The Biggest Hole Every NFL Team Still Must Fill After 2016 NFL Draft
NFL teams worked tirelessly to fill key holes throughout their rosters with 2016 draft assets. Some teams succeeded, while others failed to properly address major needs.
Ahead of the draft, B/R identified teams' requirements and predicted how the proceedings would go. Now that we know the results and rosters are closer to being set, it’s easier to see where glaring holes still exist. This article will highlight each draft class and also locate the biggest hole every team must fill after the draft.
How did your team do? Make sure to leave your thoughts and grades in the comments section below.
Team Needs: Linebacker, Tight End
The Arizona Cardinals entered the draft with one of the strongest rosters from top to bottom. Had quarterback Carson Palmer been healthier in the playoffs, it’s conceivable the Cardinals could have won the Super Bowl. Entering the draft, the Cardinals had to shore up their defensive backfield, pass-rusher situation and offensive line.
As usual, general manager Steve Keim took a variety of players to provide short-term fixes and also long-term, small-school prospects. Keim and the coaching staff have had success with their strategy, which has earned them the benefit of the doubt on any pick. The Cardinals are just left with lesser holes at linebacker and tight end after three defensive backs and two offensive linemen were drafted.
First-round pick defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche is an elite talent who could end up being the biggest steal of the draft. He and fourth-round pick Evan Boehm could immediately have an impact on the team, possibly even starting right away. There aren’t many weaknesses left on this roster.
Team Needs: Defensive End, Offensive Guard
The Atlanta Falcons did well to identify their biggest roster holes, addressing the defense early and often. Two starters were added in the first two rounds, with safety Keanu Neal and linebacker Deion Jones selected. The combination of the two is an odd choice since their skill sets are one-dimensional.
Nevertheless, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is used to working with a box safety such as Neal and light weak-side linebacker in Jones from his time with the Seattle Seahawks. The defense needed an identity, and its closer to having one. The Falcons failed to find a legitimate pass-rusher to complement Vic Beasley, so that’s a concern and a missed opportunity.
On offense, tight end Austin Hooper should prove to be an effective player. The Falcons haven’t found a reliable tight end since Tony Gonzalez retired in 2013. Hooper could step in right away and start. Sixth-round pick Wes Schweitzer is a long-term depth pick for offensive guard, but drafting a more developed player may have helped in 2016.
Team Needs: Inside Linebacker
As usual, Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome took advantage of other teams' mistakes when drafting. He found great value on Day 3, specifically helping bolster areas of need, including cornerback and wide receiver. It wouldn’t be surprising if their five fourth-round picks end up contributing early in their careers.
First-round pick Ronnie Stanley will immediately challenge for a starting spot at either left tackle or left guard. Day 2 picks Kamalei Correa and Bronson Kaufusi could provide rotational snaps at outside linebacker and defensive end, respectively. The defense badly needed an injection of youth on all three levels, and the Ravens were able to do well in achieving this goal.
The biggest hole left on the roster is at inside linebacker. This wasn’t a good class for the position, but the only depth the Ravens have is 2013 second-round pick Arthur Brown. Brown has been unable to even see the field despite his draft status, but the Ravens may have more hope for him because he's had three years to improve.
Team Needs: Offensive Line
The Buffalo Bills had one of the best draft hauls of any team. They entered the event weak at linebacker, wide receiver, defensive end and tackle. Not only did the Bills address each of those holes, but they were also able to take the best players available in the fourth and fifth rounds in quarterback Cardale Jones and running back Jonathan Williams.
Defensive end Shaq Lawson, inside linebacker Reggie Ragland and defensive tackle Adolphus Washington were great value at each of their draft spots. Lawson and Ragland could start right away, and Washington adds depth behind an aging tackle group. Head coach Rex Ryan will enjoy unleashing his new set of talent.
