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NFL Draft Needs: After Early Free Agency

NFL Draft Needs 2017

This is a look into the pre and post free agency positional needs of every NFL team by division with most of the bigger names off of the board. There is also a view of key additions and losses that may have caused or filled needs.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens
Post-FA: WR, EDGE, T
Key Pickups: Tony Jefferson SS; Brandon Carr CB
Key Losses: Elvis Dumervil OLB; Ricky Wagner RT
Breakdown: The Ravens need to find a solution at receiver. Breshad Perriman hasn’t played a full season since he’s been drafted and Mike Wallace isn’t a true number one receiving option. The Ravens cut Dumervil and Suggs isn’t the player he once was, so an edge rusher would be a smart use of a pick. Ronnie Stanley has shown flashes of potential at left tackle but the right side of the line isn’t as strong.

Cincinnati Bengals
Pre-FA: LB, WR, OL
Post-FA: OL, LB, WR
Key Pickups: Dre Kirkpatrick (re-sign) Brandon LaFell (re-sign)
Key Losses: Kevin Zeitler G; Andrew Whitworth C; Karlos Dansby OLB
Breakdown: Offensive line was a need before free agency… Then they lost Zeitler and Whitworth… Now it’s a huge need that Cincinnati should hit more than once in this draft. A receiver opposite AJ Green could help to boost the offense similar to how it looked when Sanu was a Bengal. A quick linebacker on the outside could help out a lot on the defensive side of the ball.



Cleveland Browns
Key Pickups: JC Tretter C; Kevin Zeitler G; Kenny Britt WR
Key Losses: Terrelle Pryor WR
Breakdown: The obvious and ever-unchanging need for the Browns is a quarterback. They could use some help in the secondary which is an easy issue to fix in this draft class as starting talent stretches to the third round. An edge rusher to complement Emmanuel Ogbah would help to improve the defensive line, especially since there is an incredibly talented young man out of Texas A&M available at number one (just take the hint).





Pittsburgh Steelers
Key Pickups: Landry Jones (re-sign)
Key Losses: Lawrence Timmons ILB; Jarvis Jones OLB
Breakdown: I hate to say it but the Steelers need to go linebacker… again. James Harrison is 38, Lawrence Timmons is heading to South Beach and Bud Dupree is the only young guy that has shown promise. With that in mind, inside and outside linebackers would benefit Pittsburgh. The Steelers could also use some help in the secondary and this draft class is a good place to look for it.

AFC South

[the_ad id=”693″]Houston Texans
Post FA: QB, OL, CB, OLB
Key Losses: AJ Bouye CB; John Simon OLB
Breakdown: The Texans have been a quarterback away from really contending in the NFL for years now. They have talent at every offensive skill position except for quarterback and they should look to fix that in this draft class (especially if a certain player from a different Texas team decides to come on over). Right guard and Right Tackle both could be addressed to help protect the Quarterback and help Lamar Miller to continue to succeed. A quick linebacker is a need that arose with the loss of John Simon.

Indianapolis Colts
Post-FA: OL, RB, DL
Key Pickups: Jabaal Sheard OLB; Barkevious Mingo DE; John Simon OLB
Key Losses: Erik Walden OLB
Breakdown: This is the first Colts draft with new GM Chris Ballard in charge, and Ballard has expressed that he will address the fronts. He’s done some work on that in Free Agency by signing John Simon away from Houston and Jabaal Sheard away from the Patriots but the Barkevious Mingo signing is far from a sure thing. Andrew Luck was hurt all last season so Ballard should look to upgrade the 25th ranked Offensive Line in the NFL. Lastly, Frank Gore isn’t getting any younger. The Colts should look to take a back in the second or third round.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Pre-FA: OL, S, LB
Post-FA: OL, TE, LB
Key Pickups: Calais Campbell DE; AJ Bouye CB; Barry Church S
Key Losses: Prince Amukamara CB; Kelvin Beachum T; Johnathan Cyprien SS
Breakdown: Jacksonville sent Julius Thomas to Miami, so look for the Jaguars to draft a tight end in an earlier round. The Jags should upgrade an offensive line that finished 22nd in the NFL. Paul Posluszny is 32 and the Jags should look to find a younger and cheaper talent going forward.

