2024 NFL offseason: Early positional needs for AFC, NFC teams

We're into the second half of the 2023 NFL season, which means some teams are already thinking about 2024. After all, 13 teams' chances to make the playoffs are below 25%, per ESPN's Football Power Index. But every team will undergo roster turnover in the spring, looking to free agency and the draft to try to improve next season.

NFL draft analysts Matt Miller and Jordan Reid broke down all 32 teams' biggest offseason positional needs. It's early, and a lot can change, but here's a quick look at what every NFL team should be thinking about ahead of the offseason, starting in the AFC East.

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NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF


Buffalo Bills

Projected biggest need: Cornerback

It's becoming obvious that 2022 first-rounder Kaiir Elam is not in the team's long-term plans at cornerback. He has played 147 snaps this season and is now on injured reserve with an ankle injury. With Tre'Davious White out for the season (Achilles), the Bills' depth and talent at corner have been tested. Buffalo could address the position in either free agency or the draft, and Iowa's playmaking and versatile Cooper DeJean would be an ideal option for coach Sean McDermott's defense. He has seven interceptions over the past two seasons. -- Miller

Miami Dolphins

Projected biggest need: Interior defensive line

Christian Wilkins was unable to reach a contract extension in the offseason and will have his negotiations tabled until after the season. He could be a candidate for the franchise tag, while Raekwon Davis is also due for an extension. Kansas City's Chris Jones could hit free agency and lead a solid defensive tackle class, but Miami might opt to address the issue in the draft. T'Vondre Sweat (Texas) could make sense on Day 2, helping the Dolphins improve a defense that ranks 23rd in run stop win rate (29.7%). -- Reid

New England Patriots

Projected biggest need: Quarterback

Mac Jones isn't the long-term solution. Through 10 games this season, he ranks 25th in QBR (39.1) and 20th in completion percentage (65.4). He has thrown 10 interceptions, tied for the second-most in the NFL.

The Patriots will have options. They might have a top-five selection, and if Caleb Williams (USC) or Drake Maye (North Carolina) are on the board, it's an easy decision to reset at quarterback. But they could also look to free agency (Kirk Cousins?) or even the trade market (Kyler Murray?). -- Miller

New York Jets

Projected biggest need: Offensive tackle

Quarterback could be an option, as the Jets will have Aaron Rodgers coming off a torn Achilles and Zach Wilson continuing to struggle. But with Rodgers likely returning next season, finding protection for him should be a high priority. Mekhi Becton has remained healthy and bounced back this season, but the other tackle spot remains a huge question mark. Would New York spend on a guy like Jonah Williams, or might a prospect like Tyler Guyton (Oklahoma) or Amarius Mims (Georgia) do the trick? -- Reid


Baltimore Ravens

Projected biggest need: Defensive line

With Justin Madubuike and Michael Pierce set to become free agents at the end of the season, the Ravens might add depth to their defensive front. Baltimore mixes and matches the alignment of players frequently in a hybrid 3-4 defensive front, so the Ravens might add someone with versatility. Michigan's Kris Jenkins would fit well. -- Reid

Cincinnati Bengals

Projected biggest need: Wide receiver

The emergence of Cam Taylor-Britt as a CB1 in his second year should allow the Bengals to focus on wide receiver, where both Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd are free agents after this season. The Bengals will likely keep Higgins, but in this high-octane attack, quarterback Joe Burrow needs all the options he can get. If Boyd leaves, expect slot receiver to be an early-round focus in the draft or a priority free agent signing. (And if Cincinnati goes with the draft, Georgia's Ladd McConkey in Round 2 is a good fit.) -- Miller

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Cleveland Browns

Projected biggest need: Wide receiver

Offensive tackle could be a priority, but a strong argument could be also made for wide receiver. The Browns are near the bottom of the league in receiving yards (1,863, tied for 28th) and touchdown receptions (eight, tied for 26th). So let's go with wide receiver.

Cincinnati's Tee Higgins and Tampa Bay's Mike Evans could be the headliners for the free agent class, but Deshaun Watson's contract might push the Browns into less expensive options or a draft pick. North Carolina's Devontez Walker or Western Kentucky's Malachi Corley would provide a jolt to the receiver room on Day 2. -- Reid

Pittsburgh Steelers

Projected biggest need: Cornerback

Addressing the offensive line is always a consideration in Pittsburgh, but the secondary is the bigger need. The Steelers appear to have a building block at one cornerback spot in rookie Joey Porter Jr., but the other side is a weak link with 33-year-old Patrick Peterson starting to show his age. The team has 10 interceptions this season and three are by linebackers. A playmaker in the secondary is needed.

