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2018 NFL Team Report

NFL Team Report 2018 – 

     By Frank Coyle & Scouting Staff of Draft Insiders’ Digest – 27th Season

             Copyrighted – All Rights Reserved

   “The Best way to predict your future is to create it.”              – Abraham Lincoln

Team Index

NFC
East
Dallas Cowboys –
New York Giants –
Philadelphia Eagles –
Washington Redskins –

North
Chicago Bears –
Detroit Lions-
Green Bay Packers-
Minnesota Vikings –

South
Atlanta Falcons –
Carolina Panthers –
New Orleans Saints –
Tampa Bay Buccaneers –

West
Arizona Cardinals –
Los Angeles Rams –
San Francisco 49ers –
Seattle Seahawks-

AFC
East
Buffalo Bills –
Miami Dolphins –
New England Patriots –
New York Jets –

North
Baltimore Ravens –
Cincinnati Bengals –
Cleveland Browns –
Pittsburgh Steelers –

South
Houston Texans –
Indianapolis Colts –
Jacksonville Jaguars –
Tennessee Titans-

West
Denver Broncos –
Kansas City Chiefs –
Oakland Raiders –
San Diego Chargers –

NFL Team Report 2018

Here is a complete NFL Team Report prior to the Draft 2018 with up to date info including key last minute FA signings. The NFL Free Agency 2018 period this offseason has seen a very active player movement with another increased salary cap that allotted clubs an additional $10 million dollars to bring the existing cap to $177.2 million per team. There were a record number of players in the open market this year with some of the biggest names in the league changing teams. There has also been a record number of one-year contracts signed with clubs playing it cautious related to long-term contracts and huge signing bonuses that limit player movement. The NFL offseason saw more trades before the NFL Draft 2018 than any year in recent memory. Expect more deals in the early rounds with clubs looking to address their major needs that were not resolved during the Free Agency period.

During the three-day NFL Draft event, many trades will occur on the clock with player availability vital to any deal. We will have a special section in Draft Insiders’ Update Online Report related to trades just days prior of the NFL Draft 2018. We will also have special emails exclusive for full subscribers of ongoing and late breaking information related to any NFL Draft news or trades with an expected high number of transactions over the three-day event. Signup for our Twitter account that will be active over the two weeks leading up and especially during the NFL Draft 2018.

NFL Team Standings – 2017 Regular Season

American Football Conference
AFC East Team                  W/L         Pct       PF/PA          Home/ Road     Div        Conf     Non-Conf
New England  Patriots        13-3         .813      458/296        6-2-0     7-1-0     5-1-0     10-2        3-1
Buffalo Bills                           9-7        .563      302/359       6-2-0      3-5-0    3-3-0     7-5         2-2
Miami Dolphins                   6-10        .375      281/393        4-4-0      2-6-0    2-4-0     5-7         1-3
New York Jets                    5-11          .313      298/382        4-4-0      1-7-0    2-4-0     5-7         0-4

AFC North Team
Pittsburgh Steelers              13-3          .813        406/308         6-2-0     7-1-0     6-0-0      10-2     3-1
Baltimore Ravens                  9-7          .563         395/303         5-3-0     4-4-0     3-3-0       7-5       2-2
Cincinnati Bengals                7-9          .438         290/349        4-4-0      3-5-0     3-3-0       6-6      1-3
Cleveland Browns               0-16          .000        234/410         0-8-0      0-8-0     0-6-0      0-12    0-4

AFC South Team
Jacksonville Jaguars          10-6          .625        417/268           6-2-0     4-4-0     4-2-0       9-3      1-3
Tennessee Titans                  9-7          .563        334/356           6-2-0     3-5-0     5-1-0        8-4     1-3
Indianapolis Colts               4-12         .250        263/404          3-5-0     1-7-0      2-4-0       3-9      1-3
Houston Texans                  4-12         .250        338/436           3-5-0     1-7-0      1-5-0       3-9      1-3

AFC West Team
Kansas City Chiefs              10-6 0     .625        415/339             6-2-0     4-4-0      5-1-0      8-4     2-2
Los Angeles Chargers           9 -7       .563        355/272             5-3-0      4-4-0     3-3-0      6-6     3-1
Oakland Raiders                   6-10       .375        301/373             4-4-0      2-6-0     2-4-0     5-7      1-3
Denver Broncos                    5-11        .313         289/382           4-4-0      1-7-0      2-4-0      4-8     1-3

National Football Conference – 2017 Regular Season

NFC East Team                W /L/T     Pct      PF/ PA             Home    Road    Div      Conf     Non-Conf
Philadelphia Eagles            13-3       .813      457/295            7-1-0        6-2-0     5-1-0     10-2     3-1-0
Dallas Cowboys                    9-7        .563      354/332             3-5-0      6-2-0     5-1-0     7-5       2-2-0
Washington Redskins         7-9         .438     342/388             5-3-0      2-6-0     1-5-0     5-7       2-2-0
New York Giants                 3-13        .188      246/388             2-6-0     1-7-0     1-5-0      1-11      2-2-0

NFC North Team         
Minnesota Vikings             13-3       .813       382/252             7-1-0      6-2-0     5-1-0     10-2     3-1
Detroit Lions                        9-7       .563       410/376             4-4-0      5-3-0     5-1-0     8-4       1-3
Green Bay Packers              7-9       .438        320/384             4-4-0      3-5-0     2-4-0     5-7      2-2
Chicago Bears                     5-11       .313         264/320             3-5-0      2-6-0     0-6-0     1-11     4-0

NFC South Team     
New Orleans Saints          11-5    .688          448/326             7-1-0      4-4-0      4-2-0     8-4       3-1
Carolina Panthers            11-5   .688            363/327             6-2-0      5-3-0     3-3-0     7-5       4-0
Atlanta Falcons                 10-6    .625           353/315             5-3-0      5-3-0      4-2-0     9-3       1-3
Tampa Bay Bucs               5-11    .313            335/382             4-4-0      1-7-0      1-5-0     3-9       2-2

NFC West Team 
Los Angeles Rams           11-5    .688           478/329             4-4-0      7-1-0      4-2-0       7-5       4-0
Seattle Seahawks             9-7     .563           366/332             4-4-0      5-3-0     4-2-0       7-5       2-2
Arizona Cardinals            8-8     .500          295/361              5-3-0      3-5-0      3-3-0      5-7       3-1
San Francisco 49ers       6-10    .375           331/383              3-5-0      3-5-0      1-5-0      3-9       3-1

NFL Team Report by Division 

NFC East

 Dallas Cowboys 9-7 – Head Coach – Jason Garrett – 8th Year

Key Team Needs: 1. WR       2. LB       3. DL       4. TE      5. S
     1st Round Pick – 19th selection – 10 total picks

 1 Wide Receiver – The Boys’ hope to address their receiving corps with a top three selection. They released veteran star Dez Bryant after an average 2017 performance. Young vet Terrance Williams is an adequate #2 wideout while slot receiver Cole Beasley shows some playmaking ability. Their talent depth is weak and this area must be addressed early. They did sign FA Allen Hurns. They probably address in the mid first round and like prospects Calvin Ridley and Courtland Sutton. Ridley will most likely be gone. They also like D.J. Moore with the 19th overall selection. They also like James Washington and Anthony Miller in the 2nd round.
2. Linebacker – The Cowboys have major problems here with linchpin Sean Lee going down with an injury once again. He has played in only 57 of a possible 96 regular season games the past six seasons. Second year backer Jaylon Smith hit the field and flashed some playmaking ability, but is still a work in progress related to realizing his potential. OLB Anthony Hitchens left in free agency. They could address this area early and like LBs Rashaan Evans and Leighton Vander Esch in the first round. On the 2nd round, they like Uchenna Nwosu while on the 3rd round, they have Malik Jefferson on their short list. Expect them to address this unit twice over the three days
3 Defensive Tackle – The Cowboys resigned DT David Irving who was impressive during an 8 game stretch with 7 sacks. Veteran DT Maliek Collins has performed well, though needs interior help. They like B.J. Hill and Maurice Hurst in the mid-2nd round. Both are talented penetrators for a pressing need area. They also like tackle R.J. McIntosh on the 3rd round. They have little line depth which must be addressed and will probably select multiple picks in a deep group. Expect the Boys to explore trading up for the right lineman.
4 Tight End – The Cowboys still rely on 36-year-old future HOF veteran Jason Witten who enters his 16th season. He is still very effective, but not providing the impact of prior years. They are expected to draft into this solid tight end class, though probably not until the middle rounds. They like Dallas Goedert, Mark Andrews and Mike Gesicki and they would be good fits in the early rounds. They like Chris Herndon and Durham Smythe earmarked for the early 3rd day
5 Safety – The Cowboys had major problems in the secondary last season with four rookies playing in multiple packages. They could address both the safety and corner spots in the middle rounds. Starting safety Byron Jones is a talented defender with playmaking ability. They like safeties Justin Reid and Jessie Bates on the 2nd day. They also like Kyzir White and Marcus Allen and will consider them in the 3rd day if available.

  Cowboys – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects
Calvin Ridley              WR                   Alabama
Rashaan Evans           LB                    Alabama
D.J. Moore                  WR                   Maryland
Courtland Sutton         WR                   SMU

2nd Day Prospects 
  2nd Round
Uchenna Nwosu         LB                    USC
James Washington     WR                   Oklahoma St
Dallas Goedert           TE                    South Dakota St
Maurice Hurst            DT                    Michigan

3rd Round
Anthony Miller             WR                   Memphis
B.J. Hill                        DT                    N.C. St
Mark Andrews             TE                    Oklahoma
Malik Jefferson            LB                    Texas

Insiders’ Insights

The Cowboys regressed to 9-7 and missed the playoffs after winning the NFC East in 2016. Ezekiel Elliott missed six games due to a suspension that hurt the offense and young Dak Prescott in particular. Prescott struggled to direct an offense that lacked a big playmaker. Their rookie draft class was slow to contribute but has the makings to help their defense in 2018. The release of Dez Bryant makes receiver a huge need area.  They have Ridley, Moore and Sutton ranked in that order for the 19th spot. They have focused primarily on defense in recent drafts and this class should focus on offense especially in the early rounds. They hope to address their thin linebacker unit and could use a prime selection here. Look for a top 100 selection here. They could address the safety spot fairly early and maybe by the middle rounds. They still need front four defenders, especially interior linemen with both Hill and Hurst on their 2nd day list. They have marginal talent behind Jason Witten at tight end and will look to add one quality prospect there. Offense scoring power is their highest priority. They could select multiple skill position prospects and like TEs Goedert, Gesicki and Andrews in the 2nd day. They are interested in a starting linebacker in the top 100 and like Rashaan Evans in the 1st and Malik Jefferson in the 3rd rounds. With 10 overall selections, the Cowboys have the leverage to move up in the early rounds.

1st Round Pick – WR D.J. Moore Playmaker would give this attack a nice boast.
Alternate Pick – WR Courtland Sutton Huge receiver would provide Prescott a fine target.

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New York Giants – 3-13 – Head Coach – Pat Shurmur – 1st Year

  Key Team Needs:  1. RB      2. OL     3. QB       4. LB      5.  CB
       1st Round Pick – 2nd overall selection – 6 total picks 

1 Running Back – The Giants will consider premier playmaker Saquon Barkley in the first round and like him very much. He is a complete back at a high level of development and could provide instant impact to a struggling offense. He is a locker room presence and a franchise player to be a huge difference maker. They could possibly trade back a few selections and still land the blue-chip runner. He is a great locker room presence. They like Sony Michel and Rashaad Penny and may use their 2nd round pick to land either of them. They also like Nick Chubb and Nyheim Hines in the 3rd round. They hope to add a high-quality prospect in this very deep draft group. Giant starting back Orleans Darkwa is up for FA. They signed vet Jonathan Stewart. Former starter Paul Perkins has been injured and disappointing while last year’s rookie Wayne Gallman was ordinary in limited playing time.
2. Offensive Linemen – The front line continues to struggle with little impact over the past five plus draft classes. They signed LT Nate Solder in free agency and it was an excellent addition despite the high cost. He is a top 10 left tackle. That addition moves Ereck Flowers to right tackle after they had problems at both tackle spots again in 2017. They lost guards Justin Pugh and D.J. Fluker and center Wes Richburg in FA which leaves the interior thin. They did sign guard Patrick Omameh who looks to fill the left side spot. Only marginal depth overall and they could address the tackle spot early in a very average group. They could address this unit with a high selection and like LT Kolton Miller, Brian O’Neil and Tyrell Crosby in the 2nd round very much. They also like centers Billy Price and Frank Ragnow in the mid-2nd day. Expect a quality addition here and possibly two additions to an ongoing problem area.
3 Quarterback – The Giants will go with veteran Eli Manning this season after a roller coaster 2017 that saw his consecutive game streak end for one week. Manning received little support behind a weak line and poor ground game. They have talented young QB Davis Webb behind Eli and he has NFL starting talent, though did not play as a rookie last season. He could be the future starter here and possesses a good arm and the intangibles to succeed on a big stage. They like QB Sam Darnold and will sit at the #2 overall spot to see who the Browns select with the #1 pick. Darnold is a franchise leader and probably the only player new GM Dave Gettleman would select over Barkley. Gettleman will entertain moving back in the top 4-8 for more premium selections and like Josh Allen who is one of the best QBs overall athletically in this class.
4. Linebacker – The Giants LB unit will undergo many changes prior to the 2018 season with a new system installed with an emphasis on the 3-4 scheme. They traded for young vet Alec Ogletree for #4 and #6 picks. He was an excellent addition. They look for veteran Olivier Vernon to play up on the outside. They look for young backer BJ Goodson to return to a starting role after flashing impact talent early in 2017 before an ankle injury put him on the sidelines. They lost Devon Kennard in FA. They lacked playmakers and speed on this unit in recent years and will look to add a quality prospect especially an edge rusher. They love rising Lorenzo Carter in the early 2nd round and he’s a great fit here. They also like attack backers, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Uchenna Nwosu in the early 3rd round. Expect possibly two prospects here, though they currently have only five over all selections.
5. Cornerback – The Giants will most likely address this area in the middle rounds after three suspensions on this unit last year. Veteran starter Janoris Jenkins returns and is primed for a big season. Giants released DRC for salary cap purposes. Young Eli Apple needs to prove worthy of the 10th overall selection of the 2016 NFL Draft. They need a quality nickel corner after some ongoing issues there. They could make this position a high priority if a top prospect is on the board in the 2nd or 3rd rounds. They will consider Carlton Davis, Isaiah Oliver and Josh Jackson in the 2nd round. They also like Anthony Averett and Duke Dawson in the 3rd round. Expect a quality addition here.

 Giants – Short List Players
   1st Round Prospects
Saquon Barkley           RB        Penn St
Sam Darnold               QB       Southern Cal

2nd Day Prospects 
   2nd Round
Kolton Miller               OT        UCLA
Lorenzo Carter            LB        Georgia
D.J. Moore                  WR       Maryland
Billy Price                    C          Ohio St
Frank Ragnow             C          Arkansas
Sam Hubbard              DE       Ohio St

   3rd Round (#66 & 69)
Austin Corbett             OL        Nevada
Da’Shawn Hand          DE       Alabama
Jessie Bates                S          Wake Forest
Anthony Averett           CB        Alabama
Nyheim Hines              RB        North Carolina St

Insiders’ Insights

The Giants cleaned house after a horrible 2017 performance. HC Ben McAdoo and GM Jerry Reese were both fired. Reese had six weak draft classes and was terminated four years too late. They have made the playoffs only once in the last six years and their roster shows little depth throughout. They hold five early selections here with two #3 picks giving them four in the top 69 choices. They hold the #2 overall pick that probably will define this team for the next decade. New GM Dave Gettleman is a savvy personnel veteran and has made a few smart calculated moves this postseason. They have some components of a good defense as they move to a 3-4 scheme. Safety Landon Collins emerged as one of the premier defenders in the league and returns from a broken arm. They need safety Darian Thompson to step up and give this secondary a sound centerfielder. They should address their back seven on defense and probably with two top 100 selections. They hope to land OT Kolton Miller in the early 2nd round. LB Lorenzo Carter could be a difference maker here. They hope to add a quality corner in the 2nd day. Giants have several OL on their top 100 list with interior lineman Price, Ragnow and Corbett among prospects for the 3rd round. They may decide to add a wide receiver like Christian Kirk and DJ Moore in 2nd and Equanimeous St. Brown in the 3rd rounds after the release of veteran Brandon Marshall. The kicking game is weak and could be addressed in the late rounds and open market. They did add vet punter Riley Dixon, a strong kicker for a late pick next spring. It was another fine addition.

    1st Round – RB Saquon Barkley – Great fit here and the GMen’s ticket back to the playoffs.
   Alternate Pick – QB Sam Darnold Franchise leader to be a difference maker and one of the best in the game.

