2019 NFL Draft: Ranking position groups for all 32 teams reveals their biggest needs
Where does your team need the most help? Check out this team-by-team breakdown to find out
Just as we did the past few years, the Eye on Football staff spent the last week or so compiling position group rankings for all 32 teams in the league in an attempt to identify pre-draft needs.
Unlike last year, though, there was no definitive guideline given over whether the rankings should be strictly for the upcoming season or for the future as well. So, each member of the staff (myself, John Breech, Will Brinson, Ryan Wilson, Sean Wagner-McGough) brought their own balance of those timelines to the table, and the rankings ended up reflecting that. As a result, some of the needs below are immediate, and some of them lean more toward the future. That's OK, though, because that's how teams actually draft.
A helpful guide: any position group that had an average ranking worse than 16.0 (on a scale of 1 to 32) was considered a "need," while any that ranked worse than 23.0 (bottom-third of the league) was considered a "pressing need." Check them all out below.
Needs: QB, WR/TE, OL, INT DL, LB, DB
Pressing: QB, WR/TE, OL
The Cardinals' low ranking at quarterback might be why there is so much smoke around the idea that they'll draft Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall selection despite the fact that they traded up into the top-10 to select Josh Rosen just last year. Rosen was put in about as bad a situation as possible during his rookie season and he has enough talent to suggest there is still plenty of hope for him as a viable long-term starter, but truly special players overcome even the worst of circumstances, and since Rosen couldn't, it apparently has the Cardinals thinking about a rather drastic move. Part of his poor situation was the dreadful pass-catching group he had to work with, and the Cardinals very badly need to find some long-term help for Christian Kirk on the perimeter. (Despite appearances, Larry Fitzgerald cannot literally play forever.) They also need to make upgrades along the offensive line, or else Rosen (or Murray) will be running for his life for quite a bit more time. Arizona could also use some help on the second level of its defense, as there are still big holes in the defensive backfield even after the team added Budda Baker in last year's draft and Robert Alford earlier in free agency.
Needs: RB, EDGE, INT DL, LB, DB
After cutting ties with the aforementioned Robert Alford earlier this offseason and letting slot corner Brian Poole leave in free agency as well, our panel sees defensive back as the most obvious and pressing need for the Falcons. The team lost both its safeties for portions of last season and saw the defensive essentially fall apart, especially in conjunction with absences from multiple linebackers. Atlanta could at the very least use depth at both spots. And despite stacking athletes along the defensive front over the years, the Falcons still need some help there as well -- whether they get Grady Jarrett signed long-term or not. And while Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and the offensive line rank highly, the running backs do not score so well, with Tevin Coleman leaving, Devonta Freeman suffering injuries during each of the past two seasons, and Ito Smith coming off a wildly inefficient rookie year. Our mock drafts have them largely zeroing in on the defensive line, for what it's worth, with Ed Oliver a popular trade-up target.
Needs: QB, RB, WR/TE, EDGE
Pressing: QB, WR/TE, EDGE
The Ravens drafted Lamar Jackson just last year, so we can probably forget about them taking another QB for a while as they attempt to re-orient the offense around him. They badly need to get him some weapons here, though, as Baltimore's wide receiver and tight end group is the only position group in our entire rankings that is a consensus last-place pick. Wideout is by far the most popular pick in our mock drafts, with five of six experts pegging Baltimore to take a pass-catcher in Round 1. The Ravens also need to fortify their edge-rusher group after seeing Za'Darius Smith and Terrell Suggs both leave in free agency, and it wouldn't surprise to see them add a pass rusher or two in the middle rounds.
Needs: QB, RB, WR/TE, OL, EDGE, INT DL, LB
Pressing: QB, RB, WR/TE, OL, EDGE, INT DL, LB
So the panel mostly sees the Bills' needs as "a better football team." Josh Allen was drafted last year and doesn't look like he's going anywhere. The Bills signed two receivers and a tight end (Cole Beasley, John Brown, Tyler Kroft) in free agency and made a couple upgrades along the offensive line as well, but they apparently did not move the needle much for us. The ageless but still aging backfield duo of LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore is nice for next year, but the team definitely needs an infusion of youth at that spot. And with Kyle Williams retiring and most of the team's edge rushers looking more like rotational guys than foundational ones, Sean McDermott's guys could use a boost there as well.
