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Arizona Cardinals

2022 NFL Draft NFC Team Needs

2022 NFL Draft NFC Team Needs
Jimmy Williams of NFL Draft Diamonds breaks down withe 2022 NFL Draft NFC Team Needs

Arizona Cardinals

Draft Picks: 23, 55, 87, 201, 215, 244, 256, 257
Team Needs: CB, EDGE, DL, OL, SS, WR, LB, CB
Key Players Lost: WR (Christian Kirk), OLB (Chandler Jones), RB (Chase Edmonds), ILB (Jordan Hicks), DE (Jordan Phillips)

The team is in a position to pursue one of the top CBs in this draft. They have very few CBs on their roster and should add at least 2. The Cards will miss Chandler Jones the most after losing him in free agency; he was a vital part of their defensive pass rush. It wouldn’t hurt to inject some youth on the Edge. There’s also a need for a rotational player on their 3-4 DL. There is a need for depth at OL although there are solid starters in place that don’t make it a huge need. Christian Kirk may have gotten a mega-deal in free agency, but I don’t think that WR is a huge need for the Cards-maybe late 3rd day.

Atlanta Falcons

Draft Picks: 8, 43, 58, 74, 82, 114, 151, 190, 213
Team Needs: QB, WR, RB, S, LT/LG, DT, EDGE, LB
Key Players Gained: QB (Marcus Mariota), CB (Casey Hayward), DE/LB (Lorenzo Carter)
Key Players Lost: QB (Matt Ryan-trade), LB (Foyesade Oluokun), WR (Russell Gage), LS (Josh Harris), TE (Hayden Hurst), DE (Dante Fowler)

There are several needs for the Falcons. Mariota is just a space-filler until they find their franchise QB. They should consider selecting a QB with their first pick (Perhaps Malik Willis). The only other position that would make sense in the 1st round would be WR. They just don’t have a top dog at the position. There’s also a need for a quality RB, possibly a bigger work horse back that can take the pressure off whoever is under center. Safety is another position where they could really invest in a quality player. There’s a need for backups and guys that could take that “next man up” mentality at almost every position including Edge, OL, LB, and DT.

Carolina Panthers

Draft Picks: 6, 137, 144, 149, 199, 242
Team Needs: OL, QB, LB, TE, WR, S
Key Players Gained: OG (Austin Corbett), S (Xavier Woods), P (Johnny Hecker), LB (Damien Wilson), DL (Matt Ioannidis), OC (Bradley Bozeman)
Key Players Lost: OLB (Hasson Reddick), CB (Stephon Gilmore), DT (DaQuan Jones)

Carolina is a likely team to trade down given the large gap between picks. A team may want to trade up for an Edge, WR or QB. If they stay where they are, Carolina needs to select someone that can contribute immediately. They have to focus on offense given that they were 30th in the league overall last year. I know that there’s very little faith in Sam Darnold and the team should consider a QB in this draft. I just don’t think 6th overall is worth it for Carolina. Improving the OL is a must after giving up 52 sacks last season. Cameron Irving might as well be out the door already as they need a new LT. The team also needs a potential starter at MLB and just overall depth at the LB position which is lacking bodies.

Chicago Bears

Draft Picks: 39, 48, 71, 148, 150, 186
Team Needs: WR, IOL, DL, CB, LB, SS/NB
Key Players Gained: DT (Justin Jones), DE (Al-Quadin Muhammad), C/G (Lucas Patrick), WR (Byron Pringle), QB (Trevor Siemian), LB (Nicholas Morrow), TE (Ryan Griffin)
Key Players Lost: OLB (Khalil Mack-trade), WR (Allen Robinson), OG (James Daniels), WR (Jakeem Grant), DE (Bilal Nichols), P (Pat O’Donnell), QB (Andy Dalton), CB (Artie Burns)

I’m not sure what will happen to Byron Pringle after his recent arrest, but nevertheless, the Bears should find a WR to add to the mix for a developing Justin Fields to throw to. The OL appears to be in flux with newly acquired Lucas Patrick. Depending on where he starts, the team will need a player to contribute on the interior at guard or center. Run defense wasn’t that great last year, and the Bears could bring in more talent at DT to sure up the line. I know they brought in Nicholas Morrow to play LB, yet the depth overall is struggling. I expect a late-round pick at LB that has the ability to play ILB and/or OLB.

