NFL Team Needs Tracker: One upcoming free agent, one 2024 NFL Draft prospect for all 32 teams after Week 1

2RH7XX4 Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) talks in the huddle during an NFL pre-season game against the Arizona Cardinals, Friday, Aug. 11, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

It’s never too early to start planning ahead for the next NFL season. Scouts are traveling across the country to see as many college prospects as possible, and pro scouting departments are dissecting the NFL film each week to identify potential free agent targets for the upcoming offseason. With that in mind, we’re kicking off a “team needs tracker” article that examines where each club could stand to improve going forward. We’ll highlight one college prospect at the position group selected along with one pending free agent who should represent a good fit from a financial and schematic perspective.

As the 2024 PFF Big Board grows, we will not just discuss the same first-round prospects that you’ll hear mentioned all over draft coverage. Perhaps we’ll take a look at some potential Day 2 and Day 3 players at a position that has a future need but not necessarily an immediate 2024 need.

Projected win totals are pulled from PFF’s Power Rankings, which are updated weekly. Projected draft position is based on Vegas odds and can be found on the PFF Mock Draft Simulator. Grades, stats and write-ups on all of the top college prospects can be found on PFF’s 2024 Big Board. Finally, as we advance through the season, the 2024 free agency landing page will have grades, stats and analysis on top players across every position.

JUMP TO A TEAM:

ARZ | ATL | BLT | BUF | CAR | CIN | CHI | CLE | DEN | DAL | DET | GB | HOU | IND | JAX | KC | LVR | LAC | LAR | MIA | MIN | NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF | SEA | TB | TEN | WSH

WR:CB Matchup Chart


Arizona Cardinals: Wide receiver

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 4.7 (32nd)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 2nd
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 58.9 (22nd)

We could pick almost any position here, with defensive line a strong contender, but 2022 trade acquisition Marquise Brown is playing in 2023 on the fifth-year option and may not be in the long-term plans of a new regime that did not execute that trade.

Prospect: Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr.

Whether it’s with Arizona’s own pick or the first-rounder they acquired from the Houston Texans, Harrison should be in strong consideration, as he might be a once-every-few-years type of talent. At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, Harrison has as much speed and body control as any receiver in college football, making acrobatic and spectacular catches on a weekly basis. He’s a can’t-miss option whether Arizona keeps Kyler Murray or starts over at quarterback.

Free agent: Carolina Panthers WR D.J. Chark

Chark is once again dealing with an injury to kick off 2023, a very unfortunate and all-too-familiar development for a player who could be Bryce Young’s top pass-catching option once he returns. Chark’s field-stretching ability helps out any offense he goes to, with his average depth of target and yards per reception numbers always near the top of the league.


Atlanta Falcons: Wide receiver

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 9.0 (14th)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 10th
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 52.0 (31st)

2022 eighth overall pick Drake London garnered one target with zero receptions in Week 1. Nonetheless, the team will eventually be playing from behind and looking to pass, and another receiving weapon would help. The offense now features a ton of big-bodied weapons who are asked to block first and run routes second, so any prospect or potential signing will probably need to excel as a blocker to some degree.

Prospect: Georgia WR Ladd McConkey

McConkey checks our first box here, earning an 82.2 run-blocking grade in 2021 and a 73.4 run-blocking grade in 2022. McConkey has yet to play in 2023 as he deals with an injury but is expected to return at some point this season. The scrappy 6-foot, 185-pound receiver can play in the slot and out wide. He was a go-to target for quarterback Stetson Bennett in the red zone, with seven touchdowns in 2022.

Free agent: New England Patriots WR Kendrick Bourne

Bourne may not be the best blocker, particularly in the run game, but his effort in that facet can rarely be questioned — and he pushed his way onto the field in San Francisco because of it. The New England Patriots rarely play wide receivers who aren’t willing blockers, either, so it’s no coincidence that’s where he’s been thus far in his career. As a receiver, Bourne kicked off 2023 with six receptions for 64 yards and two touchdowns. He could be a solid No. 2 option in Atlanta next year.


Baltimore Ravens: Interior defender

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 9.9 (6th)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 25th
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 52.1 (28th)

The Ravens' interior defender unit was led in snaps in Week 1 by two pending free agents, Justin Madubuike and Michael Pierce. The team extended Broderick Washington shortly before the season, and 2022 third-round pick Travis Jones saw 20 snaps, but neither earned a grade above 53.5.

Prospect: LSU DI Maason Smith

Smith has the ability to move across the formation and rush from different alignments. A torn ACL sustained while celebrating delayed his progression, but he has all the talent in the world.

Free agent: Houston Texans DI Sheldon Rankins

Rankins signed a one-year contract with the Texans in free agency and could look to finally cash in on a larger multi-year deal if he can stay healthy and productive through the 2023 season.


