The initial free agency period and the 2023 NFL Draft are over, which means attention returns to filling out roster needs in the second wave of free agency.
Here are the most pressing draft needs for each NFL team following the 2023 NFL Draft:
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Bengals: Offensive guard
- First-round pick: Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy (No. 28 overall)
For the time being, La'El Collins is on the roster, and that makes the offensive tackle position slightly less of a need despite how he performed last season. Cincinnati invested significant resources into the offensive line last offseason but still have positions to fill before Joe Burrow can feel secure. Jonah Williams would be an important piece to that unit had he not requested a trade following the Orlando Brown Jr. signing. Alex Cappa and Ted Karras played well last season but the team needs to identify some long-term building blocks.
Tight end is another position to consider.
Bills: Defensive line
- First-round pick: Utah TE Dalton Kincaid (No. 25 overall)
Buffalo answered a few of their most pressing needs in the draft by taking Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid and Florida offensive guard O'Cyrus Torrence. However, they have been gashed by opposing run games and need to become more sturdy at the point of attack.
Broncos: Defensive line
- First-round pick: None
Dre'Mont Jones left Denver in free agency. The Broncos are left with some over-performing players at the position and one has to wonder if that is sustainable moving forward. Mike Purcell is one of the key contributors at 32-years-old. Length and depth were integral in head coach Sean Payton's time with the Saints.
- First-round pick: None
Cleveland is slated to start Juan Thornhill and Grant Delpit in the first year of defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's reign. They have some intriguing talent behind them on the depth chart but none have asserted themselves enough to feel confident in the event they have to play meaningful snaps.
Linebacker is a position of concern as well, but there are players on the roster who could occupy those roles if able to stay healthy.
- First-round pick: TCU WR Quentin Johnston (No. 21)
Safety is relatively thin outside of Derwin James. Alohi Gilman is stepping into a larger role but depth has been unchallenged. For a team with Super Bowl aspirations, it is difficult imagining they will allow the potential of one injury to derail their goals.
Chiefs: Defensive tackle
- First-round pick: Kansas State EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah (No. 31)
Kansas City lost some of its interior defensive line depth in free agency, and that essentially leaves the Chiefs with Chris Jones. Jones has been fantastic for the defending Super Bowl champions, but the Chiefs need to keep loading up on the defensive front to withstand some of these grueling AFC battles. They took Texas' Keondre Coburn in the later rounds but it may not answer their needs for the upcoming season.
- First-round pick: Florida QB Anthony Richardson (No. 4)
Indianapolis has been robbed of its depth at the position in recent years with Anthony Walker and Bobby Okereke moving on in free agency. The Colts have done a good job of finding players at the position but it is a position group that does not inspire a lot of confidence. Edge rusher is another area of concern. They need to find a way to apply some pressure.
Dolphins: Offensive guard
- First-round pick: None
Offensive tackle play was much improved last season, and Connor Williams was fantastic at center in his first season after signing in free agency. Miami's offensive guard play was not up to expectations. The presence of two players on their rookie contracts is ideal when the team is spending roughly $32.5 million on cornerbacks Xavien Howard, Byron Jones and Jalen Ramsey this year. The Dolphins need to add depth at a few spots, including defensive tackle and linebacker.
- First-round pick: Oklahoma OT Anton Harrison (No. 27)
Jacksonville has made ample investment into the cornerback position in recent years. The Jaguars signed free agents Darious Williams and Shaq Griffin, in addition to spending a first-round selection on C.J. Henderson and a second-round selection on Tyson Campbell, who remains a building block at the position moving forward. The Jaguars need more from that group, especially after releasing Griffin. They took three late-round flyers on the position but time will tell how those pan out.
Jets: Offensive tackle
- First-round pick: Iowa State EDGE Will McDonald IV (No. 15)
Would Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones have been the pick at No. 15 overall if Pittsburgh had not traded up? There was a lot of smoke about New York addressing the position due to uncertainty regarding the health of Mekhi Becton. Instead, the position was not addressed. Are they comfortable moving forward with the players on their roster at that position?
Patriots: Offensive tackle
- First-round pick: Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez (No. 17)
New England is slated to start Trent Brown on the left side and 34-year-old Riley Reiff on the right side. There had been some discussion that the Patriots could move on from left tackle Isaiah Wynn and Brown this offseason; Wynn remains a free agent. The team could theoretically move starting guard Michael Onwenu to right tackle, which he played the better part of four games as a rookie in 2021, in a pinch. No matter how the Patriots choose to reshuffle the deck, the offensive line is going to be a concern without any additions.
