There’s been a lot of big-name players who have switched teams and there are a lot more waiting for that call, and some don’t even know they’ll be playing in a new city next year. All this is because even though there has been a lot of movement this offseason, there are still major holes to fill on just about every roster in the NFL. Sure, another free agent signing and a couple good draft picks can fill this void, but there’s a lot of time still for things to go wrong.
Some teams have a lot of holes to fill, but we’re giving you each NFL team’s biggest need that needs to be addressed heading into the regular season. Of course, teams like the Cleveland Browns need a lot of help on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. This list will quickly address all of their issues but will focus on the biggest flaw in Cleveland right now, along with the biggest holes on each roster across the 32 NFL teams.
We’re still a long way away from the start of the 2017 season, which kicks off in September. Hopefully, every team will find a way to fix its biggest issue. We know that there will be organizations that will decide to turn a blind eye to the problem, but that doesn’t mean you should be in the dark. That’s why with this list, we take you through every team’s biggest need still to be addressed this offseason.
32. CLEVELAND BROWNS: WIDE RECEIVER
The Browns were in desperate need for a quarterback a few weeks ago. They’re still in need of a reliable starter, but the team isn’t as desperate now that Brock Osweiler is part of the roster. Cleveland has made it apparent that Osweiler may not end up being the starter by Week 1, but he’s also not a complete waste. Just having him on the roster for now lessens the quarterback pressure and allows the team to address some other areas of desperation.
The biggest issue facing the Browns at this point is a wide receiver. Sure, you could say the team is in desperate need of a pass rusher, but that’s an easy fix. With the No. 1 pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select Myles Garrett. See. Problem solved. Now let’s get to the pressing issue. The Browns lost Terrelle Pryor and there isn’t a solid guy next up in line. Maybe this could be addressed in the draft, but Cleveland should consider trading for some type of proven talent in the NFL.
31. PITTSBURGH STEELERS: LINEBACKER
The Steelers defensive leader Lawrence Timmons is gone. Timmons was a free agent and ended up signing for the next two years with the Miami Dolphins. Timmons led the team with 114 tackles, and it’s going to be a major effort to replace what the linebacker brought to this defensive attack. As of now Ryan Shazier is leading the way, but he needs some help. The 38-year-old James Harrison isn’t the answer to that problem and Bud Dupree is still too young and unproven to know what we’ll be getting out of him.
Plus Shazier will be leading the defense now that Timmons is gone and who knows if the young year old will be able to handle that responsibility. Furthermore, will he be able to stay healthy for the entire season? It’s just too much uncertainty in a position that is absolutely crucial to Pittsburgh’s defense, thus it’s very important to the success of the team’s season.
30. BALTIMORE RAVENS: WIDE RECEIVER
The Ravens have placed an emphasis on free agency signings this offseason, highlighted by grabbing safety Tony Jefferson and cornerback Brandon Carr. So, defense doesn’t seem to be much of an issue for Baltimore. Instead, the team’s offense is looking in danger of collapsing. Sure, Joe Flacco is still the man behind center (though they should begin thinking about grooming someone behind him because Flacco is getting old, but that can be handled with a later draft pick and not much risk in the short term).
But Flacco doesn’t have a lot of options to throw to. The Ravens did sign Danny Woodhead, but that’s not an unquestionably talented running back by any means. He’s put up some really good performances but Woodhead isn’t the most consistent guy on the field. Adding some sort of playmaking wide receiver would open up some running opportunities, and would help develop some good screen plays that we’ve seen Woodhead thrive on in the past.
29. CINCINNATI BENGALS: OFFENSIVE LINEMAN
In terms of offensive playmakers, the Cincinnati Bengals are pretty well stacked. With Andy Dalton and AJ Green leading the way, no one really questions if the Bengals will be able to score frequently next season. But that’s where it gets tricky. Most of us aren’t looking at a team’s offensive line, we’re just worried about the guys who put up points on Sunday’s. But in Cincinnati’s case, a lot of focus should be placed on finding a guy who can anchor that line.
