My latest mock draft. Click on a player’s name to read their scouting report.
- Cincinnati Bengals – QB Joe Burrow, Louisiana St.
- Washington Redskins – DE Chase Young, Ohio St.*
- Detroit Lions – CB Jeff Okudah, Ohio St.*
- New York Giants – LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson*
- Miami Dolphins – QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama*
- Los Angeles Chargers – QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
- Carolina Panthers – DL Derrick Brown, Auburn*
- Arizona Cardinals – OT Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama*
- Jacksonville Jaguars – OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville*
- Cleveland Browns – OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia*
- New York Jets – OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa*
- Las Vegas Raiders – WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma*
- San Francisco 49ers (from Colts) – WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama*
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DL Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
- Denver Broncos – CB C.J. Henderson, Florida*
- Atlanta Falcons – DE K’Lavon Chaisson, Louisiana St.**
- Dallas Cowboys – CB Kristian Fulton, Louisiana St.
- Miami Dolphins (from Steelers) – DB Xavier McKinney, Alabama*
- Las Vegas Raiders (from Bears) – CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson*
- Jacksonville Jaguars (from Rams) – DB Grant Delpit, Louisiana St.*
- Philadelphia Eagles – WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama*
- Minnesota Vikings (from Bills) – CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama
- New England Patriots – DE A.J. Epenesa, Iowa*
- New Orleans Saints – QB Jordan Love, Utah St.*
- Minnesota Vikings – WR Tee Higgins, Clemson*
- Miami Dolphins (from Texans) – DE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn St.*
- Seattle Seahawks – OT Josh Jones, Houston
- Baltimore Ravens – WR Justin Jefferson, Louisiana St.*
- Tennessee Titans – DL Ross Blacklock, Texas Christian*
- Green Bay Packers – WR Denzel Mims, Baylor
- San Francisco 49ers – CB Jeff Gladney, Texas Christian
- Kansas City Chiefs – LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma*
The Cardinals have spent considerable assets to surround Kyler Murray with talent for this upcoming season, trading for DeAndre Hopkins and re-signing Kenyan Drake. They will need to replace Larry Fitzgerald eventually, and Christian Kirk hasn’t been quite what they were hoping for, but it’s possible the likes of Andy Isabella and KeeSean Johnson are projected as replacements for them. Maxx Williams is a great blocker at tight end, but just an adequate receiver. The main priority is going to be improving their offensive line. Because they can’t prioritize everything, they’re probably most likely to be confident in the ability of D.J. Humphries and Justin Pugh to rebound on the left side, and spent a 2018 third-rounder on Mason Cole to play center. The other positions look really weak, with J.R. Sweezy and Justin Murray penciled in as starters on the right side.
Arizona decided to sign Jordan Phillips to play the nose, so although he’s coming off a poor season he should be considered the starter there. Corey Peters is a rotational run-stuffer next to him, and they don’t have much else on the line. They used a third-round pick last year on Zach Allen but he struggled. Chandler Jones is one of the best edge rushers in the league, but they don’t have much else at linebacker; they signed De’Vondre Campbell to start on the inside, and their other two starters may be Devon Kennard outside and Jordan Hicks inside. Both of those guys are closer to journeymen tan cornerstones. To make matters more concerning, Patrick Peterson had a surprisingly poor season, and rookie second-round pick Byron Murphy was regularly torched. In the backfield, Budda Baker is a good run defender and Jalen Thompson is a pretty good coverage safety, but neither is particularly well-rounded.
Top Needs: OL, DL, OLB, ILB, CB, DB
Expiring Contracts: OG J.R. Sweezy, DL Corey Peters, CB Patrick Peterson, DB Budda Baker
LOS ANGELES RAMS:
After losing Todd Gurley, the Rams lack talent at running back, but they have some other pieces for Jared Goff. That would change a little bit if the team was able to unload Brandin Cooks’ contract after a down 2019 season, but that looks unlikely, so Cooks will probably be back with the Rams next year. Things look shaky on the offensive line. The ageless Andrew Whitworth continues to play well at left tackle but is entering uncharted territory age-wise, while Rob Havenstein and rookie third-rounder Bobby Evans struggled at right tackle opposite him. Four guards played over 350 snaps last year, none of them good, and Brian Allen really struggled at center too.
The interior of the defensive line got a big boost when Michael Brockers’ deal with Baltimore fell through and he returned to Los Angeles to join Aaron Donald, and although A’Shawn Robinson played poorly in 2019, the fact that they just signed him in free agency suggests he’s going to be their starting nose tackle next year. Only one of the four linebacker spots is settled – Leonard Floyd will be one of the team’s starters, either inside or off the edge. However, some of their off-ball candidates defended the run well over limited snaps and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Samson Ebukam are serviceable on the other side, so they could opt to hope some of those players continue developing. The Rams were able to find some hidden gems at cornerback opposite Jalen Ramsey, and after drafting Taylor Rapp in the second round last year to play strong safety, they should be okay there too. However, the free safety position is still wide open after losing Eric Weddle to retirement.
Top Needs: RB, OL, LB, FS
Expiring Contracts: RB Malcolm Brown, WR Cooper Kupp, LB Samson Ebukam, CB Jalen Ramsey, CB Troy Hill
SAN FRANCISCO 49ers:
With the 49ers committing to Jimmy Garoppolo, it’s hard to imagine them making many changes at the skill positions on offense. If anything, they may want to look into a wide receiver to complement Deebo Samuel, as the likes of Kendrick Bourne and Dante Pettis seem more like third or fourth receivers. They shouldn’t need to make too many changes to the offensive line, either. They have at least three pieces in tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey and left guard Laken Tomlinson, although center Weston Richburg got hurt last year and the other starting role will go to either Ben Garland or Tom Compton, neither of whom is an ideal starter.
Solomon Thomas hasn’t developed into the type of player the 49ers were hoping for, but they have three very good starters on the line in Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, and Dee Ford; what they’re missing is a replacement for DeForest Buckner on the inside. Their three starting linebackers – Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw, and Kwon Alexander – are all good in coverage, but struggled against the run. Richard Sherman has reestablished himself as one of the league’s top cornerbacks, and they have a slot solution in K’Waun Williams, but neither Emmanuel Moseley or Akhello Witherspoon is an ideal starter on the other side. Jimmy Ward is a solid starter at free safety, but Jaquiski Tartt is a fringe starter at strong safety.
Top Needs: WR, RG, NT, LB, CB, SS
Expiring Contracts: TE George Kittle, DL Solomon Thomas, CB Ahkello Witherspoon, CB K’Waun Williams, CB Richard Sherman, DB Jaquiski Tartt
Seattle heads into the draft with the same type of situation they’ve had for what seems like forever: a franchise quarterback in Russell Wilson, solid weapons around him, and a flimsy offensive line. It’s doubtful they’d use a high pick on a running back or wide receiver, and they have some depth at tight end behind Greg Olsen. Only left tackle Duane Brown is a solid starter on the line; no one else is serviceable, the projected starters from left guard to right tackle being Ethan Pocic, B.J. Finney, D.J. Fluker, and Cedric Ogbuehi. Typically the Seahawks don’t invest first-rounders in linemen but they should really consider directing a substantial portion of their draft capital at protecting Russell Wilson.
