All 32 teams have some sort of positional need heading into the draft and free agency season. Some have more than others, and there are a wide range of targets for each team between free agency and draft. The draft class leans heavily on the defensive side, which makes things interesting for those also in need of offensive options. We have seen better offensive classes in the past, although there are a few targets teams will be after. If we get the QB run early on in the draft, it will totally restructure how the draft shakes up.
In free agency you have names like DeMarcus Lawrence, Jadeveon Clowney, and Earl Thomas on the defensive side. This is in addition to a few other studs. Le’Veon Bell, Golden Tate, Teddy Bridgewater, and Kareem Hunt are big names on the offensive side. Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, and Oakland Raiders are all top five in cap space heading into the offseason.
Team Needs: OL, WR, DT, CB
Lineups Analysis: The Cardinals ended up with the first overall pick, and their first pick will shift the next few. Last draft was offensively focused around Josh Rosen and Christian Kirk, as they try and get their young core for the future. Arizona would be wise to bulk up the offensive line, but with the first overall pick they are going to have their crack at a few elite defensive prospects. Arizona also will need to put a focus on their secondary, which is thinning out by the season, and Patrick Peterson might not be in the desert much longer.
Team Needs: EDGE, WR, DB, LB
Lineups Analysis: San Francisco will have the chance to land a top tier defensive player with the second pick in the draft, which would help their need for a pass rusher on the defensive side. The secondary will also be in need of some sort of addressing, but they could land a solid corner back in the second round. While yes they need a wide receiver, the pass-catching options are not that bad. They can survive with Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin, and George Kittle again. To make better strides in the win column, focusing on the defensive side will be the key.
Team Needs: EDGE, OL, WR
Lineups Analysis: The Jets selected Sam Darnold last season, and will be looking to improve his offensive line and pass-catching options. The Jets will also be in the market for a pass-rusher, which once again within the top five they can get a projected elite linebacker or defensive end. Because they are picking third there is no need to jump into the offensive category yet. I expect them to address offensive needs in later rounds, and take a stab at some of the free agent talent out there. They have been trying to make a push for Le’Veon Bell, and it would be the Jets thing to do to dump salary on his doorstep.
Team Needs: Everything
Lineups Analysis: Yes, the Oakland Raiders need everything. They traded away Amari Cooper, left Michael Crabtree to leave in free agency, and traded away their best player, Khalil Mack. Oakland was one of the worst teams on both sides of the ball, and no position drafted or signed would be a bad one. They have a lot of cap and could address needs in free agency. Getting players to buy in might be the tougher accomplishment after what has taken place the last few years. The Raiders really need to make moves on the defensive side of the ball, and adding a defensive playmaker should be the first box they check off in the draft. With three first round picks, Oakland will have a chance to land a few defensive prospects that grade out very well.
Team Needs: CB, DL, S
Lineups Analysis: Offensively they have been drafting high upside players the last few seasons, and they have a good core. There are question marks surrounding Jameis Winston and his play, and that leads to the possibility they go another direction here shortly. I don’t believe that will be this season. Their skill positions are set, but defensively they should be looking to add some pieces, especially in the secondary. Picking 5th will be too high to take a CB, , but they would be in line to draft a strong front seven type player. Tampa will also have some free agents in line, and could come around as being a surprise team in 2019 if everything falls for them.
Team Needs: QB, OL, DL
Lineups Analysis: The biggest need right now is the New York Giants. They drafted Saquon Barkley last season, and their pass-catching options are some of the best in the business. Eli Manning isn’t getting the job done, but this draft class doesn’t have a lock quarterback of the future either. It will be interesting to see what the Giants do, but there are a lot of indications that they do go with a quarterback. If not, trading back would be wise and taking an offensive lineman or a strong defensive prospect in a draft that is loaded with them. Haskins has the most buzz around him right now, but the sample size is small on the Ohio State Buckeye.
Team Needs: QB, WR, OL
Lineups Analysis: Jacksonville is another team in need of a quarterback, and once again this draft class doesn’t have a ton for the taking. The Jaguars have been imploding since the middle of the season, and they have no future plans with Blake Bortles. The defensive has shown some life late in the season, but they were nowhere near the team they were the prior season. This is more about coaching and attitude than anything. I would look for the Jaguars to possibly trade down and grab an offensive skill position player or offensive line. Jacksonville is a few pieces away from being competitive again. Any piece on defense they need could easily be solidified within free agency.