Sure, the offense line is boring for fans. They’re only noticed when they miss a block or get flagged on a play. Sometimes they’ll get recognition for a stretch of consecutive Pro Bowl appearances, but that’s not likely for a majority of those guys out there. Since the Bengals lost two of their veteran linemen so far, they’ll be on the hunt for another big guy to fill in up front.
28. CHICAGO BEARS: SAFETY
After losing Alshon Jeffery and Jay Cutler, you’d think wide receiver and quarterback would be two of the most pressing issues facing Chicago. Actually, though, it is the opposite. The Bears signed Mike Glennon and have that unproven talent secured with Mark Sanchez as his backup. Sure that could turn out to be a disaster, but it seems like Bears fans are happy to move away from the Jay Cutler era. Since the Bears have lost Jeffery, they have added Markus Wheaton and Kendall Write, so there’s not much of an issue there, either.
The major issues at this point show up on the defensive end of things. Obviously the Bears have done a lot of work, but you don’t finish at the bottom of the league if you just need to make a couple offseason moves. The team really needs to implement a safety. The Bears might have found one in signing Quintin Demps, but they could use a young talent to help out.
27. GREEN BAY PACKERS: RUNNING BACK
The Packers have lost a lot to free agency this offseason – Eddie Lacy, T.J. Lang and Julius Peppers among others. Although they’ve still got a lot of firepower on both sides of the ball, there are some glaring holes that must be filled before Week 1. But the running back position is the most glaring hole. How can Aaron Rodgers continue to outscore the opposition if they always know that he’s going to throw the ball.
Let’s face it, Ty Montgomery wasn’t a bad fill in for running back when needed last season. But he’s not the year-round No. 1 running back a team like Green Bay should want. This team has the potential to go far in the postseason, but without a clear-cut top rusher, the Packers will be hurting and might not even make it to the postseason.
26. MINNESOTA VIKINGS: TIGHT END
The Vikings are pretty well filled out in terms of their overall roster strength. The closer the season keeps getting the more it is looking like the Vikings can be playing in the postseason. After adding Latavius Murray there really aren’t any glaring holes that need to be addressed. Coach Mike Zimmer has said that the team needs to find a right guard before the start of the season, but that’s probably some sort of ploy to keep everyone from focusing in on the real issue – the tight end position.
Kyle Rudolph has been consistent for Minnesota, but he’s the only proven tight end currently on the roster. It was reported that the Vikings worked hard to acquire Jared Cook, but were unsuccessful in that journey. Luckily Bradford will still have Adam Thielen and Rudolph to throw to, but he could use another weapon at the tight end position.
25. DETROIT LIONS: PASS RUSHER
The Lions rush defense wasn’t good last year, but their defensive attack against the pass was just awful to watch. And they need to place a special emphasis on that for the rest of the offseason. The more they can stump the passing game the easier the run defense will become. To this point though, the Lions have been focused on strengthening their offensive line. That was a focus during the early rounds of last year’s draft and has been focused on up to this point in free agency signings.
That’s fair because their running game was ranked 30th last season. Now they just need to work on stopping the oppositions offense. Some sort of defensive end or slashing linebacker would really benefit Detroit. Finding someone to hurry the quarterback and disrupt the run will transform the way this team looks on the field.
24. TENNESSEE TITANS: WIDE RECEIVER
It might not have seemed like a huge deal when Kendall Wright went to another team, but that was a huge loss for the Titans offense. Marcus Mariota has the skill to be one of the next young quarterbacks who will emerge as a superstar face of the NFL. Mariota has history of being a star from his college ball days, and now the stage is set for him to take over as one of the next big names in the NFL. Mariota paired with DeMarco Murray in the backfield gives the Titans a great advantage.
But they need someone that Mariota can throw to downfield. It will be a long and annoying season in Tennessee if their only option is handing the ball off or throwing a quick screen to the running back. The Titans might have the opportunity to draft a young rising star in the draft, but if not, they should quickly begin looking into the market to see who’s available for trade.
