The best teams in the league have already filled most of their needs and won’t be required to fill specific positions, but other clubs have a host of problem areas that will need to continue being addressed in the 2023 NFL Draft.
NFL Draft Team Needs
- WR, EDGE, IDL, CB
This year’s crop of draft-eligible wide receivers isn’t the strongest, so the Falcons may wait until the second round to find a tag-team partner for Drake London. Atlanta signed Mack Hollins in free agency, and while he’s an excellent blocker willing to do the dirty work, he’s a better No. 3 than a No. 2.
MORE: 100% FREE NFL Mock Draft Simulator
The Falcons have devoted resources to their pass rush over the past two offseasons, using early- and mid-round picks on Arnold Ebiketie and DeAngelo Malone while signing Calais Campbell, Kaden Elliss, and Bud Dupree. Given that they don’t still have a true superstar along the edge, adding another option makes sense.
- CB, G, EDGE, DT, WR, RB
The Cardinals might have the worst roster in the NFL, so they can improve at nearly every spot. Arizona could use help all along the interior of their offensive line, while both of their tackles are 30+ years old. With DeAndre Hopkins likely to be traded after the draft, Arizona needs more receivers, while James Conner isn’t the club’s long-term answer in the backfield.
On defense, the Cards at least have a foundation of talent at linebacker and safety, but a trade of Budda Baker could create a new need. Arizona’s defensive line is a calamity after losing J.J. Watt and Zach Allen this offseason, and they don’t have a reliable cornerback apart from hybrid ‘backer-slot defender Isaiah Simmons.
Drafting Paris Johnson Jr. certainly helps quell concerns about Arizona’s long-term situation at offensive tackle. D.J. Humphries is only 29, but Kelvin Beachum is 33. Johnson also has experience playing on the interior as recently as 2021, so he could be a Day 1 starter on the interior or at tackle.
- CB, EDGE, DT, OT
Cornerback is usually a position of strength for the Ravens, but assuming they don’t re-sign Marcus Peters, Baltimore needs another starter and more depth. Luckily, this year’s cornerback class is strong.
Adding Zay Flowers during a historical run of wide receivers in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft makes a ton of sense for Baltimore. With Mark Andrews, Isaiah Likely, Odell Beckham Jr., Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, and now Flowers, the Ravens’ once suspiciously bad group of weapons looks much improved.
- G, CB, WR, LB
The Bills have filled most of their needs and boast a roster brimming with depth and upside. The right side of Buffalo’s line — currently helmed by Ryan Bates and Spencer Brown — is acceptable but could be upgraded. Meanwhile, Buffalo could look for another receiver with inside/outside versatility to complement Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis.
On defense, Terrel Bernard, Tyrel Dodson, and A.J. Klein will compete to replace Tremaine Edmunds, but Buffalo could throw another linebacker into the mix. Although the Bills drafted Kaiir Elam in the first round of last year’s draft, top-end teams can never have enough cornerbacks.
Buffalo traded ahead of Dallas to select Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid. The move didn’t fit neatly into a need, but if one were to take a step back, the move makes a ton of sense.
Kincaid is the definition of a move TE. He’ll allow Buffalo to play in 12 personnel more often but with an 11-personnel posture. To make a long story short, Kincaid is just a bigger version of a slot receiver and a complement to Diggs, which is exactly what the franchise needed.
- EDGE, WR
The Panthers got their guy. In the end, it didn’t matter that Bryce Young was 5-foot-10 or that he only weighs the equivalent of a powerlifter’s gym bag. The young man can play the game at a ridiculous level and will be an outstanding fit for Frank Reich.
Pass-rush help alongside Brian Burns is necessary, as is some juice on the outside at WR to help cultivate a successful environment around their newly appointed franchise passer. While Carolina could probably get away with what they have at the position after the additions of DJ Chark and Adam Thielen, a legitimate No. 1 guy should be on their radar, although that player won’t be found in the 2023 NFL Draft.
- CB, C, EDGE, G, DT
General manager Ryan Poles — a former professional offensive lineman himself — just couldn’t help but to draft the behemoth blocker from Tennessee, Darnell Wright. Wright should slide into the starting lineup at RT on Day 1, supplementing an already dangerous Bears rushing attack.
Matt Eberflus wants to get pressure with his front four, but Chicago might not have a single above-average defensive lineman on their roster. Georgia’s Jalen Carter was an option with the ninth pick, but the Bears decided to let Philadelphia take the potential character risk.