Jones and Williams will provide depth for an offense that has uncertainty at both quarterback and running back. The Bills did pass over offensive linemen, which is a concern, as the right tackle position is unsettled and left tackle Cordy Glenn is working on a one-year franchise tag.
This lack of depth could force their hand in the 2017 draft.
Team Needs: Defensive End, Running Back, Offensive Line
Coming off a Super Bowl trip that almost led to the franchise’s first league championship, the Carolina Panthers had more holes in their roster than most contenders. Terrific play by their defensive front seven and quarterback Cam Newton aided their unlikely 2015 campaign. That recipe could work again, but their margin for error will shrink as they start to lose talent to free agency.
That process began with Josh Norman’s release, and several other key defensive pieces may need to be replaced in 2017 because of age or contract status. It made sense for the Panthers to devote the majority of their picks to cornerback to bolster the mediocre talent at the position. Adding defensive tackle Vernon Butler was also needed as incumbents Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei will soon enter their second contracts and become more expensive.
There are still holes at defensive end, running back and offensive line. While Carolina has starters in place who can adequately perform, its backup situation at each spot is alarming. It’s fair to question whether the Panthers got tunnel vision in fixing the secondary and passed over players who could have had an effect on this team in 2016 and beyond.
Team Needs: Left Tackle, Cornerback
Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace and the coaching staff have overhauled this roster in the last two years to the point this team could be a Super Bowl contender if its players stay healthy. There are few holes on the roster left after the team devoted draft assets and free-agency dollars to upgrading almost all positions in the last two years. The last two positions with holes are left tackle and cornerback.
Second-round pick Cody Whitehair played left tackle at Kansas State, but he projects to left guard better. That’s still filling a need for the Bears offense, but it’s up to Charles Leno to lock down the position. The 2014 seventh-round pick is raw but showed glimpses he could be an average starter last year. He’ll need to be more consistent for the Bears to cross left tackle off their needs list next year.
Cornerback is the more glaring hole at this time. The Bears did select two cornerbacks in Deiondre’ Hall and DeAndre Houston-Carson on Day 3 of the draft, but each is raw and more of a long-term prospect. Starters Tracy Porter (second-round pick in 2008) and Kyle Fuller (first-round pick in 2014) are among the worst in the NFL.
Team Needs: Defensive End
Since Marvin Lewis was named head coach for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2003, the franchise has become one of the best at drafting and replacing incumbent talent. This staff works well together when identifying talent and has a knack for finding great value throughout each round. It knows when it’s time to invest early at a position and how to groom them.
The value the Bengals found on Day 3 of the draft was phenomenal. Nose tackle Andrew Billings will eventually replace Domata Peko, and fifth-round pick Christian Westerman could slide into center and be an upgrade. Sixth-round receiver Cody Core also fills a need for a developmental pass-catcher.
The Bengals filled other holes with cornerback William Jackson III, who could replace Dre Kirkpatrick as a starter, and receiver Tyler Boyd. There doesn’t appear to be an open starting position left after this draft. In the future, finding a pass-rusher who could supplant either Carlos Dunlap or Michael Johnson should be a priority.
Team Needs: Quarterback, Running Back
For as much noise as some media outlets made about the Cleveland Browns employing multiple front-office people with strong analytics backgrounds, the franchise had an impressive draft haul. Analytics boils down to finding market inefficiencies and making the most informed decisions possible. Based off the resumes for almost every player they selected, the Browns found highly productive players with a certain athletic profile are undervalued.
With holes throughout the roster, the Browns had their work cut out for them. Armed with 14 picks, the front office and coaches aggressively addressed most of the needs. This roster had suffered from a lack of depth in previous seasons, but that shouldn’t be an issue should injuries occur this season.
Although head coach Hue Jackson is confident in third-round quarterback Cody Kessler, it’s more than fair to believe the franchise is still looking for a long-term solution. The same can be said for running back, which lacks a star at the position. For now, it’s a wait-and-see approach for the many young players on the roster.