23. HOUSTON TEXANS: QUARTERBACK
The rough part about this need is that if the Texans focus solely on getting a starting quarterback, they’ll be tossing the most important player on the field without much protection. The Texans also need to get some more help on the offensive line, but that doesn’t matter if either Brandon Weeden or Tom Savage is lining up behind center. Right now the Texans options at quarterback means that they’re in for a losing season.
The awful part is that they’ll likely draft a young quarterback with hopes of finding the new face of the franchise. That means they’re planning on throwing in an unproven talent with a team that doesn’t have the surrounding talent to help grow a young quarterback. The best case scenario would be that they draft a young quarterback, but also trade for a guy who’s been in the league for at least a couple of years to take over for the next year or two.
22. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: PASS RUSHER
Again, there’s a lot of talk about how Andrew Luck needs more protection up front. But that’s a losing game for Indianapolis. The Colts had a major emphasis on getting more protection last year and those guys just need some more time to develop. These guys, most of whom were rookies last year, need time to develop with the Colts offensive game plan. Instead, the Colts really need to get more help on the defensive side of the equation.
A pass rusher, despite the signings the Colts have already made, is still a glaring hole on the team’s roster. Sure, the Colts could use some help defending down field, but that all starts with guys who can rush the quarterback because the more time the opposition has, the less likely your guys will be able to defend the deep ball.
21. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: TIGHT END
It’s not surprising that a lot of teams look to the offensive line at the draft. It takes a lot of guys to protect the quarterback and you’ve got to have backups for those guys. Naturally, that means offensive lineman will be one of the most selected positions in the draft. But the Jaguars need to place a higher focus on the tight end position. It’s the guy who can score but also provide some help blocking if you get the right guy.
Unfortunately, the Julius Thomas project didn’t work out and Marcedes Lewis doesn’t seem to have much time left in the league. Along with Lewis, the Jags also have Ben Koyack and Neal sterling, which are both unproven. A young talent at tight end could really change the face of this team’s offensive attack.
20. DENVER BRONCOS: OFFENSIVE LINEMAN
The Broncos will probably need a quarterback by midseason, but for now, Trevor Siemian holds the top spot on the Broncos most important position. But Denver really needs to get some more help with protecting Siemian … or he has no chance in succeeding next season. Although most teams do need some help on the offensive line, the Broncos will go nowhere unless they get some help up front.
According to the Broncos coach Vance Joseph, and their general manager John Elway, the team needs a new left tackle. They’ve talked about two players on their roster, but their both better suited for the right side of the ball. Denver could trade away some valuable draft picks to fill this hole, but the Broncos should take a risk and draft a young talent to fill this void.
19. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: RUNNING BACK
The Chiefs played really good last season, but that momentum isn’t going to hold if they can’t fill some major holes left on their current roster. When looking at the wide receiver position, the team doesn’t really have a threat besides Jeremy Maclin. Although Maclin seems to be a No. 1 threat on most teams in the league, he doesn’t have that potential on Kansas City’s roster because the team doesn’t have a reliable second guy to back him up.
More important to that offensive threat is the running back position. If Kansas City can’t prove to run the ball, the team has no chance at getting a consistent passing game together. Right now, the Chiefs best options are either C.J. Spiller or Charcandrick West, which neither really have a No. 1 rusher potential.
18. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS: QUARTERBACK
Although Philip Rivers seems to be the guy for the Chargers, he’s one of the more problematic quarterbacks in the league and should not be comfortable with his position. Rivers has led the league in interceptions two of the last three years, and anybody in that category should not be considered a lock for quarterback. C’mon people. This is the most important position on the team and the Chargers are letting someone prone to turning the ball over lead the way.
What’s worse is the fact that you either have an unproven young guy or a going nowhere veteran backing up Rivers. Behind Rivers, the Chargers have either Mike Bercovici or Kellen Clemens. Neither guy has proven anything in the league and the Chargers really need to plan for the future as Rivers is aging, and not even a good quarterback as is.
