Every NFL Team's Biggest Need This Late in Free Agency
We've hit something of a calm before the storm.
The first couple of waves of free agency in the NFL have already swept across the league. Dozens of players have signed massive contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. There were also a pair of trades for megastar wide receivers that left jaws on the floor from coast to coast.
However, the fun is only now just beginning. There are still plenty of free agents out there floating around looking for work, including big names like Ndamukong Suh and Jordy Nelson. After that comes the three days of mayhem that is the 2019 NFL draft.
There's still work to be done—and that's a good thing.
Because there are still holes on all 32 teams that need to be addressed.
Some teams have areas of need all over the place. Others have only a few. Or just one.
But every team, no matter its situation, has one need that looms above all others as we move into the latter stages of free agency and hurtle toward the draft in Nashville.
Arizona Cardinals: Offensive Tackle
Most of the offseason buzz surrounding the Arizona Cardinals of late has centered around whether the Redbirds will eschew taking Nick Bosa first overall and instead select a quarterback in Round 1 for the second straight year.
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
However, while the spotlight might be focused on Kyler Murray, it also needs to be shined behind him—to the left edge of the Arizona O-line.
To their credit, the Cardinals have already hit the offensive line in free agency, adding tackle Marcus Gilbert and guard J.R. Sweezy. But Sweezy will be on his third team in as many seasons, and Gilbert's missed 20 games over the last two seasons.
Even if both players pan out, it doesn't solve Arizona's problem at left tackle, where fifth-year pro D.J. Humphries (who has himself missed 18 games over the last two seasons) hasn't come close to living up to his status as a first-round pick.
Atlanta Falcons: Cornerback
The Atlanta Falcons aren't a team with any major, glaring needs. In fact, most of the team's holes are as much a matter of depth as anything, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
On defense, it's a bit of a different story. With Vic Beasley so far unable to duplicate his 2016 breakout, it can be argued that edge-rush help is required. So is a tackle next to Grady Jarrett, whom the Falcons retained via the franchise tag.
However, the secondary's even more pressing. It's understandable that the team bid goodbye to veteran cornerback Robert Alford, and it hopes to have a replacement waiting in the wings in second-year pro Isaiah Oliver.
But it's no sure thing that the 2018 second-rounder will be able to hold down the spot opposite Desmond Trufant. Even if Oliver can, subpackage depth behind the pair is needed.
The Falcons should be well-positioned to just about have their choice of this year's cornerbacks at No. 14, but it wouldn't be a shock if Atlanta waited until Day 2 to add to the secondary given the depth at the position in 2019.
Baltimore Ravens: Edge-Rusher
The Baltimore Ravens are an object lesson in how much the needs of an NFL team can change once free agency begins. And they can change in a hurry.
First something happened that was once unthinkable. Per ESPN, veteran outside linebacker Terrell Suggs turned down a "handsome" offer from the Ravens and signed with the Arizona Cardinals.
"It was just time," Suggs said. "That organization, that team is very special and dear to me, but so is the Valley of the Sun. It feels good to be wearing Cardinal red now."
Then it was Za'Darius Smith, who paced the team with 8.5 sacks a year ago. He's gone now as well after inking a four-year, $66 million pact with the Green Bay Packers.
The Ravens still have a pair of Day 2 picks from a year ago on the roster in Tim Williams and Tyus Bowser, but that pair combined for just 2.5 sacks as rookies.
It's a very real problem for a team that picks outside the top 20 in the 2019 NFL draft.
Buffalo Bills: Defensive Line
The Buffalo Bills can't be accused of sitting on their hands in free agency. The Bills have been very active, including an overhaul of the wide receiver position with the addition of John Brown and Cole Beasley. Buffalo also added a new starting center in Mitch Morse.
The Bills haven't had the same success upgrading the defense, though. It needs it—especially a pass rush that notched just 36 sacks in 2019, seventh-fewest in the NFL.
The Bills have some talent on the edge in Trent Murphy, Jerry Hughes and Shaq Lawson, and per Nick Wojton of Bills Wire, Ezekiel Ansah (the best of the remaining free-agent edge-rushers) has met with the team. With upward of $35 million in cap space left, Buffalo's still got the wiggle room to add Ansah.
That would set the Bills up to address the interior of the line with the ninth overall pick in this year's draft. Houston's Ed Oliver has been a popular pick for the Bills in the draftnik community of late.
