The NFL Draft is fast approaching, and with it, the chance for NFL franchises to significantly boost their rosters. For those towards the top of the draft order, who have the chance to choose from the very best talent available, getting their draft decisions right is crucial.
Football fans and betting enthusiasts alike will be studying the draft and analyzing the needs of each of the franchises going into the event, and sports betting aficionados checking out sidelines.io will also be keenly following developments. Predicting the draft is more of an art than a science, but here are some suggestions for teams at the top of the order.
The Jaguars have a long list of needs, including tight end, offensive tackle, linebacker, pass rusher, and wide receiver. In fact, they need help pretty much everywhere, except quarterback and cornerback. However, if the plan is to build around Trevor Lawrence, the Jaguars might – and should – go big on offense after selecting their preferred pass-rusher with the first overall selection.
It would make sense for Detroit to choose an outstanding edge rusher with the No. 2 overall pick, as long as they also fit the hard-nosed ethos that coach Dan Campbell is seeking to establish in Motown. Aidan Hutchinson from Michigan earned a Heisman Trophy nomination, as did Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux. He makes a lot of sense as an option, in addition to being a local player.
The pick will be a key player for the Lions as they continue to rebuild, and they’ll receive another late first-round choice, thanks to the Rams’ pick in the Matthew Stafford-Jared Goff exchange. The franchise’s success will depend on selecting the right players.
The most pressing concern is whether Houston will utilize their pick to select a quarterback. It’s not a very strong quarterback class this year, and their rookie David Mills showed glimpses of life as the season progressed. Do the Texans go with a seasoned option, give Mills another shot, or choose the guy they believe will be the team’s future quarterback?
New York Jets
With nine selections in all, including four in the first two rounds, this has to be a game-changing draft for the Jets. For the first time since 1967, they will have two top-10 choices, providing an excellent chance to improve their traditionally terrible defense. The Jets are in desperate need of strengthening at the second and the third levels but may go for an edge rusher if that is the best available option.
New York Giants
Probably the Giants’ sole bright spot moving into the offseason was the fact that they will have 10 picks in the draft. These include two first-round selections in the top 10 (theirs and Chicago’s), a second-round pick, and two third-round picks. They have a significant amount of capital at their disposal, which they should utilize to fix their offensive line concerns, and acquire a high-end edge rusher.
After trading their second-round pick for quarterback Sam Darnold and their third-round pick for cornerback CJ Henderson, the Panthers have a lot of needs and limited draft capital with which to address them. The key issue will be whether to go after a quarterback in a weak QB class or start rebuilding an offensive line. Missing out on Darnold was a massive mistake, and Carolina is set to be left with Darnold’s $18.8m fifth-year option in 2023 as they look for a successor.
The Falcons need everything, from determining what the quarterback position will look like in the future to identifying a long-snapper.
Because of Atlanta’s roster structure, general manager Terry Fontenot and coach Arthur Smith will be able to go to nearly any position on the board to match the team’s needs with draft value. It’s a fascinating position to be in for a club that is looking to restock talent across the board while simultaneously clearing up its payroll cap.
Washington rate quarterback Taylor Heinicke, but the franchise may be looking for a quarterback who can serve as a long-term replacement. It won’t be necessary to force a choice because of Heinicke’s performances, but there will be interest in finding someone with greater potential.
Washington won’t have a high pick but then this isn’t a quarterback-heavy draft. Since Mark Rypien led the team to the Super Bowl after the 1991 season, the franchise has tried 31 different players in the position in the hopes of finding a long-term solution.
The franchise may also need additional offensive assistance, whether at guard or wide receiver if it doesn’t get a quarterback. A middle linebacker will also be a top target.