Every team expected to pick in the 2014 NFL draft has a list of needs they will try to fill on their roster. So looking at each situation, what is the most glaring one for each franchise? Here is the AFC.
Baltimore Ravens – Wide Receiver
Joe Flacco was at his best when he had a big receiver opposite Torrey Smith who could make the tough catches like Anquan Boldin. The Baltimore Ravens don’t have anybody of that caliber in the wings, so they have to go out and get one.
Option based on current draft position: Mike Evans – Texas A&M
Buffalo Bills – Safety
There are several ways the Buffalo Bills can go considering how much stronger their roster has gotten but there are needs to fill. Safety could become the biggest. Two-time Pro Bowler Jairus Byrd is set to enter free agency and replacing him must be top priority given how well the Bills defense has played with him on the field.
Option based on current draft position: Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix – Alabama
Cincinnati Bengals – Cornerback
The secondary is still not completely settled. While a playmaking safety would be nice, Mike Zimmer would be better served getting some more help and depth at cornerback after the injury to Leon Hall. Adam Jones is also getting older too.
Option based on current draft position: Jason Verrett – TCU
Cleveland Browns – Quarterback/Guard
There is no getting around it. The Cleveland Browns will never challenge in the AFC North with scrubs at quarterback. A true difference maker is needed, not to mention some better guards on the offensive line to protect him. Having two first round picks should help both causes.
Option based on current draft position: Johnny Manziel – Texas A&M
Denver Broncos – Cornerback
Losing Ryan Clady was a big reason the Denver Broncos offensive line has suffered protecting Peyton Manning. On the other hand the long-term security at corner is a serious problem with age and free agency set to make their marks.
Option based on current draft position: Bradley Roby – Ohio State
Houston Texans – Quarterback
Everything fell apart for the Houston Texans when Matt Schaub fell apart. Their ground game can no longer carry the team, so if Gary Kubiak wants to save his Super Bowl window he must find a franchise-caliber passer in the 2014 NFL draft.
Option based on current draft position: Teddy Bridgewater – Louisville
Indianapolis Colts – Wide Receiver
Things really started to go south for the Indianapolis Colts offense after Reggie Wayne went down. Andrew Luck clearly needs another weapon to compliment T.Y. Hilton. Not picking until the second round will present a challenge though.
Option based on current draft position: Brandin Cooks – Oregon State
Jacksonville Jaguars – Quarterback
This position has been a problem for the Jacksonville Jaguars ever since David Garrard started getting hurt. Blaine Gabbert is a colossal bust and Chad Henne will never be a starter. Gus Bradley needs his own quarterback.
Option based on current draft position: Marcus Mariota – Oregon
Kansas City Chiefs – Wide Receiver
Dwayne Bowe hasn’t rediscovered the game breaking ability that made him look like the go-to receiver for the Kansas City Chiefs back in 2010. Andy Reid loves stockpiling weapons, especially ones with speed.
Option based on current draft position: Donte Moncrief – Ole Miss
Miami Dolphins – Offensive Line
All the problems for the Miami Dolphins start with their inability to protect Ryan Tannehill. Not only was the unit bad to begin with, but it’s take some hits thanks to the Richie Incognito scandal. They need help, anywhere and everywhere.
Option based on current draft position: Cyrus Kouandjio – Alabama
New England Patriots – Defensive Tackle
The old saying goes you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. The New England Patriots clearly took nose tackle Vince Wilfork for granted because their run defense hasn’t been the same since he went down. It’s time they sought a replacement.
Option based on current draft position: Ego Ferguson – LSU
New York Jets – Wide Receiver
Regardless of personal feelings, the New York Jets have to stick behind Geno Smith. He’s still a rookie and needs time to develop, not to mention better weapons to throw to given the sad state of what he has at present.
Option based on current draft position: Marqise Lee – USC
Oakland Raiders – Wide Receiver
All the needs for the Oakland Raiders seem to channel to the offensive side. The question is do they need a quarterback, wide receiver or pass protection the most? Matt McGloin seems like an interesting option at quarterback, so finding him better receivers could provide a clearer picture.
Option based on current draft position: Sammy Watkins – Clemson
Pittsburgh Steelers – Offensive Tackle
Injuries continue to ravage the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line. Ben Roethlisberger has navigated the problem well but the offensive as a whole has suffered because of it. They are in dire need of a stable blind side protector.
Option based on current draft position: Taylor Lewan – Michigan
San Diego Chargers – Outside Linebacker
Cornerback is also a major need for the San Diego Chargers but they can’t think about that area until they can control the line of scrimmage with a serious pass rush. Putting an outside linebacker with explosiveness on the edge would certainly help.
Option based on current draft position: Khalil Mack – Buffalo
Tennessee Titans – Defensive End
Safety is also another need for the Tennessee Titans but the 2014 NFL draft class is somewhat light in that area. They are much better off bolstering their pass rush with some explosive off the edge to put heat on what will soon be a division stacked with talented, young quarterbacks.
Option based on current draft position: Vic Beasley – Clemson