Dallas Cowboys

Draft Picks: 24, 56, 88, 129, 155, 167, 176, 178, 193
Team Needs: FS, WR, RT, LB, DT, EDGE, OL, QB
Key Players Gained: DE (Dante Fowler), K (Greg Zuerlein)
Key Players Lost: OLB (Randy Gregory), WR (Cedrick Wilson), OT (La’el Collins), OG (Connor Williams), WR (Amari Cooper-trade)

The biggest need for the Cowboys is to improve their pass defense which was ranked 20th in the league last year. They really haven’t invested a lot in the FS position in a while and should have their pick between Lewis Cine and Daxton Hill. After losing Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson to free agency, I look for the team to draft a WR-likely a player that can play the slot and potentially return some kicks. They’ll have to improve their OL at some point given the lack of depth and possibility to upgrade the RT spot.

Detroit Lions

Draft Picks: 2, 32, 34, 66, 97, 177, 181, 217
Team Needs: EDGE, WR, LB, CB, QB, DT
Key Players Gained: S (Deshon Elliott), WR (DJ Chark), CB (Mikes Hughes), LB (Chris Board)
Key Players Lost: OLB (Jaylen Reeves-Maybin)

It’s practically already set that the Lions are going to select one of the top Edge rushers (Hutchinson, Walker or Thibodeaux). The following picks are up for discussion given several needs. There aren’t too many quality targets to throw to. So, a WR is a must. LBs aren’t all that great and could use a spark. CB’s could improve as well if addressed early in the draft. The fanbase has to be disappointed that they have Goff instead of Stafford who just won a Super Bowl. I believe they will take a QB somewhere in this draft. The Lions could move some picks given that there’s a bit of a gap in the middle of the draft with no 4th round pick. Adding more picks would help them.

Green Bay Packers

Draft Picks: 22, 28, 53, 59, 92, 132, 140, 171, 228, 249, 258
Team Needs: WR, OL, DL, LB, EDGE, CB, TE, OG, K
Key Players Gained: P (Pat O’Donnell), DT (Jarran Reed)
Key Players Lost: WR (Davante Adams-trade), OLB (Za’Darius Smith), WR (Marques Valdes-Scantling), OG (Lucas Patrick), ILB (Oren Burks), OG (Billy Turner), OLB (Whitney Mercilus-retired)

Trading away Davante Adams is a sure sign that they will be drafting a WR very early. The OG position is really struggling with a lack of depth and quality talent, so much so that they could draft 2 of them. LB really needs a strong presence in the middle of the field and some depth at OLB given their recent free-agent losses. The Packers need to take a flier on some DBs late in the draft who can move around a bit in the secondary. They have the ammunition if they feel the need to trade up and take a guy that they really want.

Los Angeles Rams

Draft Picks: 104, 142, 175, 211, 212, 218, 238, 253
Team Needs: OG, OT, EDGE, CB, S, P
Key Players Gained: ILB (Bobby Wagner), WR (Allen Robinson
Key Players Lost: OLB (Von Miller), CB (Darious Williams), OG (Austin Corbett), WR (Robert Woods-trade), OT (Andrew Whitworth-retired), P (Johnny Hecker), OLB (Ogbonnia Okoronkwo), TE (Johnny Mundt)

After coming off a Super Bowl win, the Rams are in decent position to make a run again this season. They will, however, have to replace longtime veteran OT Andrew Whitworth who retired and OG Austin Corbett who was lost in free agency. Edge rushers will have to be a focus in the draft as well. Pass defense could certainly improve as well by adding overall depth at CB and safety. Punter Johnny Hecker parted ways in free agency and they picked up a dude that could just be a space holder. They should draft a punter to bring some competition to the position.

