Offseason priorities for NFL teams with top-10 picks in 2019 draft

The top 28 picks in the 2019 NFL draft are set, and offseason needs for every team are becoming clear. But it's the teams picking in the top 10 that must hit on those needs fastest in order to get back on track.

We asked NFL Nation reporters who cover teams picking in the top 10 to predict three offseason priorities for each team that will help it get back into playoff contention.

From filling out a new coaching staff, to finding a pass rush, to figuring out a long-term plan at quarterback, the priorities made it clear that these teams have a long way to go.

Build a staff that has experience and can turn things around. The Cardinals have begun doing just that. When the Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury to replace Steve Wilks, they brought on someone who essentially came alone. Most head-coaching candidates come with a coaching staff in mind, but Kingsbury did not; he has relied on general manager Steve Keim to help build his staff. So far, Kingsbury has added former Broncos head coach Vance Joseph as his defensive coordinator while still searching for an offensive coordinator. But after a 3-13 season, Arizona needs to get this staff right, and finding experienced coordinators who can run their side of the ball with relative autonomy while Kingsbury focuses on the passing game and quarterback Josh Rosen will be crucial to a successful 2019.

Figure out what they'll do with the No. 1 pick. Will the Cardinals keep it or trade out? If they keep it, they will have some significant free-agent decisions to make. But a bigger question remains: How many players could fill needs at No. 1? If Arizona trades the first pick, the most important question will be how much it can get for that selection.

Fill the holes that can help them win in 2019. Last season exposed the positions at which the Cardinals were thin and vulnerable, namely wide receiver and offensive line. Those are two positions Arizona needs to prioritize this offseason, whether it's in free agency, the draft or in both. Another position the Cardinals should address is the cornerback spot opposite Patrick Peterson. -- Josh Weinfuss

Pump up the pass rush. The 49ers have one of the best pass-rushing defensive tackles in the league in DeForest Buckner, but they still lack a consistently dominant presence from the edge. It's quite possible they'll use the No. 2 overall pick to fill that void, though it's a deep draft at that position and they could move back and still find a good value. It wouldn't hurt to add more than one edge rusher to the mix.

Solidify the secondary. Aside from Richard Sherman, the Niners' defensive backfield is full of question marks. They could use another veteran presence, particularly at safety, which is why reuniting Sherman with free agent Earl Thomas would be a logical move. Thomas and Sherman would provide stability and production while also leading the way for the Niners' group of young defensive backs.

Get in the mix for Antonio Brown or another top wide receiver. The 49ers have a No. 1 option in the passing game in tight end George Kittle, but they need a wideout. Players already have been subtly courting Brown via social media, and if the compensation required to land him isn't prohibitive and the front office believes he can fit in the locker room, he'd be a major problem for opposing defenses in coach Kyle Shanahan's offense. With Pierre Garcon likely on the way out, the 49ers have no real proven wide receivers on the roster. A dynamic veteran, whether it's Brown or someone else, could elevate the offense to another level while offering guidance for youngsters such as Dante Pettis, Trent Taylor and Kendrick Bourne. -- Nick Wagoner

Surround quarterback Sam Darnold with a better supporting cast. This means addressing a handful of positions -- RB1, WR1, center, left guard and left tackle. Look for the Jets to make a run at running back Le'Veon Bell and perhaps wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Supply new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams with the proper personnel to run his 4-3 scheme. The Jets haven't run a 4-3 since 2005, so this will take some work. He needs pass-rushing defensive ends. They could sign one in free agency (Dee Ford?) or take one with the third pick in the draft -- maybe Ohio State's Nick Bosa, Michigan's Rashan Gary or Clemson's Clelin Ferrell.