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Philadelphia Eagles – 16-3 – Head Coach – Doug Pederson – 3rd Year

  Key Team Needs:  1. WR       2. LT     3. RB      4. S     5. DL
        1st Round Pick – 32nd selection – 6 total picks
 1 Wide Receiver – The Eagles resigned veteran Alshon Jeffery in December and he responded with a strong performance. They traded vet Torrey Smith. They hope young Nelson Agholor continues to improve. They could entertain a receiver early and have wideouts DJ Moore and Christian Kirk on their first round list. They could surprise and trade out of this spot for extra top 100 selections.
 2 Offensive Lineman – The Eagles offensive line performed fairly well last season, though 36-year-old LT Jason Peters was once again injured and enters his 16th season. They like tackle Kolton Miller in the 1st round. They could add a guard later in the process with Wyatt Teller, Will Clapp and Scott Quessenberry coveted on the early 3rd day.
 3 Running back – The Eagles’ ground game was ranked #3 in the league last season, an impressive improvement. They did lose workhorse back LaGarrette Blount in FA. They look to vet Jay Ajayi, Cory Clement and Donnel Pumphrey this year. They will consider Sony Michel in the 2nd round. In this deep group, they could address later with Mark Walton and Bo Scarbrough likely available in the middle rounds. They will consider short yardage back here and like Kalen Ballage and Darrel Williams in the 3rd day.
 4 Safety – The Eagles have little depth here and could entertain a prospect in the middle rounds with special teams value. They like safeties Marcus Allen, Tarvarius Moore and Joshua Kalu in the 3rd day. They have little depth behind quality veterans Jenkins and McLeod. They also like versatile Siran Neal especially for their package defenses.
Defensive Line – The Eagles released vet Vinny Curry in a salary cap move. They did trade for Michael Bennett who gives them a flexible lineman for their front. He is a good addition on a line with Pro Bowler Fletcher Cox. They have little depth behind starters. Signed vet DT Haloti Ngata who can still be an interior force. They used their top pick on edge rusher Derek Barnett who impressed late to earn a starting end spot. They like Sam Hubbard in the first round, though a luxury here after Barnett last year and the addition of Bennett and Ngata. They like Dorance Armstrong and Jeff Holland the 3rd day and feel they are good fits for their scheme.

Eagles – Short List Players
   1st Round Prospects
D.J. Moore                 WR                   Maryland
Christian Kirk              WR                   Texas A&M
Kolton Miller               OT                    UCLA

 2nd Day Prospects – No draft choices
  2nd Round
  3rd Round

Insiders’ Insights 

The Eagles won the Super Bowl for the first time behind backup QB Nick Foles who had a strong postseason. Young QB Carson Wentz recovers from a knee injury after having an MVP type season until his injury. He may not return till midseason which keeps Foles in Philly until he possibly returns for the season. They relied on a strong ground game that helped the passing game. Their recent draft classes have been very good with Wentz a franchise player. They need more production from the skill positions and look to signed veteran Jeffery to continue to give them a legitimate #1 receiver. WR Agholor had a breakout year in the slot and provided big plays. They traded Torrey Smith for corner Daryl Worley. They could use their #1 pick on a receiver with DJ Moore or Christian Kirk possibly available at the 32nd position. They hope to draft into the deep running back class and maybe in the early 3rd day. They have clear needs on defense in the secondary and could look to add both a safety and corner. They hope to draft into the deep defensive back and line classes and may use their top pick on those positions. Expect them to double dip on either the offensive and defensive lines. They will consider edge rushers thru the middle rounds. Look for possibly additional trades for veteran corners as bait. They have age issues on the outside of the offensive line, they could address that unit with the 32nd pick. They like OT Kolton Miller very much and see him coupling with Lane Johnson.

1st Round Pick – D.J. Moore – Playmaker fits in here well and can provide a fine compliment opposite Jeffery.
Alternate Pick – Kolton Miller –  Young tackle with a huge upside can start on right side early before moving to left side.

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Washington Redskins – 7-9 – Head Coach – Jay Gruden – 5th Year

Key Team Needs:  1. CB         2. RB        3. S       4. OL       5.  WR
        1st Round Pick – 13th selection – 8 total picks

1 Cornerback – The Skins had some pressing needs in the secondary at both cornerback and safety. They traded corner Kendall Fuller as part of the Alex Smith deal. They signed vet Orlando Scandrick. With their 1st round selection, they like Ward and Alexander with the 13th overall selection. They like corners Isaiah Oliver and Donte Jackson with their 2nd round pick. They like Isaac Yiadom and M.J. Stewart very much and have them high on their 3rd day Iist.
2 Running Back – They are considering Derrius Guice possibly at the 13th overall selection. He is a complete three down back. They will entertain Sony Michel with the 44th overall pick and have him earmarked at that spot. They also like Nyheim Hines on the 2nd day and see him as a versatile weapon for both down and slot receiver. This position has become a high priority after a poor ground game last season. They will entertain several prospects on the 3rd day and like Mark Walton if available
3 Safety – The Skins have pressing issues here after trading disappointing Su’a Cravens to the Broncos for a swap of 4th and 5th round picks. They love Derwin James with the 13th pick, though he is most likely gone by that selection. They like safeties Justin Reid and Ronnie Harrison in the 2nd and Terrell Edmunds and Marcus Allen in the 4th rounds. They could address the corner position first with most likely a high selection at both positions.
4 Offensive Line – The Skins’ line sustained a few injuries last season. They lost center Spencer Long in FA, but were impressed with rookie Chase Roullier last season. They like OT Mike McGlinchey for right tackle, though they still feel Morgan Moses is more than adequate. Center/guard may warrant a selection on the 2nd round if Billy Price or James Daniels are available.
5 Wide Receiver – Though wide receiver is not the Skins’ highest priority, they will most likely have a chance at a quality addition in the early rounds. They parted ways with Terrelle Pryor who was disappointing. They signed speedy Paul Richardson and resigned vet Brian Quick. They could surprise and select speedster Calvin Ridley in the first round. He would provide impact in three wide sets with starters Josh Doctson and slot Jamison Crowder. They will probably address this unit by the middle rounds. They like developed receivers Allen Lazard and Simmie Cobbs on the early 3rd day

Redskins – Short List Players
   1st Round Prospects
Denzel Ward               CB                    Ohio St
Derwin James             S                      Florida St
Derrius Guice              RB                    LSU
Jaire Alexander           CB                    Louisville

2nd Day Prospects 
   2nd Round
Sony Michel               RB                    Georgia
Billy Price                  C                      Ohio St
Isaiah Oliver              CB                    Colorado
Justin Reid                 S                      Stanford

3rd Round Selection – No pick

Insiders’ Insights 

The Redskins slipped back in the competitive NFC East with a mediocre 7-9 record. They have 8 overall selections this year and need a strong class to return to the postseason contention. The addition of veteran QB Alex Smith was a fine trade with the loss of Kirk Cousins in free agency. Smith is coming off a career year and a very good fit here. They have pressing needs throughout their defense and skill positions. HC Gruden will look to help Smith with a quality feature back a high priority. RB Guice will get strong consideration at #13 while Michel is head on their short list in round two. The addition of another WR to join vets Doctson and Crowder could be a difference maker. They like Ridley in the first round. They have to improve their secondary if they want to compete for a playoff spot and both the corner and safety spots are a must. They will probably draft into the deep corner and safety classes with possibly two top 110 selections there. They hope to land one quality offensive lineman and like center/guard Billy Price in the 2nd round. With extra later picks they hope to move up in the top 100 selections. This is a pivotal class for the current regime to return to a playoff level.

1st Round Pick – Safety Derwin James –  Emerging playmaker has come on strong and figures in early 1st round.
Alternate Pick – RB Derrius Guice Talented versatile back can provide impact for Alex Smith in this new offense.

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NFC North
       Chicago Bears – 5-11- Head Coach – Matt Nagy – 1st Year

Key Team Needs:  1. CB      2. OT     3. LB      4. WR      5. DL
        1st Round Pick – 8th selection – 7 total picks

1 Cornerback – The Bears matched the Packers offer for veteran corner Kyle Fuller. They have not addressed this position with a top 100 selection since Fuller was a 1st round pick in 2014. They may have their pick of any DB in this class including corner Denzel Ward or versatile Minkah Fitzpatrick. Either would be a huge boost to a secondary that ranked last in the NFL in pass defense. They have pressing corner needs despite Fuller and re-signing Prince Amukamura. They like corners Carlton Davis, Donte Jackson, Anthony Averett and Duke Dawson on the 2nd day very much and most would be plug and play package defenders. They also like Davontae Harris and Isaac Yiadom in the early 3rd round and both should be available.
2 Offensive Tackle – Bears have needs here especially on the left side. They should have their choice of any tackle in this average class. They like Mike McGlinchey, though feel they can land him later in the first round. They also like Kolton Miller and Brian O’Neill in the early 2nd round. They will probably address this position with one of their top 2 picks. They also declined the option on guard Josh Sitton’s contract. They could address this unit early with a top 40 pick and like guards Isaiah Wynn and Will Hernandez in the early 2nd round. Blue chip guard Quenton Nelson may be too good to pass if available at the #8 overall selection.
3 Linebacker The Bears have pressing issues here after parting ways with veterans Young, Freeman and McPhee. Veteran Leonard Floyd looks for a breakout season if he can stay healthy. They love edge rusher Lorenzo Carter, though most likely off the board at the 39th selection. They will consider Tremaine Edmunds at the 8th overall pick and he has a huge upside in this defense. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo figures in the 2nd round and would be a good fit here. They like defenders Josh Sweat, and Marques Haynes in the early middle rounds.
4 Wide Receiver – The Bears signed veteran Allen Robinson in FA. He gives them a solid go to receiver. Former top pick Kevin White continues to struggle to stay on the field and has played in only five games his first three years. They look for his return to 100% in mini-camp in his pivotal season here. They need to add a quality prospect and like Calvin Ridley and have explored moving back to the middle of first round to acquire more top 100 choices. They like Anthony Miller and Deon Cain in the 2nd round.
5 Defensive Lineman – The Bears would not pass on versatile Bradley Chubb for their 3-4 front off the edge. They want to add a prospect here with five technique potential and like Sam Hubbard in the early 2nd round and he would be a fine addition for their front. They like Da’Shawn Hand in the 3rd and Breeland Speaks very much in the 4th round. They have little depth at the nose position and like Tim Settle in the 2nd and Derrick Nandi in the middle rounds.

Bears – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects
Minkah Fitzpatrick                  S                      Alabama
Quenton Nelson                     OG                   Notre Dame
Denzel Ward                          CB                    Ohio St.

2nd Day Prospects 
   2nd Round
Lorenzo Carter              OLB                 Georgia
Carlton Davis               CB                    Auburn
Will Hernandez            OG                   Texas-El Paso
Harrison Phillips           DE                   Stanford
Tim Settle                    NT                    Virginia Tech

3rd Round – No pick

Insiders’ Insights 

The Bears finished their fourth consecutive sub .500 season and made wholesale changes this postseason. New HC Matt Nagy will guide young QB Mitchell Trubisky with a developing group of receivers. He looks to second year TE Adam Shaheen to breakout after flashing big time ability periodically. The offensive line will most likely be addressed early in his class and could add both a tackle and guard. Their rebuilt defense looks to former top pick LB Leonard Floyd to play up to his rookie performance. They still have pressing issues in the secondary and at linebacker. They look to developed playmakers at safety and corner with Fitzpatrick and Ward getting strong consideration with the 8th overall pick. They also like CBs Davis and Oliver in the 2nd round. They hope former top pick WR Kevin White becomes the impact weapon expected, though need to develop another #1 receiver. He will work with new coach Nagy opposite FA addition Robinson. Though most early high picks will focus on defensive players this year, they hope to improve their skill positions and offensive line. They hope to address their front seven through the early rounds and like LBers Carter and Okoronkwo. Their secondary should be among their highest priorities and expect both a corner and safety early in the process.

1st Round Pick – CB Denzel Ward – Impact cover man provides impact as a nickel package.
Alternate Pick – OG Quenton Nelson – Plug and play left guard with huge upside going forward.

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Detroit Lions – 9-7 – Head Coach – Matt Patricia – 1st Year

 Key Team Needs:  1. RB      2. TE     3. LB      4. DE     5. S   
       1st Round Pick – 20th selection – 7 total picks

1 Running Back – The Lions have needs here after with their ground game finished last in the league. They signed vet LaGarrette Blount in a one-year deal. They hope to land Derrius Guice in the 1st, Sony Michel in the 2nd or Rashaad Perry in the 3rd rounds. They need to add a quality feature back with starter Abdullah injury prone and only marginal production. Nick Chubb, Mark Walton and Josh Adams are on their 3rd round list.
2 Tight End – The Lions released former #1 pick Eric Ebron who never developed for the Lions despite working with Matt Stafford. They signed veterans Luke Willson and Levine Toilolo in free agency. They hope to draft into a good class on the 2nd day with Mike Gesicki and Hayden Hurst high on their list. They like Durham Smythe and Troy Fumagalli in the middle rounds.
3 Linebacker – The Lions hit a home run with #1 pick Jarrad Davis for the Mike spot. They signed FA Devon Kennard, a good underrated Sam backer. They will entertain a prospect in the early rounds and like Rashaan Evans with the 20th selection. They also like Jerome Baker, Darius Leonard, Shaquem Griffin and Fred Warner in the mid 3rd round.
4 Defensive End – Lions will look to address their front four on the outside. They have not addressed DE in recent drafts and hope to select into this average group of edge rushers. They need to improve their run defense and a two way player is imperative on the outside opposite Ziggy Ansah. They hope to land a base end and like Sam Hubbard in the first round, though he will most likely available later in the round. They like Rasheem Green and Duke Ejiofor on the 2nd day.
5 Defensive Backs – The Lions made marginal improvement in their pass defense, though clubs ran on them due to poor run defense. Veteran corner Darius Slay had another strong season and was a key performer. They look to #2 pick Teez Tabor who came on late in his rookie season. They will consider safeties Justin Reid, Terrell Edmunds and Jessie Bates if available on the 2nd day. Both are complete defenders with a high level of play to start as rookies. They like corners Jaire Alexander and Mike Hughes in the 1st round and both have starting talent. Their secondary has been subpar for a decade and still needs to add a few quality defenders. With their 2nd-3rd round selections, they like corners, Tarvarius McFadden, Anthony Averett and Donte Jackson. They will probably address the secondary at least twice with their 7 overall picks, though probably in the middle round area.

Lions – Short List Players
   1st Round Prospects
Derrius Guice              RB                    LSU
Rashaan Evans           LB                    Alabama
Sam Hubbard              DE                   Ohio St

2nd Day Prospects 
   2nd Round
Sony Michel               RB                    Georgia
Frank Ragnow            C                      Arkansas
Mike Gesicki               TE        Penn St
Rasheem Green         DL                    Southern Cal

 3rd Round – 2 picks (#71 & #99)
Anthony Averett           CB                    Alabama
Nick Chubb                 RB                    Georgia
Darius Leonard            LB                    South Carolina St
Duke Ejiofor                DE                   Wake Forest
Fred Warner                LB                    Brigham Young
Tarvarus McFadden     CB                    Florida St
Shaquem Griffin          LB                    Central Florida

Insiders’ Insights

The Lions’ offense continues to rely solely on QB Matt Stafford to generate points. Their weak ground game continues to be the main culprit. They like a few top backs, namely Derrius Guice and Sony Michel and have them earmarked for the top two rounds. They have two 3rd round picks and have back Nick Chubb as a later selection. They want to add a playmaker at tight end and have a few on their short list, including Gesicki, Hurst and Andrews. They added veteran DT Sylvester Williams to couple with DT A’Shawn Robinson. They retained veteran DE Ziggy Ansah, though lost DT Haloti Ngata in free agency. They hope to add a base end with unproven talent on the outside. They have clear needs at DE, TE, LB, OC/OG and RB that must be addressed. With 7 selections this year, they have some leverage to move up to address a major area with a premier prospect. They will consider DE Sam Hubbard, Rasheem Green and Duke Ejiofor. They like LB Evans in the first round. The secondary is a high priority and they will not hesitate to draft into the deep defensive back group early. The secondary has been an annual problem and they have needs at both corner and safety. The deep RB class affords them many options through the middle rounds. They will consider corners Alexander and Hughes in the 1st round. They have runners earmarked throughout the three day event with many fine values in the top 15- overall selections.

1st Round Pick – RB Derrius Guice – Fast rising back would provide impact for this one dimensional attack.
Alternate Pick – LB Rashaan EvansAthletic prospect is a difference maker either inside or outside.

