth behind Garrett Wilson. We should expect to see more from Allen Lazard with Rodgers under center, but the former Packers’ disappointing Year 1 with Gang Green will surely have the organization looking for alternative options at pass-catcher. Lazard is also rumored to be on the trade block.

Jason Brownlee, Xavier Gipson and Charles Irvin are not No. 2 WRs or No. 3 WRs.

Tight end C.J. Uzomah was cut and signed with the Eagles. Tyler Conklin is entering the last years of his contract with the Jets. They have Jeremy Ruckert entering his third season on a rookie deal. But they also still have two youngish tight ends on the roster between Kenny Yeboah and Zack Kuntz.

So again, I understand the Bowers appeal. He is the betting favorite to be drafted by the Jets (+150). Best odds on FanDuel at +300.

Defense is the last thing that the Jets “need” to worry about, but there are a few areas that shouldn’t be overlooked after they add to the offense.

Both of the team’s starting safeties are free agents. CB D.J. Reed and CB Michael Carter are FAs at the end of the season. Moseley was re-signed to a two-year deal. They signed safety Chuck Clark and slot CB Isaiah Oliver.

Still, another cornerback investment in the draft makes sense as they get ahead of losses heading into 2025.

This season, the only big player on defense the Jets might lose is edge rusher Bryce Huff (Eagles) and his team-high 10 sacks. However, they have last year’s 1st-rounder, Will McDonald IV, waiting in the wings for an expanded role.  Javon Kinlaw will also reunite with Robert Saleh in the New York DL trenches as will DE Solomon Thomas. The Jets also traded for former Eagle Haason Reddick for a 2026 3rd-round pick (become a second Rd pick with 67.5% snaps + 10 sacks in 2024).

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Philadelphia Eagles

Team Needs: CB, OL, WR, LB, S

The Eagles’ defense regressed in a major way in 2023, especially at cornerback, with their veteran starters playing way past their prime. They desperately need to rehaul their secondary entirely between cornerback and safety.

Bradley Roby (32) is a free agent. They traded for safety Kevin Byard last season (who they just released), despite one more year in his deal. Slot cornerback Avonte Maddox was going to be released, but then he re-signed for a one-year deal. They signed Chauncey Gardner-Johnson to fill the void at safety. They drafted safety Syndey Brown last season in the 3rd round. They also drafted former Georgia CB Kelee Ringo, who turned it on down the stretch when the Eagles got hit with CB injuries.

But this team loves to invest high-end draft picks into their OL more than any other position. And when in doubt, the Eagles usually just draft a player from Georgia.

Amarius Mims was Georgia’s starting RT the last two seasons, although he missed time with injuries in 2023. But in the seven games he did play – he allowed just one pressure. The guy is an absolute mammoth, measuring 6-foot-7 at 340 pounds. Jason Kelce has retired, but the Eagles were ahead of this when they drafted Cam Jurgens and Tyler Steen in back-to-back drafts. Landon Dickerson was also entering the last year of his contract. but the Eagles are too keen on letting their OL pieces hit free agency. He signed a 4-year, $84 million extension.

The Eagles added additional depth across the OL with the signing of Matt Hennessy. The former Falcons IOL missed all of last season with a knee injury. He was PFF’s third-highest-graded run-blocker in 2021.

Sua Opeta (Buccaneers) and Jack Driscoll (Dolphins) are both gone, testing the depth of the Eagles’ IOL. Lane Johnson isn’t getting any younger at age 34.

The Eagles’ top two WRs are studs, but they have a severe lack of depth behind them. Julio Jones is not the WR3 answer nor is Quez Watkins/Olamide Zaccheaus. Not to mention, DeVonta Smith will be entering the 5th year of his career in 2025. They signed DeVante Parker to a one-year deal. He still can’t get open. They also signed Parris Campbell. What could have been for the former Ohio State product…

In a WR-rich class, it would behoove the Eagles to invest in a rookie pass-catcher. They have four picks inside the top 100.

