Every team wants to ace the 2019 NFL Draft, but looking around the league it’s clear there are some teams that need to make it happen more than others.
Whether it’s the last attempt of a regime before being fired, or whether we’re talking about a team that is on the cusp of a breakout, these teams must not flub this annual event.
The Jacksonville brass is convinced that Nick Foles is going to be the right man to get the franchise over the hump. That’s certainly debatable. But since that’s what the team believes, it has to now surround Foles with the talent he needs to thrive.
Jacksonville’s receiving corps is a hodgepodge of unrealized talent — there’s no No. 1 receiver on the team at this point. Additionally, the offensive line needs an upgrade, and some backup for Leonard Fournette would be advisable.
Dallas was extremely limited in free agency due to a lack of cap space. The ‘Boys did add Randall Cobb to fill the void left by Cole Beasley, but that’s really the only impact signing they were able to accomplish.
The big void that must be filled is on defense. Both David Irving and Randy Gregory are suspended indefinitely, and defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford (a captain last year) is currently being investigated for his role in a Florida bar fight.
The ‘Boys are a team that expects itself to compete for a championship. Accomplishing that goal requires draft picks that pay off, both in the short and long term.
San Francisco 49ers
It’s Year 3 of the Kyle Shanahan/John Lynch era in San Francisco. The first two years resulted in a grand total of 10 wins, though there were good reasons for the delay in success. Now that these two men have had a couple years to get the roster in place, spent some big money in free agency, and have Jimmy Garoppolo coming back healthy, it’s time to elevate those expectations.
The team owns the No. 2 overall pick as well. Whether the 49ers trade down or stand pat, it’s imperative that they draft well and bring in instant-impact players who can spark a playoff run in 2019.
It’s been a long, long time since the Bengals won a playoff game. They finally ditched Marvin Lewis and have rookie head coach Zac Taylor leading the charge. That’s a good thing.
The big problem is that the Bengals have deficiencies on both sides of the ball. Perhaps the greatest lies at the quarterback position. It’s time for this team to finally cast off Andy Dalton and make a bold move for a franchise passer. It just so happens, we have the perfect candidate in mind.
Jay Gruden appears to be coaching for his job this year, based on the latest rumors emanating from D.C. Will Bruce Allen and Co. do Gruden any favors? Based on history, the answer to that question is, probably not.
He needs a quarterback, among other things on offense. Also, his defense needs help at linebacker, and on the back end even after landing Landon Collins in free agency.
A new era has dawned in Baltimore now that Joe Flacco is in Denver and Lamar Jackson has taken over as the face of the franchise. It would be a shame if his first full year as a starter was marked by a huge setback.
The Ravens lost two outstanding pass rushers in Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith. Adding Earl Thomas to fill the void left by Eric Weddle was a huge move. Yet secondaries have a brutal time in today’s NFL without a pass rush.
The Texans went into the offseason with a dire need of help on the offensive line. Yet at the point of this writing, they have yet to make any significant signings in free agency to fill that need.
Remember, Deshaun Watson was sacked 62 times last year. Clearly, Houston is under some serious pressure to rectify that situation, because a broken franchise quarterback equals no franchise quarterback.
New York Giants
The moves Giants general manager Dave Gettleman have made this offseason have made us question whether he’s truly qualified for his job.
The defense is missing key pieces now that Collins and Olivier Vernon are gone, and the offense needs a complete overhaul. Needless to say, the moves the Giants make in the draft will reverberate for quit some time.
The Broncos appear to think that Joe Flacco is still in his prime and has what it takes to get them back to the big dance. You’ll never hear us say that, yet that’s where John Elway’s head is at.
With that in mind, it’s imperative that Elway do a better job in the draft than he has in recent years. Not counting quarterback (they need one of those, too), the Broncos need help on the back end of the defense, at receiver, and on the offensive line.
Really, the big deal for Arizona is what the team will do at No. 1 overall. The other selections matter nearly as much in the long term, but getting the quarterback situation sorted out will define the direction of the Cardinals for years to come.
Will they take Nick Bosa and stick with Josh Rosen? Will they try and trade Rosen, then draft Kyler Murray? This decision will have a huge impact not only on the franchise, but also the entire 2019 NFL Draft.