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Green Bay Packers – 7-9 – Head Coach – Mike McCarthy – 13th Year

Key Team Needs:  1. WR      2. CB       3. OL      4. LB     5. DL 
       1st Round Pick – 14th selection – 12 total picks

1. Wide Receiver – The Packers released veteran Jordy Nelson due to salary cap issues. Nelson was the playmaker Aaron Rodgers relied on in big situations. They hope Calvin Ridley is available at the #14 selection and he would be a fine addition here. They could address this unit twice with 12 overall selections. They like a number of prospects on the 2nd day with two picks. James Washington fits here as well as Dante Pettis, Equanimeous St. Brown and Deon Cain. Pettis and Cain give them playmakers as returners. They also like Tre’Quan Smith in the 4th round with the first pick (#101).
2. Cornerback – The Packers would like to address this key area early after another poor showing in pass defense last season. They traded corner Damarious Randall for QB Deshone Kizer. Former high selection, corner Quinten Rollins has failed to develop. Rookie Kevin King showed promise before an injury limited him to 9 games and 5 starts. They will explore corners in this class and probably high. They like Jaire Alexander and Mike Hughes in the first. They also like Calvin Davis and Isaiah Oliver in the late 2nd round very much.
3. Offensive Line – The Packers have needs on the interior here and must protect Aaron Rodgers for this attack to produce. They had nice success along the line with several middle round selections. They lost veteran starters OG T.J. Lang and OL J.C. Tretter in recent years. Former 2nd round pick, OT Jason Spriggs has been a bust so far and faces a huge training camp. He may kick inside and compete for a starting guard job. They would still probably address the interior with one quality addition. They like Billy Price and Tyrell Crosby in the 2nd round and both are versatile and also project to guard. Tackles Brian Bulaga and young David Bakhtiari have been solid bookends. They also like linemen Martinas Rankin and Chukwuma Okorafor in the mid 3rd round.
4. Linebacker – The Packers have moved playmaker Clay Matthews around and want to move him on the outside where he had greater impact and has been a Pro Bowl performer there. They feel he is more effective on the outside. With their top pick, they like LB Rashaan Evans and Leighton Vander Esch inside. Both are three down defenders with versatility. They also like Harold Landry and Josh Sweat very much on the 2nd day. Landry could line up both up and down here. They hope to land a plug and play defender here to get veterans in their best positions. They also like Jeff Holland in the early 3rd day.
5. Defensive Line – The Packers signed veteran Muhammad Wilkerson in free agency. The two-time Pro Bowler is a force when focused. He gives them a three-down defender who improves the front seven significantly if right. They expect more from former top pick DL Kenny Clark. The front three needs to apply more pressure. They like DL Tim Settle and Da’Shawn Hand in the 2nd day along with linemen Andrew Brown and Justin Jones in the middle rounds.

Packers – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects
Calvin Ridley WR Alabama
Mike McGlinchey OT Notre Dame
Connor Williams OT Texas
Jaire Alexander CB Louisville
Mike Hughes CB Central Florida

2nd Day Prospects
  2nd Round
Harold Landry LB Boston College
Billy Price C Ohio State
James Washington WR Oklahoma St
Tyrell Crosby OT Oregon

  3rd Round
Equanimeous St. Brown WR Notre Dame
Josh Sweat DE/LB Florida St
Deon Cain WR Clemson
Martinas Rankin OT Mississippi St
Kevin Toliver CB LSU
Chukwuma Okorafor OT Western Michigan

Insiders’ Insights

The Packers have failed to provide the talent for star QB Aaron Rodgers to excel through his prime with very average draft classes and passive free agency moves. They did add TE Jimmy Graham and DL Muhammad Wilkerson, two former Pro Bowl performers. Graham gives Rodgers a force in the deep seam that can open this passing game. He has major impact talent for this offense. The Packers defense ranks among the worst in the league and must improve with this draft class. They may wait until the second day to address the defense with both corner and linebacker high priorities. On offense, they want an impact receiver and developed interior lineman. They like Calvin Ridley and see him as a cornerstone addition to help Rodgers. Linemen McGlinchey and Williams would compete for starting jobs day one. They hope to draft into the edge rushers and cornerback classes and possibly with their first several selections. They like several top edge defenders, including Harold Landry among others in the early rounds. They want to address their cornerback spot that was toasted last fall. They like Jaire Alexander and Mike Hughes very much in the 1st round. They will most likely address the corner spot with a top 100 selection. Packers still anchor on the gifted arm of Aaron Rodgers and they will most likely address the receiving corps and line with developed plug and play prospects. New GM Brian Gutekunst faces a critical first draft class with the current roster in definite need of an influx of high quality players.

1st Round Pick – WR Calvin Ridley – Big play weapon gives Rodgers the playmaker to make this attack potent.
Alternate Pick – OT Mike McGlinchey – Tough blocker could kick inside to guard for the short term and solidity the interior.

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Minnesota Vikings – 13-3 – Head Coach – Mike Zimmer – 5th Year

Key Team Needs: 1. DT      2. OL      3. WR        4. CB         5. LB
  1st Round Pick – 30th selection – 8 total picks

1. Defensive Tackle – The Vikings’ defense stopped the run consistently with Linval Joseph an inside force. They signed Sheldon Richardson to a one-year contract. They like Maurice Hurst in the late 1st round and he would be a fine compliment to Joseph in a three-technique role. They also like Nathan Shepherd, Trent Thompson and RJ McIntosh on the 2nd day. They have prospects like PJ Hall and Deadrin Senat earmarked for the early 3rd day of the process.
2. Offensive Line – The Vikings’ offensive line needs to add a few new linemen, especially at guard. They could add an interior prospect with early starting talent and like Isaiah Wynn and Will Hernandez on their late first round list. They like center Billy Price and James Daniels in the late 2nd round. Tackle Kolton Miller could be a surprise late first round choice.
3. Wide Receiver – The Vikings’ will probably address this position with an early round selection. They are disappointed in former #1 pick, Laquon Treadwell who plays a backup role. They might have their choice of either Christian Kirk or DJ Chark with their 1st round pick. They like Dante Pettis for the slot and their return game. They like Anthony Miller in the 2nd round and he can provide a spark to this attack.
4. Cornerback – The Vikings have quality starters in Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes. Ageless veteran Terence Newman may have played his final game in an amazing career. Young vet Mackensie Alexander needs to step up to hold the nickel corner spot. They could address this fairly early and will consider Anthony Averett and Kevin Toliver in the 2nd round.
5. Linebacker – Vikes’ resigned veteran Eric Kendricks to a longterm contract. They look to upgrade this unit with a prospect also having coverage skills for the nickel role. They may draft into the group with at least one of their earlier selections. They like Will backers, Darius Leonard, Jerome Baker and Shaquem Griffin very much in the 2nd day.

Vikings – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects
Maurice Hurst DT Michigan
Isaiah Wynn OG Georgia
Will Hernandez OG Texas-El Paso
D.J Chark WR LSU

2nd Day Prospects
  2nd Round
Braden Smith OG Auburn
Anthony Miller WR Memphis
Nathan Shepherd DT Fort Hays St
Austin Corbett OL Nevada

  3rd Round
Dante Pettis WR Washington
Darius Leonard LB South Carolina St.
Trent Thompson DT Georgia
Chukwuma Okorafor OT Western Michigan

Insiders’ Insights

The Vikings excelled in 2017 under HC Mike Zimmer to recapture the NFC North. QB Case Keenum was the surprise hero with a career season. He left in free agency along with backups, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater. Vikings signed veteran Kirk Cousins who will direct this balanced attack. The ground game ranked 7th in the league despite the season ending injury to rookie Dalvin Cook in the first month. Both the line and skill positions will be addressed. With their #2 pick, they are debating wideouts and offensive linemen. On defense, each unit has a pressing need area – tackle, Will backer and nickel corner. GM Rick Spielman wants to stay with his value board and draft into the deep tackle and corner groups. They may be able to trade up in the early rounds for higher rated prospects. They would like to add an early starting Will backer and like Darius Leonard very much on the 3rd round. Their defense will undergo other expected changes and could address the front line in a very deep DT class. They have definite needs on most units. They will consider two kickers on the late rounds with five picks after the #167 selection.

1st Round Pick – OL Isaiah Wynn – Vikings love this plug and play guard.
Alternate Pick – WR DJ Chark – Fast receiver would be a core weapon here.

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NFC South
Atlanta Falcons – 10-6 – Head Coach – Dan Quinn – 4th Year

Key Team Needs: 1. DT      2. OG       3. CB      4. WR      5. TE
  1st Round Pick – 26th selection – 7 total picks

1. Defensive Line – The Falcons will probably address the defensive line in the early to middle rounds with an interior pass rusher a priority. In the 1st round, they like Taven Bryan and Maurice Hurst to play in tackle rotation. Both would give this front line a boost and improve the pass rush. They also like Trent Thompson and BJ Hill for that role and they could be available in the 2nd round. They like PJ Hall and Kendrick Norton on the early 3rd day.
2 Offensive Line – The Falcons have pressing needs here especially on the inside with age at guard a key issue. They will look to add a potential starter and love Isaiah Wynn with the 26th overall section. They feel he can start day one here and be an anchor on the interior. They like Austin Corbett and Braden Smith in the 2nd round. They also like guards Wyatt Teller and Will Clapp on the 3rd day. Both are very developed and carry early starting grades.
3. Cornerback – The Falcons have little depth in their secondary and look to add both a quality nickel corner and a ball hawker at safety. They would like to add a top prospect here and will consider Carlton Davis and Anthony Averett in the late 2nd round. They could address this spot with a top 100 selection and like Tarvarius McFadden and Kevin Tolliver in the 3rd round.
4. Wide Receiver – They like DJ Moore and DJ Chark in the late 1st round. They also like Deon Cain and DaeSean Hamilton in the 2nd and Dante Pettis in the late 3rd round. All are talented developed receivers who can challenge for an early role.
5. Tight End – The Falcons added #3 pick Austin Hooper two years ago and he improved this position nicely. They hope to add another quality performer and look to draft into his quality class. They hope to land a good prospect in the early rounds. They like Mike Gesicki and Hayden Hurst in the late 2nd round. They could address with Chris Herndon on the 3rd round.

Falcons – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects
Isaiah Wynn OG Georgia
D.J. Moore WR Maryland
Taven Bryan DT Florida
Mike Hughes CB Central Florida

2nd Day Prospects
  2nd Round
Carlton Davis CB Auburn
B.J. Hill DT N.C. St
Anthony Miller WR Memphis
Braden Smith OG Auburn

  3rd Round
Trent Thompson DT Georgia
Kevin Toliver CB LSU
Duke Dawson CB Florida
Chris Herndon TE Miami

Insiders’ Insights

The Falcons had a very average draft class last April with average high selections. They will attempt to improve the offensive line and skill positions. They must protect QB Matt Ryan better to rank with the top attacks. Expect them to draft into a deep guard class with a top two selection there. They would like to add a defensive tackle and corner from those strong groups. On defense, they have needs at interior rusher, corner and safety. If there is a run-on tackles, they will consider moving up in the 2nd round for BJ Hill or Maurice Hurst. Expect a quality corner within the top 100 selections. At the 26th choice, they could add a corner with Mike Hughes getting strong consideration. They still need to find potential starters at wideout and tight end. They will entertain selecting TE Chris Herndon with their #3 pick and allow him time to heal from his knee injury. They still have clear needs in their secondary and seek an every down corner. They like a few in the early rounds with Duke Dawson a key early possibility for the nickel role. In a good defensive back class, they may address both the safety and corner spots early.

1st Round – DT Taven Bryan – Big mobile lineman could be a huge boost for this line’s pass rush.
Alternate Pick – OG Isaiah Wynn – Tough athletic guard gives this offense impact on their front line.

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Carolina Panthers -11-5 – Head Coach – Ron Rivera – 8th Year

Key Team Needs: 1. WR     2. DB       3. OG       4. DT        5. RB
  1st Round Pick – 24th selection – 8 total picks

1. Wide Receiver – The Panthers want to add to a unit that features big receiver Devin Funchess and smurf Curtis Samuel. They lost Kaelin Clay, but traded for veteran Torrey Smith to compliment this unit. They would still be interested in a developed prospect in the early rounds and like DJ Moore and DJ Chark in the first and Deon Cain in the 2nd and Tre’Quan Smith in the 3rd rounds. They want to add a fast receiver who can stretch the field.
2. Cornerback/Safety – The Panthers’ secondary struggled with young starters paying their dues in coverage. They need to add a corner after trading Daryl Worley for draft choices. They like Mike Hughes and Jaire Alexander in the first round. They hope Carlton Davis is available with their 2nd round pick. They want to add a young safety who can cover and like Jessie Bates, Justin Reid and Terrell Edmunds on the 2nd day. They would be great fits here.
3. Guard – The Panthers lost Pro Bowl guard Andrew Norwell in free agency and look to add a top prospect early. They like Isaiah Wynn in the first round and see him as a plug and play guard here. They will consider guards Austin Corbett and Braden Smith with their 2nd round pick. They hope to add a plugin starter in the early rounds.
4. Defensive Line – This was one of their strongest areas recently before DT Star Lotulelei left in free agency. They signed vet DT Dontari Poe. They may prioritize the base end position with Sam Hubbard getting first round consideration. Rasheem Green and Duke Ejiorfor will get strong 2nd day consideration. Veteran Julius Peppers had 11 sacks in 2017, an amazing feat for a player entering his 17th season. They look to address this very deep group of interior linemen. They like both Taven Bryan and Harrison Phillips in the 1st and Tim Settle and will consider him in the 2nd round. They will also consider BJ Hill and Nate Shepherd in the late 2nd round.
5. Running Back – The Panthers were happy with rookie Christian McCaffrey who lead the club in receptions. The lost feature runner Jonathan Stewart in free agency. They want to add a power back as a 1A type. They also like Kerryon Johnson in the 2nd day. They like a few backs including Nick Chubb and Josh Adams who may be available in the 3rd round. Both are good power backs to compliment McCaffrey. They also like Mark Walton in the early 3rd day.

Panthers – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects
Mike Hughes CB Central Florida
Isaiah Wynn OG Georgia
Sam Hubbard DE Ohio State
D.J Chark WR LSU

2nd Day Prospects
  2nd Round Picks
Austin Corbett OL Nevada
Rasheem Green DL Southern Cal
Deon Cain WR Clemson
Da’Shawn Hand DE Alabama

  3rd Round
Duke Ejiofor DE Wake Forest
Kevin Toliver CB LSU
Jessie Bates S Wake Forest
Tre’Quan Smith WR Central Florida

Insiders’ Insights

The Panthers have the 24th overall pick, a huge different from last year when they drafted in the top ten. They have 8 overall draft choices. They resigned DE Julius Peppers to a one-year contract. With their #1 pick, they may have their choice of a blue-chip corner or one of the premier interior offensive linemen. Last year’s rookie class made contributions with primarily with McCaffrey starting most of the season. They have pressing needs at offensive guard, corner, receiver and defensive line. They hope to address them all fairly early in the process. They must address these areas to return in the top of the tough NFC South. With their early picks, they could address the corner and edge rusher positions and probably with high selections. The deep defensive tackle and cornerback classes are areas they will probably address with a top three selection. They hope to land a quality cover man and interior linemen and will probably draft into these deep classes. They want to add a receiving tight end, though probably not until the 2nd day. They like Chris Herndon in the middle rounds. The front four should be addressed early with Sam Hubbard and Taven Bryan possible #1 picks.

1st Round Pick – CB Mike Hughes – Savvy cover man would be a great fit for this secondary.
Alternate Pick – OG Isaiah Wynn – Physical blocker is just starting to realize his talent.

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New Orleans Saints – 11-5 – Head Coach – Sean Payton – 12th Year

Key Team Needs: 1. WR      2. CB       3. LB      4. TE      5. QB        6. DT
  1st Round Pick – 27th pick – 8 total picks

1. Wide Receiver – The Saints hit a home run with young Michael Thomas who became their #1 receiver. They hope to land a speedster after trading Brandin Cooks to the Pats two years ago. They could use their #1 selection on speedsters Christian Kirk or DJ Chark if they fall to late in the round. They could land a top prospect with their early choices, though currently have no #2 pick. They like fast Deon Cain in the 3rd round who would give them a potent weapon for different sets. They also hope Tre’Quan Smith is available in the 3rd round and have him earmarked on their short list.
2. Cornerback – The Saints’ pass defense was average and finished in the middle of the league. Rookie corner Marshon Lattimore was an impact defender who shut down #1 receivers. They have only marginal veteran depth and probably address this area early. At least one high draft choice should address this annual problem. They resigned vet Patrick Robinson. They like Carlton Davis in the late 1st round and Keven Toliver and Duke Dawson in the 3rd round. They also like Tony Brown and Levi Wallace on the 3rd day.
3. Linebacker – The Saints’ defense continued to make strides, though would benefit from another prospect here. They need to add an edge rusher and a nickel backer. They were surprised with the performance of Mike backer Manti Te’o. They like Oren Burks and Fred Warner in the 3rd round and either would be a fine addition for the Will spot and for their package defenses.
4. Tight End – The Saints’ Coby Fleener has been very ordinary especially as a receiving threat. They have marginal backups and little else on the roster. They like Jaylen Samuels in the 3rd round and he gives them a missing dimension for multiple sets and a movement H-back hybrid. With six picks on the 3rd day, they like prospects Ian Thomas, Chris Herndon and Tyler Conklin to fill a movement role.
5. Quarterback – Veteran Drew Brees is still a stud passer but enters his 18th season. His Hall of Fame career is very near the end. He signed a two-year contract. They will entertain Mason Rudolph in the late first round as his heir apparent. They also like Mike White and Kyle Lauletta in the middle rounds and possibly in the 3rd round.
6. Defensive Tackle – The Saints’ defense ranks in the middle of the pack and needs further improvement and talent to take this unit to top ten status. They will probably have their choice of a top tackle like Taven Bryan or Harrison Phillips in the 1st round. They are expected to draft into the deep tackle class in the middle rounds.

