NFL Draft Preview: How All 32 Teams Can Find Their Missing Pieces
As would-be contenders prepare to retool their rosters in the draft, which kicks off on Thursday night, more major moves will surely follow. Onetime bottom-dwellers, like the Browns, suddenly look like disruptors while many elite teams of recent years, like the Patriots, need to recover talent after an off-season exodus.
In the meantime, check out the biggest questions—and the potential answers—facing each team, as detailed by Forbes.com’s SportsMoney contributors:
Only a few pieces from becoming a playoff contender, the Bills need to upgrade their offense at tight end, wide receiver and running back. Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson would complement Buffalo’s free-agent signings Tyler Kroft and Jake Fisher nicely. Read more from Curtis Rush.
A quarterback may be tempting, but the Dolphins have many, many other holes to fill. And now that Cameron Wake is a Titan, Clemson edge rusher Clelin Ferrell looks like the right choice. Read more from J.P. Pelzman.
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The flow of veterans out of New England leaves the Patriots as unpredictable as ever for this year’s draft. With Rob Gronkowski’s retirement, Ole Miss wide receiver A.J. Brown could become Tom Brady’s new favorite target. Read more from Oliver Thomas.
The fate of the Jets’ draft is in Arizona’s hands. If the Cardinals take Kyler Murray, expect the Jets to pick up either Nick Bosa or Josh Allen to fill their edge-rush void. If not, a defensive tackle may be their best option. Read more from J.P. Pelzman.
As the Lamar Jackson era takes flight, a new run-heavy offense is in the limelight for Baltimore. Although replacing Terrell Suggs is a priority, Ohio State wide receiver Parris Campbell, and his combination of speed and catching ability, could be too much for the Ravens to pass up. Read more from Jeff Seidel.
After releasing Vontaze Burfict, the Bengals have a glaring need for a linebacker to man the middle. Devin White will likely be taken before Cincinnati can get to him, so Michigan’s Devin Bush could be the team’s best bet. Read more from J.P. Pelzman.
Lacking a first-round selection after trading for Odell Beckham Jr., the Browns will still have an opportunity to pick from among a strong group of cornerbacks and linebackers. Georgia’s Deandre Baker or Alabama’s Mack Wilson would do nicely. Read more from Jim Ingraham.
The departures of Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown shouldn’t impact Pittsburgh’s draft decisions too much. LSU cornerback Greedy Williams would help a defense that needs upgrades at several positions. Read more from Vincent Frank.
As with David Carr in 2002, the Texans risk wasting Deshaun Watson’s talent if they can’t add star offensive linemen. Andre Dillard from Washington State could replace Julie’n Davenport, who allowed 12 sacks and 69 total pressures last season. Read more from Patricia Traina.
With T.Y. Hilton turning 30 this season and Devin Funchess’ future in doubt, the Colts need more targets for Andrew Luck. With over 2,300 yards and 17 touchdowns in his last two seasons at Oklahoma, Marquise Brown could be the explosive threat the Colts need. Read more from Jeff Fedotin.
The Jaguars need to protect their investment in Nick Foles after their offense sputtered in the 2018 season. Florida right tackle Jawaan Taylor would fit the bill for Jacksonville’s new chapter. Read more from Debbi Taylor.
Tennessee is lucky that both edge rushers and defensive tackles are plentiful in this year’s draft—because the Titans need both. Clemson’s Christian Wilkins could be a difference-maker for Tennessee. Read more from Rob Reischel.
Joe Flacco may be a temporary solution, but Denver still desperately needs a franchise quarterback. Missouri’s Drew Lock and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins both seem like prototypical quarterbacks for GM John Elway. Read more from Vincent Frank.
Frank Clark’s arrival from Seattle will give the defense a shot in the arm, but the Chiefs’ pass coverage remains lackluster. Now without a first-round pick, Kansas City should enter the second round eyeing Iowa safety Amani Hooker. Read more from Jeff Fedotin.
After losing Darius Philon and Corey Liuget, the Chargers need to address their defense before they make any additions on their thin offensive line. Mississippi State’s Jeffrey Simmons or Clemson’s Christian Wilkins could be handy in collapsing the pocket for Joey Bosa’s charges at the quarterback. Read more from Jay Paris.
