The NFL Draft is great for the fact that it affords every team the opportunity to address its biggest needs. Whether it’s finding a quarterback, drafting a dominant edge rusher or bolstering the secondary with a new cornerback, teams are bound to improve dramatically in the draft.
Because teams often get only seven or eight picks -- depending on trades and compensatory selections -- it’s impossible to address every problem, especially if you’re the Browns or Jets. All 32 teams come out of the draft with at least one hole on the roster that they’ll attempt to fill before the season starts, some bigger than others.
Arizona Cardinals: Cornerback
The Cardinals have a gaping hole at No. 2 cornerback after they passed on taking one in the draft. Patrick Peterson, as good as he is, simply can’t cover the entire field. The Cardinals need to add depth at cornerback if they want to shut down teams that are deep at receiver and don’t rely on just one main target – in other words, just about every team. The offensive line is also a major question mark.
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Atlanta Falcons: Right guard
The Falcons don’t have many holes, boasting a similar roster to the one that got them to the Super Bowl last season. However, just as it was in 2016, right guard is a concern. Hugh Thornton, Sean Harlow and Wes Schweitzer will battle it out in camp, but none of the three is a particularly great option.
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Baltimore Ravens: Wide receiver
The Ravens went heavy on defense in the draft, which was fine, but they needed to add an offensive playmaker. They don’t have the consistency of Steve Smith to rely on anymore, and Mike Wallace isn’t exactly a game-changer. If Breshad Perriman can finally stay healthy, this won’t be an issue, but that’s a big if.
Buffalo Bills: Wide receiver
The Bills did a good job addressing their biggest needs in the draft, but they still don’t have much depth at wide receiver. Sammy Watkins is injury-prone, and Zay Jones isn’t a proven commodity at the NFL level after doing most of his damage in college on screen passes and short throws. Beyond those two, the Bills don’t have much at wideout other than Andre Holmes – a decent No. 3 at best.
Carolina Panthers: Right tackle
Matt Kalil came over from the Vikings to play left tackle, but the Panthers aren’t exactly set on the right side. Daryl Williams and Michael Oher – assuming he’s cleared to play – figure to battle it out at right tackle, but that’ll be the team’s weak spot on the offensive line regardless of who wins the job.
Chicago Bears: Wide receiver
The Bears lost Alshon Jeffery in free agency, leaving them dangerously thin at wide receiver. They must be comfortable with the guys they have after passing on receivers throughout the draft, but they shouldn’t be. Kevin White can’t stay healthy, Eddie Royal isn’t particularly explosive, and Markus Wheaton is a No. 3 at best. Mike Glennon and Mitchell Trubisky aren’t going to have many options on the outside.
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Cincinnati Bengals: Offensive line
The Bengals saw both Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler leave in free agency this offseason, opening up gaping holes on the offensive line. Those are both concerns going forward, especially after the line struggled last season with Whitworth and Zeitler in the mix. It was bizarre to see the Bengals ignore both positions early in the draft.
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Cleveland Browns: Quarterback
The Browns passed on drafting a quarterback in the first round, opting to take DeShone Kizer in the second. He won’t solve their biggest issue in 2017 as the Browns are still without a true franchise quarterback. At least they have some competition for Cody Kessler and Brock Osweiler, but don’t expect the offense to be particularly great this season.
Dallas Cowboys: Right tackle
Dallas has one of the best rosters in the NFL, and while it could still use a dynamic pass rusher, right tackle is a bigger issue right now. With Doug Free retired, Chaz Green is expected to step in as the starter. Unfortunately, he can’t stay healthy and doesn’t appear to be at this point. In workouts this week, La’el Collins was at right tackle with Jonathan Cooper playing left guard. This is a development to watch going forward.
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Denver Broncos: Quarterback
Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian will once again battle it out for the starting quarterback job in training camp – a situation that could take a while to sort out. It’s highly unlikely either quarterback dominates in camp or the preseason, leaving Denver with a difficult decision to make. The Broncos need better play at the position this season if they hope to get back to the postseason.
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Detroit Lions: Running back
Surprisingly, the Lions opted not to take a single running back in the draft, leaving the position up to Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick and Zach Zenner – not exactly the most reliable group. Riddick is purely a third-down receiving back, and Zenner is more of a bruiser. Abdullah is the most versatile of the bunch, but he played only two games last season.
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Green Bay Packers: Inside linebacker
Blake Martinez and Jake Ryan are likely to be the starting inside linebackers in 2017, and that duo had its issues last season. The Packers could use a rangy playmaker in the middle of the defense, but they’ll rely on their edge rushers to take pressure off of Martinez and Ryan in the passing game, hoping to limit the amount of time quarterbacks have in the pocket.
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Houston Texans: Right tackle
The Texans waited until the fourth round to take a right tackle, selecting Julie’n Davenport. He’ll compete for playing time due to Derek Newton’s horrific knee injury last season, but he’s not exactly a polished product. This could be a trouble spot for the Texans in 2017 despite being strong at the other offensive line spots.
Indianapolis Colts: Right tackle
Zach Banner, a fourth-round pick, is a massive offensive lineman. Some believe he fits better at guard due to his slow feet and big build, but the Colts will likely try him at right tackle, giving Joe Haeg some competition. Either way, right tackle remains the Colts’ weakest position on offense, putting Andrew Luck in harm’s way. The Colts need to find a long-term option there.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Quarterback
The Jaguars are stacked on defense and have good playmakers on offense, but one issue remains: the quarterback position. Blake Bortles is a bottom-tier starter, and while he won’t have as much pressure on him thanks to Leonard Fournette, he’ll still be put in positions to win games, which he struggles to do. Jacksonville doesn’t have much of a fallback plan if he flops again this season.