Poona Ford and Jarran Reed weren’t great last year, but are pretty solid run defenders. The Seahawks invested heavily at defensive end but didn’t get what they were hoping for from 2019 first-rounder L.J. Collier and 2018 third-rounder Rasheem Green. If Jadeveon Clowney doesn’t re-sign with Seattle, they’ll need to start one of those guys opposite “Leo” Bruce Irvin. Bobby Wagner is a reliable middle linebacker, but K.J. Wright dropped off next to him last year, and Shaquem Griffin was just adequate as the Sam, while 2019 third-rounder Cody Barton didn’t show enough to inspire confidence in his ability to assume a starting role. A third corner is a major need, but with Shaquill Griffin and the recently-acquired Quinton Dunbar, their top two looks set. Quandre Diggs may be able to take over for Tedric Thompson at free safety, but they still need to complement him with someone else, perhaps 2019 second-rounder Marquise Blair, who looked good in limited snaps.
Top Needs: OL, DL, LB, CB
Expiring Contracts: RB Chris Carson, OG D.J. Fluker, OG Ethan Pocic, DT Poona Ford, LB K.J. Wright, CB Shaquill Griffin, DB Bradley McDougald, DB Tedric Thompson
Financially and otherwise, the Falcons have signaled their commitment to their skill position starters. Free-agent acquisition Todd Gurley and trade acquisition Hayden Hurst will take over as the team’s starting running back and tight end, respectively, joining Matt Ryan and receivers Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, although there isn’t a quality slot receiver in place. The Falcons really overdrafted Kaleb McGary to play right tackle last year, but given that he was a first-round pick, they should be set at four out of five offensive line positions, the exception being left guard, where James Carpenter is coming off of an injury-shortened 2019 campaign and is more of a journeyman to begin with.
Defensively, the line looks to be in pretty good shape, with Dante Fowler and Takkarist McKinley on the edges, one of the top interior linemen in the league in Grady Jarrett, and free-agent signing Allen Bailey, who is coming off of a down season but got a two-year deal. They need to add more pieces to linebacker next to Deion Jones, but often only use two linebackers, so they might just add one guy and call it a day. The secondary is in need of improvement. None of the players on roster at cornerback played well in 2019, although they might want to give Isaiah Oliver another shot on one side; the other starting candidates are Jordan Miller, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, and Kendall Sheffield. The safety position is concerning too – Keanu Neal was really struggling before landing on IR, and the team’s other two starters, Damontae Kazee and Ricardo Allen, both played poorly.
Top Needs: LG, DE, LB, CB, DB
Expiring Contracts: OC Alex Mack, DE Takkarist McKinley, DB Damontae Kazee, DB Keanu Neal
Having signed Teddy Bridgewater, the Panthers should be pretty confident in having surrounded him with quality weapons. Christian McCaffrey is one of the best backs in the league, and Robby Anderson joins D.J. Moore to form a solid receiver corps, if one somewhat bizarrely suited to Bridgewater’s highly risk-averse approach at quarterback. They could really use a tight end for him to throw to, as Ian Thomas hasn’t really proven himself as a solid receiver or blocker so far. Russell Okung and Taylor Moton will start at the tackle spots, but they don’t have a single high-end starter on the interior of their offensive line, so beefing up the guard and center positions should be a priority.
The defense is really thin. With Kawann Short coming back from an injury-shortened season, they have at least one solid defensive lineman, but the team’s odd front lacks a proven nose tackle, and another five-technique opposite Short. Brian Burns will be one of the team’s starting edge rushers, but no one at the position is proven and they could use someone to complement him. Having lost Luke Kuechly, only Shaq Thompson is a real piece at linebacker, although they have signed Tahir Whitehead to a one-year deal to play next to him. Donte Jackson has been a disappointment so far at cornerback, but they don’t have anyone else so he might need to start in 2020. They have a great free safety in Tre Boston, and a low-end starter in Juston Burris next to him.
Top Needs: TE, OG, OC, DL, LB, CB
New Orleans Saints:
Having successfully brought Drew Brees and Taysom Hill back, the Saints may choose not to bring in a quarterback, if they think Hill is a potential successor. The skill positions look good, with Alvin Kamara at running back, Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders at wide receiver, and Jared Cook at tight end. The offense line is solid as well, with the exception of 2015 first-rounder Andrus Peat, who really struggled in both the pass and run game last year as the team’s starting left guard.
The team’s depth chart looks fairly deep on the interior of the defensive line, but no one player is a real star; they’ve invested most heavily in Sheldon Rankins (first round, 2016) and Malcom Brown. Fortunately, they have two very high-end starters on the ends in Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport. Two of the linebackers look worth going into 2020 with, those being Demario Davis on the weakside and Kiko Alonso in the middle, although Alex Anzalone hasn’t been great at the Sam spot. The Saints are well-stocked in the defensive backfield, with Janoris Jenkins and Marshon Lattimore as the starting corners and Marcus Williams, Malcolm Jenkins, and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson as the top three safeties.
Top Needs: QB, LG, DT, SLB
Expiring Contracts: RB Alvin Kamara, TE Jared Cook, OT Ryan Ramczyk, OG Larry Warford, DT Sheldon Rankins, LB Alex Anzalone, LB Kiko Alonso, LB Demario Davis, CB Marshon Lattimore, DB Marcus Williams
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Clearly, Tom Brady is going to have some weapons at his disposal in 2020; with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin at receiver and O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate at tight end, it’s easy to imagine him bouncing back after injuries, retirements, and off-field issues destroyed his supporting cast in New England last year. However, the Bucs could still use competition for Ronald Jones in the backfield, and a slot receiver to give Brady the Troy Brown/Wes Welker/Julian Edelman type guy he’s relied heavily on over the course of his career. The offensive line has three pieces as well; what it’s missing is a right guard (Alex Cappa is the projected starter) and right tackle, where it looks like Joe Haeg may try to replace Demar Dotson.
The Buccaneers will continue living la Vita Vea in the middle of their odd fronts, with Ndamukong Suh returning to play end opposite William Gholston, who was serviceable last year. Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul form an explosive duo on the edge, and although Devin White struggled as a rookie, they should be set at inside linebacker with him and Lavonte David in place. The Bucs have used three second-round picks and one third-round pick at cornerback over the past two years, so they’ll probably let those guys compete and see who can start, with Carlton Davis being one obvious choice. Justin Evans ended up on IR last year, and they could use a strong safety to play with him.