- TE, G, S, OT
The Bengals have done an admirable job of papering over their needs in free agency, so they won’t be desperate at any one position. However, tight end stands out as an area ripe for an upgrade. Irv Smith Jr. will follow in Hayden Hurst’s wake as Cincinnati’s latest one-year TE flier, but the Bengals could look for a long-term starter.
Right tackle is up in the air, given the murky statuses of Jonah Williams (trade request) and La’el Collins (ACL recovery). Neither of those veterans is likely to be on Cincinnati’s roster by 2024, so the club could try to find a young RT in this year’s draft. Guard could be another area to address if Cincinnati doesn’t want to move forward with Cordell Volson on the left side.
While there is never a bad way to draft a player who many believed would be a top-15 pick for most of the process, Myles Murphy didn’t exactly fit into one of Cincinnati’s most significant team needs. They simply took the best player they felt was remaining at a high-value position, which should never catch too much flak.
- DT, EDGE, WR
The Browns finally solidified their defensive interior by signing Dalvin Tomlinson, but one new lineman isn’t going to cut it at a position where players only see 50-70% playtime.
Perrion Winfrey’s recent arrest following a domestic dispute didn’t help matters. Cleveland could address both tackle and EDGE, but they’ll have to wait until the third round after moving their Round 1 and 2 picks in the Deshaun Watson trade.
While the Browns acquired Elijah Moore via a trade with the Jets, he’s far from a sure thing. Modern NFL teams might need four or five contributing wide receivers to get through a season, so Cleveland could consider another pass catcher even if they’re comfortable with Amari Cooper, Moore, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and David Bell.
- G, LB, RB
The Cowboys are rarely active in free agency, but they got creative and used the trade market to fill two of their most significant needs. Brandin Cooks likely completes Dallas’ wide receiver corps, while Stephon Gilmore means the Cowboys don’t need to find a new No. 2 corner.
Adding offensive line depth is never a problem, especially given Tyron Smith’s repeated injury issues. And it shouldn’t be a surprise if the Cowboys identify a running back to pair with Tony Pollard and replace Ezekiel Elliott’s production.
Cowboys fans don’t exactly know what to do with themselves after the team drafted Michigan defensive tackle Mazi Smith, marking a very massive change in the way Dallas has valued the interior over the years. With few dire needs remaining at low-leverage positions, Dallas is set up for success throughout the rest of the draft.
- DT, EDGE, CB, WR
Denver’s front seven structure shouldn’t change all that much under new DC Vance Joseph, but they could still use a few more bodies along the defensive line, even after adding Zach Allen in free agency.
The same goes for edge defenders — the Broncos have some intriguing pieces in Baron Browning, Randy Gregory, and Nik Bonitto, but there’s enough concern about injuries or unproven track records that another pass rusher could be in Denver’s plans.
Damarri Mathis was surprisingly effective as a rookie fourth-round CB, but the Broncos could use more depth. Sean Payton says Denver is hanging onto Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton, but it’s worth wondering if he wants to bring in a receiver of his choosing. Denver won’t pick until Round 3, so they might not be able to find many starters in this year’s draft.
- CB, TE, QB, EDGE
After trading Jeff Okudah to the Falcons, Detroit’s top need is at cornerback.
Likewise, last year’s trade of T.J. Hockenson created a new need at tight end, and there’s no reason the Lions can’t find a starter at the back end of Round 1 or in Round 2 in what is considered a strong TE class.
And quarterback can’t be ruled out despite Jared Goff’s excellent 2022 campaign. If Detroit believes Goff has hit his ceiling, they could pull the trigger on a passer.
Exactly why Brad Holmes and the Detroit Lions drafted the way they did may forever remain a mystery, particularly after how well they’d done building through the trenches and at high-value positions over the past few seasons. But there is a ton of potential between Jahmyr Gibbs and Jack Campbell relative to their positions, as invaluable as many may believe those to be.
Green Bay Packers
- WR, TE, S, DT
Samori Toure currently projects as the Packers’ No. 3 wideout. Unless you’re a die-hard Green Bay fan, you might not even know who that is. Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs both flashed in their rookie seasons, but the Packers need more pass-catching help.
Seeing Green Bay pass on Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Dalton Kincaid in favor of Lukas Van Ness was not on my bingo card. However, adding juice to the OLB/DE position was also a need for the Packers, and they’ve had success developing raw pass rushers recently.
Safety is an underrated need for Green Bay now that Adrian Amos is no longer in town. Darnell Savage might be spending more of his time in the slot after playing well there last season, while former 49ers special teamer Tarvarius Moore would be a starting Packers safety if the season started today. Adding another contributor in the back end while bringing in depth for the front seven will be crucial for Green Bay.
