2018 NFL Draft Week: AFC Picks and Needs
The countdown to the 2018 NFL draft has turned to days, as all 32 teams will gear up to sign their next batch of players.
Today, I will look at each team in the AFC, give all their picks in the draft and examine their biggest needs of this draft, which starts Thursday evening and runs up until Saturday.
- Picks: 1(16), 2(20), 3(19), 4(18), 5(17), 6(16), 6(41), 7(20)
- Needs: WR, TE, ILB, OL, QB
Cowboy fans will anxiously await Baltimore's pick on Thursday in hopes for a top receiving pickup. If the Ravens solve their wideout disparity early in the draft by getting Calvin Ridley out of Alabama, they will focus on getting utility positions, like linemen and linebackers, later in the draft. Choosing a linebacker instead would mean the Ravens would either try to get a steal out of a receiver later on or capitalize on some late free agency pickups.
- Picks: 1(12), 1(22), 2(21), 2(24), 3(1), 3(32), 4(21), 5(29), 6(13)
- Needs: QB, OL, WR, S, LB
Sorry Bills fans, neither Nathan Peterman nor AJ McCarron will get Buffalo back to the playoffs this year, so the immediate need for this team is a quarterback. Trading their 12th and 22nd overall picks in the first round might be a lot to ask for a trade to Cleveland for their 4th overall pick, but it ultimately might be worth it to get Josh Allen, Josh Rosen or any top tier quarterback that isn't picked up in the top-three picks.
If you're a Bills fan, though, you love the fact that they have six picks in the first three rounds.
- Picks: 1(1), 1(4), 2(1), 2(3), 2(32), 4(14), 5(13), 6(1), 6(14)
- Needs: QB, CB, OT, S, WR
Mark my words, the Cleveland Browns will have the most exciting draft class this year when it's all said and done. At least that's what it's shaped to be. The Browns have five picks in the first two rounds, which is something to be ecstatic about.
The Browns will likely solve their quarterback disparity with their first pick and what they do after will be extra icing on top. They could draft pass rusher Bradley Chubb if he falls to No. 4, or get a steal in Saquon Barkley to join Carlos Hyde at tailback. Or, the Browns could option to trade and get more picks in the end. Opportunities are seemingly endless for this Cleveland team.
- Picks: 1(21), 2(14), 3(13), 3(36), 4(12), 5(14), 5(21), 5(33), 7(31), 7(34), 7(35)
- Needs: OL, LB, CB, DT, QB
Utility, utility and more utility. That's the mindset the Bengals front office will have going into this draft to plug all their necessary holes to fill. Cincinnati might be a team that drafts all the overlooked position players in the later rounds, having seven picks they can use on Saturday. Solve the lineman vacancy early on and the Bengals can get the skill set players late in the draft.
- Picks: 1(5), 2(8), 3(7), 3(35), 4(6), 4(13), 5(12), 5(23)
- Needs: RB, CB, EDGE, OL, TE, WR
It would shock many to see Denver draft a quarterback with their 5th overall pick, especially after signing Case Keenum. Denver at this spot has two main options that are the most practical for their team: 1. Pick either Chubb or Barkley, whomever falls to No. 5, which would fill the hole at running back or a pass rusher; 2. Trade for a hefty return.
I like the Denver-Buffalo trade that has been brewing as of late. The Bills have a lot to offer in terms of picks in the draft. Even a Denver-New England is not too far-fetched at this point.
- Picks: 3(4), 3(16), 3(34), 4(3), 6(3), 6(37), 6(40), 7(4)
- Needs: OL, CB, S, QB
The Texans want to get the most protection for Deshaun Watson as possible, but it will be hard when they don't have a draft pick until the third round. Nonetheless, it wouldn't be surprising if Houston used their first couple picks to get a quarterback to be behind Watson, or a wide receiver to compliment DeAndre Hopkins.
- Picks: 1(6), 2(4), 2(5), 2(17), 3(3), 4(4), 5(3), 6(4), 7(3)
- Needs: EDGE, LB, OL, WR, DT
Here's a definite sleeper of the draft, as the Colts currently hold on to five picks in the first three rounds, with four picks being in the top five of each round. It's perfect for a team that needs depth on both sides of the line and needs weapons at a pass rusher or a wideout.