17. OAKLAND RAIDERS: PASS RUSHER
The Raiders have made some huge moves in the offseason so far. They’ve added tight end Jared Cook along with wide receiver and kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson. But that doesn’t address the needs that the team has on its defense. After Derek Carr went down before the postseason last year, we saw how the team fell apart. Sure, you can’t prepare for your main guy going down, but you can prepare for the other side of the ball in that worst case scenario.
Plus, strengthening your defense will never hurt and can only further this team in its inevitable postseason run if Carr can stay healthy. Whether it comes from a defensive tackle or a linebacker position, the Raiders really need someone to rush the opposing quarterback.
16. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: CORNERBACK
Since it seems increasingly obvious that Richard Sherman isn’t going to be playing with the Seahawks next season, finding another cornerback is a bigger need than most realize. Sure, there’s still that chance that the Seahawks either won’t find a good deal for Sherman or will decide to hold onto the talented cornerback in his prime, but that doesn’t seem likely. Sherman has said he wants to be traded to a contender and the Seahawks seem very open to that idea.
The team’s best bet seems finding a young talent in the draft rather than attempting to trade for a league veteran. Since the team still has DeShawn Shead on a one-year deal, the team seems poised to rotate a couple young guys on the other side while working to figure out the face of its future defensive attacks.
15. LOS ANGELES RAMS: CENTER
The Rams recently signed veteran center John Sullivan, effectively filling the team’s biggest hole of late. The Rams were left without a veteran presence in a position that is extremely crucial to the development of young quarterback Jared Goff. The tough part is that this could just be a brief bandage for the issue. Sure, Sullivan is a great center when healthy, but back issues could very well keep him out of a good chunk of the season.
The Rams would be best suited drafting a center somewhere in the middle rounds. Getting another veteran center is overkill, but a young guy could learn a lot behind Sullivan. And that way, if Sullivan goes down, he can act as a coach/mentor to whatever young guy the Rams decide to draft.
14. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: QUARTERBACK
Without a doubt, the San Francisco 49ers need a cornerback and a pass rusher. Without filling those two holes, no matter how strong the offense is, the team will not be able to keep up to the opposition. But without a reliable starting quarterback, the 49ers shot at winning is stumped from the beginning. Without addressing the need for a starting quarterback, the 49ers would just be filling unnecessary holes because they’d just be at the bottom of the league again next year.
Currently, the 49ers roster lists either Matt Barkley or Brian Hoyer as potential options for the team’s quarterback. Although neither of these guys are expected to start Week 1, the team needs to consider trading for some type of veteran talent. The guys left on free agency wouldn’t truly address the issue, and drafting a quarterback would be throwing a young star into an unwinnable scenario.
13. ARIZONA CARDINALS: CORNERBACK
The Cardinals should really consider finding a quarterback to grow behind Carson Palmer as the aging quarterback must only have a few years left, at best. Now would be a great time to because a young rookie could have time to develop and learn from one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks. But that is in no way the team’s biggest need at this point. A quarterback should be a priority, but not nearly the one on top of the to-do list.
For now, the Cardinals offensive unit is relatively in place. There’s no major gaps on that end, but the team could use some coverage help, especially since Marcus Cooper is no longer with the team. The team still has some options on its current roster, but as of now none of them are proven so this remains a top need for Arizona.
12. ATLANTA FALCONS: OFFENSIVE LINEMEN
Here we meet last year’s runner up. As the Super Bowl loser, a lot of focus will be placed on Atlanta’s progression through next season. Some of us hope the team will suffer from the Super Bowl hangover like in years past, while others are expecting a return to the sports biggest game. Regardless of the side of the fence you fall on, there’s no debating the fact that the Falcons must make some good offseason moves if they have any chance at competing next season.
