2019 NFL Team Needs: Browns QB Baker Mayfield Needs a Left Tackle

2019 NFL Team Needs: Browns QB Baker Mayfield Needs a Left Tackle article feature image

Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Baker Mayfield

  • Ian Hartitz breaks down each NFL team's three biggest offseason needs.
  • The Browns and Panthers in particular could use a sturdy left tackle to protect their franchise quarterbacks.
  • The Giants, Redskins, Jaguars, Broncos and Dolphins should be in the market for new quarterbacks.

With just two teams left in the playoffs, we’re taking a look at all 32 NFL teams’ most pressing needs heading into the offseason.

The following list is organized according to 2019 draft position.

1. Arizona Cardinals

Team Needs: Offensive Tackle, Wide Receiver, Cornerback

  • Josh Rosen (40.4% pressure rate) joined Deshaun Watson (43.1%) and Josh Allen (43.4%) as the only quarterbacks to be pressured on at least 40% of their dropbacks.
  • Larry Fitzgerald will 36 years old by Week 1 of next season. Christian Kirk (43 receptions, 590 yards, 3 TDs) showed promise as a rookie, but the rest of the wide receivers are largely unproven.
  • Patrick Peterson is still playing at an all-world level, but Budda Baker (PFF’s No. 61 corner) is the only other above-average corner on the roster.

2. San Francisco 49ers

Team Needs: Wide Receiver, Linebacker, Secondary

  • Dante Pettis emerged as the league’s PPR WR8 in Weeks 12-15 after the 49ers’ bye week. Still, the 49ers could move on from 32-year-old Pierre Garcon, and Marquise Goodwin is probably better off as a field-stretcher.
  • The Reuben Foster saga left the 49ers thin at linebacker. Fred Warner, Malcolm Smith, and Elijah Lee were all outside of PFF’s top-50 linebackers this season.
  • The 49ers ranked 27th against the pass in DVOA and struggled against No. 1 receivers (No. 19 in DVOA), No. 2 receivers (No. 26), supplementary receivers (No. 31), tight ends (No. 21) and receiving running backs (No. 19).

3. New York Jets

Team Needs: Offensive Line, Defensive Line, Cornerback

  • Protecting Sam Darnold is the top priority for the league’s No. 18 and No. 23 offensive line in adjusted sack rate and pressure rate allowed.
  • The Jets didn’t have a single edge defender graded among PFF’s top-50 players at their position. 2015 No. 6 overall pick Leonard Williams is the only player on the defensive line selected with a pick in the first two rounds.
  • Trumaine Johnson (PFF’s No. 24-ranked corner) is a worthy No. 1 cornerback. However, both outside cornerback Morris Claiborne (No. 75) and nickel back Buster Skrine (No. 103) are free agents.

4. Oakland Raiders

Team Needs: Receiver, Cornerback, Pass Rush

  • Starting tight end and nominal No. 1 receiver Jared Cook is a free agent. Neither Jordy Nelson (1.41 yards per route run) nor Seth Roberts (1.32) ranked inside of PFF’s top-60 wide receivers in yards per route run.
  • 2017 first-round pick Gareon Conley (PFF’s No. 68 corner) has flashed, but each of Leon Hall (No. 74), Bene Benwikere (No. 83), Rashaan Melvin (No. 92) and Daryl Worley (No. 106) largely struggled for most of the season.
  • The Raiders finished with just 13 sacks. Only the 2008 Chiefs (10) finished the season with fewer sacks in 16-game seasons since the stat was first tracked in 1982.

Fewest sacks by a defense since the stat began being tracked in 1982:

2009 Jaguars (14)
2018 Raiders (13) 👀
1982 Bills (12 – 9 games due to strike-shortened season)
1982 Colts (11)
2008 Chiefs (10)

— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) January 21, 2019

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Team Needs: Offensive Tackle, Cornerback, Pass Rush

  • The Bucs ranked 31st in adjusted line yards per rush. They struggled on runs over left (No. 32 in DVOA) and right end (No. 30), so upgrades on Demar Dotson (No. 44) and Donovan Smith (No. 46) are needed.
  • It’d be shocking if Brent Grimes is re-signed after he literally refused to cover opposing No. 1 receivers. This leaves the Bucs with an unproven group of corners, including Javien Elliott, Ryan Smith and Carlton Davis.
  • Only the Falcons (40%) and Raiders (29.6%) posted a lower pressure rate per dropback than the Buccaneers (40.3%). They could feasibly move on from 2018 free-agent additions Jason Pierre-Paul and Vinny Curry.