As the power brokers of the draft, with four of the first 35 picks, the Raiders have plenty of options to upgrade one of the NFL’s worst rosters. Although Oakland needs to improve in its pass rush, on its defensive line and at tight end and running back, taking a quarterback in Kyler Murray or Dwayne Haskins with the first pick might be a safe bet. Read more from Bill Williamson.
Last season’s trade for Amari Cooper means no first-round pick for the Cowboys, who need new talent on the defensive line and at safety. Mississippi State’s Jonathan Abram and Boston College’s Zach Allen are possible picks before Dallas looks to draft a backup to Ezekiel Elliott. Read more from Barry Horn.
While Eli Manning’s decline filled most of the conversation last season, the Giants had among the worst run defenses and pass rushes. GM Dave Gettleman seems determined to make this a defense-heavy draft despite the need for a successor to Manning. New York could look to Alabama’s Quinnen Williams or Kentucky’s Josh Allen before it considers drafting a quarterback. Read more from Patricia Traina.
If the Eagles are betting that Carson Wentz can stay healthy throughout the season, they’ll likely fortify a defense that was decimated by injuries. Clemson nose tackle Dexter Lawrence could provide much-needed relief for Philadelphia’s core of Derek Barnett, Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham.Read more from Jon Marks.
Despite trading for Case Keenum, the Redskins need to draft a quarterback who will soften the blow of their $20.4 million cap hit from Alex Smith. If the class’ top quarterbacks are gone by the time Washington drafts, Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf would be a welcome addition to a poor receiving corps. Read more from Michael LoRé.
Kicker drama aside, the Bears are looking for an explosive running back to join Tarik Cohen. Chicago isn’t picking until the third round, however, so the team will likely keep tabs on the class’ under-the-radar prospects, like Florida Atlantic’s Devin Singletary. Read more from Phil Rogers.
Detroit’s top pass-rusher, Ziggy Ansah, isn’t returning. Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat, with 11.5 sacks last season and a 4.41-second 40-yard dash, could be just what the Lions need. Read more from Rob Reischel.
The Packers made a wise move by signing Adrian Amos in the off-season, but they’ll still need another safety to pair with him. With two first-round picks, Green Bay could consider Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson and Alabama offensive lineman Jonah Williams on the other side of the ball.Read more from Rob Reischel.
The offensive line was the Vikings’ Achilles heel, often leaving Kirk Cousins under extreme pressure and contributing to a near-bottom ranking in rushing yards per carry. Oklahoma offensive tackle Cody Ford is surprisingly quick for his large size, making him a perfect choice for Minnesota. Read more from Steve Silverman.
The pieces are in place for the Falcons to make another postseason run, but they’ll need to bolster a defense that ranked 25th in points allowed and 28th in yards allowed. Grady Jarrett may fly away as a free agent in 2020, so Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver would be a wise investment. Read more from Ray Glier.
With Ryan and Matt Kalil gone and Cam Newton still recovering from shoulder surgery, the Panthers should be on the prowl for an offensive lineman. Alabama offensive tackle Jonah Williams could fill that void. Read more from Tom Flynn.
Free agency went well for New Orleans, which retained most of last year’s talent and added players who will have an immediate impact. Now, the Saints have the luxury of picking the best player available when it’s their turn to draft with the 62nd pick, which could be Iowa State wide receiver Hakeem Butler. Read more from John Hendrix.
LSU linebacker Devin White could immediately be a Pro Bowl-caliber player for the Buccaneers, who need to find a partner for Lavonte David. Read more from Vincent Frank.
With the Cardinals seemingly unsatisfied with their sophomore quarterback, it’s anyone’s guess what they might do with the first overall pick. Kyler Murray might be too irresistible, but if they pass on him, Nick Bosa is waiting in the wings. Read more from Jack Magruder.
The Rams have emerged from free agency with a loaded roster, but Los Angeles still needs additions on defense as well as a backup to Todd Gurley. Oklahoma’s Cody Ford would be a welcome replacement on the offensive line. Read more from Jay Paris.
Dee Ford was a great pickup for San Francisco, but there wouldn’t be anything wrong with doubling up on edge rushers. Either Nick Bosa or Josh Allen would work perfectly. Read more from Vincent Frank.
Seattle needs to fill the gap in its defensive line after dealing Frank Clark to the Chiefs for a first-round pick. Defensive tackles Christian Wilkins and Jerry Tillery could be solid replacements. Read more from Jack Magruder.