- EDGE, WR, C, CB
The Texans did the right thing by drafting a QB with the second pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and they made an aggressive and intelligent move to go get Will Anderson Jr. with the very next selection. That said, Houston needed more than one edge defender, so their work is not done there.
The thing about the Texans’ roster is that it needs help everywhere — it probably won’t matter what order they address their needs as long as they hit on their picks.
Elsewhere, Houston could still use an alpha WR1 for its next quarterback, while center remains a pressing need after a disappointing season from Scott Quessenberry. Steven Nelson is a fine partner for Derek Stingley Jr., but the veteran corner is 30 years old and entering the final season of his contract.
- CB, WR, G, OT
It took Chris Ballard five drafts to finally figure out the QB position. Veteran after veteran has come and gone in those years, none ever remaining as the Colts’ starter for the following season. Anthony Richardson will change that.
That effort can start along the offensive line, where right guard is still a major problem. The Colts nominally have a starting left tackle in Bernhard Raimann, but it’s unclear if they’re comfortable rolling with the former third-rounder as their only blindside option. Adding a third receiver to complement Michael Pittman Jr. and Alec Pierce should also be on Indianapolis’ agenda.
Trading Stephon Gilmore created a cornerback void opposite Isaiah Rodgers. It won’t be surprising if Indianapolis uses their early second-round selection on a corner, with the possibility of even double-dipping and taking another DB later in the draft.
- CB, G, DT, RB
The Jaguars’ primary needs line up with the strength of the 2022 draft class. Jacksonville released Shaquill Griffin this offseason, so they need cornerback help opposite Tyson Campbell. Even though they selected Anton Harrison to fill one of the tackle spots (side currently unknown, but we could probably guess the right side), a starting-caliber CB may still be had in later rounds.
Kansas City Chiefs
- DT, WR, OT, CB
Patrick Mahomes proved last season that he can put up MVP numbers with virtually anybody at wide receiver, but that doesn’t mean the Chiefs shouldn’t try to find him another weapon. Kadarius Toney could have a larger role in 2023, and 2022 second-rounder Skyy Moore might step up, but Kansas City will need to replace JuJu Smith-Schuster’s production.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Picks by Team
Another defensive tackle could be on the table for the Chiefs, too. K.C. needs more depth, and while they’re expected to work out an extension with Chris Jones, they could hedge against losing him by drafting a young prospect on the interior.
Las Vegas Raiders
- C, DT, G, CB
The Raiders’ offensive line played surprisingly well last season, and the fact that the unit improved as the year progressed gives hope for 2023. Still, long-term questions remain. Las Vegas could find youthful upgrades for center Andre James, right guard Alex Bars, and even right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor, who posted the best campaign of his career in 2022 but generated next-to-no free agent interest.
If Jerry Tillery is a projected starter on your defensive line, you have a problem. The Raiders need to make significant investments along the defensive interior, while cornerback remains an issue after Vegas opted for rental solutions in David Long Jr. and Duke Shelley.
Tyree Wilson didn’t necessarily fit snugly into one of the Raiders’ main needs, but Chandler Jones is no longer the one of old — he’s simply old. Some comped Wilson to Jones, and if the latter is willing to be a mentor to the young pass rusher, his pairing alongside Maxx Crosby could be incredibly dangerous.
Los Angeles Chargers
- OT, RB, CB, EDGE
The Chargers have two excellent wide receivers in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, but neither of them provides a speed element in Los Angeles’ offense. The Bolts needed a pass catcher to take the top off of opposing defenses, and they partially accomplished that goal in Round 1 by selecting Quentin Johnston.
They’ll likely want more from him in the future as a No. 1 type, but for now, Los Angeles can use his long strides as a high-end decoy that can also make plays in a manufactured touch role.
Austin Ekeler doesn’t figure to be a Charger in 2024 after requesting a trade this offseason, so L.A. could look for a back in the middle or late rounds (which they typically do every year, anyway). And while Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack form a dominant pass-rushing duo, the Chargers have no depth behind them. Mack’s contract could have him off Los Angeles’ roster by next season, so the club should plan ahead.
Los Angeles Rams
- OT, G, EDGE, CB, S, LB, WR, RB
The Rams could use their picks on nearly any position and find an upgrade in the draft. Of course, that’s by design, as Los Angeles is tearing down its roster just one year after winning the Super Bowl. Ripping the Band-Aid off could lead to a quicker turnaround, but it means pain and needs in the short term.
