The NFL Draft is quickly approaching! The IDP department is breaking down each team, post-free agency and what they should look to address in the draft.
Draft Needs – CB, DE, & S
The Browns addressed defense twice in the 1st round last season with Myles Garrett and Jabrill Peppers. They need some help at corner after trading veteran Jason McCourty and replaced him with E.J. Gaines, Travis Carrie and Terrance Mitchell. I’m not impressed with any of these options NFL wise, but these were all decent IDP corners so far in their careers. The Browns could look to find a bookend to Garrett with one of their day two picks. They also traded for Damarious Randall and plan to use him at safety with Peppers, but I’m not sold on their secondary being set.
The Browns currently own two 1sts (1st and 4th overall), three 2nds (33rd, 35th, and 64th overall), a 4th (114th overall), a 5th (150th overall), two 6ths (175th and 188th overall).
The entire world assumes the Browns will take Sam Darnold or another QB with the 1st overall pick. Barring a shock, they could also go with an offensive weapon with the 4th pick. I would expect them to use that 4th pick on either Bradley Chubb or Minkah Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick has been sliding down the mock draft boards but could fill that cornerback/safety need that they have with one pick. He could play both in the NFL.
Draft Needs – LB, S, & DE
Terrell Suggs is nearing the end of his career, and Baltimore needs to look for his replacement as a pass rushing specialist. They have some players on the roster that could slide into his role. They need OLB depth as Matt Judon, Tyus Bowser, and Za’Darius Smith do not strike much fear into the hearts of offensive coordinators like T-Sizzle does. The Ravens have a good secondary tandem of Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson, but Weddle is 33-years old, and the Ravens don’t have much depth at the position. The defensive line is solid, but they have a few players possibly leaving after 2018. 3-4 defensive ends would be helpful on this defense to reload some talent up front.
The Ravens currently own a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th (16th, 52nd, 83rd, 118th, and 154th overall), two 6ths (190th and 215th overall), and a 7th (238th overall).
The Ravens narrowly missed the playoffs and could go a lot of different ways with their 1st pick. The offensive line is another need here, so defense may have to wait. If they choose defense, they could go with Marcus Davenport or Harold Landry to fill their need at the EDGE.
Draft Needs – LB, S, & CB
The Steelers are almost factory-like with their ways of using a player and moving on from them. They only have one defender over the age of thirty, rotational defensive lineman Tyson Alualu. So far this offseason they ave brought in some free agents to fill some of these positions, but they are not the long-term answers for the Steelers. Ryan Shazier’s neck and spine injuries could end his career, and the Steelers brought in Jon Bostic to take his place inside. They have outside rushers, but Bud Dupree has not exactly been the impact player they hoped he’d be. They did pick up his 5th-year option, so he will get another opportunity to prove he was worth the 1st round pick in 2015. The signing of Morgan Burnett was a major plus for this defense, but they should bring in an understudy.
The Steelers currently own a 1st, 2nd, 3rd (28th, 60th, and 92nd overall), two 5ths (148th and 165th overall), and two 7ths (220th and 246th).
The Steelers could look at a couple of Alabama defenders Rashaan Evans (LB) or Ronnie Harrison (S) in the 1st round or possibly safety Justin Reid. If they are looking for cornerback help Isaiah Oliver, Jaire Alexander, or Carlton Davis could be in play at the end of the 1st round. Whoever they pick, if it is a defender may not get playing time right away which could be good for their long-term value.
Draft Needs – CB, DE, DT, & LB
The Bengals need a lot of help. Their veterans are part of their solid core of defenders, but most of them are free agents next season. Out of last year’s starters only Vontaze Burfict, Dre Kirkpatrick, Nick Vigil, and their safeties are signed beyond 2018. Their safeties are both signed for the next three seasons, but they are not in an IDP friendly scheme. Their entire starting front line is due to hit free agency. With Carlos Dunlap (29), Geno Atkins (30), Michael Johnson (31), and free agent signee Chris Baker (30) they will also need an infusion of youth.
The Bengals currently own a 1st, 2nd (21st and 46th overall), two 3rds (77th and 100th overall), a 4th (112th overall), two 5ths (158th and 170th overall) and three 7ths (249th, 252nd, and 253rd overall).
They traded back to the 21st pick with the Bills and gained offensive tackle Cordy Glenn in the process. That trade allowed the Bengals to fill one of their offensive needs and they could look to their defense with their 1st rounder. The Bengals already tried to trade Burfict earlier in the off-season and will be without him for the first four games of the season, so they may look at linebacker in the draft.
Rashaan Evans would be a nice addition to the core of the defense and could potentially be the defensive leader going forward. They could also look at a DT that could bring some youth to rotate with the talented group they have up front like Maurice Hurst, Taven Bryan, or Harrison Phillips. If they chose to go on the with a CB, they could snipe someone away from Pittsburgh like Mike Hughes, Jaire Alexander, or Isaiah Oliver.