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Post-2018 NFL draft biggest questions for all 32 teams



The NFL draft is in the books, but that doesn’t mean each team addressed all its needs.

NFL Nation looks at the remaining question each team faces that could linger into the season.

AFC East | AFC North| AFC South | AFC West
NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West


Buffalo Bills

Do the Bills have good enough pass catchers for their starting QB to succeed?
We’ll find out this summer whether AJ McCarron or first-round pick Josh Allen wins the starting job, but in either case, there are questions about whether the Bills have done enough to upgrade their wide receiver and tight end positions. If Kelvin Benjamin and Charles Clay stay healthy and are effective, the Bills will be fine. If not, there is little depth and a lack of top-tier prospects — outside of 2017 second-round pick Zay Jones, who was disappointing as a rookie — to support a first-time starting quarterback. — Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins

Who will replace Ndamukong Suh in the middle of the Dolphins’ defensive line?
The team addressed multiple needs in the draft, from tight end to defenders who could match up against tight ends. But none of its eight draft picks can play defensive tackle. That’s one area the Dolphins will have to address, either through internal development or free agency, in the coming months. — Kevin Seifert

New England Patriots

Did the Patriots do enough to help their linebacker corps?
It was one of their top needs entering the draft, but the Patriots stayed put in the first round as four off-the-line linebackers were selected before their pick at No. 23, and then they waited until the fifth and sixth rounds to select Purdue’s Ja’Whaun Bentley (more of a middle linebacker) and Arizona State’s Christian Sam (more of a weakside linebacker), respectively. Adding more speed and athleticism to the front seven seemed like a must after Super Bowl LII, and the draft was one of the primary avenues to do so. — Mike Reiss

New York Jets

Will the Jets regret ignoring the offensive line?
The Jets believe they found their franchise quarterback in Sam Darnold, but they didn’t take an offensive lineman. They signed centers Spencer Long (Redskins) and Travis Swanson (Lions), and they have Kelvin Beachum, Brandon Shell, Brent Qvale, James Carpenter and Brian Winters returning, so there’s not an immediate need. But any NFL franchise that doesn’t respect the need for depth and quality on the O-line does so at its own peril. The Jets now have a glut of quarterbacks. Something has to give. — Lenn Robbins


Baltimore Ravens

How much will Lamar Jackson get on the field this season?
The Ravens made it clear Joe Flacco is the starting quarterback this year, but team officials have been vague on whether Jackson will see any game action. When Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg was the playcaller in Philadelphia, he devised special packages for Michael Vick when he wasn’t the starter. There’s no question the Ravens view their first-rounder as a quarterback. The uncertainty is how much everyone sees of Jackson, who has been described as a “unique talent” by team officials. — Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals

Did the Bengals do enough to fix their offensive line?
Sure, they added LT Cordy Glenn and C Billy Price, but they didn’t address the tackle position until the seventh round of the draft. That leaves holes on the right side of the line, and there is no sure starter penciled in at either right guard or right tackle. The Bengals didn’t feel there were enough good tackles in this year’s draft to reach for one, but that could remain a problem down the road. — Katherine Terrell

Cleveland Browns

Will Baker Mayfield be able to learn and develop behind Tyrod Taylor, or will he be thrown into action as a rookie?
He’ll start the season as the third quarterback on the roster, but he’s a competitive guy who has made it clear he does not want or expect to sit. The Browns won’t force Mayfield onto the field if they don’t have to, but Hue Jackson also said he won’t hold any player back. Mayfield could force the issue. — Pat McManamon

Pittsburgh Steelers

What will the Steelers do now at inside linebacker?
A massive hole remains in the spot Ryan Shazier deftly commanded for four years, but the Steelers ignored the position in favor of two safeties in the first five rounds. They signed free agent Jon Bostic, who’s more of a stopgap. Here’s where it gets interesting, though: The Steelers navigated a weak linebacker class by getting versatile players who might be able to handle linebacker duties in third-down subpackages. “Those lines bleed together” in today’s hybrid NFL, coach Mike Tomlin said. So perhaps first-round pick Terrell Edmunds will end up replacing Shazier, he just doesn’t know it yet. — Jeremy Fowler