Saints – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects
Christian Kirk WR Texas A&M
D.J Chark WR LSU
Harrison Phillips DT Stanford
Carlton Davis CB Auburn

2nd Day Prospects
  2nd Round – No pick

  3rd Round
Deon Cain WR Clemson
Jaylen Samuels TE NC St
Oren Burks LB Vanderbilt
Kevin Toliver CB LSU
Tre’Quan Smith WR Central Florida

Insiders Insights

The Saints won the tough NFC South, but lost a wild playoff matchup with the Vikings that sent them home early. They were the 4th highest scoring team in the league with a total of 448 points. QB Drew Brees once again was outstanding and directed this potent balanced attack perfectly. They have only 2 top 100 selections and need to address key areas to return to the postseason. They need impact on their front four and another high-quality cover man to continue to improve. Interior rushers and corners will be the early focus with at least one high selection for each unit. They also hope to address the Will backer role and maybe with a top 100 selection. They like Taven Bryan and Harrison Phillips with their #1 pick and Trent Thompson with their 3rd round choice. They hope to make multiple picks on defense where they have clear needs. They like several corners over the early rounds and will focus on ready defenders like Carlton Davis and Kevin Toliver. They have needs at receiver and will consider Kirk, Moore and Chark 1n the 1st round. At wideout, they have a few players on their board and could address also with a 3rd round selection.

1st Round Pick – WR Christian Kirk – Fast all-purpose weapon gives Brees another impact performer.
Alternate Pick – DT Harrison Phillips – Relentless versatile lineman brings another front four destroyer.

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Tampa Bay Bucs – 5-11 – Head Coach – Dirk Koetter – 3rd Year

Key Team Needs: 1. CB        2. S         3. RB       4. OL      5. DE
  1st Round Pick – 7th selection – 7 total picks

1. Cornerback – The Bucs’ used a prior #1 pick on Vernon Hargreaves who started every game his first two seasons. He performed well opposite Brent Grimes. They resigned Grimes to a one-year deal. They could use new depth here and there is a huge drop to the backups. They could probably add the best cover man in the draft with the 7th overall pick. They like Denzel Ward in the first round in this deep class. They could address this area twice over the three days. Donte Jackson and Duke Dawson provide very good nickel cover men and probably available early in the 2nd day. Tarvarius McFadden is a falling defender who should be on the board on the early 3rd day and great value there
2. Safety – The Bucs drafted a safety last year with their #2 pick for Justin Evans. He had an impressive rookie season. With Fitzpatrick and James carrying top ten grades, at least one should be on the board at the 7th selection. Both are plug and play defenders and capable of giving this secondary a huge boast after allowing the most air yardage in the league in 2017. In the 2nd round, they like Ronnie Harrison and Justin Reid. Both would compete for rookie starting time and be fine additions.
3. Running Back – The Bucs’ offense struggled running the ball last season and will look to add a feature back in this deep class. They released vet Doug Martin and signed Peyton Barber to a one-year deal. They will probably have Derrius Guice available and can trade back and still secure this playmaker. They like Sony Michel very much and have him earmarked at the 38th overall selection. He is a very versatile weapon. In the middle rounds, they like Mark Walton and Josh Adams and they fit their need very well. Expect one high prospect here and maybe in the top 40 picks.
4. Offensive Linemen – The Bucs’ signed veteran center Ryan Jensen to a four-year deal. His presence may move Ali Marpet back to guard where he grades out higher than in the pivot. Those moves improve the interior significantly. They may address the RT spot early and like Tyrell Crosby and Brian O’Neil very much in the early 2nd round. In the middle rounds, they like Jamarco Jones.
5. Defensive End – The Bucs’ traded a #3 pick for Jason Pierre Paul, a solid move. They also signed free agent Vinny Curry to give the Bucs a good rotation with Noah Spence. They released Robert Ayers. Though not a major need, they may look to add a situational rusher here. They expect Spence to return from an early season injury. They like both Tyquan Lewis and Jeff Holland and they will get strong consideration with their early 4th round selection.

Bucs – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects
Denzel Ward CB Ohio St
Quenton Nelson OG Notre Dame
Minkah Fitzpatrick S Alabama

2nd Day Prospects
  2nd Round
Sony Michel RB Georgia
Anthony Averett CB Alabama
Ronald Jones II RB Southern Cal
Donte Jackson CB LSU

3rd Round – No pick

Insiders’ Insights

The Bucs face a critical draft class to stay in contention in the tough NFC South. Last year’s rookie class was a very strong group that probably supplies four starters in 2018. QB Jameis Winston regressed in his third season and faces a critical camp. Bucs picked up his fifth-year option. He hopes to benefit from second year wideout Chris Godwin who gives them an excellent possession receiver opposite Mike Evans. The Bucs’ poor ground game must be addressed here with a quality back expected to be chosen in the top 40 selections. They love Sony Michel and have him earmarked at #38. They hope to draft into the strong corner and defensive tackle classes. Their weak defense added edge rusher JPP. They look to address the secondary with the #7 overall pick with both Ward and Fitzpatrick probably available. They have a few pressing needs at corner, running back and offensive linemen. The defense has a few key needs especially at both corner and safety.

1st Round Pick – CB Denzel Ward – Fast defender with high level of development and production.
Alternate Pick – FS Minkah Fitzpatrick – Athlete with the blue-chip talent to provide big play impact early.

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NFC West
Arizona Cardinals – 8-8 – Head Coach – Steve Wilks – 1st Year

Key Team Needs: 1. WR      2. CB       3. OT          4. QB        5. TE
  3rd Round Pick – 87th selection – 8 total picks

1. Wide Receiver – The Cardinals rely on Pro Bowl receiver Larry Fitzgerald to open this passing game. He needs young Chad Williams to step up and earn time in three wideout sets. Fitzgerald will be 35 years old this season. They like Calvin Ridley very much in the 1st round and James Washington and Anthony Miller in the 2nd round. They also like Deon Cain and Dante Pettis in the mid-3rd round
2. Cornerback – The Cards may use fairly high picks on both a cover man and safety after FA losses. They will consider Jaire Alexander or Mike Hughes with their top pick. They like Isaiah Oliver in the 2nd and Anthony Averett and Donte Jackson in the 3rd round. They like corners, Isaac Yiadom and Duke Dawson in the early middle rounds. They could draft into this deep cornerback class twice.
3. Offensive Tackle – The Cardinals will probably address this unit with a high priority after releasing veteran RT Jared Veldheer. They like Tyrell Crosby and Brian O’Neill in the 2nd round. Either one gives them a bookend opposite DJ Humphries. They also like guards Austin Corbett and Braden Smith in the 2nd round. They could add at least one prospect here with starting talent.
4. Quarterback – The Cards planned for the retirement of starting QB Carson Palmer. They signed Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon. They will still explore a few prospects in this class. New HC Steve Wilks could surprise and select Baker Mayfield if he is on the board or they trade up in the 1st round. They also like Lamar Jackson there. He is hoping to develop a future starter and like Mike White very much and have him earmarked for the 3rd round. They also like Chase Litton in the late rounds
5. Tight End – The Cardinals hope to land a playmaker here with only average production in recent seasons. They lost backup Troy Niklas in free agency. They like Mike Gesicki in the 2nd round. They are intrigued with TE Jaylen Samuels and his playmaking ability and have him high on their 3rd round list. They also like Ian Thomas and Chris Herndon in the middle rounds.

Cardinals – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects
Mike McGlinchey OT Notre Dame
Calvin Ridley WR Alabama
Jaire Alexander CB Louisville
Mike Hughes CB Central Florida

2nd Day Prospects
  2nd Round
Billy Price C Ohio State
Tyrell Crosby OT Oregon
James Washington WR Oklahoma St
Anthony Miller WR Memphis

  3rd Round (#79 & #97)
Da’Shawn Hand DE Alabama
Orlando Brown OT Oklahoma
Anthony Averett CB Alabama
Mike White QB Western Kentucky
Dante Pettis WR Washington

Insiders’ Insights

The Cardinals had another mediocre season that led to the retirement of HC Bruce Arians. New coach Steve Wilks will retool this defense that failed in too many big situations. Their 2017 draft class has the components of a solid group though marginal production. Veteran QB Carson Palmer retired. They look to talented Sam Bradford to take the reins. He has big time skills, but must prove healthy after repeated annual injuries. Runner David Johnson is one of the best in the league when healthy. He is a big-time versatile weapon, but also must prove healthy. They need a strong class to get back in contention. They hope to address their defense overall and both the receiver and tight end positions. Their primary early focus could be on defense with the secondary their highest priority. Expect both a safety and cornerback early with a high level to play as rookies. Tight end is high on their short list along with wide receiver and QB. Ridley is a plug and play weapon who would help immediately and a tempting addition for this attack. They have pressing issues on the offensive line both in the pivot and tackle. They would like to draft corners Alexander or Hughes and both very good fits for their scheme. They want to add two secondary defenders and like Kyzir White in the 3rd round.

1st Round – WR Calvin Ridley – Highly developed receiver gives them an instant playmaker opposite Fitzgerald.
Alternate Pick – CB Jaire Alexander – Physical plug and play corner with rookie starting grade.

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Los Angeles Rams – 11-5 – Head Coach – Sean McVay – 2nd Year

Key Team Needs: 1. OL       2. LB        3. S          4. DE         5. WR
  3rd Round Pick – 87th overall selection – 9 total picks

1. Offensive Line – The Rams look to add talent here to protect emerging star QB Jared Goff. The Rams were the highest scoring team in the league last season under new HC Sean McVay. The Rams improved their offensive line last year with the signing of veteran LT Andrew Whitworth who had an excellent season protecting Goff. He is 36 years old and may be lining up for his last season. The line provided consistent openings for Pro Bowl runner Todd Gurley as the ground game ranked 8th in the league. RT Rob Havenstein and guard Rodger Saffold are steady, but the line has age throughout and little depth. They like a few OL in the 3rd round. They like tackles Martinas Rankin and Orlando Brown on the 2nd day and both should be available. Rams will probably add at least two more for a pressing ongoing problem.
2. Linebacker – The Rams will look to address this unit after trading DE Robert Quinn and LB Alec Ogletree for late draft choices. DC Wade Phillips will implement his scheme after struggling to stop the run in 2017. They want to add backers like Malik Jefferson and Fred Warner with the versatility to play a few roles in a flexible scheme. The Rams like several third day backers and could add two among their 9 draft choices.
3. Safety – The Rams secondary has undergone many changes with new corners in Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib coming over in trades. They lost corner Tremaine Johnson. They did sign safety Lamarcus Joyner to a franchise tag. They have little overall depth and will explore adding a few middle round prospects with coverage skills for their nickel and dime packages.
4. Defensive End – The Rams will look to address this area and like DE/OLB Josh Sweat and Kyle Fitts in the 3rd round. They probably will address this area on the 3rd day, in addition to looking at the veteran market via a free agent signing or trade possibility. They signed DT Nda Suh to couple with DT Aaron Donald to form a dominant interior.

Rams – Short List Players
1st Round Prospects – No pick
  2nd Day Picks
2nd Round – No pick

  3rd Round
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo LB Oklahoma
Martinas Rankin OT Mississippi St
Malik Jefferson LB Texas
Fred Warner LB Brigham Young
Orlando Brown OT Oklahoma

Insiders’ Insights

The Rams had a major breakout season in 2017 going 11-5 and winning the NFC West title. Second year QB Jared Goff responded to the coaching of McVay while Pro Bowl runner Todd Gurley provided game to game high production. They traded their first round for WR Brandin Cooks to give them a vertical threat to go with Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. The line must protect Goff for this attack to duplicate their high scoring explosiveness. They feel they have the components to take the next step especially with the addition of DT Suh to couple with Donald. Their front line ranks with any unit in the game and has been dominant in recent seasons. They will focus primarily on the line and secondary help. They are interested in a corner and safety in the process. They expect to address the secondary a few times and are prepared to use a few of next year’s picks for the right players and draft choices.

3rd Rd Pick – LB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo – Attack edge defender would be a nice addition for Phillips front seven.
Alternate Pick – OT Martinas Rankin – Agile tackle has interesting upside to project also to guard.

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San Francisco 49ers – 6-10 – Head Coach – Kyle Shanahan – 2nd Year

Key Team Needs: 1. LB       2. WR         3. DB       4. OL        5. RB
  1st Round Pick – 9th selection – 9 total picks

1. Linebacker -The 49ers hope to return this unit with the best in the game with top pick Reuben Foster last April. He has some major off the field issues plus ongoing injury problems that leaves his status questionable. They have not recovered from the loss of two ILB to retirement in Patrick Willis and Chris Borland along with the departure of troubled Aldon Smith. Vet Brock Coyle re-signed and he is one of the best special teams’ players in the league. They need an edge impact defender and look to address with one of their early picks. They hope LBers Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds are available at the 9th selection. Outside backer is their highest defensive priority and it should be addressed with a top 100 selection. They like Uchenna Nwosu and Kemoko Turay on the 2nd day. They signed OLB Jeremiah Attauchu who will compete for an outside starting role.
2. Wide Receiver – The 49ers’ re-signed vet Marquise Goodwin. They need to give young QB Jimmy Garoppolo new playmakers and are looking for a true #1 receivers. They like Calvin Ridley very much and he could be their top pick. They like James Washington and Deon Cain in the early 3rd round.
3. Defensive Back – The 49ers’ poor secondary lost vets corner Dontae Johnson and safety Eric Reid in FA. They have marginal depth and need both a corner and safety. They did sign corner Richard Sherman in FA. Young corner Ahkello Witherspoon projects to a starting role after a strong rookie season second half. They like corner Denzel Ward with their top pick. They also like Isaiah Oliver in the 2nd round and would hope he repeats the success of last years’ #3 pick from Colorado, Witherspoon. They like corners, Donte Jackson and Duke Dawson on the 2nd day. Both are good fits for their nickel coverage package.
4. Offensive Line – The 49ers signed a few key free agents in center Wes Richburg and guard Jon Cooper. Richburg inked a five year deal and was a fine addition. LT Joe Staley is an anchor on the outside. Guard Joshua Garnett must prove worthy of his #1 selection in 2016. The line needs to play up to expectations especially on the interior. They will consider RT Orlando Brown in the 2nd/3rd rounds.
5. Running Back – The 49ers signed scatback Jerick McKinnon to fill their 1A role in free agency. They lost starter Carlos Hyde in free agency. They have explored moving back in the first round 10-15 picks where they could still have their choice of runner Derrius Guice. They like backs Kerryon Johnson and Nick Chubb on the 2nd day and both give them power to compliment McKinnon.

49ers – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects
Roquan Smith LB Georgia
Denzel Ward CB Ohio St
Calvin Ridley WR Alabama

2nd Day Prospects
  2nd Round
Isaiah Oliver CB Colorado
James Washington WR Oklahoma St
Kerryon Johnson RB Auburn
Uchenna Nwosu LB USC

  3rd Round – 2 picks (#70 & #74)
Orlando Brown OT Oklahoma
Deon Cain WR Clemson
Kemoko Turay DE/LB Rutgers
Nick Chubb RB Georgia
Anthony Averett CB Alabama
Kyzir White S West Virginia

Insiders’ Insights

The 49ers will not face another critical offseason related to their QB position. They traded a 2nd round pick for Jimmy Garoppolo in the fall and resigned him to a five year contract this offseason. He went 5-0 in starts late last season and gives them a cornerstone leader. This was the 49ers’ best move in a decade. Once again, they have a high number with 9 overall selections, making it 52 total selections the past five years with little success. They have some leverage to move up in the early rounds for players they want. They want to pickup with their late success and look to provide playmakers for Garoppolo in the changing NFC West. They will look to add receiving weapons and a feature back for this offense. They like a number of receivers and hope to add one in their top 100 selections. On defense, they look to add backers both a Mike man and edge rusher. They may have to put the Foster situation behind them and start again. They have a few corners earmarked for the top 100 selections and it is essential that they add a high-quality cover man. They like a few defensive backs in this deep class. Expect one corner and one safety through the middle rounds.