Needs: WR/TE, OL, EDGE, DB
Pressing: WR/TE, DB
The signing of center Matt Paradis means we've moved offensive line out of the "pressing needs" column for the first time since I've been doing this column, which is a nice change of pass. The Panthers could still use some more dynamic weapons for Cam Newton, but D.J. Moore looks like a find and a healthy Greg Olsen is still incredibly dangerous. It's just that Olsen rarely seems healthy anymore. Another perimeter target to pair with Wilson would be nice. And while Eric Reid solidified one safety spot, they still need to get some defensive backfield help to go with James Bradberry and last year's pick, Donte Jackson. Our mocks are split on the Panthers, but the edge is a popular fortification spot as the team looks to make up for the loss of Julius Peppers.
No pressing needs for the Bears, a team with an elite defense at all three levels and an average-ish offense led by a slightly below-average quarterback. The key here is probably upgrading the infrastructure around Mitchell Trubisky in order to minimize the chance that he can undermine their season. Head coach Matt Nagy is obviously a big part of that, but there's a reason the Bears made such a concerted effort to add offensive talent last offseason; the less Trubisky has to do on his own, the better.
Needs: QB, WR/TE, OL, EDGE, INT DL, LB
So we see the Bengals as a team with a bunch of needs, but with most of them not being much more pressing than the others, with the exception of offensive line. Last offseason's trade for Cordy Glenn and drafting of Billy Price locks in two spots and Clint Boling is pretty good at left guard, but the right side of the line could use some upgrades, for sure. After the Bengals cut ties with the much-maligned Vontaze Burfict they could use some help for Preston Brown at the second level, and with Carlos Dunlap and Geno Smith not getting any younger, the defensive line is becoming more of a need area as well. Our mocks are chock full of Jonah Williams picks, which makes a lot of sense, but two also have the Bengals landing Dwayne Haskins as an Andy Dalton replacement so Zac Taylor can have his own guy to build around. Either path would not surprise.
The Cleveland Browns, ladies and gentlemen! One of two teams on our entire list with no needs or pressing needs. My, how times have changed. The offensive line is the closest thing to a need area here, and after seeing Joe Thomas retire and Kevin Zeitler get shipped out in a trade the past two offseason, that makes a good deal of sense. If they can add some depth there and in the defensive backfield, this looks like one of the best teams in the league in 2019.
Needs: INT DL, DB
Pressing: INT DL
The Cowboys resumed having their highly-ranked offensive line with the news earlier this offseason that Travis Frederick's recovery from Guillain-Barre Syndrome was going well. They could perhaps use some depth there and maybe a long-term replacement for La'el Collins, but as long as Frederick, Zack Martin, and Tyron Smith are around, that's not going to be a major area of need. The other side of the ball is a stickier issue. The interior of the defensive line took a hit with David Irving's suspension and retirement, and even with Tyrone Crawford likely moving inside after the acquisition of Robert Quinn, the Cowboys still need more help in that area. Similarly, the signing of George Iloka does not solve the team's safety issues. They need another starter next to Xavier Woods in order to fortify their strong group of corners.
Needs: QB, WR/TE, OL, LB
Pressing: QB, OL, LB
This will shock you, but we here at CBSSports.com do not think Joe Flacco is the solution to the Broncos' ongoing quarterback issues. Drew Lock is a popular pick in our mock drafts, and while you can argue the merits of the selection itself, you can't really argue the need. Similarly, the Broncos don't have much in the pass-catching department beyond a back-from-injury Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton, and even after adding Ja'Wuan James, the offensive line looks only OK after seeing Matt Paradis leave. Luckily, the Broncos have dynamic edge rushers and defensive backs to win games on their lonesome, because they need some help both up the middle and at the second level -- especially after letting go of Brandon Marshall.
