Countdown to the NFL Draft

Continuing our look at what the individual teams needs are in the NFL heading into the NFL Draft later this month, we move on from the AFC, which we detailed in yesterday’s article, to now take a look at the 16 teams competing in the NFC.

As with yesterday’s article, we are going to have a look at a number of different things for each team. Two things that must be on their GM or head coach’s To Do list, what their picks are in the draft this year, what positions on the team they still need to address and what their current Super Bowl odds are as provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.

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Finally, we’ll give you our impression of how the team has progressed, or regressed from the end of last season, or whether their situation remains unchanged.

Let’s get cracking with the four teams in the NFC North.

NFC North

Chicago Bears

To Do List

Work out how they can develop an effective pass rush without Khalil Mack.
Time to tweak the playbook to give Justin Fields a more expansive playbook.

NFL Draft 2022 Picks

None
39th and 48th
71st
None
148th and 150th
186th
None

Positions Of Need

Wide Receiver, Offensive Line, Running Back

Team Progression Since End Of Season

It’s time for the Bears to let Justin Fields take over the offense for good, Nick Foles may be a useful back up, but it’s time to trust the second year quarterback. He may have a few bad days, but in truth, I think that is going to be the case in Chicago for a couple of years or more anyway.

Verdict – Worse – Khalil Mack will be a huge loss, and I can’t see any major improvements for Bears fans to. get excited about.

Current Super Bowl Odds at DraftKings

+10000

“Military service members honored during Chicago bears game” by 416thTEC is marked with CC PDM 1.0

Detroit Lions

To Do List

Take the positives from last season, the Lions were better than their record suggested.
Those two first round picks and five picks inside the top 100 of the draft are huge.

NFL Draft 2022 Picks

2nd, 32nd
34th
66th & 97th
None
177th
181st, 217th
234th

Positions Of Need

Defensive Tackle, Linebacker, Wide Receiver

Team Progression Since End Of Season

The Lions have plenty of problem areas to fill on this team, but they also have the draft capital to do that, especially with those two first round picks. DJ Chark was a great pick up at WR, but I’d like to have seen them a little more active in the trade market. Keeping Tracy Walker was a solid move.

Verdict – Slight Improvement – The Lions are a work in progress. They could not get much worse, but they are making the right small steps.

Current Super Bowl Odds at DraftKings

+15000

 

Green Bay Packers

To Do List

Figure out how the team will replace the best WR in football who is now a Raider.
Make sure Aaron Rodgers doesn’t do ‘research’ and instead gets the vaccine.

NFL Draft 2022 Picks

22nd, 28th
53rd, 59th
92nd
132nd, 140th
171st
None
228th, 249th, 258th

Positions Of Need

Wide Receiver

Team Progression Since End Of Season

Yeah, you’ve lost the best receiver in the NFL despite persuading your hall of fame QB to remain at the ball club. A mixed off season for the Packers, and much will depend on who they can get in to replace the astonishing output of Davante Adams.

Verdict – Worse – Rodgers stays, but Adams leaving is a massive blow to that offense.

Current Super Bowl Odds at DraftKings

+1000

 

Minnesota Vikings

To Do List

Make a decision on Kirk Cousins. The 1-year extension smacks only of creating cap space.
Vikings need plenty of work on defense, both in scheme and in fresh defensive talent.

NFL Draft 2022 Picks

12th
46th
77th
None
156th
184th, 192nd, 208th, 232nd
None

Positions Of Need

Cornerback, Edge Rusher

Team Progression Since End Of Season

The Vikings have had a relatively quiet post-season. Kirk Cousins extension just was an exercise in creating cap space, rather than a ringing endorsement of the QB as the Vikes future. It’s the defense though that needs plenty of work still. A key draft lies ahead for the Vikes new head coach.

Verdict – About the Same – I can’t see how the Vikings will make improvements next season as things stand.

Current Super Bowl Odds at DraftKings

+4000

 

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals

To Do List

Learn the lessons from what went so wrong at the end of last season.
A solid cornerback is very much a necessity in this draft.

NFL Draft 2022 Picks

23rd
55th
87th
None
None
201st, 215th
244th, 256th, 257th

Positions Of Need

Cornerback

Team Progression Since End Of Season

The Cardinals were the hottest team in the NFL in the first half of the regular season but ran out of steam and were sent packing early in the playoffs. That has to be avoided this season. The question is, have they made the moves to achieve that? I’m not so sure.

Verdict – About the Same – I’ve not seen anything to suggest the Cards will be better, or worse, next season.