Team Needs: Defensive End, Cornerback
The Dallas Cowboys had one of the more interesting hauls at the end of the 2016 draft. Health permitting, the team figures to be a playoff contender in 2016 instead of owning a top-five pick again. Outside of their first-round pick, Ezekiel Elliott, not one of their picks is a lock to contribute this season.
Linebacker Jaylon Smith likely won’t see the field until 2017, and even then the nerve in his knee isn’t guaranteed to be fully stretched. Mid-round picks Maliek Collins and Charles Tapper are upside prospects who will need time to learn how to play. Fourth-round quarterback Dak Prescott ideally won’t see the field, either.
Long term, the Cowboys may reap big rewards for this class. But for now, there are still holes at defensive end and cornerback. Tapper and sixth-round pick Anthony Brown are unlikely to be reliable players in 2016.
Team Needs: Interior Linebacker, Interior Offensive Line
The draft board doesn’t always fall as well as it did for the Denver Broncos, who were sitting at No. 31 before a trade up to No. 26 overall. General manager John Elway and Co. swiftly acted when quarterback Paxton Lynch was falling, and they secured a top signal-caller. Lynch is a cheaper and arguably more talented player than anyone else the Broncos could have acquired this year.
The two other big holes on the roster entering the draft were inside linebacker and interior offensive line. They still exist since the Broncos did not draft a linebacker and waited to add guard Connor McGovern in the fifth round. Neither position will make or break this team in 2016, and this class is more about Lynch’s development.
Over the next few years, the Broncos may have to put more resources at center, guard and inside linebacker. Their recent history of drafting and developing talent is obviously strong. Taking the best players available in each round is also a sound strategy for the long-term health of the team.
Team Needs: Defensive End, Cornerback
The Detroit Lions needed to be aggressive in upgrading their trench play after both sides of the ball were poor in 2015. The premier players at each position came off the board quickly, but the Lions managed to accomplish their goal in the first three rounds. First-round pick Taylor Decker began that run at No. 16 overall.
Decker will instantly provide effective play in both the run and passing game. He’s a powerful blocker who can hold his own on the left side but may also switch to the right. Working out who plays where between him and Riley Reiff is a good problem to have. Defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson and center Graham Glasgow also figure to start early in their careers.
Every need can’t be realistically addressed in one class when there are more than two or three. The Lions could use more potent players at cornerback and defensive end. Expect both to be high on their shopping list throughout the next year.
Green Bay Packers
Team Needs: Wide Receiver
Like most other successful franchises, the Green Bay Packers excel at drafting and developing talent. The Packers had to walk away from this draft with multiple bodies on the defensive line and at linebacker. Green Bay invested four out of its first five picks to accomplish its goal.
First- and fourth-round picks Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry will enter a rotation on the defensive line as rookies. The same can be said for mid-rounders Kyler Fackrell and Blake Martinez, who provide needed depth and hopefully one starter at linebacker. The Packers’ other big need was at wide receiver, where they opted for a depth player in Trevor Davis.
Considering Jordy Nelson’s status coming off injury and the fact he's 30 years old, as well as the lack of obvious future starters, the Packers need to see internal growth or find another starting-caliber receiver soon. Davante Adams hasn’t delivered on his promising talent, and the trio of Jared Abbrederis, Jeff Janis and Ty Montgomery is less than inspiring.
Team Needs: Tight End
The Houston Texans have one of the top defensive units in the NFL, but they were plagued by a neutered offense in prior seasons. The remedy required a massive overhaul of playmakers across the offense. They’ll trot out a much different offense than the one that lost in the AFC Wild Card Game after the draft and free agency.
The need for a tight end was somewhat mitigated by the addition of two new receivers in the first three rounds. Will Fuller and Braxton Miller inject much-needed explosiveness around DeAndre Hopkins. New quarterback Brock Osweiler and running back Lamar Miller will greatly benefit from so many threats to the defense.