Minnesota Vikings

Draft Picks: 12, 46, 77, 156, 184, 191, 192, 250
Team Needs: CB, S, ILB, TE, EDGE, RG, OC, DL
Key Players Gained: OLB (Za’Darius Smith), DT (Harrison Phillips), ILB (Jordan Hicks), OG (Chris Reed), OT (Jesse Davis), TE (Johnny Mundt)
Key Players Lost: TE (Tyler Conklin), OC (Mason Cole), S (Xavier Woods)

The defense really needs to hold up for the Vikings. It may sound like deja vu, but the Vikings need to take one of the top CBs. Patrick Peterson’s future on the team is in the air after this season, and it would be prudent to find a franchise shutdown CB. The ILB group has potential. By adding one more to the mix, perhaps it will lead one alpha dog to step up and lead the group. The team also needs to give Harrison Smith help on the back end at safety. As far as the offense goes, there needs to be a bit more depth among IOL.

New Orleans Saints

Draft Picks: 16, 19, 49, 98, 120, 161, 194
Team Needs: OT, QB, WR, DL, EDGE, DB, LB
Key Players Gained: FS (Marcus Maye), QB (Andy Dalton)
Key Players Lost: OT (Terron Armstead), FS (Marcus Williams), QB (Trevor Siemian), WR (Ty Montgomery), FS (Malcolm Jenkins-retired), ILB (Craig Robertson-retired)

The Saints were dead last in the league in passing last year, falling from the good ole days with Drew Brees. I know that some will say that the team is fine with Jameis Winston, but they’re just kidding themselves. I would be shocked if the Saints didn’t select a QB with one of their 2 first round picks. Going along with the same trend, trying to improve the passing game, it would be worth considering one of the premier WR prospects in the draft. After losing Terron Armstead in FA, they should also focus on adding players to compete at LT. As far as defense, they mostly need depth at each position. They could probably use the most defensive help on the DL.

New York Giants

Draft Picks: 5, 7, 36, 67, 81, 112, 147, 173, 182
Team Needs: EDGE, OL, TE, LB, DT, CB, P, RB
Key Players Gained: OG (Mark Glowinski), QB (Tyrod Taylor), OG (Jon Feliciano)
Key Players Lost: DT (Austin Johnson), CB (Keion Crosson), TE (Evan Engram), DE (Lorenzo Carter), S (Jabrill Peppers)

The Giants are another team with several needs, and they have prime draft picks to bring in impact players. Given the brand new coaching staff, I would imagine many conservative draft picks starting with an OL going with either Evan Neal or Ikem Ekwonu. They will likely draft one of the top Edge rushers with their other 1st round pick. At the top of the 2nd round they could still add an elite player whether it be the top TE or one of the top LBs in this class. There is a lack of depth on the DL where they can add players in the late rounds to fit in their 3-4 scheme. The Giants are one of the teams that I believe could invest in a quality punter with a draft pick.

Philadelphia Eagles

Draft Picks: 15, 18, 51, 83, 101, 124, 154, 162, 166, 237
Team Needs: WR, ILB, CB, S, IOL, EDGE, RB, QB, DT
Key Players Gained: OLB (Haason Reddick), LB (Kyzir White)
Key Players Lost: CB (Steven Nelson), DE (Cameron Malveaux-retired)

The Eagles had the #1 rushing offense last season but was also 25th in the league in passing. Drafting a WR in the 1st round 3 consecutive years seems kinda nuts. Yet, with this year’s talented group, it’s certainly possible that the Eagles will draft a big bodied WR especially given that Arcega-Whiteside is apparently moving to TE. The team is positioned well in the draft to potentially take the top LB; they really need to upgrade the middle with a player that can move well sideline-to-sideline in their 4-3 base scheme. I see them solidifying their secondary with at least a couple DBs, one of which being a SS that could compete for some playing time. Jason Kelce is getting long in the tooth at 35, and this could be his last season in Philly. Landon Dickerson should be able to step in at center, yet I would still bring in another IOL to compete.

