We have more than enough of a sample size to get a feeling for which positions each NFL team needs to address come draft time. With many teams already have their franchise quarterback in place, you can see many top prospects from other positions getting drafted high and have the opportunity to be a high-impact player on day one. Here’s a few positions each team should target in the draft.
Buffalo Bills: Offensive Tackle, Wide Receiver
If the Bills want to continue their productive rushing attack, they need to lock up the right side of their offensive line. Tyrod Taylor can also benefit from another weapon, especially with Sammy Watkins’ inability to stay on the field.
Miami Dolphins: Offensive Line, Defensive Line, Tight End
Laremy Tunsil is currently playing guard, but was drafted to be the team’s left tackle for years to come. The Dolphins can add more protection for Tannehill or they can address the defensive line , as soon to be 35-years old Cameron Wake is their best pass-rusher.
New England Patriots: Defensive End, Wide Receiver
The Patriots do a lot of things great, but rushing the quarterback is not one of them. Chandler Jones’ absence is being felt and Belichick knows it.
New York Jets: Quarterback, Cornerback
The Jets desperately need a young quarterback to give this franchise hope. They need to avoid the stop-gap players and develop a franchise quarterback. If they can’t get their hands on a quarterback, they need to address their secondary, as it quickly went from a strength to a weakness.
Houston Texans: Defensive End, Offensive Line
It is unfortunate, but the Texans’ might need to find insurance for J.J. Watt. They can go straight defensive end or a linebacker, or they can beef up their offensive line.
Indianapolis Colts: Linebacker, Running Back
The Colts should feel the need to address any part of their defense, but they could use a middle linebacker with great leadership skills to build the defense around. If they choose to ignore the defense, Andrew Luck and the offense will need a running back to replace Frank Gore next season.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Offensive Line, Defensive Tackle
Blake Bortles’ development has digressed this season so it may be time to not go fancy and draft an offensive lineman to protect him. They can also choose to beef up the interior of their defensive line.
Tennessee Titans: Defensive Back, Wide Receiver
The Titans’ offense has come along greatly, as it is now time to address the defensive side of the ball with top-level talent. If the franchise chooses to go offense, Marcus Mariota can definitely use a #1 receiver type player. The Titans have two first round selections, as they own the Rams’ pick due to the Jared Goff trade last year.
Baltimore Ravens: Defensive End, Wide Receiver
The Ravens’ defense lacks that pass-rushing threat so going defensive end here is probably the move. With Steve Smith Sr. on his way out, they will also need to give Joe Flacco a new target to throw to.
Cincinnati Bengals: Cornerback, Wide Receiver
Adam Jones is still playing at a high level, but at age 33, he can’t be relied on for much longer. The Bengals should go for the best corner on the board or give Andy Dalton another threat opposite of A.J. Green.
Cleveland Browns: Quarterback, Linebacker, Defensive End
The Browns will most likely own the first pick of the draft, and if they don’t select a quarterback, we may see riots in Cleveland. If the Browns aren’t sold on a quarterback, they could once again trade down and add more picks, where they could address the defensive side ball, which is desperate for talent. The Browns own the Philadelphia Eagles’ pick due to the trade that saw the Eagles trade up for the #2 pick and select Carson Wentz.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Linebacker, Offensive Tackle
Ben Roethlisberger does miss a couple of games, and drafting a quarterback could be tempting, but there are higher priorities. Lawrence Timmons and Jarvis Jones both have expiring contracts, so the linebacker position could be addressed early.
Denver Broncos: Offensive Tackle, Tight End
Russell Okung is currently slotted at left tackle, which could be a stop-gap for the team’s next anchor. If they decide to stick with Okung moving forward, they could use a playmaking tight end to help out Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch.
Kansas City Chiefs: Wide Receiver, Offensive Line, Quarterback
The Chiefs have talent all over the field, but not much blue chippers on offense. They should go after a play-making receiver, the best offensive lineman available, or start to groom the quarterback of the future.
Oakland Raiders: Linebacker, Cornerback
With Derek Carr as the offensive leader, the Raiders can sure use another leader on the defense besides Khalil Mack. They can go with the best middle linebacker available, or choose to go with corner, as their pass defense has been pretty bad this season.
