Free agency is an opportunity to fill needs for NFL teams but not every team is capable of filling all of those needs. Some teams are facing the reality that they will have to take a certain position in the 2021 NFL Draft regardless of how the board shakes out. When teams are desperate for a position, but another team is eyeing a specific player at that position, they know they must leapfrog the former to get that player. 

In the 2019 NFL Draft, everyone knew that Houston was in the market for an offensive tackle with Washington State's Andre Dillard being the best available in the range where the Texans were slated to pick (No. 23 overall). Philadelphia traded up to No. 22 overall to take Dillard and the Texans took the next best player at the position -- Alabama State's Tytus Howard, who was considered a reach by many. 

These seven teams could be in a position of desperation at this year's draft.

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Bengals, Chiefs, Steelers: offensive line

As currently constructed, Cincinnati, Kansas City and Pittsburgh have to walk away with some offensive line help early in this draft. For Cincinnati, the focus can not be pointed in one specific direction; it needs help everywhere. The objective was to build up the trenches surrounding star quarterback Joe Burrow and despite signing former Vikings OT Riley Reiff, the Bengals were unable to accomplish that in free agency. 

The Chiefs' holes are a bit more specific because they need a center or an offensive tackle. The interior offensive line was already a point of emphasis heading into free agency and then the team released both starting offensive tackles. The signings of Joe Thuney and Kyle Long give them a strong duo inside but a few holes remain for Patrick Mahomes' protection to become impenetrable. 

Pittsburgh is a mess right now. The run game was anemic at the end of the season and those in the pass game might have been pressing to pick up the slack. The issue is that the run game has only gotten worse since the season concluded. Matt Feiler and Alejandro Villanueva are gone from that starting offensive line and Maurkice Pouncey retired. David DeCastro and Kevin Dotson give them two really good offensive guards but the thinking that Chukwuma Okorafor, Zach Banner and B.J. Finney are going to man the other three spots seamlessly is flawed. 

Lions: wide receiver

Detroit is a bit difficult to read this offseason. The Lions turned down what appeared to be a stronger deal from Carolina for Matthew Stafford to take the Rams' deal unless they actually value Jared Goff at the quarterback position. Then, new general manager Brad Holmes publicly proclaimed that taking at quarterback at No. 7 overall was "absolutely not" off the table, which is either refreshingly honest or the latest misdirection from a team with an ulterior motive. Even if a quarterback is taken, that player is not going to have an exciting stockpile of talent. If Detroit does not take a quarterback, one would expect the Lions to get Goff some help unless they are committed to picking high in next year's draft as well. 

Cardinals: cornerback

Arizona literally has four cornerbacks on its roster and only three have played in an NFL game. Jace Whittaker appeared in two games as a rookie and made four tackles. Robert Alford was released to clear salary cap space two days before he was re-signed. Then, there is Byron Murphy. That is it. The Cardinals have gone all in this offseason acquiring well-known talent like J.J. Watt, A.J. Green and Rodney Hudson. They are not trying to compete tomorrow, they are trying to compete today. The cornerback position is a glaring weakness and one that most expect them to address with the No. 16 overall pick. 

Patriots: quarterback

Cam Newton technically made it to the legal tampering period but Bill Belichick was in no rush to sign him. Newton may have had some lingering effects from a COVID-19 diagnosis last fall but the bottom line is that the performance of the position was not good enough. It is difficult to envision Belichick being comfortable with either Jarrett Stidham or Newton steering the ship that the franchise has invested over $270 million of total value into this offseason. Can you envision Newton at the wheel of the ship with a new mast, a bedazzled hull and a sturdy new jibboom? I didn't think so.

If Jimmy Garoppolo becomes available through trade in San Francisco, then that could be a workaround but it is also possible that New England pushes all of its chips to the middle and trades up after seeing the beloved Tom Brady win a Super Bowl elsewhere. Verbal meme: Belichick in the Wolverine suit holding a framed picture of the Lombardi Trophy. 

Cowboys: cornerback

It looks as though Dallas will add a few players at the safety position to compete. Although not fear-inspiring, it is enough to not be considered a position of desperation. There are other areas of concern across the roster like the offensive line and front seven, but cornerback stands out. The Cowboys should be in a prime position to select one of the top options at No. 10 overall whether that is Alabama's Patrick Surtain II, Virginia Tech's Caleb Farley or, as some believe, South Carolina's Jaycee Horn.