NFL draft needs 2019: A team-by-team look

The logo for the 2019 NFL draft.
The logo for the 2019 NFL draft. (Gregory Payan / Associated Press)

The NFL draft will be held Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Nashville. Here’s a look at each team’s needs by division.

AFC West


Broncos: Denver has its temporary answer at quarterback in Joe Flacco, but it’s possible the Broncos take a quarterback with the 10th pick. They need a tight end too, and a defensive tackle who can fortify the middle of a front that features edge rushers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. Everybody can use corners, especially in the high-flying AFC West.

Chiefs: Kansas City has its star quarterback in Patrick Mahomes, but the Chiefs need to retool on defense under new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Trading for Seattle’s Clark was big, and now the team needs to upgrade its secondary. Speedy receiver Tyreek Hill is facing off-the-field issues, so the Chiefs might look to land a scorching receiver in an early round.


Chargers: Los Angeles coming off a terrific season and couldn’t be happier with their first-round pick from a year ago, safety Derwin James. They need to get stronger up the middle on defense, and this could be the year they select a quarterback who can learn at the elbow of Philip Rivers. General manager Tom Telesco has done a great job of finding talent late in the draft.

Raiders: Oakland have three selections in the first round and four in the top 35. The Raiders need help — on defense, at running back and maybe at quarterback. There’s a good chance they will use their No. 4 pick on a pass rusher, whichever top-shelf one falls to them, but there’s always a chance they package picks to move up.

The 2019 NFL draft is less than a week away and 32 NFL beat writers are predicting who they believe will be selected in the first round in this year's live mock draft.

AFC North

Ravens: These are the new-look Baltimore Ravens, and not just because quarterback Lamar Jackson is permanently at the controls. The defense will look a lot different without fixtures Terrell Suggs, C.J. Mosley and Eric Weddle. Eric DeCosta is running the draft room, not Ozzie Newsome, so that’s a major change, too. A first-round linebacker?

Browns: What happened to the Cleveland Browns? All of a sudden, they’ve gone from lovable losers to prime-time TV darlings. They traded their No. 17 pick to the New York Giants for Odell Beckham Jr., and added running back Kareem Hunt from Kansas City. After having the No. 1 overall pick in the last two drafts, the Browns will be opening-round spectators this year.

Bengals: New Bengals coach Zac Taylor has plenty of areas of need to address, and one of the most pressing is replacing linebacker Vontaze Burfict. The team also could take an offensive tackle at No. 11, a spot where it could grab a good one. If there’s a premier quarterback there, maybe Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, the Bengals could take him.

Steelers: With Antonio Brown in Oakland, the Pittsburgh Steelers might be tempted to take a receiver in the opening round. It’s more likely that they take a cornerback, though, as Artie Burns (a first-round pick in 2016) has been a disappointment. If there’s an inside linebacker on the board, one who could replace Ryan Shazier, that could be the way the club goes.

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson listens to coach Bill O'Brien during a preseason game in August 2018.
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson listens to coach Bill O'Brien during a preseason game in August 2018. (Ed Zurga / Associated Press)

AFC South

Texans: The Texans started last season 0-3 but somehow regained their equilibrium and made the playoffs. Their defensive line came through in a big way, with the stars playing like stars. Now, a left tackle to protect Deshaun Watson is key, and that could be the way Houston goes in the first. Cornerback is also a pressing need.

Colts: The Colts had a phenomenal draft in 2018, picking up a pair of All-Pro players in guard Quenton Nelson and linebacker Darius Leonard. Andrew Luck is back, but Indianapolis could use another target for him in the form of a receiver. That was a stout defense last season, but pass rusher always seems to be a need.

Jaguars: Last season started with promise for the Jaguars but ended with Jacksonville coming apart and losing eight of nine. The team finally made a switch at quarterback, acquiring Nick Foles, and now will be looking to protect him in the form of an offensive tackle, and give him some weapons. A solid tight end is a pressing need.

Titans: When Marcus Mariota is healthy, so are the Titans. So Tennessee already has started beefing up his offensive line, including adding former Rams fixture Rodger Saffold. The Titans might look to add a quality interior offensive lineman through the draft, and an outside linebacker who can get to the quarterback.


AFC East

Bills: The Bills went for volume in free agency, rather than picking up a few stars. Buffalo needs to build its offensive line and will be in good position to select a premier offensive tackle in the opening round. Defensive tackle Kyle Williams retired after 13 seasons, so the team could look to reload at that position too.

Dolphins: The Dolphins had the league’s 31st-ranked defense last season, allowing the most yards in franchise history, so it makes sense for them to address that side of the ball. But with 36-year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback, Miami might look to address the future at that position and take a passer in the first round.

Patriots: The Patriots needed to pick up the pass-rushing slack when they lost Trey Flowers to Detroit, so they picked up Michael Bennett. Although they signed veteran tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the Patriots might take one of the two Iowa tight ends if either is available when New England picks at the end of the first round.

Jets: The Jets made some major free-agent acquisitions in running back Le’Veon Bell and star middle linebacker C.J. Mosley. They need to ramp up the pass rush with someone coming off the edge. This is a good draft for that. Pass rush is likely the direction the franchise will go with the No. 3 pick — a spot the Jets are in for the second consecutive year.