Needs: QB, RB, WR/TE, EDGE, INT DL, LB, DB
Pressing: RB, DB
Kerryon Johnson looked good as a rookie but Matt Patricia has shown precisely zero indication that he's willing to use him as an every-down back, so we still see that as a need, even after the signing of C.J. Anderson. (Theo Riddick is basically a receiver.) Damon Harrison is an elite run defender but right now the Lions have essentially nobody who can rush the passer from the interior, which is a problem in the modern NFL -- especially when you don't have anybody who can cover in the middle of the field. And considering we are not enthused with the secondary beyond Darius Slay and Quandre Diggs, that still looks like a need as well. (There's a reason the Lions had one of the NFL's worst pass defenses toward the end of last season.) The Devins -- White and Bush -- Montez Sweat and Brian Burns are the most popular targets in our mocks, and all would help the team's defense immensely.
Green Bay Packers
Needs: RB, LB
Aaron Jones had an excellent season last year and probably just needs to be given the ball more often, but the Packers don't have much in the way of quality depth beyond him at running back and so it would be good to add some more talent there -- especially in the form of a third-down, pass-catching type of player. After spending seemingly a gazillion dollars to overhaul their pass rush and upgrade the defensive backfield even more, linebacker stands out as the one glaring need on this team's defense. The Packers have two first-round picks thanks to last year's trade-down with the Saints, and because they don't have any glaring needs, our picks are all over the map.
Needs: RB, OL
Pressing: RB, OL
Let's just roll Deshaun Watson in bubble wrap and pray for him.
Needs: RB, EDGE, INT DL, DB
Pressing: INT DL
The Colts found so many quality players in last year's draft that they managed to shore up several of their weaknesses (linebacker, offensive line) in one shot. Perhaps they can do the same this year. Margus Hunt and Denico Autry turned into nice rotation players along the defensive line but Indianapolis' run defense up the middle was dreadful last year and they could still use more pressure players up front both in the interior and on the edge. The Marlon Mack/Nyheim Hines combination at running back is solid, if not spectacular, but should work just fine in conjunction with Luck and the offensive line. Many around the league thought the Colts would seek a major secondary upgrade this offseason, but they have instead been content to retain their own players. Our mocks are in almost uniform agreement on the defensive interior being an early-round target, with Dexter Lawrence and Jerry Tillery standing out as fits.
Needs: QB, RB, WR/TE, OL, INT DL
Pressing: QB, RB, WR/TE
The Jags have a lot of needs and almost no money with which to fill them, so the draft is going to have to be key. They broke the bank for Nick Foles but still rank lowly in our quarterback rankings here, and should probably still be searching for a real long-term answer. The Leonard Fournette pick already looks like it's not working out as planned and they may need to go back to the well there. They have one of the least impressive pass-catching corps in the league and the offensive line, even after spending a bunch of money on it, still needs an overhaul. And they cut into their defensive talent to clear space for Foles. The Jags can really go anywhere with this year's draft and it would make sense. It's a top-heavy, thin roster with very few settled positions outside the second level of the defense.
Kansas City Chiefs
Needs: RB, EDGE, LB, DB
The Chiefs cut Justin Houston and traded Dee Ford, and are heading into the draft with Alex Okafor and Emmanuel Ogbah as their primary pressure players. That's not a great situation to be in, especially when your secondary is just OK and not elite. They can definitely use some help along the edge, but that's basically the roster's one glaring weakness. Depth at linebacker and in the secondary could also be concerns, and if they want to upgrade on Damien Williams, well, why not make a dangerous offense even more so? The defensive front and back ends are where we have the Chiefs going in our mocks, with Zach Allen, DeAndre Baker, Rashan Gary, and Jerry Tillery being just a few potential matches.
Los Angeles Chargers
Needs: INT DL
The Chargers retained Brandon Mebane but they let Darius Philon leave, so they don't have a long-term answer in the middle of the defense between bookends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. That's really the only area of this team that could be considered close to a weakness, as the Chargers have one of the deepest rosters in football. Christian Wilkins, Dre'Mont Jones, and Jeffery Simmons are among the players being mocked to L.A.
Los Angeles Rams
Like their L.A. brethren, the Rams have one of the deepest, best rosters in football. Jared Goff might not be an elite QB, but he's a pretty good one, and the Rams have an excellent offensive line, the best defensive player in the league, a stud running back (if he's healthy), and deep and versatile groups at receivers and defensive back. They basically only have one linebacker (Cory Littleton), though, and not much beyond Dante Fowler on the edge. They're not necessarily in a great draft range for those spots, though, so they could elect for another interior defender or a guard to take the place of the departed Rodger Saffold, building on top of their strengths.