If Kansas City's L'Jarius Sneed hits free agency, he could be a really good answer, as would Alabama's Kool-Aid McKinstry or Terrion Arnold in the middle of the draft's first round. -- Miller


Houston Texans

Projected biggest need: Defensive tackle

As good as this young Texans team looks at times, stopping the run and getting an interior pass rush is a need in Matt Burke's scheme. Houston's defense has allowed opponents to rush for 842 yards and 11 touchdowns.

With Sheldon Rankins and Hassan Ridgeway set to hit free agency, this is a key spot that could use one addition in free agency and another early in the 2024 draft. Top pending free agents include Chris Jones, Christian Watkins and Justin Madubuike, but what about Illinois' Jer'Zhan Newton via the draft? He is my top-ranked defensive tackle in the class at No. 10 overall. He has 7.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and two forced fumbles on the season. -- Miller

Indianapolis Colts

Projected biggest need: Wide receiver

Rookie third-round pick Josh Downs has stepped up in a big way, but the Colts still lack a game-breaker on the perimeter who can threaten defenses vertically. That flaw could worsen if Michael Pittman Jr. doesn't re-sign after the season. The Colts are tied for 24th with five wide receiver touchdown catches this season.

Would Indy bring in a Mike Evans-type pass-catcher for quarterback Anthony Richardson? Or perhaps a top-tier prospect like Malik Nabers (LSU) or Adonai Mitchell (Texas) fits better? -- Reid

Jacksonville Jaguars

Projected biggest need: Wide receiver

Calvin Ridley has been a good addition for the Jaguars, but he's a free agent after this season and turns 29 in December. Zay Jones is also a free agent. Adding a young pass-catcher to grow with Trevor Lawrence feels like a must if the Jaguars can extend pass-rusher Josh Allen long term before free agency. Seeing Keon Coleman (FSU) in this offense -- given his 6-foot-4, 215-pound size, strength and after-the-catch speed -- would be fun. -- Miller

Tennessee Titans

Projected biggest need: Offensive line

The offensive line continues to be an issue, and multiple new starters are needed. Andre Dillard appears to be a swing-and-miss for Tennessee in free agency, and both tackle spots could be addressed in the spring. The Titans have surrendered 33 sacks this season, fourth-most in the NFL.

Remember, the Titans used a first-rounder on Peter Skoronski in April, but he plays inside at guard. The bruising run-blocking and balanced pass protection of Alabama's JC Latham fits Tennessee's offensive scheme should the team go back to the offensive line in the first round for a second straight year. -- Reid


Denver Broncos

Projected biggest need: Cornerback

In a division that includes Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert, it's vital for the Broncos to have reliable corners. Pat Surtain II is a franchise cornerstone, but outside of that, the Broncos lack dependable options on the outside. Damarri Mathis is experiencing a bit of a sophomore slump after a promising rookie year, and Fabian Moreau is only on a one-year deal. Alabama's Kool-Aid McKinstry is a true press-man corner, and pairing him with Surtain would form a great young duo. But Denver might also want a more proven veteran addition in free agency. -- Reid

Kansas City Chiefs

Projected biggest need: Offensive tackle

Expect to see wide receiver here? It's definitely a need, but the Chiefs have invested consecutive second-round picks in Skyy Moore and Rashee Rice. The biggest upgrades are instead needed at offensive tackle, where Donovan Smith (30 years old) and Jawaan Taylor (11 penalties) have been question marks.

If a starter-caliber tackle is available at the end of Round 1 -- someone like BYU's Kingsley Suamataia -- the Chiefs should grab a low-cost, long-term left tackle candidate after last offseason's decision to sign a high-priced right tackle (Taylor) hasn't totally worked out. Protecting quarterback Patrick Mahomes has always been the priority of GM Brett Veach, and that should continue in the spring. -- Miller

Las Vegas Raiders

Projected biggest need: Quarterback

After the Raiders fired coach Josh McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler, they have gone 2-0 with rookie fourth-round pick quarterback Aidan O'Connell leading the way. But regardless of whether O'Connell can keep it up, the Jimmy Garoppolo signing looks like a failure after his benching, and the Raiders should look to address QB this offseason.

Las Vegas will have a new GM and coach, so there's a lot of unknown here. But someone like Michigan's J.J. McCarthy could make sense in the draft. His 92.6 QBR and 76.2% completion percentage each rank second in the FBS. -- Reid

Los Angeles Chargers

Projected biggest need: Cornerback

Running back is a consideration here with Austin Ekeler hitting free agency, but the Chargers have bigger problems on defense. They signed J.C. Jackson to a monster free agent deal in March 2022 only to trade him back to New England after a season and a half. With the AFC -- and particularly the AFC West -- loaded at wide receiver, it's important the Chargers identify a CB1-level talent in the offseason.

