2021 NFL Draft: Team needs for each of the 32 teams

AFC team needs in the 2021 NFL Draft

What are the top needs for the 16 AFC teams heading into Round 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft?

Baltimore Ravens | OT & S

The Baltimore Ravens reinforced their two biggest team needs heading into the 2021 NFL Draft. Their selections of Rashod Bateman and Jayson Oweh drew top draft grades for the Ravens in Round 1.

Heading into the second and third round the Ravens’ remaining needs come at offensive tackle and safety. Both positions contain a wealth of options in this draft class meaning the Ravens have a great opportunity to address all their biggest needs in the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Buffalo Bills | CB, DT, TE, & S

After a strong performance on offense in 2020, most of the Bills’ needs in the 2021 NFL Draft revolve around their defense. The Bills addressed their needs at EDGE with the selection of Gregory Rousseau. They now need to add depth at CB, DT, & S. Pass rusher was the priority so the Bills will be pleased to come away from Round 1 with a potential immediate contributor.

On offense, the biggest need is at tight end. In PFN’s recent Bills mock draft, Buffalo fixed that concern early. Regardless, given the strength of the remainder of their offense, they have focused their early selection on improving the defense. It will be interesting to see whether that continues on Day 2.

Cincinnati Bengals | OT, OG, TE, & DT

Despite seemingly landing their franchise QB in 2020, the Bengals still have vital team needs to address in 2021. After Joe Burrow’s injury, the offensive line is certainly an area of need for Cincinnati. In PFN’s recent Bengals mock draft, Cincinnati hit on both OT and OG in the first four rounds. Nonetheless, in Round 1 the Bengals reunited Burrow with his former wide receiver in Ja’Marr Chase. Cincinnati could further bolster their pass-catching options with a TE in the later rounds.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Bengals performed well last year. They need to add depth on the inside of their defensive line, although the Bengals could also consider an upgrade at linebacker.

Cleveland Browns | EDGE, LB, WR, & DT

With a solid group on offense, the Browns’ main team needs in the 2021 NFL Draft are on their defense. In PFN’s recent Browns mock draft, five of Cleveland’s first six selections addressed their needs at EDGE, LB, and DT. However, in Round 1 the Browns decided to add another cornerback opposite Denzel Ward in Greg Newsome.

On offense, the Browns have serious question marks at WR. The 2021 NFL season could be the final one that Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry are in Browns’ uniforms.

Denver Broncos | LB, EDGE, QB, RB, & S

Denver is in a fascinating position in the 2021 NFL Draft. If they believe in the combination of Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgwater, they can go all-in on him by addressing their other team needs. On defense, those needs include adding an every-down linebacker and adding depth and a potential long-term contributor at both EDGE and S. However, the Broncos decided to add more depth at the CB position by adding Patrick Surtain II.

Offensively, the Broncos’ needs revolve around the backfield. In PFN’s recent Broncos mock draft, they addressed both the QB and RB positions in the first two rounds.

Houston Texans | CB, WR, S, TE, & OC

The 2021 NFL Draft is a tricky situation for the Houston Texans. They need to tackle many positions on both sides of the ball. In PFN’s recent Texans mock draft, Houston drafted CB, WR, S, TE, and C despite not having a pick inside the first two rounds.

Indianapolis Colts | OT, WR, TE, & CB

After adding Carson Wentz, the Colts still need to add to both sides of the ball to make them Super Bowl challengers. Defensively, they needed to add a difference-maker on the edge. They drafted Kwity Paye at 21st overall, who addresses that need immediately. The remaining need on defense is at the CB position, although the bigger needs for this team are on offense.

They brought back T.Y. Hilton, but they must find their long-term future at WR. The bigger need on offense is replacing left tackle Anthony Castonzo. In PFN’s recent Colts mock draft, Indianapolis split their attention between these positions.

Jacksonville Jaguars | S, TE, & DT

Trevor Lawrence seemed destined to be the first pick and address the Jaguars’ glaring need at the QB position. Elsewhere on offense, the Jaguars needed a TE and a RB. They spent a Round 1 selection on Travis Etienne, which was considered an intriguing selection. Entering the mid to late rounds, if they do not feel they can extend Cam Robinson at LT, they should also consider a long-term solution.

Defensively, the Jaguars have an interesting mix of options. Their depth and long-term prospects on the interior of the defensive line is certainly an area that needs an upgrade. The glaring hole on their defense is at the safety position. While the CB is shaping up nicely, there is a lack of experience on the back end.