NFC West

Cardinals: For the first time, the Arizona Cardinals have the No. 1 overall pick. They will set the tone for this draft, either by selecting quarterback Kyler Murray or by triggering a scramble for someone to trade up and take him. The Cardinals, who took Josh Rosen 10th last year, also need help along the offensive and defensive lines, and at receiver.

Rams: The Rams are picking at the end of the first round, a good problem to have considering they reached the Super Bowl. But they’ll have a tougher time finding an elite defensive tackle there, someone to pick up Ndamukong Suh’s slack. With Rodger Saffold gone, the team could use help on the offensive line, and some depth at corner.

49ers: The addition of Dee Ford helps bolster San Francisco’s anemic pass rush, but the 49ers need more in that department. With the second pick, they’re in position to take Nick Bosa or Josh Allen, two of the best in this class when it comes to bringing heat off the edge. The 49ers can pick up a receiver and safety in later rounds.


Seahawks: As part of a trade that sent defensive end Frank Clark to Kansas City, Seattle picked up another first-round pick. The Seahawks have selections 21 and 29. They need help along the defensive line, and on the back end at cornerback and safety. Seattle isn’t afraid to throw first-round curveballs, most recently taking running back Rashaad Penny last year.

Bears coach Matt Nagy speaks during a news conference at the NFL scouting combine in February.
Bears coach Matt Nagy speaks during a news conference at the NFL scouting combine in February. (Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

NFC North

Bears: The Second City won’t make its first pick until the third round. Unless they trade up, the Chicago Bears can sit around and wait until the 87th selection, their first in this draft. Having traded running back Jordan Howard to Philadelphia, the Bears could use help at the position. They’re also looking for defensive backs and a kicker (See: Parkey, Cody).

Lions: Whether it’s a tight end or a receiver, the Lions need to provide Matthew Stafford with more targets. This is a team with a lot of needs — Detroit lost seven of its last 10 games — so trading out of the top 10 for more picks is certainly an enticing option. The team figures to beef up its offensive line and pick up a pass rusher, too.

Packers: Green Bay has the 12th pick, the earliest the Packers have selected in a decade. They haven’t taken an offensive skill-position player in the opening round since Aaron Rodgers in 2005. That said, they could use a tight end, and both the prospects from Iowa are elite. The Packers have two first-round selections, so they could go that direction.

Vikings: Yet again, the Minnesota Vikings are remaking their offensive line. They have quite an investment to protect in quarterback Kirk Cousins. So there’s a good chance the Vikings will use their top pick on one of the elite offensive tackles in this class. While the majority of teams are looking for pass rushers, the Vikings are pretty set in that department.

NFC South

Falcons: Protecting quarterback Matt Ryan is paramount for the Falcons, so Atlanta didn’t wait for the draft to address its big need at guard. The Falcons signed free agents James Carpenter and Jamon Brown. Now, the team needs to turn its attention to the defensive front and in particular at defensive tackle. Running back is an area of need too.

Panthers: The Panthers needs to bulk up both of their lines after multiple changes in the trenches. Defensive end is a big need, and there are plenty of those in this draft. Carolina also will be on the lookout for an offensive tackle. Is this the year they draft a quarterback to plan for life after Cam Newton? It’s a possibility.

The Rams might make a first-round NFL draft selection for the first time since 2016, unless they trade. Whatever they do, the Rams will be armed with data about every player available, the culmination of work built on the foundation of information gleaned by scouts.

Saints: The Saints can sit on its hands for a while, unless New Orleans decides to trade back up into the first round of this draft. The Saints don’t select until No. 62, having traded away a lot to get various players last season. When they do pick, the Saints will look for a receiver — and they’ve had luck in years past making the most of lower-round picks at the position.

Buccaneers: Bruce Arians won coach of the year with Indianapolis and then Arizona, so it’s conceivable he could lead a revival in Tampa with the Buccaneers. They might look to trade down from their lofty No. 5 spot in the first round to acquire more picks. They could also stay where they are and select one of the top-shelf pass rushers.

NFC East

Cowboys: The Cowboys backed up the Brinks truck to pay DeMarcus Lawrence, making the defensive end the highest-paid player in franchise history. They traded for a bookend in Robert Quinn too. They might concentrate on the back end of the defense in the draft, tracking down a safety after deciding not to make a serious run at Earl Thomas.

Giants: It’s highly unlikely the Giants will find another Odell Beckham Jr. after trading that star receiver to Cleveland. But they do have two picks in the first round and are in position to land a quarterback who can eventually take over for Eli Manning. The best Giants teams have been built around a strong pass rush.

Eagles: Having picked up running back Jordan Howard from Chicago, and reuniting with receiver DeSean Jackson, means the Eagles have the luxury of selecting the best available player and not focusing exclusively on need. The Eagles have always strived to load up in the trenches, so they might go offensive or defensive line in the first round.

Redskins: After a devastating injury to Alex Smith, the Redskins need to turn their attention to quarterback, someone who could be a long-term answer. Washington is filled with holes, so any position is eligible in draft except maybe defensive line. The team could reach for a big receiver in the first round, or possibly take one of the two best tight ends.

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