Carolina Panthers: Wide Receiver
For a team that opened free agency without a ton of cash, the Carolina Panthers did a good job filling holes. The Panthers addressed the retirement of center Ryan Kalil by signing Matt Paradis, and prevented another hole from opening by re-upping right tackle Daryl Williams.
An argument can be made that left tackle is the team's biggest need now, but after a solid season on the right side, Taylor Moton has a puncher's chance of holding down that spot.
That leaves a position that's been a sore spot for the Panthers for years—wide receiver.
Both second-year pro DJ Moore (55/788/2) and third-year man Curtis Samuel (39/494/5) showed promise last season for the Panthers, but Carolina has all of one wide receiver on the roster who has logged a 1,000-yard season—Torrey Smith, all the way back in 2013.
Given that, it wouldn't be an upset to see the Panthers draft a wide receiver in Round 1 for the second year in a row, and it's more than a little likely the team will add one relatively early in the draft.
Chicago Bears: Cornerback
The Chicago Bears haven't been especially active in free agency, but the team also doesn't have a ton of holes that need filling. Chicago brought back right tackle Bobby Massie, and while the team lost Adrian Amos in free agency, it was able to replace him with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
The Bears even added some running back help on the cheap by signing Mike Davis away from the Seattle Seahawks.
However, one of Chicago's replacement plans doesn't look as good on paper—swapping out Bryce Callahan for Buster Skrine in the slot.
Yes, the 29-year-old Skrine is an eight-year veteran, but he's spent most of those eight years with the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns getting torched. There's a reason why the switch was almost universally called a significant downgrade for the reigning NFC North champs.
At the very least, the Bears need to add depth behind Skrine, Prince Amukamara and Kyle Fuller. At most, it won't take long in the upcoming season for the Bears to wish they had a Plan B behind Skrine.
Cincinnati Bengals: Linebacker
At a whopping 413.6 yards surrendered per game in 2018, the Cincinnati Bengals fielded the worst defense in the National Football League—in no small part because the linebacker corps both underperformed and was hit hard by injuries.
That linebacker corps was already a pressing need for the Bengals this offseason, and while re-signing veteran Preston Brown was a step in the right direction, the recent release of Vontaze Burfict only amplifies the severity of Cincy's situation.
Outside Brown, the Bengals didn't make any additions at the position in free agency—not surprising given the whopper contracts handed to the likes of C.J. Mosley and Kwon Alexander. That leaves the 11th pick in this year's draft as the Bengals' best opportunity to add an impact player.
If LSU's Devin White (the no-doubt No. 1 off-ball linebacker in this class) makes it to No. 11, he won't make it to No. 12. But if White's off the board already, Devin Bush of Michigan is a real possibility here.
Cleveland Browns: Strong Safety
The Cleveland Browns have been wildly aggressive in adding personnel so far this offseason—both through free agency and a pair of trades with the New York Giants.
One fortified the defensive line with the addition of end Olivier Vernon—an overhaul that continued with the lucrative contract handed to tackle Sheldon Richardson. The other was the blockbuster that sent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to Cleveland in exchange for two draft picks (including No. 17 overall) and safety Jabrill Peppers.
Those moves by general manager John Dorsey have installed the Browns as the early favorites in the AFC North (which may be a sign of the Apocalypse). But dealing Peppers also opened a hole at the back end of the Cleveland defense—a hole the team has yet to fill.
There are some veteran safeties still available on the open market such as Clayton Geathers and Kurt Coleman, but the team's best bet might lie with a rookie like Mississippi State's Johnathan Abram or Washington's Taylor Rapp in the second round of April's draft.
Dallas Cowboys: Safety
For a significant portion of the offseason, it appeared that the Dallas Cowboys and safety Earl Thomas were on a collision course. It was just a matter of time before the 10th-year veteran signed to play with a star on his hat.
As is so often the case with "sure things" like that in free agency, it didn't happen—Thomas signed a four-year, $55 million deal to join the Baltimore Ravens. And the Cowboys are back to square one in regard to upgrading over Jeff Heath at the back end of the Dallas defense.
The free-agent safeties have been picked over at this point, but in Eric Berry, Tre Boston and Jahleel Addae, there are still a few veteran options available.
