It may be called the “off”-season, but the work is just beginning for NFL front offices across the country. To find out what GM’s may be thinking and what moves to keep an eye on, checkout Lineups’ comprehensive NFL offseason analysis below.
2022 NFL Offseason Needs – The 27 Teams With a First Round Pick
Jacksonville Jaguars – Needs: OL, DT, WR, CB
Outside of QB, the Jags could realistically explore upgrades at every position this offseason. If they want to give Trevor Lawrence space to develop while still on his rookie contract, however, they’re going to need to focus on the offensive line, specifically at the C and RG positions. Two players to keep your eye on to fill these spots are Brandon Scherff, Washington Commanders free agent, and Ikem Ekwonu, the top rated offensive linemen in this year’s draft. While much has been made out of Michigan DL Aidan Hutchinson going first overall, don’t be surprised if the Jags opt for Ekwonu here as pressure mounts to validate the Lawrence selection from one year ago.
Detroit Lions – Needs: Edge, DL, WR, QB
The three areas the Lions need to address this offseason are their pass rush, run defense, and receiving core. Their defensive front allowed 4.4 yards a carry and had the third fewest sacks of any team in the NFL. Look for them to draft the hometown hero Aidan Hutchinson with the second overall pick to bolster their pass rush while they try to mend their receiving core in free agency, perhaps by signing a Christian Kirk or Chris Conley.
Houston Texans – Needs: DT, Edge, LB, QB
The Texans defense needs to be completely revamped, starting with the interior of their line. Not a single one of their tackles ranks in the top 50 according to PFF and one of their better options in Maliek Collins is currently an unrestricted free agent. Look for the Texans to go after tackles Vernon Butler or Larry Ogunjobi in free agency and trade down in the draft for a linebacker, perhaps Devin Lloyd. If they don’t trade down, look for them to draft a QB here.
New York Jets – Needs: DB, WR, Edge
While the Jets could really go any direction in the draft with both the 4th and 10th pick, look for them to overhaul their defensive backfield. They had the third worst passing defense in the NFL and allowed more yards per completion than any team. This free agent market is littered with great cornerbacks and Notre Dame S Kyle Hamilton is one of the best safety prospects in the draft since Jalen Ramsey.
New York Giants – Needs: LG, RG, Edge, TE
Like the Jets, the Giants have some leeway in the draft as they also have two top 10 picks at 5 and 7. Their offensive line needs to be redone, so I expect them to pursue a RG in free agency though they don’t have a ton of cap space. In the draft, I like them to take either OL Evan Neal out of Alabama or Oregon DL Kayvon Thibodeaux if he’s still on the board at 5.
Carolina Panthers – Needs: QB, LG, RG
For a team drafting this high the Panthers do have a solid defense, though arguably their best corner, Stephon Gilmore, is an unrestricted free agent. The most pressing need for the Panthers this offseason is the QB position. To address it, I like them to trade up for the third pick and draft Liberty QB Malik Wills. Otherwise, they need to figure out the left and right guard positions on their offensive line in free agency.
Atlanta Falcons – Needs: Edge, OL
The Falcons finished last in the NFL in sacks and it wasn’t even close. They need an edge rusher in the draft and this year they’re in luck thanks to the plethora of options coming out of college. I like the Falcons to take Michigan DL David Ojabo in the draft and pick up an offensive linemen or two, and probably a receiver, in free agency.
Denver Broncos – Needs: QB, C, TE, Edge
Like the Panthers, the Broncos are a good defensive team that needs a quarterback. If they don’t land one in free agency (i.e., Aaron Rodgers or Jimmy Garoppolo), don’t be surprised if they try to trade up for Kenny Pickett. If they don’t, the Steelers probably will.
Washington Commanders – Needs: CB, QB, WR, OL
Washington also needs a quarterback. Sam Howell and Matt Corrall would be solid options in the draft as there’s a good shot one of these two is available at 11. With the 10th most cap space in the league, look for them to pursue Stephon Gilmore in free agency to supplement their secondary.
Minnesota Vikings – Needs: CB, LB
A new chapter is beginning in Minnesota and revamping their porous secondary is priority number 1. If LSU corner Devin Singletary is still on the board at 12 I like him to go here. With limited cap space, a blockbuster deal in free agency is likely off the table though they could get a Malcom Smith type player at LB.
