We have a few hours before free agency officially begins and the carnage from the last 48 hours can be put into writing. Enjoy this momentary pause to catch your breath! Between Odell Beckham Jr joining forces with Jarvis Landry and Baker Mayfield, Antonio Brown ducking out of Pittsburgh to go play for Chucky and Dave Gettleman's best efforts to turn back time (spoiler alert: it's not 1982. You can't 3-yards and a cloud of dust your way to a championship in this league!), the landscape continues to mold before our very eyes.
But what impact does that bring on the 2019 NFL Draft? Some teams, like the Dolphins, Steelers, Patriots, Seahawks and Bucs, are standing pat. Not really making much noise at all. Their roster needs are ever consistent in varying degrees based on the talent on their individual teams.
But in a very short time we have seen some teams push their chips into the middle, aggressively addressing roster needs through free agency and via trade. What roster needs have those teams amplified for the 2019 NFL Draft?
New York Jets: Pass Rush And Pass Protection
Well, you can't blame them for trying. Anthony Barr agreed in principle to come to New York and be the pass rusher Minnesota never asked him to be. And then he got a case of the Joe Philbins (read: a little queasy). Barr backed out of his deal a day later, leaving the Jets holding all of this extra cash that they then apparently decided to give to RB Le'Veon Bell.
By addressing running back, middle linebacker (C.J. Mosley's record contract) and several peripheral needs, the Jets' issues now fall with edge rushers and offensive linemen. With the third overall pick and then a long wait until their next selection, the Jets have some pressure to narrow the field further. But for the time being their holes on the edges of the line of scrimmage are more glaring than ever.
Cleveland Browns: Outside Cornerback
Dear lord. Cleveland, is that you? You've been working out, huh? Well, no...I mean you look amazing. I just didn't recognize you.
This is the foundation laid by former GM Sashi Brown (RIP, he died for your sins). And John Dorsey and company are ALL. IN. Aggressively pursuing DT Sheldon Richardson (3-year deal), trading for DE Olivier Vernon and WR Odell Beckham Jr, plus showing a little foresight by having OG Austin Corbett waiting in the wings to replace the soon to be traded Kevin Zeitler.
Well played, Mr. Dorsey. Now, let's talk about the weak link on the depth chart: the cornerback position. Denzel Ward is in place. Excellent, that's a great start. Other names of note in Cleveland's CB room: Travis Carrie, Terrance Mitchell, Howard Wilson, Juston Burris...
I can't go any further, I'm feeling more queasy than Barr signing with the Jets.
The need is defined. And with no more first-round pick, the pressure falls on Dorsey and company to find another young outside corner to play opposite Ward.
New York Giants: Right Tackle
"But Kyle, the Giants need a new Quarterbac--" YOU PIPE DOWN. This is all part of Dave Gettleman's master plan to wind back the clocks, back to the good old days when all these analytics nerds were perched in high chairs, burping up the same psychobabble nonsense they're spewing these days.
But seriously, this is the game the Giants want to play. And hey, the good news is the offensive line is pretty damn formidable. Solder, Hernandez and Zeitler is a terrific foundation. Now to address the Right Tackle position and really set this thing in stone: they'll do it at 6 and you can't convince me otherwise.
As far as what happens at 17? Maybe center prospect Erik McCoy or Garrett Bradbury? I'm totally kidding. Or am I?
I'll never tell.
Oakland Raiders: Pass Rusher
The Raiders all but killed the dream of D.K. Metcalf in silver and black by trading for Antonio Brown. Fine, whatever. They all but killed last year's first round pick already too, but giving OT Trenton Brown a record breaking contract to play left tackle and moving last year's top pick (and to the surprise of no-one, a massive disappointment) OT Kolton Miller to the right side. Whoops.
Oh yeah, and then they threw some cash at Safety Lamarcus Joyner, which is a move I low-key like. That leaves pass rusher as the dire need on this team. And with three 1st-round picks (for now...ahem, Arizona...), the Raiders will have ample opportunity to address that need with good value in the first round of this year's NFL Draft.