American Football Expert & Columnist
Neil Reynolds' 2019 NFL Draft preview: Which teams need a good draft?
Last Updated: 26/04/19 5:18am
The NFL's annual selection of the best college players in America takes place in Nashville this week and the reality is that every team needs to have a good draft.
The NFL Draft remains the cheapest and most efficient way of re-stocking your roster, so all 32 teams will be looking to hit the player jackpot later this week. But for some teams, the pressure is especially on as they head to Tennessee.
Here are six teams who must emerge from the next week with some serious talent added to their rosters.
The Cardinals are in possession of the first overall pick and it is safe to say that future employment rests on how these next few days pan out. The Cardinals have a bunch of options and will be judged - for good or bad - depending on who they take or spurn in Nashville. If they mess up, history will not be kind in judging them.
NFL Draft on Sky Sports
Sky Sports is your home of the NFL and this week we will bring you build-up, reaction and full live coverage from Nashville of the 2019 Draft.
After spending a first-round draft choice on Josh Rosen last year, will the Cardinals go quarterback again with Kyler Murray? Or will they take a player they believe to be "a generational talent" in Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa? Or how about the man many believe to be the best in the entire draft in Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams?
While trading out of the top pick for additional selections would make sense, the allure of Murray could prove too hard to resist. And that should also mean a draft day trade of Rosen to another team.
San Francisco 49ers
We're about to enter year three of the John Lynch-Kyle Shanahan partnership in San Francisco and the pressure is building on a general manager-head coach pairing that promised much and has delivered little.
The 49ers need to hit a home run on a pass-rusher and will sprint to the podium with the second overall pick if the Cardinals leave Bosa on the board. But they also need to put more receiving talent around quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and find a playmaker or two in the secondary.
This is the year in which the 49ers must make a move in the NFC West. They still need plenty of talent added to their roster and the draft is their best shot at achieving that goal.
The cupboard was bare in Oakland in 2018 but they probably won't be the case in 2019. Superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown was added in free agency, along with pricey but reliable offensive tackle Trent Brown.
Now, the silver and black can turn their attention to an NFL Draft which sees them hold three first round selections. Would they deal them to move up and take Murray, thereby moving on from established quarterback Derek Carr?
As tempting as that might be, the Raiders have a bunch of issues to fix and should use their own selections to bolster both lines, every area of the defense, as well as running back and tight end. So yes, that is a lot to cover in one draft! This has to be a successful first outing for former NFL Draft TV expert Mike Mayock.
It's not only the bad teams that need to have a good draft weekend - the Browns are considered to be very much on the rise but they are not yet the finished product and we should all remember they still only won seven games last season.
Browns not looking to deal Johnson
John Dorsey says the Cleveland Browns are in no rush to give in to running back Duke Johnson's request to be traded.
The Browns hit the draft day jackpot last year with Baker Mayfield and after adding Odell Beckham Jr via free agency in the spring, it's about filling in talented starters to make this a complete team. The Browns don't have a first-round choice this year so need to do their business starting in round two. And they need to address their secondary and the offensive line.
If they hit on some day-one starters in this draft, the Browns should be set fair for a playoff run in 2019.
Kansas City Chiefs
I know, I know - the Chiefs have superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes at the helm and came within minutes of reaching last year's Super Bowl. But they have not endured the easiest of offseasons and an influx of young talent could prove useful.
The Chiefs moved on from pass-rushers Dee Ford and Justin Houston earlier this spring, as well as established veteran safety and team leader Eric Berry. And a cloud of potential suspension - or worse - hangs over the head of star receiver Tyreek Hill amid a possible child abuse investigation that took another turn in the past week when it was reported that the three-year-old boy was removed from the family home.
Suddenly, the Chiefs don't look as potent even with the game's most exciting quarterback in the line-up. The biggest priorities are upgrading a 31st-ranked defense on all levels - defensive line, linebacker and in the secondary.
New England Patriots
The defending Super Bowl champions have a big draft coming up as they are not without issues. He may be the GOAT but quarterback Tom Brady is going to be 42 heading into the 2019 season, so an heir apparent could be considered.
And there are other roster spots that need to be filled. Tight end is a massive need following the retirement of Rob Gronkowski and the wide receiver cupboard is also wafer thin. The loss of defensive end Trey Flowers also hurt New England and the line should be replenished in the coming days.
The good news for the Patriots is that they have an NFL-high 12 selections heading into the draft and have some freedom to wheel and deal their way up and down the board to grab guys they really like.