Needs: QB, RB, WR/TE, OL, EDGE, INT DL, LB, DB
Pressing: QB, RB, WR/TE, OL, EDGE, INT DL, LB, DB
The Dolphins will almost certainly be the worst team in the league next season and will get to choose from Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, and Jake Fromm. They could go pretty much anywhere with their picks this year, because this roster is terrible.
Needs: QB, RB, OL
The Vikings basically look like a better-on-offense, slightly-worse-on-defense version of the Bears, but with a much more obvious weakness (offensive line) that nevertheless is slightly less important to winning football games. Still, the line completely undermined Minnesota's season last year and needs to be addressed. Cody Ford and the Williamses are popular mock targets. They could also use some help for Dalvin Cook at running back, since he seemingly can't stay healthy.
New England Patriots
Needs: WR/TE, EDGE, INT DL
Pressing: WR/TE, INT DL
The defending champs are still in pretty good shape with elite quarterback play, one of the best running back combinations in the league, the best offensive line coach in NFL history, and a terrific secondary. It seems strange calling wide receiver/tight end a glaring need given that they just won a Super Bowl with half-strength Gronk, Julian Edelman, and that's it, but Gronk is gone now and they need a talent infusion there. They probably can't get T.J. Hockenson, but Noah Fant or one of the tight ends in the second or third-round range would make a lot of sense. They scooped up Michael Bennett after figuring out they were almost definitely losing Trey Flowers, and they don't care about the edge as much as other teams anyway, but they have to find this year's version of Danny Shelton and Malcom Brown to solidify the middle of the defense.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints are the second team on our list to not have any needs or glaring needs. That makes sense given that they are about as all-in as a team can be right now as Drew Brees winds down his career. A firmer succession plan than Teddy Bridgewater (who re-signed, but on a one-year deal) might be the most obvious need here, but that's likely not a priority.
New York Giants
Needs: QB, WR/TE, OL, EDGE, INT DL, LB, DB
Pressing: QB, WR/TE, OL, EDGE, INT DL, LB, DB
As a Cowboys fan, I think it would be pretty awesome if the Giants kept passing on quarterbacks and taking players at low-value positions like running back or a run-stopping interior defensive lineman. As the person writing this column for CBSSports.com, I feel I should note the Giants absolutely need to draft a quarterback and get Eli Manning out of the lineup. But it's not like the rest of the roster is much better. This team has needs basically everywhere after trading Odell Beckham, Jason Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon, and Damon Harrison over the past year-plus, and letting Landon Collins walk. They have two first-round picks and could go pretty much anywhere with them, knowing Dave Gettleman. We mostly have the Giants looking at the defensive line and wide receiver.
New York Jets
Needs: QB, WR/TE, OL, EDGE, INT DL, DB
Pressing: WR/TE, EDGE, INT DL, DB
The Jets tried to sign Anthony Barr to upgrade their edge-rushing group, but he ultimately decided to go back to Minnesota. We have them locked into Josh Allen at No. 3 in the draft in most of our mocks, and that would be an excellent fit. Beyond that, giving Sam Darnold some help up front and on the perimeter would go a long way toward helping him fulfill his potential, and figuring out a way to get somebody who can stop the other team from completing passes all over the field would be an immense help to the defense.
Needs: QB, RB, OL, EDGE, INT DL, LB, DB
Pressing: RB, EDGE, INT DL, LB, DB
Jon Gruden pared this roster down to its bare bones before trading for Antonio Brown and signing Tyrell Williams, Trent Brown, and Lamarcus Joyner, among others. Still, there are a ton of needs here. They start with quarterback, where Derek Carr no longer looks like the answer he appeared to be a couple years ago. Kyler Murray? Dwayne Haskins? We'll see. The Raiders have three first-round picks and could definitely use an influx of talent on the defensive front (Rashan Gary? Quinnen Williams?) and in the backfield (Greedy Williams? Byron Murphy? DeAndre Baker?). Even after signing Brandon Marshall and Vontaze Burfict to go along with Tahir Whitehead, linebacker remains a need as well because Marshall and Whitehead are in their late-20s and Burfict probably got suspended while I was writing this sentence.