Create a harmonious working environment. The three most important pieces in the football operation -- general manager Mike Maccagnan, coach Adam Gase and Williams -- are football strangers. They've never worked together before, so melding their philosophies is imperative. Gase and Williams are headstrong, making it a marriage that bears watching. -- Rich Cimini

Address the pass rush. We can say this until we're Silver and Black in the face, but the Raiders need a pass rush, any pass rush, rather than the anemic display that yielded a league-low 13 sacks, 17 fewer than the next-worst team in 2018. Yeah, the Raiders traded away Khalil Mack, who had no plans on ending his contract holdout, before the season began, and coach Jon Gruden himself said, with no sense of irony, that elite pass-rushers were hard to find. So if there's a top edge prospect at No. 4, the Raiders should make a move.
Help at the back end of the defense. The Raiders had already spent a first-rounder on a safety in 2016 in Karl Joseph and a second-rounder on Obi Melifonwu in 2017, so they took a pass on Derwin James last spring. Oops. Joseph began excelling in defensive coordinator Paul Guenther's scheme at the end of the season, but the Raiders could use a ball-hawking-type free safety.

How about a home stadium for 2019? The Raiders, who move to Las Vegas in 2020, are looking for a one-year residency before headlining in Sin City, and potential "local" sites include the San Francisco Giants' Oracle Park, the 49ers' Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, and, yes, perhaps even the Oakland Coliseum again. Planting temporary roots will answer one question for prospective free agents, as well as draft picks. -- Paul Gutierrez

Revamp the defense to suit Todd Bowles' hybrid 3-4. The Bucs will have to make difficult decisions regarding six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who's due to make $13 million next season, none of which is guaranteed. The move to a 3-4 might also mean more shuffling for the secondary, which will be even more vulnerable given how much Bowles blitzes.

Establish a real ground game. New coach Bruce Arians favors a strong vertical passing attack, but he believes in balance, too. The Bucs averaged 3.92 yards per carry in 2018, which ranked 31st in the league. "Balance is key," Arians told reporters. "At the end of the season, you'd like to have 50-50 run-pass [division]. Now some games, you're winning in the fourth quarter, so you run the ball a bit [more], some games you're losing, so you're throwing it all the time. But by the end, you like to stay balanced." He also said that the offensive line is an area that needs to improve.

Part ways with DeSean Jackson. While it might be tempting for Arians to try to keep a speed weapon like Jackson, the wide receiver's relationship with Tampa Bay is likely beyond repair. Jackson and quarterback Jameis Winston just haven't been able to get on the same page the past two seasons, and Jackson has made no secret about his frustrations. The Bucs are just $16.5 million under the salary cap heading into 2019, and with Jackson being owed $10 million -- none of which is guaranteed -- a clean break makes the most sense for everyone. -- Jenna Laine

Address the quarterback position. Eli Manning is 38 years old and on the decline. The Giants need to find his successor or, at the very least if they let him walk, a starting quarterback for 2019. That could be in free agency or the draft.
Add pass-rushers. The Giants had just 30 sacks in 2018, which ranked 31st in the league. General manager Dave Gettleman is looking for not only an edge rusher, but interior rushers who could contribute immediately.

Solidify the offensive line. The years-long quest continues. The Giants are set with tackle Nate Solder and guard Will Hernandez on the left side. Gettleman still needs to find "hog mollies" for the right side, particularly at right tackle, where Ereck Flowers was released in the middle of the season. -- Jordan Raanan

Find their quarterback of the future. Joe Flacco or Eli Manning would be stopgap measures. Nick Foles could be a long-term option, but he might be too pricey either in a trade or as a free agent. The best answer could be via the draft, which could mean trading up to ensure they get their top choice.

Make a plan at running back. Jaguars brass met with Leonard Fournette, but we won't know for a while whether he has turned the corner in regard to his conditioning and commitment. The Jaguars have to prepare as if he hasn't, and signing Thomas Rawls was a good first step. They need to add a change-of-pace back who can be a big factor in the passing game.

Find playmakers. Other than wide receiver Dede Westbrook, the Jaguars' offense was a black hole for big plays. Marqise Lee returns from a knee injury, but Keelan Cole got benched and DJ Chark has a long way to go to be a consistent contributor (both have ball-security issues too). It could be a great draft for tight ends and receivers, and the Jaguars should make one of each a priority. -- Michael DiRocco

Make sure Matthew Stafford and Darrell Bevell are meshing well. If the hire of Bevell as the team's new offensive coordinator is going to work out, he has to be able to adapt to the skill set of his new quarterback, which is unlike the skills of the man with whom he worked most recently, Russell Wilson. Bevell will be Stafford's fourth offensive coordinator. If he's the one who can consistently get Stafford to perform to his talent level, the Lions have a chance to be really good. If they can't mesh, they both might be out of a job in Detroit in a couple of years.

