Targets and draft needs for all 32 teams at the 2019 NFL combine

More than 300 of the top prospects have gathered in Indianapolis for the annual NFL combine, which begins Tuesday and runs through Monday. Players will undergo medical testing and be put through on-field drills at Lucas Oil Stadium. Then it’s on to interviews with team personnel and the media in advance of the 2019 NFL draft, which will take place April 25-27 in Nashville, Tennessee.

We asked our NFL Nation reporters which one position their team should be focused on at the combine. Here’s what they said regarding a class that is at its deepest and best along the defensive line.

Scan through all 32 teams by division, or click here to jump ahead to your team:


AFC EAST

Wide receiver. Long gone in Buffalo are Sammy Watkins (2014 first-round pick), Robert Woods (2013 second-round pick), Marquise Goodwin (2013 third-round pick) and Kelvin Benjamin (2017 trade acquisition). The Bills are down to nearly bare bones at wide receiver, with the group headlined by 2017 second-round pick Zay Jones and 2018 undrafted free agent Robert Foster. Both players showed promise at points last season, but much more help — especially at the top of the depth chart — is needed for Josh Allen. More positions to watch: OL, RB, TE — Mike Rodak

Quarterback. Miami has plenty of needs, but there is none more important than quarterback as the team is expected to move on from Ryan Tannehill and has zero starting options currently on the roster. Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray appear to be the top two QBs in this draft class, and many mock drafts (including those of Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay) already have made the connection between Murray and Miami. If they like either of the two QBs, the Dolphins must be willing to trade up to get their guy. The Dolphins’ journey to escape mediocrity won’t be successful unless they find that franchise quarterback. More positions to watch: Edge rusher, OL, CB — Cameron Wolfe

Wide receiver. Julian Edelman is the only receiver who was on the active roster for Super Bowl LIII and is under contract for 2019, so there are multiple spots to fill. One theme in scouting circles is to make sure you have your home area particularly well-covered, and that’s why UMass’ Andy Isabella is of particular interest. It isn’t often UMass has a prospect who seems to be rising at this point in the pre-draft process, and Isabella is doing just that after showing well at the Senior Bowl. Whether he’s a fit for the Patriots remains to be seen. More positions to watch: QB, TE — Mike Reiss

Edge rusher. The Jets haven’t had a pure speed rusher since the days of John Abraham (2000-05). If they stay with a 3-4 scheme under new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, which now appears likely, the target positions will be outside linebacker and defensive end. This could be a historic defensive-line class, and the Jets will be looking hard at the top edge players — Nick Bosa, Rashan Gary and Josh Allen (OLB), each of whom will be a consideration with the No. 3 overall pick. More positions to watch: OT, G, C, RB, WR — Rich Cimini


AFC NORTH

Interior offensive line. When asked about the pieces to put around Lamar Jackson, offensive coordinator Greg Roman placed offensive line at the top of the list. “We talk about Lamar a lot and his unique skill set and his talent, but we’ve got to have a strong, powerful offensive line,” Roman said. “That’s where it all starts — domination up front and control up front.” Baltimore needs to upgrade at left guard and center. But the Ravens haven’t selected an interior offensive lineman in the first round since Ben Grubbs in 2007. More positions to watch: WR, OLB, RB — Jamison Hensley

Linebacker. The Bengals’ three starting linebackers, Vontaze Burfict, Preston Brown and Nick Vigil, never played a game together in 2018 due to injuries and suspensions. It quickly became clear that the Bengals need to change the type of linebackers they acquire after being gashed by teams with quick-passing offenses. Instead of the bigger, run-stuffing types the team has long preferred, the Bengals need to look at speedier linebackers who can cover. More positions to watch: G, OT, TE — Katherine Terrell

Defensive tackle. It’s a good draft for the defensive interior, and the Browns will study that position closely. The team is thrilled with the play of Larry Ogunjobi but feel he can be even better with another strong presence inside. The other benefit of an improved tandem inside to provide up-the-middle pressure: It would free Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah on the outside and improve the overall pass rush. More positions to watch: WR, LB, CB — Pat McManamon

Wide receiver. Trading Antonio Brown could prompt the Steelers to select a wide receiver in the first two rounds for the third straight year. The free-agent receiver class is considered weak, and the Steelers are among the league’s best at scoring wideout talent through the draft, with JuJu Smith-Schuster the latest success story. Marquise Brown, Antonio’s cousin, would be an intriguing vertical threat. More positions to watch: ILB, CB — Jeremy Fowler


AFC SOUTH

Offensive tackle. The Texans tried to fix their issues on the offensive line last offseason through free agency and the draft, but the group still struggled to protect quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was sacked an NFL-leading 62 times. Houston has young options at both tackle spots and brought back Seantrel Henderson on a one-year deal. But with three picks in the first three rounds, it’s expected that general manager Brian Gaine will be keeping a close eye on this year’s group of OTs. More positions to watch: G, C, RB — Sarah Barshop

Edge rusher. The Colts had a surprising defense that ranked 11th overall last season. But they were tied for 19th in the league in sacks with 38. The Colts will struggle to get by with that type of pass rush because they’re scheduled to face Patrick Mahomes, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Derek Carr and Ben Roethlisberger next season. More positions to watch: WR, LB, DL — Mike Wells

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Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon do not see Kyler Murray running the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds.

