The 2022 NFL draft is just two weeks away (Round 1 begins April 28 at 8 p.m. on ESPN and ABC) and there are still many questions about how all 32 teams will approach the draft.
And no wonder why. This year’s wild free agency filled holes for some teams and created major needs for others. Plus, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offseason strategy altered entirely when Tom Brady decided to not retire after all.
So will the Green Bay Packers, with two first-round picks after the Davante Adams trade, forgo their strategy of not drafting receivers in the first round? Will the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions or Pittsburgh Steelers try to draft a quarterback early … or wait until 2023?
What will the New York Jets and New York Giants do with two top-10 selections apiece? And how will the teams with no first-round picks try to upgrade?
No one knows for certain what any of the 32 teams will do, but our NFL Nation reporters have a pretty good idea. Below, NFL draft analysts Matt Miller and Jordan Reid — who outlined every team’s needs last week — asked 32 questions of our reporters, one per team.
Consider this an early look at what each team is thinking two weeks away from Round 1, sorted by division:
Reid: Will the Bills entertain the possibility of taking a running back in the first round because of their need in the backfield?
It certainly is not out of the question. The Bills clearly feel like running back is a need — they attempted to sign J.D. McKissic — and adding Duke Johnson in free agency isn’t enough to fill the missing piece. Buffalo has the flexibility in the draft to go after the player who best adds to the roster. A dynamic back would be a valuable addition, although history hasn’t been kind to drafting the position in the first round. General manager Brandon Beane was in the Panthers’ front office that drafted Christian McCaffrey eighth overall in 2017. — Alaina Getzenberg
Reid: The Dolphins don’t pick until the last selection of the third round (No. 102 overall). What position(s) could they target there?
Dolphins general manager Chris Grier went to work this offseason, shoring up the team’s dismal offensive line from a season ago, adding one of the best receivers in the league in Tyreek Hill and infusing their running backs room with talent — all while retaining every defensive starter from last season. Miami is truly in a position to take the best player available, but should prioritize inside linebacker and interior offensive line. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
New England Patriots
Reid: Now that the team has acquired DeVante Parker, could wide receiver still be in play or will another position be targeted at No. 21 overall?
Wide receiver is still in play if that is the way the board falls, with the key consideration that Nelson Agholor and Jakobi Meyers — two of the top returning pass-catchers — are scheduled for unrestricted free agency after the 2022 season. One thing to consider, however, is that in his prior 22 drafts with the Patriots, Bill Belichick has selected a first-round receiver just once (2019, N’Keal Harry). — Mike Reiss
New York Jets
Reid: After an aggressive attempt to trade for Tyreek Hill, do you foresee a wide receiver being selected at No. 10 overall?
Assuming the Jets don’t trade for a veteran by the draft, yes, it is a possibility. The top candidates are Drake London, Garrett Wilson and perhaps even Jameson Williams. But it is not a sure thing, especially not with two picks near the top of Round 2. With a deep receiver class, they could find a comparable talent in the second round. General manager Joe Douglas won’t reach for a need at No. 10 if better players are available. — Rich Cimini
Reid: Which position will the Ravens fill at No. 14 overall knowing they still need help in the trenches and at cornerback?
The Ravens have to select the best available pass-rusher or cornerback. Baltimore’s biggest need is at outside linebacker because Tyus Bowser tore his Achilles in the season finale and Za’Darius Smith backed out of an agreement in free agency. There’s also a void at cornerback where there is no depth outside of Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, both of whom suffered season-ending injuries last season. — Jamison Hensley
Reid: Since the Bengals upgraded their offensive line in free agency, what other position could they target at No. 31 overall?
It makes sense for the Bengals to look at cornerbacks in the first round. Cincinnati has two veterans in Eli Apple and Chidobe Awuzie, but could use a young player who can be a long-term starter in 2022 and beyond. Cincinnati has never been shy about taking corners toward the end of the first round. — Ben Baby
Reid: With Deshaun Watson now at quarterback, is drafting a receiver early a possibility or will general manager Andrew Berry look to add elsewhere?
Wide receiver is the position to watch for the Browns in the draft. Cleveland did trade for Amari Cooper this offseason, but this group still needs work to unlock potential chunk plays in the passing game. The Browns don’t have a first-round pick after the Deshaun Watson trade, but they could select a potential starter in the second round, or look to trade up in what is shaping up to be a strong receiving draft class. — Jake Trotter
Reid: Could the Steelers trade up for a quarterback or will they look to address another position in the first round?