However, the better course of action for the Cowboys might be to consider a rookie like Johnathan Abram of Mississippi State or Washington's Taylor Rapp in the first couple rounds of the draft. It's not a bumper crop at the position, but in a draft class so loaded with edge-rushers, we could see one or more of the top safeties drop.
Denver Broncos: Inside Linebacker
It's been quite the revolving door of personnel for the Denver Broncos in the offseason.
Case Keenum is gone at quarterback, replaced by Joe Flacco.
The Broncos lost their starting center (Matt Paradis) and guard (Max Garcia) but added a new right tackle in Ja'Wuan James.
There was a cornerback switch, too—Bradley Roby out, Bryce Callahan in.
It will be some time before we see what the sum impact of all that player movement will be. But this much we know already—new Broncos DC Vic Fangio still doesn't have a quarterback for his defense.
Todd Davis is a capable pro at inside linebacker, but he's not much more than that. With Brandon Marshall a free agent, second-year pro Josey Jewell (and his limited range) is penciled in as the starter next to him.
It's a problem that could be solved in a big way with the addition of LSU's Devin White at No. 10—provided the Butkus Award winner makes it that far.
Detroit Lions: Offensive Guard
The Detroit Lions were highly aggressive in addressing needs in free agency—and weren't shy about spending cash to do so. Whether it was at edge-rusher (Trey Flowers), tight end (Jesse James) or cornerback (Justin Coleman), Lions general manager Bob Quinn was as busy as any executive in the NFL filling needs over the past few weeks.
That puts the Lions in position to go best player available rather than drafting for need at No. 8. But at some point in the NFL draft, there's one spot the Lions are going to have to attempt to improve at.
The Lions are relatively set at left guard after taking Frank Ragnow out of Arkansas in Round 1 a year ago, but the starter at right guard is a big-time question mark.
In players like Chris Lindstrom of Boston College, Ohio State's Michael Jordan and Wisconsin's Michael Deiter, there are a number of prospects who could be available on the draft's second day who would provide an upgrade on the interior of the Lions' O-Line.
Green Bay Packers: Wide Receiver
Not that long ago, the top offseason needs for the Green Bay Packers were dominated by defense. But second-year general manager Brian Gutekunst went hard at the defense in free agency, adding safety Adrian Amos and throwing a fortune at the pass rush with big contracts for Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith (no relation).
Now it's time to do something about a position group that for years was one of Green Bay's strengths, the wide receivers.
As things stand right now, Aaron Rodgers has Davante Adams at his disposal—and a ton of question marks. Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdez-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown have all shown momentary flashes, but none are exactly reliable targets.
This isn't to say the Packers should necessarily spend the 12th overall pick on a wide receiver, although it could be tempting if Green Bay can have its pick of the lot there.
But Green Bay has two more picks inside the top 50—No. 30 and No. 44. It's a safe bet that one of those selections will be a receiver. South Carolina's Deebo Samuel could be a nice target as a replacement for Randall Cobb in the slot.
Houston Texans: Offensive Tackle
The early stages of free agency were a revolving door in the Houston secondary. While the team was able to replace the losses of versatile defensive backs Kareem Jackson and Tyrann Mathieu with the additions of Bradley Roby and Tashaun Gipson, it's hard to view either move as a net gain for the team.
It also did nothing to address the proverbial elephant in the room at Reliant Stadium—a woeful offensive line that surrendered a league-high 62 sacks in 2018.
Getting a healthy Seantrel Henderson back at right tackle will help, but if last year was any indication, third-year pro Julie'n Davenport is no kind of long-term answer on Deshaun Watson's blind side.
With the 23rd pick in this year's draft, the Texans aren't in a favorable spot to address the tackle position in Round 1. But in a draft class heavy with defensive talent at the top, it's possible that a player like Oklahoma's Cody Ford or Greg Little of Ole Miss could slip a bit.
If either one does, the Texans will pounce...even after signing Matt Kalil on Friday.
Indianapolis Colts: Edge-Rushers
With well over $100 million in cap space entering free agency—far and away the most in the NFL—the Indianapolis Colts were positioned to be major players in free agency. General manager Chris Ballard took a very cautious approach, though—the closest thing the Colts made to a "splash" signing was a prove-it deal for wide receiver Devin Funchess and a relatively modest (by edge-rush standards, anyway) two-year, ,$24 million pact for outside linebacker Justin Houston.