Entering the offseason, no team was spending less at RB than the Eagles. Kenneth Gainwell and Tyrion Davis-Price were the only RBs currently under contract on the roster. But how the times have changed. Philly spent BIG on Saquon Barkley to be their future RB1. 3 years and $38 million.

Philly also “needs” linebacker depth, but GM Howie Roseman (like with RBs) tends to never invest much of anything in off-ball linebackers. So it doesn’t matter. They signed Devin White to a one-year deal worth $7.5 million anyway. They also added former Saints LB, Zack Baun.

The Eagles’ DL is stacked, but they just traded away Haason Reddick to the New York Jets for a 2026 3rd-round pick (become a second Rd pick with 67.5% snaps + 10 sacks in 2024).

Brandon Graham (signed for another year) and Fletcher Cox (retired), won’t contribute as much as they did last season.

Josh Sweat is also in a contract year. But what do they say about hungry pass-rushers? They eat. And the Eagles DL should continue to feast with Bryce Huff added to the fold on a 3-year $51 million contract. More on Sweat and his longshot odds at DPOY can be viewed in my BettingPros article: Erickson’s Top 2024 NFL Futures: Odds, Picks & Predictions.

But with Nolan Smith and Jalen Carter their top two picks from last season, I don’t envision any big DL spending. Secondary needs more help.

The market seems down on the Eagles overall after last year’s utter collapse, but Philly has made a lot of great moves to shore up their coordinator roles after losing Gannon/Steichen after the 2022 season. Kellen Moore and Vic Fango didn’t work in their last gigs, but they have highly decorated pedigrees to get both the offense/defense operating at a high level. And as long as Philly continues to dominate the trenches, they will be a tough out in the NFC. Jalen Hurts dealt with many injuries in 2024 – bone bruise in knee, finger injury – that shouldn’t be forgotten about.

They are in a solid cap space situation and have a boatload of projected compensatory picks coming their way. When a cornerback/linebacker/safety headlines a team’s “needs,” the team is in solid shape.

Per DraftKings Sportsbook, CB is the No. 1 position the Eagles will address in the draft (-150), followed by OL (+200) and then DL (+400).
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Pittsburgh Steelers

Team Needs: OL, WR, CB, DL

This Steelers’ top non-QB priorities in free agency/draft will likely come down between OL and CB; the same situation as last season. Incumbent left tackle starter Dan Moore Jr. is a 2025 free agent and is coming off a season as PFF’s 6th-lowest graded tackle. They can and should upgrade at LT. They already released OT Chukwuma Okorafor (who signed with the Patriots). Rookie RT Broderick Jones was also horrible, but it’s just one year. He cannot be written off that quickly.

Even though all their OL starters should return from last season, they can upgrade everywhere. Most notably at tackle, as previously mentioned, and center. Mason Cole was horrible in 2023 – PFF’s lowest-graded Steelers OL player – and his contract expires in 2025. He was already released. RG James Daniels and Nate Herbig are also FAs in 2025. Herbig will kick over to the center position. IOL and OT are both major needs after the Steelers posted the second-worst passing block grade in 2023 per PFF. Keep in mind they “upgraded” the OL last offseason.

However, the need for CB is lessened given the trade with the Panthers for Donte Jackson. The WR needs increases with Diontae Johnson now a Panther. Betting odds reflect the shift, with the Steelers +200 to go WR versus +450 to go cornerback.

Elsewhere on offense, solving the QB problem is priority numero uno. And the Steelers did everything in their power to ensure better QB play in 2024.

They signed Russell Wilson in one of the first moves in free agency. My priors were confirmed, with them signing a dirt-cheap Wilson to a contract worth just $1.2 million. The Broncos are paying him to play for the Steelers.