The Steelers have been adamant that free-agency moves won’t preclude them from adding to a position in the draft — and that includes quarterback. But, it seems unlikely that the Steelers would move up to grab one. They have traded their first-round pick only six times in the common draft era. The Steelers could still draft a quarterback in the first, but the board would have to fall the right way to make it happen. Otherwise, look for the team to draft best player available, with an emphasis on defensive back, wide receiver, inside linebacker and defensive line. — Brooke Pryor
Miller: With the No. 3 overall pick, are the Texans in “best player available” mode or will it be a pick to fill a need?
The answer has to be best player available. The Texans have so many holes in their roster that general manager Nick Caserio shouldn’t be picky about which positions of need he is filling. After trading Watson, Caserio said he didn’t want to eliminate any position in the draft, including quarterback. While it seems unlikely the general manager would use one of Houston’s top picks on a quarterback, just about every other position is fair game. — Sarah Barshop
Miller: Without a first-round pick, how do the Colts solve their need at left tackle?
Expect the Colts to look in-house first to try to address the departure of veteran Eric Fisher at left tackle. Matt Pryor will get the first crack at protecting Matt Ryan’s blindside. “He’s a young player we think has a lot of talent,” general manager Chris Ballard said on the “Pat McAfee Show” last season. Pryor, 28, is a versatile offensive lineman who can play tackle and guard. — Mike Wells
Miller: Aidan Hutchinson is a favorite for the No. 1 overall pick, but what should Jacksonville look for at pick No. 33?
If the team is serious about taking the “build around Trevor Lawrence” approach, then a receiver or an interior offensive lineman should be the focus here. The Jaguars did add Christian Kirk and Zay Jones in free agency, but adding another pass-catcher — especially an outside receiver — is another investment in Lawrence. However, the Jaguars need to beef up the interior line, so using No. 33 to fill a need there would also make sense. — Michael DiRocco
Miller: Wide receiver has been a hot mock draft pick for the Titans, but is the offensive line more of a first-round target?
Yes, the offensive line is more of a target because the Titans have two starting spots up for grabs. Tennessee would like 2021 second-round pick Dillon Radunz to take one of the vacant starting spots. This year’s receiver group is pretty deep so the Titans could take a wideout later in the draft. Whoever they select isn’t likely to get an abundance of targets behind A.J. Brown, Robert Woods and Austin Hooper. — Turron Davenport
Miller: What does an ideal early draft look like for the Broncos, who don’t have many on-paper needs?
Even after trading for Russell Wilson, the Broncos have eight picks in the draft — five of those over the first 116 picks. They need some help with cornerback, edge rusher, linebacker, a right tackle prospect and possibly an impact returner. But cornerback should be the priority since the quickest way to watch your defensive plan crumble in today’s NFL is to be unable to handle the inevitable injuries at cornerback, or be unable to show variety in your nickel and dime packages because you don’t have the players to do it. — Jeff Legwold
Kansas City Chiefs
Miller: Will general manager Brett Veach and coach Andy Reid use picks Nos. 29 and 30 or is a trade possible?
A trade does seem more likely than not. The Chiefs also have two picks in each of the second, third and fourth rounds. They can easily move for a player or players they like and Veach likes to deal. He traded the Chiefs’ first-round pick in two of the past three years and has traded up in the second round a couple of times since his first draft as GM in 2018. — Adam Teicher
Las Vegas Raiders
Miller: Should the Raiders go all-in on the defensive side of the ball in this draft?
And here we are at the need vs. best player available argument again, right? There’s no doubt the Raiders, who don’t have picks in the first or second rounds (Las Vegas gave them to Green Bay for Davante Adams), need to go all-in on the defensive side of the ball in the draft. But how many difference-makers can be found there at the end of Day 2 and Day 3? And as new coach Josh McDaniels said at the NFL owners meetings, the Raiders would go with the best player, even if it means drafting three straight players at the same position. That works … if all three are defensive players, right? — Paul Gutierrez
Los Angeles Chargers
Miller: It feels like it is offensive tackle or bust for the Chargers in Round 1, but what other positions are a need for L.A.?
Yes, the Chargers have added to their pass rush (Khalil Mack) and pass defense (J.C. Jackson), but after having the 30th-ranked rush defense, they also need help down low and in the trenches. A run-stuffing and gap-eating defensive tackle would foot the bill here. But would Georgia’s Jordan Davis still be there at No. 17 overall? — Paul Gutierrez
Reid: Which positions could the Cowboys target early to replenish the talent lost on the roster?