San Francisco 49ers

Draft Picks: 61, 93, 105, 134, 172, 187, 220, 221, 262
Team Needs: OG, WR, DT, CB, FS, NB, TE, OL
Key Players Gained: CB (Charvarius Ward), S (George Odum), ILB (Oren Burks)
Key Players Lost: OG (Laken Tomlinson), DT (DJ Jones), CB (K’Waun Williams), DE (Arden Key), WR (Ray-Ray McCloud), OG (Tom Compton), RB (Raheem Mostert)

The team is now shifting gears as they transition from Jimmy Garappolo to Trey Lance. Replacing Laken Tomlinson should be their #1 priority along with adding another target to throw to in the slot (They might be forced to take a WR early with Deebo Samuel requesting a trade). There’s also a need for a rotational player on the DL, and they could possibly upgrade CB on the outside or at NB.

Seattle Seahawks

Draft Picks: 9, 40, 41, 72, 109, 152, 153, 229
Team Needs: OT, QB, CB, EDGE, OT, LB, WR, TE, RB, K
Key Players Gained: OLB (Uchenna Nwosu), DT (Quinton Jefferson), OG (Austin Blythe), CB (Artie Burns), QB (Drew Lock-trade), TE (Noah Fant-trade), DL (Shelby Harris-trade)
Key Players Lost: QB (Russell Wilson-trade), ILB (Bobby Wagner), S (D.J. Reed), TE (Gerald Everett), OT (Jamarco Jones)

It’s just not going to be the same without Russell Wilson in Seattle. I’m not sure how the coaching staff feels about the QB situation, but they have serviceable players to hold them over for a while. Drafting a QB could certainly happen at any point in this draft or next. In the meantime, they need to put themselves in the best position to succeed. Their OL is in dire straits and they need someone new to start at both OT spots. Their defense was 31st in the league versus the pass last season. They somewhat addressed that in free agency, adding an Edge rusher in Uchenna Nwosu and a DB in Artie Burns. Yet, both positions need more work, and I expect additions to them both.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Draft Picks: 27, 60, 91, 133, 248, 261
Team Needs: TE, DL, CB, OL, EDGE, S
Key Players Gained: WR (Russell Gage), OG (Shaq Mason-trade)
Key Players Lost: OG (Alex Cappa), S (Jordan Whitehead), TE (OJ Howard), OG (Ali Marpet-retired)

I feel like the Bucs could be a candidate to trade down maybe even into next season’s draft with a team that wants to snag a QB. There is a need at TE with OJ Howard gone and Rob Gronkowski on the verge of retiring again. The Bucs could also add some depth to their 3-4 DL. Starters at CB are solid, but backups would be nice.

Washington Commanders

Draft Picks: 11, 47, 113, 189, 230, 240
Team Needs: WR, OL, LB, CB, DT, QB
Key Players Gained: QB (Carson Wentz-trade), OG (Andrew Norwell)
Key Players Lost: OG (Brandon Scherff), DT (Tim Settle), DT (Matt Ioannidis), QB (Kyle Allen)

A new image in DC will hopefully give the spark to Coach Rivera that he needs to get over the hump and be the perennial postseason team that fans have been dying for. Carson Wentz is the new signal-caller. He’ll likely start for the majority of the season because that would increase the trade haul from a 3rd to a 2nd round pick next season. Almost everyone has the Commanders taking a big WR to pair with Terry McLaurin. Although, I would not be opposed to landing an elite OL like Zion Johnson in the 1st round. There is a need for overall depth on the OL. It’s not as sexy as a playmaker, but I think it would be an intelligent pick because they need to protect the QB at all costs given that Wentz is injury prone. There are only 2 QBs on the roster, and I would expect the team to add at least one more in the late rounds or in free agency. Defensively, Jamin Davis hasn’t been that impressive since drafting him in the first round last season. A smaller LB would be more suitable for a 4-3 defense, perhaps maybe a safety hybrid that could roam the field. There is concern over the health of CB Benjamin St. Juste. I expect the team to draft a CB with a similar body type. The team lost DTs Ioannidis and Settle in FA. It would only be logical to grab a suitable backup somewhere in this draft. 

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