Top Needs: RB, RG, RT, DL, DB
Expiring Contracts: WR Chris Godwin, TE O.J. Howard, LB Lavonte David, DB Justin Evans
Mitchell Trubisky regressed last year, so the Bears traded for Nick Foles to push him. David Montgomery will shoulder the workload on the ground, with Tarik Cohen rotating in for passing downs. The Bears have a number-one receiver in Allen Robinson, but behind him they’re thin. Anthony Miller is probably worth trying to develop further, but unless they’re expecting Riley Ridley to break out after a very limited 2019 season, they should probably try to upgrade at the other boundary spot, as Javon Wims and Cordarrelle Patterson are not starting material. Trey Burton played very poorly at tight end last year before landing on injured reserve, so Chicago also brought in JImmy Graham to compete with him; Graham struggled in 2019 as well. The offensive line is a disaster. Only left guard James Daniels was even serviceable last year, so although they brought in Germain Ifedi to compete for a starting role, they still have low-end starters at the other positions, from left tackle (Charles Leno) to center (Cody Whitehair) to right guard (ifedi) to right tackle (Bobby Massie).
Eddie Goldman is a solid nose tackle, but the team doesn’t have much else on the defensive line. Akiem Hicks played well as defensive tackle on the team’s three-man lines, but was limited to less than 200 snaps last year, while no other players in the mix have proven themselves starting-caliber. Things look good at linebacker, where Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn are the team’s primary and secondary rushers, and they have Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith on the inside; it’s worth mentioning that Smith really struggled last year, but they should be willing to give him a chance to rebound. They could really use help at cornerback, where Kyle Fuller played poorly; they signed Artie Burns to play opposite him, but Burns wasn’t good in 2019 either. Eddie Jackson is just serviceable as a safety, and the team will be hoping Deon Bush can start opposite him, although he’s played less than sixty snaps on defense last year.
Top Needs: WR, OL, DL, CB, DB
Expiring Contracts: QB Mitchell Trubisky, RB Tarik Cohen, WR Allen Robinson, WR Cordarrelle Patterson
The Lions are pretty loaded at the skill positions on offense – they have a franchise quarterback in Matthew Stafford, a promising if injury-prone running back in Kerryon Johnson, three solid receivers in Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., and Danny Amendola, and a 2019 first-round pick in T.J. Hockenson at tight end. They have two good tackles, one of them just signed for $50 million, and a solid center as well. In other words, it would be surprising for them to use a high pick on offense unless they select a guard to replace one of their two low-end starters, unless they see Halapoulivaati Vaitai as a guard, in which case they could use a right tackle.
Defensively, things look messier. They signed a nose tackle in Danny Shelton, and have a primary pass-rusher in Trey Flowers, but the rest of their options struggled, so they should try to improve on the likes of Romeo Okwara at defensive end, or Nick Williams/John Atkins at defensive tackle. They signed Jamie Collins and Reggie Ragland to join Jahlani Tavai at linebacker, so they may be comfortable with those, even if Jarrad Davis and Christian Jones were terrible in starting roles last year. They signed Desmond Trufant to replace Darius Slay at cornerback, but need Justin Coleman to rebound after a poor 2019. It’s possible they could try using Amani Oruwariye opposite Trufant, with Coleman playing in the slot. Duron Harmon and Tracy Walker form a solid safety duo, with Jayron Kearse looking like a potential replacement for Tavon Wilson as the third safety.
Top Needs: OG, DT, DE, CB
Expiring Contracts: WR Kenny Golladay, WR Marvin Jones, OT Taylor Decker, DE Romeo Okwara, LB Jarrad Davis
GREEN BAY PACKERS:
Offensively, the Packers have few needs; most pressing is for a wide receiver to complement Davante Adams, although they did sign Devin Funchess to a cheap one-year deal, and he’s probably better than the other players they have on roster (to be fair, Allen Lazard flashed as well.) Marcedes Lewis somehow resurrected his career at tight end, and they used a third-round pick on Jace Sternberger last year to groom behind him, although he struggled. The left side of their line – David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, and Corey Linsley – worked well, and they signed Ricky Wagner to play right tackle. The main liability is thus Billy Turner, the team’s right guard.
Only one of the three defensive line positions can be said to be filled – that’s nose tackle, where they play Kenny Clark. Other than that, Dean Lowry and Tyler Lancaster are more like depth options than starting-caliber defensive linemen. Green Bay invested heavily on the edge last year, with Za’Darius Smith working out well. Preston Smith was a little bit uneven, and Rashan Gary struggled over limited snaps, but that position grouping looks set to continue for at least one more year. They just signed Christian Kirksey to play next to Oren Burks – neither played too well, but presumably that’s what they want for 2020. At cornerback, they have a top option in Jaire Alexander, and are probably hoping either Kevin King or Josh Jackson can hold down the other spot. They will probably also stay put at safety, where Adrian Amons and Darnell Savage were big investments last year.
Top Needs: WR, OG, DL, CB
Expiring Contracts: RB Aaron Jones, RB Jamaal Williams, OT David Bakhtiari, OC Corey Linsley, DT Kenny Clark, CB Kevin King
The Vikings should be pretty confident about their offensive skill positions. Kirk Cousins is their franchise quarterback, and they have a strong running back in Dalvin Cook and a top receiver in Adam Thielen. They lost Stefon Diggs and only replaced him with Tajae Sharpe, a pretty solid receiver but nothing near Diggs as a playmaker. They’re invested in Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith at tight end, and that looks like a pretty solid duo. The line is another story, however; while tackles Riley Reiff and Brian O’Neill are both capable, the interior really struggled to protect Cousins last year. The weakest link is right guard Dru Samia; 2019 first-rounder Garrett Bradbury will get another starting opportunity, but Pat Elflein could be replaced at left guard.
The defensive line looks pretty good, with a stout nose tackle in Michael Pierce and a primary pass-rusher in Danielle Hunter. They haven’t re-signed Everson Griffen, but that may be because they saw enough from Ifeadi Odenigbo’s 400+ snaps that they are confident in his ability to replace Griffen. However, they really need a defensive tackle to play net to Pierce; that looks like a major need. Eric Kendricks played well at middle linebacker, but Anthony Barr fell off last year and they don’t have a weakside linebacker, either. Despite having traditionally invested a lot in cornerback, with Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Mackensie Alexander leaving, they really only have Mike Hughes, and he hasn’t proven himself a reliable starter yet. Fortunately, Minnesota has one of the best safety duos in the league, so they can ignore that position.
