With the 2015 NFL Draft now just a little more than a day away, let’s stray away from another Mock Draft—for one story at least—and list some positions of need for the NFL’s 32 teams in this offseason. And as almost always seems to be the case, many teams could use some help on the defensive side of the ball.
The NFL offseason is where all of the Dirty Work that needs to be done to theoretically build a better football team. Letting people go, bringing new bodies in, scouting potential draftees at the NFL Combine, wheeling and dealing when the Free Agency period opens, coming through with a hopefully constructive and productive NFL Draft and then having a decent Preseason and getting your team’s roster pared down to the final group of guys you want to go to war with on the Gridiron in the Fall are all part of this process which many casual fans, and even probably a majority of casual football bettors, seem to turn off like a TV once the Super Bowl has completed. But it’s actually this 7-month period (from February to August) where winning teams are built by each of the NFL’s 32 General Managers, Head Coaches and theirs staffs.
Instead of doing another 2015 NFL Mock Draft story—we will have some NFL Draft Predictions in a follow-up story here at Sportsbook Review coming on Thursday—let’s list some of the actual basic, obvious needs of the NFL’s 32 teams and look at what they options they might have when it’s their time to select in Round 1 of that anticipated and aforementioned NFL Draft—which starts Thursday (April 30, ESPN, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT) and runs through Sunday (May 2) at Chicago’s historic Auditorium Theater.
NFL Teams and Their Needs (in Draft Order)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Needs: QB, DL, DB, OL
The Skinny: The Buccaneers (2-14 SU in 2014) need a QB to build around for The Future and will probably select FSU's Jameis Winston at #1. Tampa Bay also needs to bolster both its OL and DL and could also use a DB or two. Let’s face it, they need help almost everywhere.
Tennessee Titans—Needs: QB, DL, DB, WR
The Skinny: There are rumors the Titans want to trade their Round 1 #2 Pick for something (Will Any Team Trade Up For The Titans #2 Pick? Yes -140, No +100 on the NFL odds, GTBets), but if the Bucs surprisingly decide to pick Oregon QB Marcus Mariota at #1, then maybe Tennessee (2-14) snags Winston? Probably not. If the Titans do ship the #2 Pick for other parts, then it seems the organization will be putting all of its eggs in the Zach Mettenberger basket. The bottom line here, after looking at the Titans current roster is that this NFL team's needs are many.
Jacksonville Jaguars—Needs: CB, OL, RB, WR
The Skinny: Jacksonville (3-13) needs skill position players and linemen on offense as well as a decent CB but this could be an example of not being able to pass on the best athlete available and Leonard Williams or Dante Fowler probably goes here, although the Jaguars may take a chance at landing the best WR (Total Number of WRs Selected in Round 1: Over 5½ -130, Under 5½ -110, GTBets) in this year’s Draft Class, Alabama’s Amari Cooper
Oakland Raiders—Needs: WR, CB, Pass Rusher, TE
The Skinny: The Raiders (3-13) have a new Head Coach (Jack Del Rio), a new Offensive Coordinator (Bill Musgrave) and have said that they plan on running a No-Huddle Offense this coming season behind talented QB David Carr. But, in their #4 slot in the NFL Draft, the Silver and Black will probably choose between talented Pass Rushers like Dante Fowler, Leonard Williams or Randy Gregory (When Will Randy Gregory Be Drafted? 11th Pick or Earlier -120, 12th Pick or Later -120, GTBets) to simply just get the best guy at that spot.
Washington Redskins—Needs: Pass Rusher, DB, OT, QB
The Skinny: The Redskins (4-12) will probably pick the best available Pass Rusher (DE, OLB) that the Raiders didn’t pick the selection before, meaning that it very well could be between Williams or Fowler (if not selected) or maybe even Gregory, although the oddsmakers have him going closer to the #10 spot. Maybe a shot on Mariota? Nah.
New York Jets—Needs: QB, OL, RB, DL
The Skinny: In my mind, one of the big storylines will be to see if Mariota (or potentially even Wiston for that matter, though a long-shot) is still available here at #6 here for the Jets (4-12). Odds say probably not even close, but if so, expect New York AFC to jump at the chance to get the Ducks Heisman Trophy winner (as the Seminoles Heisman Trophy winner should be long gone.).