The best avenue to do that is keeping Matt Ryan protected and making sure he is afforded the time to let the plays develop. If you want to see another postseason run and MVP-type performance out of the quarterback, he needs some more help up front.
11. CAROLINA PANTHERS: WIDE RECEIVER
Among league analysts, the Carolina Panthers should be looking to strengthen the offensive line. But that’s assuming that guys like Michael Oher aren’t able to return to full health and contribute like we’ve grown to expect out of the big guy. That’s why an offensive lineman doesn’t fit well for the team’s biggest need at this point in the offseason.
Although the Panthers recently signed Kaelin Clay, assumingly to replace Ted Ginn Jr., that addition isn’t all the Panthers need to do to make sure Cam Newton is well equipped for a successful season, and after last year’s blunder, they better make sure Newton is surrounded with a lot of talent. Clay could be a good return man, possibly. But he hasn’t recorded a catch in the NFL and is far too unproven to place any hopes on. The Panthers really need to fill this hole quickly.
10. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: CORNERBACK
The Saints had a miserable season last year despite their offense putting up some mind blowing performances. Drew Brees and his surrounding cast just crushed the opposing defenses week in and week out. But their own defense wasn’t able to stop the opposition either. If the team wants a chance at competing in the postseason, that must be a No. 1 priority.
No matter what holes the Saints think they might have on offense, it really doesn’t compare to the defensive gaps that have continuously plagued the Saints. So what better way to address this issue than adding a lockdown cornerback to the equation. Richard Sherman seems like he’s up for grabs and that would be a great addition to this roster. Sherman, without a doubt, would single handedly help the Saints win more games.
9. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: TIGHT END
All over the place, people are saying the Buccaneers biggest need is a safety. Sure, they could use another safety, but it’s long and far away from the biggest hole on this team’s roster. Another potential need is at the running back position as it seems that Doug Martin isn’t going to be able to keep up with the highly talented offense, but that will likely be more of an issue facing the team during the next offseason.
For now, the Bucs really need to focus on acquiring a tight end. They would really benefit from a guy who could pose a threat on the receiving end of things. Right now, Cameron Brate is the guy hauling in passes primarily at tight end. But he’s nothing more than a once-and-a-while threat. Strengthening this position would surely help the Jameis Winston/Mike Evans connection that much stronger. And now that DeSean Jackson is on the roster, this would be the final piece to the team’s offensive puzzle.
8. WASHINGTON REDSKINS: WIDE RECEIVER
The Redskins are in a much worse position than they have been going into each of the last two seasons. For the past two years, the Redskins have barely floated above a .500 record and this season they’re going to fall below that mark. And it all seems to be related to the fact the organization is spending more time filling holes that aren’t their biggest problems.
Sure, the addition of Terrelle Pryor seems like the team is setting up Kirk Cousins for success, but that’s a pipe dream. After that you have either Jared Cook, who fails to remain on the field at all times, or Jamison Crowder, who hasn’t done much of value on the field. The Redskins really need a solid No. 2, to line up on the field across from Pryor. If not, you better get ready to see a huge facelift of this team next season as Cousins will be chased out of town while Pryor will be taking a lot of unnecessary criticism. All of which could easily be avoided with another receiver threat.
7. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: CORNERBACK
The Eagles are truly setting up Carson Wentz for success. Sure, the team doesn’t have a No. 1 rusher, but the combination of Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles makes for some interesting offensive attacks and gives the team a heck of a lot of options. What’s really great for the Eagles is the addition of Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery combined with Jordan Matthews is a scarily good 1-2 punch, and Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz are just icing on the cake.
But like a lot of team’s heading into the draft, the Eagles are in desperate need of some help in the cornerback position. The team recently signed Patrick Robinson, but the Eagles will likely try to find a young star in this really deep class of cornerbacks. Although they don’t necessarily need to use their first round pick on a corner, they should.