Top Needs: WR, OG, DT, DE, OLB, CB
Expiring Contracts: RB Dalvin Cook, OG Pat Elflein
The Cowboys have a lot of young talent at the skill positions, with franchise cornerstones at quarterback (Dak Prescott), running back (Ezekiel Elliott) and wide receiver (Amani Cooper). Michael Gallup played well at receiver last year too, and the team spent a third-round pick on him in 2018. although they don’t have a lot of depth at the position. 2018 fourth-rounder Dalton Schultz is a good blocker at the tight end position, but last year’s starter, Blake Jarwin, is nothing special, so a great receiver or more well-rounded player at the position would be nice. The Cowboys have at least three pieces along the offensive line (Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and La’el Collins), although 2018 second-rounder Connor Wiliams struggled at left guard last year, while at center they just lost Travis Frederick to retirement and have only journeyman Joe Looney and 2019 third-rounder Connor McGovern as candidates to man the pivot; McGovern didn’t play last year after landing on injured reserve.
The Cowboys signed both of Carolina’s defensive tackles last year, those being Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe; with 2019 second-rounder Trysten Hill, they should be okay there, even though Tyrone Crawford fell off last year. They have one of the top defensive ends in the league in Demarcus Lawrence, but not much opposite him; Dorance Armstrong didn’t play well, and Joe Jackson played under a hundred snaps, while Michael Bennett hasn’t re-signed yet. None of Dallas’ highly-regarded linebackers graded out very highly last year, those being Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, and Leighton Vander-Esch, although it’s conceivable they could be confident in those players rebounding. Among the team’s clearest needs is for a top-end cornerback; Chidobe Awuzie is a pretty good starter on one side and Jourdan Lewis is decent in the slot, but Anthony Brown struggled in limited snaps and shouldn’t be considered a suitable replacement for Byron Jones as a boundary starter. They should be okay at safety after signing Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix to pair with Xavier Woods.
Top Needs: TE, OC, DE, LB, CB
Expiring Contracts: QB Dak Prescott, CB Chidobe Awuzie, CB Jourdan Lewis, DB Xavier Woods
NEW YORK GIANTS:
Daniel Jones decent rookie season, and the team has surrounded him with some pretty good pieces. Saquon Barkley is the running back of the future, and while the Giants lack a true number-one receiver, they have three solid targets in Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton. Evan Engram ended last year on injured reserve but they should be comfortable with him at tight end if healthy. Figuring out how to improve the offensive line will be a priority, as Jones was hit and fumbled too often last year. Nate Solder was a disappointment on the blindside last year, although they have a lot invested in him; ditto for left guard Will Hernandez, a 2018 second-round pick. There’s essentially nothing at center, and right tackle Cameron Fleming is a journeyman/reserve type; only right guard Kevin Zeitler is a great option. They’re probably most likely to look at a center or right tackle given what they have spent acquiring the other members of the line.
The Giants have an odd defensive front with a lot of talent on the defensive line – Leonard Williams was acquired last year and joins Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson, and B.J. Hill as stout run-stuffers. They didn’t get what they wanted from Kyler Fackrell or rookie Oshane Ximines on the edge last year, so they will probably be looking for a primary pass-rusher to play opposite Lorenzo Carter, who graded out better against the run and in coverage. David Mayo is a stout run-stuffer at inside linebacker, but neither Ryan Connelly nor Blake Martinez played at a starting-caliber level. The Giants invested heavily in James Bradberry and DeAndre Baker at cornerback, and although both were shredded last year, that’s likely to be their starting set in 2020 as well. Julian Love converted from cornerback and did a good job at safety last year, and Jabrill Peppers was a pretty good coverage safety too.
Top Needs: WR, OT, OC, DE/OLB, ILB, CB
Expiring Contracts: TE Evan Engram, DT Dalvin Tomlinson, DB Jabrill Peppers
Carson Wentz is the team’s quarterback of the future, but they don’t have a ton around him. Miles Sanders leaves something to be desired as a primary running back, while the team’s receivers didn’t play as expected last year; Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson both got hurt, and second-round rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside really struggled to play through injury, although Greg Ward was a pleasant surprise. They have two very capable tight ends, so that’s their strongest position. The offensive line played well, and it’s unlikely they’re planning to make any changes along it, aside from possibly letting Jason Peters walk in free agency so 2019 first-round pick Andre Dillard can take over on the blindside. Left guard Isaac Seumalo isn’t great, but it’s not imperative to replace him, either.
The Eagles usually have a deep defensive line rotation, and their top two tackles are very good as well – Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave. Vinny Curry hasn’t been re-signed yet, so while they have a good pass-rusher in Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett is the likely starter opposite him and didn’t play very well last year. It’s possible they could want to see what they have in Josh Sweat or Shareef MIller before drafting another player, or maybe they’d rather invest big resources there. Things are uglier at linebacker, where T.J. Edwards and Duke Riley flashed in very limited snaps but need to step into starting roles next to Nathan Gerry, who didn’t play well. The team acquired Darius Slay to start at one of their cornerback positions, but their other investments there are not working out so far – the likes of Avonte Maddox, Rasul Douglas, Jalen Mills, and Sidney Jones were all roasted in 2019. It’s possible they may try Mills at safety, but a better complement for serviceable free safety Rodney McLeod is needed.
Top Needs: WR, DE, LB, CB, DB
Expiring Contracts: WR Alshon Jeffery, DE Derek Barnett, LB Duke Riley, LB Nate Gerry, CB Rasul Douglas, CB Sidney Jones
The Redskins acquired Kyle Allen to push Dwayne Haskins this year, and it’s possible Alex Smith may recover enough to get into the mix at quarterback as well. Derrius Guice ended up on injured reserve last year but between him, Adrian Peterson, and Bryce Love, they may feel comfortable that someone will run the ball well for them in 2020. Terry McLaurin has been a big hit at receiver, and Kelvin Harmon flashed opposite him, although they may be interested in adding competition for the starting role beyond Cody Latimer, who’s Harmon’s primary competition so far. Tight end looks like a big need unless they think recent acquisition Richard Rodgers is a true number-one option. Cornelius Lucas played well last year and is penciled in at left tackle, while center Chase Roullier and right guard Brandon Scherff are other likely starters. They could potentially try to improve on either left guard Wes Schweitzer or right tackle Morgan Moses, though; their internal competition is currently being provided by Wes Martin/Ross Pierschbacher and Geron Christian, respectively.
The defensive line is somewhat unproven but they have a quality nose tackle in Da’Ron Payne; Matt Ioannidis graded out well as a pass-rusher, but 2017 first-runder Jonathan Allen struggled opposite him, as did backup nose Tim Settle. Ryan Kerrigan is a stalwart rusher off the edge, although they invested heavily in Montez Sweat opposite him and didn’t get much. Ryan Anderson is also in the mix there. Shaun Dion Hamilton is a coverage specialist at inside linebacker, and they also brought in the aging Thomas Davis Jr., who will join Jon Bostic and Cole Holcomb in competition there; it seems that Reuben Foster is on roster as well, but his off-field issues and struggles in 2018 may not make him a serious competitor for a starting role just yet. All three of the team’s top cornerbacks – Fabian Moreau, Jimmy Moreland, and the recently-signed Ronald Darby – played very poorly last year. It looks like the team may have been using Kendall Fuller at safety last year; he played well opposite Landon Collins in that capacity, but if they wanted they could see if someone like Sean Davis or Troy Apke could man the free safety spot. It’s worth mentioning, though, that Davis graded out very poorly in 2019.