Chicago Bears—Needs: Pass Rusher, OL, LB, QB
The Skinny: The Bears (5-11) had an awful 2014 so John Fox is now in at Head Coach and Chicago will probably be picking between Washington’s Shelton or Nebraska’s Gregory here in their hometown on Thursday evening with Williams and Fowler likely already drafted.
Atlanta Falcons—Needs: OL, DL, Pass Rusher, TE, DB
The Skinny: The Falcons (8-10) need a lot, and may just take the best player available at this spot, possibly West Virginia WR Kevin White (When Will Kevin White Be Drafted? 7th Pick or Higher -140, 8th Pick or Lower +100, GTBets) or Louisville WR DeVante Parker.
New York Giants—Needs: OL, Pass Rusher, LB, QB
The Skinny: Those who place NFL picks know that most Mock Drafts have the G-Men selecting Iowa Brandon Scherff at this spot, but the Hawkeyes big man had a relatively weak NFL Draft Combine and maybe New York NFC goes after LSU OL La’El Collins instead. Or maybe, like many others, they decide to just take the best available player left at this early point in the NFL Draft on Thursday.
St. Louis Rams—Needs: WR, OL, QB
The Skinny: Cooper will probably be gone and White had a great Combine and is as fast as the wind (4.30 40-yard Dash), but he might be gone, so possibly Parker? St. Louis (6-10) could also really use a QB with Sam Bradford a perennial question mark, but both Winston and Mariota should have already been drafted by then, and #10 is way too high for St. Louis to take a chance on UCLA signal-caller Bruins Brett Hundley to go. Way too high.
Minnesota Vikings—Needs: OT, RB, WR, CB
The Skinny: The Vikings (6-10) have made it clear to other teams they would like to trade down from this (#11) spot, and with teams needing specific guys they would like to plug in immediately for the 2015/2016 season, expect that to happen with guys like WR Parker, OL Collins and Scherff and Washington CB Marcus Peters possibly all still available at this point.
Cleveland Browns (Have #12 and #19 Picks)—Needs: WR, LB, OL, QB, DL
The Skinny: There have been rumors—and then denied rumors—this morning (Wednesday) that the Browns (7-9) were mulling swapping their two valuable Round 1 Picks to the Titans for that #2 Pick to get a shot at Mariota (or possibly winston) who would probably then compete with Brian Hoyer and last year’s top pick, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel if taken. But that won’t happen, so bolstering the Cleveland Defense by taking someone like Kentucky’s Alvin Dupree (DE) or Mississippi State’s Benardrick McKinney (ILB) may be what happens. But with the #12 and #19 Picks, the new-uniformed Browns should be able to land two extremely solid players that should be on their roster for seasons to come.
New Orleans Saints—Needs: Pass Rusher CB, QB
The Skinny: The Saints (7-9) will probably draft Defense first and Missouri’s Shane Ray, Texas DT Malcom Brown or Washington CB Peters would all be nice fits. But at this point, the best offensive WR (if) left between White and Parker is usually the type of move this organization has made with its recent Round 1 draft picks.
Miami Dolphins—Needs: DB, LB, OL, DL
The Skinny: The Dolphins (8-8) have shown improvement lately but need to keep evolving. Taking the best player available may be the course Miami ends up going as there will be much talent still on the board at #14, including Michigan State CB Trae Waynes (When Will Trae Waynes Be Drafted? 11th Pick or Earlier, -110, 12th Pick or Later +100, GTBets), Washington’s Peters, Clemson CB Vic Beasley, LSU OL Collins, Iowa OL Scherff, Missouri DE Ray or maybe even Florida DL Arik Armstead. We’ll all see soon enough.
San Francisco 49ers—Needs: DL, OL, Backup QB
The Skinny: The 49ers (8-8) have a new Head Coach (Jim Tomsula) and will look to rebound after a disappointing 2014 season. Like many in this range, San Francisco will probably pick the best guy available for their needs and the Arizona State WR Jalen Strong would be a wonderful fit although with all of the losses on the Defensive side of the ball, the 49ers will probably go that way and snag Missouri’s DE Ray, Texas’s DT Brown or Clemson CB Beasley, although LB is the spot that makes the most sense. Do the 49ers dare go after UCLA QB Hundley here? Logic says no, that only two QBs (Winston and Mariota) will be taken in Round 1, and that #15 would be just too high, and that current starter Colin Kaepernick doesn’t need anything else floating around in his ever-nervous head right now.
