The NFL offseason is a time to reflect, work and prepare for next year. The NFL draft is where reflection, hard work and preparation all come to a head.
With just a few nights before draft day, here’s a look at each division’s draft needs and potential picks.
Picks 1 and 25: Jacksonville Jaguars
Needs: QB, QB, QB and basically everything else too.
The first pick of the draft resides in Florida and it should be the easiest pick of the night. Star Quarterback Trevor Lawrence has been groomed for NFL stardom since he took home the NCAA championship in 2018.
The Jags have the luxury of two first round picks, which they could use to protect Lawrence. A tackle with the 25th pick such as Alijah-Vera Tucker could slip to the bottom of the first. Jacksonville could also bolster the defensive side of the ball with safety Trevon Moehrig, or defensive lineman Christian Barmore.
Pick 21: Indianapolis Colts
Needs: OL, EDGE, WR
The Carson Wentz era begins in Indianapolis. The Colts have one of the NFL’s strongest rosters and are looking for depth in this year’s draft. Alabama tackle Alex Leatherwood could be an option, but with the most of the top Olinemen gone at this point, look for Indianapolis to draft a pass rusher, after Denico Autry left for the Tennessee Titans. Jaelen Philips is an intriguing option at 21 or the Colts could cross their fingers for Kwity Pane to tumble down draft boards.
Pick 22: Tennessee Titans
Needs: CB, WR, TE
A resurgent Ryan Tannehill led the Titans to back to back playoff appearances, but with the loss of Corey Davis Tennessee should look to give their quarterback more weapons. Ja’marr Chase and Jaylen Waddle will likely be gone by 22, but Rashod Bateman is a capable and speedy receiver out of Minnesota.
Pick 67: Houston Texans
Needs: Thanks to Bill O’Brien… everything.
The Texans are without a first or second round pick this season. With Deshaun Watson currently embroiled in a sexual assault case, the Texans are facing a bleak future. Look for the Texans to upgrade their offensive line or receiver positions at 67.
Pick 4: Atlanta Falcons
Needs: QB, OL, TE
With Matt Ryan on the wrong side of 30, new head coach Arthur Smith will likely draft a young quarterback to run his offense in 2021. Justin Fields and Mac Jones are possibilities at 4, but keep an eye out for Florida tight end Kyle Pitts.
Pick 8: Carolina Panthers
Needs: OL, CB, S
For three years Sam Darnold played behind one of the worst offensive lines in football and the Panthers will look to change that. Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater are the top options in a deep Oline class and both would look good in Carolina silver and blue.
Pick 28: New Orleans Saints
Needs: CB, WR, EDGE
The departure of Drew Brees could lead to a sneaky quarterback pick, but with Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill both under contract, the Saints could opt to bolster their defense.
Florida State corner Asante Samuel Jr. has his father’s name and speed, but his 183-pound frame will likely drop him to the late first or early second round. The Saints could be taking a long look at the NFL prodigy at 28.
Pick 32: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Needs: RB, OL, DL
They are the defending champs for a reason, but every champion can improve. The Buccaneers spent most of last year strengthening their defense. This year, Tampa Bay could give Tom Brady another young weapon to work with.
Clemson running back Travis Ettienne could solidify the Tampa Bay backfield and is a solid receiving option for Brady out of the pocket.