Top Needs: WR, OL, DL, LB, CB, FS
Expiring Contracts: RB Adrian Peterson, TE Jeremy Sprinkle, OT Trent Williams, OC Chase Roullier, DE Jonathan Allen, LB Ryan Anderson, LB Ryan Kerrigan, LB Reuben Foster, CB Fabian Moreau, CB Ronald Darby
It looks like the Broncos will get to see what 2019 second-rounder Drew Lock can do at quarterback next year. Fortunately, he has a pretty good supporting cast, with Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay at running back and a solid receiver to throw to in Courtland Sutton. Beyond that, bringing in a recever to compete with Tim Patrick and DaeSean Hamilton may be nice, and while they used a first-round pick on Noah Fant last year, he wasn’t impressive as a rookie. The line might be mostly set: they have invested heavily at tackle with Garrett Bolles and Ja’Wuan James, although the latter missed almost all of last season, and they spent a 2019 second-round pick on Dalton Risner. Graham Glasgow is a solid enough center, and Ronald Leary isn’t a great run blocker but did a good job of protecting the quarterback last year.
The Broncos have a lot of big bodies on their defensive line, although they may stand to lose Shelby Harris, Derek Wolfe, and Adam Gotsis, who are all free agents. Even if those players leave, they’ll have two very good run-stuffers in Mike Purcell and Jurrell Casey, although another five-technique may be needed. Bradley Chubb was limited by injury in 2019 but he returns opposite Von Miller at outside linebacker, and Alexander Johnson played well on the inside, too. They may or may not want to look for another inside linebacker; both Todd Davis and Josey Jewell were at least adequate last year. Denver acquired A.J. Bouye via trade, but after losing Chris Harris and Bradley Roby it’s still a major position of need, especially because Bouye struggled in 2019. Fortunately, they’re set at safety with Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson forming one of the best duos in the league.
Top Needs: WR, DL, CB
Expiring Contracts: RB Phillip Lindsay (RFA), OT Garrett Bolles, OG Ronald Leary, LB Alexander Johnson, LB Todd Davis
Kansas City Chiefs:
Assuming the Chiefs are able to sign an extension with Pat Mahomes, they’ll have one of the best quarterbacks in the league under long-term control. The team’s running backs are just adequate, with Damien Williams being the best of the bunch. Tyreek Hill is dangerous both on and off the field, and Mecole Hardman is a pretty good slot receiver, too. It’s unclear whether Sammy Watkins will be back though, as the Chiefs want him to reduce his contract. Travis Kelce is one of the top tight ends in the league. Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz form a good tackle duo, although the inside of the line is pretty weak, at least in the run game, with Andrew Wylie and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif at guard and Austin Reiter at center.
Frank Clark wasn’t quite what they were hoping for last year, but Kansas City does have one true stud on the line in Chris Jones. Alongside those pieces, they’re hoping Terrell Suggs still has something left in the tank, or that either Breeland Speaks or Khalen Saunders breaks out; Speaks missed the whole season after landing on injured reserve. The team’s linebackers – Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson – are very weak, and run-stuffer Reggie Ragland is still a free agent, so that’s a position of major need. Bashaud Breeland struggled last year and is a free agent at cornerback, while the starter opposite him, Charvarius Ward, also left something to be desired. However, they do have two solid safeties on roster in Tyrann Mathieu and Juan Thornhill.
Top Needs: WR, OG/C, NT, LB, CB
Expiring Contracts: QB Patrick Mahomes, RB Damien Williams, WR Sammy Watkins, OC Austin Reiter, DE Terrell Suggs, LB Damien Wilson, CB Charvarius Ward
Las Vegas Raiders:
Having brought in Marcus Mariota to push Derek Carr, it seems like those will be the Raiders’ two quarterbacks in 2020. Josh Jacobs was fantastic as a rookie running back, although the team has a somewhat risky depth chart at wide receiver. Hunter Renfrow looked good in the slot, but Tyrell Williams may not be a true #1 receiver and the competitors for the other starting job, Nelson Agholor and Zay Jones, both struggled last year. They have quite a few tight ends on roster, including Darren Waller, so that position looks settled. The team built a good offensive line around Carr. Kolton Miller and Trent Brown is capable tackle combination, and Rodney Hudson is a high-end center. They also have a solid guard in Richie Incognito, although Gabe Jackson is closer to serviceable on the right side.
The interior of the Raiders’ defensive line is okay; Johnathan Hankins can stuff the run, Maurice Hurst can rush the passer, and P.J. Hal is adequate at both. They also signed Maliek Collins away from Dallas. None of the team’s young defensive ends have really broken out, but they’re banking on Clelin Ferrell on one side of the line, and it’s possible they’d be satisfied with letting Max Crosby and Arden Key battle it out opposite him; in any event, adding more youth may not be the way to go. The Raiders have Cory Littleton at middle linebacker, but are weak at the linebacker spot beyond him, with guys like Nick Kwiatkowski and Nicholas Morrow in the starting mix. The starting cornerbacks, Eli Apple and Trayvon Mullen, both played poorly last year, although Apple is a recent signing and Mullen was a 2019 second-round pick. Jeff Heath is a decent safety, and despite the fact that Johnathan Abram missed almost the entire season last year, he’ll be given every opportunity to start at one safety spot.
Top Needs: WR, DL, OLB, CB
Expiring Contracts: WR Zay Jones, DT Johnathan Hankins
Los Angeles Chargers:
After losing Philip Rivers, the Chargers are a favorite to draft one of the top three quarterbacks in the class, although it’s possible Tyrod Taylor begins the year as the starter or they sign someone like Cam Newton. Austin Ekeler turned out to be a solid running back, and starting receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are good when healthy. The same goes for tight end Hunter Henry, who was franchise tagged. Bryan Bulaga was signed and Trai Turner was acquired via trade to bolster the offensive line, although both moves are risky, Bulaga for health reasons and Turner because of his struggles last year. Center Mike Pouncey is also coming off of a poor (and injury-limited) year, while Dan Feeney and Forrest Lamp are starting to look like busts at guard. Right tackle Sam Tevi would ideally be replaced as well.
The Chargers did well to land nose tackle Linval Joseph, who should fit in well next to Joey Bosa and/or Melvin Ingram, two dangerous edge rushers. Unfortunately, both 2019 first-rounder Jerry Tillery and 2018 third-rounder Justin Jones played poorly at the defensive tackle spot. Linebacker is something of a question mark – Denzel Perryman struggled through an injury-plagued season in 2019, Nick Vigil was a disappointment as a full time starter, and while Kyzir White and Drue Tranquill looked pretty good, neither reached 400 snaps overall. The team should be pretty confident in its starting cornerback trio of Casey Hayward, Chris Harris, and Desmond King, and getting Derwin James back at safety will help a lot, although they lack a desirable starting option next to him, Rayshawn Jenkins probably being the best bet to start at safety so far.