Houston Texans—Needs: OT, WR, QB, DL
The Skinny: The Texans (9-7) may actually choose between whichever WR is left between Cooper (won’t be), Parker (maybe), White (won’t be) and Strong (should be)—veteran club legend Andre Johnson signed with the Colts—although snagging an OL like Texas A&M’s Cedric Ogbuehi or a DL like Oregon’s Armstead may end up being what actually happens tomorrow night in Chitown for Houston.
San Diego Chargers—Needs: NT, OL, Pass Rushers, WR
The Skinny: Needing a NT, the Longhorns Brown seems like the perfect pick here for San Diego (9-7) if he’s still available and he very well could be. On Monday, rumors that San Diego might be trading QB Philip Rivers for some picks was dismissed.
Kansas City Chiefs—Needs: WR, CB, OL, LB, RB
The Skinny: The Chiefs (9-7) were horrific scoring TDs through their WRs in 2014 and with so many talented WRs available in this First Round, KC could land one, although the best three will probably be gone by its #19 Pick. So maybe, in an effort to solidify their already talented Rushing attack (Jamaal Charles, Knile Davis) the Chiefs go after one of the two best RBs who will be entering the NFL this year, Georgia’s Todd Gurley (When Will Todd Gurley Be Drafted? 14th Pick or Higher -110, 15th Pick or Lower -130, GTBets) or possibly Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon (When Will Melvin Gordon Be Drafted? 23rd Pick or Higher -120, 24th Pick or Lower -120, GTBets).
Philadelphia Eagles—Needs: DB, LB, QB
The Skinny: Alabama’s Landon Collins or Washington CB Peters seem like good picks here for the Eagles (10-6) but may look elsewhere if both are gone, but reaching for Louisville S Gerod Holliman seems like a bit of a stretch for Round 1 and few if any Mock Drafts I have seen even have Holliman going in Round 1.
Cincinnati Bengals—Needs: DB, PK, LB
The Skinny: The Bengals (10-5-1) may go after Washington OLB Shaq Thompson is he’s still there and the Bengals need a PK, but that can, and will wait until later rounds...but not too late. There should also be some decent DBs from which to choose at this point for Cincinnati if that’s the way it decides to go.
Pittsburgh Steelers—Needs: DB, DL, QB
The Skinny: The Steelers (11-5) could use a backup for Ben Roethlisberger like UCLA’s Hundley but Round 1 is too early for the bruin and The Steel Curtain will more than likely draft a Defensive guy (their passion) like DB Peters, DL Armstead, DE Beasley or S Holliman, most likely the best available defensive guy available on Thursday at their #22 spot.
Detroit Lions—Needs: CB, DL
The Skinny: The Lions (11-5) lost Ndamukong Suh, but plugged in former Raven Haloti Ngata at NT, so taking Oklahoma’s Jordan Phillips may now be out of the question, although he would be a great pick here and provide depth on the Lions talented Defensive line (What Will the Detroit Lions Draft First? Offensive Player -130, Defensive Player -110, GTBets).
Arizona Cardinals—Needs: LB, DL, OL
The Skinny: The Cardinals (11-5) should get someone good at #24, and could really use some help on their Offensive Line (Total Offensive Linemen Drafted in Round 1: Over 6½ -110, Under 6½, GTBets), and may pick up someone like Pittsburgh OT TJ Clemmings or Stanford OT Andrus Peat.
Carolina Panthers—Needs: OL, Pass Rusher, DB
The Skinny: Carolina (7-8-1) can go a number of different ways here and should end up with a pretty player and possibly a pleasant surprise with their #25 pick. There will be tons of talent still left at #25 and the Panthers should have some good players to choose from like Wake Forest DB Kevin Johnson (Wake Forest), Pittsburgh OL TJ Clemmings or A&M OL Cedric Ogbuehi if they are available there when the Panthers pick in Round 1 on Thursday night.