1st Round Pick – LB Roquan Smith – Athletic savvy backer would be a great addition to this struggling unit.
Alternate Pick – CB Denzel Ward – Talented cover man gets better with every game.

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Seattle Seahawks – 9-7 – Head Coach – Pete Carroll – 9th Year

Key Team Needs: 1. OL       2. DL          3. CB        4. WR        5. RB
  1st Round Pick – 18th selection – 8 total picks

1. Offensive Line – The Seahawks’ line performed terribly once again in 2017 and they need two starters. They signed OL DJ Fluker, though only a marginal starter. They hope Mike McGlinchey is available with the 18th overall selection. They also like Connor Williams and feel he can start day one at either tackle or guard. They will most likely address this unit early with few other options available in the open market. They had major issues on this unit last season and this is a screaming need area, even inside at guard where vet Luke Joeckel was barely adequate while former #1 pick Germain Ifedi looks like a Seahawk bust.
2. Defensive Tackle – They have needs inside that will probably be addressed with a fairly high pick. They traded DE Michael Bennett for a late pick. Rookie top pick Malik McDowell was injured in an accident that jeopardizes his career. They lost DT Sheldon Richardson in free agency. They could address their front four at least twice and possibly with high selections. They like Taven Bryan in the first round and he has inside/outside versatility. They currently do not have any selections on the 2nd day and wait until #120 to pick again. They will probably draft into a deep tackle class where there are several late picks with interesting pro potential.
3. Defensive Back – The Seahawks secondary performed well last season, though shows little depth and unproven young talent. They released veterans Richard Sherman and Jeremy Lane. They signed corner Dontae Johnson. They need a starting corner type with length and like ball hawks Jaire Alexander and Mike Hughes in the 1st round. Safeties Thomas and Chancellor have declined in recent seasons, though still a solid tandem. They could surprise and select rising Justin Reid in the late 1st round.
4. Wide Receiver – The Seahawks finished in the middle of the pack in passing. They lost wideout Paul Richardson in free agency and he leaves a big hole. They like a few receivers in the first round, Calvin Ridley, DJ Moore and DJ Chark. Though not the biggest need, any of these prospects would open up this offense which has struggled running the ball in recent seasons.
5. Running Back – The Seahawks has struggled running the ball since they parted ways with Marshawn Lynch. High picks like Christian Michel and CJ Prosise and veteran free agent Eddie Lacy have not been the answer. Seahawks are expected to draft into this deep class and like Derrius Guice in the 1st and backs like Royce Freeman, Mark Walton and Bo Scarbrough who can fall to the 3rd day. This is an area that should be addressed by the middle rounds.

Seahawks – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects
Mike McGlinchey OT Notre Dame
Jaire Alexander CB Louisville
Taven Bryan DT Florida
Derrius Guice RB LSU
D.J Chark WR LSU

2nd Day Prospects – No picks
 2nd Round
 3rd Round

Insiders’ Insights

The Seahawks fell out of the playoffs last season and are a descending club with a roster thin in a few key areas. Their offensive line has been a major problem and the main reason for their fall from NFC West leadership. They have not run the ball well in a few seasons and savvy QB Russell Wilson has been under pressure regularly. They have few playmakers on this offense and must bring in both a runner and receiver with playmaking ability. With 7 of their 8 selections from the 120th pick back, they need to land a few late gems to address their top needs. They have failed to build a strong offensive line and it should be the primary focus of this draft class. Their top three needs, OT, RB and CB are all pressing areas. They hope to add starting offensive linemen and may use their top pick there. They like OT McGlinchey and Williams and see them as plug and play blockers. They hope to draft into the deep running back class and like Royce Freeman on the early 3rd day. They must bring in talent for their package defenses.

1st Round Pick – OT Mike McGlinchey – Tough tackle can start as a rookie on the right side.
Alternate Pick – CB Jaire Alexander – Savvy cover man with the skill set to be a perfect fit for this defense.

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AFC East
Buffalo Bills – 7-9 – Head Coach – Sean McDermott – 2nd Year

Key Team Needs: 1. QB        2. OL        3. DL      4. WR         5. RB
  1st Round Picks – 12th & 22nd selections – 9 total picks

1. Quarterback – The Bills hold two picks each in the first three rounds including the 12th and 22nd overall selections. They want to move up into the top 5-8 spots to select a premier QB. They traded starter Tyrod Taylor for a 3rd round pick (#65). They signed AJ McCarron to go with second year prospect Nathan Peterman. Their passing attack ranked at the bottom of the league in 2017 with little upside from Taylor. They like the top four prospects and have explored every possibility moving into the top 6 selections. They are willing to load the cannon to land a top prospect. They have spoken to the Giants about the 2nd overall pick and like Josh Rosen and Josh Allen very much. At the 6th selection, they would move up for Baker Mayfield. The most important decision the Bills have made in a decade and one that dictates the future of a franchise that just ended the longest playoff drought in recent history.
2. Offensive Line – The Bills flipped first round picks with the Bengals for LT Cordy Glenn to move up to the 12th overall selection. They suffered loses with the retirements of center Eric Wood and guard Richie Incognito. That leaves their line decimated and a major need. They signed center Russell Bodine. They have needs everywhere with tackle the highest priority. They like Mike McGlinchey in the first round, though their two 1st round picks may be part of a QB move. They like center/guard Billy Price, tackle Brian O’Neill and guards Austin Corbett and Braden Smith on the 2nd day. All are good fits here. Young OT Dion Dawkins stepped up and claimed a rookie starting job. Expect a few high selections for this unit.
3. Defensive Line – Bills hope to add an interior lineman. They did resign gritty Kyle Williams to a one-year deal. The Bills run defense was terrible and needs an anchor on the inside. They signed DT Star Lotulelei who has talent, but only slightly above average in Carolina. They like Nathan Shepherd, RJ McIntosh and Trent Thompson and see them as flexible defenders for their front. They will look to improve their pass rush and want to add edge rushers like Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Kemoko Turay in the 2nd day. Both play up and down and good fits here. They did sign OLB Trent Murphy who is a tough edge defender if he returns to form before his 2017 suspension and injury.
4. Wide Receiver – The Bills have little depth here and at their skill positions in general. They will probably have to wait until at least the middle round and like Tre’Quan Smith and Allen Lazard there. They may address this unit twice over the 3rd day of the draft. They also hope to land a TE prospect and like Mike Gesicki in the 2nd and Durham Smythe and Troy Fumagalli in the early 3rd day.
5. Running Back – The Bills ground game performed very well again with LeSean McCoy playing at a high level. He gets nicked up annually but is still a solid feature back. They signed vet Chris Ivory, a hard-nosed back who takes no prisoners. He was a very good addition and provides a fine 1A type. They hope to draft into this deep class with a top 100 selection. They will entertain Nick Chubb and Kerryon Johnson on the 2nd day.

Bills – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects (#12 & #22)
Josh Allen QB Wyoming
Baker Mayfield QB Oklahoma
Billy Price C Ohio St

2nd Day Prospects
  2nd Round (#53 & #56)
Brian O’Neill OT Pittsburgh
Justin Reid S Stanford
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo LB Oklahoma
Kemoko Turay DE Rutgers

  3rd Round (#65 & #96)
Austin Corbett OL Nevada
Nathan Shepherd DT Fort Hays St
Braden Smith OL Auburn
Trent Thompson DT Georgia
Jaylen Samuels TE NC St

Insiders’ Insights

The Bills’ finished 9-7 and made the playoffs, ending the longest playoff drought in the league with 17 consecutive seasons with no postseason appearances. They must find a future starter in this class and have the draft picks to move into position to land a top four prospect. The price will be extremely high. New HC Sean McDermott hopes to rebuild a defense with some talent but must improve in run defense and pass pressure. They performed poorly, especially in run defense. They need former #1 pick DE Shaq Lawson to produce more than 4 sacks. They have major needs on their offensive line and that is expected to be addressed early and often. They will probably address their secondary over the middle rounds with both a safety and corner a high priority. They want to add a LBer preferably on the outside with little overall depth.

1st Round Pick – QB Baker Mayfield – Gritty leader has the fire to direct an offense and get results.
Alternate Pick – QB Josh Allen – Athletic passer needs time but could be the best with experience.

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Miami Dolphins – 6-10 – Head Coach – Adam Gase – 3rd Year

Key Team Needs: 1. DT     2. OG       3. DB        4. TE         5. QB
  1st Round Pick – 11th selection – 8 total picks

1. Defensive Line – The Dolphins resigned DE William Hayes, after released Pro Bowl tackle Nda Suh due to salary cap issues. They have both interior and edge problems after a weak defensive performance in 2017. They traded for DE Robert Quinn for a 4th round pick, a good move to help their pass rush. With the top few ends most likely on the board, they will entertain DE Marcus Davenport in the first. They also like DT Vita Vea in the 1st round. They need to improve their front seven with only marginal production from a group of veterans on the downside of their career. They hope to land early starters here to couple with talented Cameron Wake. They are interested in an edge playmaker and have Tremaine Edmunds earmarked for the 11th overall selection if available. They look for former #2 pick Raekwon McMillan to return from a training camp knee injury which cost him the season. Veteran Lawrence Timmons was released.
2. Center/Guard – The Dolphins offense ranked near the bottom of the league in scoring and rushing the ball. They released center Mike Pouncey as a salary cap casualty. They are set at tackles with Laremy Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James. The interior of the line was horrible in 2017 and needs a plug and play performer. They traded stop gap veteran center Daniel Kilgore and signed guard Josh Sitton who can be decent short-term answer. They hope to select an early starter here. They like centers Billy Price and Frank Ragnow in the 2nd and guards Austin Corbett and Braden Smith in the 3rd round. They also like lineman Martinas Rankin on the 3rd round. He has a starting grade after a fine long SEC career. They will address their line twice at least one choice likely a high pick.
3. Defensive Back – The Dolphins could address their secondary at both corner and safety fairly early in the process. They may address the safety spot early and like both Minkah Fitzpatrick and Derwin James very much. Both fit a few key roles in all the packages. CB Ward is most likely off the board, but Alexander would be a boost for their nickel package immediately. They like safeties Justin Reid and Jessie Bates in the 2nd day at a pressing need position. They like corner Denzel Ward and Jaire Alexander in the 1st round and Carlton Davis and Anthony Averett on the 2nd day.
4. Tight End – The Dolphins released starter Julius Thomas this offeseason. They lack a threat in the deep seam and will look to Dallas Goedert, Hayden Hurst and Mike Gesicki on the 2nd day. They like Mark Andrews in the 3rd round if he falls to them. Each of them would give the big play receiver that has been missing. They signed veteran Gavin Escobar in free agency.
5. Quarterback – The Dolphins must develop a Plan B if Ryan Tannehill does not have a breakout season returning from an ACL preseason injury. He has not given them the consistent production and leadership and enters his 7th season. They like QB Baker Mayfield at the 11th selection and he could be a huge surprise here. He has the makeup to win a starting job early in his career.

Dolphins – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects
Tremaine Edmunds LB Virginia Tech
Baker Mayfield QB Oklahoma
Vita Vea DT Washington
Marcus Davenport DE UTSA

2nd Day Prospects
  2nd Round Pick
Billy Price C Ohio St
Dallas Goedert TE South Dakota St
Sony Michel RB Georgia
Tim Settle DT Virginia Tech

  3rd Round Pick
Mark Andrews TE Oklahoma
Braden Smith OG Auburn
Nathan Shepherd DT Fort Hays St
Martinas Rankin OT Mississippi St

Insiders’ Insights

The Dolphins returned to a sub .500 performance after their only playoff appearance in 2016 since the 2008 season. They missed QB Ryan Tannehill who was injured in training camp. They were inconsistent in most key areas with a poor ground game the most glaring problem for their low scoring offense. HC Adam Gase must get their line right to establish a rushing attack. They face a critical draft to improve both lines after key releases of Pro Bowl performer Nda Suh and vet Mike Pouncey. They have several pressing needs mainly at defensive front seven, tight end, guard and safety. They need to add high quality linemen inside to protect Tannehill. They will explore moving back again within the top two rounds for additional picks. With 8 overall picks, they hope to add another top 100 selection for the right price. They want to add early starters like DE/LB Marcus Davenport and safety Derwin James for early impact. They will consider developed OC Billy Price and Frank Ragnow in the mid-2nd round. They like Price very much and feel he addresses a major need area. They are looking at defensive backs, mainly free safeties. They could address this in the 3rd round with the addition of Justin Reid or Jessie Bates. They should add a guard, linebacker and defensive back in the early rounds. They will look to add a tight end and have the luxury of drafting into a deep class with starting talent well into the middle rounds. How they deal with the 11th overall pick related to QB will dictate the direction of his class and probably the team.

1st Round Pick – LB Tremaine Edmunds – He has the athleticism to be a special edge defender.
Alternate Pick – DT Vita Vea – Big time talent with rare versatility to fill interior roles.

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New England Patriots – 13-3 – Head Coach – Bill Belichick – 18th Year

Key Team Needs: 1. LT      2. LB        3. TE        4. CB        5. RB
  1st Round Picks – #23 & 31 – 8 total picks

1. Offensive Tackle – The Pats will probably look to add a quality lineman in the early rounds. They lost LT Nate Solder in free agency leaving a huge opening. They signed veteran LaAdrian Waddle to a one-year contract. They look to #3 pick, LT Antonio Garcia to step up after a season long illness. They like LT Kolton Miller in the late 1st round. They like center/guard Billy Price and Frank Ragnow in the late first or early 2nd rounds. They are expected to add a tackle with one of their five top 100 selections.
2. Linebacker – The Pats lost veterans, James Harrison and David Harris to retirement, leaving little depth. They look to address this area in the draft and possibly with one of their top picks. They like Rashaan Evans and Leighton Vander Esch very much and they would be a plug and play defenders here. They will look for edge rushers in the top 100 and like Uchenna Nwosu and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo in the mid-2nd day. Belichick wants savvy defensive players with the ability to rush the passer off the edge and the flexibility and versatility to play up and down.
3. Tight End – The Patriots have to prepare for the retirement of Rob Gronkowski. Backup Martellus Bennett retired leaving little depth here. They like Dallas Goedert, Mike Gesicki and Hayden Hurst on the early 2nd day. All would be great additions to their passing game and gives them flexibility. They also like Durham Smythe, Chris Herndon and Ian Thomas in the middle rounds.
4. Cornerback – The Pats hope to land one of the better prospects with one of their top selections. They lost veteran corner Malcolm Butler in free agency. They traded for Jason McCourty. They love corner Josh Jackson with one of their two #1 picks and he would be a great fit opposite Stephon Gilmore. They like Carlton Davis, Anthony Averett and Kevin Toliver on the 2nd day and they would be good additions here. They like Isaac Yiadom and MJ Stewart in the middle rounds. They may address this position with two selections over the process.
5. Running Back – The Pats lost another veteran to free agency in Deon Lewis. They will rely on veteran James White, though will look to add a tailback in the middle rounds. They are seeking a developed back and like Nick Chubb, Kerryon Johnson and Mark Walton on the 2nd day. They like versatile Justin Jackson and Akrum Wadley in the middle rounds.

Patriots – Short List Players
  1st Round Pick – 2 picks – (#23 & #31)
Rashaan Evans LB Alabama
Joshua Jackson CB Iowa
Taven Bryan DT Florida
Kolton Miller OT UCLA

  2nd Round 2 picks – (#43 & #63)
Hayden Hurst TE South Carolina
Carlton Davis CB Auburn
Frank Ragnow C Arkansas
Uchenna Nwosu LB USC
Nick Chubb RB Georgia
Mark Andrews TE Oklahoma
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo LB Oklahoma

  3rd Round –
Kevin Toliver CB LSU
Chukwuma Okorafor OT Western Michigan
Duke Dawson CB Florida

Insiders’ Insights

The Pats went to another Super Bowl, but came up short to the Eagles. QB Tom Brady performed brilliantly despite being 40 years old. HC Bill Belichick continues to orchestrate the pieces to dominate the weak AFC East. They do a great job by adding veteran players and this offseason added DT Danny Shelton and DE Adrian Clayborn. They traded speedy veteran Brandin Cooks for the #23 pick. They will most likely address their back seven a few times with five top 100 picks. They will try to add a quality offensive lineman and like Kolton Miller in the late 1st round. They have little behind Pro Bowl TE Rob Gronkowski and would like to add another playmaker like Goedert or Gesicki. They like a few corners and have earmarked Josh Jackson and Carlton Davis with a high selection. They like Duke Dawson very much as a nickel corner and early starting grade.

1st Round Pick – LB Rashaan Evans – Emerging versatile defender would be an impact addition here.
1st Round Pick – OT Kolton Miller – Agile physical blocker with a starting grade at either tackle spot.
Alternate Pick – CB Joshua Jackson – Pats like his ball hawking skills.