6. New York Giants

Team Needs: Offensive Line, Quarterback, Front Seven

  • None of left tackle Nate Solder, right tackle Chad Wheeler, left guard Will Hernandez, right guard Jamon Brown and center John Greco cracked PFF’s top-20 players at their position.
  • Eli Manning surprisingly managed to set top-three career marks in completion rate (66%) and yards per attempt (7.5), but he also took a career-high 47 sacks and continued to struggle mightily when wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was sidelined.
  • Defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (PFF’s No. 28 interior defender) along with defensive end Olivier Vernon (No. 13 edge) are seemingly the only sure things along the Giants defensive line. Linebacker remains a glaring problem.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars

Team Needs: Quarterback, Offensive Tackle, Wide Receiver

  • The Jaguars will incur $16.5 million in dead cap if they release Blake Bortles before 2020. He ranks outside of the top-30 quarterbacks (min. 16 starts) in TD rate (3.9%), QB Rating (80.6) and yards per attempt (6.7) since 2014.
  • The offense had to deal with season-ending injuries to offensive tackles Jermey Parnell (knee), Josh Wells (groin), Josh Walker (foot) and Cam Robinson (knee). The league’s 27th-ranked unit in adjusted sack rate needs to improve.
  • Both nominal No. 1 wide receiver Donte Moncrief and complementary reciever Rashad Greene are free agents. Dede Westbrook has flashed, but the Jags need improved weaponry over the likes of Keelan Cole.

8. Detroit Lions

Team Needs: Offensive Guard, Safety, Tight End

  • The Lions have already invested plenty of capital at offensive tackle, but guards Frank Ragnow (PFF’s No. 40 guard) and Kenny Wiggins (No. 60) consistently struggled to hold off interior defenders.
  • Neither Quandre Diggs nor Tavon Wilson managed to provide a stable backbone to the Lions defense, and their 31st-ranked pass DVOA unit struggled in particular against tight ends (No. 26).
  • Both Luke Willson and Levine Toilolo are free agents. Matthew Stafford hasn’t thrown more than five touchdowns to a tight end since 2013 (Joseph Fauria, 7).

9. Buffalo Bills

Team Needs: Offensive Line, Wide Receiver, Interior Defensive Line

  • Not one of left tackle Dion Dawkins (ranked No. 39 by PFF), right tackle Jordan Mills (No. 69), right guard John Miller (No. 25), left guard Wyatt Teller (No. 56) and center Russell Bodine (No. 18) was graded favorably by PFF in 2018.
  • Zay Jones (56-652-7) and Robert Foster (27-541-3) each worked as above-average receivers with Allen under center, but the team needs more, given that running back LeSean McCoy (31 years old by Week 1) and Charles Clay (30) have been the team’s leading receivers for years.
  • Longtime stalwart Kyle Williams retired, leaving the Bills painfully thin at defensive tackle. Each of Harrison Phillips, Star Lotulelei and Jordan Phillips was graded outside of PFF’s top-70 interior defenders.

10. Denver Broncos

Team Needs: Quarterback, Cornerback, Right Tackle

  • Case Keenum ranked among the league’s bottom-eight quarterbacks in completion rate (62.3%), touchdown rate (3.1%), quarterback rating (81.2) and adjusted yards per attempt (6.1)
  • Chris Harris Jr. is the league’s premier slot corner. Meanwhile, potential free agents Bradley Roby and Tramaine Brock failed to rank among PFF’s top-90 cornerbacks and could be replaced.
  • Denver boasted the 11th-worst offensive line in pressure rate allowed this season. 2017 first-round pick Garett Bolles is tentatively the left tackle of the future, but right tackle Jared Veldheer (PFF’s No. 58 tackle) must be replaced.