Buffalo Bills: Offensive Tackle

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 9.7 (t-8th)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 28th
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 60.7 (23rd)

Quarterback Josh Allen was under constant siege in a Week 1 loss to the ferocious New York Jets pass rush, as he was pressured on 21 of his 51 dropbacks. While he does deserve some blame for pressure and the five sacks he took, the unit up front could stand to improve, particularly at right tackle.

Prospect: Alabama OT J.C. Latham

Latham has experience across the line but started at right tackle in 2022. He is still operating on the right side through two games in 2023. So far, he has an 80.4 pass-blocking grade on true pass sets.

Free agent: Las Vegas Raiders OT Jermaine Eluemunor

Eluemunor was very solid for the Raiders in 2022 and returned in 2023 on a one-year, $3 million deal. He’s not a long-term solution but could provide stability for Buffalo, akin to what we saw from Ty Nsekhe a few years ago.


Carolina Panthers: Wide receiver

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 7.2 (t-26th)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 8th (40th)
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 55.3 (29th)

Carolina made sure to retain their second-round pick in this past year’s draft when they struck a blockbuster deal with the Chicago Bears for the No. 1 overall pick, and odds are they may have had their sights set on Jonathan Mingo all along. However, D.J. Chark signed a one-year flier and Adam Thielen is 33 years old, so adding more pass catchers for Bryce Young is absolutely crucial.

Prospect: Washington WR Rome Odunze

Carolina does not have its 2024 first-round pick, so we may be a bit generous here with Odunze falling to them in the early second round. The Washington product is coming off a 75-reception, 1,145-yard season in 2022 that has been followed up through two weeks with 14 receptions for 239 yards and two touchdowns in 2023.

Free agent: Indianapolis Colts WR Michael Pittman Jr.

The Colts elected not to extend Pittman after his third season, and while he’s a prime franchise tag candidate after 2023, why not hypothetically reunite him with Panthers head coach Frank Reich? Pittman already showed he’s a perfect possession receiver for a young quarterback, hauling in eight receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 while working with Anthony Richardson.


Chicago Bears: Edge defender

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 6.7 (29th)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 14th
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 47.1 (30th)

The Bears may have two top-15 picks at their disposal in 2024, and you could genuinely make an argument they should use both on edge defenders, especially in a class as loaded as this one.

Prospect: Florida State EDGE Jared Verse

We’ll start with an obvious name here, as we might pick edge defender for Chicago in every edition of this series until someone stops us. Verse would be a good fit on the edge in Matt Eberflus’ defense at 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds, earning an 88.6 pass-rush grade in 2022 with a 15.6% pressure rate. The former Albany transfer has had no trouble with the step up in collegiate competition and should hear his name called very early next April.

Free agent: New Orleans Saints EDGE Carl Granderson

Bears fans or non-Saints fans may not yet be familiar with Granderson’s name just yet, but they should be by the end of 2023. The 6-foot-5, 261-pound former undrafted free agent has gotten better in each season of his NFL career and kicked off the 2023 season with five quarterback pressures, 1.5 sacks and an 81.3 pass rush grade. Get to know Granderson soon, although the Saints may not be willing to let him test free agency if he keeps playing this well.


Cincinnati Bengals: Interior defender

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 9.6 (12th)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 30th
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 69.5 (10th)

Cincinnati made a phenomenal trade with the New York Giants in 2021, swapping former first-round center Billy Price for interior defender B.J. Hill. Hill went on to sign a three-year, $30 million extension with the Bengals, and Price is not currently on a 53-man roster. However, Bengals stud interior defender D.J. Reader is in the final year of his contract and Hill has two years left on his extension including 2023, so an influx of young talent is paramount.

Prospect: Cincinnati DI Dontay Corleone

Why not target a local kid early in the draft? Corleone is tough to move off the spot on the interior, earning a 93.8 grade in 2022. He primarily lines up in the A- or B-gaps, rarely setting up out wide over opposing offensive tackles. He can plug up the middle and help Cincinnati’s edge defenders tee off.

Free agent: San Francisco 49ers DI Javon Kinlaw

The former first-round pick has gotten off to a very slow start in the NFL but was a top-15 pick at 6-foot-5 and 319 pounds for a reason. Through one game in 2023, Kinlaw registered two pressures and one defensive stop. Lastly, with massive contracts for Nick Bosa and Javon Hargrave, it will be very tough for the 49ers to pay Kinlaw if he ascends over the season, making it likely he gets to test the open market.


Cleveland Browns: Interior defender

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 10.2 (5th)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 16th (48th)
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 57.6 (22nd)

We’re targeting pass-rusher types here since Dalvin Tomlinson and rookie Siaki Ika are run-stuffing maulers on four-year contracts and Shelby Harris is on a one-year deal as the pass-rushing interior player. Cleveland is also already at the top of the projected 2024 cash spending list, so while they may look to make a splash like they did with Tomlinson this past offseason, there’s no guarantee they spend big.