Tennessee Titans
Pre-FA: WR, CB, TE
Post-FA: WR, S, ILB
Key Pickups: Johnathan Cyprien SS; Logan Ryan CB
Key Losses: Chance Warmack G; Kendall Wright WR
Breakdown: The Titans are really starting to pick up steam in Mariota’s second season. But they need to give him a true WR1 if they expect to win the AFC South and with two first rounders, they could easily find one in Mike Williams or Corey Davis. The secondary has room for improvement and there’s no shortage of talent in this draft there. A third down linebacker could do the Titans some good as well.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills
Pre-FA: QB, WR, CB
Post-FA: QB, WR, S/CB
Key Pickups: Micah Hyde CB/S; Jordan Poyer S; Mike Tolbert FB; Patrick DiMarco FB
Key Losses: Stephon Gilmore CB; Robert Woods WR; Zach Brown ILB
Breakdown: It’s hard to say whether Corner or Wide Out is the biggest need for the Bills. They lost Stephon Gilmore to the Patriots and Robert Woods to the Rams so look for Buffalo to go with either of these positions at the Ten spot. Quarterback is also a need that could be addressed early on if the right guy is there.



Miami Dolphins
Post-FA: DE, OL, ILB
Key Pickups: Lawrence Timmons SS; Andre Branch DE (re-sign), Julius Thomas (trade)
Key Losses: Dion Sims TE; Mario Williams DE
Breakdown: Lawrence does help to stop the run which Miami didn’t know how to do last season, but they still need to load up at inside linebacker. Also, Miami lost two defensive ends and made a smart move by re-signing Andre Branch. They need to use and early pick on a Defensive End and build depth back up. The Dolphins could use an earlier pick on a guard to stimulate some competition on the offensive line.





New England Patriots
Key Pickups: Dwayne Allen TE; Brandin Cooks WR; Stephon Gilmore CB
Key Losses: Martellus Bennett TE; Logan Ryan CB; Jabaal Sheard DE
Breakdown: Do the Pats even need players after the free agency period? It’s almost as if other NFL teams just want Belichick and Brady to win every year. They do need to find an upgrade at offensive tackle. They also need to find another interior linebacker. They lack the one-two punch that Collins and Hightower provided and it would be an improvement to bring a young impact player to pair with the newly re-signed Hightower. Jabaal Sheard is off to Indianapolis and the Patriots could benefit from a new edge rusher.

New York Jets
Pre-FA: CB, OL, LB
Post-FA: WR, QB, CB
Key Pickups: Kelvin Beachum T; Morris Claiborne CB
Key Losses: Brandon Marshall WR; Darrelle Revis CB; Ryan Fitzpatrick QB; Nick Mangold C
Breakdown: With Brandon Marshall gone and Eric Decker‘s injury history, the Jets need to find some receiving talent. Hackenberg is the man in charge now but the Jets should add a third Quarterback to the roster to compete with him and Petty. The Jets have moved on from Revis Island and they should look to add another corner. Claiborne is a solid corner but he has had his fair share of injuries as he has missed 30 games in three seasons.

AFC West

Denver Broncos
Pre-FA: OL, DT, TE
Post-FA: ILB, DT, OT
Key Pickups: Ronald Leary G; Menelik Watson T
Key Losses: Russell Okung T; DeMarcus Ware DE; Kayvon Webster CB
Breakdown: The Broncos added some talent along the line but will find it difficult to replace Okung. The departure of Danny Trevathan hurt a great defense, so Denver should look to take an inside linebacker. The Broncos could also benefit from a strong presence up the middle.

Kansas City Chiefs
Post-FA: CB, QB, ILB
Key Pickups: Eric Berry (re-sign); Bennie Logan DT;
Key Losses: Dontari Poe DT
Breakdown: The Chiefs need to at some point find a suitable replacement for the 34-year-old Derrick Johnson. Alex Smith is 32 and the Chiefs will look to cut ties with him when he starts to digress. If Andy Reid sees his man he should take him and let him develop for a season or two before Smith completely drops off. Marcus Peters is the man, but opposite field from him the Chiefs need more talent going forward.

[the_ad id=”384″]Los Angeles Chargers
Post-FA: OL, WR, OLB
Key Pickups: Russell Okung OT
Key Losses: Danny Woodhead RB
Breakdown: If you’re not sold on Melvin Gordon yet, he almost managed a thousand yard season (before injury) behind the second-worst offensive line in the NFL. Russell Okung is a huge improvement at tackle but they could benefit from adding a starting caliber guard. Keenan Allen hasn’t been able to stay healthy over the past couple of seasons so wide receiver is a priority. Melvin Ingram is on a franchise tag so acquiring someone on the outside would be beneficial long-term should Ingram bounce from LA.

Oakland Raiders
Pre-FA: DT, RB, CB
Post-FA: DT, RB, CB
Key Pickups: Cordarrelle Patterson WR; Marshall Newhouse OT
Key Losses: Latavius Murray RB; Malcolm Smith OLB
Breakdown: The Raiders were looking stout until Derek Carr went down. To look even better, Oakland could use a strong presence up the middle on the defensive line. Sean Smith hasn’t exactly been the lockdown corner they expected him to become, so they should address the secondary. Even if Beast Mode comes out of retirement or if AP decides to test the waters in the Bay then the Raiders will still need a running back to solve a long-term issue.