Kansas City Chiefs | OC, LB, WR, & OT

The Super Bowl exposed the Chiefs’ dire need to upgrade their offensive line. Despite the trade for Orlando Brown, the return of Mike Remmers and the addition of Austin Blythe, the Chiefs still need to address OT and OC. Additionally, the loss of Sammy Watkins leaves the Chiefs short on experience at the WR position.

In PFN’s recent Chiefs mock draft, Kansas City added depth on defense. The most glaring need is at LB, but they also need depth upgrades at EDGE and CB.

Las Vegas Raiders | S, CB, LB, & WR

The Raiders’ needs continue to focus around a defense that has continually underwhelmed. That focus is specifically around their defensive back group, but also the LB corps. PFN’s recent Raiders mock draft addressed all three of those positions in the first three rounds.

On offense, Las Vegas needs to look to replace Trent Brown at right tackle in Round 1. Alex Leatherwood could be an immediate starter at right tackle, but the value of the selection is questionable. Heading into the remaining rounds, despite major investment at WR, the Raiders still have major question marks as to their long-term future at the position opposite Henry Ruggs.

Los Angeles Chargers | OT, CB, TE, & WR

With a franchise QB under center, the Chargers’ needs in the 2021 NFL Draft revolved around protecting him and giving him weapons. The Chargers upgraded at OT with Christian Darrisaw, but still, have a need to address at guard.

While protecting Justin Herbert is important, so is ensuring he has reliable receivers at WR and TE. Jared Cook is a short-term fix at TE, and Mike Williams could be leaving Los Angeles next offseason. Meanwhile, on defense, the Chargers should consider both outside CB positions in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Miami Dolphins | OT, RB, OC, & CB

The Dolphins made some fascinating moves in free agency. However, they still have several positions to address in the 2021 NFL Draft. Even with the addition of Will Fuller, D.J. Fluker, Malcolm Brown, and Matt Skura, WR, OT, RB, and OC remained areas of need for the Dolphins. In Round 1 the Dolphins added Jaylen Waddle. Waddle and Fuller combine to make a potentially terrifying duo on the outside in Miami.

The Dolphins have also invested in their defense over the past couple of seasons. On the other hand, they still need to consider upgrades on their defense at positions such as CB and S. With their second selection in Round 1, the Dolphins added a p[ass rusher in Jaelan Phillips. While not an immediate top need, adding more talent rushing the passer is never a bad idea.

New England Patriots | RB, CB, WR, & LB

It would not be a shock to see the Patriots target a wide range of positions in the draft. Nonetheless, their biggest team needs on offense entering the draft revolved around the QB-RB-WR axis. They addressed the need at QB with Mac Jones, who will be in contention to start from Day 1. The Patriots acquired significant pieces at WR, but both the RB and WR positions continue to be underwhelming.

Meanwhile, in PFN’s recent Patriots mock draft, the focus was on the defense. With an aging group and concerns around the future at certain positions, both LB and CB stand out as immediate needs for New England to target.

New York Jets | OT, CB, LB, & RB

It was no shock to anyone that the Jets drafted Zach Wilson with the second overall selection. They then traded up to secure Alijah Vera-Tucker with the 14th pick. However, Vera-Tucker has the potential to play either tackle or guard at the next level. Look for the Jets to consider further addressing the tackle position in the coming rounds.

Defensively, the main needs on the Jets’ depth chart are at LB and CB. However, they could also upgrade their DL and add long-term contributors to their pass-rush group.

Pittsburgh Steelers | OC, TE, CB, & EDGE

Pittsburgh’s biggest team needs in the 2021 NFL Draft revolve around upgrading their offense. The priority should be a replacement for Maurkice Pouncey at center; they also have upgrade needs at OT, RB, and TE. With the intriguing talent available later in the draft, PFN’s recent Steelers mock draft saw them add an RB early. The Steelers did exactly that in Round 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft as they selected Najee Harris, drawing a B+ draft grade.

Defensively, the main needs come in replacing Mike Hilton at CB and Bud Dupree as a pass rusher.

Tennessee Titans | WR, TE, S, & OT

The Titans have a variety of needs across both sides of the ball. On offense, the focus should be around giving Ryan Tannehill more weapons to replace Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith. Yet, alongside WR and TE, adding a player who can contribute at right tackle, as they did in PFN’s recent Titans mock draft, should be one of Tennessee’s priorities.

On defense, the Titans had a significant need at CB. The release of Jackson left the Titans with a litany of question marks at CB, and those extended to the safety position as well. In Round 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Titans drafted Caleb Farley. Farley immediately addresses the need at CB, but injury concerns make this a high-risk selection.

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Ben Rolfe is a Senior Managing Editor at Pro Football Network and is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can find him on Twitter @BenRolfePFN