2014 third-round pick C.J. Fiedorowicz will have the spotlight on him this season on underneath routes. Head coach Bill O’Brien loves utilizing vertical routes and taking advantage of the spacing and one-on-one matchups that come with the strategy. Adding a more athletic tight end who can thrive in the passing game must be atop the Texans' wish list.
Team Needs: Edge-Rusher, Linebacker
The Indianapolis Colts were in a difficult spot. Premium positions such as cornerback and edge-rusher never last long throughout the draft, but the Colts had to bolster their offensive line and defensive front in addition to those spots. Instead of forcing their picks on lesser players, the Colts did well to fill holes with big-time prospects.
First-rounder Ryan Kelly is one of the best centers to come out of college in years. Day 2 picks T.J. Green and Le’Raven Clark are raw but have the physical tools to become excellent players. General manager Ryan Grigson did well on Day 3 to add depth options.
The lack of an impact edge-rusher is concerning. The Colts’ ceiling is limited as a team without a stud outside linebacker to help the rest of the defense. The trio of Trent Cole, Robert Mathis and Erik Walden doesn’t scare anyone.
Team Needs: Offensive Line
The 2016 NFL draft brought exciting results for a handful of teams, but the Jacksonville Jaguars may have had the finest of all. Landing both cornerback Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Myles Jack could prove to be a franchise-altering decision if Jack can stay healthy. At one point, each was considered a top-five talent in this class.
The Jaguars continued to find solid role players who could help their previously woeful pass rush with their third-, fourth- and sixth-round picks. What they couldn’t find is an upgrade to the offensive line. The free-agency addition of Kelvin Beachum allowed them to bypass the position in the draft.
Since the roster is so young and there are multiple starters on rookie contracts, there may be some development at the safety and offensive guard position. This is more of a nitpick than it is a clear hole in the roster until we see this overhauled team play.
Kansas City Chiefs
Team Needs: Safety
A repeat playoff participant usually lacks significant holes rookies can immediately fill, and the Chiefs fit the bill. They had the luxury to draft for the next few years and will hope to see an impact from rotational snaps from young players. Their biggest holes entering the draft included defensive tackle, cornerback and offensive line.
The Chiefs agreed, as they invested their first three picks into those respective positions in that order. The one position that could have used another body is safety, although the team has churned through depth players in an effort to find a better long-term starter than Jamell Fleming. For now, they’re set, especially if backup Stevie Brown can be more consistent than Ron Parker was in 2015.
The other position to watch moving forward is wide receiver. Jeremy Maclin is a star, and young players Albert Wilson and Chris Conley have the talent to make this a formidable unit. Someone else must join them. It could be fourth-round pick Demarcus Robinson, who is ultra talented if he’s focused.
Los Angeles Rams
Team Needs: Safety, Cornerback
There’s a way to properly build around a quarterback to help maximize the chances of creating a winning team. The recipe isn’t exact, but it does feature investing in playmakers and the running game to reduce the pressure on the signal-caller at some point. The Los Angeles Rams traded up to No. 1 overall for their quarterback in Jared Goff, then surrounded him with quality talent with their other picks.
The Rams also had significant holes at tight end and wide receiver, so they devoted four total picks to those positions. Just one of their six picks went to the defensive side of the ball, with Kentucky inside linebacker Josh Forrest adding depth. But there were other holes that were passed over.
Losing Janoris Jenkins and Rodney McLeod won’t be the end of the world, but it’s important to find their successors as soon as possible. The Rams didn’t draft anyone at either position, so they’ll want to be aggressive with undrafted free agents and veteran cuts to unearth talent. With the offense in place, this staff can focus on keeping the defense strong.
Team Needs: Linebacker, Defensive End, Defensive Tackle
The Miami Dolphins got a huge break when left tackle Laremy Tunsil fell to the 13th overall pick. Tunsil is a rare offensive tackle prospect who would have been a top-six pick if not for off-field concerns. The Dolphins have struggled with the offensive line for years, but he’ll serve as the building block for the future.