Top Needs: QB, OL, LB, DB
Expiring Contracts: QB Tyrod Taylor, WR Keenan Allen, WR Mike Williams, OT Sam Tevi, OG Dan Feeney, OG Forrest Lamp, OC Mike Pouncey, DE Joey Bosa, DE Melvin Ingram, LB Denzel Perryman, CB Desmond King, DB Rayshawn Jenkins
The Texans have a franchise quarterback in Deshaun Watson, and despite trading star receiver DeAndre Hopkins, are fairly well-stocked at skill positions, tight end aside. David Johnson and Duke Johnson form the team’s running-back duo, and they likely feel comfortable with their top three receivers, Will Fuller, Kenny Stills, and Randall Cobb. Houston has spent third-round picks on tight ends in both 2018 and 2019, but neither of those players – Jordan Akins and Kahale Warring – have showed much, and may be stuck behind Darren Fells at the position. After investing heavily at tackle to acquire Laremy Tunsil and draft Tytus Howard, those will likely be their bookends next year, with Nick Martin manning the pivot. Guard is a need,
as Max Scharping and Zach Fulton struggle in the run game.
Aside from future Hall of Famer J.J. Watt, the Texans have a weak defensive line and could stand to add both a nose tackle and a five-technique end, as currently they are set to rotate players like Angelo Blackson and Eddie Vanderdoes. Houston is pretty set at three of four linebacker spots but could use a “Jack” outside linebacker opposite Whitney Mercilus. 2019 second-rounder Lonnie Johnson was a disaster at cornerback last year, but the team has plenty of other young talent there.A strong safety who could play next to Justin Reid would be good as well; the current starter is Tashuan Gipson, who might be better-suited as a backup at this point.
Top Needs: TE, OG, DL, OLB, SS
Expiring Contracts: QB Deshaun Watson, WR Kenny Stills, WR Will Fuller, OT Laremy Tunsil, LB Zach Cunningham, CB Gareon Conley, CB Vernon Hargreaves
If the Colts keep Jacoby Brissett, they could groom him to take over for Philip Rivers next year; if not, they’ll probably want to line up a developmental candidate at the position. Marlon Mack is a solid starter at running back, and it’s likely the team feels like it has two pieces at receiver in T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell, although the latter played poorly as a rookie second-round pick. Zach Pascal played well there last year, but they may still want to look for an upgrade. Zach Doyle is a solid starter at tight end. The Colts have one of the league’s best offensive lines, with only right guard Mark Glowinski being a candidate to be replaced through the draft or otherwise.
The Colts just traded a first-round pick to acquire DeForest Buckner for their three-technique spot, and they have a good if aging right end in Justin Houston. Beyond that, the Colts have invested three second-round picks in 2018 and 2019 on defensive linemen, although none are proven and they may also consider bringing in competition for Grover Stewart at nose tackle, although he’s a serviceable run defender. Outside linebacker is a major strength with Darius Leonard and Bobby Okereke, although Anthony Walker is a liability against the run at the middle linebacker spot. The team’s major returning corners are Rock Ya-Sin, who had an uneven rookie year in coverage, and Kenny Moore, who was pretty good. Given what they’ve invested in Ya-Sin, as well as their signing of Xavier Rhodes, it’s possible they don’t view cornerback as an immediate need. Malik Hooker hasn’t been quite what they wanted so far, but he can probably be written into the free safety spot with pen, while Khari Wills’ starting job at strong safety is more questionable.
Top Needs: RG, NT, MLB, SS
Expiring Contracts: QB Jacoby Brissett, RB Marlon Mack, WR T.Y. Hilton, WR Zach Pascal, OC Ryan Kelly, DE Justin Houston, NT Grover Stewart, LB Anthony Walker, DB Malik Hooker
The Nick Foles experiment failed, but fortunately Gardner Minshew played pretty well last year and could prove a serviceable starter at quarterback. It’d be surprising if the Jaguars made any major changes at running back (Leonard Fournette), tight end (Tyler Eifert), or wide receiver (D.J. Chark, Marqise Lee, Chris Conley, Dede Westbrook). Jacksonville’s invested pretty heavily on the offensive line, but really only center Brandon Linder has been playing well; you could also consider left guard Andrew Norwell, a prize free-agent acquisition, and right tackle Jawaan Taylor, the team’s second-round pick last year, as likely starters, although left tackle Cam Robinson and right guard A.J. Cann may face competition, the latter potentially from Will Richardson, who struggled mightily over his 436 snaps last year.
The Jaguars rotated heavily at defensive tackle last year and will probably do so again. Taven Bryan and Al Woods (the latter in Seattle) played well in 2019 and Rodney Gunter was decent as well, so while strengthening the rotation would be nice, it’s more preferable than necessary. They have two good defensive ends in Josh Allen and Yannick Ngakoue, although Myles Jack and the linebackers really struggled last year. Jacksonville dramatically overpaid Joe Schobert to play middle linebacker, so they are certain to start him in the middle. Signing Darqueze Dennard to a one-year deal to start opposite D.J. Hayden would have them a pretty solid cornerback duo, but his deal fell through and they also lack a slot option. Jarod Wilson was a solid coverage safety last year, but Ronnie Harrison struggled at strong safety.
Top Needs: QB, OL, OLB, CB, DB
Expiring Contracts: RB Leonard Fournette, WR Chris Conley, WR Dede Westbrook, OT Cam Robinson, CB D.J. Hayden
The Titans have settled on Ryan Tannehill as their quarterback of the future, and also have one of the best running backs in the league in Derrick Henry. There are three solid receivers on roster in A.J. Brown, Corey Davis, and Adam Humphries, and Jonnu Smith played well at tight end last year. The offensive line took a big hit when Jack Conklin left, but they look good from left tackle to center, and even at right tackle, where Dennis Kelly will step into Conklin’s role. Right guard is the major need, where 2019 third-rounder Nate Davis really struggled over about 900 snaps last year.
The Titans look pretty set at two of the three positions on their defensive line; they basically kept Jones on the field and rotated between Simmons and Austin Johnson last year. With Johnson gone, they’ll need Simmons to step into a major role, although they did make him a first-round pick, presumably for that reason. Jurrell Casey was the team’s anchor on the line, but they inexplicably traded him, so they’ll need a third lineman. It’s hard to know what the Titans have at linebacker, but because of their investments there they may opt not to make major changes; they spent first- and second-round picks in 2018 on Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry, respectively, and brought in Vic Beasley in free agency, but none of those guys played very well last year. Surprisingly, Jayon Brown may have been their best linebacker, and he returns on the inside. Although Adoree’ Jackson looks like a stud at cornerback, Malcolm Butler struggled and Logan Ryan is still a free agent, so another cornerback would be worth looking into. Kevin Byard is one of the best safeties in the league, and while Kenny Vaccaro and Amani Hooker didn’t play well last year, they may want to give those guys another chance.