Baltimore Ravens—Needs: Pass Rusher, OL, RB, DB
The Skinny: The Ravens (10-6) are a team I really like to have some success in the 2015 NFL Season and like other teams at this point in the NFL Draft tomorrow, Baltimore will actually have a nice little problem in trying to choose between like five good prospects. The Ravens and Head Coach John Harbaugh almost can’t go wrong here and will probably lean defense and may get to choose from talent like Florida State CB PJ Williams, Mississippi State ILB McKinney, Miami (Florida) LB Denzel Perryman (Miami, Florida), UCLA ILB Kendricks or maybe, if available, the Tackling Edgar Allen Poes go with a star RB like Georgia’s Gurley or Wisconsin’s Gordon.
Dallas Cowboys—Needs: DL, CB, TE, RB
The Skinny: The Cowboys (12-4) could go after Florida State DT Eddie Goldman in Round 1, Wake Forest DB Johnson, Michigan TE Devin Funchess, Minnesota DL Maxx Williams, or again, maybe even RBs Gordon or Gurley if team owner Jerry Jones fancies. Oddsmakers see Dallas taking an Offensive Player in Round 1 (What Will the Cowboys Draft First? Offensive Player -160, Defensive Player +120, GTBets), so those two RBs as well as WRs Strong and Oklahoma’s Dorial Green-Beckham (When Will Dorial Green-Beckham Be drafted? 39th Pick Or Earlier -150, 40th Pick or Later +100, GTBets) could be the perfect fit in Big D.
Denver Broncos—Needs: WR, DL, LB, TE
The Skinny: The Broncos (12-4) lost Free Agent TE Julius Thomas to the Jacksonville Jaguars, so maybe General Manager John Elway shoots for Michigan TE Funchess with his #27 pick, goes sooner-than-later for the Sooners Green-Beckham or takes someone like Seminoles DL Goldman.
Indianapolis Colts—Needs: LB, OL, S, RB
The Skinny: After signing Free Agents WR Andre Johnson (Texans) and RB Frank Gore (49ers) , the Colts (11-5) will probably be going for the best DB, LB or DL available to strengthen their Defense (Total Number of Defensive Players selected in Round 1: Over 15½ -110, Under 15½ -130, GTBets).
Green Bay Packers—Needs: ILB, TE, DL
The Skinny: The Packers (12-4) almost made it to Super Bowl XLIX and will be intent on getting there this time and could take Miami (Florida) LB Perryman, Florida DL Armstead, Missouri DL Ray or UCLA LB Kendricks if they want Defense, or quite possibly Michigan TE Funchess or Florida State TE Nick O’Leary, a position Green Bay could really use a nice, young promising talent at (Total Number of Offensive Players selected in Round 1: Over 15½ -130, Under 15½ -110, GTBets).
Seattle Seahawks—Needs: OL, DL, DB
The Skinny: The Seahawks (12-4) may have pulled off the Coup of The NFL Spring, getting TE Jimmy Graham in a trade from the New Orleans Saints for starting C Max Unger. So, the seahawks and Head Coach Pete Carroll will probably go after the best available DL, OL or DB with their 31st Pick in Round 1 on Thursday at the Auditorium Ballroom in Chicago.
New England Patriots—Needs: WR, DL, RB
The Skinny: The defending Super Bowl champion Patriots (12-4) may be looking for a CB after seeing superstar Darrelle Revis head to an NFC East divisional rival, the New York Jets. So, if any of the highly-touted CBs Waynes (Michigan State), Williams (Florida State), Peters (Washington) and Beasley (Clemson) are still on the board, maybe Head Coach Bill Belichick nabs them with the last pick (#32) of Round 1.
Buffalo Bills—Needs: S, LB, QB, RB
The Skinny: Buffalo has no Round 1 Pick after dealing it (the #19 Pick) to the Cleveland Browns, but the Bills do have some good young working parts on offense (QB EJ Manuel, WR Sammy Watkins) and have made some really impressive moves so far this offseason. Buffalo does have the #51 pick in Round 2, and just may be able to land a decent RB (if still available on the Draft Board) like the Badgers Gordon (probably gone), Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah or maybe Boise State’s Jay Ajayi. Whether or not the Bills are prioritizing Offense or Defense will have to wait to be see this time around until Round 2 (Where Will More Players in Round 1 be Drafted From? Offense -130, Defense -110, GTBets).
BEST NFL DRAFT PICK BETS: When Will Trae Waynes Be Drafted? 12th Round Or Later +100; What Will Chicago Bears Draft First? Any Other Position But WR -110; When Will Dorial Green-Beckham Be Drafted? 39th Pick Or Earlier -150 (GTBets)