Prospect: Clemson DI Ruke Orhorhoro

Cleveland, as of now, doesn’t have a draft pick until the second round, so we’re not going to list the household names here too often in this series. Orhorhoro earned a 74.0 pass-rush grade in 2022 and will look to build on that number in 2023.

Free agent: Kansas City Chiefs DI Tershawn Wharton

Wharton really impressed as an undrafted rookie, contributing more than 500 snaps as a rotational rusher on the interior and earning a 62.1 pass-rush grade. He followed that up with 28 pressures in 2020, earning a 68.1 pass-rush grade. Injuries shortened his 2021 season, but he is set to test the market after 2023 and has five more games before Charles Omenihu returns from suspension to build some momentum.


Dallas Cowboys: Linebacker

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 10.7 (t-3rd)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 27th
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 61.9 (18th)

Dallas has addressed the linebacker position in recent drafts, but 2021 fourth-round pick Jabril Cox has dealt with injuries and landed in Washington this offseason, and 2023 third-round pick DeMarvion Overshown tore his ACL before his rookie campaign could even get underway. The Cowboys were smart to re-sign veteran Leighton Vander Esch this offseason even before these injuries, but his deal is just for two seasons.

Prospect: Clemson LB Barrett Carter

All teams looking for an addition at off-ball linebacker will keep a keen eye on the Clemson Tigers this season, with Carter and teammate Jeremiah Trotter Jr. being two of the top prospects in the nation. Carter earned an 81.4 overall grade in 2022 with run-defense and coverage grades above 77.0.

Free agent: Tennessee Titans LB Azeez Al-Shaair

Al-Shaair was largely an injury replacement and a rotational player in San Francisco, but that’s to be expected when Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw are on the depth chart. Al-Shaair had his best season in 2022, earning a 79.7 run-defense grade. It will be interesting to see how he performs in a full-time role in 2023 in an aggressive Titans defensive front.


Denver Broncos: Wide receiver

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 7.5 (24th)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 15th
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 57.7 (27th)

Denver has a lot of bigger receivers already in the fold — Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick although there’s no guarantee any of them will be back in 2024. Rookie Marvin Mims isn’t huge at 5-foot-11 and 182 pounds, but he is a vertical threat on the outside. Here, we look to add a shifty slot receiver to complement the bigger bodies on the outside.

Prospect: Georgia WR Dominic Lovett

Lovett’s name sometimes gets lost in the shuffle with players like George Pickens and tight end Brock Bowers dominating headlines in recent years, but the 5-foot-10, 179-pound slot receiver earned an 85.5 receiving grade in 2022 with six games of at least five receptions.

Free agent: Washington Commanders WR Curtis Samuel

Samuel very quietly had 64 receptions in 2022 and earned a 70.2 receiving grade, carrying that momentum into Week 1 of 2023 with a five-catch, 54-yard outing. The injury bug has been an issue throughout his career, which may be something Denver tries to avoid at the wide receiver position, but we could also see Sean Payton loving the idea of a player he can line up in the backfield, the slot or out wide.


Detroit Lions: Cornerback

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 9.7 (t-8th)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 24th
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 59.4 (20th)

Detroit signed veteran free agents Cameron Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley this offseason, but Moseley received just a one-year deal and did not play in Week 1 as he continues to recover from an ACL injury sustained in 2022. Unfortunately. he has reportedly suffered a setback in his return to action.

Prospect: Clemson CB Nate Wiggins

Wiggins has the height, at 6-foot-2, that Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn tended to covet when he was the defensive backs coach with the New Orleans Saints, and the Lions have worked more and more zone into their coverages after getting beat in man coverage consistently. Wiggins earned a 78.9 coverage grade in 2022 with 10 pass breakups and a completion percentage allowed of just 50.8%.

Free agent: Los Angeles Chargers CB Michael Davis

Davis had a career year in 2022, earning a 73.5 coverage grade with 12 pass breakups and a completion percentage allowed of just 52%. All three of those marks were career bests. Davis is a big, physical cornerback at 6-foot-2 and 196 pounds and will be 29 years old entering his eighth NFL season in 2024.


Green Bay Packers: Safety

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 9.2 (13th)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 11th
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 62.2 (18th)

Green Bay effectively neglected the safety position this offseason as they continued to beef up one of the league’s deepest front-seven units, and all four of their top safeties are pending free agents. A ball-hawk on the back end could help this defense take another step with growth up front from Devonte Wyatt, Quay Walker and Lukas Van Ness.

Prospect: Miami (FL) S Kamren Kinchens

Kinchens earned an elite 90.0 in 2022 with serious coverage skills on the back end, intercepting six passes on the season and displaying the ball-hawking ability that can scare opposing quarterbacks away from throwing deep.

