2019 NFL Draft: AFC Team Needs
With the 2019 NFL Draft ready to start up in Nashville on Thursday, April 25th, Howard Bender has a full breakdown of what every team in the AFC needs for their upcoming season.
NFL Draft Day, baby! Just one more day to go! We've covered the NFC team needs already so let's get right to the AFC...
Buffalo Bills (Pick #9)
TE – They brought in Tyler Kroft but could use another legitimate pass-catching TE to complement him, though seems unlikely they would attack this need first.
EDGE – Probably their biggest need. The defense is strong but only produced 36 sacks last year which was the seventh-fewest. Targeting Montez Sweat (Mississippi), but Detroit could take him at #8.
CB – They need someone opposite Tre’Davious White and could grab someone like Greedy Williams (LSU) or even Byron Murphy (Washington) if Sweat isn’t available.
Miami Dolphins (Pick #13)
QB – Signed Ryan Fitzpatrick for the time being; linked to Will Grier of West Virginia in the later rounds
WR – Glaring hole here, but probably not as necessary as some of their defensive needs. However, if their top choices at Edge or on the defensive line aren’t available and DK Metcalf is on the board, they’ll likely grab him.
OL – Added depth is necessary but they also need someone to replace Ja’Wuan James who went to Denver via free agency.
EDGE – Need someone to replace Cameron Wake but are likely to far down to grab one of the elites in the draft. May have to address later.
DL – Need someone to replace Robert Quinn who was traded to Dallas. Could be targeting Rashan Gray out of Michigan.
New England Patriots (Pick #32)
WR – They lost Chris Hogan and missed out on both Adam Humphries and Cole Beasley. Clearly looking for someone versatile and with speed to fit that mold of slot receiver who can also work on the outside.
TE – Big shoes to fill with Gronk retiring. They’ve been linked to both TJ Hockenson and Noah Fant of Iowa as well as Irv Smith from Alabama.
EDGE – Lost Trey Flowers to the Lions via free agency and could use some serious help here. They’re way to far back to grab someone considered high-end, so look for them to address further in.
New York Jets (Pick #3)
WR – They added Jamison Crowder and Josh Bellamy via free agency but are clearly in need of a high-end WR for Sam Darnold.
OL – Definitely need to build up here and linemen with strong pass-blocking are a must as Darnold needs all the protection he can get.
EDGE – If Nick Bosa or even Josh Allen are available at #3, the Jets will make the grab immediately
CB – Addition by subtraction as they said goodbye to Buster Skrine? They’re going to need help on the outside the most, but could use any sort of secondary help.
Baltimore Ravens (Pick #22)
WR – With Mark Ingram now on the team, this becomes the No. 1 offensive priority. If Lamar Jackson is going to succeed, they need to get him a big play-maker as a primary target. Willie Snead, Seth Roberts and even Chris Moore are better suited as slot receivers.
LB/EDGE – Probably their biggest need. They lost C.J. Mosley, Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith in free agency and haven’t done anything to replace them. Maybe if Devin Bush (Michigan) or Brian Burns (Florida State) falls to them here, they will address this need first.
Cincinnati Bengals (Pick #11)
QB – Not a major priority, but ever since the Bengals opted to part with A.J. McCarron, there hasn’t really been a plan in place to look beyond Andy Dalton.
TE – They’ve been through several over the last couple of years and Tyler Eifert shouldn’t be counted on as a starter anymore given the injury history.
OL – Probably the team’s top priority here. The team has been looking at tackles like Jawaan Taylor (Florida) and Andre Dillard (Washington St.), though the 11th pick might be too high to pass up on some of the other options.
LB – No Vontaze Burfict anymore and the Bengals could use some depth here.
CB – More depth will be needed here, especially on the outside beyond the likes of Dre Kirkpatrick, William Jackson and Darqueze Dennard.
Cleveland Browns (no 1st round pick)
OL – They re-signed Greg Robinson but could certainly use some depth throughout the line. It was one of the stronger units last season, so this isn’t as high a priority.
LB – The loss of Jamie Collins via free agency leaves them without much depth at the linebacker position. Their defensive line is extremely strong, but the middle of the field could be exposed.
CB – Terrance Mitchell was solid working opposite Denzel Ward, but he’s got a bit of an injury history and the Browns will want to add some depth here to avoid giving up the big plays on his side of the field should anything happen to him again.
Pittsburgh Steelers (Pick #20)
WR – Yes, the have Juju Smith Schuster, James Washington and just signed Donte Moncrief, but losing Antonio Brown is going to have a serious impact on the passing game. Some may not think it’s a priority, but they’re going to need a major threat who can take it downfield.
EDGE – They have T.J. Watt on one side, but could use someone on the other to help apply pressure to the quarterback.
LB – This is probably the Steelers biggest need as they need to replace Ryan Shazier on the inside. They need a team leader here and someone with both size and speed. They’ve been linked to Devin Bush (Michigan) and Devin White (LSU).
Houston Texans (Pick #23)
OL – Easily the Texans biggest priority this season as Deshaun Watson was sacked a league-high 62 times last year. They’ve been linked to Jonah Williams (Alabama) and Cody Ford (Oklahoma) for their first-round selection but they’re going to need to use deeper picks on the o-line as well.
