Tue Apr 20 2:43pm ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Chase should be a hot item
The NFL draft is right around the corner, so we thought we would give you a quick look at the big needs for every team. Below is a team by team look at the positions these teams could target come draft day. It should be an interesting draft with surprises, trades, reaches - you name it. Enjoy the draft!
Bears: The Bears have all sorts of needs offensively. Andy Dalton is going to start this year but he is not the long-term answer at the position. The Bears still need to find their franchise quarterback, so expect this to be addressed during the draft. The team also has some offensive line concerns, making this a position the team takes a strong look at early in the draft. And it wouldn’t hurt to add a few more playmakers on the offensive side of the ball, mainly at the receiver position.
Bengals: Cincinnati has two big needs come draft day. They need to find more weapons for Joe Burrow in the passing game and better pass protectors along the offensive line to keep him upright. Both these spots should be addressed early and often for the team.
Bills: The Bills are coming off a great season, especially on the offensive side of the ball. They don’t have a lot of needs offensively, but might consider adding another receiver. Emmanuel Sanders is not the long-term answer as the starter opposite Stefon Diggs. The biggest need for the Bills might come at cornerback, looking to add quality depth at the position and find that top starter to put alongside Tre’Davious White.
Broncos: Denver used a high pick on Drew Lock a few years back, but is he the answer at the position? We should find out come draft day. If they don’t think he is their guy, look for the team to take another quarterback early come draft day. Other news for the Broncos include linebacker and cornerback. Denver is not too young at linebacker with Von Miller leading the way for that unit. And the cornerback spot struggled to make plays last year, so improving that position makes sense for the Broncos.
Browns: The Browns might try to get younger at receiver, especially with the position being so deep this year in the draft. It makes sense for the team to take a look at the position with both Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry being the clear top two options in the passing game. The team could also look to shore up the defensive tackle position. The ends are great but getting a top run stuffer in the middle could bolster that line even more.
Bucs: The defending Super Bowl champs get the luxury of just drafting maybe the best available when they are up to pick. The team doesn’t have a lot of glaring needs. Tampa might want to get a little younger along the defensive line, especially with their edge rushers and tackles. Tampa also might want to get another receiver with Antonio Brown likely gone.
Cardinals: Arizona’s defense could use some upgrades. The Cardinals could really use some help at cornerback, trying to find that lockdown corner for years to come. This should be the top need for the team. The Cardinals also might want to look at adding some new offensive lineman to help keep Kyler Murray on his feet.
Chargers: Like many teams in this draft, getting some help along the offensive line should be a priority for the Chargers to keep their young, star quarterback healthy and on the field. Look for the Chargers to address that position very early in the draft, especially the tackle position. Los Angeles might want to think about getting younger at tight end and receiver, getting Justin Herbert some more weapons to work with offensively.
Chiefs: Kansas City came up short in the Super Bowl, mainly because Patrick Mahomes was running for his life most of the game. The offensive line needs to get younger and better, so expect the Chiefs to make that a priority in this draft. The Chiefs also might look at adding another receiver after letting Sammy Watkins walk this offseason.
Colts: The Colts have one of the better offensive lines in football but it isn’t a young unit. Finding some younger players for the line makes sense for the team. And getting another top receiver for Carson Wentz makes sense, especially with T.Y. Hilton not getting any younger. These are two positions that should be addressed in the draft for the Colts.
Cowboys: Dallas had more issues on the defensive side of the ball than on offense, especially the cornerback spot. The Cowboys could use a top corner to put in the lineup. Dallas has lacked some consistency at the position in recent years. The defensive line could get younger and better as well, getting some new players at tackle and along the edge. So look for the Cowboys to go heavy on defense in this draft.
Dolphins: The Dolphins have a slew of draft picks to use and are likely to load up on the skill positions offensively to get Tua Tagovailoa some help. The receiver and running back spot are likely to be targeted early for Miami. It makes sense to get more playmakers on the offensive side of the ball, making that the priority of the team this draft.