Free agent: New York Jets S Jordan Whitehead

One of the heroes of Week 1, Whitehead intercepted Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen three times on Monday night to help the Jets come from behind and steal a victory with an epic punt return touchdown in overtime. Whitehead has back-to-back seasons with coverage grades above 70.0 but really makes his mark as a physical player down in the box, often having one of the lowest average depth of tackles — how close to the line of scrimmage he tackles ball carriers — among all safeties.


Houston Texans: Tight end

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 5.7 (31st)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 1st (16th via Cleveland)
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 52.3 (25th)

Houston used a second-round pick on Alabama speedster John Metchie in 2022 and a third-round pick in this year’s draft on shifty playmaker Tank Dell out of Houston, but they could still stand to add pass catchers for C.J. Stroud. Dalton Schultz signed a one-year, $6.25 million deal in free agency for this year, but adding a dynamic threat at tight end could add another dimension this offense. We also know how much a Shanahan offense loves tight ends, and offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik could look to add more talent there.

Prospect: Georgia TE Brock Bowers

Houston currently has Cleveland’s pick for 2023 and not their own, so depending on how the Browns' season goes, the Texans may not be within Bowers’ draft range. Nevertheless, we’re going to highlight one of the best offensive weapons in all of college football here, a player who can do absolutely everything within an offense. Bowers was even the recipient of an end-around handoff so far this college season — not a play you see dialed up for a tight end unless they’re a special talent. Bowers earned back-to-back receiving grades above 80.0 in 2021 and 2022.

Free agent: Seattle Seahawks TE Noah Fant

Fant has had an up-and-down start to his career after the Denver Broncos drafted him in the first round in 2019 but has notched at least 40 receptions in every season thus far with just four drops on 240 targets over the past three. Fant is playing in 2023 on the fifth-year option and could reach the open market after the season. While he isn’t the greatest blocker in the world, he could be a solid outlet for Stroud to pick up some yards after the catch, averaging more than 9.5 yards after the catch per reception in every season of his career thus far.


Indianapolis Colts: Cornerback

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 7.2 (t-26th)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 3rd
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 50.8 (28th)

The Colts used a second-, a fifth- and a seventh-round pick on cornerbacks in this past year’s draft but could probably still stand to add talent at the position going forward, especially considering they waived fifth-round pick cornerback Darius Rush. Slot cornerback Kenny Moore II is also entering the final year of his contract, a deal he unsuccessfully tried to have extended last offseason.

Prospect: Alabama CB Kool-Aid McKinstry

McKinstry has experience in Nick Saban’s defense playing a lot of zone match and Cover 3 type coverages. He is one of the best defensive backs in college football set to enter the NFL in 2024. McKinstry earned an 81.2 coverage grade in 2022, allowing a reception on just 46.3% of passes thrown his way.

Free agent: Houston Texans CB Steven Nelson

Nelson should play a healthy dose of Cover 3 in Houston this year with new head coach/defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. The Texans deployed Cover 3 on one-third of their coverage snaps in Week 1. Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but Gus Bradley’s Colts lead the league through Week 1 at 61.4%. Nelson earned a pay raise this offseason after earning a 72.0 coverage grade in 2022, but he was not extended.


Jacksonville Jaguars: Safety

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 9.7 (t-8th)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 21st
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 55.3 (26th)

Andre Cisco is an exciting young player who showed out in Week 1 with a forced fumble and two defensive stops, but veteran Rayshawn Jenkins had a tough outing, earning a 35.9 grade while allowing five receptions for 46 yards. Jenkins is owed $9 million in 2024, and even if he ultimately stays another year, Jacksonville can start looking for his eventual successor.

Prospect: Minnesota S Tyler Nubin

Nubin is a big, rangy safety with three years of starting experience already heading into the 2023 season. So far through two games, he has earned a 90.3 coverage grade with two interceptions.

Free agent: Detroit Lions S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson

The added benefit here is that Gardner-Johnson can also line up in the slot, where Jacksonville has pending free agent Tre Herndon starting to kick off 2023. If Jacksonville wants to add a nastiness and edge to their secondary, look no further. Gardner-Johnson also displayed his strong ball skills with a league-leading six interceptions in 2022, adding two pass breakups in Week 1 of 2023 against the Kansas City Chiefs.


Kansas City Chiefs: Wide receiver

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 10.7 (t-3rd)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 32nd
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 57.8 (26th)

Despite using second-round picks in back-to-back draft classes at wide receiver, this was an easy answer after Kansas City receivers were credited with three drops in Week 1, including Kadarius Toney’s drop on a perfectly thrown pass that led to a pick-six.