Top Needs: RG, DL, CB
Expiring Contracts: WR Corey Davis, TE Jonnu Smith, DL DaQuan Jones, LB Jayon Brown, CB Adoree’ Jackson
Baltimore had one of the most explosive offenses in the league last year, so there are relatively few needs on that side of the ball for them in 2020. They have a franchise quarterback in Lamar Jackson and quality starters at running back (Mark Ingram), wide receiver (Marquise Brown), and tight end (Mark Andrews). However, the rest of their supporting cast at receiver leaves a lot to be desired; Willie Snead faded into the background last year, and Seth Robins and Miles Boykin are replacement-level. They’re set at the tackle positions, but their interior linemen – Patrick Mekari, Matt Skura, and Bradley Bozeman – are just adequate and could be upgraded.
The Ravens have a very good defensie line in place even though the signing of Michael Brockers was derailed, as they were able to sign Derek Wolfe to a cheap deal and are considering bringing in Mike Daniels as well. Matt Judon is a good primary pass-rusher off the edge, and Tyus Bowser has flashed as well, although 2019 third-rounder Jaylon Ferguson was a disappointment in the outside linebacker rotation. Inside linebacker is a major need, with none of their returning guys having played as much as 300 snaps last year. The team is deep at cornerback and has a pair of good coverage safeties in Earl Thomas and Chuck Clark, although they could consider bringing in a box enforcer type given that Tony Jefferson didn’t work out.
Top Needs: WR, OG, LB, DB
Expiring Contracts: WR Willie Snead, OT Ronnie Stanley, LB Tyus Bowser, CB Brandon Carr, CB Marlon Humphrey, DB Chuck Clark
Although the Bengals are claiming they’re not opposed to keeping Andy Dalton on roster in 2020, it’s hard to imagine him being on the team; the Bengals will in all likelihood draft Joe Burrow first overall to become their franchise quarterback. Things didn’t go well for the team last year, but they still have a lot of talent at the skill positions. Joe Mixon is a nice starting running back, and the receiver duo of A.J. Green, finally set to return, and Tyler Boyd is good as well. They could stand to upgrade over the likes of Auden Tate and John Ross opposite those two, but that’s not guaranteed to be a priority. Having lost Tyler Eifert, they now need a new starting tight end. 2019 first-rounder Jonah Williams missed his entire rookie season with an injury, but will man the blindside. The rest of the line is interesting: no one played well last year, with the possible exception of center Trey Hopkins, but they have invested pretty heavily in guard with Billy Price (first round, 2018) and Michael Jordan (fourth round, 2019). Bobby Hart is a dirty starter at best at right tackle.
Geno Atkins and D.J. Reader should form one of the best interior line duos in the league next year, and they have a couple of guys behind them as well. Carlos Dunlap is still playing at a high level at the end position, although Carl Lawson fell off and Sam Hubbard isn’t a great pass-rusher yet either; they’ll probably give those guys another year at the least. Josh Bynes looked like a good linebacker last year over 428 snaps, but they need more off-ball options alongside him; 2019 third-rounder Jermaine Pratt struggled. The Bengals have invested so much in the cornerback position, with four first-rounders and one second-rounder on roster, but only Darqueze Dennard played well last year, and he’s a free agent; having signed Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander this offseason, they’re likely banking on one or both rebounding and solidifying the position. They’ve signed Vonn Bell at safety but could use a starter opposite him, as both Jessie Bates and Shawn Williams played poorly; maybe someone like Dre Kirkpatrick could slide to safety.
Top Needs: QB, TE, OL, LB, DB
Expiring Contracts: QB Andy Dalton, RB Joe Mixon, WR John Ross, DE Carl Lawson, CB William Jackson, DB Shawn Williams
Baker Mayfield’s leash is getting shorter but the Browns will give him another shot next year. The Browns are set at running back with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, and although Odell Beckham’s first season in Cleveland was disappointing he and Jarvis Landry are one of the highest-upside receiver duos in the league, albeit without a great third option. The Browns signed Austin Hooper to a massive deal to play tight end, so they’re set there. Although 2019 blindside protector Greg Robinson hasn’t re-signed yet and may be facing league discipline, they landed Jack Conklin to play right tackle, and have two other solid linemen in Joel Bitonio and J.C. Tretter, reliable pass-protectors, although another guard would be nice.
The duo of Sheldon Richardson and Andrew Billings is at least adequate on the interior of the defensive line, and the Myles Garrett/Olivier Vernon combination at defensive end is excellent. The linebackers on the team leave a lot to be desired, with none of the players currently on roster having played well last year; that’s probably their biggest need as a team. Greedy Williams didn’t play well as a rookie, but he joins a solid duo in Kevin Johnson and Denzel Ward, so it’s unlikely they’ll invest much more at cornerback, and they have a couple of adequate safeties in Andrew Sendejo and Karl Joseph, even if Damarious Randall ends up signing somewhere else.
Top Needs: OT OG, LB, DB
Expiring Contracts: DE Myles Garrett, DE Olivier Vernon
With Ben Roethlisberger returning, the Steelers should be set at quarterback this year, but neither Mason Rudolph nor Devlin Hodges looked like a future starting option in 2019. They have a good if injury-prone running back in James Conner, and a #1 receiver in JuJu Smith-Schuster, although his production fell off without Ben throwing him the ball. James Washington and Diontae Johnson showed enough last year to make another receiver more of a luxury than a pressing need. They’ll be counting on Eric Ebron to man the tight end position, and after signing Stefen Wisniewski, they look pretty solid along the offensive line too, although center Maurkice Pouncey really struggled in 2019.
The team’s defensive front is loaded, with Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, and Tyson Alualu on the defensive line and first-round picks T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree rushing off the edge. Vince Williams is a good off-ball linebacker, and although Devin Bush was more of a replacement-level player as a rookie, they’re obviously expecting him to develop into a starter there. It might be worth bringing in a boundary cornerback; Joe Haden is still playing well and Steven Nelson is one of the top slot cornerbacks in the league, but Cameron Sutton played just 268 snaps last year and Mike Hilton is more adequate than he is a high-end starter. Minkah Fitzpatrick was a great trade acquistion at safety, but next to him, Terrell Edmunds is looking like the major reach most people thought he was when the Steelers chose him in the first round back in 2018.