Cleveland Browns – Needs: DT, WR, Edge
With Jadeveon Clowney’s future with the Browns uncertain, they need another edge rusher to seal the other side of this line — something I expect them to do in free agency with someone like Haason Reddick. In the draft, the Browns will likely go after a receiver having lost OBJ. I think OSU WR Garrett Wilson would be the perfect dynamic element to fill this gap in April.
Baltimore Ravens – Needs: DT, WR, OL
The Ravens will get most of their key pieces in the secondary back off the IR this season and will likely go after a left guard in the offseason. Keep your eye on Trevor Penning out of Northern Iowa and Zion Johnson out of Boston College in the draft if they don’t address this need in free agency. If they do, I see them either doubling down on the defensive line or going for a wide receiver.
Philadelphia Eagles – Needs: Edge, WR, OL
The Eagles finished the regular season second to last in the NFL in sacks with the fourth worst sack percentage win rate (i.e., the percent of successful QB pressures) in the NFL. They’ll need to pick up an edge, and probably two, this offseason to ensure pocket quarterbacks don’t have all day against them. If Travon Walker from Georgia is on the board at 15 I can certainly see the Eagles taking him here. In free agency, meanwhile, I like the Eagles to pursue a perimeter receiver to complement Devonta Smith.
Los Angeles Chargers – Needs: DT, LB, WR
The Chargers need to get a run stopper in the draft. If they don’t get someone like Larry Ogunjobi in free agency, I can see them taking one of the Georgia tackles, either the big boy Jordan Davis (if he’s still on the board) or Devonte Wyatt.
#18: New Orleans Saints – Needs: QB, WR, OL
New Orleans needs a quarterback, plain and simple. They have one of the best run stopping units in the NFL that finished the regular season as the top ranked red zone defense. There could be a drop off with Dennis Allen though I don’t expect anything overly dramatic in year one given he was an internal hire. It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out this team would’ve been a Super Bowl contender last year with a formidable quarterback. If they aren’t able to land one in free agency, they can either trade up or take a chance on Desmond Ridder or Carson Strong.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Needs: QB, DB, CB
The Steelers also need a quarterback and I expect them to either pursue one in free agency (insert Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Garoppolo again) or trade up for Kenny Pickett in the draft. The Steelers are also going to need to address their defensive backfield that was relatively mediocre last season and is seeing one of their best players in Joe Haden enter the market as an unrestricted free agent.
New England Patriots – Needs: WR, RB, OL
So long as Mac Jones is on his rookie contract it appears the Patriots are going to ride it out with him. As the only playoff team in 2021 to not have a WR in the top 25 according to PFF, the Patriots are going to need to make a move here this offseason. If Chris Olave slips down to 21, he could end up being a perfect fit for this Patriot offense. In free agency, I could see the Patriots exploring a LG though this is far less urgent than the receiver position where they’re at least 2 guys short.
Las Vegas Raiders – Needs: LB, OL, S
Only the Buccaneers attempted more passes than the Raiders in 2021. While Derek Carr was great, this had less to do with him and more to do with their offensive line’s inability to effectively run block. Look for the Raiders to go after someone like Morgan Moses or Brandon Scherff in free agency to strengthen their interior. Otherwise, I like them to go after a WR in the draft — maybe Jamieson Williams.
Arizona Cardinals – Needs: OL, DB, CB, Edge
The biggest concerns for the Cardinals right now are the RG position and their defensive backfield. Watch for them to make a move at RG in free agency, particularly if they decide to give Kyker the bag. In the draft, I like the Cardinals to take either Trent McDuffie or Kaiir Elam at corner.
Dallas Cowboys – Needs: OL, TE, DL
With a strong, but aging, offensive line and one of the more versatile receiving cores in the NFL, the two biggest areas of weakness for Dallas are the TE position and the secondary. With the third worst cap situation in the league, the Cowboys are going to be reliant on the draft for upgrades. Look for them to take Ahmad Gardner or Andrew Booth at corner if they’re available, potentially even trading up, and a TE in the second round.
Buffalo Bills – Needs: RB, OL, S
While Devin Singletary was fine for the Bills down the stretch, they struggled to establish a running game for a majority of the season. Some of this has to do with coaching, but a lot of it has to do with the fact that their offensive line is a much better pass blocking unit than run blocking unit. If they want to run the clock out late in games in 2022, they’re going to need to get some guys who can run block along with some depth at the RB position.