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New York Jets – 5-11 – Head Coach – Todd Bowles – 4th Year

Key Team Needs: 1. QB        2. OT         3. TE       4. WR        5. LB
 1st Round Pick – 3rd selection – 6 total picks

1. Quarterback – The Jets front office re-signed starter Josh McCown who actually had a good 2017 season. He will enter camp as the starter with newly signed Teddy Bridgewater vying for the job. They traded up from the 6th overall pick for the 3rd overall selection to land one of the top three prospects. They surrendered three #2 picks, two this year and one for the NFL Draft 2019. They have their top three QBs lined up and will go with one of them. Josh Rosen is the leading candidate and a fine passer. His injury history has hurt his grade. Baker Mayfield is a gritty mobile passer with fine accuracy and the intangibles to handle the pressure. Josh Allen is a huge talent who is still raw and needs to sit at least one season if not two. They have done that with Christian ackenberg with questionable results. Look for one of the veterans McCown or Bridgewater to direct this offense into midseason before the situation gets more clarity. The decision the Jets make here can define this franchise for the next decade.
2. Offensive Tackle – The Jets’ front office is considering moving up to the end of the first round with their 3rd round pick and a high 2019 selection to land LT Kolton Miller. He would give them a quality left tackle on a line with both tackle spots open. They like Martinas Rankin and Orlando Brown in the 3rd round.
3. Tight End – The Jets have a weak unit here with marginal production annually. They lost Austin Seferian-Jenkins in free agency. They are expected to draft into this class. They like Mark Andrews in the 3rd round if available. They like speedy Ian Thomas along with prospects Ryan Izzo and Durham Smythe on the 3rd day.
4. Wide Receiver – The Jets have 15 wide receivers on the roster entering the NFL Draft. They exercised their option on Quincy Enunwa who was a factor in their passing game prior to a knee injury. Young vet Robby Anderson faces off the field issues after a good 2017 performance. They hope to draft a prospect in the early rounds with starting potential. They like Deon Cain in the 3rd round and feel he gives them the vertical threat that has been missing for years. They may address this area with two selections over the three days.
5. Linebacker – Jets parted ways with Demario Davis. They signed Avery Williamson to couple with emerging Darron Lee on the inside. They would like to add an edge rushers for their package defense. They could draft into a good class with players like Josh Sweat and Kemoko Turay most likely available in the 3rd round.

Insiders’ Insights

The Jets duplicated another 5-11 season and are in the middle of a major overhaul that looks to find their franchise QB this year. They have huge problems at QB, in addition to along their offensive line, no tight end and overall defense. The annual QB problem may be solved at the 3rd overall selection. Trading up in the first round for three 2nd round picks seems expensive, but was a wise move in light of the fact that the Bills and Dolphins are interested in addressing the position. They must address the QB situation to compete for a playoff position. They will sit at the #3 overall pick and choose the best QB on the board, most likely Josh Rosen. Veteran RB Matt Forte retired. They signed runner Isaiah Crowell, a good upgrade. Added center Spencer Long. They released DL Muhammad Wilkerson for salary cap reasons after another problem child effort. The line will have to be addressed over the middle rounds. They improved their secondary significantly with the signing of CB Tremaine Johnson and resigning Morris Claiborne. Rookie safety tandem of Adams and Maye could be special. The addition of ILB Avery Williamson can be a stabilizing force next to Darron Lee. Offense has pressing issues at tackle and tight end which are earmarked with early round additions. They hope to continue to add to their defensive front, though most will be 3rd day picks. GM Mike Maccagnan has made nice offseason changes, but needs a strong class especially getting the right QB in the building.

1st Round Pick – QB Josh Rosen – Slick thrower has the talent, but must prove durable facing the NFL fronts.
Alternate Pick – QB Josh Allen – Great looking prospect, though more a thrower than passer at this point.

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AFC North
Baltimore Ravens – 9-7 – Head Coach – John Harbaugh – 11th Year

Key Team Needs: 1. WR      2. OLB        3. OL         4. CB       5. TE
  1st Round Pick – 16th selection – 8 total picks

1. Wide Receiver – The Ravens have major issues at this position with veterans Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin released after the season. Former top pick Breshad Perriman has been a major disappointment for the third straight season. They have little depth. They signed Michael Crabtree and John Brown who will fit in nicely in their wide sets. They will most likely address this position at least once and possibly early in the process. They hope to draft into this group and like Calvin Ridley and DJ Moore very much in the mid-1st round. They also like Deon Cain, Equanimeous St. Brown and Michael Gallup in the 3rd round.
2. Linebacker – The Ravens are looking for a difference maker off the edge and want to draft into this deep class. They are probably out of reach for LB Tremaine Edmunds and Marcus Davenport. They like Rashaan Evans in the mid first round and see him as an inside/outside defender for all types of schemes. He is probably available at the 16th overall pick. They also like Lorenzo Carter in the 2nd round after a dominant effort in 2017. They have veteran Terrell Suggs (36) returning for 16th season. They look to young LBers Tyus Bowser and Matt Judon to step up. They want to add a quality prospect like Kemoko Turay in the mid-2nd round. They like Josh Sweat in the 3rd round as underrated rushers.
3. Offensive Line – The Ravens re-signed RT James Hurst. They look for the return of Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda who turns 34 this season. They look to add interior linemen with both center and guard important. They have weak depth and need to address this unit by the middle rounds. They like Billy Price, Austin Corbett and Frank Ragnow in the 2nd round. They could also add a quality blocker in Martinas Rankin in the 3rd round.
4. Cornerback – The Ravens addressed this position with their #1 pick last year in Marlon Humphrey who came on nicely as a top flight cover man. Veteran Jimmy Smith mans the other position with little depth. They signed Brandon Carr in FA. They like Donte Jackson, Tarvarus McFadden and Duke Dawson and all could available in the mid-3rd round. They like MJ Stewart and Tony Brown earmarked for the early 3rd day.
5. Tight End – The Ravens have struggled here in recent seasons with former #2 pick Maxx Williams never fully healthy. Their passing attack ranked 29th last season with little help from this position. They hope to draft into a good class and like several prospects on the 2nd and 3rd days. They like Dallas Goedert very much though most likely gone by their 2nd round pick. They also like Mike Gesicki and Hayden Hurst in the 2nd and have them on their short list. They like Ian Thomas on the 3rd day.

Ravens – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects
D.J. Moore WR Maryland
Rashaan Evans LB Alabama
Taven Bryan DL Florida

2nd Day Prospects
  2nd Round
Lorenzo Carter LB Georgia
Billy Price C Ohio St
Nathan Shepherd DT Fort Hays St
Hayden Hurst TE South Carolina

  3rd Round
R.J. McIntosh DT Miami
Kemoko Turay DE/LB Rutgers
Josh Sweat DE/LB Florida St

Insiders’ Insights

The Ravens’ missed the playoffs again mainly due to a struggling passing game. Their front office has been one of the best in the league under the direction of GM Ozzie Newsome and Assistant GM Eric DeCosta. This will be Newsome’s final draft class that included two Super Bowl titles. DeCosta will take over the reins and he is one of the most astute talent evaluators in the NFL. They need a strong class this spring to return to the postseason. Former top pick LT Ronnie Stanley settled into left tackle nicely and should be a bookend here. Interior of the line needs to add talent. They look to improve their pass pressure with new edge rushers and like Lorenzo Carter very much. They must throw the ball better with Joe Flacco and protect the pocket passer better. They usually address need and value very well and effectively. Their linebacking unit may be their highest priority. They will look to improve their secondary with a quality cover man who can play nickel role this season. They have shown the ability to move up or back in the draft for the right prospect especially in early rounds. They will focus on the defensive front, edge backers and skill positions. They may address RB in the 3rd day and will consider Mark Walton in the 4th round. With their #1 pick, they hope to land one of the top edge defenders and like Rashaan Evans very much.

1st Round Pick – WR D.J. Moore – Playmaker would be a great fit for this passing attack.
Alternate Pick – LB Rashaan Evans – Another Bama connection for Ozzie’s final draft class.

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Cincinnati Bengals – 7-9 – Head Coach – Marvin Lewis – 16th Year

Key Team Needs: 1. OL      2. LB       3. DT      4. QB         5. WR
  1st Round Pick – 21st selection – 11 total picks

1. Offensive Line – The Bengals struggled on the outside after letting LT Andrew Whitworth leave in FA last year along with guard Kevin Zeitler. They lost center Russell Bodine this year. They should address this area with one of their top two selections. They traded back in the first round for vet OT Cordy Glenn. He gives them a solid versatile tackle for either side. They like centers Billy Price and Frank Ragnow very much in the first round. They want a plug and play guard and like Austin Corbett and Braden Smith on the 2nd day. They fit on the inside. LT Cedric Ogbuehi struggled on the left side and faces camp competition.
2. Linebacker – The Bengals failed to get consistency from this unit in 2017. They lost Kevin Minter in FA, but signed Preston Brown to man the Mike spot. They are looking for an outside backer and like Jerome Baker and Oren Burks on the 3rd round. Leighton Vander Esch could be a surprise #1 selection.
3. Defensive Tackle – This front four is starting to show age and struggled stopping the run last season. Veterans starters, Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins are still fine performers. They signed Chris Baker to a one-year deal after losing Pat Sims. They must get more pass pressure to improve as a unit. Their run defense was poor and a two-way defender like Maurice Hearst may be their best 1st round option. He is an interior penetrator next to Geno Atkins. They also like Da’Ron Payne in the first to compliment Atkins. They like BJ Hill in the 2nd round and he carries an early starting grade. They like PJ Hall and Deadrin Senat in the middle rounds.
4. Quarterback – The Bengals lost vet AJ McCarron in free agency. They look to add a potential starter here with veteran Andy Dalton struggling in this attack behind marginal protection. They will consider Mason Rudolph in the first and Mike White and Kyle Lauletta in the middle rounds. Dalton has declined behind a weak line and too many injury prone skill positions players. They will probably address this area with a top 100 selection.
5. Wide Receiver – The Bengals have highly rated players on the roster, though marginal production. They look to young players John Ross and Tyler Boyd to step up this preseason to become productive weapons in three wide sets. Ross had no catches as a rookie dealing with shoulder surgery. Boyd failed to repeat his strong rookie season and faces a key preseason. They have little depth and could address this unit with a pick in the middle rounds.

Bengals – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects
Billy Price C Ohio St
Maurice Hurst DT Michigan
Isaiah Wynn OG Georgia

2nd Day Prospects
  2nd Round
Braden Smith OG Auburn
Uchenna Nwosu LB USC
Malik Jefferson LB Texas

  3rd Round
Martinas Rankin OT Mississippi St
DeShon Elliott S Texas
Jerome Baker LB Ohio St

Insiders’ Insights

The Bengals went 7-9 last season with changes at key positions especially on the front line. They will still work around veterans QB Andy Dalton and WR AJ Green. The line will undergo changes after weak performances at several positions. They need impact from skill position players with a stronger ground game, which fell noticeably last season. They face major issues this offseason, especially on defense to be able to return to the playoffs. They had a deep class last April, though little 2017 production due to injuries. They could select an edge rusher early in this draft. They also need to add a cover man in a deep corner class in the late rounds. They could use their top pick on a defensive lineman and like Maurice Hurst very much. In addition, they must address the linebacker unit and possibly with a high selection. They hope to address the secondary and possibly with multiple picks at corner after releasing Adam ‘Pac Man’ Jones.

1st Round Pick – OC Billy Price – Rugged savvy lineman with Pro Bowl skill set at any interior position.
Alternate Pick – DT Maurice Hurst – Explosive interior penetrator wreaks havoc in a three-technique role.

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Cleveland Browns – 0-16 – Head Coach – Hue Jackson – 3rd Year

Key Team Needs: 1. QB      2. CB        3. OT       4. DT       5. LB
  1st Round Pick – 1st and 4th overall picks – 9 total picks

1. Quarterback – The Browns get a chance to end the QB saga. Just two years ago they held the #2 overall pick and a chance at either Carson Wentz or Jared Goff and they traded out for extra picks. They went 0-16 last season. That’s a O in the win column. They have been a disaster for over a decade especially related to the QB decision. Last season, their offense finished 31st in rushing and one of the lowest scoring clubs in the league. They traded for vet Tyrod Taylor, a good bridge QB until the new blue-chip prospect is ready. They traded young QB Deshone Kizer for DB Damarius Randall and later swapped picks. They have Sam Darnold rated their #1 passer and are prepared to select him. They may begin to negotiate with him the week prior to the NFL Draft 2018. HC Hue Jackson drafted Kizer and Cody Kessler over recent years along with signing RG3. They may not be more than career backups. They also hold the #4 overall pick this year and have blue chip runner Saquon Barkley, DE Bradley Chubb and OG Quenton Nelson on their short list. Chubb and Barkley are very good fits here.
2. Cornerback – The Browns secondary improved last season after huge coverage issues in 2016. Nevertheless, they allowed the 2nd most point in the NFL in 2017. They have struggled in coverage since parting ways with veteran Joe Haden. They could address this position with the #4 overall pick with Denzel Ward. They also like a few corners in the early 2nd round and like Josh Jackson and Carlton Davis. They need to address this area in the early rounds with quality starters. They like Isaiah Oliver and Anthony Averett in the late 2nd round and both would be excellent additions.
3. Offensive Line – The Browns’ perennial All-Pro LT Joe Thomas retired after his 11th season. He was truly a HOF performer who played for a terrible team. His retirement leaves a huge opening on the outside and an area they look to address with one of their early selections. They may use their first #2 pick on Kolton Miller a huge left tackle prospect. They also like Brian O’Neill on the 2nd day and see him as a LT in time. They have subpar depth and will probably look to add at least two linemen with one a developed tackle.
4. Defensive Line – The Browns traded Danny Shelton to the Patriots with a 5th round pick this year for a 3rd round pick in the NFL Draft 2019. They like Maurice Hurst in the early 2nd round and see him as the interior penetrator they have been lacking. They also like Harrison Phillips and Tim Settle in the 2nd round. They may use one of their three 2nd round picks here with BJ Hill and Nathan Shepherd probably available with the 64th overall selection.

Browns – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects – Picks #1 and #4
Sam Darnold QB Southern Cal
Josh Rosen QB UCLA
Saquon Barkley RB Penn St
Bradley Chubb DE NC St

2nd Day Prospects
  2nd Round – 3 picks (#33, #35 #64)
Kolton Miller OT UCLA
Maurice Hurst DT Michigan
Tyrell Crosby OT Oregon
Sony Michel RB Georgia
Carlton Davis CB Auburn
Nathan Shepherd DT Fort Hays St
Justin Reid S Stanford
Rasheem Green DL Southern Cal

 3rd Round – No pick

Insiders’ Insights

The Browns face the most pivotal draft class in their history after recent colossal mistakes. They hold 5 of the top 64 selections and 9 overall draft choices. They have been a struggling franchise the past decade with continuous major mistakes at QB and ongoing staff and system changes. Passing on Carson Wentz two years ago was inexcusable. They hold two #1s this year the first and fourth overall selections. They most likely hold the top pick and choose the QB they like the most – Sam Darnold. Their extra draft choices give them leverage to move within the top rounds. They face a critical draft class with many pressing needs. With a high number of selections, they have the luxury of dipping into the deep running back, linebacker and defensive back classes. They added several skill positions like receivers, Jarvis Landry and re-signed talented Josh Gordon to give them a potent receiving corps entering camp. Running back Carlos Hyde can be a workhorse back in Ohio and can be a force entering his prime. They will most likely focus on offense early with defense at linebacker and corner getting a high priority.

1st Round Pick – QB Sam Darnold – Young franchise type passer has the talent to be among the best in the game if given time.
1st Round Pick – DE Bradley Chubb – Great bookend edge rusher opposite last year’s top pick Myles Garrett.
Alternate Pick – Josh Rosen – Slick throwing junior has the talent, but must prove durable in the NFL.