Eagles: The Eagles are in desperate need of some help at receiver. This should be the top priority of the team early in this year’s draft. Jalen Hurts needs some playmakers. The Eagles also could use some help in the secondary - both at safety and cornerback. So don’t be surprised if those positions are addressed early.
Falcons: Matt Ryan isn’t getting any younger so finding the quarterback of the future seems likely for Atlanta. The Falcons could act early on a quarterback. Atlanta could also look at the running back spot, which is a glaring need for the team right now. The Falcons could try to find that franchise back.
Giants: The Giants could use some more playmakers for Daniel Jones on the offensive side of the ball. Getting Kenny Golladay was a plus but adding another receiver or tight end seems the right move for the team. This is an offense-first league now and the Giants lack some top options on that side of the ball. New York also could add some better offensive lineman to help Jones stay on his feet.
Jaguars: The Jaguars have the first pick, so getting their franchise quarterback (Trevor Lawrence) is going to happen. This fills a huge need for the team. With that said, the Jaguars need playmakers for Lawrence to succeed. Getting new blood at receiver, tight end and running back makes sense. Look for the Jaguars to add plenty of new depth on the offensive side of the ball.
Jets: New York got rid of Sam Darnold, so getting a new quarterback is the biggest need of the team. They will get their guy with their first pick in the draft. After that, the Jets still need a franchise back and a true No. 1 receiver. These positions should be addressed early in the draft for the Jets. The Jets need to get that offense going, so look for the team to add playmakers offensively.
Lions: The Lions did not retain Kenny Golladay this offseason, so the team is in big-time need of new receivers. It would not surprise to see the Lions use a first-round pick on receiver to shore up that spot. Detroit could also use some help along the offensive line, finding Jared Goff some top blockers to give him time to throw the ball.
Packers: It seems like we say this every season, but finding a top option at receiver opposite Davante Adams would make sense for Green Bay. If they have two top options at receiver, the offense could be that much better. The Packers offensive line also is getting older, so that is a another position that could use some help through the draft.
Panthers: The Panthers signed A.J. Bouye this offseason but could use some help in the secondary. The cornerback position is one the team could target early in this draft. The offensive line is another spot of need for Carolina. Getting a top tackle would make sense, finding Sam Darnold a solid protecter for his blind spot.
Patriots: The big needs for the Patriots come on the offensive side of the ball. New England needs to find their franchise quarterback. We aren’t sure when that will happen in this draft, but the Patriots are going to take a quarterback. And the receiver spot remains a big issue for the team. New England does not have a legit No. 1 receiver on the team.
Raiders: The Raiders have huge needs along the offensive line. The team lost several of their top starters from last year, so this position should get plenty of new players throughout this draft. Derek Carr is going to need some new talent along the line if he hopes to build on last year. Las Vegas also could use some upgrades at linebacker, so that is another position that likely gets a look early in the draft.
Rams: The Rams have some talented offensive tackles, but both players are getting old. The Rams should get some new offensive tackles in this draft, looking towards the future. And the Rams lost Gerald Everett this offseason, so finding another tight end to pair with Tyler Higbee would make sense. These seem the biggest needs for the Rams.
Ravens: Baltimore signed Sammy Watkins but that doesn’t really solve their need for an elite receiver for Lamar Jackson. It would make sense for the Ravens to act early on one of the talented receivers in this year’s draft. The Ravens also could use some help on defense, looking to get a talented edge rusher and maybe a new safety.
Saints: Michael Thomas had a season to forget and Emmanuel Sanders left via free agency, making the receiver position one the Saints could look to target early in the draft. The team could use some more playmakers for whoever plays quarterback for the team this year. The tight end spot also is a big concern after losing Jared Cook. New Orleans also could use some help at cornerback, lacking some top playmakers at that position.
Seahawks: Russell Wilson has been running for his life the last few years, so shoring up that offensive line makes a lot of sense for Seattle in this draft. Seattle also has lost some edge rushers in recent years so getting a playmaker on the outside defensively is likely to happen.