NFC North


[mks_one_half]Chicago Bears
Pre-FA: TE, QB, CB
Post-FA: QB, CB, TE
Key Pickups: Mike Glennon QB; Kendall Wright WR; Prince Amukamara CB; Dion Sims TE
Key Losses: Jay Cutler QB; Alshon Jeffery WR; Brian Hoyer QB; Matt Barkley QB
Breakdown: The Bears got Glennon who has served as the starting QB for the Bucs before Winston entered the scene. Even with the Glennon signing, the bears lost three signal callers and need to bring in depth (even more so if Connor Shaw’s injury rehabilitation is delayed). The Bears could use the early pick on a corner to help out in the secondary. Dion Sims adds depth to the tight end spot but with a draft this deep at tight end, the Bears should get Zach Miller some help.[/mks_one_half]




Detroit Lions
Pre-FA: OL, LB, CB
Post-FA: LB, CB, DE
Key Pickups: TJ Lang G; Ricky Wagner T; Darren Fells TE; DJ Hayden CB
Key Losses: Riley Reiff T; Larry Warford G
Breakdown: First things first, the Lions need some speed at the end spots. Detroit should look to add a new pass rusher early on. They should also upgrade at linebacker. Outside of Darius Slay, the cornerbacks for Detroit could improve and this draft is a good place to find defensive back talent.

Green Bay Packers
Pre-FA: OG, DL, CB
Key Pickups: Martellus Bennett TE; Davon House CB
Key Losses: Micah Hyde SS; TJ Lang OT; JC Tretter C; Eddie Lacy RB
Breakdown: The Packer corners were awful last season and losing Micah Hyde in free agency doesn’t help so addressing this position is a priority. Adding a guard would be key for the Packers after losing TJ Lang in free agency. Green Bay should look for an edge rusher as well after Julius Pepper’s decision to go back to the Panthers.

Minnesota Vikings
Pre-FA: OL, WR, RB
Post-FA: OL, WR, RB
Key Pickups: Riley Reiff T; Mike Remmers T; Latavius Murray RB
Key Losses: Cordarrelle Patterson WR; Matt Kalil T; Captain Munnerlyn CB; Charles Johnson WR
Breakdown: Adding depth on the o-line is a high priority for the Vikings to do list even with the additions of Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers. Stefon Diggs is a reliable slot receiver, but the Vikings need to build up a better receiving corps after the loss of Cordarrelle Patterson and Charles Johnson. Latavius Murray is better than McKinnon, but he’s not AP. Picking up another back will help to build depth and put someone in place to challenge Murray for the starting job.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons
Pre-FA: DE, DT, OG
Post-FA: DE, DT, OG
Key Pickups: Kemal Ishmael SS; Dontari Poe DT
Key Losses: Patrick Dimarco FB
Breakdown: The ideal move the Falcons should make would be to draft an end to compliment Vic Beasley. Another good move would be to pick up a talent at defensive tackle. Dontari Poe was a huge add for the Falcons but he digressed in 2016 and players of his stature normally fall off fast. An upgrade at guard would be a smart move as well.

Carolina Panthers
Pre-FA: CB, OL, RB
Post-FA: CB, OL, RB
Key Pickups: Matt Kalil T; Captain Munnerlyn CB; Julius Peppers OLB; Charles Johnson DE (re-sign)
Key Losses: Mike Remmers T; Mike Tolbert FB; Ted Ginn WR
Breakdown: The Panthers are bringing back several familiar faces in Captain Munnerlyn and Julius Peppers. Captain Munnerlyn is a good nickel corner but he’s not going to fill the void that Josh Norman left. Jonathan Stewart has durability issues so the Panthers will almost certainly take a new back. The Matt Kalil addition helps with the line, but with Michael Oher’s concussion history a right tackle becomes a concern.

New Orleans Saints
Pre-FA: CB, LB, DE
Post-FA: CB, LB, DE
Key Pickups: Ted Ginn WR: Larry Warford T; Nick Fairley DT (re-sign)
Key Losses: Brandin Cooks WR (trade); Jairus Byrd S
Breakdown: Picking up a corner in the first or second round would provide an immediate upgrade to this secondary. With Stephone Anthony not always available, the Saints should pick up an inside linebacker. Nick Fairley was a fantastic re-sign but Cameron Jordan will need help on the other end of the line.