Houston Texans

Who will start the season as the Texans’ backup quarterback?
It’s a good problem to have when the most pressing question is about a backup. But as Houston learned last season after Deshaun Watson tore his ACL, it’s an important one. The Texans did not draft a quarterback, so along with Watson, the only two passers on the roster are Joe Webb III and Brandon Weeden. — Sarah Barshop

Indianapolis Colts

Who will be the Colts’ starting right tackle?
The Colts made the offensive line a priority during the draft. They used two of their first three picks on guards — Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith — to go with center Ryan Kelly and left tackle Anthony Castonzo. Now it’s about finding out who will play right tackle on what should be an improved offensive line next season. Joe Haeg and Denzelle Good are the two internal candidates. But don’t be surprised if general manager Chris Ballard looks to bring in more players via free agency to continue his theme of adding more bodies to increase the competition for snaps and also add depth on the roster. — Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars

Can the tight end position be productive?
The addition of Austin Seferian-Jenkins offsets the loss of Marcedes Lewis, but Seferian-Jenkins averaged just 7.1 yards per catch on 50 receptions in 2017. Niles Paul, another FA signee, has 68 career catches but was signed to have a big role on special teams. David Grinnage, Ben Koyack and James O’Shaughnessy have a combined 46 career catches. That’s not enough production to help Blake Bortles in the middle of the field. Seferian-Jenkins is the best blocker, but he’s a step down from Lewis, so the Jaguars’ run game might be impacted, too. — Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans

Are the Titans satisfied with their WR core?
The Titans got subpar production at receiver last season despite adding Corey Davis (first-round pick), Taywan Taylor (third-round pick) and Eric Decker (free-agent pickup), but this offseason, they didn’t draft a wideout and signed only veteran backup Michael Campanaro. Titans GM Jon Robinson seems to have ignored the position, but he said, “I like that position group, I really do.” Robinson is confident that Davis and Taylor can make a big Year 2 jump under a new coaching staff. They are also high on Tajae Sharpe, who missed the 2017 season because of injury, and the always-productive Rishard Matthews. — Cameron Wolfe


Denver Broncos

What is Paxton Lynch‘s future?
He is a 2016 first-rounder the Broncos traded up to select, but he lost back-to-back training camp battles to Trevor Siemian and has been limited to four starts in two seasons combined. As the draft drew to a close Saturday, president of football operations/general manager John Elway said the Broncos will not acquire another quarterback during organized team activities and minicamp and will instead let Lynch and Chad Kelly, a seventh-round pick in last year’s draft, compete for the No. 2 spot behind Case Keenum. Elway has said he still believes in Lynch’s potential, but it was the first time Elway has also publicly put Kelly on the same footing as Lynch moving forward. — Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs

Did the Chiefs fix their defense?
They added a couple of defensive starters through free agency and traded for a third. They also drafted defensive players with their first five picks, and they’re getting back a couple of injured players in Eric Berry and Dee Ford. But the Chiefs also parted with four defensive starters this offseason, including Marcus Peters and Derrick Johnson. Maybe they have been just treading water, which isn’t good enough. — Adam Teicher

Los Angeles Chargers

When will the Chargers draft a QB?
The Chargers did extensive work on this year’s quarterback draft class, with coach Anthony Lynn personally attending Josh Rosen‘s and Sam Darnold’s pro days. However, for a fifth straight year, the Chargers did not draft a quarterback. Cardale Jones and Geno Smith will battle it out for the No. 2 job behind veteran signal-caller Philip Rivers. However, the Chargers could use a developmental prospect to groom as an eventual replacement for the aging Rivers. The Chargers have not selected a quarterback in the draft since 2013. — Eric D. Williams