Prospect: Texas WR Adonai Mitchell

The Georgia transfer now finds himself as one of Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers’ favorite deep threats, hauling in two deep touchdown passes against Alabama in Week 2 — including a beautiful over-the-shoulder snag. At 6-foot-4 and 196 pounds with good speed and ball skills, he adds a different element than the other young wideouts recently drafted by the Chiefs and could be the eventual successor to Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

Free agent: Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans

Would the Chiefs be willing to make a splash near the top of the market for a 30-year-old wide receiver? Probably not. But perhaps Evans takes a page out of his friend Tom Brady’s book and prioritizes another Lombardi Trophy over maxing out his earnings in the late stages of his career. Evans had six receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, on pace for the 10th straight 1,000-yard season of his career. This may be a pipe dream, as we saw Kansas City shy away from major investments in DeAndre Hopkins and Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason, but why not have a little fun in our first installment?


Las Vegas Raiders: Interior defender

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 8.6 (15th)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 7th
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 47.0 (29th)

Edge defenders Maxx Crosby and Tyree Wilson could be foundational building blocks off the edge for years to come, and both have the size to kick inside occasionally. But why not add another disruptive player on the interior?

Prospect: Illinois DI Jer’Zhan Newton

Newton was downright dominant in 2022, earning a 91.2 run-defense grade and an 84.1 pass-rush grade with 34 defensive stops and 55 quarterback pressures. With another season in the same vein, he’ll be a top-20 pick next April.

Free agent: Tennessee Titans DI Teair Tart

Tart is coming off a breakout 2022 season, earning a 73.1 grade with 26 quarterback pressures and 23 defensive stops. He’s a big, physical presence on the interior, and perhaps Tennessee decides to let him test free agency after making Jeffery Simmons one of the highest-paid players on the interior in the NFL this offseason.


Los Angeles Chargers: Cornerback

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 8.1 (18th)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 22nd
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 44.7 (32nd)

Playing one of the highest man coverage rates in the NFL in Week 1 against Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle may not necessarily be the fault of Chargers cornerbacks, but J.C. Jackson struggled mightily with a 45.2 coverage grade and pending free agent Michael Davis wasn’t much better with a 47.2 mark.

Prospect: Iowa CB Cooper DeJean

DeJean is a Swiss Army knife defensive back who may ultimately play too well in 2023 to fall to the Chargers in the first round. Still, he brings size and versatility that Brandon Staley would probably love to work with at the next level. DeJean earned an 81.5 coverage grade and an 85.8 run-defense grade in 2022.

Free agent: Chicago Bears CB Jaylon Johnson

Johnson is stuck playing a lot of soft zone and off coverage in Chicago, and it doesn’t appear to fit his skill set all that well. He is in a pivotal contract year in 2023 that got off to a solid start with a 69.5 coverage grade in Week 1. Johnson and Staley did not cross paths in Chicago, but a promising talent could be a fit in Los Angeles.


Los Angeles Rams: Edge defender

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 8.2 (17th)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 6th
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 33.8 (32nd)

Aaron Donald proved in Week 1 that a one-man pass-rush unit can be effective if it’s arguably the best pass rusher we’ve ever seen. He was consistently winning from a five-technique alignment over the opposing offensive tackle. Nonetheless, he will need help going forward, and the Rams tried to trade two first-round picks and a second-round pick at last year’s trade deadline for Carolina Panthers edge defender Brian Burns for a reason.

Prospect: Florida EDGE Princely Umanmielen

Umanmielen earned pass rush grades of 83.5 and 83.1 in 2021 and 2022, respectively, with pressure rates above 10% in each season. He has four pressures and a sack through two games in 2023. Umanmielen is long with a big frame but reportedly slimmed down this offseason to move from defensive end to outside linebacker. His continued progression will be interesting to monitor.

Free agent: New England Patriots EDGE Josh Uche

You may have expected a Brian Burns mention here after his name came up above, but we’d put the odds he gets franchise-tagged by the Panthers roughly in the neighborhood of 100%. In Uche’s case, while he’s been remarkably efficient rushing the passer since a breakout 2022, he still logged only 24 snaps in Week 1 of 2023 as more of a rotational player. Uche had four pressures and a sack on just 19 pass-rush snaps, picking up right where left off last season with 56 pressures on 285 pass-rush reps. He may be too good for New England to let go, but if they do, the Rams should be all over this.


Miami Dolphins: Tight end

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 9.7 (t-8th)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 23rd
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 63.6 (7th)

Tight end Mike Gesicki was clearly not a fit with the Dolphins in 2022, and they also traded former third-round pick Hunter Long to the Los Angeles Rams in the Jalen Ramsey deal. Mike McDaniel would probably love to add a difference-maker at the position, akin to what he was working with in George Kittle in San Francisco, adding another pass-catching and blocking element to his dynamic offense.

Prospect: Texas TE Ja’Tavion Sanders

Sanders’ usage against Alabama in Week 2 is exactly what you’d envision at the next level, with the Longhorns wide receivers clearing a ton of room over the middle for him to rack up yards after the catch and make defenders miss in space. Sanders isn’t a great blocker, earning a 61.1 run-blocking grade in 2022, but could add another dimension to Miami's offense and feast on underneath routes.