RB – The lost Alfred Blue in free agency and Lamar Miller is 28-years old and in the final year of his contract. They could use some depth here.
TE – They could definitely use a pass-catching TE but the only way they make that move early is if they don’t trade up and there’s a massive run on offensive linemen taken before them. If that’s the case, then someone like Noah Fant could be the pick and they’ll hit the o-line after.
CB – They continue to give up big plays and, overall big yardage, to opposing teams. Jonathan Joseph needs help and the team needs to build up its depth here.
Indianapolis Colts (Pick #26)
WR – They added Devin Funchess via free agency, but he’s more of a possession receiver than he is a deep threat. Andrew Luck needs another big target downfield to work opposite T.Y. Hilton.
EDGE – Adding Justin Houston in the offseason was huge for their pass rush, but they could use another edge-rusher on the other side of the field.
DL – This is probably the priority in Round 1 as the Colts could use an anchor in the middle of the defensive line. A run-stopper up the middle but also someone with speed who can penetrate and get to the quarterback. They’ve been linked to Clemson’s Dexter Lawrence and Jeffery Simmons of Mississippi State.
CB – They brought back Pierre Desir but could definitely use a little depth here as well.
Jacksonville Jaguars (Pick #7)
OL – The Jags spent a boatload of money on Nick Foles, so now they need to protect him. If they deem the in-house receiving options are enough, they could make a move for someone like OT Jawaan Taylor (Florida) with their first-round pick.
RB – The rift between Leonard Fournette and the team is evident, especially after the Jags voided the remaining guarantees in his contract after his suspension. Probably not the top priority this weekend though.
WR – If the Jags coaching staff doesn’t have the faith in Marqise Lee or Dede Westbrook and feel that getting Foles an elite weapon is the priority, then look for them to use the early pick on D.K. Metcalf.
TE – Foles leaned heavily on his tight ends when he was in Philadelphia, so there could be a need here as well. It’s a need for sure, but probably not a priority.
General depth wherever the can.
Tennessee Titans (Pick #19)
WR – Corey Davis emerged late last season and the team added Adam Humphries, but they need to get Marcus Mariota some serious weapons here. They could use upgrades throughout the entire receiving corps.
TE – Delanie Walker is 34 years old and seriously injury-prone
OL – They lost guard Josh Kline to the Vikings via free agency and could use some depth on the interior of the line.
EDGE – They added Cameron Wake to replace the now-retired Brian Orakpo, but could still use a strong edge-rusher to complement him on the other side.
Denver Broncos (Pick #10)
QB – They brought in Joe Flacco to serve as a band-aid/mentor so you can expect them to grab a QB in this draft. The 10th pick seems a little high for Drew Lock, the guy John Elway covets, but he does seem likely to be there in the 2nd round, especially if the Cardinals and Giants take care of their QB situation early.
WR – Even with Courtland Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders in-house, they could grab D.K. Metcalf here and move Sanders to the slot permanently. That gives some serious downfield targets for Flacco.
TE – They’ve needed a pass-catching tight end for quite some time and Flacco always loved leaning on his TEs in Baltimore. Does T.J. Hockenson make sense for them, though?
OL – They need to build up the interior in a bad way with center Matt Paradis gone
CB – Maybe some depth in the secondary, but not really a big priority.
Kansas City Chiefs (no 1st round pick)
**traded 1st round pick (29th overall), a 2nd rounder in 2020 and exchanged 3rd round picks this year to Seattle for DE Frank Clark
RB – Damien Williams fits the system, but could still use some depth here after shedding Kareem Hunt
WR – It depends on whether or not Tyreek Hill has a future in KC. If the team wants/needs to part with him, they desperately need play-making wideouts. Sammy Watkins ain’t cuttin’ it.
OL – In need of a center with Mitch Morse now gone, but could fill this spot later in the draft.
EDGE/LB – They picked up Emanuel Ogbah from Cleveland and still have Chris Jones, buyt they lost Justin Houston and Dee Ford, so adding here is going to be strongly considered
CB – Probably their biggest need. They added Honey Badger to replace Eric Berry, but are in dire need of cover corners. They’ve been linked to Byron Murphy (Washington) and Deandre Baker (Georgia).
Los Angeles Chargers (Pick #28)
OL – They need an upgrade at right tackle and Dom Murtha hit the nail on the head with Kansas State’s Dalton Risner in his Mock Draft.
DL – With Darius Philon heading to Arizona via free agency, they could use some interior D-line help.
CB – More of a depth move here, but haven’t really found that elite cover corner opposite Casey Hayward they’ve lacked the last two seasons.
Oakland Raiders (Pick # 4, 24 & 27)
RB – Yes, they are a pass-first team, but you can’t go into the season with Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington as your top two options.
TE – Jared Cook headed to the Saints via free agency, so a pass-catching TE like Noah Fant is a strong possibility with one of the late picks.
EDGE – They still need to replace Khalil Mack….in a major may. The team had just 13 sacks all year last year.
CB – Some depth here isn’t bad as they struggled against the pass last year.