After suffering historic OL injuries in 2022, the Rams can’t walk away from this draft without adding a few big bodies up front. L.A. has a starting receiver spot open following the Allen Robinson trade, while running back is still an area of concern, given that the Rams tried and failed to give Cam Akers away last season.
On defense, Los Angeles should draft in volume. Aaron Donald is the only surefire defensive contributor on the team, and he could walk away at any time. Linebacker Ernest Jones, cornerback Derion Kendrick, and safety Jordan Fuller look like locked-in starters, but there’s no one on the Rams’ defense that should prevent them from adding more talent.
- OT, G, S, DT
The Dolphins have just four picks in the 2023 draft, and two of those come after selection No. 190. They won’t be adding a large draft class, but Miami’s Round 2 and 3 choices will give them a chance at finding contributors.
Protecting Tua Tagovailoa has to be the Dolphins’ top priority, so using at least one of those Day 2 selections on an offensive lineman wouldn’t be the worst idea. Left guard Liam Eichenberg and right tackle Austin Jackson could both be replaced if Miami can find better options.
- CB, LB, DT
The Vikings have consistently rolled the dice on early-round cornerbacks without much success in recent seasons. While Minnesota is hoping 2022 second-rounder Andrew Booth Jr. can become a starter after missing much of his rookie season with a knee injury, they should be amenable to adding more options at a weak-link position.
Going into 2023 with K.J. Osborn as the Vikings’ No. 2 option was never the plan. Osborn is a fine contributor, but he’s best as a third or fourth option in an offense. Jordan Addison was one of the most productive pass catchers in college football in 2021, and in 2022, Lincoln Riley’s offense showed that Addison was a complete three-level threat.
New England Patriots
- OT, WR, EDGE, DT
The Patriots have always prided themselves on outstanding offensive line play. But a team with Riley Reiff as its starting right tackle can’t tell itself that its front five is complete. Offensive tackle could still be an option for New England in Round 2, but it’s crazy that the league let Bill Belichick draft Christian Gonzalez at No. 17 overall.
Wide receiver remains a need area even after the Patriots signed JuJu Smith-Schuster. DeVante Parker and Kendrick Bourne are unlikely to be on New England’s roster in 2024, so even if they believe in 2022 second-rounder Tyquan Thornton, another pass catcher should be on the docket.
New Orleans Saints
- G, TE, OT
What was once the strength of the Saints’ roster has turned into a need. New Orleans replaced Shy Tuttle and David Onyemata with Khalen Saunders and Nathan Shepherd, but they simply need more bodies on the defensive interior.
For a team with a losing record a season ago, there aren’t many spots on the roster that scream need. The Saints could improve upon guards Andrus Peat and Cesar Ruiz, but contractual concerns mean they can’t move on from those veterans just yet. Tight end might be one of the weaker spots on New Orleans’ roster, but the Saints have more of them than most teams have receivers.
Addressing defensive tackle with the selection of Clemson’s Bryan Bresee was a solid and unceremonious selection by the Saints, something we’re not used to seeing from an organization that has been uber-aggressive in pursuit of draft picks through trading up over the years.
New York Giants
- S, C, G, WR
Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale likes to blitz more than any play-caller in the NFL. To do that, New York needs better corners capable of playing man coverage. Deonte Banks should certainly help New York’s defense, as he was practically born to play in Martindale’s defense.
Interior OL remains a question mark for New York. Joshua Ezeudu will get a crack at left guard after being selected in the third round of the 2022 draft, while Ben Bredeson and Mark Glowinski are penciled in at the other two spots. The Giants can’t simply hope that all three of those players work out next season, so depth will be essential.
New York is seemingly rolling with an all-slot receiver offense after adding Parris Campbell and Jamison Crowder to a depth chart that already included Wan’Dale Robinson and Sterling Shepard. Isaiah Hodgins and Darius Slayton are still around, too, but there’s clearly room for a true WR1 on this roster.
New York Jets
- OT, DT
The Jets finally completed the Aaron Rodgers trade before the draft, firmly removing quarterback from their list of needs. They also re-signed center Connor McGovern, meaning they no longer need a starting pivot but could still search for a developmental option later in the draft.
While McGovern’s return brings stability to New York’s offensive line, they still desperately need offensive tackle reinforcements. Duane Brown is 37 years old and entering the final season of his contract, and the Jets can’t rely on Mekhi Becton after he’s missed almost all of two full seasons.
New York dropped to pick 15 as part of the Rodgers deal, and Belichick did what Belichick does to the Jets, and screwed them out of the opportunity to draft Broderick Jones.