- Picks: 1(29), 2(29), 3(29), 4(29), 6(29), 7(12), 7(29)
- Needs: OT, LB, WR, QB, CB
The Jaguars first round pick is going to be fun to watch. It could be a backup in Lamar Jackson, or be an up-and-coming receiver, like D.J. Moore or Christian Kirk, or be utility lineman to protect Blake Bortles. Beyond that, the Jags will snag some depth at other positions by filling some gaps at the linebacker, corner and tackle spots.
Kansas City Chiefs
- Picks: 2(22), 3(14), 3(22), 4(22), 4(24), 6(22), 7(15), 7(25)
- Needs: CB, DL, EDGE, OL, S
There's no telling who general manager Brett Veach wants to draft for the Chiefs, but if it parallels this off-season, Kansas City might have an exciting draft class. First, the Chiefs definitely need a corner or help in the defensive backfield. After that, some help on defense, including a run-stopper and a pass rusher would be beneficial. Then, the draft is their own, where they are free to get a backup quarterback, some more weapons at running back or even a special teams specialist, like a punt or kick returner.
Los Angeles Chargers
- Picks: 1(17), 2(16), 3(20), 4(19), 5(18), 6(17), 7(33)
- Needs: OT, ILB, DL, QB, S
The Chargers 9-7 record was a lot better than some predicted for the team in 2017. But not for quarterback Philip Rivers, who is tired of missing the playoffs. Once the Chargers solve questions on both the offensive and defensive line, they can roam around the draft to find some puzzle pieces to fit on this team. Getting a good linebacker in the second or third would be beneficial, and why not snatch a backup quarterback in the fourth?
- Picks: 1(11), 2(10), 3(9), 4(23), 4(31), 6(35), 7(9), 7(11)
- Needs: DL, LB, QB, TE, CB
To stay or move on from Ryan Tannehill -- that's the question for the Dolphins in the first round of the draft. If they grab Baker Mayfield, they could be eyeing the future without Tannehill, who was out last season with an injury. Beyond that, the Dolphins need a lot of help defensively from all ends, including a defensive nose tackle, a linebacker and a corner.
New England Patriots
- Picks: 1(23), 1(31), 2(11), 2(31), 3(31), 6(24), 6(36), 7(1)
- Needs: CB, LB, QB, OL, S
Hold your breath Tom Brady haters because it's extremely likely that the 41-year-old gunslinger returns for another season this year. With that said, there's a lot of flexibility for New England in this draft, especially with four picks in two rounds. They will likely get all their utility depth players early on, including a linebacker and a defensive back, and then capitalize on some skill players later in the draft.
New York Jets
- Picks: 1(3), 3(8), 4(7), 5(20), 6(5), 7(17)
- Needs: QB, EDGE, OG, OT, WR
Everyone's immediate thought is that the Jets take the best available quarterback, whether it be Sam Darnold, Rosen, Allen or, as some have even speculated, Mayfield. But I don't think it's all too crazy to see the Jets instead take Chubb at No. 3 and ride out Teddy Bridgewater or Josh McCown as quarterback. Down the draft, the Jets will take their lineman and hope to get a steal of a receiver late.
- Picks: 1(10), 2(9), 3(11), 4(10), 5(22), 5(36), 6(11), 6(38), 6(42), 6(43), 7(10)
- Needs: LB, CB, S, OT, DT
Holy cow, 11 picks for the Raiders, with eight of them being on Saturday, is a treat to see. It will also be neat to see which players they draft to pair with newly hired head coach Jon Gruden. Roquan Smith, the top linebacker out of Georgia, seems the most fitting for this team at No. 10, and Oakland desperately needs some help defensively, which they will hope to accomplish in this year's draft.
- Picks: 1(28), 2(28), 3(28), 5(11), 5(28), 7(2), 7(28)
- Needs: ILB, WR, S, RB, OLB
This offseason for the Steelers has involved a lot of back-and-forth chirping from Le'Veon Bell and the front office trying to settle restructuring the running back's contract. So, it wouldn't be a stretch to think that the Steelers draft a running back in the first round, just to take precautionary measures. In a linebacker heavy draft, the Steelers need to draft one early on, while a safety and a receiver can be picked up later on.
- Picks: 1(25), 2(25), 3(25), 4(25), 5(25), 6(25)
- Needs: EDGE, ILB, WR, DL, OG
The Titans have No. 25 across the board and they will use their draft picks to get some much needed help to rush quarterbacks and stop the run. If they go interior linebacker in the first, then they will probably rely on the third and fourth rounds to pick up a receiver. Don't be surprised if the Titans instead draft a lineman in the first.