Steelers: Pittsburgh let James Conner leave, making the running back spot a bit of a mess right now for the team. The Steelers should use an early round pick on a running back, trying to find their franchise back. Pittsburgh also could use some new blood on the offensive line to help open holes for that new running back. The Steelers also need some new talent at cornerback with Joe Haden not getting any younger.
Texans: The Texans have all sorts of voids to fill on both sides of the ball. The team could use some new cornerbacks and edge rushers defensively. And the offense needs some help at receiver and tight end. The team could go any numbers of ways early in the draft, looking to fill a lot of needs of players that left or were traded. Plus, you have the whole Deshaun Watson situation, which is a mess and you aren’t sure how it is going to play out. Maybe something will happen come draft day.
Titans: A.J. Brown is the Titans top receiver but things fall off in a hurry at the position for the Titans after him. Getting a top receiver to pair with Brown should be a priority for the Titans. Tennessee could also look at the tight end position after losing Jonnu Smith. It makes a lot of sense for the Titans to surround Ryan Tannehill with some more talent after how well he has played in recent seasons with his new team.
Vikings: The Vikings don’t have a lot of needs offensively, so look for the team to address the defense early in the draft. The team could try to get younger at cornerback and safety. Two positions that are very important in the pass-first NFL. Minnesota also could look to add an edge rusher to pair with Danielle Hunter.
Washington: Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the starter for Washington this year, but that doesn’t solve their longterm need at the position. Washington might look at the quarterback spot once again in the draft, looking for that franchise quarterback. Washington also is likely to address the offensive line in the draft, looking at the tackle spot.
49ers: The 49ers traded up in the draft with the belief they will be addressing the quarterback spot, landing that franchise player for years to come. San Francisco also should look at getting a new elite cornerback. That position is getting older for the team, so getting some new talent at that spot makes sense.
Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
The Philadelphia Eagles claimed former Detroit Lions second-round running back Kerryon Johnson off waivers on Friday, according to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. The Lions waived the Auburn product on Thursday. Johnson became expendable after the team drafted D'Andre Swift in the first round in 2020, signed free-agent running back Jamaal Williams and then drafted Jermar Jefferson in the seventh round last weekend. He led the Lions with 641 rushing yards in 2018 despite playing in just 10 games due to a knee injury, but the second-rounder was limited to just eight games in 2019 and lost valuable playing time to Swift and veteran Adrian Peterson last season. The 23-year-old will compete for touches behind Miles Sanders in Philly with Boston Scott, Jason Huntley and Jordan Howard in 2021.
Former New York Jets unrestricted free-agent linebacker Neville Hewitt is signing an undisclosed one-year deal with the Houston Texans on Friday, according to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Hewitt has racked up 248 tackles and 6.5 sacks in 44 games since 2018 with the Jets. The 28-year-old had a career year in 2020, posting career-highs in tackles (134) while also forcing a fumble in 16 starts. He was an undrafted free agent out of Marshall and spent the first three seasons of his NFL career with the Miami Dolphins. Hewitt will reunite with ex-Jets linebacker Jordan Jenkins, who also signed with Houston in free agency. A change in defensive schemes in New York and the salary cap situation likely led to the Jets letting Hewitt walk in free agency.
Detroit Lions tight end Josh Hill announced his retirement on Thursday, less than two months after he signed with the team as a free agent. Detroit signed veteran Darren Fells as a replacement. The soon-to-be 31-year-old spent his first eight seasons with the New Orleans Saints before being released. His one-year deal was scheduled to pay him $1.2 million in 2021. Hill became a versatile blocker, receiver, special-teamer and occasional fullback in his time with the Saints after going undrafted out of Idaho State in 2013. He'll finish his career with 116 catches for 1,071 yards and 15 touchdowns in the regular season. Hill added another 15 receptions for 166 yards and a touchdown in the postseason.