Mason Rudolph signed with the Titans and they traded Kenny Pickett to the Eagles in a draft pick swap. 2024 4th round pick (#120) for 2025 7th round pick, 2025 7th round pick and 2024 3rd round pick (#98) per Spotrac.com. So much for “earning” the starting job entering Year 3 under new OC, Arthur Smith. The Steelers have weapons on offense, but it’s just a matter of configuring the right scheme, along with the right pairing with QB/OL.

Despite Wilson’s flaws last season, he’s an upgrade from what the Steelers QB’s play was last season. Pickett, Rudolph and Mitchell Trubisky combined for an AV (Approximate Value per PFR) of 10. 6 from Pickett and 2 from the other QBs. Wilson’s AV was 12 in 2023. That would have been second-best on the Steelers’ entire roster last season (T.J. Watt).

However, this is the Steelers we are talking about, after all, where all they care about is competition for all 53 spots on the roster. No QB is going to be “given” the job. So I am not sure Wilson will be the automatic starter after they acquired former Bears QB Justin Fields with a 6th-round pick, that can turn into a 4th-round pick depending on playing time. The initial reports claim that Russell Wilson will start in Pittsburgh and Fields will back him up. Seeing Fields dealt to the Steelers doesn’t come as too much of a surprise after the team sent off Pickett to the Eagles. But the fact that Fields is already viewed as the backup and his trade value was only that of a 6th-round pick – none of which the Commanders, Patriots, Vikings, Giants, Titans, Broncos or Raiders felt compelled to match/exceed – tells you all you need to know about Fields in the eyes of NFL teams.

 

For some reason, the electric plays and rushing highlights aren’t enough for the polarizing QB. NFL teams view a QB that holds onto the ball for too long and takes too many sacks. He’s not a top-32 QB by the eyes of the NFL. And that matters significantly for fantasy football because you can’t score points on the pine. Unfortunately, Fields has already been put behind Wilson as his fantasy value has essentially hit rock bottom. And that comes off arguably his best season to date as an NFL quarterback even if it was only by a slight margin. Nearly 22 fantasy points per game from Week 4 onward. Elite fantasy upside, but he comes with major question marks without any job security in Pittsburgh loom. Also, the passing has not nearly been good enough to be too bullish that Fields can just step in and usurp Wilson.

However, if there’s any team that will give Fields a chance to start if Wilson struggles (very possibly) it’s the Steelers. They pulled the plug on Pickett last year for Mason Rudolph and Mitchell Trubisky. Don’t think for a second that head coach Mike Tomlin – who has been very high on Fields – doesn’t put the young QB in the starting role.
No QB is going to be “given” the job in Pittsburgh. The live and breathe competition for all 53 roster spots. So, I am not sold Wilson will be the automatic starter despite the early reports. It’s not like Wilson has done anything in the past three seasons that suggests he is locked to be effective for a full 17-game season. Fantasy’s QB13, 16 and 18. Hasn’t sniffed 18 points per game in any of the last 3 seasons. Keep in mind that Wilson was third in the NFL in passing TD% last season and finished as QB15 in points per game. There’s no doubt in my mind that Fields would thrive in a fantasy sense should he see starts in 2024. It’s just a matter of whether he gets the opportunity to do so. I think he will, and therefore I’d be trying to buy him low everywhere. Even if it’s more in the short-term view for the 2024 season with his long-term NFL future in true limbo. I’m old enough to remember the Titans replacing Marcus Mariota with Ryan Tannehill in an offense run by Arthur Smith. If Russ ain’t cooking, Fields will get his shot. As for the remaining Steelers pieces, it’s another big win. Anything that can increase the odds that the QB play overall is improved from last season is great for the likes of George Pickens and the other receivers, RBs and TEs. Fields fueled D.J. Moore to an elite fantasy season that he never came close to in Carolina. Wilson can throw TDs. One way or another, the Steelers are going to get BETTER quarterback play with a new QB and OC Arthur Smith in 2024. I love the move for the Steelers, and other QB-needy teams should be kicking themselves they let a former first-round pick like Fields be dealt for next to nothing.
As for the Bears, this all but confirms our priors. Caleb Williams, welcome to Chicago.