Raiders: Interior offensive lineman
- First-round pick: Texas Tech EDGE Tyree Wilson (No. 7)
Las Vegas addressed essentially every position other than the offensive line during the draft. It is a big area of concern as Jimmy Garoppolo settles in as the starter. They have a wealth of weapons in the pass game but Garoppolo may not have the time to distribute the football.
Ravens: Edge rusher
- First-round pick: Boston College WR Zay Flowers (No. 22)
Baltimore has Odafe Oweh, David Ojabo and now Tavius Robinson but none have consistently produced at this level. The Ravens are a team that expects to compete with Lamar Jackson at quarterback so it is difficult envisioning them being comfortable with that position group.
Steelers: Edge rusher
- First-round pick: Georgia OT Broderick Jones (No. 14)
Pittsburgh was interested in bringing Bud Dupree back in to the building before he signed with Atlanta. T.J. Watt is arguably the most effective pass rusher in the league and Alex Highsmith's play has exceeded his draft spot. However, they do not the luxury of proven depth behind those players. If Watt were to get injured again, would they be able to stay afloat?
Texans: Defensive tackle
- First-round picks: Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud (No. 2 overall) and Alabama EDGE Will Anderson Jr. (No. 3 overall)
The defensive line is the most pressing need even after adding Will Anderson Jr. at No. 3 overall. They lacked true difference-makers who can impact the opposing quarterback and hold up at the point of attack last season. The Texans have a bevy of other needs to address, including linebacker.
- First-round pick: Northwestern OT Peter Skoronski (No. 11 overall)
From an individual position standpoint, linebacker may be the biggest need on the Tennessee roster. Head coach Mike Vrabel has a big need at the position he played in the NFL. The team could take multiple linebackers in the upcoming draft and no one would have a problem with it. Azeez Al-Shaair, Luke Gifford and Monty Rice are slated to compete for those two starting roles, and depth is lacking behind them.
The offensive line remains a work in progress as well. Wide receiver is another spot to address.
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49ers: Interior offensive line
- First-round pick: None
San Francisco is giving Colton McKivitz a chance at right tackle following the departure of Mike McGlinchey in free agency; that could prove to be a big need for the 49ers. It is magnified by the lack of confidence in the interior offensive line, however.
Bears: Edge rusher
- First-round pick: Tennessee OT Darnell Wright (No. 10 overall)
Chicago made a good free agent signing in DeMarcus Walker, and it added a few rotational defensive tackles who may have to take on larger roles this season. The Bears finished dead last in sack production last season, so it is imperative for the team to become more dynamic off the edge. They did a great job upgrading the interior defensive line though.
Buccaneers: Offensive tackle
- First-round pick: Pittsburgh DL Calijah Kancey (No. 19 overall)
After moving on from left tackle Donovan Smith for performance and financial reasons, they are exploring the idea of moving Tristan Wirfs to that side. The signing of Baker Mayfield indicates that they are trying to keep the ship afloat this season, but they need to upgrade the pass protection. North Dakota State's Cody Mauch was drafted on Day 2 but projects inside.
Cardinals: Defensive tackle
- First-round pick: Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr. (No. 6)
Arizona is in a similar position as Chicago. The Cardinals need help on the exterior and interior of the defensive line. The Cardinals lost J.J. Watt to retirement but Zach Allen also departed in free agency. First-year head coach Jonathan Gannon comes from a situation where he had a wealth of options along the defensive front.
Commanders: Tight end
- First-round pick: Mississippi State CB Emmanuel Forbes (No. 16)
Washington selected Mississippi State cornerback Emmanuel Forbes in the first round, so that opened the door for the team to explore other positions as the draft progressed. With a young quarterback expected to start this season, it is important for the Commanders to find a reliable outlet at tight end for Sam Howell.
Cowboys: Interior offensive line
- First-round pick: Michigan DL Mazi Smith (No. 26 overall)
A video of Dallas deciding between Syracuse offensive lineman Matthew Bergeron and their eventual selection, Smith, went viral on social media. After bypassing on Bergeron, the team did not address the interior offensive line in the draft. They have some positional flexibility on that unit with Tyler Smith but need to identify unit staples.