Team Needs: TE, EDGE, CB
Lineups Analysis: The Lions are an odd team, mainly because they are not bad, but don’t look close to being a playoff team either. Matthew Stafford is there for the long haul, and getting him some help now seems to be a more pressing factor. Kenny Golladay looks like he is going to be the real deal, but other pass-catching options are starting to disappear. Detroit should be looking to get a big red zone and receiving threat at tight end. They drafted Kerryon Johnson last season, which looks like a hit from the limited sample he played in 2018. With the likely departure of Ezekiel Ansah, a pass rusher would be the best move early on.
Team Needs: OL, WR, TE, DL, CB
Lineups Analysis: Buffalo desperately needs a playmaking wide receiver, but a wide receiver going top ten seems like a reach in this class. Buffalo is going to have a few options at their position in the draft, and also have some money to splash in free agency. There are a few key areas the Bills need to focus on, and the defensive line is another one. They have some aging and departing lineman, so this is a great draft to fill those holes. Getting another corner on the other side of Tre’Davious White would be huge as well. They already have a strong safety core, so this defense is a couple of pieces away from being very good. Until they secure the offensive line and a pass-catching option for Josh Allen, the offense will remain hit or miss.
Team Needs: CB, WR, QB, TE
Lineups Analysis: The Broncos might have been in contention for a little while, but overall we know they are not near the elite teams in the AFC. Denver needs to get a quarterback, but have Case Keenum to bridge until they get the one of their choosing. This draft doesn’t feature a ton of strong options, so they could sit out and wait. They need to bolster the secondary again, as their secondary is starting to become more league average after being very good for the last decade. Denver should also be focusing on their pass-catching options as Thomas is now in Houston, and Emmanuel Sanders is coming off an Achilles injury, and will be turning 32 in March. Denver has lacked a receiving tight end for what seems like 20 years now as well. There are a few that standout in this draft that should catch their eye.
Team Needs: LB, OL, TE
Lineups Analysis: Cincinnati is in a tricky spot with an aging core of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. They are dangerously close to being an over the hill team, so starting to transition into a new era would be wise during this free agency and draft. They don’t need to add a QB, but one slipping to them wouldn’t be a bad pick either. The Bengals need some help on the offensive line, but also should be looking to sure up their front seven with a few names. Cincinnati has a top 15 pick that should go on the defensive side, as their will be offensive options later on. When healthy this team was competitive last season, so one last run with the group they have is likely coming.
Team Needs: EDGE, S, WR,
Lineups Analysis: It has been a while since we have seen the Packers with a top pick, but they have two in the first round to help get them on the right track. They have already fired Mike McCarthy which is a good start, but trying to win now with Aaron Rodgers is the ultimate goal here. Their pass catching options could be better, as aging Jimmy Graham and Randall Cobb are not providing much value to the offense right now. An elite edge rusher or defensive back would be a great start for the Packers draft. They are also an attractive place to play, so they could easily make moves on both sides of the ball for free agency.
Team Needs: QB, DL, LB, WR
Lineups Analysis: Miami is another team in need of quite a bit, and a quarterback is going to be high on their list. Will they take a quarterback in this draft is a big question mark. Ultimately these teams that need quarterbacks could shape the draft in how it turns out. The Dolphins also will need to look at their defensive side, and more so the defensive line. They have lost a few key names over the last few seasons, and a front seven needs to be built up again. Yes they need a wideout as well, but they have higher priorities that need to be taken care of first.
Team Needs: EDGE, OL, DL
Lineups Analysis: The Falcons are going to ride out the remaining years of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. They still have a few left, so win now mode has to be on their mind. Their defense was hit with injuries last season, so they are not in desperate need of adding bodies like some of the other teams. Both the offensive line and defensive line should be where they look in the draft and free agency, although adding a pass rusher wouldn’t be the worst idea ever. With some good health and positive signings, Atlanta should be back in playoff contention next season. Because they struggled this year, getting a top 15 pick will give them a chance to add a strong lineman or pass rusher that can make an impact in year one.