WR/TE depth is also a need for the Steelers. Diontae Johnson was traded. Pat Freiermuth is in the last year of his contract. And there’s not much behind him aside from George Pickens. They already released Allen Robinson. Calvin Austin III has not shown much after being drafted in 2022. They signed Van Jefferson, but he’s a JAG at best. Unless we expect tight end Darnell Washington to take a massive leap in Year 2. The former Georgia Bulldog caught 7 passes as a rookie.

The Steelers added another former Falcons and Arthur Smith favorite, MyCole Pruitt, on April 5th.

No team is spending less money on offense than the Steelers. The Browns are spending more than 3x on their offense (thanks Deshaun Watson).

Cordarrelle Patterson signed a two-year contract with the Steelers. Another Falcons reunion with Arthur Smith in the Steel City.

Defensively they addressed the LB and Safety roster holes. Miles Killebrew and Deshon Elliott were their main safety additions in FA. Patrick Queen was a splash signing at linebacker.

However, the Steelers wisely invested in these spots in last year’s draft. They have CB Cory Trice, who missed all of last season on IR. Two of last year’s top CBs are free agents. Patrick Peterson was released. Nick Herbig was a big hit in the 3rd round at linebacker, but he’s more of a rotational pass-rusher as opposed to an off-ball LB.

Interior defensive linemen also need love. Cameron Heyward isn’t getting any younger entering the last year of his deal. IDL players Armon Watts (Patriots) and Montravius Adams are free agents. They re-signed Adams to a 2-year deal. Dean Lowy also signed a contract with the Steelers.

Keeanu Benton was a hit last season, but it’s not enough. Another IDL makes sense in the draft.

It would behoove the Steelers to invest everything into offense, given no team is spending more on defense than the Steel Curtain.

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San Francisco 49ers

Team Needs: CB, OL, LB, WR, DL

The 49ers have gone defensive with their first selection in five of the last seven drafts.

This year, I’d presume it’s a BPA approach. So we could get yet another first-rounder DL to the 49ers come draft day. There may be a void across the defensive line if the 49ers are unable to retain Randy Gregory (Buccaneers), Clein Ferrell (Commanders), Sebastian Joseph-Day (Titans), Javon Kinlaw (Jets) or Chase Young in free agency. Similar to how things were last offseason for this team. Leonard Floyd signed a two-year deal. Yetur Gross-Matos signed a two-year deal. They also traded for DT Maliek Collins

Arik Armstead is also in the final year of his deal and has already been released. He signed with the Jaguars (former Trent Baalke draft pick connection).

The 49ers’ betting odds of going with the DL/edge position per DraftKings Sportsbook are +300, with OL the shortest 0dds at -115. Then it’s CB (+380) followed by much longer shots at WR/S (+550, +1600).

OL makes a ton of sense as the 49ers’ other top need, given that two of their starters last season – Jake Brendel and Spencer Burford – were well below league average at center and right guard. Jon Feliciano re-signed as the team’s starting center. Aaron Banks will be a free agent at the end of 2024. Colton McKivitz re-signed a 1-year deal with the 49ers.

The secondary is another glaring need, given it’s been the biggest weakness for the 49ers defense the last two seasons. They had to sign Logan Ryan off the street last year to play Nickelback.

Charvarius Ward, Isiah Oliver (cut and signed by the Jets), Deommodore Lenoir and Ambry Thomas are also free agents at the end of the year. They added Isaac Yiadom after an underrated season with the Saints. They also signed CB Rock Ya-Sin to a one-year veteran deal.

Safety Tashaun Gipson is a free agent with Talanoa Hufanga in the final year of his contract. They got a solid return from Penn State safety Ji’Ayir Brown as a rookie, but they will need at least one more safety by the time 2025 kicks off. They signed veteran, George Odum.