- S, LB
After losing C.J. Gardner-Johnson, the Eagles brought in Terrell Edmunds and Justin Evans to compete with Reed Blankenship and K’Von Wallace for starting safety roles. That group might be able to tie Philadelphia over until next season, but a mid-round defensive back could make sense for the Eagles.
Linebacker is nominally a long-term need for Philadlephia, given that Nicholas Morrow is on a one-year deal, but the Eagles simply don’t value the position. More likely, we’ll see Howie Roseman use at least one of his first-round picks to add another defensive lineman to a unit that lost Javon Hargrave to free agency.
- C, EDGE, WR, CB
The Steelers’ offensive line isn’t a complete disaster. It overperformed relative to expectations a season ago, and the addition of Isaac Seumalo should help even more. But Pittsburgh could stand to upgrade over left tackle Dan Moore Jr. and center Mason Cole, and recent reports suggested that they could trade up to land a new blindside protector.
And that’s exactly what they did.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s starters on the edge are set, but they absolutely need depth at the position, and the 2023 draft could provide the Steelers with the kind of outside linebackers they prefer. Acquiring Allen Robinson gives Pittsburgh its WR3, but the Steelers are wizards at drafting and developing mid-round pass catchers.
San Francisco 49ers
- OT, CB, DT, EDGE
The 49ers’ roster doesn’t look quite as complete leading into the NFL Draft as it has heading into previous campaigns. San Francisco needs to upgrade at right tackle after letting McGlinchey secure the bag in Denver. Aside from that, the 49ers look good offensively.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
On defense, the 49ers might look at corner after losing Emmanuel Moseley to free agency. Deommodore Lenoir is an intriguing player, and San Fran added slot player Myles Hartsfield from the Panthers, but more DB bodies are never a problem.
- G, C, DT, WR
Damien Lewis is an underrated guard, but there are questions about the rest of Seattle’s offensive interior. Center Evan Brown and right guard Phil Haynes are both on one-year deals with salaries near the league minimum, so the Seahawks could find their eventual replacement in this year’s draft.
Defensive tackle remains a need with Jarran Reed on a one-year deal, and although EDGE isn’t necessarily a need for Seattle in the sense of adding to their stand-up pass rushers, an EDGE in the sense of a 4i or 5-technique is. There are still a ton of those players available for the Seahawks on Day 2.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- QB, OT, LB, EDGE, G
Baker Mayfield will compete with former second-round pick Kyle Trask to become Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady replacement, but the Buccaneers could be a candidate for a quarterback.
Whoever serves as the Bucs’ QB will need better protection up front. After releasing Donovan Smith and trading Shaq Mason, the right side of Tampa Bay’s OL is now headlined by Nick Leverett and Matt Feiler. Finding a young tackle to pair with Tristan Wirfs could be the club’s best option going forward.
Tampa Bay still has a lot of defensive talent, but they have long-term needs. Linebackers Lavonte David and Devin White might not be in Tampa by next season. Pass rusher Shaq Barrett is 30 years old. And Ryan Neal might only be a one-year salve at safety. Using mid-round picks to pepper these positions might be the Bucs’ best strategy.
- WR, OT, C, G, EDGE
The Titans may very well have the worst wide receiving corps and the worst offensive line in football. Treylon Burks flashed as a rookie, but he needs more than Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Kyle Philips behind him.
Offensive line is probably an even more pressing problem. Tennessee doesn’t have a single front-five spot that couldn’t stand to be upgraded, including left tackle, where they handed former Eagle Andre Dillard a three-year deal in free agency.
The Titans’ needs remain the same even after the Peter Skoronski selection, but that’s largely because we have absolutely no idea which position he’ll play at in the NFL. Nevertheless, one of the five spots on Tennessee’s OL will receive a massive upgrade, and that is a win for Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry.
Tennessee signed Arden Key this offseason and will see Harold Landry III return from an ACL tear, but they could use more depth on the edge. None of the Titans’ reserve options stepped up when Landry went down a season ago.
- EDGE, QB, DT
For a team that hasn’t won double-digit games in more than a decade, the Commanders have a surprisingly competent roster.
EDGE is more of a long-term need. The Commanders can’t afford to pay both Montez Sweat and Chase Young after already extending tackles Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne, so they need to plan ahead and find a pass-rushing replacement.
Washington is planning a QB competition between Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett, but they might be a dark horse candidate for a passer. Even a late-round developmental signal-caller shouldn’t be out of the question.