Adding Houston was a big get. But given his age, recent injury history and the fact he hasn't had a double-digit sack season since 2014, Houston's arrival doesn't completely solve Indy's problems with the pass rush.
Again, signing Houston was just about the best-case for the Colts so far as free-agent edge-rushers go. But the fact he was available at all demonstrates that he's not a cure-all.
By the time the Colts pick at No. 26, most (if not all) of the biggest names on the defensive front could be off the board.
But it only takes one slipping through for a team short on holes and long on potential to be able to continue to fortify its most glaring need.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Offensive Tackle
The Jacksonville Jaguars made one of the marquee moves of the 2019 edition of free agency, agreeing to terms on a four-year, $88 million contract to make Nick Foles the team's new starting quarterback.
However, if Foles is really going to be the quarterback who leads the Jaguars back to the playoffs, it might be a good idea if the Jags made a concerted effort to keep the 30-year-old upright.
Third-year pro Cam Robinson, who is currently slated to start on Foles' blind side, made it just two games into his second NFL season before tearing his ACL. After the team released Jeremy Parnell, second-year pro Will Richardson is penciled in on the right side.
His next NFL snap will be his first—the former fourth-round pick missed his entire rookie season with a knee injury of his own.
With the seventh pick on April 25, the Jaguars are in position to just about have their pick of this year's tackles.
Decide on a favorite and take him.
Kansas City Chiefs: Outside Linebacker
The good news for the Kansas City Chiefs is that Chris Jones emerged as one of the best pass-rushing 3-4 ends in the NFL in 2018, amassing 15.5 sacks.
The bad news is that he's just about the only pass-rusher the team has at this point.
Kansas City slapped the franchise tag on outside linebacker Dee Ford after a 13-sack 2018 campaign, only to flip Ford to the San Francisco 49ers. Batterymate Justin Houston was shown the door in a cost-savings move after a nine-sack 2018 season.
The Chiefs tied for the NFL lead with 52 sacks last year, but 42 percent of those sacks have been jettisoned in the last few weeks—and replacing them is going to be difficult.
Kansas City added Alex Okafor in free agency, but he hasn't had five sacks in a season since 2014. The Chiefs have about $24 million in cap space, but the market for pass-rush help has been picked over. KC doesn't pick until No. 29, so even in a draft loaded with edge-rushers, getting an impact player is no sure thing.
It's a serious dilemma for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.
Los Angeles Chargers: Defensive Tackle
The Los Angeles Chargers had quite the season last year, winning 12 games and earning a victory in the playoffs. The Bolts are also in the enviable position of not having a ton of holes that need filling in the offseason.
However, there's one that stands out—and it's only grown larger of late.
As Gavino Borquez of Chargers Wire reported, the Arizona Cardinals have agreed to terms on a two-year, $10 million contract with fifth-year pro Darius Philon. With over 40 tackles and at least four sacks in each of the past two seasons, Philon had emerged of late as L.A.'s most reliable interior lineman.
With Philon gone and Corey Liuget also a free agent, the beef between Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa on the defensive line is getting rather lean.
Finding defensive tackle help has now become the Chargers' top priority in this year's draft. With a bit of luck, Clemson's Christian Wilkins might make it to No. 28, but if he doesn't, another tackle like Notre Dame's Jerry Tillery could be on the team's radar as well.
Los Angeles Rams: Offensive Guard
The Rams made it as far as Super Bowl LIII, in part because it's a roster that doesn't have many needs. In keeping Dante Fowler around and adding Clay Matthews, the Rams solved their potential issue at rush linebacker.
The team did an excellent job of replacing Lamarcus Joyner, bringing in a six-time Pro Bowler in veteran safety Eric Weddle.
Depending on how things shake out with Ndamukong Suh's free agency, defensive tackle could become an area of need for the team. But after watching another All-Pro walk out the door in long-time guard Rodger Saffold, the Rams are now left with the unenviable task of replacing the longest-tenured player on the team.
Finding an immediate starter on the offensive line at the 31st overall pick could be difficult, but in young interior linemen like Chris Lindstrom of Boston College and Erik McCoy of Texas A&M, there are a couple of guards with real potential who could be there.
The Rams need to shore up the protection in front of Jared Goff if another Super Bowl run is to be in the offing.