The New York Jets released former first-round wide receiver Josh Doctson on Friday. Doctson never actually played a snap for the Jets after opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19. The Jets also cut cornerback Kyron Brown, tight end Connor Davis, offensive lineman Leo Koloamatangi, kicker Chase McLaughlin and wide receiver Jaleel Scott on Friday. Doctson, the No. 22 overall pick in 2016 by the Washington Football Team, spent three seasons with Washington and had 1,100 receiving yards and eight touchdowns on 81 catches. The 28-year-old saw just seven snaps with the Minnesota Vikings in 2019 before being released. Even if Doctson latches on with another team, he won't be worth taking in fantasy leagues in 2021.
New York Jets star defensive lineman Quinnen Williams (foot) underwent successful surgery on Thursday to fix a broken bone in his foot, according to a source informed of the situation. The surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Anderson. Head coach Robert Saleh said the team is expecting Williams to be back by training camp this summer. Williams suffered the injury while working out and is expected to be out for 10 to 12 weeks. The 23-year-old is extremely key to Gang Green's success on defense, so it's great news that he shouldn't have to miss any regular season action in 2021. Williams had 55 tackles and seven sacks for the Jets defensive line last year.
Indianapolis Colts defensive end Kwity Paye became the fastest first-round pick to sign his first NFL contract on Thursday. Defensive end Dayo Odeyingbo, safety Shawn Davis, wide receiver Mike Strachan and offensive lineman Will Fries also signed their rookie contracts with the Colts. Paye was the 21st overall pick in last week's draft and will fill a spot vacated by the departure of Justin Houston after just one year in Indy. He's set to account for around $2.4 million in his rookie season, per OverTheCap. Paye is a very raw edge rusher that has plenty of upside. He will need to improve on his hand usage at the next level, but he has the size and tools to turn into a dominant 4-3 defensive end for the Colts.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett believes that rookie D'Wayne Eskridge, selected with the No. 56 overall pick in last week's NFL draft, will be an immediate contributor in 2021 alongside himself and DK Metcalf. "He's very explosive," Lockett said. Eskridge stands at just 5-foot-9, but he ran a 4.40-second 40-yard dash at Western Michigan's Pro Day and racked up more than 2,000 receiving yards in college. He had 768 receiving yards and eight touchdowns on only 33 catches in six games played in 2020. Eskridge is extremely athletic and has plenty of home run playmaking ability, but he'll need to improve his route-running tree if he's to be an effective No. 3 in Seattle in Year 1. After Seattle's offense sputtered out in the second half last year, Eskridge could be the key to the passing game flourishing once again in 2021. He could develop into a WR3/flex option in his rookie season.
Detroit Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah (groin) is close to 100 percent recovered from groin surgery that ended his disappointing rookie season. With an all new defensive coaching staff in 2021, Okudah is optimistic that he'll turn things around in his sophomore season. The No. 3 overall pick had just one interception and two passes defensed while allowing a passer rating of 118 on balls thrown in his area in nine games, according to Pro Football Reference. Okudah said he currently has no restrictions in his training and is "feeling great." Detroit will be counting on Okudah to start this year, likely opposite Amani Oruwariye. If Okudah can bounce back and stay healthy in his second season, it'd be great news for Detroit's secondary.
Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff said that he and offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn have been in constant dialogue about the team's evolving playbook. "I think the to describe it, is the way he described it to us, is multiple with spread principles, and I think it's going to have a little bit of what they did with (Justin) Herbert and the (Los Angeles) Chargers and a little bit of what he did in Buffalo. it's a nice little mixture of it so far and it's been good," Goff said. Lynn's Bills led the league in rushing when he was the offensive coordinator there in 2016, and the Lions offense is expected to be a run-first squad that leans heavily on play-action passing, something that Goff excelled at in his time with the Los Angeles Rams. With not many standout receiving weapons as the team rebuilds, Goff will be an unappetizing QB2 for fantasy managers in his first year in Detroit.
