With the 2017-18 NFL regular season finally at it’s end, every front office looking outside the playoffs is gearing towards the upcoming free agency and NFL Draft. Meeting with draft scouts and watching college film are an essential part of this process, however self-scouting is also a detrimental process in determining the biggest holes on it’s own roster.
While certain teams are looking to replace aging vets and expected free agents, other teams will simply be looking for the best player on the board to bolster the talent on its roster as they look to make strides the following season.
I began last week discussing the needs for the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans and this week we’ll dive into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Denver Broncos, New York Jets and San Fransisco 49ers. While some of these needs may be replaced in player retention or free-agent signings, to this point it’s still a need. Let’s dive in.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Defensive End
The Buccaneers are in an interesting spot this offseason and are facing a free-agency period with very little cap space. While I believe they could definitely use some help at the running back position — after ranking 27th in the NFL with 89.3 rushing yards per game — there biggest need for improvement is on the defensive line, specifically at the defensive end position.
With Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David aging on the Tampa Bay front seven, the Bucs would be wise to pair the promising Noah Spence with a young, premier pass-rusher on the opposite side of the line. Fortunately for Tampa Bay their top-10 pick puts them in prime position to draft either Bradley Chubb or Harold Landry — my top two ranked defensive ends — and should look to draft either as they attempt to improve upon one of the worst pass-rushes in the league.
Other needs: Running back, offensive line, cornerback.
Denver Broncos: Quarterback
Despite having three quarterback on the roster who have each started at least once this season, the Broncos need to look at adding a starting quarterback going into next season. Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler and Trevor Siemian have combined for one of the league’s worst passing offenses, averaging only 207.1 passing yards per game — 21st in the NFL.
The Broncos hold a top-10 pick in this year’s draft and should be in prime position to select either Sam Darnold or Baker Mayfield. Should they choose to not use their first round pick on a signal caller, there is another Manning brother in the league who may be searching for a new home, just like his older sibling Peyton did just a few years back. Nevertheless, the quarterback position needs to be upgraded this offseason to complement one of the more talented defenses in the league.
Other needs: Offensive line, inside linebacker, wide receiver.
New York Jets: Quarterback
Just like their counterpart in the Big Apple, the Jets are also on the quarterback hunt this offseason.While Josh McCown just put on one of the best seasons of his 15-season career, his old age and the unpromising quarterbacks behind him — Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg —make it clear they need a new leader behind center.
Another thing about this Jets’ unit is that they’re not that far away from being a winning team. Draft hits such as Darron Lee, Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye have added promise to this young defensive unit and on offensive Bilall Powell, Austin Sefarian-Jenkins and Robby Anderson are explosive playmakers yearning for a young, productive quarterback to play with. And with roughly $85 million in cap space this offseason, they’ll have plenty of money to sign one of the premier free agents should they miss out on the quarterback prospect they’re aiming for. Either way, look for a fresh face at the front of the Jets’ organization following this offseason.
Other needs: Offensive lineman, cornerback, outside linebacker.
San Fransisco 49ers: Offensive Line
Ear-to-ear smiles just came across the faces of 49ers’ fans when the word “quarterback” wasn’t listed as an offseason need.
General manager John Lynch did a superb job in last year’s draft, selecting the edge-rusher Solomon Thomas with the third overal
l pick and then stealing a top-10 prospect in the second round with Reuben Foster, and then continued his early success when he traded a second-round pick for the new face of the franchise in Jimmy Garoppolo. With Jimmy G. looking like a match made in heaven in head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense, things are looking bright for 49er nation.
While there are definitely needs across the roster — wide receiver, linebacker and in the secondary — their biggest need is help on the offensive line. Five-time pro bowler Joe Staley is a keeper at the tackle position and, when healthy, take Trent Brown can be exceptional.
With holes at both guard positions and at center, the 49ers can choose to either take their $100 million plus cap space this offseason and buy a line or take a guard in the top 10 of the NFL draft. Either way, they’ll need to bolster the middle of their line to help with interior blitzes on the new face of the franchise, Jimmy Garoppolo.
Other needs: Wide receiver, cornerback, linebacker.