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Pittsburgh Steelers – 13-3 – Head Coach – Mike Tomlin – 12th  Year

Key Team Needs: 1. LB       2. OT       3. S        4. RB       5. QB
  1st Round Pick – 28th selection – 7 total picks

1. Linebacker – The Steelers’ tough defense runs off their big play linebacking unit. The have pressing needs here after a career ending injury to Ryan Shazier and the late season release of James Harrison who retired this offseason. Shazier sustained a serious spinal injury which he continues to recover from but probably done in football. They have marginal depth and could address this unit with two of their 7 selections. They used last year’s top pick on TJ Watt and he provided impact off the edge. With the 28th selection, they like Rashaan Evans and Leighton Vander Esch, though both probably come off the board 5- 10 picks earlier. Both would be great fits here. They also like Uchenna Nwosu in the 2nd and Malik Jefferson in the 3rd rounds. They may draft an inside backer early and an outside defender later in the process.
2. Offensive Tackle – The Steelers were disappointed with their line play especially at left tackle LT Villanueva who was over matched too often that restricted the play calling. They like LT Kolton Miller in the 1st and Brian O’Neill, Tyrell Crosby and Martinas Rankin on the 2nd day. They hope to improve this position with a potential starter. They love OT Crosby in the 2nd round and see him as a versatile right side blocker. He carries a rookie starting grade at either RT or guard. They will consider center Frank Ragnow and a surprise pick in the 1st round.
3. Safety – The Steelers’ added Sean Davis two years ago with a #2 pick and he has performed well in both run and pass defense. They have marginal depth here and would like to upgrade a starter to couple with Davis. They like the physicality of Kyzir White and have him on their 2nd day short list. They hope to land a top safety and in this strong class they like Justin Reid who has developed quickly over his late career. They will give Jordan Whitehead and Godwin Igwebuike strong consideration in the 3rd day. They should address this position with a fairly early round selection.
4. Running Back – The Steelers used the exclusive franchise tag on Le’Veon Bell. They also drafted James Connor last year in the 3rd round and like his long term potential. They will look for a 1A type and like scatback Nyheim Hines with return skills to be a multi-purpose threat. They also like Ito Smith and feel he can give them a change of pace runner.
5. Quarterback – The Steelers are looking for a starter here with the annual Ben Roethlisberger retirement rumors becoming louder and more often. They will consider Mason Rudolph in the first round and feel he is a good fit for this offense. They also like two big passers in Mike White and Chase Litton in the middle rounds.

Steelers – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects
Leighton Vander Esch LB Boise St
Kolton Miller OT UCLA
Frank Ragnow C Arkansas
Mason Rudolph QB Oklahoma St

2nd Day Prospects
  2nd Round
Brian O’Neill OT Pittsburgh
Justin Reid S Stanford
Uchenna Nwosu LB USC
Tyrell Crosby OT Oregon

  3rd Round
Malik Jefferson LB Texas
Kyzir White S West Virginia
Chukwuma Okorafor OT Western Michigan
Mike White QB Western Kentucky
Fred Warner LB Brigham Young

Insiders’ Insights

The Steelers won the AFC North title for the third time in the past four seasons behind QB Ben Roethlisberger and the power running of Le’Veon Bell. Their tough defense was impressive on paper, but came up short in the big games, especially failing in their loss to the Jaguars when they surrendered 45 points. Big Ben had another fine performance, though durability is a concern going forward. They face a critical draft with pressing issues on defense especially at linebacker. They are hoping backers Leighton Vander Esch or Rashaan Evans is available in the 1st round. They will probably address that unit twice. They need to address the OT position and will consider Kolton Miller in the first and Brian O’Neill in 2nd round. At the safety spot, they most likely address with a high pick and like both Justin Reid and Jesse Bates very much on the 2nd day. Both can line up at a few spots in their package defenses. They usually stand pat and stay with their value board They will look to address their biggest needs through the early rounds on defense with the linebacking unit and on offense the tackle position vital. With runner LeVeon Bell coming off another huge season, how they handle his franchise tag will have a bearing on their decision making. They hope to draft into the deep RB class thru the middle rounds. They like QB Mason Rudolph in the late 1st round very much.

1st Round Pick – LB Leighton Vander Esch – Athletic inside backer would be a great presence here immediately.
Alternate Pick – OT Kolton Miller – Massive agile tackle has a big upside to man the left side role.

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AFC South
Houston Texans – 4-12 – Head Coach – Bill O’Brien – 5th Year

Key Team Needs: 1. OT       2. LB      3. S       4. TE        5. RB
  3rd Round Pick – 68th selection – 8 total picks

1. Offensive Tackle – The Texans hope to improve this position with a potential starter. They do not select until the 68th draft choice. They like OT Martinas Rankin in the early 3rd round and see him as a versatile left side blocker. He carries a rookie starting grade. They will consider Chukwuma Okorafor and Joseph Noteboom on the 3rd round. Both are highly regarded, though each needing some further development.
2. Linebacker – The Texans released veteran Brian Cushing, a fixture on this tough unit for a decade. They have first year Zack Cunningham in the wings and he projects as the new starter. Nevertheless, they have little dept on a unit that sustained a few injuries in 2018. They like Malik Jefferson, a versatile rangy defender who gets to the ball and finishes. The Texans have little depth on this talented unit and may address area twice. They like Ogbonnia Okoronkwo on the 2nd day and feel he can help on the outside. They are interested in adding a quality starter and like Fred Warner who projects more to the inside than outside in this scheme.
3. Safety – Texans’ had one of the premier defenses in 2016 and 2015. Last season, they allowed the most points in the NFL, a huge change mainly due to multiple injuries. Their secondary play was weak and they hope to add a free safety with coverage skills. They signed veteran Tyrann Mathieu and hope he brings playmaking ability to a need area. They will probably use a top 100 selection here with Jessie Bates on their 3rd round list. They also like Kyzir White later in the round, though both are developed and continue to improve. Expect an early selection here.
4. Tight End – Texans lack a playmaker here, though starter C.J. Fiedorowicz is a good two-way performer. They like Mark Andrews here and he would be a fine addition. Jaylen Samuels could be a surprise 3rd round pick. He has good speed and run after the catch ability to give them a threat in the deep seam. They need a prospect with speed and will consider Ian Thomas in the 4th round.

Texans – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects – No Pick

2nd Day Prospects
  2nd Round – No pick

 3rd Round – 3 Picks (#68, #80 & #98)
Jaylen Samuels TE NC St
Martinas Rankin OT Mississippi St
Malik Jefferson LB Texas
Jessie Bates S Wake Forest
Kyzir White S West Virginia
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo LB Oklahoma
Duke Dawson CB Florida
Mark Andrews TE Oklahoma

Insiders’ Insights

The Texans fell to a 4-12 record crumbled under an avalanche of injuries at key positions. With JJ Watt out the start of the season, rookie QB Deshaun Watson went down at midseason that ended any hope of threepeat for the AFC South title. They still have the components to be a dominant defense with the healthy return of Watt and Mercilus. Their offense improved nicely under Watson and would benefit from latent along the line and a receiving threat at tight end. They hope to build further through the draft with tight end, offensive tackle, safety and outside linebacker the positions they have earmarked. There will a strong emphasis on offense to assist Watson. They hope to address their problem areas on offense early especially at OT and TE. They will look to add a tight end threat to stretch the defense and will entertain Jaylen Samuels in the 3rd round. They hope to add a left tackle in the early 3rd round and like Martinas Rankin very much. They want to add a developed backer and like Malik Jefferson very much. With a deep group of edge rushers, they look to add a quality prospect in the top 100 selections.

3rd Round Pick – TE Jaylen Samuels – Texans would utilize his unique talent and give Watson another weapon.
Alternate Pick – OT Martinas Rankin – Agile left tackle gives them many options on the outside.

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Indianapolis Colts – 4-12 – Head Coach – Frank Reich – 1st Year

Key Team Needs: 1. LB      2. CB       3. RB       4. OT       5. TE
  1st Round Pick – 6th selection – 9 total picks

1. Linebacker – The Colts defense took another pounding in 2017 and ranked 30th overall again. They have equal problems in run support and pass defense. They added safety Malik Hooker with their #1 pick last April and he has impact talent. They need that from the edge with a pass rusher to pressure the passer. They love Bradley Chubb and sit at the #6 spot hoping he falls to them. They like Tremaine Edmunds and could even trade back and select the blue-chip prospect. They also like Lorenzo Carter and Harold Landry very much in the early 2nd round.
2. Cornerback – The Colts drafted two corners last year, Quincy Wilson and Nate Hairston and they like them both. They look for further development. They still give up too many big plays in the secondary especially at cornerback. They need a young cover man who can play the nickel corner role. They like Denzel Ward in the 1st and Carlton Davis in the 2nd round. In the 3rd round, they like Anthony Averett and Kevin Toliver. All have good coverage skills and Ward and Averett can also line up over the slot receiver. They could draft two corners in a deep group with marginal backups currently on the roster.
3. Running Back – The Colts’ ground game ranked near the bottom of the league again with only a marginal passing attack to balance an offense. Tough vet Frank Gore left in free agency. Rookie Marlon Mack has talent and could fill a 1A type role with development, but more is need here. The backfield lacks speed and needs talent and they will most likely address in the early rounds. They like Sony Michel, Rashaad Penny and Ron Jones in the 2nd day. Versatile Nyheim Hines would provide a special weapon in the 3rd round.
4. Tackle – The Colts’ line allowed the most sacks in the league in 2017. QB Andrew Luck returns from a season long shoulder rehab. This unit needs to improve especially on the outside. They can most likely have their choice of any tackle and like Mike McGlinchey but feel they can get him in the middle of the first round. Luck took a terrific beating his final two seasons and that must stop if the Colts expect to return to AFC South contention after a three-year playoff absence. They re-signed guard Jack Mewhort and Matt Slauson in FA and hope he stays healthy. They need interior depth with a potential starter at guard.
5. Tight End – The Colts signed veteran Eric Ebron who struggled in Detroit. He has the speed to run the seam and could become a favorite of QB Andrew Luck. Veteran Jack Doyle is a reliable performer. They would be tempted to draft Dallas Goedert in the early 2nd round. They are also entertaining drafting Mike Gesicki in the 2nd round. He would become an impact performer here working with Luck. They also like versatile Jaylen Samuels to give them a movement player who can also lineup in the backfield.

Colts – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects
Denzel Ward CB Ohio St
Tremaine Edmunds LB Virginia Tech
Mike McGlinchey OT Notre Dame
Leighton Vander Esch LB Boise St

2nd Day Prospects
  2nd Round
Lorenzo Carter LB Georgia
Sony Michel RB Georgia
Dallas Goedert TE South Dakota St
Harold Landry LB Boston College
Carlton Davis CB Auburn
Tyrell Crosby OT Oregon

 3rd Round
Anthony Averett CB Alabama
Mark Andrews TE Oklahoma
Rashaad Penny RB San Diego St

Insiders’ Insights

The Colts crashed to 4-12 without Andrew Luck after going .500 the prior two seasons following three straight 11-5 records. They missed the playoffs for the 3rd consecutive time since Andrew Luck entered the league in 2012. They hold 6 of the top 104 picks with 4 in the top 50 and 9 overall selections. This roster lacks talent and shows little depth on either side of the ball. Luck is still arguably one of the premier players in the league. GM Chris Ballard had a quality first draft class and is positioned to get a talented and deep group with many prime selections. The Colts have gotten only marginal contributions from free agency signings. They added LBers John Simon and Jabaal Sheard, their current starters. They released DT Johnathan Hankins after one season. They are many prime picks that could be the foundation of a much improved defense. They will draft into the deep TE, RB, backer and defensive back groups and are positioned to have a strong draft class. They need a more consistent ground game after finishing 22nd in the league in rushing. Their line play was poor and another quality blocker is almost a necessity. They hope to land a top tackle and like Mike McGlinchey very much in the 1st round. They hope to add a running back and tight end and probably with a top 50 selection.

1st Round Pick – LB Tremaine Edmunds – Colts defense ranks with the worst in the game with this minimal pressure.
Alternate Pick – OT Mike McGlinchey – Rugged tackle could be the missing component to this young line.

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Jacksonville Jaguars – 10-6 – Head Coach – Doug Marrone – 2nd Year

Key Team Needs: 1. WR       2. OT      3. TE        4. LB       5. S
  1st Round Pick – 29th selection – 7 total picks

1. Wide Receiver – The Jaguars struggled throwing the ball in 2017 with inconsistencies from QB Blake Bortles the prime reason. They lost veteran Allen Robinson in free agency, though did sign Donte Moncrief. They did re-sign vet Marquise Lee. With the 29th overall pick, they like DJ Moore and Christian Kirk if available. Both are fast playmakers to give this offense a boost. They hope to improve their return game with a backup like Dante Pettis on the 2nd day.
2. Offensive Tackle – The Jaguars’ line showed some improvement in 2017 and signed Pro Bowl guard Andrew Norwell. There are concerns at both tackle spots and they could add a tackle in the early rounds. QB Blake Bortles can improve with better protection. Rookie LT Cam Robinson did a fine job and one of the steals of the draft class. They like OT Kolton Miller with the 29th selection. They like Martinas Rankin and Orlando Brown for the outside in the late 2nd round.
3. Tight End – They released veteran Mercedes Lewis. They signed Austin Seferian-Jenkins. They could surprise and select Dallas Goedert in the first round. They like his upside potential as a two-way performer especially a threat in the middle seam.
4. Linebacker – The Jaguars will look to land a developed prospect in the early rounds after the retirement of Paul Posluszny. They are probably too late in the first round to select either Evans or Vander Esch. They like inside LB Micah Kiser in the middle rounds. They could add an outside backer like Darius Leonard or Oren Burks and move Myles Jack inside. They have little depth on this unit either inside or outside. HC Marrone wants to upgrade here and could address this area by the middle rounds.
5. Safety – The Jaguars secondary improved last season with the #1 pass defense in the league. Some can be attributed to the line that pressured the QB consistently. The secondary improved immensely with young Pro Bowl corner Jalen Ramsey and FA addition A.J. Bouye, forming the best corner tandem in the game. Their safety play needs to improve, though Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson did an adequate job. They will consider Ronnie Harrison in the late first and also like Kyzir White in the 3rd round.

Jaguars – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects
Dallas Goedert TE South Dakota St
Kolton Miller OT UCLA
Christian Kirk WR Texas A&M
Ronnie Harrison S Alabama

2nd Day Prospects
  2nd Round
Martinas Rankin OT Mississippi St
Justin Reid S Stanford
Mark Andrews TE Oklahoma

  3rd Round
Fred Warner LB Brigham Young
Kyzir White S West Virginia
Oren Burks LB Vanderbilt

Insiders’ Insights

The Jaguars made huge strides last season winning the AFC South for the first time since 1999. They lost to the Patriots in a very tough AFC championship game. HC Marrone did a great job with new defensive veterans DE Calais Campbell coupling with DT Malik Jackson and DE Yannick Ngakoue to form an imposing front four. The addition of CB AJ Bouye formed an excellent pair with Ramsey. Last year’s draft class focused on premier offensive players and landed tailback Leonard Fournette. He was instrumental in the league’s #1 ground game. This class should look to the offensive side of the ball again with a feature receiver and tackle their primary need. They want to improve their offensive line with at least prime selection for that unit. That look for young Blake Bortles to continue his improvement. They will consider QB Mason Randolph in the late first round. They have pressing issues at WR, RT, TE, LB and safety and will look to improve those areas fairly early. The defense has needs especially the linebacker and secondary positions. They will probably address both units fairly early according to the value available on the board.

1st Round Pick – TE Dallas Goedert – Big fast tight end gives this offense an added dimension.
Alternate Pick – OT Kolton Miller – Massive athletic tackle has left side skill set with further development.

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Tennessee Titans – 9-7 – Head Coach – Mike Vrabel – 1st Year

Key Team Needs: 1. LB      2. OG       3. WR      4. DL       5. LB
  1st Round Pick – 25th selection – 6 total picks

1. Linebacker – Titans have age on the outside with Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan showing age. They lost ILB Avery Williamson to the Jets and did not signed any new veterans. They need talent and depth here and could address this unit twice even though they have only 6 overall picks. They will entertain top backers Rashaan Evans and Leighton Vander Esch with the #25 overall pick. They will consider Malik Jefferson in the 2nd and Oren Burks in the 3rd rounds. They hope to add an attack backer and like Lorenzo Carter and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo in the 2nd round. They also like Kemoko Turay and Josh Sweat in the 3rd round.
2. Offensive Line – The Titans are set on the edges with Jack Conklin and Taylor Lewan to form one of the best tandems in the league. They signed veteran Xavier Su’a-Fila who was disappointing in Houston. They have pressing needs at guard and like Isaiah Wynn and Will Hernandez in the 1st round. Both are plug and play blockers who would be an excellent fit here. They will also consider Austin Corbett and Braden Smith on the 2nd round.
3. Wide Receiver – The Titans receiving corps have used several high picks here on Dorial Green-Beckham, Kendall Wright and Corey Davis with little production. Davis began to produce late in his rookie season and has the talent to be a good #1 receiver. They still hope to add a playmaker and possibly early in the process. They like speedsters DJ Chark and Deon Cain and both are good fits for the outside role. They are interested in DaeSean Hamilton in the 3rd round.
4. Defensive End – The Titans have adequate talent on their three man front except for Pro Bowl DE Jurrelll Casey. They hope to add both an end and nose tackle. They like Taven Bryan in the 1st and Da’Shawn Hand and Rasheem Green in the 2nd rounds. They also like NT Tim Settle in the 2nd and Derrick Nnadi in the 3rd round. The Titans want to draft into this deep class.