Miami Dolphins: Defensive Line
Let's be clear: In the over-arching, long-term sense of the word, the defensive line isn't close to being the biggest need the Miami Dolphins have. That would be the quarterback position, where the Dolphins have the recently signed Ryan Fitzpatrick as the placeholder for—someone.
But there continues to be scuttlebutt galore that the Dolphins aren't interested in drafting a quarterback in 2019. Instead, they'll let Fitzpatrick's beard hold down the fort and take a quarterback next spring—after what looks to be a hot mess of a 2019 campaign.
If those reports are accurate, then the defensive line becomes the position the Dolphins have the best chance of landing an impact player at with the 13th overall pick.
Miami's need along the defensive front is almost as dire as at quarterback. Cameron Wake is gone. So is Andre Branch. Robert Quinn continues to be the subject of trade talks.
Whether it's on the outside at end or up the middle at tackle, the Dolphins need both quantity and quality on the defensive line.
It's gonna be a long season in Miami.
Minnesota Vikings: Offensive Guard
The Minnesota Vikings haven't done a lot in free agency this year, which isn't surprising—as things stand today, Minnesota's only sitting on about $5.5 million in cap space, according to Over the Cap. That's essentially enough to take care of the rookie class—and that's about it.
That's unfortunate for the Vikings, because it gives the team little resources with which to upgrade an offensive line that was a considerable problem area a year ago.
There really isn't a position on the offensive line where the team doesn't need help. But the interior is especially weak—whether it's Pat Elflein at center or projected starters Aviante Collins and Josh Kline at guard.
As is the case every year, much of what the Vikings do at No. 18 will depend on how the draft plays out ahead of them. But if Cody Ford of Oklahoma (a tackle some draftniks believe projects better in the NFL as a guard) makes it to that selection, he'd likely be a hard player for the Vikings to pass on.
New England Patriots: Wide Receiver
The New England Patriots are better than just about any team in the NFL at plugging holes on an annual basis. Every year, players depart Beantown, just as Trey Flowers and Trent Brown did this year.
And every year, the Patriots seemingly manage to fill those holes.
Every. Single. Year.
The Patriots have already taken steps to make up for the loss of Flowers, swinging a deal with the Eagles that brought veteran defensive end Michael Bennett to town. The team has also added low-cost receiver help in Maurice Harris and hopes to have an in-house replacement on the roster for Flowers in second-year pro Isaiah Wynn.
In other words, the phrase "greatest need" is a relative term for the Super Bowl champions. It's more the area of need where the Patriots have the best chance at making a dent with the last pick in the first round.
That would likely be at wide receiver, where the Pats had a number of players hit free agency. The high-end names will be off the board, but what the wideouts lack in elite talent the class makes up for in depth.
New Orleans Saints: Wide Receiver
The Saints don't have a plethora of holes to fill this offseason after making the NFC Championship Game last year. The team also doesn't have many assets with which to attend to those holes—less than $20 million in cap space and just one draft pick in the first three rounds.
If the Saints are going to get markedly better, the team's either going to have to hit on that second-round pick or make a very fortuitous discount signing in free agency.
And if there's a position the team should try to hit that target at, it's at wide receiver. There are a couple veteran free agents still available in Jordy Nelson and Michael Crabtree, who, while past their prime, could still serve as an underneath complement to Michael Thomas.
There are also Day 2 draft prospects like Georgia's Riley Ridley or Kelvin Harmon of North Carolina State who could be in play when the Saints finally pick at No. 62.
New York GIants: A Competent GM
That's right. I said it.
It's been an, um, interesting couple of years for the New York Giants. Last year, the team passed on a quarterback at No. 2 to take tailback Saquon Barkley, and while Barkley went on to win Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, the Giants pitched and lurched their way to a last-place finish in the NFC East.
This year, the Giants have traded a high-priced pass-rusher for an equally expensive guard. Not one year after re-signing superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants flipped him to Cleveland for the 17th overall pick, a third-rounder and safety Jabrill Peppers.
The latter was obtained as a replacement for three-time Pro-Bowler Landon Collins, who left after general manager Dave Gettleman decided not to use the franchise tag on the team's best defensive player.
But wait! There's more!
After trading Beckham as part of a purported rebuild, the Giants "replaced" him by paying a slot receiver (Golden Tate) north of 30 years old almost $10 million a season over four years.
Per Giants beat writer Art Stapleton, Gettleman insisted there's a plan. "Over time, you'll see it," he said. "You have to trust it."