Free agent: Denver Broncos TE Adam Trautman

Trautman was traded from the New Orleans Saints to the Denver Broncos this offseason as he reunited with head coach Sean Payton. He earned run-blocking grades above 60.0 over the first three seasons of his NFL career. Trautman is a serviceable receiver, hauling in five receptions in Week 1, and would be an upgrade to Miami’s room.


Minnesota Vikings: Quarterback

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 7.6 (t-22nd)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 13th
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 66.0 (15th)

Minnesota elected not to extend quarterback Kirk Cousins before the 2023 season, meaning he is entering a true contract year with effectively no ability to be franchise-tagged. Regardless of his contractual situation, he’ll be 36 in 2024 and needs replacing eventually.

Prospect: Duke QB Riley Leonard

Minnesota is most likely going to win too many games to be in the Caleb Williams/Drake Maye sweepstakes, so we have to move a bit down the list here. Also playing his college football in the Raleigh-Durham area, Leonard is elusive as a runner for his 6-foot-4, 212-pound size. Leonard’s athleticism was certainly on display when he racked up 93 yards on seven rushes in a huge win over the Clemson Tigers in Week 1, earning an 87.2 rushing grade. Leonard can still stand to improve as a passer, but his tools are intriguing, to say the least.

Free agent: N/A

Franchise quarterbacks don’t tend to hit free agency, and we’re looking for a franchise quarterback here.


New England Patriots: Offensive Tackle

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 7.6 (t-22nd)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 12th
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 63.1 (21st)

Before Week 1 even kicked off, New England was down right tackle Riley Reiff to injury. Veterans Trent Brown and Calvin Anderson performed admirably against a vicious Philadelphia Eagles pass-rush unit, but Brown is a pending free agent and Anderson is probably best served as a swing tackle in the long term.

Prospect: Georgia OT Amarius Mims

Mims is a very large human at 6-foot-7 and 340 lbs and has continued to build on his 79.5 pass-blocking grade in 2022 with an 85.8 mark through two weeks in 2023.

Free agent: Cincinnati Bengals OT Jonah Williams

Williams made his NFL debut at right tackle in Week 1, and it got off to a bit of an ugly start, but he deserves more time at a position he did play back in college at Alabama. Williams’ ability to play on both sides could be intriguing to New England going forward, as well. Williams earned pass-blocking grades of 63.9 or better in each season from 2020 to 2022. When healthy, he’s a capable starter.


New Orleans Saints: Interior defender

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 9.8 (7th)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 19th
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 45.4 (30th)

The Saints used their first-round pick in this past year’s draft on Clemson interior defender Bryan Bresee, but they could stand to go that route again next offseason. Veteran starters Khalen Saunders and Nathan Shepherd have been rotational players throughout their careers, and both earned sub-60.0 grades in Week 1. Pairing Bresee with another talented player on the interior could help solidify the middle of this defense.

Prospect: Texas A&M DI McKinnley Jackson

Jackson is a big presence that can clog up the interior, with a stout frame that is hard to move. His play strength isn’t the only impressive thing about him, as he also brings a quick get-off for a player of his size. Jackson earned a 71.8 run-blocking grade in 2022, and with another strong season in 2023, he could continue to climb draft boards.

Free agent: Cincinnati Bengals DI D.J. Reader

With the franchise tag in Cincinnati seemingly reserved for wide receiver Tee Higgins, all the other pending free agents should be able to shop around and listen to offers, and Reader may hear a few big ones. He’s coming off back-to-back seasons with grades above 80.0 and has established himself as one of the top interior run defenders in the NFL when healthy.


New York Giants: Edge defender

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 7.1 (28th)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 18th
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 50.9 (29th)

The Giants waiting to address their edge defender unit until they acquired former Buffalo Bills edge Carlos Basham Jr. on cut-down day was one of the more puzzling decisions of the offseason, especially considering defensive coordinator Wink Martindale sits atop of the NFL in blitz rate nearly every season. A platoon of rushers to help spell Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari seemed to be an obvious need, and Ojulari popped up on the injury report in Week 1.

Prospect: Alabama EDGE Dallas Turner

Turner popped up on tape when watching No. 3 overall pick Will Anderson Jr. last season, and he looks to have hit the weight room headed into 2023. Turner earned a 73.1 pass-rush grade with a 12% pressure rate in 2022. If he continues to build on those numbers in 2023, he could come off the board early on.

Free agent: Dallas Cowboys EDGE Dante Fowler Jr.

Signing an edge rusher away from a division rival is just an added bonus, but Fowler also had a career resurgence in 2022 with the Dallas Cowboys, earning a 77.0 pass-rush grade with a 15.8% pressure rate as a rotational pass rusher. The former No. 3 overall pick has always been able to get after opposing quarterbacks and could be a perfect fit for a blitzing platoon in New York.