WR is last, especially with all the buzz around Brandon Aiyuk on the trade block.

Linebacker Dre Greenlaw will be coming off a torn Achilles that he suffered in the Super Bowl, entering the last year of his contract. Puts the 49ers in a position to need another inside linebacker alongside Fred Warner. They signed LB De’Vondre Campbell to a one-year deal.
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Seattle Seahawks

Team Needs: OL, DL, LB

Mike Macdonald is IN as the new head coach for the Seattle Seahawks, and there’s certainly credence to his defensive background influencing the first pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Last year’s defense struggled – specifically with rookie edge rusher and last year’s second-rounder, Derick Hall. They need to improve the pass rush across the defensive line in 2024. Their run defense was also a major liability.

Leonard Williams is BACK on a three-year deal but Mario Edwards is a Houston Texan. DT Jarran Reed will be an FA in 2025. Johnathan Hankins signed with the Seahawks from the Cowboys.

The Seahawks do have former Michigan Wolverine pass rusher Mike Morris from last year’s draft class, who previously played under Macdonald in college. Morris missed almost all of his rookie year with an injury.

On the offensive line, Seattle got wrecked by injuries a season ago. And the entire starting interior OL – Damien Lewis, Phil Haynes and Evan Brown – is hitting free agency. Lewis signed with the Panthers and Brown with the Cardinals. Haynes could easily be re-signed given he is still on the market. The Seahawks opted to sign Laken Tomlinson (previously with the Jets) at guard.

Rookie Anthony Bradford was forced to start last year but was horrible in 12 games played. Olusegun Oluwatimi was drafted as a potential center replacement last season and was solid in his four games played as a rookie. They also signed center Nick Harris, who could kick over to guard.

Charles Cross can man the LT spot, but the Seahawks need Abraham Lucas to get healthy at RT. Without Lucas, the Seahawks had no answers at RT all year. They got ahead of this in free agency by signing George Fant, who started at RT for the Texans in 2023.

Even after the first wave of free agency, the Seahawks are spending the least amount of money on their offensive line.

More on defense: safety and linebackers opened as the top needs. Those positions were integral to Macdonald’s defense in Baltimore. Safety Julian Love can fill the gap in 2024, but he will be a free agent at the end of the year. Jamal Adams was subsequently released, alongside Quandre Diggs.

Love will be busy manning the Seattle secondary, with new added pieces such as safety Rayshawn Jenkins and safety K’Von Wallace.

Linebackers Bobby Wagner (2nd in the NFL in tackles, now with Washington) and Jordyn Brooks (Dolphins). LB Tyrel Dodson signed with Seattle along with Jerome Baker from the Dolphins.

Don’t be shocked if we see any ex-Ravens find their way up to the Northwest to reunite with Macdonald in Seattle.

And given the lack of draft picks for Seattle – zero 2nd-rounders due to the Leonard Williams trade – I don’t envision them truly being contenders in the QB draft market. They instead traded for Sam Howell as part of a draft pick swap.

They also needed a tight end desperately, given that both Noah Fant and Will Dissly were free agents. The team looked like they could move on from veteran Tyler Lockett, but he signed a 2-year $30 million restructured contract extension.

Dissly is gone, but Fant will return. More on that signing can be read here: Noah Fant Re-Signs With Seahawks: Fantasy Football Impact & Takeaways (2024). However, he was not the only tight end the Seahawks signed during free agency. They signed ex-Patriots tight end, Pharaoh Brown to a 1-year deal.

Seattle’s made enough improvements on the OL that I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go DL/EDGE in Round 1. There’s some value in Seattle taking a DL/EDGE player at +110 odds per DraftKings Sportsbook.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Team Needs: CB, OL, WR, TE, LB

The Buccaneers brought back Baker Mayfield in free agency, putting them outside the Round 1 QB market. On the eve of the legal tampering period, the Buccaneers signed the former No. 1 overall pick to a 3-year deal worth $100M with $50M guaranteed.