Potential starters in cornerback Xavien Howard and wide receiver Leonte Carroo were attained at a heavy cost in trades, but Miami did need talent at each position. The rest of Miami’s draft was dedicated to subpackage players, which was strange. At least head coach Adam Gase will have multiple weapons to unleash in his first year with the team.
The Dolphins defense was barely touched all offseason and specifically in the draft. The lack of clear upgrades could make for another long season in 2016. There’s little quality depth on this defense in the front seven that will allow the team to withstand an injury.
Team Needs: Defensive Tackle
Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman didn’t have many holes to fill in this draft after he completely revamped the previously terrible offensive line in free agency. Some more depth along the line was added via the draft, but there’s not a starting job open. The glaring need for this team was to finally add more talent at wide receiver.
2015 fifth-round pick Stefon Diggs and 2016 first-round pick Laquon Treadwell will form a nice duo for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to work with. Diggs was a standout rookie who outperformed his draft slot, but he was the only real threat Bridgewater had last season. Treadwell is the ideal “X” alpha receiver for a third-year quarterback.
This roster just needs some depth at defensive tackle. Previous draft classes have built a strong pipeline of talent on both sides of the ball. This team is ready to contend for a Super Bowl.
New England Patriots
Team Needs: Middle Linebacker, Running back
The benefit of having Bill Belichick is not only that he runs laps around other teams on the field, but he may do his best work in the offseason. The New England Patriots had nine draft picks by the end of the event and minor holes left on their roster. His in-draft maneuvering and ability to sense positional runs is second to none.
Cornerback Cyrus Jones and wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell may be the only two from this class to make an impact in 2016 since the team had needs there prior to the draft. Barring injuries, the rest of the drafted players may not see the field much until 2017. But the depth added is valuable since every team will eventually see injuries.
The lack of average, reliable starters at running back and middle linebacker are the biggest concerns with this team. The combination of LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis is serviceable, but Lewis is more of a receiver and has a history of major injuries. Middle linebacker Jonathan Freeny has been below average in his previous stints elsewhere and should be a special teams player.
New Orleans Saints
Team Needs: Defensive End, Offensive Guard
Entering the 2016 NFL draft, the New Orleans Saints had one task: add as much talent throughout the roster as possible. It was mission accomplished, as the team added five quality players who will start contributing right away. The Saints have been slowly adding young talent to ease their cap woes in the last two seasons.
This class looks promising as well. They took advantage of having three picks in the top 61 overall by drafting three sure starters. There are positions of need the Saints couldn’t address, though. Defensive end is especially weak. This was a poor edge class in general, though, so adding receiver Michael Thomas with the 47th pick will bring greater value.
Shoring up the offensive guard and linebacker positions will be key for the Saints. Projected starting right guard Cyril Lemon is far from an ideal starter. Finding a left guard of the future after Andrus Peat can move to tackle is also a priority.
New York Giants
Team Needs: Offensive Tackle, Linebacker
New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese had a difficult task with this draft. He had multiple starting roles to fill, and he nailed it. His most questionable pick came in the first round, with Eli Apple more of a long-term need than someone to contribute in 2016. Apple joins two other boundary corners in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins, and he doesn’t have the skill set as a slot corner.
The rest of the draft looks like one of the best this year. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard and safety Darian Thompson project as above-average starters. Linebacker B.J. Goodson, running back Paul Perkins and tight end Jerell Adams are at least role players and potential starters.
Passing over an offensive tackle may be a costly decision, though. It’s Marshall Newhouse’s job to lose at right tackle. The journeyman hasn’t been the answer in multiple other places, so quarterback Eli Manning likely won’t be comfortable in the pocket often if he sticks as the starter.