11. Cincinnati Bengals

Team Needs: Offensive Line, Linebacker, Cornerback

  • The Bengals boasted the league’s 22nd-ranked offensive line in adjusted line yards per rush and 19th-ranked unit in adjusted sack rate. None of the team’s guards or tackles ranked among PFF’s top-40 players at their position.
  • Vontaze Burfict has played in just 43 of 80 games over the past five seasons due to injuries and suspension. None of the other linebackers were graded among PFF’s top-60 players at the position this season.
  • The Bengals will have to decide whether to bring back former first-round pick Darqueze Dennard at slot cornerback, while Dre Kirkpatrick will be entering his eighth year and was PFF’s 17th-worst cornerback among 112 qualified players.

12. Green Bay Packers

Team Needs: Offensive Guard, Safety, Linebacker

  • Protecting quarterback Aaron Rodgers is always a priority. Starting right guard Justin McCray and backup Lucas Patrick are each potential free agents, so solidifying the offensive line should be a priority before upgrading elsewhere.
  • It remains unclear why the Packers sent Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to the Redskins for just a fourth-round pick. Josh Jones (PFF’s No. 70 safety), Kentrell Brice (No. 87) and 36-year-old Tramon Williams (No. 67) did not play well in 2018.
  • Only middle linebacker Blake Martinez cracked PFF’s top 40 at the position. The Packers ranked 27th in adjusted line yards allowed per rush and 29th in percentage of runs stuffed at or behind the line of scrimmage.

13. Miami Dolphins

Team Needs: Quarterback, Defensive Line, Offensive Line

  • The Dolphins will eat $22.1 million in combined dead cap in 2019-20 if they don’t pick up the final two years on Ryan Tannehill’s contract, but he regressed in every meaningful statistic except for touchdown rate this season.
  • Defensive ends Cameron Wake and William Hayes are free agents. They haven’t found anything close to a replacement for Ndamukong Suh, as none of the Dolphins defensive tackles ranked among PFF’s top-40 interior defenders.
  • The league’s 31st-ranked offensive line in adjusted sack rate didn’t do Tannehill any favors, although his 29.2% sack rate on pressured dropbacks was the second-highest mark among 39 qualified quarterbacks.

14. Atlanta Falcons

Team Needs: Pass Rush, Offensive Guard, Linebacker

  • The status of 2017 first-round defensive end Takk McKinley is uncertain after he underwent a mental evaluation in January. The league’s second-worst defense in pressure rate needs pass-rush reinforcements all over the line.
  • The Falcons ranked 24th in adjusted line yards per rush and struggled to control the line of scrimmage. Guards Andy Levitre and Ben Garland are both free agents.
  • The Falcons have allowed 22.4 points per game and 107.6 rush yards in 42 contests with Pro-Bowl middle linebacker Deion Jones compared to 27.7 and 121.1 in 11 games without him since he entered the league in 2016.

15. Washington Redskins

Team Needs: Quarterback, Wide Receiver, Secondary

  • It’s unclear when, if ever, Alex Smith will return to the field following his horrific leg injury. The Redskins have averaged three fewer points and 57 fewer passing yards per game since former offensive coordinator Sean McVay departed in 2017.
  • Only the Jaguars (5.3), Bills (5.3) and Cardinals (4.6) averaged fewer net yards per pass attempt than the Redskins (5.5). Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, and Paul Richardson have failed to stay consistently healthy.
  • Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Josh Norman are lynch pins to the league’s 11th-ranked defense in pass DVOA, but safety Montae Nicholson along with cornerbacks Fabian Moreau and Quinton Dunbar have been liabilities.