So instead of searching for a QB, anticipate Tampa to bolster their secondary that was gashed for the fourth-most passing yards per game in 2023.

Carlton Davis was playing in the last year of his contract before he was traded to the Lions for draft picks. They also signed CB Bryce Hall from the Jets and Tavierre Thomas from the Texans. They retained both of their starting safeties as well. Antoine Winfield and Jordan Whitehead are both back. Still, the CB trade suggests the Bucs might opt to draft a young with one of their top draft picks.

Shaquil Barrett was outright released by Tampa Bay. He signed with the Dolphins.

They have enough interior defensive disruptors after drafting Calijah Kancey in Round 1 last year. Although rookie edge YaYa Diaby may have shown enough with 9 sacks (2nd-most among rookies) to direct Tampa Bay in another direction than edge rusher early in the NFL Draft or free agency. They also signed Randy Gregory as another edge rusher.

Linebacker Lavonte David entered as a free agent making linebacker another potential area to address – 7th overall in tackles last season. He re-signed a one-year deal with the Buccaneers.

On offense, the Buccaneers could not run block for a lick in 2023. They need to get better play from the interior of their offensive line. Last year’s second-rounder Cody Mauch needs to play much better in Year 2. Guard Aaron Stinne signed with the Giants and his backup Matt Feiler is still a free agent.

Across the OL, the Bucs added OT Justin Skule, RG Iosua Opeta and Ben Bredeson. Opeta was a former Eagle, so he’s got some upside. Bredeson was a Giant. Downgrade from Stinne. Skule was Tampa Bay’s practice squad for the last two seasons. OL desperately still needs work, especially at IOL.

The Buccaneers won’t lose Mike Evans in free agency after he re-signed for another two years, but they will likely have to add more WRs anyway, given that Chris Godwin is in the last year of his deal. Russell Gage was released.

Had it not been for injuries, we could have seen Chase Edmonds have a much larger role in the Buccaneers’ offense, given how badly Rachaad White started the season. Edmonds signed a one-year deal with the Buccaneers to be White’s backup.
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Tennessee Titans

Team Needs: OL, WR, TE, DL

The Titans have expressed faith that Will Levis can be their future franchise QB. They brought in an offensive-minded head coach Brian Callahan, to aid in the development of their second-year QB in the post-Mike Vrabel era. OL is still an obvious area of need even after they selected an OL in the top 10 last season and finished close to average in adjusted line yards. They currently rank 31st in OL spending.

Tennessee was still a bottom-10 graded pass-blocking unit. However, their 31st-ranked adjusted sack rate can be attributed to their QBs’ propensity to take sacks – 22% sack-to-pressure rate ranked 12th last season. With Brian’s father Bill Callahan joining as the OL coach, there’s credence to believing that he can “coach up” the existing OL pieces, while also adding a more favorable offensive scheme to get the ball out of Levis’s hands quicker.

It’s a classic scenario that Callahan saw firsthand when the Bengals selected Ja’Marr Chase over Peni Sewell back in 2021.

The new head coach also had some interesting comments about OL vs WR in an offseason interview.

“I tend to lean to the position that can score touchdowns because if you play the quarterback position well and if you are playing it right, you can negate some of the issues you have in pass protection.”

Center Aaron Brewer (Dolphins) and RT Chris Hubbard left in free agency. Hubbard was the Titans’ “best” pass-blocker last season. Brewer was the highest-graded overall lineman. Those were big losses potentially to an already bad OL.

Note that the Titans will get back starting tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere after missing almost all of the 2023 season due to injury/suspension. They need him, given that OG/OT Daniel Brunskill and Dillon Radunz are free agents in 2025. Andre Dillard is also horrible. The Titans knew this and released him. Dillard signed with the Packers.