If anyone figures it out, let the rest of us confused schmucks know.
At least the report that the Giants weren't interested in Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins has been debunked.
New York Jets: Pass-Rushers
The New York Jets haven't been even a little bit shy about adding players in free agency. The Jets made one of the biggest splash signings on each side of the ball, bringing in tailback Le'Veon Bell to boost the offense and handing inside linebacker C.J. Mosley a five-year, $85 million deal to quarterback the defense.
Still, the team's most glaring area of weakness remains untouched—Gang Green's pass rush is pretty gangrenous.
Last year, the Jets were a middle-of-the-pack team in sacks, ranking 16th in the league with 39. And while the Jets did at least re-up defensive lineman Henry Anderson (who tied for the team lead with seven sacks in 2018), the team's done nothing to improve in that area.
New defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has stated that the Jets will remain a 3-4 base defense so that the overhaul on that side of the ball won't be as drastic. But it will be a major upset in a loaded draft class if the third overall pick isn't a player like Kentucky's Josh Allen or Alabama's Quinnen Williams.
Jets GM Mike Maccagnan is undoubtedly praying that some way, somehow, Ohio State's Nick Bosa falls a couple of spots on April 25.
Oakland Raiders: Pass-Rushers
Like the New York Jets, the Oakland Raiders have been very active in free agency. The Raiders made Trent Brown the highest-paid offensive tackle in the NFL and swung the doozy of a deal that brought wideout Antonio Brown to the Bay Area.
Just like the New York Jets, the Raiders also have a top-five draft pick—one of three first-rounders after all the team's machinations last year.
And just like the Jets, the Raiders are probably going to spend that pick on an edge-rusher—because there isn't a team in the NFL that needs more help in that regard than Oakland.
That the Raiders were dead last in the NFL in sacks in 2018 doesn't do the futility of their pass rush justice. Last year the Raiders managed just 13 sacks—for the season—as a team.
Six players had more than that individually.
That fourth overall pick could net the Raiders Allen. Or Williams. Or Mississippi State's Montez Sweat.
As a matter of fact, it wouldn't be at all surprising to see the Raiders double-up on pass-rushers in Round 1.
The need is that pressing.
Philadelphia Eagles: Running Back
There are two major needs for the Philadelphia Eagles after the first couple weeks of free agency—one on each side of the ball.
For better or worse, both also happen to be at positions that don't historically have a ton of value.
On defense, the team is thin at linebacker after watching Jordan Hicks bail for the Arizona Cardinals. The Eagles brought in veteran L.J. Fort in an effort to help plug the leak, but Fort's never been a full-time starter. The top-two inside linebackers (Devin White and Devin Bush) are likely going to be gone by the time the Eagles pick at No. 25, so if the team adds an off-ball linebacker, it will probably be on Day 2 of the draft.
That leaves the team's hole in the offensive backfield. With Jay Ajayi still on the open market, the running back situation in Philadelphia is a huge question mark. On the Go Birds! podcast (via Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports), Geoff Mosher said he's hearing that the Eagles may get aggressive at RB by making Alabama's Josh Jacobs the first back drafted in 2019.
"I've been hearing that," Mosher said. "Don't be shocked if the Eagles take a running back in the first round. They really like Josh Jacobs."
Pittsburgh Steelers: Inside Linebacker
The Pittsburgh Steelers are a hard team to single out a biggest need for. There were two holes on the Steelers defense that stood out, and Pittsburgh hit them both in free agency.
Well, sort of.
In the secondary, the Steelers had a sizable question mark at cornerback behind Joe Haden, so they signed Steven Nelson, who was the best corner for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2018. But being the best corner on one of the NFL's worst pass defenses isn't exactly a ringing endorsement.
The Steelers have also had a void at inside linebacker ever since Ryan Shazier went down. Pittsburgh inked Mark Barron in an effort to fortify the position, but Barron's been underwhelming the past two years with the Rams, and L.J. Fort left the Steel City to join the team's cross-state rivals in Philadelphia.
That leaves inside linebacker as the slightly more pressing need. With less than $7 million in cap space, signing a veteran would be tricky, but Michigan's Devin Bush could be a real possibility at No. 20.
San Francisco 49ers: Wide Receiver
It's becoming something of an annual ritual for the John Lynch 49ers to be among the league's most aggressive teams in free agency.
