Biggest Need for Each NFL Playoff Team

Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes did not have a 1,000 receiver in the regular season for the first time in his career.
Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes did not have a 1,000 receiver in the regular season for the first time in his career. / Jamie Squire/GettyImages
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Position of need: Safety
First draft pick: No. 26
Wide receiver and left guard are both needs, but when both your starting safeties are headed for free agency with no clear succession plan, that bumps to the top of the list. Antoine Winfield Jr. will be back in some form or another, but Ryan Neal could easily get squeezed out with Baker Mayfield, Mike Evans and Devin White also in line for extensions. Expect the Bucs to target a safety to replace Neal on Day 2 of the draft or take a flier on a low-cost veteran.

Houston Texans
Position of need: Defensive line
First draft pick: No. 23
Much like the Rams, the Texans are definitely ahead of schedule in their rebuild and now looking to maximize C.J. Stroud's rookie contract to compete for a title. There are still needs all over this roster, but none bigger than the defensive line. Jonathan Greenard and Sheldon Rankins are both out of a contract. Houston has a good amount of effective cap space, so this could change a lot based on free agency, but Byron Murphy II and Jer'Zahn Newton will be on the shortlist of players expected to land in Houston come draft day.

Buffalo Bills
Position of need: Wide receiver
First draft pick: No. 28
Josh Allen looked spectacular in the playoffs. His receivers did not. Stefon Diggs disappeared for long stretches this season. Gabe Davis was inconsistent and is headed for free agency. Khalil Shakir emerged as an exciting slot option, but Buffalo needs more help. In a loaded receiver draft class, I expect the Bills to grab at least one during draft weekend. Don't be surprised if the Bills take a receiver early and then select another one sometime on Day 3.

Detroit Lions
Position of need: Cornerback
First draft pick: No. 29
As much as the Lions need someone to play across from Aidan Hutchinson, they ranked 27th in passing yards allowed per game this past season. On top of that, their top corner, Kindle Vildor, is a free agent. Cameron Sutton was picked on quite a bit as well. Detroit should probably invest in a veteran option in free agency, maybe Stephon Gilmore, in addition to drafting the best available corner in round one.

Baltimore Ravens
Position of need: Edge rusher
First draft pick: No. 30
The Ravens quietly have a number of key defenders to replace this offseason without much cap space to do so. They got ahead of a few needs by selecting Travis Jones and Trenton Simpson last year, but with both Jadeveon Clowney and Kyle Van Noy headed for free agency, edge rusher should move to the top of the list. Even if Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo take the next step this offseason, Baltimore will need more help coming off the edge.

San Francisco 49ers
Position of need: Right tackle
First draft pick: No. 31
The Colton McKivitz experiment has not gone well so far. He has struggled mightily in pass protection, allowing nine sacks during the regular season, according to PFF. This was just his first season as a starter, but he will be 28 next season and heading into a contract year, so I don't think the 49ers can count on him making a big jump. This is one of the best offensive tackle classes in recent memory. Specifically, it features a number of first-round caliber right tackle prospects in Taliese Fuaga, J.C. Latham, Tyler Guyton and Amarius Mims. If any of them are on the board at the end of the first round, San Francisco should take advantage.

Kansas City Chiefs
Position of need: Wide receiver
First draft pick: No. 32
To say that the Chiefs' receiver group was disappointing this season would be an understatement. Kansas City led the league in drops in 2023. Rashee Rice was a nice bright spot, but the combination of Kadarius Toney, Skyy Moore and Marquez Valdes-Scantling has left a lot to be desired. MVS is also headed for free agency. In a deep receiver class, I imagine Kansas City will take a similar approach to Buffalo. Drafting multiple players at the position is not out of the question.