Target an edge rusher. This could come in the draft or free agency -- or both -- but the Lions' biggest need is getting a player who can reach the passer with some consistency, regardless of defensive scheme. Luckily for Detroit, the draft appears deep with pass-rushers both at outside linebacker and defensive end.

Snag another offensive playmaker. This could be a tight end or a wide receiver, but the Lions need to upgrade their pass-catching corps. Detroit seemingly tried everything possible to add a high-level tight end after dropping Eric Ebron at the start of the league year. Luke Willson never panned out, and Michael Roberts kept getting injured. Detroit will be on the free-agent market for a tight end and could snag one in the draft too. It's not out of possibility that the Lions also add another playmaking receiver. -- Michael Rothstein

Rebuild the offensive line. The Bills finished the 2018 season ranked 30th in Football Outsiders' offensive line ranking, and management seems to have pointed the finger at the group for the Bills' running backs averaging only 3.5 yards per carry, second worst in the NFL. Offensive line coach Juan Castillo was fired after the season, while three starters by season's end -- center Ryan Groy, right guard John Miller and right tackle Jordan Mills -- are all scheduled for unrestricted free agency.
Find explosive runners and pass-catchers. The Bills' offense was anything but explosive for most of 2018, ranking 31st in percentage of first downs or touchdowns (24.3) per play. The top two running backs, LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory, will both turn 31 before next season. Tight end Charles Clay, who has a $9 million cap hit in 2019, is on shaky ground at best, while the Bills have a few promising young wide receivers but no proven playmakers at the position.

Figure out the future at pass-rusher. The Bills finished 26th in the NFL with 36 sacks and pressured opposing quarterbacks on 29.3 percent of dropbacks, 16th in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Buffalo must decide this offseason whether it wants to extend defensive end Jerry Hughes, who led the team with seven sacks but turns 31 in August, beyond the final year of his contract in 2019. The Bills also have until May to decide whether to exercise defensive end Shaq Lawson's fifth-year rookie contract option for 2020 after the 2016 first-round pick had only 10 sacks in his first three NFL seasons. -- Mike Rodak

Get a plan at quarterback. Starter Case Keenum is coming off a season with some highlights and some erratic play, and he has just one year left on his contract. The Broncos also have zero quarterbacks on their roster or practice squad whom they have drafted. It likely has them considering both diving into free agency and using one of their first two draft picks on a signal-caller, even if they initially keep Keenum through the start of the offseason program. They also need to find some continuity on offense given that the latest coaching change means they will open the offseason with their fourth offensive coordinator in four years.

Build an offensive line. Trying to find a long-term answer at quarterback might be more difficult if the Broncos can't fix things up front. Consistent play on the offensive line has been an issue, even dating back into the middle of Peyton Manning's tenure. Denver has watched several quarterbacks buckle under the pressure and pounding they have taken over the past two seasons, and it's time the team invests even more capital -- money and draft picks -- to get it right. Mike Munchak's arrival as offensive line coach will certainly help, but the plug-and-play system of the past couple of seasons has to be replaced with continuity, especially with two starters coming off season-ending injuries -- Ron Leary and Matt Paradis -- and a third who is a free agent (Jared Veldheer).

Restock at cornerback. When the Broncos traded Aqib Talib last offseason, they did it with the idea Bradley Roby was ready to be the full-time starter. Roby, who will be a free agent, wasn't quite ready for the promotion, and his early-season play suffered because of it. It didn't help that the Broncos had a pile of injuries at the position and that they weren't quite able to mesh their defensive plan with the personnel they had; cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said repeatedly that opposing offensive playcallers seemed to know what they were going to get from the Broncos in their coverage packages. In these pass-happy times, Denver must be more reliable in coverage. New coach Vic Fangio has said he will oversee the defense and call plays, so that will likely put defensive backs on the team's front burner this offseason. -- Jeff Legwold

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