Regardless of the players they lost, it is obvious where the Cowboys will be looking: offensive line, wide receiver and defensive line. They lost Connor Williams, Amari Cooper, Cedrick Wilson and Randy Gregory at those spots in either a trade or during free agency, and the offensive line remains the one spot they have yet to replenish in free agency. They added wideout James Washington and pass-rusher Dante Fowler Jr. as outside free agents, but their additions will not prevent the Cowboys from adding a player at their position even early in the draft. — Todd Archer
New York Giants
Reid: With three picks in the top 36, what could general manager Joe Schoen identify to build this roster the way he wants to construct it?
The Giants absolutely have to address the offensive line, specifically offensive tackle. But, really, almost anything applies. “We have enough needs on the roster to take the best player available,” Schoen said recently. And he is not kidding. Edge rusher and cornerback also should be at the top of his list. — Jordan Raanan
Reid: With two first-round picks, will the Eagles entertain the idea of selecting a receiver for the third consecutive year?
They tried to trade for Calvin Ridley before his suspension and went after free-agent receivers, signalling their desire to upgrade the position. The big-money contracts handed out to veteran receivers of late should further incentivize teams to look for lower-cost options in the draft. So sure, I think the Eagles will entertain drafting a receiver in the first round if the stars align, but I’d put defensive line and defensive back as the more likely positions they’ll address early, with receiver in play on Day 2. — Tim McManus
Reid: Where are the Commanders’ biggest holes, and what could they look for in Round 1?
Receiver is definitely on the list. Carson Wentz needs another target. But they also love their Buffalo nickel package and want someone to replace Landon Collins in the safety/linebacker hybrid role — but that makes sense only at No. 11 if Kyle Hamilton is available. Cornerback would make sense, as would linebacker, though with them using fewer three-linebacker sets it is hard to envision. Finally, coach Ron Rivera has often said how important it is to not only give a quarterback players to throw to, but you then have to protect him. — John Keim
Reid: Could the Bears double-dip at wideout in the second round to give Justin Fields more options?
The Bears have picks at Nos. 39 and 48 and could be in play for receivers Skyy Moore, George Pickens or John Metchie III at either of those spots. General manager Ryan Poles likes how deep the middle rounds of the draft appear to be, so it’s possible Chicago ends up walking away from Day 2 with two receivers by selecting one in the second round and another in the third. Because the Bears have only six picks, the team could look to create more if the opportunity presents itself. Therefore, it’s possible Chicago takes a receiver in the second and trades back with its additional second-round pick to create more draft capital to use in later rounds. — Courtney Cronin
Reid: Jared Goff is under contract for two more years, but will Brad Holmes entertain the idea of selecting a QB with either the No. 2 or No. 32 overall picks?
I’m sure the Lions will likely entertain the possibility of picking a quarterback, just like with any other positions. But I seriously don’t think they’ll take that risk — at least not right now. Detroit sees Goff as their guy, but that could change next year depending on how this season goes. The Lions need their first-round picks to come in and contribute immediately and won’t have the time to develop a young quarterback — particularly in a class that isn’t considered to be great by draft experts. — Eric Woodyard
Jordan Reid’s bold draft prediction for Malik Willis
Jordan Reid predicts the Lions will rebuild with Malik Willis.
Green Bay Packers
Reid: With two selections on Day 1, will general manager Brian Gutekunst abandon the organization’s philosophy of not drafting wide receivers in the first round in order to replace Davante Adams?
Doesn’t the streak have to end this year? In fact, it wouldn’t be a total surprise if the Packers used first- and second-round picks on receivers. They haven’t added a receiver since Adams was traded. — Rob Demovsky
Reid: Cornerback is an obvious need for the Vikings, but what are other positions general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could try to take in the first round?
Another area of need for the Vikings is offensive guard. Ezra Cleveland is an established starter on one side, but the Vikings’ attention during free agency at the position suggests they are concerned about the other. They signed three veteran guards — Jesse Davis, Chris Reed and Austin Schlottmann — but none can be considered slam-dunk starters. — Kevin Seifert
Miller: If the Falcons don’t draft a quarterback in Round 1, where will they go?