Current Super Bowl Odds at DraftKings

+2500

 

Los Angeles Rams

www.allproreels@gmail.com — from the Washington Football Team vs. Los Angeles Rams at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. October 11, 2020 (All-Pro Reels Photography)

To Do List

Sign Aaron Donald to a long-term deal to ensure he stays in L.A.
Start planning for how you can keep Cooper Kupp on the roster when his contract is up for renewal.

NFL Draft 2022 Picks

None
None
105th
142nd
175th
211th, 212th, 218th
238th, 253rd

Positions Of Need

Edge Rusher

Team Progression Since End Of Season

Von Miller is gone, but the Rams have managed to keep the nucleus of their Super Bowl winning team together. Aaron Donald coming back is a massive boost, but they need to tie him up on a long term deal. Matt Stafford should have this team good to go again in the NFC this season.

Verdict – Slightly Worse – Von Miller will always be a big loss, but the Rams still have everything they need to be a contender next year.

Current Super Bowl Odds at DraftKings

+1000

 

San Francisco 49ers

To Do List

What happens with Jimmy G? If Trey Lance is ready to take over, where will Jimmy go?
Boost that offensive line in the draft to afford Lance more protection this season.

NFL Draft 2022 Picks

None
61st
93rd, 103rd
134th
172nd
187th, 220th, 221st
262nd

Positions Of Need

Offensive Line

Team Progression Since End Of Season

The key thing for the 49ers this season is to commit to Trey Lance and with Jimmy Garoppolo’s future seeming to be elsewhere, even if a trade has not yet been made, that feels like the right move. Whether it makes this team stronger I’m not sure, but I don’t think the 49ers will be any worse off.

Verdict – About the Same – The 49ers are still plenty solid, Lance is the X-factor, he could make the team better, or worse.

Current Super Bowl Odds at DraftKings

+1400

 

Seattle Seahawks

To Do List

Find a quarterback. Despite the positive words from Pete Carroll, Geno Smith is not the answer.
Start the rebuild. Trading themselves back into the top of the draft was a smart move. Use those picks wisely.

NFL Draft 2022 Picks

9th
40th, 41st
72nd
109th
145th, 153rd
None
229

Positions Of Need

Offensive Line, Quarterback,

Team Progression Since End Of Season

Like it or not, Pete Carroll has been tasked, for the time being at least, with a rebuild job in Seattle with Wilson and Wagner leaving. A few more W’s may be off the win column next season too as a result if Seattle cannot address those absences in the draft.

Verdict – Much Worse – Russell Wilson has gone and so has Bobby Wagner. Two elite players leaving means this team is considerably poorer than last season.

Current Super Bowl Odds at DraftKings

+10000

 

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons

To Do List

Make a decision on Calvin Ridley. Great player, but off the field issues are a huge concern.
Draft a wide receiver. Marcus Mariota will need more help than Kyle Pitts.

NFL Draft 2022 Picks

8th
43rd, 58th
74th, 82nd
114th
151st
190th
213th

Positions Of Need

Wide Receiver, Defensive Line, Running Back, Cornerback

Team Progression Since End Of Season

There’s lots for Arthur Smith to consider in this team but with Ridley out for the season through suspension, a wide receiver, or even two, is a must in the draft. The Falcons also have lots of other needs in what looks like being a very tough year.

Verdict – Much Worse – Ryan has gone, their top WR is out and they struggled last season. In a tough division, this doesn’t look like being an easy year for the Falcons.

Current Super Bowl Odds at DraftKings

+15000

 

Carolina Panthers

To Do List

Make a decision on Sam Darnold. And that decision should be to move on.
Realise that from week 4 of last season, this was arguably the worst team in the NFL.

NFL Draft 2022 Picks

6th
None
None
108th
144th, 149th
199th
None

Positions Of Need

Quarterback, Offensive Line, Wide Receiver, Defensive Line

Team Progression Since End Of Season

For me, forget the Texans, Jags or Lions, after their 3-0 start, the Panthers for me were the poorest team over the last 15 weeks of the season and while I like the players they have brought in during the post season, with Sam Darnold still the optioin at QB, I think another season of struggle lies ahead.

Verdict – About the Same – The Panthers badly need a top level QB to improve this team. Sam Darnold, sadly, isn’t it. Until that changes, their fortunes will remain the same.

Current Super Bowl Odds at DraftKings

+10000

 

New Orleans Saints

To Do List

Find a role for Taysom Hill which will allow the Saints to keep him on the roster.
Draft a wide receiver for Jameis Winston to target opposite Michael Thomas.