[the_ad id=”693″]Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pre-FA: DL, WR, S
Post-FA: DL, S, RB
Key Pickups: DeSean Jackson WR; Chris Baker DE; JJ Wilcox S
Key Losses: Akeem Spence DT; Mike Glennon QB
Breakdown: DeSean Jackson was the biggest offseason add and Jameis is going to take full advantage of having a true WR2 on the roster. Akeem Spence left a huge hole on the defensive front so an early pick could be used on a new tackle. JJ Wilcox is a hard hitter but it would benefit the Bucs greatly to add another safety. This draft is deep at running back and picking up a future replacement for the muscle hamster (which they may need sooner rather than later) is ideal.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys
Pre-FA: CB, DE, TE
Post-FA: Secondary, TE, DE
Key Pickups: Nolan Carroll CB; Terrance Williams WR (re-sign)
Key Losses: JJ Wilcox SS; Barry Church SS; Ronald Leary G; Brandon Carr CB; Morris Claiborne CB
Breakdown: Whether they become starters or reserves, the Cowboys desperately need players in the secondary after losing four guys in the offseason. Jason Witten is 34 so it’s time to start looking for his eventual replacement. A pass rusher has been a need for several seasons.

New York Giants
Post-FA: OT, MLB, RB
Key Pickups: Brandon Marshall WR; DJ Fluker G; Geno Smith QB
Key Losses: Johnathan Hankins DT; Robbie Gould K
Breakdown: Erick Flowers hasn’t been the answer at Left Tackle so Eli’s blindside needs a new keeper. The Giants could improve at a linebacker which they don’t seem to want to throw money at in the free agency period. Paul Perkins could be the man, but if that doesn’t workout then the G-Men will need something new.

Philadelphia Eagles
Pre-FA: WR, CB, RB
Post-FA: CB, RB, DL
Key Pickups: Alshon Jeffery WR; Torrey Smith WR; Nick Foles QB; Chance Warmack G
Key Losses: Nolan Carroll CB; Bennie Logan DT; Connor Barwin DE/OLB
Breakdown: The Eagles should start off with picking up a corner now that the receiving issue has been taken care of. A running back would also be a smart decision unless Philly wants to lean on a 33-year-old Darren Sproles or Ryan Mathews coming off of neck surgery. With Barwin gone, the Eagles should look to add defensive linemen.

Washington Redskins
Pre-FA: S, RB, WR
Post-FA: S, RB, WR
Key Pickups: DJ Swearinger FS: Terrelle Pryor WR: Terrell McClain DT DAL
Key Losses: DeSean Jackson WR; Pierre Garcon WR; Chris Baker DE
Breakdown: Terrelle Pryor’s team change turned a huge need into a not as huge need at receiver. However, it would benefit the Redskins to pick up another receiver in case Doctson goes down for a second season. DJ Swearinger is a question mark at safety due to below average coverage ability. After finishing 21st in the NFL in rushing, the redskins should look to upgrade the backfield.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals
Pre-FA: QB, LB, WR
Post-FA: QB, S, WR
Key Pickups: Antoine Bethea SS; Jarvis Jones OLB; Phil Dawson K
Key Losses: Calais Campbell DE; Tony Jefferson SS; DJ Swearinger FS: Earl Watford G
Breakdown: Carson Palmer is 37 and there is no real replacement for him when he retires, so look for the Cardinals to take a Quarterback (especially if Trubisky or Watson falls to 13). Larry Fitzgerald is in the twilight of his career just like Palmer and the Cardinals need to find a replacement to build the offense around going forward. The Cardinals lost Tony Jefferson and DJ Swearinger so adding a safety should be a priority.

Los Angeles Rams
Pre-FA: CB, WR, OL
Post-FA: CB, WR, OL,
Key Pickups: Kayvon Webster CB; Robert Woods WR; Andrew Whitworth T
Key Losses: Kenny Britt WR; TJ McDonald SS
Breakdown: Andrew Whitworth is a great lineman, but the 35-year-old is only a temporary fix for a long-term problem. The Rams added Robert Woods but they still don’t have a legitimate number one receiver. Trumaine Johnson has been franchised so the Rams should look for a new corner in case he leaves next season.

San Francisco 49ers
Pre-FA: QB, WR, LB
Key Pickups: Pierre Garcon WR; Brian Hoyer QB; Malcolm Smith LB; Marquise Goodwin WR; Kyle Juszczyk FB
Key Losses: Antoine Bethea SS; Torrey Smith WR; Phil Dawson K
Breakdown: With the 49ers moving on from Kaepernick and Gabbert, they need to find a Quarterback to build the offense around. An edge rusher is an early round need. With a change in defensive schemes, it may be a good idea to upgrade at corner.

Seattle Seahawks
Pre-FA: OT, WR, CB
Post-FA: OT, WR, CB
Key Pickups: Eddie Lacy RB GB
Key Losses: Steven Hauschka K
Breakdown: The Seahawks offensive line is atrocious and needs to be upgraded. The best two receivers on the Seattle roster are under six-foot so a second or third round guy like JuJu Smith-Schuster or Malachi Dupre would help to give Russell Wilson a taller target. Richard Sherman is a lockdown corner, but the Seahawks could use another big corner opposite field from Sherman.

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