NFL teams that failed to address their needs in free agency now must turn to the draft.
The Houston Texans are going into the 2014 NFL draft with just Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum and T.J. Yates at quarterback. It would be a no-brainer to select a quarterback with the top overall pick most years, but this year’s class lacks a sure-thing signal-caller. The Texans might look to trade down or wait until the second round to address their biggest need.
Check out which teams have the biggest need at each position heading into the draft.
Team with biggest need: Houston Texans
If the Texans trade down to select a quarterback, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and Central Florida’s Blake Bortles are the top-rated players. If they wait until the second round, new head coach Bill O’Brien could target Fresno State’s Derek Carr or Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo.
Team with biggest need: Tennessee Titans
The Titans should look to select a running back in the second round after releasing Chris Johnson. They are left with just Jackie Battle and Shonn Greene as workhorse backs. Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde and Washington’s Bishop Sankey are the best fits in the second round.
Team with biggest need: Carolina Panthers
The Panthers released Steve Smith and lost Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn in free agency, and they signed Jason Avant, Jerricho Cotchery and Tiquan Underwood, which is a big drop-off. Unfortunately for the Panthers, most of the top players will be off the board when they pick at No. 28.
Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin, Indiana’s Cody Latimer, Fresno State’s Davante Adams, Penn State’s Allen Robinson and Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews all could be in play in the first or second round.
Team with biggest need: Atlanta Falcons
Tony Gonzalez finally has retired — for now. Too bad the Falcons failed to address their tight end need over the past several years, when he was threatening to leave the game. The Falcons should look to address this need in the second round with either Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins or Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro.
Team with biggest need: Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals’ offensive line has been brutal for years, and although they filled one void by signing Jared Veldheer in free agency, they still should look to select a few blockers in the draft. Tackles Ja’Wuan James and Morgan Moses and guards Xavier Su’a-Filo and Joel Bitonio should be available when the Cardinals pick 20th.
Team with biggest need: San Diego Chargers
The Chargers should have Melvin Ingram returning from injury, but they still need more help rushing the passer. Missouri’s Kony Ealy, Auburn’s Dee Ford and Boise State’s DeMarcus Lawrence are good fits for the Chargers’ 3-4 defense. San Diego likely will look to select the best defensive player available at No. 25, however.
Team with biggest need: Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys signed Henry Melton to replace Jason Thatcher, but that only fills one hole on their defensive line. The Cowboys need a bigger body to help shut down the run. If they’re looking to select a player in the first round, they could trade down to pick up Florida’s Dominique Easley.
Team with biggest need: Chicago Bears
The Bears need speed and youth at linebacker to help improve their defense. Alabama’s C.J. Mosley and Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier should be in play for Chicago at No. 14.
Team with biggest need: New York Jets
The Jets lost the free-agent cornerback carousel this offseason. They failed to re-sign Antonio Cromartie, leaving them with Dee Milliner and Kyle Wilson as starters. Plenty of cornerbacks will be available at No. 18, including Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard, but the Jets are rumored to want a wide receiver in the first round.
Team with biggest need: Detroit Lions
Unless the Lions are content to trot out James Ihedigbo at strong safety, they need help in the deep half of the secondary. The Lions are in prime position to take the best safety on the board — Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix — if they think he’s worthy of the 10th pick.