New York Jets
Team Needs: Offensive Line, Edge-Rusher
The New York Jets were another team that had a great draft. While I’m far from a Christian Hackenberg fan, just looking at the totality of their haul and forgetting where they took him—moving up to grab him in the second round—makes it look much better. Key needs such as linebacker and depth throughout the roster were addressed with high-upside prospects.
The combination of Darron Lee and Jordan Jenkins is a terrific one to inject into this roster. Lee is a defensive weapon and Jenkins will benefit from moving into a 3-4 role. There’s still room to add a pure rusher who can be dedicated to that role full time.
There’s a need for more depth on the offensive line too. Almost all of the Jets’ backups there are undrafted free agents. Fifth-round pick Brandon Shell is an intriguing player who can be developed.
Team Needs: Cornerback, Right Tackle, Linebacker
As well as Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie has done over the last few years, his 2016 class was disappointing. Selecting safety Karl Joseph could be a home run, but the rest of his picks were uninspiring. Second- and third-round picks Jihad Ward and Shilique Calhoun are more depth players than potentially good starters.
Drafting quarterback Connor Cook in the fourth round after trading up was head-scratching as well. The team didn’t need to waste an asset on him and forgo bigger needs. In fact, the Raiders completely passed on their biggest holes of cornerback and right tackle in the draft.
That’s a concern since there are young players who have yet to prove themselves at those valuable positions. Each will become a high priority next year if someone fails to emerge. More depth at middle linebacker would’ve also been useful.
Team Needs: Running Back, Wide Receiver
For a team lacking early picks because of a trade up from No. 8 to No. 2, the Philadelphia Eagles were able to address several significant roster holes. Obviously, the addition of quarterback Carson Wentz will make or break the haul, but the offensive line was upgraded and their late Day 3 picks are dripping with upside. As years pass, the Eagles may look even better for this performance.
The one concern left with the Eagles is their playmaker situation. Veteran running backs Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles are good for the short term, but there’s no future workhorse on the roster. Fifth-round pick Wendell Smallwood is more of a Sproles replacement than No. 1 back.
The receiver position isn’t bad but could have used another body to challenge for the fourth spot. Young players Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor and Josh Huff are talented but need to find consistency. The Eagles may have more faith in Rueben Randle than I do.
Team Needs: Edge-Rusher
The Pittsburgh Steelers had a productive 2016 draft, as they not only filled holes throughout their defense but found excellent athletes throughout their class. This team has had a slow and old defense for too long, but that identity is almost gone. Their only two non-athletes taken came in the seventh round.
Defensive backs Artie Burns and Sean Davis and defensive tackle Javon Hargrave are standout athletes who can get on the field right away. The Steelers had to find a starting cornerback and safety, and it’s likely Burns and Davis quickly claim their roles. Hargrave will be a rotational player on a talented defensive line.
There’s still a hole at outside linebacker for an edge-rusher, though. Neither Jarvis Jones nor Bud Dupree showed much in 2015, and Jones is especially concerning since he’s been in the league for three years. Dupree has much more time considering he was a known project who needed time to develop.
San Diego Chargers
Team Needs: Safety, Offensive Tackle, Wide Receiver
The San Diego Chargers had one of the most productive and impressive drafts this year. Adding defensive end Joey Bosa was surprising, but he’s a terrific and dominant player to pair with Melvin Ingram. The Chargers also added several other potential starters through the fifth round.
Second- and third-round picks tight end Hunter Henry and offensive lineman Max Tuerk will play big roles for this team right away, especially if Tuerk is healthy. He suffered a torn ACL in 2015 but is a rare athlete for the position and was the top center in the class prior to the injury. Henry is a versatile receiving tight end who could replace Antonio Gates in the near future.
There are more holes the Chargers just couldn’t get to. Depth at safety, offensive tackle and wide receiver wasn’t bolstered. But the possibility of adding four or five starters was much more important than depth guys for this team.