Top Needs: QB, OC, CB, DB
Expiring Contracts: RB James Conner, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, OT Alejandro Villaneuva, DL Cameron Heyward, DL Tyson Alualu, LB T.J. Watt, CB Cameron Sutton
It would come as a surprise if the Bills wanted to invest any major resources in their offensive skill positions, beyond what they spent acquiring Stefon Diggs this offseason; the major core of Josh Allen, Devin Singletary, Diggs, John Brown, and Cole Beasley looks solid, and while they didn’t get great play from 2019 third-rounder Dawson Knox at tight end, he’s probably considered the future starter at the position. They’re probably unlikely to take action at the tackle spots or center after investing second-round picks in tackles Dion Dawkins (2017) and Cody Ford (2019) and signing Mitch Morse to man the pivot and Darryl Williams to compete at right tackle, although Ford’s struggles could potentially cause the team to consider sliding him inside. The guards are a bigger problem, with both Quinton Spain and John Feliciano struggling last year.
Buffalo heavily invested on their defensive line, drafting Ed Oliver on the first round last year and also signing Star Lotulelei and Vernon Butler. They also have solid starters at defensive end in Jerry Hughes and Trent Murphy. The team’s linebackers struggled last year, with 2018 first-rounder Tremaine Edmunds not living up to expectations so far and Matt Milano and A.J. Klein falling off as well. Opposite Tre’Davious White, the team signed Josh Norman in an attempt to resurrect his career, and also have overachiever Levi Wallace in the mix, who played better in 2018 but was still adequate last year. They may want to introduce a younger, more talented player to groom for a potential starting role down the line. The team has three solid safeties in Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, and Jaquan Johnson.
Top Needs: OG, LB, CB
Expiring Contracts: OT Dion Dawkins, OG Jon Feliciano, DE Trent Murphy, LB Matt Milano, CB Tre’Davious White, DB Jordan Poyer
Ryan Fitzpatrick played pretty well last year, but behind him Josh Rosen looks more like a bust than a serious potential franchise quarterback at this point. The Dolphins have signed Jordan Howard to serve as their starting running back, and DeVante Parker is starting to look like a legitimate option at receiver as well. Undrafted free agent Preston Williams flashed opposite him last year, but it’s possible the Dolphins may want to look at some receivers, as Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns are closer to replacement-level. Miami invested a second-round pick in tight end Mike Gesicki in 2018, but he’s been a liability as a blocker and just adequate in the passing game. The Dolphins brought in Ereck Flowers to play guard and Ted Karras to play center this offseason, but their returning linemen aren’t impressive, those being left tackle Julie’n Davenport, right guard Michael Deiter (a 2019 third-round pick), and right tackle Jesse Davis.
Upgrading the defense was a big focus this offseason. The Dolphins have a pretty solid duo of interior defenders with Christian Wilkins and John Jenkins, and also signed Shaq Lawson to rush the passer off the edge, who will play opposite Emmanuel Ogbah; both of those players looked serviceable in rotational roles last year, and Charles Harris could be in the mix as well. Brian Flores brought over Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts to join Vince Biegel and Raekwon McMillan. In summary, beyond Van Noy, the edge players and linebackers are closer to a collection of serviceable players than studs, but both position groupings are pretty deep. Byron Jones was the team’s biggest free-agent acquisition; he will start at cornerback opposite Xavien Howard, who really struggled last year and who they might want to line up a replacement for. The Dolphins have four different safeties who played at least 300 snaps last year, none of them particularly good.
Top Needs: QB, OL, CB, DB
Expiring Contracts: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, WR Albert Wilson, OT Julie’n Davenport, DE Charles Harris, LB Raekwon McMillan
New England Patriots:
Losing Tom Brady makes quarterback the team’s biggest need; currently, 2019 fourth-rounder and journeyman Brian Hoyer would be competing for the job. Sony Michel had a down year running the ball in 2019 but the Patriots are pretty deep at running back, and although the team’s receivers played poorly last year, the exception being Julian Edelman, they have invested heavily in N’Keal Harry and Mohamed Sanu, who were both dealing with injuries in 2019. New England basically has nothing at tight end, although they can at least take solace in knowing that with Joe Thuney returning under the franchise tag and David Andrews likely to get back onto the field at center, their offensive line looks very solid. If Thuney leaves after the season, they could potentially slide left tackle Isaiah Wynn inside, or draft another guard.
The Patriots lost some pieces from their excellent 2019 defense, but the unit still looks good overall. Lawrence Guy is a end/tackle hybrid who excels against the run, and while they lack a top pass-rusher opposite him, some of their rotational players have flashed, namely Deatrich Wise, Chase Winovich, and John Simon. Dont’a Hightower and Ja’Whaun Bentley are back at linebacker, although Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy are not, so they may want to get another jack-of-all-trades type, possibly a conversion from an edge rusher like those two were; the first crack at that role will be Shilique Calhoun, who the team just re-signed. The secondary is deep, as the McCourty brothers were both re-signed and Duron Harmon was replaced by signing Adrian Phillips. The Patriots have arguably the league’s best cornerback in Stephon Gilmore, as well as one of its top slot corners in Jonathan Jones. Patrick Chung is a good if aging strong safety, while JC Jackson and Joejuan Williams are candidates to eventually replace Jason McCourty.
Top Needs: QB, TE, DT, DE, LB
Expiring Contracts: RB James White, WR Mohamed Sanu, OC David Andrews, DL Lawrence Guy, LB Dont’a Hightower, CB Jason McCourty
New York Jets:
The Jets have Sam Darnold at quarterback, and are stuck with Le’Veon Bell at running back, although they may want to start lining up a replacement for 2021 given his struggles last year. Wide receiver may be a need after losing Robbie Anderson; they replaced him with Breshad Perriman, and have a solid slot receiver in Jamison Crowder, although Quincy Enunwa missed almost the entire 2019 season. They could stand to upgrade over Ryan Griffin at tight end, and need a lot of help on the offensive line as well. Left tackle Kelvin Beachum hasn’t been re-signed, and beyond center Connor McGovern, none of the other players in the mix for starting jobs – George Fant, Chuma Edoga, Greg Van Roten, Alex Lewis, and Brian Winters – were impressive last year, although Van Roten has just been signed and Edoga was a 2019 third-round pick.
The defensive line has plenty of run stuffers, and while they’re lacking a primary pass-rusher, the Jets also have a couple of decent stand-up edge defenders in Tarell Basham and Jordan Jenkins, along with Jordan Willis, who flashed in limited snaps. Both of the Jets’ big acquisitions at linebacker last offseason, CJ Mosley and Avery Williamson, got hurt, but they’ll almost certainly go into the season confident that the two can rebound, making the high selection of an off-ball linebacker unlikely. Brian Poole was surprisingly good at cornerback last year and the team has a couple of potential slot guys in Maurice Canady and Blessuan Austin, but Pierre Desir played poorly on the boundary, so a #1 defender at the position is a big need. New York is set at safety with Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye.
Top Needs: RB, WR, TE, OL, DE, CB
Expiring Contracts: OG Brian Winters, DL Steve McLendon, DE Tarell Basham, LB Avery Williamson, DB Jamal Adams, DB Marcus Maye