Oakland Raiders

What’s going on with NaVorro Bowman?
Sure, the Raiders drafted an inside linebacker in Washington’s Azeem Victor in the sixth round, and they have last year’s fifth-rounder in Marquel Lee and signed Tahir Whitehead in free agency. But the big question mark is Bowman. The Raiders need experience at middle linebacker, and Bowman helped shore up the interior of Oakland’s defense after he signed in October. While the Raiders would like to bring him back, he has yet to re-sign. This question will hang over the Raiders until he either re-signs, signs elsewhere or retires. — Paul Gutierrez


Dallas Cowboys

Are the Cowboys really content at safety?
At the moment, the Cowboys are looking at Jeff Heath and either Kavon Frazier or Xavier Woods as their starters in 2018, with Byron Jones moving back to cornerback. They played last year’s second-round pick, Chidobe Awuzie, at safety a little bit, but he played exclusively at cornerback in the final month-plus of the season. There were discussions with the Seattle Seahawks for Earl Thomas, but it never got too close. The Cowboys did not take a safety among their nine picks. There are some veteran free agents still available (Eric Reid, Kenny Vaccaro) who could be intriguing now that the draft has ended, especially at the right price. — Todd Archer

New York Giants

What’s next with Odell Beckham Jr.?
Free agency and the draft are in the rearview mirror. Now it’s time for the Giants to address Beckham’s contract after he has been a regular participant in their offseason workout program. It’s important for the two sides to seriously engage in negotiations before it becomes a distraction and derails their season. — Jordan Raanan

Philadelphia Eagles

When will Carson Wentz be ready?
That’s the question on everyone’s mind with the draft giving way to spring workouts. Wentz, who tore the ACL and LCL in his left knee in December, has targeted Week 1 as his return date. The coming weeks will go a long way in determining whether he’ll be able to achieve his offseason goal. — Tim McManus

Washington Redskins

What will the Redskins do at left guard?
It’s the one spot along the front where the starter hasn’t been determined. They do have young options, but none are proven. Arie Kouandjio was a fourth-round pick in 2015 but was released last summer only to be re-signed midway through the season. He was better in his second go-round with Washington and has had a good offseason thus far. If that continues, he could be the starter. They also might re-sign Shawn Lauvao. And they have two undrafted free agents from last season: Kyle Kalis and Tyler Catalina. — John Keim


Chicago Bears

Do the Bears have enough pass-rushers on defense?
Utah’s Kylie Fitts — drafted in the sixth round — is the closest thing to a pass-rusher the Bears added over the weekend, but Fitts battled injuries the past two years in college. Chicago’s fifth-round choice — Delaware defensive lineman Bilal Nichols — is regarded as more of a run-stopper on defense. The Bears signed veteran OLB Aaron Lynch in free agency, but he hasn’t been fully healthy in years. The Bears expect to have a formidable defense in 2018, but they haven’t had a player hit double digits in sacks since 2014. — Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions

How are the Lions going to rush opposing quarterbacks?
The Lions took the approach of fixing their run game this draft, with three of their first five picks focused on the offensive line or running back. Meanwhile, Detroit didn’t address the defensive line until the fourth round with former No. 1 high school prospect Da’Shawn Hand from Alabama. Hand could be a nice piece, but his college production doesn’t indicate he’ll be the difference-making type of player Detroit needs to pressure quarterbacks. This puts more pressure on Ezekiel Ansah to stay healthy and Kerry Hyder to return to his pre-Achilles-injury form. — Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers

Where is the pass rush help going to come from? At this point, it’s still Clay Matthews, Nick Perry and lots of question marks. Perhaps new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine values interior pressure more than on the edge, so the signing of Muhammad Wilkerson could help along with Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark. But after ignoring the edge position until pick No. 248 (with Southeast Missouri State OLB Kendall Donnerson), it’s clear the Packers will need more from their returning players. Vince Biegel, Kyler Fackrell and Reggie Gilbert seem to be the best candidates. — Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings

Will the Vikings regret not taking an offensive lineman in the first round?
The run on linemen — particularly interior players such as Frank Ragnow, Billy Price, Isaiah Wynn and Austin Corbett — started on Day 1 and continued into Day 2, challenging the Vikings’ plan to find their plug-and-play starter at right guard. The Vikings are happy with their second-round pick in offensive tackle Brian O’Neill, but he’s going to need time to develop and might not be ready to take over duties at right tackle in time for Week 1. The state of the offensive line will be among the biggest storylines to watch ahead of training camp. After all, this franchise spent $84 million to get Kirk Cousins in free agency. — Courtney Cronin


Atlanta Falcons

Who plays fullback for the Falcons in short-yardage situations? The position the Falcons didn’t address in the draft was fullback and a blocker to clear holes in short-yardage situations. Coach Dan Quinn hopes to find the answer with a pair of undrafted players: Luke McNitt (6-foot-1, 240 pounds) from Nebraska and Daniel Marx (6-2, 255) from Stanford. Both developed reputations for doing the dirty work. Marx dealt with injuries for two seasons at Stanford, while McNitt was a walk-on with the Cornhuskers who earned a scholarship as a senior. Should be an interesting battle. — Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers

Who backs up Cam Newton?
The Panthers didn’t draft a quarterback, so this suggests they likely will re-sign Derek Anderson. And they still could bring in a quarterback or two as undrafted free agents. They’re happy with the depth on the offensive line despite losing left guard Andrew Norwell, but look for them to bring in a few big men as undrafted free agents. That’s how Norwell got his start. For the most part, the Panthers checked all the boxes, adding a dynamic playmaker in wide receiver D.J. Moore and a potential starting corner in second-round pick Donte Jackson. They also brought in some players with attitude and a chip on their shoulder — something that has been missing the past few years — to create competition. I really liked the pick of Indiana tight end Ian Thomas to develop behind Greg Olsen. Not a flashy class, but solid. — David Newton

New Orleans Saints

Can first-round DE Marcus Davenport be that one final impact piece that pushes the Saints toward Super Bowl contention? Trading up for Davenport was one of the boldest moves in the entire draft, including trading away next year’s first-round pick in the process. The Saints had the luxury of having very few glaring holes on the roster, though. It would have been nice for them to draft a tight end for the present and future, but they have solid veteran depth there. And they didn’t force themselves to draft a quarterback, leaving Tom Savage and Taysom Hill to compete for the backup role behind Drew Brees. — Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Did the Bucs do enough to address a glaring need at safety?
After passing on Derwin James with the 12th overall pick and taking defensive tackle Vita Vea, the Bucs waited until Day 3 of the draft to select a safety, picking Jordan Whitehead in the fourth round. The Bucs have to shore up a pass defense that allowed 255.7 yards per game over the past two seasons, the most in the NFL. Tampa also gave up 2.6 yards per rush after contact, which ranked 26th in the league. — Jenna Laine


Arizona Cardinals

Who will be the Cardinals’ cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson?
They drafted Chris Campbell out of Penn State in the sixth round, but there isn’t a clear-cut favorite at a critical position. Cornerback was one of Arizona’s most pressing needs heading into this draft, but the Cardinals didn’t answer this question. For now, Arizona will let the position play itself out during organized team activities and minicamp, as eight corners will battle for that starting job. A solution might come in the form of a veteran free agent when cuts begin in the fall. — Josh Weinfuss