San Francisco 49ers
Team Needs: Quarterback
New head coach Chip Kelly and incumbent general manager Trent Baalke had a lot of needs entering this draft and enough ammunition to swing on most of them. They executed by landing some of the top positional players in the class. Both first-round picks DeForest Buckner and guard Joshua Garnett will immediately prop up their respective units.
Depth and upside players were added in the secondary and along the offensive line in later rounds. The 49ers have a young roster, so if one or two individuals take the next step in development over the next year or two, then this class will get Kelly's tenure off to a good start. The biggest question mark left comes at quarterback.
Unable to trade Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers opted to add a potential backup in Jeff Driskel from Louisiana Tech. Although Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert are at least playable, the long-term need at the position is glaring. They’ll have to be aggressive in finding one next year.
Team Needs: Cornerback
Giving a team like the Seattle Seahawks 10 total picks is dangerous since they have such a good record of finding quality talent. The team needed more trench talent, so the Seahawks added first-round right tackle Germain Ifedi, third-round guard Rees Odhiambo and sixth-round center Joey Hunt. They also addressed the defensive line with two picks in the first five rounds.
Luxury picks at running back, tight end and wide receiver will help give more depth at those positions as well. It is fair to ask whether the Seahawks should have taken a cornerback at some point. The depth chart is not promising outside of Richard Sherman.
Getting Jeremy Lane back from injury is a nice boost, and re-signing Brandon Browner may prove to be wise. A good rookie could have pushed Tharold Simon and Tye Smith on the bottom of the roster, especially since neither is particularly effective. That is the only gripe with this class.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Team Needs: Safety, Wide Receiver
It takes luck to squeeze the most out of the draft because some good players have to fall at some point. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be quite happy with their draft haul after nabbing both cornerback Vernon Hargreaves and edge-rusher Noah Spence. Both are arguably top-15 talents on the field in this class.
Each also fills a huge need for the Buccaneers. It’s conceivable both will start as rookies and maximize their value to the team. We also cannot forget about the addition of kicker Roberto Aguayo. It was strange for the Buccaneers to move up for Aguayo, but he is a rare prospect at the position and his value is at an all-time high.
The lack of an above-average starting-caliber safety on the roster is a concern, as the Buccaneers opted for developmental talent elsewhere over drafting someone. The same can be said for wide receiver, which has zero proven depth behind stars Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans. It’s up to the half-dozen young players to give quarterback Jameis Winston another consistent target.
Team Needs: Cornerback
Filling all possible roster holes is a much easier proposition with 10 total picks and five within the top 64. The Tennessee Titans had a handful of positions requiring maintenance entering the three-day event and walked away with just one. Even there, the Titans did add two cornerbacks.
This was a workmanlike collection of talent for the Titans. Their first three picks aren’t sexy, but each brings a high floor and should see the field in some form right away. First-round pick Jack Conklin in particular must be a stud to help protect quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Cornerback is still a need because of the unproven talent at the position and youth of the roster. Every corner on the roster is average at best, although Mr. Irrelevant Kalan Reed was one of my favorite draft sleepers. Veterans Perrish Cox and Jason McCourty will need to carry this young unit in 2016.
Team Needs: Defensive Line, Center, Running Back
The Washington Redskins had a decent, productive draft. They were the only team to exit the draft with the exact holes they had before the picks were turned. This is because the Redskins had so many positions needing talent that general manager Scot McCloughan felt he could go elsewhere and still boost the roster.
He wasn’t wrong. The Redskins needed another wide receiver for the future, and Josh Doctson will greatly help both now and in the long term. Mid-round picks Su’a Cravens, Kendall Fuller and Matthew Ioannidis could earn starting jobs in the next two years. There’s more depth than there’s been in a long time with this team.
But it is fair to question whether the Redskins would have been better off with a second defensive lineman, a center and a workhorse running back. The state of the roster shows below-average starters at each spot, and the depth is poor as well. McCloughan missed an opportunity to help his team in 2016.
Ian Wharton is an NFL Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.