Team Needs: QB, WR, OL
Lineups Analysis: The defense in Washington is in good shape, so addressing their offense would be where they should start. The Guice injury last season set them back, but if he can return it gives them a potential running back for the future. Alex Smith was a bridge quarterback until they went younger, but not how career is in doubt and that shakes up the Washington plans for the offseason. Their passing game in general needs a full revamp, as they have missed on a lot of wide receiver signings or picks in the last few seasons. This is a draft where missing again seems likely because it is not a strong offensive class as prior seasons. The offensive line is also in need of some upgrades, and any quarterback won’t have any help with a bad offensive line.
Team Needs: EDGE, OL, S
Lineups Analysis: The Panthers will head into 2019 with a big question mark around Cam Newton even playing. They would need to address the position if he misses time, but that will likely be through a signing or trade. Carolina needs to address the offensive line, as their defense is looking better again, even with the collapse in the latter portion of the season. The corners are starting to take shape, but adding a safety would be wise for the Panthers. Carolina also needs to take a look at a pass rusher, and in the middle of the draft there are a few options to consider. The Panthers could have a rocky year ahead of themselves, and the Newton news throws a wrench into things.
Team Needs: OL, CB, LB, WR
Lineups Analysis: Cleveland is a few pieces away from being the team we all believe they can be with this young cast. They hit on their draft picks last season, and had a lot of them. Denzel Ward and Myles Garrett are huge defensive presences, and Cleveland will be looking to add to them. Protecting Baker Mayfield will also be a priority, even though the line was solid last season. They are in need of a left tackle. I wouldn’t say they are in desperate need of a wide receiver, but landing a more physical outside wideout would be helpful given they are on the smaller more speedy side already. The Browns are built for the future, and hitting on more signings and picks will give the rest of the division a run for their money.
Team Needs: OL, LB, DT
Lineups Analysis: The Vikings desperately need help on the offensive line, and their first draft pick should go to an offensive lineman. This is what caused them to fall short of the playoffs last season, and a regroup would get them back on track to being Super Bowl contenders. Sure they could add some depth and future pieces to the defensive side, but locking down lineman is the priority. If you are looking on the defensive side, adding line backer and defensive tackle can be done in free agency or past the first round in the draft. The skill positions on the offensive side of the ball is already set for the next few seasons with no concerns of anybody leaving.
Team Needs: WR, OLB, DL
Lineups Analysis: The Titans just missed the playoffs, but this is a team that is heading to no man’s land. They aren’t bad, but they aren’t good either. The Marcus Mariota era has been very up and down, but a lot of it comes down to revolving coaches and a lackluster receiving core. Tennessee should once again be looking to add to their receiving core, but really need to hit on a stud wideout this time. If they don’t, the Titans will find themselves in the same scenario as before. Tennessee also needs some help on the outside with their linebackers. This is an area they can address in free agency, and the same goes with their need for a defensive lineman. The Titans like every other AFC South team really need a strong few picks to asset themselves.
Team Needs: CB, LB, EDGE
Lineups Analysis: The Steelers will obviously be looking to add on the defensive side of things with their offense in good shape for years to come. They drafted a good backup core in James Washington and Mason Rudolph last season. With Antonio Brown possibly out, Washington should jump right in next to JuJu Smith-Schuster. If there is a quarterback run in the draft, that means lots of very good defensive players that would be going top 15 would fall to the Steelers. With a lot of good defensive players in free agency, Pittsburgh should be all over them. I expect this defense to be a lot better, and Pittsburgh to get back on track after a season of drama.
Team Needs: EDGE, DT, OL
Lineups Analysis: Getting Russell Wilson some protection is objective number one. They have been lucky with his escapability and ability to stay healthy as well. Seattle continues to operate in a run heavy fashion, which puts less of a pressure to add to their pass-catching options. They have a bunch of undersized wideouts and no tight ends. The big question is whether this can continue. Because they run so much, adding to the defense makes sense with them trying to get back to how they played a few years ago. There are plenty of names to fill the true voids Seattle needs, but offensive line needs to be upgraded significantly.
Team Needs: EDGE, WR, LB
Lineups Analysis: Baltimore has moved on from Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson is now the guy in Baltimore. Whether that lasts is another question. Either way Jackson needs some help, as Baltimore continues to whiff on pass-catching draft picks or signings. They really need a true WR1, and in this draft there are a few with potential. Baltimore will also look to add some defensive depth with an edge rusher and inside line backer. A lot of this stems from their names in place now looking to possibly leave within a year. Baltimore never seems to lack defensively and it is because they build so well. This would be another year of loading up on depth.