- First-round picks: Georgia DL Jalen Carter (No. 9 overall) and Georgia EDGE Nolan Smith (No. 30 overall)
Philadelphia's roster is not lacking for talent. They have addressed essentially every problem area on their roster. They signed Nicholas Morrow to absorb some of their losses in free agency but no one else on the roster has ample playing experience. Last year's draft selection, Nakobe Dean, was drafted to step into a larger role this year, but the organization is lacking depth.
- First-round pick: Texas RB Bijan Robinson (No. 8 overall)
Atlanta should be cooking on offense this season adding offensive guard Matthew Bergeron and running back Bijan Robinson to a unit that already featured tight end Kyle Pitts and wide receiver Drake London. They will go as far as quarterback Desmond Ridder takes them.
Atlanta has added some bodies to that defensive front this off-season but the linebacker group remains a problem. They will continue developing Troy Andersen but will be overly reliant on unproven youth alongside him.
- First-round pick: Maryland CB Deonte Banks (No. 24)
The Giants signed Bobby Okereke in free agency but they could use additional mass up the middle. New York did a good job of addressing needs and depth is more of the concern right now. Cornerback, offensive guard and linebacker are those three spots they could continue adding bodies to ahead of the season.
Lions: Wide receiver
- First-round picks: Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs (No. 12 overall) and Iowa LB Jack Campbell (No. 18 overall)
A year ago, Detroit drafted Jameson Williams to shoulder some of the play-making obligation in that offense. Williams will serve a suspension to begin the season and that places all of the responsibility back on Amon-Ra St. Brown despite the presence of Josh Reynolds, Marvin Jones. They could use another game-breaker with or without Williams, but that could be difficult to find at this stage of the off-season.
- First-round pick: Iowa EDGE Lukas Van Ness (No. 13)
Green Bay has some interior offensive linemen that have played and played well, but this is an important year for that group. They may need to steer some assets in that direction next year. However, safety is more of a problem for the upcoming season. Darnell Savage has been disappointing and there is little else to feel confident about in that room.
Panthers: Defensive tackle
- First-round pick: Alabama QB Bryce Young (No. 1 overall)
Carolina drafted its quarterback of the future when Alabama's Bryce Young was announced as the No. 1 overall selection. The Panthers have holes to address on the defensive side of the ball, needing to add difference-makers to pair with cornerback Jaycee Horn and edge rusher Brian Burns. After the draft, cornerback remains a need. They added some bodies to the edge rusher and defensive tackle roles but there is no one locked in as a regular contributor.
Rams: Interior offensive line
- First-round pick: None
The Rams drafted TCU interior offensive lineman Steve Avila but that investment needs to continue as the quarterback is 35 years old. Los Angeles is a team in a rebuild and fortifying the offensive line first is a sound strategy.
Their best running back requested a trade at one point last season and wide receiver Allen Robinson was recently dealt. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey has been traded. There is really no reason to keep defensive tackle Aaron Donald at this point other than him being the heart of that franchise. Holes exist everywhere on the roster but the interior offensive line would be a good place to start.
- First-round pick: Clemson DL Bryan Bresee (No. 29 overall)
New Orleans drafted Clemson's Bryan Bresee to create a pass rush from the interior, but that is a group that needs to get stronger up the middle. Demario Davis is advanced in his career, and the team needs to identify reliable long-term options. Wide receiver and cornerback are a few other spots that could be addressed.
Seahawks: Offensive guard
- First-round picks: Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon (No. 5 overall) and Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba (No. 20 overall)
General manager John Schneider has found several long-term contributors over the past two years. Offensive guard is the biggest need for that team. They could use a starter and most certainly need accountable depth.
The Seahawks need to find more consistent pass-rush options to take some of the pressure off the secondary, but they did select Derick Hall in the second round to potentially be that answer. Defensive tackle is another lean position.
- First-round pick: USC WR Jordan Addison (No. 23)
Minnesota made a splash drafting USC wide receiver Jordan Addison on Day 1 to pair with Justin Jefferson. The Vikings signed veteran cornerback Byron Murphy in free agency and have some young players worth developing, but that is a spot that requires more consistent play. Mekhi Blackmon is another developmental body in that room but Minnesota needs to get him in the building before learning what they have at that spot.
Linebacker and defensive tackle are a few other spots where someone needs to step up and set the tone.