The 49ers gave Kwon Alexander over $13 million a season to help anchor the linebacker corps. San Francisco made what may turn out to be one of the shrewdest signings in free agency when they acquired cornerback Jason Verrett.
But while the 49ers made an addition to the receivers by bringing in veteran Jordan Matthews, the pass-catchers remain underwhelming.
San Francisco isn't going to draft a wide receiver with the second overall pick. Assuming Lynch doesn't trade down, the overwhelming belief is that Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa's the pick there.
Still, the 49ers need to add some pop to a receiving corps that isn't scaring many defenses. And by many, I mean any.
There should be some potential difference-makers available at the beginning of Round 2, whether it's Ohio State's Parris Campbell, Deebo Samuel of South Carolina or maybe even N'Keal Harry of Arizona State.
Seattle Seahawks: Defensive Line
While the Seattle Seahawks made it back to the playoffs last year, these are not your parents' Seahawks. Or older siblings', as the case may be.
The "Legion of Boom" is no more.
The Seahawks managed to hold the defensive core together by franchise-tagging Frank Clark and re-signing outside linebacker K.J. Wright. But with just $12.3 million remaining in cap space, Seattle's not in great shape to make any more additions to help patch the holes in the front or back end of the defense.
Seattle's secondary isn't what it was in the team's heyday, and that secondary will no doubt be a priority of the team in this year's draft. But a pretty good argument can be made that the defensive line's an even bigger problem.
Yes, the Seahawks still have Clark, who paced the team with 13 sacks in 2018. Tackle Jarran Reed pitched in 10.5 in a breakout third season.
But the Seahawks don't have much on the roster outside that pair, so if one of this year's class of edge-rushers or tackles makes it to No. 21, they aren't going to make it to No. 22.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
There's a lot changing in Tampa Bay this offseason. There's a new head coach in Bruce Arians and a new defensive coordinator in Todd Bowles.
The Buccaneers are also a team that has needs at multiple positions on both sides of the ball. None of those needs is more pressing than at running back.
The Buccaneers had the league's highest-ranked passing game in 2018, but the run game was far from it—only three teams in the NFL averaged fewer yards per game than Tampa's 95.2.
That the Buccaneers brought back last year's lead tailback is of little solace—fourth-year pro Peyton Barber averaged a career-low 3.7 yards per carry in 2018.
The Buccaneers aren't going to take a running back at No. 5—this year's class at the position doesn't have a running back of that caliber like Saquon Barkley or Ezekiel Elliott.
But it's a pretty safe bet that either the team's second-rounder (No. 39) or third-rounder (no. 70) will be spent on a tailback.
Tennessee Titans: Edge-Rusher
The Tennessee Titans have been very busy in free agency. The Titans upgraded the offensive line considerably with the addition of veteran guard Rodger Saffold. They provided Marcus Mariota with a new target in the slot in Adam Humphries, created a potential quarterback controversy between Mariota and Ryan Tannehill, and they goosed the pass rush by bringing in veteran EGDE Cameron Wake.
However, at 37 years young, Wake's not a long-term fix. Or a sure one—his six sacks in 2018 were Wake's fewest since his 2009 rookie season.
The good news is that the 2019 NFL draft is choked with pass-rushing talent. The bad news is that by the time the Titans go on the board at No. 19, many of those players will already have been selected.
Something of a best-case scenario for the Titans could be Brian Burns, a 6'5", 249-pounder who amassed 10 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss at Florida State in 2018.
If Burns is still available, the Titans shouldn't hesitate to make him the pick.
Washington Redskins: Wide Receiver
Free agency hasn't been especially kind to the Washington Redskins. Sure, the team made a big splash by signing safety Landon Collins, but it also saw holes open on the edge with the loss of Preston Smith, at inside linebacker with the release of Zach Brown, and at wide receiver with the defection of Jamison Crowder.
Crowder may not have been the best player on that list individually, but it's his loss that created the biggest need.
The Redskins already had a less-than-imposing receiver corps. Josh Doctson's shown a flash here or there, but he hasn't lived up to his draft slot. Paul Richardson hasn't come close to justifying his five-year, $40 million contract.
The Redskins brought in Case Keenum as a temporary band-aid under center in 2019, but it's going to be awfully hard for Keenum to have any success throwing the ball unless Washington does something about a receiving corps that looks like the weakest in the NFL at present.