Team Needs: OL, S, CB
Lineups Analysis: There are two very obvious needs for Houston, which is the secondary and offensive line. Football fans held their breath every time Watson stepped back, and they will need to address this offseason. He is already one major injury into his career, and Houston should be aware of that. They are in a good spot in the draft to take an offensive lineman, and the same goes for secondary players in the second and third round. If they can hit on a few players defensively and lock down at least an average offensive line, they will be back in contention for the AFC South, even with the Colts on the rise.
Team Needs: S, CB, WR
Lineups Analysis: The Saints just missed out on another Super Bowl appearance, and you have to ask what could they really need to push them over. Adding to their weakened secondary should be where they address in the draft, but they also are not in the first round. Both corners and safeties will be in play for New Orleans. They tried to add and workout wide receivers, but nothing ever came of it during the season. New Orleans will likely be looking to add someone that can help out Michael Thomas. They have openings at the position, as well as tight end.
Team Needs: OL, CB, S
Lineups Analysis: The Eagles secondary was a big reason for their Super Bowl run, but now things have dwindled down, and injuries make this secondary look less threatening. Philly should be looking to reassure this position and not go into the season shorthanded. They have a handful of draft picks to do so. The offensive line is getting older, and once again injuries are getting to them. This is another area where the Eagles should add. They have plenty of skill position players, yet none jump off the charts, so if someone falls to Philly, don’t be surprised to see them make a move on the offensive side.
Team Needs: DL, CB, WR
Lineups Analysis: Chris Ballard has got this team moving in the right direction. After they had one of the worst offensive lines in football, they finished the season with one of the best. Ballard has already come out saying they will keep adding to the defense, and with the names out there in the draft and free agency, this could be a top ten defense next season with the right moves. They do need to add another wide receiver, as names like Chester Rogers can’t keep going. T.Y. Hilton is getting older, and adding another prolific wide receiver would help him out.
Team Needs: LB, TE, DL
Lineups Analysis: The Cowboys are another team without a first round pick, but they did address their needs with Amari Cooper coming over from Oakland. Dallas will need to look on the defensive side, which showed vulnerability in the playoffs. The linebacker core could use some depth, but also the line might be thin depending on free agency moves. They also are in need of a tight end which would help out Dak Prescott. These are the key areas they need to address, and they should be able to fill them within the free agency and draft.
Team Needs: DT, OT, S
Lineups Analysis: The Chargers are a pretty well rounded team, and they don’t have needs that will derail their season like a few other teams. Adding a big defensive tackle with their late first round pick would be ideal, as they need to get someone in the middle of their two fantastic pass rushers. They continue to hit on strong young draft picks, but adding some offensive line help would keep this offense singing. The Chargers won’t make any sexy picks, but they will look to build on what has been an impressive last few off-seasons.
Team Needs: DB, LB, RB
Lineups Analysis: Kansas is all set offensively, although running back might be a spot they make a move at because of the Kareem Hunt situation from the prior season. It isn’t a must add, given they can operate with just about anyone at the position. Their focus is going to be all on the defensive side. They desperately need to add to their secondary, but getting to the quarterback was an issue at times. A solid outside linebacker or defensive end would be a money get for the Chiefs.
Team Needs: OL, CB, S
Lineups Analysis: The Bears are without their first and second round picks, but everything is okay when you added Khalil Mack before the season. The defense was the best in the business last season, but adding to the secondary and linebacker depth isn’t the worst idea for keeping this train going. Offensively they invested money last season in a handful of free agents, and they should see that through at least this season. Chicago should also be looking to invest in their offensive line, mainly at the tackle positions.
Team Needs: LB, DT, CB
Lineups Analysis: The Rams have a few expiring contracts on the defensive side, and it is hard to see them forking out cash to keep them all. Los Angeles will be looking on the younger side as well, which would be cheaper as well. The Rams need some help on each layer of defense, and have draft picks to get it done as well. They will be picking at the end of the order, but this is a heavy defensive draft to target within the first few rounds.
Team Needs: WR, LB, DL
Lineups Analysis: New England has a long history of either trading down, or going after gritty names with a lot to prove. The Patriots also have a good history of drafting big lineman to plug up the run game, and there are quite a few in the wheel house. It did not hinder Tom Brady and the Patriots this season, but their pass-catching options were one of the worst of his career. Rob Gronkowski is also a potential threat to retire, leaving them thin for next season.