The Miami Dolphins signed veteran free-agent cornerback Jason McCourty to an undisclosed one-year deal on Thursday, according to a source. The 12-year veteran will reunite with head coach Brian Flores after the two worked together with the New England Patriots. The 33-year-old McCourty will give Miami a veteran presence in the secondary and is expected to be behind both Xavien Howard and Byron Jones on the cornerback depth chart. McCourty had 115 solo tackles, two interceptions, 19 passes defensed and a forced fumble in the last three seasons with the Patriots. He was drafted in the sixth round in 2009 by the Tennessee Titans and spent eight seasons with them before a one-year stint with the Cleveland Browns.
Former Miami Dolphins safety Bobby McCain, who was released on Thursday, is scheduled to visit with the Washington Football Team on Monday, according to a source. The 27-year-old was taken in the fifth round in 2015 out of Memphis and grew into a dependable member of Miami's secondary. But the Dolphins are gearing up to be contenders and saw McCain's release as a way to save some salary cap space. If he's designated as a pre-June 1 cut, Miami will save $5.6 million. If he's designated as a post-June 1 cut, Miami will save $6.4 million. In 16 games for the Dolphins last year, McCain recorded 46 tackles (39 solo), one interception and five passes defensed.
New York Jets unrestricted free-agent linebacker Neville Hewitt visited with the Houston Texans on Thursday, according to a source. The Texans have signed more free agents this offseason than any other team, but they may be adding to that list with Hewitt. He led the Jets with 134 tackles (six for loss) and added two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in 16 starts last season, his third with the Jets. The 28-year-old spent the first three seasons of his NFL career with the Miami Dolphins after going undrafted out of Marshall. In 82 career games (39 starts), Hewitt has 352 combined tackles (20 for loss), 18 QB hits, three interceptions, 13 passes defensed, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and 7.5 sacks.
Detroit Lions TE Josh Hill announced his retirement from professional football Thursday, May 6.
Free-agent S Bobby McCain (Dolphins) is scheduled to meet with the Washington Football Team Monday, May 10, according to a source.
Free-agent LB Neville Hewitt (Jets) is meeting with the Houston Texans Thursday, May 6, according to a source.
Free-agent CB Jason McCourty (Patriots) agreed to terms with the Miami Dolphins Thursday, May 6, according to a source. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Detroit Lions RB Kerryon Johnson was officially waived Thursday, May 6.
The Tennessee Titans agreed to terms on undisclosed deals with running back Brian Hill, linebacker Justin March-Lillard and defensive back Greg Maybin on Thursday. The team also released cornerback Kareem Orr. Hill will compete with Darrynton Evans for the No. 2 role behind workhorse Derrick Henry in 2021. The 25-year-old carried the ball 100 times for 465 yards and a touchdown last season while also grabbing 25 receptions for 199 additional yards. In his four-year career, Hill has 209 carries for 982 yards (4.7 yards per carry) and three touchdowns, adding 38 receptions for 313 yards and another score in 45 games (three starts). Unless Henry misses time with an injury this season, Hill is likely to be left to the waiver wire in most fantasy leagues.
Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Justin Layne pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possessing criminal tools and had a felony gun charge dropped on Wednesday, stemming from a traffic stop in northeast Ohio on April 23. The 23-year-old received six months of probation, 32 hours of community service and a $500 fine and was ordered to pay court costs. He was initially pulled over going 89 mph in a 60 mph zone last month, when officers found a loaded pistol in his car. Layne was also charged with two misdemeanors -- driving with a suspended license and exceeding speed limits. Layne was taken in the third round of the 2019 draft and appeared in all 16 games for the Steelers last season.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-signed backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert to a one-year deal worth up to $2.5 million, according to a source. Gabbert earned $1.187 million in 2020 and $1.6 million in 2019 and has played in 60 career games (48 starts) in the NFL. The 31-year-old completed nine of his 16 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns as Tom Brady's primary backup last year. The Buccaneers also re-signed Ryan Griffin, last year's third-stringer, and drafted quarterback Kyle Trask in the second round of the NFL draft last week. This will be Gabbert's third season with Tampa after spending 2018 with the Tennessee Titans, 2017 with the Arizona Cardinals, 2014-16 with the San Francisco 49ers and 2011-13 with the Jacksonville Jaguars.