16. Carolina Panthers

Team Needs: Offensive Tackle, Safety, Pass Rush

  • Quarterback Cam Newton’s shoulder problem certainly won’t get better with more hits. Starting left tackle Chris Clark was signed shortly after Week 1 and proceeded to allow the 11th-most total pressures among all offensive tackles in 2018.
  • The Panthers also attempted to solve their problem at safety during the middle of the season with Eric Reid, but both Reid and Mike Adams are now free agents. The defense ranked 24th in pass DVOA vs. tight ends.
  • The formerly formidable pass rush posted a below-average pressure rate and ranked 20th in adjusted sack rate. The only edge defender to grade among PFF’s top 30 at the position was Julius Peppers (39 years old).

17. Cleveland Browns

Team Needs: Offensive Tackle, Defensive Tackle, Wide Receiver

  • Baker Mayfield’s blind side was protected by undrafted rookie Desmond Harrison along with former first-round bust Greg Robinson. Adequately filling Joe Thomas’ old shoes at left tackle will leave the offensive line without a weak link.
  • Defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi flashed at times but ultimately finished the year as PFF’s No. 91-ranked interior defender. Trevon Coley (No. 117) was even worse. Unsurprisingly, Cleveland’s defense ranked 25th in rush DVOA.
  • Jarvis Landry averaged 6.9 targets per game with Freddie Kitchens compared to 11.8 with Hue Jackson and Todd Haley. Antonio Callaway and David Njoku offer explosiveness, although a true No. 1 outside receiver is needed.

18. Minnesota Vikings

Team Needs: Offensive Line, Interior Defensive Line, Linebacker

  • The Vikings were without starting left guard Nick Easton (neck, injured reserve) for all of 2018, while left tackle Reilly Reiff and center Pat Elflein missed multiple games to injury. They allowed the league’s fifth-highest pressure rate.
  • The Sheldon Richardson experiment wasn’t overwhelmingly successful, and the defensive tackle is now a free agent. The Vikings’ 24th-ranked defense in adjusted line yards allowed per rush could also lose backup Tom Johnson.
  • It’s unclear if the Vikings will re-sign 2014 first-round pick Anthony Barr. He’s the only linebacker on the roster to finish the season among PFF’s top-45 players at the position.

19. Tennessee Titans

Team Needs: Wide Receiver, Offensive Guard, Pass Rush

  • Corey Davis has flashed his tantalizing ceiling, but the likes of Taywan Taylor and Tajae Sharpe could certainly be upgraded. A return to form for 34-year-old tight end Delanie Walker (ankle) shouldn’t be assumed.
  • The Titans have invested heavily in their offensive tackles. It’d make sense to do the same at guard, as neither Quinton Spain (PFF’s No. 36 guard) nor Josh Kline (No. 51) had much success in 2017. Spain is a free agent.
  • The Titans defense posted the league’s sixth-worst pressure rate and ranked just 22nd in adjusted sack rate. Boosting depth on the edge could help better complement interior stalwart Jurrell Casey.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

Team Needs: Safety, Linebacker, Offensive Tackle

  • The Steelers’ 17th-ranked secondary in pass DVOA was the league’s second-worst unit against tight ends specifically. Finding a range-oriented free safety to compliment 2018 first-rounder Terrell Edmunds would be ideal.
  • The continued absence of Ryan Shazier (neck) can’t be overstated. Overall, the Steelers have allowed 20.6 points and 91.7 rush yards per game with him compared to 22.5 and 106 without him.
  • Wide receiver will be a need if Antonio Brown is traded, but if he isn’t then finding a solid backup for Marcus Gilbert should be a priority. The right tackle has missed 20 games since 2017.

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21. Seattle Seahawks

Team Needs: Interior Offensive Line, Defensive Line, Cornerback

  • The Seahawks had the league’s most run-heavy offense even though guards D.J. Fluker and J.R. Sweezy were two of PFF’s bottom-10 offensive linemen this season.
  • Defensive tackle Shamar Stephen joins defensive ends Dion Jordan and Frank Clark as potential free agents. The Seahawks pressured opposing quarterbacks at a below-average rate and could use additional bodies.
  • The Seahawks received great safety play, but cornerbacks Justin Coleman (PFF’s No. 54 corner), Tre Flowers (No. 67) and Shaquill Griffin (No. 111) failed to live up to expectations.

