2020 NFL Draft: Raiders, Cowboys top list of teams forced to address desperate needs in Round 1

There are a number of ways to approach the 2020 NFL Draft: take the best player available, draft by need or a combination of the two. Some teams were able to fill their most pressing areas of need via free agency while others will need the full offseason. There are several teams that appear to be in a position where they could ill afford drafting anything but certain positions in Round 1. 

Today, we examine the teams that appear to have backed themselves into a corner and the positions of need that they desperately seek. For the sake of transparency, the presumable quarterback-needy teams (ie. the Bengals, Dolphins and Chargers) were left off the list.

Arizona Cardinals: Offensive tackle

Arizona re-signed D.J. Humphries to operate on the left side but right tackle remains a weakness. The team’s acquisition of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins led everyone to assume they would select a right tackle at No. 8 overall. If one of the top draft-eligible defenders (Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown, Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah or Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons) fall then the Cardinals may catch them. Otherwise, offensive tackle is their destiny barring a trade down. 

Cleveland Browns: Offensive tackle

Cleveland literally has zero players that could fill the left tackle role. They signed Jack Conklin in free agency but they need an opposite bookend. If they do not trade for Trent Williams, then they need to take a tackle in the first round. Georgia’s Andrew Thomas makes a lot of sense because of his history playing on the left side. Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs, Alabama’s Jedrick Wills and Louisville’s Mekhi Becton are the other options at No. 10 overall. 

Las Vegas Raiders: Wide receiver

Las Vegas gambled on Antonio Brown last year and it blew up in their faces. Tyrell Williams is better served as a No. 2 wide receiver. Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden should be in a prime position to select Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III or Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb at No. 12 overall. Any one of those three players would provide the dynamic play-making ability that they have coveted. The team picks again at No. 19 overall. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Offensive tackle

Tampa Bay could realistically add a variety of positions but their primary objective is pleasing Tom Brady. Brady needs a stronger supportive cast. The pass-catching unit is as talented as any in the league but it will not matter if protection does not hold up. There may be a run of offensive tackles in the top-12 so the Buccaneers may need to monitor the market and trade up or consider moving down a bit from No. 14 overall to select Houston’s Josh Jones, Boise State’s Ezra Cleveland or USC’s Austin Jackson.

Dallas Cowboys: Cornerback

Dallas lost Byron Jones in free agency. They invested a 2017 second round pick in Chidobe Awuzie, who has produced three career interceptions. They also re-signed Anthony Brown in free agency but fans should not believe that he is an answer at the position. Why? Because the Cowboys clearly do not believe he is the solution either. They gave him a three-year deal worth $16.5 million but there is an out in the deal following the 2020 season. Dallas could target Florida’s C.J. Henderson at No. 17 overall. 

Minnesota Vikings: Cornerback

Minnesota lost Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander and Xavier Rhodes through free agency. They have not signed anyone to fill the void. They have some intriguing options on the roster, including former first-round pick Mike Hughes. It was a group that hardly inspired confidence during the playoffs though. The Vikings possess the No. 22 and No. 25 overall selections so they have ample opportunity to address it early and often. 

Other teams in need

If Seattle is unable to retain Jadeveon Clowney or sign Everson Griffen, then edge rusher immediately becomes a critical need. It seems unlikely that the Seahawks would miss on both, however. The Jets would make this list as well but they need wide receiver help almost as much as they need a new left tackle. Miami would have made the list for offensive tackle but they have so many needs. Their strategy should be taking the best player available.

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