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 email@example.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
The Las Vegas Raiders signed free-agent cornerback Casey Hayward to an undisclosed deal on Tuesday. The 31-year-old, a second-round pick by the Green Bay Packers in 2012, will join cornerbacks Trayvon Mullen (taken in the second round in 2019), Damon Arnette (a first-rounder in 2020), Amik Robertson (fourth-rounder in 2020) and Nate Hobbs (fifth-rounder this year). Hayward will reunite with defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who was his coordinator the last four years with the Los Angeles Chargers. He didn't play in a full season last year for the first time since 2013, recording an interception and eight passes defensed in 14 games (13 starts). Hayward had 66 passes defensed, which led the AFC, in his five years with the Chargers. He also led the NFL with seven interceptions in 2016 and made the Pro Bowl in 2016 and 2017.
Former Denver Broncos special teams ace/linebacker Joe Jones is signing an undisclosed deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday, according to a source. The Broncos are losing both Jones and safety Will Parks, who were both standout special teams players for the Broncos in the last four seasons. It doesn't come as a huge surprise, though, as Denver put a big emphasis on special teams in the draft last week. The 27-year-old Jones was undrafted out of Northwestern and recorded 31 combined tackles (23 solo) in 49 games (zero starts) for the Broncos from 2017 through last year. Jones will help boost Tampa's special teams unit in 2021.
The Kansas City Chiefs are signing free-agent safety Will Parks to a one-year deal worth up to $1.13 million on Wednesday, according to a source. Parks took a visit with the Detroit Lions as well, but he is choosing the Chiefs. He started his career as a safety and was taken in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL draft by the Denver Broncos. Parks spent the first four seasons of his career as a rotational safety before joining the Philadelphia Eagles last spring. But he was waived in December and rejoined Denver to play in nickel situations for the final four games of the season. In 10 games between the Eagles and Broncos in 2020, the 26-year-old had 31 tackles (three for loss) and a sack. It's likely the Chiefs will view him as more of cornerback depth at this point in his career.
Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, who knows how current Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers is feeling these days, thinks that Rodgers is unlikely to back down. "Knowing Aaron, and I think I know him fairly well, if he has a grudge, whether it be against the organization or a player or an arch-rival, or family, friends, he ain't budging," Favre said on the "Bolling with Favre" podcast. If Rodgers were to abruptly retire, he'd owe the team around $23 million over the next two years. The Packers traded up in the first round of last year's draft to select Jordan Love, Rodgers' eventual successor, and Rodgers didn't take kindly to that. Rodgers has reportedly mocked general manager Brian Gutekunst in group chats with teammates, referring to him as Jerry Krause, the former Bulls GM who got into it with Michael Jordan. At this point, anything could happen with Rodgers and the Packers. Buckle up.
Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman confirmed that quarterback Kirk Cousins is the team's starter. The Vikings drafted quarterback Kellen Mond in the third round of last week's NFL draft, but it was done to create competition behind Cousins. "Right now, there's no question that Kirk Cousins is our quarterback," Spielman said. Mond will enter the mix behind Cousins, and it also includes Nate Stanley and Jake Browning. Cousins is due to count $45 million against the salary cap in 2022, which would all become dead money if he was cut. While Cousins remains the starter for now, the Vikings also considered making a move to draft Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, which means they are preparing for Cousins' eventual run in Minnesota. Cousins isn't the sexiest pick in fantasy, but he has plenty of weapons and should be seen as a low-end QB1 option.
The Dallas Cowboys are waiving starting defensive tackle Antwaun Woods on Wednesday, according to a source. Woods becomes a salary cap casualty after the Cowboys selected defensive tackles Osa Odighizuwa in the third round and Quinton Bohanna in the sixth round of last week's NFL draft. Woods started 32 games for Dallas from 2018 through last season and was set to make $2.1 million under the restricted free-agent tender. He had 33 tackles, one sack and four QB pressures in 14 games (seven starts) last season. The 6-foot-1, 310-pounder was more of a fit in former defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli's scheme. Dallas also waived cornerback Saivion Smith after the team selected corners Kelvin Joseph (second round) and Nahshon Wright (third round) in the draft. The Cowboys also released center Adam Redmond, defensive tackle Walter Palmore, defensive end LaDarius Hamilton and cornerback Kemon Hall.
New England Patriots RB Sony Michel could potentially lose his roster spot to fourth-round rookie Rhamondre Stevenson because the latter is more likely to be a factor on special teams, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss.
The Las Vegas Raiders will release safety Jeff Heath on Wednesday, according to a source. Heath was the AFC Defensive Player of the Week in Week 10 last year, but he'll be looking for a new team this offseason. It comes after the Raiders drafted safeties Trevon Moehrig in the second round and Tyree Gillespie in the fourth round in last week's NFL draft. They also officially added cornerback Casey Hayward on Tuesday. The Raiders think that Moehrig can step in and start at the free safety spot. Heath led the team with three interceptions in 2020. The soon-to-be 30-year-old signed a two-year deal worth up to $8 million last offseason after spending seven seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. In 13 games last year, Heath had 37 tackles and four pass breakups.