The Falcons can really go anywhere — and I wouldn’t necessarily lock them into a quarterback at the moment. They are in a rebuild in which the franchise needs help at literally every position. So if they believe a quarterback is the best value at No. 8, they would go that direction. But wide receiver, edge rusher, interior defensive line and offensive line are possibilities, without question. The only way Atlanta goes quarterback is if management is completely convinced the player could be the Falcons’ guy for the next decade. Otherwise they need too much help elsewhere. — Michael Rothstein
Miller: Are the Panthers desperate enough at quarterback to draft one at No. 6 overall?
Desperate might be a little strong, but yes. They made it obvious that Sam Darnold isn’t the answer by their pursuit of Deshaun Watson and interest in other quarterbacks. General manager Scott Fitterer has said there are a couple of quarterbacks in this year’s class worthy of a top-10 pick. The Panthers were at the pro days of Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh), Malik Willis (Liberty) and Matt Corral (Mississippi), and are having each in for official visits. Carolina hasn’t used a first-round pick on a quarterback since Cam Newton in 2011 — and since then the Panthers have used only one draft pick total on a quarterback.. — David Newton
McShay: If Carolina’s trying to win now, Pickett is the guy at 6
Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. makes the argument for Kenny Pickett over Malik Willis for the Panthers with the sixth pick.
New Orleans Saints
Miller: After trading to add another first-round pick, what two positions are ideal for the Saints to land in Round 1?
The Saints should target wide receiver and left tackle. Obviously the quarterback position will be in play, too, until the Saints lock into their next long-term solution. But they plan on making a playoff run this year and need to give Jameis Winston reinforcements to help revive last year’s 32nd-ranked passing offense. They need another premium pass-catcher alongside the returning Michael Thomas and a long-term replacement at left tackle. — Mike Triplett
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Miller: The Bucs drafted for future needs in the early rounds last year. Will we see a similar strategy with Tom Brady coming back?
Because the Bucs re-signed all 22 starters on offense and defense last year, they were able to look toward the future and focus on bolstering special teams. But this year, they have a glaring need along their interior defensive line without Ndamukong Suh and are looking thin at edge rusher without Jason Pierre-Paul, so I would start there. Then the Bucs should address guard with Shaq Mason being the only sure starter and tight end, because Rob Gronkowski hasn’t yet committed to playing in 2022 and O.J. Howard departed for the Bills. — Jenna Laine
Miller: It seems like offensive line is a guaranteed first-round pick, but is there another direction the Cardinals could go?
Picking an offensive lineman is far from guaranteed for the Cardinals considering how many offensive options they lost in free agency. If the lineman is the best option by far there, then it could be a good choice. But Arizona needs playmakers, so a wide receiver would be the other move at No. 23. The Cardinals need to give quarterback Kyler Murray all of the targets if they want to get back to the playoffs and beat the Rams. Chase Edmonds and Christian Kirk have moved on, and A.J. Green is still a free agent. Those three account for a significant chunk of the Cardinals’ offensive production last year. They will be getting DeAndre Hopkins back this season, but he needs others to complement him. — Josh Weinfuss
Los Angeles Rams
Miller: The Rams don’t have a selection until late in Round 3; what’s the one position they have to hit on in this draft?
The Rams have as good of a roster as there is in the NFL at the moment and without a selection until the third round, they’ll have a bit more pressure to hit on a pick. Their primary needs in the draft are offensive line — with Andrew Whitworth retiring and Austin Corbett leaving in free agency — and cornerback, with Darious Williams leaving. If the Rams can hit on either of those two — or both — they could find themselves with more depth, which could come in handy in December, January and February. — Josh Weinfuss
San Francisco 49ers
Miller: Should the 49ers use early picks (they have two in Round 3) to build around Trey Lance or plug holes in the secondary?
Even after signing cornerback Charvarius Ward, the Niners could still use some help in the secondary (namely strong safety and nickel corner). But their resources are better spent helping Lance. Specifically, the 49ers would be wise to use some meaningful draft capital on the offensive line for help at guard, a future option at center and possibly even another tackle with Mike McGlinchey entering the final year of his rookie deal. One more spot to watch? Edge rusher, where this regime has never been shy about continuing to add and the draft boasts plenty of potential. — Nick Wagoner
Miller: With three picks in the top 50 selections, what positions need the most attention in Seattle?
Offensive tackle is the most glaring need, though the Seahawks could potentially bring back Duane Brown and/or Brandon Shell, as both former starters remain unsigned. The Seahawks did enough in free agency to not have to force a pick at edge rusher or cornerback, but they could still use a difference maker at either spot. They don’t view quarterback as being as big of a need as observers might because they’re high on Drew Lock’s potential. — Brady Henderson
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