Lloyd Cushenberry signed with the Titans in free agency, likely as their new center. He makes up for the loss of Brewer. They also signed Saahdiq Charles at guard from the Commanders. So they didn’t so much during free agency to improve the OL personnel. They did much more at WR.

The ownership in Tennessee is kicking itself for trading A.J. Brown a few years back, and I believe they wanted to get a legitimate No. 1 WR to fill the void alongside DeAndre Hopkins as he enters the twilight of his NFL career (and the final year of his contract).

They elected to not wait until the NFL Draft to add to their WR room, signing Calvin Ridley from the Jaguars to a 4-year $92 million contract. More on the big signing here: Calvin Ridley Signs With Tennessee Titans: Fantasy Football Impact & Takeaways (2024). The Titans also brought back Nick Westbrook, solidifying the top WRs on the depth chart. RIP, Treylon Burks.

Tight end is also a big area, given the lack of production from Chigoziem Okonkwo in his second season. Possible that Tennessee might not value the TE position, given the Bengals’ lack of TE production under Callahan the last several years.

In the backfield, it will no longer be the Derrick Henry show. Instead, it will be a two-headed monster between Tony Pollard and Tyjae Spears. Pollard signed a 3 year $24 million contract with Tennessee.

The Titans drafted zero defensive players in the 2023 NFL Draft. And that’s going to hurt them big in 2024, as they have a boatload of starters that need new deals across EDGE, DL, and CB.

Last year’s starting CBs are both free agents. Chidobe Awuzie signed in FA for a three-year deal. He knows Callahan from Cincinnati. They also made a massive splash trade with the Chiefs, acquiring stud cornerback L’Jarius Sneed for a 2025 3rd-round pick and 2024 7th-round pick (#221). Sneed immediately signed a 4-year $76 million contract extension with Tennesse.

Safety K’Von Wallace is a Seahawk. Linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair is also a free agent after leading the team in tackles (10th). He signed with the Texans. Tennesse replaced him with Kenneth Murray.

The Titans’ roster entered free agency in a bit of a s* show, but they have made moves to improve the squad. Makes sense, as the Titans do not have any 3rd-round picks due to their trade with Arizona when they traded up to select Levis last season.

They couldn’t risk that the “right” WR would fall to them in the draft. Hence, why I wouldn’t just assume that WR is off their draft board after the Ridley signing. Especially when you can get the odds as high as 25-1 (ESPN Bet) versus -550 (FanDuel) for them to take OL. The offensive line makes the most sense after their free-agency moves, but I don’t think it’s the lock of all locks. Will they draft an OL player first? Probably. But I am willing to throw a WR bet at 25-to-1 odds to find out if that’s certain. You better believe it. DL/EDGE and/or CB should also be in serious consideration, given the losses of DE Denico Autry and CB Sean Bunting.

Last season, the Titans splurged in free agency on OL and still drafted an OL in Round 1. They could do the same at WR. Again Hopkins and Westbrook are on the last years of their deals. Treylon Burks was drafted by the previous regime. Ran Carthon comes from the 49ers organization, where he has seen multiple weapons be needed.
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Washington Commanders

Team Needs: QB, OL, CB, DL, TE

The hiring of Kliff Kingsbury as the team’s new offensive coordinator has rumors flying that the Commanders will trade up to No.1 to select Caleb Williams out of USC. After all, Kingsbury recently worked with USC in 2023 as the team’s senior offensive analyst. I think QB is going to be the selection at the top for the Commanders, but it’s no guarantee that Washington can seize the No. 1 pick from Chicago to select Williams. As a result, they will likely take their next highest-ranked QB.

They already moved on from Sam Howell in a trade with Seattle, considering they also signed Marcus Mariota as a veteran FA.

Once they figure out QB, it’s back to the pass rush basics with the Commanders. After trading away both Chase Young and Montez Sweat, this team desperately needs to inject more youthful pass-rush juice back into the defensive front. Lucky for them, they have all the cap space in the world to do so, plus a surplus of draft picks.