6. NEW YORK GIANTS: RUNNING BACK
Yeah, we know. The Giants, like they always do, are in need for some help on the offensive line. But with the aging Eli Manning behind center, we don’t doubt that the team will add help there as needed, so it’s down the list in terms of their biggest need. Help will come in that aspect whether from the draft or from the remaining pool of unsigned guys.
The more pressing issue is at one of the most important positions on the offense – running back. The addition of Shaun Draughn doesn’t make the Giants rushing attack any better. Combined with Shane Vereen, the team will still struggle on that end. Especially as Manning continues getting older, you’ve got to look at the running back as a great line of defense against injury. If they don’t have an explosive threat back there, like Adrian Peterson who’s still up for grabs, you can be all eyes are going to be focused on Manning.
5. DALLAS COWBOYS: SAFETY
The Cowboys currently have a couple of really young guys tabbed to take over the defense as the team has lost Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox. That’s why this position should be looked to be filled by some sort of trade, or a very high value draft pick. But adding a rookie into the equation kind of keeps the Cowboys in a similar situation as they’re currently faced.
If the Cowboys draft a safety, then they’re adding a young guy to a rotation of other unproven talents. That could work, but it’s a huge risk for a team that’s poised for a deep postseason run. Given how good the offense operated last year behind two rookies, the team is staged for another great run as experience is now on the side of the team’s offensive starters. Now, they’ll just need to work on the defense a bit more before Week 1.
4. BUFFALO BILLS: WIDE RECEIVER
Although some may see the quarterback position as the biggest need on this team, the return of Tyrod Taylor puts that thought on the back burner … at least for now. So while the Bills seem to have a set starting quarterback, it is absolutely imperative that the front office surrounds Taylor with as much talent as they can afford.
Luckily, the Bills still have Sammy Watkins who is currently one of the better wide receivers in the league despite the Bills recent struggles at the quarterback position. The team has signed some wide receivers from free agency, but none of them really jump out as being able to take pressure away from Watkins. A young guy in the draft or a trade will be needed as there is no one remaining in free agency that could fill that void.
3. MIAMI DOLPHINS: LINEBACKER
Every team in this division starts the year two games behind the rest of the league because of the New England Patriots. It’s tough for the AFC East, but there’s really no other team in the league that’s expected to win as much as New England. The Dolphins have pretty much solidified most of their offense, and no positional needs there outweigh the massive help that the team’s defense needs.
Ideally, Miami will lockdown an outside linebacker who is as effective at rushing the passer as they are at defending the pass. The Dolphins could really benefit from a guy who not only can rush the opposing quarterback, but also defend the tight end or running back when they begin running routes. Although this wouldn’t solve all of the team’s issues, it would surely get them a long way in the right direction.
2. NEW YORK JETS: QUARTERBACK
Sure, the Jets might opt to select a safety pretty early in the draft because of uncertainty at that position, but it’s nowhere near the biggest need on the team’s roster. The same hole that the Jets face this year is similar to issues that the team has faced consistently in the team’s recent past. The blatantly obvious truth is that the Jets need to find a quarterback, ideally one that can take the reigns for the foreseeable future.
This is tough though because the Jets have so many other holes that need to be filled as well. But if they can finally find that franchise face, the rest will seemingly fall into place. If only the Jets can find the right fit at quarterback, they’ll be set for years to come. But that’s looking like a pipe dream for New York this season.
1. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: RUNNING BACK
Although the Patriots never seem to need any help by Week 1 (even if Tom Brady isn’t playing), the Patriots could really use a true No. 1 running back. In the recent years, LeGarrette Blount has filled that void, but he’s gone now and the Patriots need to take action. Sure, they could probably draft a young stud, but that would include working with a learning curve.
Sure, it’s not a bad idea for them to draft a running back, but they’d also be well-suited if they began pursuing the likes of Marshawn Lynch. Although Lynch is retired, he’s making it clear about his willingness to return. And there would be no better fit than in New England. He could mentor whatever young kid the Pats pickup, and he would be a crucial element for the postseason. We can already see Brady eyeing down his sixth ring with Lynch on the field.
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