Beyond L'Jarius Sneed, the free agent pool might include the likes of Jaylon Johnson and/or Kendall Fuller. But a Round 1 selection like Kalen King (Penn State) or Nate Wiggins (Clemson) would be a value add and scheme fit. -- Miller


Dallas Cowboys

Projected biggest need: Offensive tackle

The Cowboys should sign or draft a left tackle to replace future Hall of Famer Tyron Smith and allow second-year player Tyler Smith to stay at guard, where he has been really good. Jonah Williams might want to kick back over to the left side and hit free agency, and he could make sense if Dallas has the cap space. But in the draft, I like left tackles Patrick Paul (Houston) and Kingsley Suamataia (BYU) as easy-movers who fit with the Cowboys. Jerry Jones will always invest in the offensive line, and that's especially true now with it being such a big need. -- Miller

New York Giants

Projected biggest need: Quarterback

The Giants have done a complete 180 this season, going from a playoff victory in January to likely landing a top draft pick a year later. Daniel Jones recently suffered a torn ACL, but even before that, quarterback questions had started. Yes, the contract might make it tough to move on, but consider that Jones' 37.8 QBR ranks 27th in the NFL. Offensive line is still a problem, but as a contender for the No. 1 overall pick, the Giants could land either USC's Caleb Williams or North Carolina's Drake Maye. -- Reid

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Philadelphia Eagles

Projected biggest need: Cornerback

The Eagles' front office has been amazing at rebuilding entire position groups, and it's likely time for a reshuffle at corner, given the age of Darius Slay (32) and James Bradberry (30). The team added Eli Ricks (UDFA) and Kelee Ringo (Round 4) in the 2023 draft, but until they're more proven, it stands to reason the Eagles will invest in another outside cornerback. Philadelphia is allowing 6.9 yards per pass attempt (16th) and only have four picks (tied for 29th). -- Miller

Washington Commanders

Projected biggest need: Offensive tackle

After trading Chase Young and Montez Sweat at the Oct. 31 deadline, edge rusher quickly jumped up Washington's needs list. But I actually see offensive tackle as an even bigger issue. Charles Leno Jr. and Andrew Wylie have been inconsistent, as the Commanders are second in the league in sacks allowed (47). Oklahoma's Tyler Guyton has the talent and foot quickness to play on either side of the line, but there should also be plenty of veteran options -- Jonah Williams, Mike Onwenu, etc. -- in free agency. -- Reid


Chicago Bears

Projected biggest need: Wide receiver

General manager Ryan Poles has a lot of important decisions to make, starting with quarterback. A lot of what happens next hinges on Justin Fields' performance after he returns from a thumb injury. If he doesn't show progress, that changes everything. But outside of the still undetermined quarterback situation, wide receiver is probably the team's top need.

Darnell Mooney is on an expiring contract, so Chicago has to add targets alongside DJ Moore and Cole Kmet. With two picks projected to be high in the draft, Marvin Harrison Jr. (Ohio State) would be a home-run addition for Fields. -- Reid

Detroit Lions

Projected biggest need: Cornerback

The Lions' defense is young and promising, but a true front-line cover corner is a hole on the roster. Could Detroit make a free agency splash with a guy like L'Jarius Sneed or Kendall Fuller? Or would Detroit focus on building through the draft, finding more defensive playmakers to lock down Justin Jefferson, Christian Watson and DJ Moore for the 2024 Lions? -- Miller

Green Bay Packers

Projected biggest need: Offensive tackle

The Packers' offense has struggled to show any signs of life this season, the first with quarterback Jordan Love leading the way. On the offensive line, David Bakhtiari is out for the season with a left knee injury and his future remains unclear. Watch for Green Bay to address that unit.

The Packers have heavily leaned on developing Day 2 and 3 draft picks into dependable long-term starters on the line, but that recipe hasn't worked recently. They might want a veteran to come in via free agency or a trade, but someone like Notre Dame's Joe Alt would solve a lot of their problems at left tackle by way of the draft. -- Reid

Minnesota Vikings

Projected biggest need: Quarterback

Even before a torn right Achilles cost Kirk Cousins the rest of his season, the Vikings needed to be all-in on quarterback evaluation for the 2024 draft given his free agent status this offseason. Cousins could certainly return, and Joshua Dobbs has looked good since joining Minnesota at the trade deadline. But the Vikings will more likely be using a first-round draft pick to find another quarterback to build around. -- Miller