They signed CBs Michael Davis and Noah Igbinoghene. Neither guy should be viewed as a lock.

On the DL, they signed Dorace Armstrong, Efe Obada, Dante Fowler Jr. and Clein Ferrell. Armstrong is a former Cowboy, who should be familiar with Dann Quinn’s defense. Same with Fowler Jr.

The entire defense needs a fresh coat of paint. They’ve thrown enough at that side of the ball to have a unit, but they can go BPA in the draft with the “needs” solidified. They just “need” to get more defensive talent at CB first and foremost, than DL/EDGE. I think some of these former Dallas guys can be productive with less focus on them on the edge, given how the opposing offense will be more concerned about facing Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen up the gut.

CB Emmanuel Forbes struggled as a rookie, but his first-round pedigree will keep him entrenched as a starter for one more season. As a guy who is known as a risk-taker, we could see him embody a Trevon Diggs-type second-year leap in Quinn’s defense.

Kendall Fuller signed with the Dolphins. Safety Kamren Curl (who led the team in tackles) signed with the Rams. Fuller was the Commanders’ highest-graded defender per PFF in 2023. He will be replaced by safety Jeremy Chinn and Jeremy Reaves.

Fellow starting CB Benjamin St. Juste is in the final year of his contract. S Jartavius Martin was a bright spot as a rookie, making it likely the team feels okay at safety. Third-year pro, Percy Butler,  also fits the box safety mold.

Across the OL, their LG and C are on expired deals. Center Tyler Larsen was horrible, so he will need to be replaced. Nick Gates looked like he could slide into the center role in 2024 but he was also cut.

The new starting center will be Tyler Biadasz. He is now in Washington with the Commanders after being in Dallas.

Charles was equally bad at guard, but there’s no in-house alternative for him unless last year’s third-rounder – Ricky Stromberg – steps up and gets healthy. The Commanders also signed guard Nick Allegretti from the Chiefs.

Charles Leno was entrenched as a starting tackle, but he has already been released. Braeden Daniels was drafted in the 4th round last season and could logically leap over Andrew Wiley as the team’s RT in 2024. Daniels missed the 2023 season on IR. Both guys are slated to start at OT.

Cornelius Lucas was also a free agent as one of the few LTs hitting the open market. He signed back to the Commanders after generating little interest on the open market.

Both of the Commanders’ top two tight ends will be FAs at the end of the season, between Logan Thomas and John Bates. Thomas looked like a serious candidate to be cut for salary cap reasons, and that is what happened. The team replaced one veteran tight with another, by inking Zach Ertz to a one-year deal worth $5M. Kliff Kingsbury gets his tight end from their days spent in Arizona. Considering Kingsbury played Ertz consistently over Trey McBride, there’s some credence to him having a decent-sized role even at 33 years old.

Linebacker Cody Barton will be a Bronco. Khaleke Hudson is also a Bronco. David Mayo is a free agent. Linebacker could be a depth need, but the Commanders are hoping that Jabril Cox can contribute more in 2024. They also signed Frankie Luvu and Anthony Pittman. Bobby Wagner (2nd in the NFL in tackles in 2023) is also now with Washington, reuniting with Dann Quinn.

Given all the cap space the Commanders used, along with five picks within the first three rounds, it’s hard to see them not “winning” the offseason in some capacity. After all, it’s easy to improve the most coming from rock bottom after you trade away many of your best players. But the fact that Kingsbury will have full control of the offense…we will surely see him go after “his guys” as this team builds up from rock bottom.

With Anthony Lynn brought in as the run game coordinator/running backs, I could see some former Chargers (Williams, Ekeler) finding their way to the nation’s capital. Ekeler would be a logical replacement for Antonio Gibson, who signed a three-year deal with the Patriots. Ekeler ultimately did sign with the Commanders, for two years.

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