Tennessee Titans – Needs: OL, TE, Edge
The lack of an easy outlet at TE has been a pain point for this franchise for years now. For a team that already has a fairly limited receiving core, especially when Julio Jones is injured, the need to put more weapons around Tannehill is self-evident. If Texas A&M TE Jalen Wydermeyer is available for the Titans, I like them to take him in round one or two. Otherwise, the Titans need to focus on keeping LB Rashaan Evans or finding a competent replacement.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Needs: QB, CB
Assuming Tom Brady stays retired, the Bucs will need to explore options at QB. Tyrod Taylor is certainly an option here given he’s . Pertaining to the draft and free agency, the most immediate concerns are cornerback and edge, especially if they are unable to re-sign Jason Pierre-Paul.
Green Bay Packers – Needs: WR, CB, Edge
The WR position was already scarce in Green Bay and now that Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Davante Adams are free agents, the situation has become even more dire. Regardless of what happens with Aaron moving forward, the Packers need to address insecurity at an increasingly important position in the sport. Moreover, if Za’Darius Smith becomes too much of a cap hit, they might need to let him go and get another edge rusher.
Miami Dolphins – Needs: LT, LG, RB
The Dolphins desperately need to upgrade their offensive line specifically at the LT and LG positions. With the best cap situation in the NFL I would certainly expect them to go after someone like Nate Solder or Terro Armstead in the offseason, both of whom are free agents. In the draft, I like them to pick up another offensive weapon, perhaps a physical RB like Zamir White from Georgia to complement Head Coach Mike McDaniel’s offensive style.
Kansas City Chiefs – Needs: S, CB, Edge
The Chiefs offseason needs are pretty clear —get a safety, get an edge rusher. Daniel Sorenson was abused all season and a clear weak link in a defensive backfield that was otherwise pretty solid. On the defensive line, meanwhile, the Chiefs struggled to get to the quarterback, finishing the season fourth to last in sacks behind teams like the Titans, Jets, and Jags. If Jadaeveon Clowney leaves the Browns, the Chiefs may be an ideal situation for him if he is ok with a pay cut.
Cincinnati Bengals – Needs: OL, OT, CB
The Bengals offensive line isn’t horrible though they are effectively playing backups at C and RG. If Ryan Jensen has any interest in leaving the Bucs as a free agent, the Bengals should throw the kitchen sink at him in the coming months. As far as the draft goes, I could see the Bengals going for a corner if there aren’t any formidable guards left on the board.
2022 NFL Offseason Needs – The 5 Teams Without a First Round Pick
Los Angeles Rams – Needs: OL, CB
Jalen Ramsey is great but this team got beat over the top a number of times this season — even having to bring back Eric Weddle in the playoffs because of it. One more safety like John Johnson, who they gave up after the 2020 season when they led the league in passing yards allowed, would be perfect.
San Francisco 49ers – Needs: CB, OL, WR
The Niners defensive front is so good that it often masked the shortcomings of their secondary. With Jason Verrett entering the free agency market, San Francisco is going to have to go after a corner this offseason. They should have their pick of the litter, however, as a Super Bowl contender with a somewhat stable cap situation.
Chicago Bears – Needs: OL, WR, CB
One of the bigger priorities for the Bears this offseason should be securing DL Akiem Hicks who is currently an unrestricted free agent. This defensive line is great and didn’t get a chance to show it last year due to injuries. Offensively, the Bears need another WR and RT. Rashard Higgins and Mike Williams are two guys to keep an eye on at the WR position.
Indianapolis Colts – Needs: WR, LB, Edge
Similar to the Bears, the Colts need help at WR. With one of the best running backs and run blocking lines in football, they seem to be one explosive element on offense away from being a juggernaut….. if they can get the QB right (a big if as we know). Defensively, this team could use some help at the LB position. They should go after Rashaan Evans in free agency.
Seattle Seahawks – Needs: OL, RB, DB, DL
The Seahawks need to pick up a couple offensive linemen in the offseason. In a division with the Rams, Niners, and Cardinals — three ruthless defensive fronts when healthy — they’ll be lucky if Russell Wilson doesn’t get injured again the way their offensive line is currently constructed.