Las Vegas Raiders S Jeff Heath will be released, according to a source Tuesday, May 4.
Free-agent WR Damiere Byrd (Patriots) agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, May 4, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Fantasy Spin: Byrd is coming a productive 2020 season and could compete for the No. 3 receiver job during training camp. Fantasy players can monitor the situation because Byrd could be a late round option if he receives a decent role in the passing game.
Free-agent CB Casey Hayward (Chargers) agreed to terms with the Las Vegas Raiders Tuesday, May 4. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Jacksonville Jaguars S Doug Middleton was released Tuesday, May 4.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf, one of the fastest players in the NFL, will compete in the USA Track and Field Golden Games and Distance Open this Sunday in Walnut, California. He is listed among the participants in the 100-meter dash. The 6-foot-4, 229-pounder was a standout hurdler and long-jumper in high school, in addition to playing football and basketball. Metcalf ran a 4.33-second 40-yard dash at the 2019 combine and reached a top speed of 22.64 mph last year, according to Next Gen Stats. He made the Pro Bowl in 2020 with 83 catches for a franchise-record 1,303 yards. Metcalf caught five passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns in the playoff loss to the Rams last year and will enter the 2021 season as a top-five fantasy wideout.
Free-agent TE Darren Fells (Texans) is scheduled to visit with the Detroit Lions on Tuesday, May 4.
Free-agent S Malik Hooker (Colts) is meeting with the Miami Dolphins Tuesday, May 4, according to a source.
Free-agent veteran tight end Darren Fells is visiting with the Detroit Lions on Tuesday, according to a source. Fells is coming off 11 touchdowns in the last two seasons with the Houston Texans and could return to Detroit, where he played in 2017. The 35-year-old also had 55 receptions on 76 targets for 653 yards in 32 games (28 starts) over the last two years with Houston. He played mostly in a backup role to Jordan Akins for most of last year, catching 21 passes for 312 yards and four touchdowns. The Lions already have T.J. Hockenson as their top pass-catching tight end, so if Fells were to return to Detroit, he'd have very minimal fantasy value as a backup once again. Fells had 17 catches (26 targets) for just 177 yards and three touchdowns in 16 games for the Lions back in 2017.
San Francisco 49ers incumbent quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said he wants to help rookie quarterback Trey Lance with his transition to the NFL after the team took him at No. 3 overall in the first round of last week's draft. Garoppolo entered the league with the New England Patriots and learned behind future Hall of Famer Tom Brady. "I try to use my own personal experiences and just what I went through, what helped me, what challenged me as a young player," Garoppolo said. "I'm going to use those tools that helped me and try to help Trey out." Jimmy G is 24-9 in his time with the 49ers, but he's been injured in two of his three seasons. Garoppolo is expected to enter the 2021 season as the starter under center, but another injury or poor performance could thrust Lance into the spotlight at some point in his rookie season. There is no definitive plan or timetable for Lance to take the starting job next season.
Former Indianapolis Colts first-round safety Malik Hooker is visiting with the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday, according to a source. Hooker has yet to play a full season in the NFL after being selected 15th overall out of Ohio State in 2017. The 25-year-old played in only two games last year before he tore his Achilles and missed the rest of the season. He's missed 14 games with various injuries in his four seasons in the league, which is why Indianapolis declined to pick up his fifth-year option for the 2021 campaign. Hooker can still be productive on the field, he just needs to stay healthy. He has seven interceptions, 124 tackles (81 solo), 11 passes defensed and two fumble recoveries in 36 career games (35 starts).
Cleveland Browns linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (heart) fell to pick No. 52 overall in last week's NFL draft because a heart issue came up late in the pre-draft process, according to sources. However, doctors ultimately cleared him. If not for the heart issue, Owusu-Koramoah could've come off the board in the first round. Cleveland traded up to keep him from sliding any further on Day 2. The former Notre Dame product is a linebacker/safety hybrid, which will allow the Browns to drop him into coverage or rush him off the edge. Owusu-Koramoah will bring intensity and a high motor to his new club. He finished his senior season for the Fighting Irish with 62 tackles (11 for loss) and three forced fumbles.
New York Jets defensive lineman Quinnen Williams (foot) broke a small bone in his foot and likely will undergo surgery that will keep him out for eight to 10 weeks, according to sources. Williams will miss organized team activities and minicamp, but he should be ready to return for training camp this summer. The 23-year-old is one of the better pass-rushers for Gang Green's defense, so this is notable. He finished last season with 55 tackles and seven sacks for the Jets. As long as Williams doesn't suffer any setbacks during his rehab process, he should be good to go for Week 1 of the 2021 regular season. In 13 games (nine starts) in his rookie season in 2019, Williams had just 28 tackles (four for loss) and 2.5 sacks.