22. Baltimore Ravens

Team Needs: Interior Offensive Line, Linebacker, Pass Rush

  • The Ravens are committed to Lamar Jackson, so beefing up their offensive line will be a priority in this run-first offense. Neither center Matt Skura nor left guard Alex Lewis ranked among PFF’s top-20 players at their positions.
  • Four-time Pro-Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley joins outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith as free agents. The Ravens’ 22nd-ranked defense in DVOA vs. tight ends could use a boost of athleticism at the second level.
  • The Ravens ranked fourth in pressure rate in 2018, but the could struggle with their potential losses at outside linebacker. They didn’t have an interior defender rank among PFF’s top-30 pass rushers.

23. Houston Texans

Team Needs: Cornerback, Interior Defensive Line, Offensive Line

  • No. 1 corner Kareem Jackson joins backups Kayvon Webster and Shareece Wright as free agents. Slot corner Aaron Colvin was a huge disappointment in his first year with the team, and long-time starter Johnathan Joseph will be 35 years old in April.
  • J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney are devastating on the edge, but none of their interior defenders (D.J. Reader, Christian Covington and Brandon Dunn) finished the season among PFF’s top-30 players at the position.
  • Deshaun Watson’s success is even more incredible considering he’s spent most of his time behind the league’s worst offensive line. The franchise quarterback “led” the league in pressured dropbacks (295) and sacks (64).

24. Chicago Bears (Traded First-Round Pick to Oakland)

Team Needs: Offensive Tackle, Slot Corner, Wide Receiver

  • Quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s mobility saved the Bears from many a sack in 2018, but they’ll need improved play from both left tackle Charles Leon (PFF’s No. 18 tackle) and right tackle Bobby Massie (No. 29) to take their offense to the next level.
  • Slot corner Bryce Callahan finished the season as PFF’s No. 7 overall corner. Unfortunately, he broke his foot in Week 14, and wide receiver Golden Tate accordingly made the Bears pay in the playoffs. Callahan is a free agent.
  • Allen Robinson (10-143-1) balled out during the Bears’ final game against the Eagles, while Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller and Trey Burton have ability, but backups Kevin White and Josh Bellamy are free agents.

25. Philadelphia Eagles

Team Needs: Defensive End, Cornerback, Running Back

  • The loss of 2017 first-round pick Derek Barnett (shoulder, IR) didn’t help the Eagles’ ill-fated season. They’ll need Barnett to return strong or re-sign Brandon Graham and/or Chris Long to maintain their dominant pass rush.
  • The Eagles’ injury-riddled secondary allowed a league-high 90.2 yards per game to opposing No. 1 receivers. Cornerbacks Jalen Mills (foot) and Ronald Darby (knee) joined free safety Rodney McLeod (knee) on the IR by Week 12.
  • Both Darren Sproles and Jay Ajayi are free agents, while Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood and Josh Adams failed to seize the starting job.

26. Indianapolis Colts

Team Needs: Wide Receiver, Pass Rush, Interior Defensive Line

  • T.Y. Hilton is a virtual lock for at least 1,000 yards and five touchdowns when quarterback Andrew Luck is healthy. The Colts’ No. 1 receiver averaged the fourth-most yards per route run in 2018, but none of his teammates cracked the top 50.
  • The Colts had the league’s eighth-worst defense at pressuring the quarterback and ranked 29th in adjusted sack rate. The potential loss of free-agent defensive linemen Margus Hunt and Al Woods wouldn’t help matters.
  • It’d behoove Indy to upgrade at defensive tackle even even if the incumbent players re-sign. Each of Hunt, Woods, Denico Autry and Grover Stewart ranked outside of PFF’s top-50 interior defenders this season.

27. Dallas Cowboys (Traded First-Round Pick to Oakland)

Team Needs: Pass Catcher, Interior Defensive Line, Safety

  • Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup are locked in as Dak Prescott’s top receivers, but the search for retired tight end Jason Witten’s replacement continues, and long-time slot receiver Cole Beasley is a free agent.
  • It’d be surprising if Pro-Bowl defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence hits free agency. Defensive tackle David Irving seems more likely to leave, so boosting the talent along side Tyrone Crawford will be key to tightening the run defense.
  • Cowboys safeties Xavier Woods (PFF’s No. 45 safety) and Jeff Heath (No. 81) mostly exceeded expectations in 2018, but the potential pairing of free agent Earl Thomas is truly a match made in heaven.