New York Jets: Offensive Tackle

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 6.4 (30th)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 26th
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 64.7 (20th)

Jets left tackle Duane Brown is 39 years old and coming off rotator cuff surgery, while newly minted right tackle Mekhi Becton will likely deal with knee issues for the foreseeable future. This team may need to replace both bookends going forward, especially if they do get Aaron Rodgers back in 2024 on a surgically repaired Achilles.

Prospect: Duke OT Graham Barton

Graham Barton was one of the best tackles in all of college football in 2022, earning grades above 85.0 as both a pass protector and run blocker. He brings good athleticism in space at his size that could fit this scheme in New York quite well. He’s carried that over to 2023 with an 84.9 pass-blocking grade through Week 2, and that includes a resounding victory over the Clemson Tigers, who always boast one of the best defensive lines in college football. Eyes will be on him all season as he tries to keep quarterback Riley Leonard — a prospect worth keeping an eye on his own right — upright through the rest of the season.

Free agent: Green Bay Packers OT Yosh Nijman

Nijman showed promise in 2021 and 2022, earning a 74.4 pass-blocking grade last season over 448 such snaps — primarily at right tackle. He lost the starting job this year to second-year tackle Zach Tom, and comments from the Packers coaching staff about the battle for the job seemed to express frustration in Nijman’s offseason effort, but perhaps a reunion with Nathaniel Hackett in New York can get his career back on track.


Philadelphia Eagles: Cornerback

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 11.1 (1st)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 31st
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 62.9 (t-16th)

Philadelphia’s young cornerback depth will be tested right out of the gate, with veteran James Bradberry dealing with a concussion that has knocked him out of a Thursday night matchup with the high-flying Minnesota Vikings passing attack. Bradberry is in his age-30 season, and on the other side of the defense is a 32-year-old Darius Slay, so long-term replacements will be needed eventually.

Prospect: TCU CB Josh Newton

Newton had zero issues transitioning to big-time college football in 2022 after transferring from Louisiana-Monroe to TCU, earning an 82.5 coverage while allowing a paltry 34.5% completion rate on passes thrown his way with three interceptions and seven pass breakups. A Week 1 matchup with Shedeur Sanders, Travis Hunter and the electric Colorado Buffaloes wasn’t his best outing, but he’ll bounce back.

Free agent: Tennessee Titans CB Sean Murphy-Bunting

Philadelphia isn’t going to spend near the top of the market here after extending both James Bradberry and Darius Slay last offseason, but the team could add depth. Murphy-Bunting has experience playing out wide and in the slot, adding a versatile piece to the secondary with starting upside. The former second-round pick earned a career-best 80.9 coverage grade in 2022 and parlayed that into a free agent contract with the Tennessee Titans for $3.5 million across one year.


Pittsburgh Steelers: Center

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 8.0 (20th)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 17th
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 49.2 (26th)

Pittsburgh has signed its starting guards in free agency over the past two offseasons in James Daniels and Isaac Seumalo, and the center spot belongs to another 2022 free agent acquisition in Mason Cole, but a player with more upside could help Kenny Pickett continue to grow in this offense.

Prospect: Georgia C Sedrick Van Pran

Van Pran has earned pass-blocking grades above 72.0 in two consecutive seasons as the Bulldogs' starting center. He has continued to excel so far in 202,3 keeping new quarterback Carson Beck upright. He looks to be the top center prospect in the class to this point.

Free agent: Dallas Cowboys C Tyler Biadasz

Dallas has several marquee players to give huge contract extensions to this upcoming offseason, which may make it tough to retain Biadasz beyond 2023. The former fourth-round pick out of Wisconsin has earned pass-blocking grades above 65.0 in back-to-back seasons and will look to build on that growth in 2023.


San Francisco 49ers: Guard

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 10.8 (2nd)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 29th
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 34.7 (31st)

Starting right guard Spencer Burford, San Francisco’s fourth-round pick from 2022, has struggled mightily through a season plus one game in 2023. While it’s still very early, Burford’s 49.6 grade from 2022 looks good in comparison to his 28.6 number from Week 1. Burford allowed four pressures and earned an 11.4 pass-blocking grade to kick off 2023, and if he doesn’t progress as the season moves along, perhaps San Francisco looks to add more talent on the interior.

Prospect: UConn G Christian Haynes

Haynes was one of the highest-graded guards in the nation in 2022, earning a 90.1 pass-blocking grade and an 87.2 run-blocking grade in his third season starting at right guard. Haynes is in his sixth year of college, so he’s an older prospect and won’t go very high in the 2024 NFL Draft, but he could be a nice addition in the later rounds.

Free agent: Minnesota Vikings G Ezra Cleveland

Cleveland kicked inside to left guard after playing left tackle in college at Boise State, and thus far he’s been a very good run blocker while he continues to grow in pass protection, earning an 80.3 grade in 2022 in a similar rushing scheme to San Francisco’s. Perhaps the potential to kick out to right tackle could add another value component, as San Francisco likely needs to address that spot, as well.