Kansas City Chiefs: Cornerback
Marcus Peters is one of the best corners in the game today, but good luck finding a reliable starter on this roster to play opposite him. Phillip Gaines is inconsistent, and Steven Nelson is more of a nickel corner. We still don’t know if Terrance Mitchell is legit, either. Since Peters primarily plays on one side, teams are able to put their best receivers on the other side of the formation and attack Kansas City’s weaker corners.
Los Angeles Chargers: Safety
The Chargers struggled to replace Eric Weddle last season, but they attempted to fill that hole by re-signing Jahleel Addae and bringing in 31-year-old Dwight Lowery. Desmond King will compete for playing time, too, but LA still lacks playmakers at both spots. This could be an issue, especially if an injury occurs.
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Los Angeles Rams: Offensive line
The Rams once again went heavy on skill-position players for some reason, ignoring the offensive line – one of the worst units in the NFL last season. Greg Robinson isn’t guaranteed to succeed at right tackle, and shifting Rob Havenstein inside to guard is also a risky move. When it’s all said and done, the Rams’ right side of the line could be a complete mess. My condolences, Todd Gurley and Jared Goff.
Miami Dolphins: Guard
The Dolphins have had a revolving door at both guard spots for a few years, and it’ll likely continue this season. Isaac Asiata will compete on one side, likely left guard, but is anyone really that confident in Jermon Bushrod’s ability to start all 16 games at a high level? I guess the Dolphins are, but they should be concerned about middling play at guard this season.
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Minnesota Vikings: Offensive tackle
The Vikings’ offensive line was hit hard with injuries last season, dooming them at both tackle spots. They brought in Riley Reiff to play left tackle and Mike Remmers will start on the right side, but depth is a major concern. If either player goes down, T.J. Clemmings will be inserted into the lineup, and we all know how that went last season.
New England Patriots: Edge rusher
It’s hard to find a major concern on a team that upgraded after winning the Super Bowl, but edge rusher remains a weak spot on defense. Kony Ealy struggled mightily in Carolina last season, and Trey Flowers only came on late in the year. Rob Ninkovich will rotate in the mix, too, but the Patriots lack that dynamic guy in the mold of Chandler Jones.
New Orleans Saints: Defensive end
The Saints went into the draft openly saying that defensive end was a major hole that needed to be addressed. They didn’t spend a pick at that position until the third round with Trey Hendrickson, but Cameron Jordan is still the only reliable force on the edge. The Saints need to get pressure on the quarterback to protect their secondary, which isn’t great. That’ll be difficult with only one consistent player at defensive end.
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY SportsChuck Cook
New York Giants: Offensive tackle
Well, it looks like Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart will be the Giants’ starting tackles. Good luck, Eli Manning. He’s going to be put on his back frequently after the Giants ignored both tackle spots in the draft. Getting pressure on Manning shouldn’t be difficult for opposing teams, negating the upgraded talent New York has at wide receiver and tight end.
New York Jets: Quarterback
Take your pick: Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown, Bryce Petty. None of them is a particularly exciting option, but that’s what the Jets will probably go into training camp with at quarterback. Don’t be surprised to see New York picking first in next year’s draft – that’s how bad its offense is going to be this season.
Oakland Raiders: Middle linebacker
The Raiders are going to have issues at middle linebacker this season with Cory James figuring to be the Week 1 starter at that spot. Perry Riley Jr. is still available after hitting free agency, and he could return to Oakland, but regardless the Raiders aren’t particularly strong in the middle. Teams are going to attack them between the numbers and take advantage of the hole in their defense.
Philadelphia Eagles: Cornerback
Running on the Eagles won’t be easy, but throwing the ball shouldn’t be much of a challenge. Jalen Mills and Patrick Robinson are penciled in as the starting cornerbacks, with Dwayne Gratz and Rasul Douglas working their way into the mix. Sidney Jones may not be ready until October, and even then he probably won’t be 100 percent. The Eagles lack talent and depth at cornerback.
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Pittsburgh Steelers: Free safety
Good luck trying to find a major weakness on Pittsburgh’s roster. If there’s a minor one, though, it’s at free safety, where Mike Mitchell is getting older and less impactful. The Steelers lack a true center fielder who can make plays from sideline to sideline, which could hurt their rebuilt secondary.
San Francisco 49ers: Quarterback
The 49ers have a number of holes up and down the roster, but quarterback remains the biggest. Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley are mid-tier starters at best. The 49ers will need to establish a ground game with Carlos Hyde in order to have any success through the air.
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Seattle Seahawks: Offensive line
Luke Joeckel was terrible in Jacksonville, and he probably won’t be any better at left tackle for the Seahawks. Oday Aboushi and Ethan Pocic will battle it out at right tackle, but the latter is a former center attempting to move outside. Regardless, the Seahawks are weak across the offensive line aside from Justin Britt and hopefully Germain Ifedi, who struggled last season.
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Defensive end
Robert Ayers and William Gholston will attempt to hold off second-year end Noah Spence, who figures to have a larger role this season. All three will play significant snaps, but having three average pass rushers won’t solve the Bucs' issue of not being able to get after the quarterback. Tampa Bay needs more production from its defensive ends.
Tennessee Titans: Cornerback
The Titans signed Logan Ryan and drafted Adoree’ Jackson, but they’re still thin at cornerback – that’s how bad their secondary was in 2016. They lack depth in the secondary with Jackson limited to playing the slot, so nickel packages will be weak. It was strange to see the Titans release Jason McCourty considering how thin they are at the position.
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Washington Redskins: Outside linebacker
Ryan Kerrigan is really Washington’s only consistent pass rusher at outside linebacker despite the Redskins drafting Ryan Anderson in the second round. They’re not going to get much production out of that spot this season, which will be an issue against the pass.