Los Angeles Rams

How will the Rams fill up their linebacker spots?
Robert Quinn was traded to the Dolphins, Alec Ogletree was dealt to the New York Giants and Connor Barwin remains an unsigned free agent. That’s three of four starting linebacker spots that will be different in 2018. Prior to the draft, the Rams had Cory Littleton, Ramik Wilson and Bryce Hager for inside linebacker alongside Mark Barron. But they also drafted Micah Kiser (Virginia) and Travin Howard (TCU). Samson Ebukam and Matt Longacre are favorites to start at outside linebacker, but they also drafted Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (Oklahoma) and Trevon Young (Rutgers). Look for all three of these spots to be an open competition heading into training camp. — Alden Gonzalez

San Francisco 49ers

Do the 49ers have enough on defense to contend in 2018?
The Niners’ first offseason addition was a big one in cornerback Richard Sherman, but they have since mostly added depth on that side of the ball. That’s a trend that continued in the draft as they didn’t take a defensive player until the third round. Clearly, the Niners are counting on big things from a number of players returning from injury — namely Sherman, safety Jaquiski Tartt, cornerback Jimmie Ward, linebacker Malcolm Smith and defensive end Arik Armstead. Plus, Reuben Foster’s legal situation still has to play out. It’s a unit that has plenty of potential — especially if the offense can keep it off the field, as it did in the final five games of last season — but there are more questions than sure things at this point. — Nick Wagoner

Seattle Seahawks

Did the Seahawks do enough this offseason to improve their offensive line?
The only addition they made in free agency was right guard D.J. Fluker, who got a one-year deal and joins a group that returns its other four starters from last season. And Seattle didn’t add to its offensive line until the draft’s fifth round, with Ohio State tackle Jamarco Jones, which is awfully late to project him as someone who can make a serious push for a starting job. Clearly, the Seahawks are putting a lot of faith in new line coach Mike Solari to coax better play out of that group than Tom Cable could. — Brady Henderson

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John Ross of Cincinnati Bengals eager to play, wants out if he can’t



CINCINNATI — Bengals wide receiver John Ross opened up about his role and uncertain future in Cincinnati on Friday.

Ross, who has not played in three of the team’s past four games as his role has diminished, rebuffed a report that suggested a team source wasn’t sure if the speedy receiver still liked football.

“Trade me if this (is) how y’all feel,” the Bengals’ 2017 first-round pick wrote on Twitter on Friday. “I’m healthy and eager to play. I know I can be productive. It’s hard to love something when your (sic) not actually participating in it.

“Believe me, its (sic) not football that I don’t like.”

The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday.

Ross’ lone offensive numbers this year are the two catches for 17 yards he had in the season-opening loss against the Los Angeles Chargers. He is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans (5-1) with an undisclosed illness.

Ross was a full participant at Wednesday’s practice before he missed the next two days and was not present. The receiver has been listed with an illness on three separate occasions this season. They have all occurred after he was healthy scratch for Weeks 3 and 4. Ross has not met with media since the start of the regular season.

When asked Friday about the Ross’ injury designation for this weekend, coach Zac Taylor said Ross was dealing with stomach issues.

“He’s sick,” Taylor said. “His stomach bothers him. It is what it is. He’s listed with [an] illness, and he’s trying to work through it.”

Ross, a former standout at the University of Washington, has struggled to find his footing in four seasons with the Bengals. Between injuries and an inability to crack the rotation, Ross has appeared in just 27 games with Cincinnati.

Last year, Ross had his best start to a season before he injured his sternoclavicular joint and was placed on injured reserve for eight games. He still finished 2019 with 28 catches for 506 yards, both of which were career highs. Cincinnati declined to pick up the fifth-year option on Ross’ rookie contract.

When reports surfaced of Ross’ trade request, Taylor declined to get into the details of the situation but said he had spoken to the receiver.

“I think anytime players aren’t playing they get frustrated,” Taylor said Oct. 21. “He’s handled his business the right way around here.”

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New Orleans Saints rule out Michael Thomas, Marquez Callaway



METAIRIE, La. — Michael Thomas and Marquez Callaway have officially been ruled out for Week 8 as the New Orleans Saints‘ receiving corps continues to get thinner by the week.