San Diego Chargers: Wide Receiver, Defensive Tackle
Philip Rivers’ time in San Diego is running out and it’s time for the franchise to give him a first-round wide receiver to throw to. With talents such as Odell Beckham, Amari Cooper, and Mike Evans recently being selected in the first round, the Chargers need to link up Rivers with a playmaking receiver. If they want to go defense, they can beef up the interior of their line.
Dallas Cowboys: Best Defensive Player Available
The Cowboys seem to be completely set on offense, so they should just choose the best defensive player on the board. Their defensive line is kind of a dud, so a pass-rusher should be their top priority.
New York Giants: Defensive End, Linebacker
Jason Pierre-Paul is going to demand a big contract this offseason and it is unlikely the Giants give him what he wants since they just signed Olivier Vernon to that massive deal. They can replace JPP through the draft or can add a linebacker. Either way, the Giants should draft on the defensive side of the ball.
Philadelphia Eagles: Running Back, Wide Receiver
The Eagles don’t own their pick due to trading up with the Browns last year, but do have the Vikings’ pick because of the Sam Bradford trade. They could choose to bring in a young running back to come up with Wentz as the future of their offense. With a pretty solid defense, the Eagles definitely need to supply Wentz with more weapons, especially on the outside with a playmaking receiver.
Washington Redskins: Defensive Line, Quarterback
If the Redskins choose to give Kirk Cousins a long-term contract, they will need to address the defensive front. If the front office thinks Cousins isn’t worth what he’s asking for, they can be very much in play for drafting a quarterback in the first round.
Atlanta Falcons: Defensive Tackle, Secondary
The Falcons’ offense seems to have little problems, so picking up another top talent on the defense is the way to go. Atlanta can use an anchor on their defensive line.
Carolina Panthers: Offensive Tackle, Running Back
With Cam rightfully complaining to Roger Goodell about getting hit every game, he was also sending a message to the Panthers to get him some protection. They can also address the running back position, as the thread on Jonathan Stewart’s tires may be running thin.
New Orleans Saints: Defensive End, Cornerback
As usual, it is the Saints’ defense that is in more need of talent than the offense. Will they need to find a replacement for Drew Brees soon? Yes, but they still believe they have a couple more years with him and owe him a long playoff run. The Saints will likely pick the best defensive prospect on the board when they’re on the clock in April.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Defensive Line, Wide Receiver
Gerald McCoy needs help in pressuring the quarterback, as the Bucs defense seems like it needs one more piece or two. They can also get another top-end talent to play opposite of Mike Evans, who is developing into one of the best receivers in the game.
Chicago Bears: Quarterback, Cornerback/Safety, Wide Receiver
The Jay Cutler era is most certainly over in Chicago. It is time for the franchise to be energized by a young and exciting rookie. The team has a lot of holes, as they will also need to address the wide receiver position with Alshon Jeffery likely done with the Bears.
Detroit Lions: Defensive Line, Wide Receiver
The Lions replaced Ndamukong Suh with Haloti Ngata, so they will need to find a new long-term replacement. If Calvin Johnson is truly done with the game, they also need to address the receiving corps.
Green Bay Packers: Guard, Defensive Tackle, Defensive Back
Having Aaron Rodgers may sell Packers tickets, but the game is won in the trenches. Green Bay needs to protect Rodgers and can’t have him running for his life every play.
Arizona Cardinals: Offensive Line, Linebacker, Quarterback
The Cardinals are in definite win-now mode, especially with their secondary and running back positions ranking near the top of the league. Look for Arizona to add to their offensive line, the linebacker position since Chandler Jones may be leaving, or setting up the next franchise quarterback with Carson Palmer near the twilight of his career.
Los Angeles Rams: Wide Receiver
The Rams do not have a first round pick due to trading up for the #1 pick to select Jared Goff. Their offense desperately needs a spark, and with Todd Gurley and Goff in place, they need to give the offense a big-time weapon.
San Francisco 49ers: Quarterback, Defensive End
San Francisco has sent Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick out there this season and hasn’t had much success. Look for Chip Kelly to cut ties with both quarterbacks and bring in his own young signal caller to develop.
Seattle Seahawks: Offensive Line
The Seahawks’ offensive line has basically completely changed since their Super Bowl team, so adding a top talent there wouldn’t be a bad move. They need to keep Russell Wilson healthy and recreate the line they had when they had Marshawn Lynch running through defenses.