Earl Thomas runs to greet Jason Garrett, then as he walks into the COWBOYS lockerroom, he says, “If you have a chance to get me, come get me.” pic.twitter.com/N395wVU2Jz

— Edward Egros (@EdwardEgrosFox4) December 25, 2017

28. Los Angeles Chargers

Team Needs: Interior Defensive Line, Linebacker, Interior Offensive Line

  • The absence of defensive tackle Corey Liuget (knee, IR) hurt the run defense: PFF didn’t grade any of the other interior defenders among the top 75. Backups Brandon Mebane and Damion Square are free agents.
  • The loss of middle linebacker Denzel Perryman (knee, IR) similarly depleted the Chargers. Adding talent to the interior of the front seven will only help elite defensive ends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.
  • Neither starting guards Michael Schofield (PFF’s No. 43 guard) and Dan Feeney (No. 74) nor center Mike Pouncey (No. 25) were able to control the middle of the line of scrimmage consistently.

29. Kansas City Chiefs

Team Needs: Secondary, Linebacker, Offensive Guard

  • The only sure thing in the secondary is slot corner Kendall Fuller. The Chiefs had one of just four defenses to allow at least 80 yards per game to opposing No. 1 wide receivers and ranked 25th in DVOA against tight ends.
  • Outside linebackers Dee Ford and Frank Zombo are both free agents, while Justin Houston (now 30 years old) hasn’t played 16 games in a season since 2014. Reinforcements are needed for the league’s worst defense in rush DVOA.
  • The Chiefs didn’t consistently dominate the line of scrimmage on offense, as they ranked just 16th in adjusted line yards per rush. None of their starting guards ranked among PFF’s top-25 players at the position.

30. New Orleans Saints (Traded First-Round Pick to Green Bay)

Team Needs: Tight End, Interior Defensive Line, Offensive Guard

  • The likes of Coby Fleener, Ben Watson and even Dan Arnold haven’t found much success in the post-Jimmy Graham era. Josh Hill is better served as a blocker than receiver.
  • The Saints could use more playmaking ability in their defensive interior to complement their potentially devastating combination of pass rushers in Cameron Jordan (PFF’s No. 5 edge defender) and Marcus Davenport (No. 41).
  • Protecting quarterback Drew Brees should be most team’s top priority, especially since he is 40 years old. Starting guards Larry Warford (PFF’s No. 32 guard) and Andrus Peat (No. 79) each struggled.

31. Los Angeles Rams

Team Needs: Defensive End, Linebacker, Center

  • The mid-season addition of Dante Fowler helped complement Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh’s consistent interior pressure, but the likely departure of Suh will necessitate an improvement in edge pressure if Donald is to avoid nonstop double teams.
  • The Rams never found a reliable replacement for Alec Ogletree, as neither Corey Littleton (PFF’s No. 39 linebacker) nor Mark Barron (No. 80) played at an above-average level. The Rams defense ranked 28th in rush DVOA.
  • Pretty much the only weak link in the Rams’ historically-elite offensive line is at center, where John Sullivan earned PFF’s 29th-highest grade among 38 qualified players.

32. New England Patriots

Team Needs: Wide Receiver, Tight End, Linebacker

  • Josh Gordon’s suspension robs the Patriots of a cost-controlled starter. Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson are free agents, and the team would benefit from a complete outside receiver.
  • The eventual retirement of Rob Gronkowski makes tight end a glaring need. It’d be surprising if Bill Belichick and company don’t address the position with an early-round pick in the draft.
  • The Chiefs roasted the Patriots’ 22nd-ranked DVOA defense vs. receiving backs in the AFC Championship. This season, seven running backs managed to catch at least five passes against New England’s slow-moving linebackers.

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