Titans – Short List Players
   1st Round Prospects
Rashaan Evans LB Alabama
Taven Bryan DT Florida
Dallas Goedert TE South Dakota St
D.J Chark WR LSU

2nd Day Prospects
   2nd Round
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo LB Oklahoma
Austin Corbett OL Nevada
Malik Jefferson LB Texas
Mark Andrews TE Oklahoma

3rd Round
Nyheim Hines RB North Carolina St
Da’Shawn Hand DE Alabama
Oren Burks LB Vanderbilt
DaeSean Hamilton WR Penn St
Trent Thompson DT Georgia

Insiders’ Insights

The Titans repeated a 9-7 season which included making playoffs and winning their first postseason game since 2003. Nevertheless coach Mike Mularkey was fired and replaced by Mike Vrabel. They need to provide young QB Marcus Mariota more weapons and look to last year’s top pick Corey Davis to continue his late 2017 season improvement. They need more big plays and will look for a multi-purpose 1A type of back to open the offense. They like Nyheim Hines very much and he gives them a versatile weapon for a few roles. The linebacking unit needs an influx of playmakers with both an outside and inside defender. They have a solid underrated secondary which would benefit from a quality cover man for their package defenses. Several needs on offense especially at the skill positions would assist Mariota. He has them at the door for the South title, but needs more weapons to take the next step. They also hope to add a quality guard in the top 100 picks. The defensive unit will explore both edge rushers and backers in the early rounds. They hope to draft into the strong DL and LB classes to satisfy their biggest needs.

1st Round Pick – DL Taven Bryan – New coach Vrbel will love this guy’s production and motor.
Alternate Pick – LB Rashaan Evans – Great fit here if still on the board at #25.

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AFC West
Denver Broncos – 5-11 – Head Coach – Vance Joseph – 2nd Year

Key Team Needs: 1. OL      2. RB       3. LB       4. CB       5. TE
  1st Round Pick – 5th selection – 8 total picks

1. Offensive Line – The Broncos allowed 52 sacks in 2017 with problems at both tackle spots. Rookie top pick LT Garett Bolles struggled in protection but has the upside to make improvement. Veteran tackle Menelik Watson was again injured and an area they may address early in the process. They signed OT Jared Veldheer and hope he can recapture his prior level of play. They would welcome an interior blocker with average starting talent. They love guard Quenton Nelson who would be an anchor here. They want a developed lineman and could select either a center and guard in the top picks. They like Frank Ragnow and Austin Corbet in the mid-2nd round. They like tackle Martinas Rankin in the 3rd round.
2. Running Back – Broncos surprisingly released veteran CJ Anderson in April after a 1000 yard performance. They like Devontae Booker but probably address in the middle rounds in a deep class. Booker has flashed in spurts and now gets the brunt of the carries. They will entertain Rashaad Penny, Josh Adams and Nyheim Hines with one of their two 3rd round picks. Any of them would supply a different dimension especially Hines with his big play ability and highly developed receiving skills. They like Mark Walton and Bo Scarbrough on the early 3rd day.
3. Linebacker – The Broncos run and pass defense ranked near the top again in the league, though surrendered too many points. They are set on the edge with Von Miller and Shane Ray. They get few big plays from inside backers Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis. They did re-sign Davis. This position is a pressing need entering the draft. They hope to add a backer and preferably on the inside. They could still address this area in the top 100 selections. They like Malik Jefferson and Oren Burks in the early 3rd round.
4. Cornerback – The Broncos traded veteran Aqib Talib for a 5th round pick this year. They hope to address this area early in the process. They like a few prospects with Carlton Davis and Isaiah Oliver high on their 2nd round short list. With two 3rd round selections, they like Anthony Averett, Kevin Toliver and Tarvarus McFadden at the 71st selection. They have little depth behind starters Harris and Roby. They may wait until the late 3rd round and like Isaac Yiadom at the 99th pick.

Broncos – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects
Quenton Nelson OG Notre Dame
Denzel Ward CB Ohio St
Minkah Fitzpatrick S Alabama

2nd Day Prospects
  2nd Round
Billy Price C Ohio St
Dallas Goedert TE South Dakota St
Frank Ragnow C Arkansas
Austin Corbett OL Nevada

  3rd Round (#71 & #99)
Martinas Rankin OT Mississippi St
Da’Shawn Hand DE Alabama
Rashaad Penny RB San Diego St
Tarvarus McFadden CB Florida St
Malik Jefferson LB Texas
Josh Adams RB Notre Dame

Insiders’ Insights

The Broncos fell to the basement in the AFC West title behind a struggling offense that is making key changes this offseason. They hold 4 of the top 99 selections and 6 of the top 113 draft choices. They explored the veteran QB market and signed Case Keenum after a huge breakout performance. They traded starter Trevor Siemian to the Vikings. They still like former #1 pick, young Paxton Lynch. They will probably address the offensive line that was instrumental in their demise and failure to go to the playoffs. They have 8 overall selections which gives them leverage to move up in any round. They can address key problem areas in the early rounds and the extra picks allows them to draft into the deep running back class. GM John Elway will focus on primary needs to hopefully recapture the playoff mentality. The presence of QB Keenum gives this offense a chance to make a quick turnaround. They will look to draft into the strong offensive line and will have their choice of several quality prospects at the 40th spot. They hope to add a quality backer who can step in and play in package defenses. They will not hesitate to use a top 100 pick on a TE with an emphasis on speed and receiving. It could be the wild card position and they like Dallas Goedert very much in the 2nd round. They want to add a developed DE in the middle rounds with only marginal support behind starters.

1st Round Pick – CB Denzel Ward – Explosive cover defender would be a huge boost to this secondary.
Alternate Pick – OG Quenton Nelson – Broncos’ ground game improves day one with this selection.

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Kansas City Chiefs – 10-6 – Head Coach – Andy Reid – 6th Year

Key Team Needs: 1. DB      2. OG       3. NT         4. LB      5. WR
  2nd Round Pick – 54th selection – 8 total picks

1. Defensive Back – The Chiefs’ secondary has little depth after trade of Pro Bowl corner Marcus Peters and FA loss Phillip Gaines. They added corner Kendall Fuller in the Alex Smith deal. Safety Eric Berry returns from an early season Achilles injury. They like corners, Isaiah Oliver in the 2nd and Duke Dawson in the 3rd round. Dawson gives them a day one nickel corner at a troubled spot. They can add high-quality prospects on the 2nd day with three draft choices. They like safeties Justin Reid and Kyzir White in the 2nd/3rd rounds. Reid gives them a coverage safety who can line up over the slot. Look for two quality picks here to improve their changing defense.
2. Guard – The Chiefs will most likely draft a quality guard with a top 100 selection. They are set at tackle with Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher forming one of the better tandems in the league. They need a developed l guard/center to help young new starter Patrick Mahomes. They like Austin Corbett and Braden Smith in the 2nd round. Both are plug and play guards.
3. Nose Tackle – The Chiefs hope to land a starting nose tackle. They like Tim Settle and Nathan Shepherd in this deep class. Both would help improve their poor rushing defense with an interior anchor. Settles would be a great fit here with big play ability in a number of roles.
4. Linebacker – The Chiefs’ released veteran Tamba Hali who may retire. They like their outside tandem of Justin Houston and Dee Ford. Their inside pair of Derrick Johnson and Reggie Ragland have been injury prone with only marginal backups in place. They could use a quality inside backer with starting talent. They like Malik Jefferson and Fred Warner in the 3rd round and think one should be available. Both are experienced to fill a role as a rookie.

Chiefs – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects – No pick

2nd Day Prospects
  2nd Round
Isaiah Oliver CB Colorado
Tim Settle DT Virginia Tech
James Washington WR Oklahoma St
Nathan Shepherd DT Fort Hays St
Austin Corbett OL Nevada

  3rd Round (#78 & #86)
Deon Cain WR Clemson
Malik Jefferson LB Texas
Duke Dawson CB Florida
Fred Warner LB Brigham Young
Tarvarus McFadden CB Florida St
Isaac Yiadom CB Boston College

Insiders’ Insights

The Chiefs won the AFC West title again, but were eliminated in the playoff with a disappointing performance vs the Jaguars. They turned the page and traded QB Alex Smith to make way from top pick Patrick Mahomes to take the reins. He is the type who will respond from Andy Reid’s coaching and keep this powerful attack at a high level. They have no #1 selection after trading up last April to land Mahomes. They signed Sammy Watkins to give them a true #1 receiver. They have 8 selections with 5 in the top 124 picks and will entertain moving up for the right player. They will probably address the defensive backfield, guard, wide receiver and interior linebacker spot. They need to draft into the deep cornerback group. They like several corners in the top 100 picks. They need an influx of talent for the secondary with a safety also a fairly high priority. They want a three down linebacker and have earmarked a few for the early rounds. They hope to add a wide receiver and like Deon Cain early and Allen Lazard and Simmie Cobbs on the early 3rd day of the process. They will most likely draft a guard and maybe in their top three selections. This class needs to fill positions immediately if the Chiefs expect to remain in contention and defend their AFC West title.

2nd Round Pick – CB Isaiah Oliver – Big agile playmaker would be a fine addition to this secondary.
Alternate Pick – NT Tim Settle – Three down defender would help improve their faltering run defense.

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Los Angeles Chargers – 9-7 – Head Coach – Anthony Lynn – 2nd Year

Key Team Needs: 1. OL      2. LB       3. DL       4. QB        5. S
  1st Round Pick – 17th selection – 7 total picks

1. Offensive Line – The Chargers front line was solid in pass protection and allowed the fewest sacks in the league. Veteran tackle Russell Okung was an excellent addition for the left side. RT Michael Schofield re-signed and was an upgrade over Joe Barksdale. The interior struggled with an injury to 2nd round pick Forrest Lamp. They most likely address the interior and like Billy Price and Isaiah Wynn in the first round. They did sign Mike Pouncey who is on the downside of his career. They should entertain moving back with their top few selections to get more picks and address this unit with two quality additions. In the 2nd round, they like Brian O’Neill in the 2nd and Austin Corbett and Braden Smith later and both are rising up the charts. In the 3rd round, they like Martinas Rankin who also projects inside to guard. Expect at least two additions here and maybe fairly early.
2. Linebacker – Chargers need to add a playmaker here. They will probably have their choice of either Rashaan Evans or Leighton Vander Esch with the 17th selection. They have weak depth and should address this unit with one of their top two selections. They like Ogbonnia Okoronkwo in the 2nd round and he has interesting upside here.
3. Defensive Line – The Chargers look for upgrade their front line after a poor performance vs the run. Veteran NT Brandon Mebane is near the end of a fine career. They like Tim Settle very much to be an interior run stuffer. They also like DL Taven Bryan and Da’Shawn Hand who they see as a top five technique starters. They still need depth at a critical position and could address twice among their selections.
4. Quarterback – The Chargers must plan for the future despite having Philip Rivers at the helm. He enters his 15th season and they must begin to plan for his retirement despite the fact that the Chargers led the league in passing. Rivers has been the catalyst for the tough Charger mentality that keeps them in every game. They like Mike White and Kyle Lauletta in the mid-3rd round if available. They also will entertain Luke Falk and Riley Ferguson in the middle rounds and see them as eventual starters in time.

Chargers – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects
Leighton Vander Esch LB Boise St
Rashaan Evans LB Alabama
Taven Bryan DT Florida
Da’Ron Payne DT Alabama

2nd Day Prospects
  2nd Round
Tim Settle DT Virginia Tech
Brian O’Neill OT Pittsburgh
Justin Reid S Stanford
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo LB Oklahoma

  3rd Round
Martinas Rankin OT Mississippi St
Da’Shawn Hand DE Alabama
Fred Warner LB Brigham Young
Mike White QB Western Kentucky

Insiders’ Insights

The Chargers are one of the most competitive clubs in the league and are closer to winning the West than any point in recent years. They rank at the top in passing, yet near the bottom in run defense. Veteran Philip Rivers covers a number of flaws and is a great leader who keeps them in virtually every game. Runner Melvin Gordon would benefit from a better front especially on the interior. The Chargers need top pick wide receiver Mike Williams to step up and provide impact opposite Keenen Allen. They need more playmakers to win the countless number of close games they play. They have 7 selections and GM Tom Telesco has stayed with his value board well to rebuild this club. They have a few major needs, mainly on the offensive line and each unit of the defense especially the front seven. They hope to address the offensive line or best defender available with their top choices. They hope backers Evans or Vander Esch is available and both have the ability to start and improve the run defense. Both are blue chip defenders and cornerstone performers. This club needs another strong class to move up in the wide open West where every club is making many changes.

1st Round Pick – LB Leighton Vander Esch – Talented athlete might be the highest ceiling in this draft class.
Alternate Pick – DL Taven Bryan – Relentless versatile lineman would give this run defense a huge boost.

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Oakland Raiders – 6-10 – Head Coach – Jon Gruden – 1st Year

Key Team Needs: 1. WR     2. CB        3. OT       4. LB        5. RB
  1st Round Pick – 10th overall selection – 11 total picks

1. Wide Receiver – The Raiders released Michael Crabtree and lost Cordarrelle Patterson in FA. They have only marginal talent other than #1 player Amari Cooper. They may address this position early and possibly with two selections. They did sign FA Jordy Nelson who still has talent and probably a good compliment to Cooper. They like Calvin Ridley in the 1st round. They also like James Washington in the 2nd and Dante Pettis, Deon Cain or DaeSean Hamilton in the 3rd round. The debate in the war room is always when to add a fast receiver and usually they vote for vertical speed. That makes Cain a high second day priority.
2. Cornerback – The Raiders were disappointed in veteran Sean Smith and released him along with David Amerson. Their pass defense again ranked among the worst in the league and the corner spot will probably be addressed in the early rounds. They used their #1 pick last year on Gareon Conley with minimal production in a few games before landing on the IR list. They still need to address this position with a quality addition and may add two among their early selections. They like Denzel Ward and Jaire Alexander in the 1st round and Carlton Davis and Donte Jackson in the 2nd round. Jackson gives them a much-needed day one nickel corner. They like Holton Hill in the middle rounds.
3. Offensive Tackle – The Raiders have clear needs at right tackle. They have an excellent interior line that ranks with the best in the game. They released Marshal Newhouse and will look to address this area probably with a top 100 selection. They signed Breno Giacomini who may be an upgrade. They will probably use a high selection here and like Tyrell Crosby, one of the best right tackles in this class. They like Orlando Brown in the 3rd round. They also like small college tackle Alex Cappa in the 3rd day. He could help their poor run blocking.
4. Linebacker – The Raiders cut troubled LB Aldon Smith who continues to have major issues and faces charges. They signed Tahir Whitehead and see him as a starter and role performer for their package defenses. They have little depth on this unit overall and will probably address this area in the early rounds. They could surprise and choose inside backer Roquan Smith in the 1st round. They also like rising defender Leighton Vander Esch and feel he has impact ability here. Malik Jefferson is earmarked for the 3rd round.
5. Running Back – The Raiders signed veteran Doug Martin to couple with starter Marshawn Lynch. That gives them a solid tandem, though only for the short term. They could still draft into this deep group of backs. They like Sony Michel very much in the 2nd round. They also like backs, Rashaad Penny and Nyheim Hines in the 3rd round.

Raiders – Short List Players
  1st Round Prospects
Roquan Smith LB Georgia
Denzel Ward CB Ohio St
Calvin Ridley WR Alabama
Leighton Vander Esch LB Boise St

2nd Day Prospects
  2nd Round
Tyrell Crosby OT Oregon
Uchenna Nwosu LB USC
James Washington WR Oklahoma St

  3rd Round
Malik Jefferson LB Texas
Anthony Miller WR Memphis
Dante Pettis WR Washington
Deon Cain WR Clemson
Orlando Brown OT Oklahoma
DaeSean Hamilton WR Penn St

Insiders’ Insights

The Raiders regressed back to 3rd place in the West with a 6-10 record. QB Derek Carr had an inconsistent performance that leaves some questions about his talent. They have built this club on improved personnel moves, though suffered through a few recent questionable draft classes with several key injuries. They did not manage their salary cap well with several overpaid veterans failing to perform. GM Reggie McKenzie had prior strong draft classes, though the past two groups are still incomplete. With the 10th overall pick, they need a difference maker on their side of the ball, offensive tackle, linebacker, corner or wide receiver. They will consider OT Mike McGlinchey in the first and Tyrell Crosby in the 2nd round. They hold 11 selections, though 7 of the picks are from the #159 pick thru the final round. They could opt for two corners with one in their top selections. They will try to draft a highly-rated Mike backer and like Roquan Smith very much. They want to improve their receiving corps to compliment starter Amari Cooper. They like fast Calvin Ridley in the 1st round, a traditional Al Davis type move. They will add a runner in this deep class, but may wait until the middle rounds with a few other higher needs.

1st Round Pick – LB Roquan Smith – Very athletic backer improves this unit significantly as a three down starter.
Alternate Pick – CB Denzel Ward – Raiders get another Buckeye corner with rookie starting grade.

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NFL Team Report 2018 – Online Book

By Frank Coyle & Pro Scouting Staff of  Draft Insiders’ Digest – 27th Season
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