The NFL draft is an event teams are best equipped for when they have no restrictions and no handcuffs. Entering a draft with a blatant need is a dangerous proposition because typically when there's a blatant need, everyone else knows it too.
It can result in overpaying for trade-ups and getting worked over in deals or, even worse, seeing teams leapfrog a needy one to pluck a player from their clutches.
Inevitably, every year there are teams that roll into the draft with a clear and obvious must-have on their needs list. A lot of the time, those teams will conduct their business to check the box and draft a player who can fill the void.
Who are some of those notable teams this year? Who stands out as teams with must-have needs on their roster? And how likely are they to fill those needs in the first round?
New York Giants: Pass Rusher
I can only imagine the unspeakable things Dave Gettleman would do to secure defensive end Chase Young with the fourth-overall pick. Ultimately, he won't sniff him; because even if Washington goes off script and either trades its pick or drafts a quarterback, Detroit at No. 3 would be quick to gobble Young up. But the need for New York is there. With no Young in the cards, it's hard to envision the Giants filling it in the first round. Even in the second round, it's hard to see them getting a pass rusher, especially if they elect to draft linebacker Isaiah Simmons in the first due to a need at offensive tackle.
So New York, despite its top pass rushers being Kyler Fackrell, Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines, is going to be challenged to check off this box early in the draft.
Miami Dolphins: Quarterback
The Miami Dolphins will have a shot at a quarterback. They'll technically have three before the first 30 picks are made. Expect the Dolphins to go after their golden goose with their first pick, mainly because the longer they wait and the cuter they will try to get. Quarterback isn't a position that teams often mess around with. If there's one worth taking at No. 18, they should take them at No. 5.
For Miami, the question is not if it will draft a quarterback but rather if it will get leapfrogged for its quarterback. If the Dolphins sit tight at No. 5, it indicates they're comfortable with a number of outcomes.
New York Jets: Wide Receiver
The New York Jets' wide receiver room includes Quincy Enunwa, Breshad Perriman, Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, Josh Malone and Braxton Berrios.
That's it. That's the joke.
This can't be what the Jets provide to third-year quarterback Sam Darnold — it just can't be. Here's the good news: This year's receiver class is absolutely loaded. With picks Nos. 11, 48, 68 and 79 in the queue, New York should definitely be addressing this need early. However, there is a problem.
The Jets desperately need some more offensive line help after striking out on big names in free agency. New starting center Connor McGovern is a good addition, but they arguably need three additional starters on the line. The Jets won't find them plus quality receivers for Darnold all in one draft, so at least one box will be left unchecked. I doubt it's at wide receiver though. If not at No. 11, look for this to be the move at No. 48.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Offensive Tackle
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sit in an odd spot. They're picking 14th, which typically would be a home-run spot for a quality offensive tackle. But this is an oddly loaded tackle class, and there is a bevy of teams in front of Tampa Bay that also need tackle help. It wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for the Buccaneers to come on the clock at No. 14 and see that the top four tackles are already off the board.
If that's the case, Tampa Bay will be in a bind. Does it reach on Houston's Josh Jones or do the Buccaneers look to manipulate the draft board and move back? They won't have much wiggle room, given the tackle hungry Dolphins linger at No. 18. If Tampa Bay is intent on improving the offensive line for new quarterback Tom Brady, it may have to end up being aggressive to check the box and go get one of the top four.
Denver Broncos: Wide Receiver
It hasn't been too much of a secret that the Denver Broncos would like a big-play threat at receiver to help fortify the supporting cast for young quarterback Drew Lock. Between wideout Courtland Sutton, tight end Noah Fant and running backs Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay, the Broncos are off to a great start. But they thirst for more speed, specifically Henry Ruggs III, has been pretty well documented this offseason.
With other receiver hungry teams like Philadelphia lingering in the rearview mirror and ahead of them in the queue, Denver is going to have very little wiggle room if it wants to successfully acquire Ruggs as the field stretcher for its offense. The Broncos will have plenty of chances to address receiver but if they're going to get the one they want, they may need to move up to avoid seeing Ruggs cherry-picked before they come on the clock.