Emmanuel Sanders also remains on the reserve-COVID list, meaning New Orleans will be without three of its top four wide receivers Sunday at the Chicago Bears.

All three could be back as early as next weekend’s critical showdown with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday Night Football, however.

Thomas has been sidelined since Week 1 because of a high ankle sprain, a team disciplinary action and a hamstring injury that he suffered last week. But he returned to practice on a limited basis both Thursday and Friday this week.

Callaway, meanwhile, suffered an ankle injury during his breakout performance last weekend while Thomas and Sanders were out. The undrafted rookie caught eight passes for 75 yards in New Orleans’ 27-24 win over the Carolina Panthers. Callaway also practiced on a limited basis Thursday and Friday.

In their absence, the Saints should continue to rely heavily on running back Alvin Kamara, tight end Jared Cook and receivers Tre’Quan Smith and Deonte Harris in the passing game. They could also call up practice squad receivers Austin Carr, Juwan Johnson and/or Tommylee Lewis.

The Saints (4-2) have actually won three straight games despite their depleted WR corps, with Drew Brees and the passing offense finding a better rhythm by the week. They converted 12 of 14 third-down attempts and never punted in last week’s win over Carolina.

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Source — Minnesota Vikings linebacker Todd Davis tests positive for COVID-19



EAGAN, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings placed Todd Davis on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday after the veteran linebacker tested positive for the coronavirus, a league source told ESPN.

Davis was the second Vikings player this week to go on the reserve/COVID-19 list; the team designated rookie cornerback Cameron Dantzler on Wednesday. It remains unclear whether Dantzler has COVID-19 or came into close contact with someone infected with the virus.

The Vikings are now in intensive league protocols, according to coach Mike Zimmer, who said the team can still have walk-throughs, practices and virtual meetings.

Dantzler did not show up on the final injury report, so his status for Sunday’s game in Green Bay is in question. If not positive for COVID-19 or a high-risk contact, the rookie would need two negative test results taken within 24 hours of each other to be eligible to play.

Minnesota is down to Kris Boyd, Mark Fields and rookies Jeff Gladney and Harrison Hand at cornerback for the Green Bay game after Holton Hill (foot) and Mike Hughes (neck) were ruled out for Week 8. The Vikings placed Hughes on injured reserve on Friday; he will be on the list for a minimum of three weeks.

League sources told ESPN this week that Hughes’ neck injury, suffered in the first half of the Atlanta game on Oct. 18, might lead to him being shut down for the season. Hughes has been limited to 3½ games in 2020 after an ACL tear his rookie season held him to 20 games from 2018 to 2019.

“It’s been difficult,” Zimmer said. “He hasn’t had much time on the field [with] the knee, the neck. It’s been one thing after another with him, unfortunately. He’s a good kid, he wants to play. … He’s just been hurt.”

While running back Dalvin Cook is expected to play in Green Bay after injuring his groin in Week 5, his status was changed to questionable shortly after the Vikings publicly announced the final injury report. Cook, a full participant in Friday’s practice, was not initially given an injury designation, and when asked about how the running back performed in practice this week, Zimmer said, “Good. He should be ready to go,” while noting Cook would likely have his normal workload.

The Packers already know they won’t have running back Aaron Jones and cornerback Kevin King, and they are still not sure who will kick for them on Sunday against the Vikings.

Mason Crosby, who has the longest active streak of consecutive games played among kickers (214 games), has an injury to his left calf (non-kicking leg) and his back. He did not practice Wednesday and Thursday but did some limited work Friday and is listed as questionable.

Rookie Nick Vogel is waiting in the wings if needed. Punter JK Scott also has worked on field goals this week, but he is the regular holder and the Packers don’t have a backup listed on their depth chart.

ESPN’s Rob Demovsky contributed to this report.

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