Seattle Seahawks: Guard

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 7.4 (25th)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 20th
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 52.2 (23rd)

Week 1 starters Damien Lewis and Phil Haynes are both free agents after the 2023 season, and Lewis earned a 7.9 pass-blocking grade for his efforts against Aaron Donald, a matchup that did not go particularly well. Both are solid players, but perhaps Seattle could add a difference-maker on the interior to pair with a promising young tackle tandem.

Prospect: Miami Hurricanes G Javion Cohen

The Alabama transfer picked up where he left off as a pass blocker, with a 74.2 grade through two weeks in 2023 after earning an 80.8 mark in 2022. If he or any prospect is going to be a fit in Seattle’s zone run-blocking scheme, they need to be nimble athletes in space who can get to the second level. This class isn’t loaded at guard, but Cohen is a good athlete with room to improve.

Free agent: Miami Dolphins G Robert Hunt

Robert Hunt is coming off the best season of his young career, earning a career-best 74.0 pass-blocking grade with a career-low 3.1% pressure rate allowed. Hunt also excelled as a run blocker, with his 76.2 grade in head coach Mike McDaniel’s zone scheme the best of his career, as well. He’s a perfect target at right guard for Seattle this upcoming offseason.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quarterback

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 8.4 (16th)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 5th
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 80.8 (5th)

After a Week 1 upset over the Minnesota Vikings, perhaps the Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren’t as bad as many thought and won’t be picking at the very top of the 2024 NFL Draft. It also helps to play in the woeful NFC South division. For now, we’ll operate as if that’s still a possibility, and we’re not buying the idea that Baker Mayfield is going to be the long-term starter, though he did play fairly well in Week 1.

Prospect: North Carolina Tar Heels QB Drake Maye

Maye is probably the only quarterback with the potential to unseat USC star Caleb Williams as the unanimous No. 1 overall pick come April, with a live arm and great athletic ability maneuvering the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield. Maye earned a 91.2 passing grade in 2022 with 39 big-time throws to just 10 turnover-worthy plays, averaging 8.7 yards per attempt. He’s gotten off to a hot start again in 2023, though he already has two interceptions after totaling only five in 2022.

Free agent: N/A

Franchise quarterbacks don’t tend to hit free agency, and we’re looking for a franchise quarterback here.


Tennessee Titans: Offensive Tackle

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 7.8 (21st)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 4th
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 66.1 (16th)

Tennessee signed former Philadelphia Eagles first-round tackle Andre Dillard this offseason to man the blindside, and 2022 fourth-round pick Nicholas Petit-Frere figures to regain the starting job on the right side once he returns from a gambling suspension, but neither should prevent another move to help add protection for the eventual successor to Ryan Tannehill in Tennessee.

Prospect: Notre Dame OT Joe Alt

Tennessee may not be picking high enough in 2024 to land Alt, who could very well play his way into the top 10 or even top five selections. At a massive 6-foot-8 and 322 pounds, Alt earned a 91.0 run-blocking grade in 2022 and has all the nimbleness required to still work in a zone-heavy offensive scheme. So far through 2023, he is once again earning pass-blocking and run-blocking grades of at least 80.0.

Free agent: Miami Dolphins OL Isaiah Wynn

Wynn made his Dolphins debut in 2023 at guard but could still kick back out to tackle going forward. His ability to play on the inside is just an added bonus, earning an 80.3 pass-blocking grade in Week 1. Wynn has dealt with injuries throughout his career but posted pass-blocking grades above 70.0 in each season from 2019 to 2021.


Washington Commanders: Linebacker

  • Projected win total (per PFF Power Rankings): 8.1 (t-18th)
  • Projected draft position (per Vegas odds): 9th
  • Unit grade through Week 1: 52.9 (26th)

2021 first-round pick linebacker Jamin Davis is stacking good weeks and starting to look like the player Washington envisioned when they took him No. 19 overall, but the unit alongside him is made up of largely pending free agents that don’t figure to be long-term solutions.

Prospect: Clemson LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr.

Trotter is the middle linebacker in the Clemson defense and could pair well with Jamin Davis, solidifying one of the better front sevens in the NFL already. Trotter earned a 77.1 run-defense grade and an 87.9 coverage grade in 2022 while also adding 16 quarterback pressures on the occasional pass rush.

Free agent: Denver Broncos LB Josey Jewell

Jewell has been a consistently solid middle linebacker for the Denver Broncos, with run-defense grades above 65.0 in his past two healthy seasons and coverage grades above 60.0. Jewell had 40 defensive stops, 11 quarterback pressures and two interceptions in 2022 in what was arguably his best NFL season. He could be a solid veteran presence over the middle in Washington.

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