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Atlanta Falcons

Projected biggest need: Quarterback

Let's keep the quarterbacks coming. Desmond Ridder, a 2022 third-rounder, was benched for Taylor Heinicke as the Falcons' offense continues to struggle to get the ball to playmakers Kyle Pitts, Drake London and Bijan Robinson. Ryan Tannehill appears headed toward free agency, and he has ties to Falcons coach Arthur Smith from their days together in Tennessee. Or if the Falcons finally use a high draft pick on the position, someone like Michigan's J.J. McCarthy could be a long-term answer. -- Miller

Carolina Panthers

Projected biggest need: Wide receiver

Depending on a 33-year-old Adam Thielen as a No. 1 wide receiver hasn't been enough for the Panthers. Quarterback Bryce Young has had an underwhelming rookie campaign, but the personnel around him hasn't helped. And without a first-round pick in the 2024 draft, the team must be strategic in free agency and on Day 2 of the draft to add targets for its young signal-caller.

Will Mike Evans, Calvin Ridley and Michael Pittman Jr. hit free agency? Carolina would love to have one of them as its new WR1. But also keep an eye on Xavier Legette (South Carolina) and Troy Franklin (Oregon) in the draft -- they understand how to consistently create separation. -- Reid

New Orleans Saints

Projected biggest need: Wide receiver

The Saints have star power at wide receiver in Chris Olave but have a potential hole opening opposite him with the impending free agency of veteran Michael Thomas. Former undrafted free agent Rashid Shaheed has flashed as a deep threat, but the Saints need a viable WR2 who will draw attention away from Olave. It doesn't hurt that the draft's wide receiver class looks loaded, should the always cap-strapped Saints need to focus money elsewhere in free agency. The Saints could realistically be looking at Rome Odunze (Washington) or Emeka Egbuka (Ohio State) as options for a starting spot. -- Miller

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Projected biggest need: Quarterback

After getting off to a 3-1 start, the Bucs have gone 1-4 over their past five games, and Baker Mayfield has been up and down. He's on his fourth team in the past three seasons. It's time for a new face of the franchise, and that's probably more likely to come in the draft than free agency. The Bucs could be a trade-up candidate, targeting someone like Michigan's J.J. McCarthy in Round 1. Or maybe Tampa Bay opts to pair a veteran -- perhaps even Mayfield -- with a Day 2 signal-caller like Jayden Daniels (LSU) or Michael Penix Jr. (Washington). -- Reid


Arizona Cardinals

Projected biggest need: Interior defensive line

The Cardinals are in the early stages of a roster rebuild, so the sole focus should remain on adding the best players available at key spots. Kyler Murray, who made his return from an ACL injury on Sunday, will have a trial run for the new regime over the rest of the season to determine if he's the team's quarterback of the future.

Outside of quarterback, defensive tackle depth is weak. Jer'Zhan Newton (Illinois) to Arizona is one of my favorite early prospect-to-team fits in the first round. He is a consistent run-stuffer and disruptive force as a pass-rusher, which is exactly what's needed in Arizona. The Cardinals rank 23rd in pass block win rate (52.7%) and 29th in run stop win rate (28.6%). -- Reid

Los Angeles Rams

Projected biggest need: Offensive tackle

The Rams still haven't adjusted to life without Andrew Whitworth and could be in a position to grab a top-tier offensive tackle in the 2024 draft with a top-10 pick. Los Angeles has a pass block win rate of 49.4% (27th), and right tackle Rob Havenstein is set to hit free agency. There will be plenty of quick fixes available in free agency, but the Rams might want to draft someone who can be a building block. Penn State's Olumuyiwa Fashanu or Notre Dame's Joe Alt would be an instant-impact starter. -- Miller

San Francisco 49ers

Projected biggest need: Cornerback

Right tackle could be an option, but cornerback doesn't have any long-term help on the roster. Isaiah Oliver and Deommodore Lenoir will be entering the final year of their contracts in 2024. This defense is elite, but it might be time to finally spend on a free agent cornerback. Imagine L'Jarius Sneed or Jaylon Johnson joining the Niners. But don't count out San Francisco using an early pick on the position. The coverage instincts, savviness and tackling ability of Kamari Lassiter (Georgia) make him a perfect fit for Steve Wilks' versatile scheme. -- Reid

Seattle Seahawks

Projected biggest need: Defensive tackle

Trading for Leonard Williams temporarily fills this need, but the middle of the defensive line must be addressed this offseason unless Williams is signed long term. The Seahawks' run defense (18th in the NFL) and lack of interior pass-rush push are still too obvious, despite focus there in the 2023 offseason. Seattle could certainly add another player or two to help in free agency, but remember that the Seahawks are terrific at finding value in the draft. A second-rounder like Kris Jenkins (Michigan) or T'Vondre Sweat (Texas) would give Seattle interior bulk and penetrating pass-rush help. -- Miller