Each AFC crew’s greatest remaining want: Ravens missing WRs for Lamar Jackson, Patriots want lockdown nook

Nearly all of the expertise acquisition interval has been exhausted by way of free company and the 2022 NFL Draft, however veteran signings (see: high 10 free brokers obtainable) could proceed to trickle in over the following few months. The NFC’s deficiencies have been dissected final week. Right here is the largest place of want for every crew within the AFC:  

Defensive deal with was additionally into account however the determination finally landed on cornerback. The Bengals have been capable of squeeze essentially the most out of Eli Apple and Chidobe Awuzie final season. They’ve since added Cam Taylor-Britt. It could be unrealistic to anticipate the same degree of manufacturing out of that group this season. They lack a real lockdown boundary participant that opens up so many scheming potentialities for the protection as a complete.

Payments: Defensive deal with

Buffalo’s roster is quite stable throughout the board. The argument is extra about depth in a wide range of locations quite than the beginning lineup itself. Defensive deal with is one place that seems to be missing depth for the Payments. Ed Oliver was good final season and DaQuan Jones was respectable in his function, however the crew has little behind the entrance line. 

Denver didn’t do a lot to handle the linebacker place this offseason. The Broncos signed Alex Singleton from Philadelphia however he comes from a franchise that seen the place as being in want of an improve too. The return of a wholesome Josey Jewell ought to definitely assist, however that’s one unit that would profit from including some expertise previous to the common season.

Browns: Defensive deal with

Defensive deal with is Cleveland’s greatest want and it’s not notably shut. The Browns have been available in the market, however not determined, for a veteran. Malik McDowell’s offseason shenanigans basically assured he won’t ever play within the NFL once more. The crew signed Taven Bryan to present them a little bit of expertise, however a variety of strain goes to be positioned on the shoulders of younger draft picks like Tommy Togiai, Jordan Elliott and Perrion Winfrey. With questions additionally current at linebacker, the Browns could possibly be at a drawback up the center. 

Chargers: Offensive deal with

There’s a case to be made for linebacker, however a wholesome Drue Tranquill and the addition of free agent Troy Reeder, who has expertise with Brandon Staley in Los Angeles, is an improve. The Chargers drafted Boston School’s Zion Johnson within the first spherical, however that fills a type of inside areas quite than proper deal with, which was a giant downside for the crew at instances final season. The beginning 5 ought to be improved, however there is a chance for the opposition to use strain from the suitable facet. 

Chiefs: Edge rusher

Some media members have been excessive on George Karlaftis throughout the pre-draft course of. Others weren’t. I fall into the primary class as having been a believer within the Purdue edge rusher’s potential. On the very least, he ought to supply extra assist in run protection. The difficulty is that he has not produced as knowledgeable and Frank Clark has been woefully disappointing since becoming a member of the crew in 2020. The ex-Seahawk has seen his sack totals dip every of his three years in Kansas Metropolis. 

Colts: Cornerback

Query marks litter the vast receiver room because the franchise awaits Michael Pittman taking the following step in his profession. Parris Campbell and Alec Pierce are two unproven gamers that will probably be counted upon closely. Nevertheless, cornerback is the largest want proper now reverse Stephon Gilmore, who turns 32 in September. To exacerbate issues, nickel cornerback Kenny Moore II — one of many higher slot defenders within the league — can be on the lookout for a brand new contract. Rock Ya-Sin was traded for Yannick Ngakoue and that pressured Isaiah Rodgers into a bigger function. 

Regardless of the addition of Terron Armstead, the offensive line stays a piece in progress with others entering into new roles. Linebacker is the larger concern although. The retention of defensive coordinator Josh Boyer was useful for Andrew Van Ginkel, Elandon Roberts and Jerome Baker, however the crew has not gotten sufficient out of that group. Channing Tindall was added on Day 2 of the current NFL draft, however there isn’t any assure that funding pays off. 

Jaguars: Defensive deal with

The offensive line and vast receiver positions are nonetheless regarding on offense, however Jacksonville lacks difference-makers alongside the inside defensive position. The additions of Travon Walker and Arden Key are considerably neutralized by the constraints of that inside unit. The group — Roy Robertson-Harris, Davon Hamilton, Malcolm Brown and Foley Fatukasi — has had moments of success all through their careers, however it’s time for somebody to step up and benefit from the one-on-one alternatives certain to return from the improve in expertise on the sting.

Jets: Linebacker

Few groups did as a lot to improve their roster this offseason because the New York Jets. They upgraded at edge rusher, cornerback, security, vast receiver, operating again and tight finish. The one spot that was hardly addressed is one helpful in Robert Saleh’s protection, however broadly thought of insignificant — linebacker. San Francisco’s protection corralled opposing offenses with a large 9 entrance as a result of they’d gifted gamers like Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw to deal with all that was filtered inside. New York is relying upon a transformed security (Hamsah Nasirildeen), Jaguar cast-off (Quincy Williams) and the as soon as highly-regarded C.J. Mosley to satisfy those self same obligations. 

There’s a case to be made that vast receiver or linebacker are essentially the most regarding points of Invoice Belichick’s roster, however the alternative needs to be cornerback given the significance of man protection play to his system’s success. Over the previous yr, the Patriots have misplaced Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson. They signed Malcolm Butler and drafted Jack Jones and Marcus Jones to masks the deficiencies on the place. New England’s secondary will little question be versatile once more, however the absence of a lockdown participant on the boundary will probably be felt throughout the board. 

Raiders: Offensive line

The selection got here all the way down to the offensive line and the linebackers. The crew’s total success is extra carefully tied to offensive play so the offensive line is the lean. Dylan Parham was added by way of the draft and is anticipated to compete for a beginning place this summer season. His emergence can be a welcomed shock given the overwhelming concern for that unit. 

Ravens: Extensive receiver

The longer term is now for Baltimore’s younger receivers. Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace have to elevate their play this season within the absence of Hollywood Brown. Devin Duvernay and James Proche are two vast receivers from the 2020 class who will probably be requested to fill bigger roles out of necessity. The Ravens are a franchise that makes a variety of sense as a touchdown spot for a veteran vast receiver because the crew appears to iron out a long-term take care of quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Steelers: Offensive deal with

Cornerback was an space of concern as a result of the Steelers lack a high tier possibility. Levi Wallace and Cam Sutton are stable, nonetheless, and Tre Norwood seemed the half at instances additionally. They did properly to handle the inside offensive line, however offensive deal with remains to be the largest query mark. Maybe Dan Moore Jr. takes the following step in his profession and Chukwuma Okorafor returns to type following an damage, however that could be a lot to gamble on in a division that options Myles Garrett, Trey Hendrickson and different younger go rushers. It isn’t a perfect state of affairs for a first-year starter at quarterback of their group. 

Houston has a number of wants on the roster. The crew is quite weak up the center on protection notably. Whereas the Texans have some promising younger edge rushers to develop, defensive deal with and linebacker are extra of a priority. The hope is that third-round choice Christian Harris hits the bottom operating and his potential interprets into manufacturing. 

Tennessee’s roster is fairly stable throughout the board. There’s a bigger concern with the offensive technique long-term, however that isn’t the query broached right here. Frankly, the linebackers can play higher than they did final season, however the expertise is there. The expertise can be current at cornerback however they want extra from Caleb Farley and Kristian Fulton. 

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