NFL Power Rankings: What Does Each Team Need In The Draft26 min read
It’s the Festive season and Lindy’s Sports’ UK editor Simon Milham looks at what each of the 32 NFL teams most want to see in their Draft stockings ahead of the final round of 2019/20 NFL regular season games…
32 – Cincinnati Bengals
You’d be here until April’s NFL Draft if you had to check their list twice, because for the naughty-not-nice Bengals (1-14), the list of wants is a long one. Notoriously prudent, the Bengals have been too quiet in free agency and the lack of trades underlines the ownership’s lack of ambition. It is imperative they have a perfect draft to land help offensive line help to open holes for RB Joe Mixon and, if he is still around, QB Andy Dalton. They are also lacking at the linebacker spots and a massive roster overhaul is on the cards. They end their torrid season with a clash against the Cleveland Browns, who have not won in the Queen City on successive visits since 2002-2003.
Next Up: Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals +3
31 – Washington Redskins
The (3-12) Redskins have had a few weeks to ponder QB Dwayne Haskins’ development and generally have liked what they have seen. They just need to find a couple of linemen to protect him with both left and right tackle positions in need of an upgrade. Alabama’s Jedrick Wills Jr. is one of the best right tackles, although picking at No.2 could see them in the hunt for Andrew Thomas at left tackle or Tristan Wirfs. This is a deep class of receivers and while Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy is high on most draft boards, a big, downfield target like Clemson’s Tee Higgins or TCU’s Jalen Reagor, who can make things happen with precise, intermediate routes and yards after the catch, might be an option if they decide to trade back. The Redskins end with a trip to Dallas, who have not won four on the spin at home to Washington since nine consecutive home victories from 1996-2004.
Next Up: Washington Redskins +10.5 at Dallas Cowboys
30 – Miami Dolphins
GM Chris Grier has overseen a massive drain in Miami (4-11). Despite a plethora of draft picks – including three first-rounders – to play with, and plenty of cap space to land some prized free agents, this is a team that may not be competitive for a while yet. Offensive line has been a major concern for many years, and while to some it dumbfounding that left tackle Laremy Tunsil – voted to the Pro Bowl last week – was allowed to leave for Houston, the trade was too good to pass up. The best three linemen in the draft are considered to be Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs and Georgia’s Andrew Thomas and Auburn’s Derrick Brown. Getting pressure on opposing passers has also been far too infrequent, and we can expect the Phins to draft a premium defensive end, such as Iowa’s A.J. Epensa. Cornerback depth is required, but the big question is whether they dive in for a late first-round quarterback, such as Oregon’s Justin Herbert or take a chance on an injured Alabama underclassman Tua Tagovailoa, who has until January 20 to declare his intentions. The Dolphins head to New England this weekend and seemingly don’t have a wildcat in hell’s chance of winning.
Next Up: Miami Dolphins +16 at New England Patriots
29 – Detroit Lions
Let’s assume that the Lions’ ownership keeps its word and GM Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia will remain in situ for another season at least. That is the first of several good moves. This season has been a difficult one for Patricia in particular, who has overseen a squad hit by some crippling injuries. The need for a pass rush has been evident all year. While Trey Flowers frequently lines up on the right side, a bookend is required; they may go for a free agent (Arik Armstead or Vic Beasley would fit), or trade back in the draft to nab someone like Alabama’s Terrell Lewis or Boise State’s Curtis Weaver. A linebacker or two, an interior offensive lineman – Derrick Brown is ideal – and one of the top receivers, such as Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III, are all positions of need. The final game of the season sees the Lions (3-11-1) hosting the Green Bay Packers, who have not lost three consecutive trips to Detroit since 1998-2000.
Next Up: Green bay Packers at Detroit Lions
28 – New York Giants
As we have eluded to in previous columns, the Giants have some solid young cornerstones in place already and could be in the running to pick up a premium pass-rusher such as Ohio State’s Chase Young. He had 16.5 sacks this season, showcasing impressive speed, athleticism and power to shut down opposing running backs. The Giants (4-11) must better protect QB Daniel Jones, so an offensive lineman is key, with a right tackle the most pressing need. With Janoris Jenkins receiving the happiest of landings in New Orleans, cornerback is also on the wish-list, but that may have to wait for the fourth round, as the G-men have no third-round pick. Pat Shurmer is also likely to be axed and a new man with an understanding of college football may be the best choice for John Mara’s franchise. The Eagles, who have won five of their last six trips to New York and 10 of the last 11 meetings overall, are hosted by the Giants on Sunday.
Next Up: Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants +4
27 – Jacksonville Jaguars
Tom Coughlin’s old school disciplinarian style was too much for some players and his demands went above and beyond the Collective Bargaining Agreement, so owner Shad Khan wielded the axe. Whether head coach Doug Marrone will remain is open to question, but the Jaguars (5-10) have been left paying the $88m contract price for career back-up QB Nick Foles, who struggled and was benched for rookie Gardner Minshew. No NFL team has more money committed to the 2020 salary cap than Jacksonville does and with the NFLPA’s comments that 25