NFL Draft 2022 Picks

16th, 19th
49th
98th
120th
161st
194th
None

Positions Of Need

Wide Receiver

Team Progression Since End Of Season

Getting Jameis Winston back was a smart move and I can see the Saints going with Winston, Dalton and Book as their 3 rostered QB’s with Taysom Hill kept on perhaps as a TE/QB option. The defense remains solid but they badly need a WR to play opposite the superb but injury prone Michael Thomas.

Verdict – Slightly Worse – I’ve only done this due to the fact head coach Sean Payton has left the team and we’ve not yet seen the new Saints coaching team in action. Payton was so good though that it’s going to be hard to follow in his footsteps.

Current Super Bowl Odds at DraftKings

+5000

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

To Do List

The Bucs have to protect Brady and right guard is an area of need for the team.
Work out the dynamics of the Arians/Bowles relationship now that Arians has moved upstairs.

NFL Draft 2022 Picks

27th
60th
91st
133rd
None
None
248th, 261st

Positions Of Need

Offensive Guard, Tight End

Team Progression Since End Of Season

The really interesting thing for me in Tampa this season is how the dynamic between Bruce Arians, who has moved upstairs and new head coach Todd Bowles works. The two should be fine in their new roles and if they are, then you can expect another excellent season from the Bucs now that Brady is back.

Verdict – Same – Arians moving upstairs shouldn’t hurt the team too much. Brady coming back though was a massive boost for this team.

Current Super Bowl Odds at DraftKings

+700

 

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

To Do List

Find a workable replacement for the now departed WR Amari Cooper opposite CeeDee Lamb
Find a big bodied defensive tackle to anchor that defensive front line.

NFL Draft 2022 Picks

24th
56th
88th
129th
155th, 167th, 176th, 178th
193rd
None

Positions Of Need

Defensive Tackle

Team Progression Since End Of Season

After promising so much last season the Cowboys season ended in a somewhat predictable manner as they left the playoffs early. This is a team close to being very good, but they need a very solid draft to ensure that they make those steps to the next level.

Verdict – Slightly Worse – Amari Cooper is a significant but not massive loss for the Cowboys. They may feel they can replace him from the current roster, but I’d like to see another WR brought in.

Current Super Bowl Odds at DraftKings

+1700

 

New York Giants

To Do List

Work out how to get the best value from Saquon Barkley.
Address the many areas of need with those first five draft picks.

NFL Draft 2022 Picks

5th, 7th
36th
67th, 81st
112th
147th, 173rd
182nd
None

Positions Of Need

Right Tackle, Linebacker, Cornerback, Wide Receiver

Team Progression Since End Of Season

Let’s be honest, the Giants were awful last season, particularly on offense. Barkley is so injury prone you have to ask whether a trade offers the Giants better value than keeping him. This team needs major surgery in many areas but have the draft picks to do precisely that.

Verdict – Same – The Giants haven’t really got any worse. They just haven’t got a great deal better. A crucial draft looms to try and reshape the future of this franchise. They need to get it right.

Current Super Bowl Odds at DraftKings

+10000

 

Philadelphia Eagles

To Do List

Find a viable running game to supplement what Jalen Hurts can do.
Work out what the plan is for a long-term replacement for C Jason Kelce.

NFL Draft 2022 Picks

15th, 18th
51st
83rd, 101st
124th
154th 162nd, 166th
206th
237th

Positions Of Need

Linebacker, Wide Receiver, Cornerback, Safety

Team Progression Since End Of Season

Jason Kelce coming back at center was a big positive for the Eagles, but I haven’t really seen enough in Free Agency to make me think they are going to be serious challengers to the Cowboys here, but they are well armed in the draft to change that with some very strong picking options.

Verdict – Same – Some solid re-signings in Free agency in Mailata, Goedert and Maddox, plus Kelce coming back means the Eagles will be competitive, but they have plenty of ways to improve on that in the draft.

Current Super Bowl Odds at DraftKings

+4500

 

Washington Commanders

To Do List

Signing Carson Wentz is a gamble, but a cheap one. I’d expect Washington to draft a QB.
Find a proven No 2 receiver to take the pressure off Terry McLaurin.

NFL Draft 2022 Picks

11th
47th
None
113th
None
189th
230th, 239th

Positions Of Need

Cornerback, Quarterback,

Team Progression Since End Of Season

Andrew Norwell is a decent signing at Guard, but they have issues at corner, wide receiver, linebacker and I also feel need a solid option to Wentz if that deal doesn’t work out. Picking a QB at 11 may be a big stretch, but one in the second round may be a wise move.

Verdict – Weaker – I’m not sure if Wentz is an upgrade or downgrade on Heinicke to be honest and with a number of key men leaving in Free Agency, the Commanders need a solid draft.

Current Super Bowl Odds at DraftKings

+6500

Author: Paula Dunn