Needs: RB, LB, DB
Did you see how the Eagles' secondary completely fell apart last year? Yeah, that needs to be rectified. Byron Murphy and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson are popular mock picks for a good reason.
Needs: WR/TE, EDGE, LB, DB
Anyone who watched the Steelers last year knows they need help on the second level. The signings of Mark Barron and Steven Nelson should help, but it's not enough -- especially over the middle. Devin Bush is our most commonly-mocked player here, but Byron Murphy, Greedy Williams, and DeAndre Baker pop up as well. Pittsburgh could also use some help for T.J. Watt on the edge, and another receiver to pair with JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington over the long-term. And there's always the Roethlisberger succession plan to worry about.
San Francisco 49ers
Needs: QB, RB, WR/TE, INTL DL, DB
San Francisco is basically just the definition of an average-ish team across the board right now, and our rankings reflect that. They have a chance to add elite talent with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, where we have them getting Nick Bosa in every mock right now. That would spike their edge rush ranking and would allow for Solomon Thomas to play along the interior more often, helping them there as well. The 49ers were expected to be a major suitor for Earl Thomas in free agency but that never came to fruition, so safety is a spot to look for as well. And they could still use to give Jimmy Garoppolo some more weapons alongside George Kittle. The Marquise Goodwin-Dante Pettis-Trent Taylor group isn't scaring anybody.
Needs: RB, WR/TE, OL
Let's just say these rankings might change a bit if they can't lock down Russell Wilson by his April 15 deadline and end up having to move on for some reason. Still, the Seahawks rank surprisingly well for a team that has seen so many talented players leave for various reasons over the past several years. Their biggest area of need is probably still at the offensive skill positions, where they do still have Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Chris Carson, and Rashaad Penny. That's not a bad position to be in. Our mocks are heavy on safeties (Nasir Adderley, Juan Thornhill) and edge rushers (Clelin Ferrell).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Needs: QB, RB, OL, EDGE, LB, DB
Pressing: RB, OL, EDGE, LB, DB
So, just a few needs here for the Bucs. Bruce Arians thinks he can fix Jameis Winston, and good luck with that. The Bucs do have Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate for him to throw to, but they have a porous offensive line and the worst running back group in the league. They don't have much on the edge beyond JPP, and they could lose Gerald McCoy between now and the draft. Their linebackers beyond Lavonte David are uninspiring and their secondary was the NFL's worst last year. There is so much smoke around Devin White to the Bucs at No. 5 that there almost has to be some fire, and that pick would make a ton of sense as they badly need a second-level playmaker who can work all over the field.
Needs: QB, RB, WR/TE, EDGE, INT DL, LB
The Titans are in a very similar spot as the Bucs, which makes sense because they took quarterbacks at No. 1 and 2 back-to-back in 2015 and neither has worked out as well as the respective teams have hoped. Tennessee has a better offensive infrastructure with their offensive line and running game, but the passing game options beyond Corey Davis, Adam Humphries, and a coming-back-from-injury Delanie Walker do not inspire fear in anyone. They signed Cameron Wake to beef up the edge rush unit for this season, but that's not a long-term solution, and they could still use help up the middle at every level of the defense as well. Their first-round pick could go in basically any direction, with Mike Vrabel and Jon Robinson's conception of the team's needs likely making the ultimate decision.
Needs: QB, RB, WR/TE, OL, EDGE, LB, DB
Pressing: QB, RB, WR/TE, EDGE, LB
Washington is another one of those teams that seemingly needs everything. The unfortunate injury to Alex Smith last year derailed any hope of this team being mildly competitive in the near future, and they're counting on Case Keenum under center this coming season. So, that position needs to be addressed. Adrian Peterson is the running back next year, but beyond that? Who knows. A pass-catching group led by Josh Doctson scares no one. The edge group needs a talent infusion. They lost second-level defensive talent in free agency after spending all the money in the world on Landon Collins. This is a bad team with a lot of needs, but who knows what Daniel Snyder will decide to do?
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