Quarterback. The Jaguars are considered the favorites to land Nick Foles, but that’s not guaranteed, so quarterback will be their priority. They pick seventh, so Dwayne Haskins and possibly Kyler Murray are in play — especially if they move up to ensure they get their top choice (the Giants pick sixth and are expected to target a QB). If the Jaguars are content to wait until the second round to add a QB (or trade back late into the first round), Daniel Jones and Will Grier would be potential targets. If the Jaguars land Foles, QB probably is off the table in 2019, in which case they can go best available player at No. 7. More positions to watch: TE, OL, WR — Mike DiRocco

Interior defensive line. Although their defense is one of the league’s top units, the Titans are in desperate need of someone to pair with defensive tackle Jurrell Casey. Casey routinely makes plays in the backfield but will face double-teams, so it’s essential to find another player who can collapse the pocket and get quick penetration against the run. Austin Johnson, a 2016 second-round pick, and veteran DaQuan Jones have not been factors so far. More positions to watch: OLB, Interior OL, WR, TE — Turron Davenport


AFC WEST

Cornerback. Three players who saw time at cornerback last season — Bradley Roby, Tramaine Brock and Jamar Taylor — are unrestricted free agents, and none of the three is expected to draw much interest for a Denver return unless it is at the Broncos’ price tag. That leaves Chris Harris Jr., who has an option bonus that is due before free agency opens, and a lot of question marks. Free agency may not offer much help at the position, and though Isaac Yiadom, a rookie last season, looks ready for more playing time, the Broncos probably are going to have to use some draft capital to get a rookie good enough to step in and play right away. More positions to watch: OL, WR, TE — Jeff Legwold

Safety. The Chiefs can no longer depend on Eric Berry, who hasn’t played in 31 of their past 34 games, counting the playoffs. They need to plan for life without him at a position where the Chiefs are thin, even if Berry plays a substantial portion of the 2019 season. The Chiefs suffered at safety last season as they attempted to get through with a collection of lower-paid journeymen and lower-round draft picks. It’s past time for an upgrade. More positions to watch: CB, RB, TE, DL — Adam Teicher

Linebacker. The Chargers had three starting linebackers finish on injured reserve last year in Denzel Perryman, Jatavis Brown and Kyzir White. Of those three, Perryman will become an unrestricted free agent in March. The Chargers’ lack of depth at linebacker is one of the reasons they used seven defensive backs and struggled to stop the New England Patriots’ running game in the AFC playoffs. Combine prospects who make sense include LSU’s Devin White, Michigan’s Devin Bush and Alabama’s Mack Wilson. More positions to watch: DT, OT, QB — Eric D. Williams

Edge rusher. The Raiders had a league-low 13 sacks, or 0.5 sacks more than Khalil Mack, who was traded away in the midst of his contract holdout. Sure, Mack would have helped, but even if you add his 12.5 sacks to the Raiders’ 13, Oakland still would have had the fewest sacks in the NFL. The likes of Nick Bosa and Josh Allen fit the bill, but they will potentially both be gone before the Raiders select at No. 4 overall. More positions to watch: S, WR, CB — Paul Gutierrez


NFC EAST

Wide receiver. With Cole Beasley set to hit free agency and Allen Hurns‘ status up in the air because of a dislocated ankle suffered in the playoffs, the Cowboys have two receivers on the roster with more than 20 catches in 2018 in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. The Cowboys do not have a first-round pick because of the Cooper trade, but they could be in the market for a slot receiver if Beasley leaves — or, if he stays, one who can play all across the formation. More positions to watch: TE, DT, OT, RB — Todd Archer

Quarterback. Eli Manning is 38 and the Giants would be negligent if they didn’t focus their attention on the top quarterbacks, beginning with Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray. They currently have the highest pick among QB-needy teams in this draft and not a ton of time to find Manning’s successor. More positions to watch: OL, LB, S — Jordan Raanan

Running back. Lack of consistency in the backfield hurt the Eagles last season, and with Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles both set to become free agents, it’s time to invest. They have a pair of second-round picks. This could be the first time they draft a back that high since taking LeSean McCoy in the second round in 2009. More positions to watch: DE, S, OL — Tim McManus

Quarterback. Alex Smith is a long shot to return after suffering a season-ending compound fracture in his right leg. Washington must find another quarterback to pair with Colt McCoy, the only other QB on the roster. The Redskins don’t feel they need to draft one in the first round — and they will consider adding a veteran through free agency or a trade. But they must pay close attention to the quarterbacks to determine if any of them are worth selecting. They have other positions they must fill, but quarterback is the most important, so they must be certain. More positions to watch: OLB, WR, G — John Keim


NFC NORTH

Safety. Starter Adrian Amos is scheduled to hit the free-agent market, opening a spot opposite Pro Bowler Eddie Jackson. Amos produced two interceptions, 73 tackles and a sack in 2018. The problem for the Bears is, absent a trade, they don’t have a pick until the third round. They traded this year’s No. 1 in the Khalil Mack deal (well worth it) and the No. 2 to move up in last year’s draft to select WR Anthony Miller, from whom more will be expected after offseason shoulder surgery. More positions to watch: CB, OL, RB — ESPN

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Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen took his game to another level this past season, leading the SEC with 17 sacks and proving he’s a top-five pick in the NFL draft.

Edge rusher. Detroit’s most significant need has been and continues to be a player who can get pressure on quarterbacks from the edge. Detroit’s two most explosive defensive ends — Ezekiel Ansah and Romeo Okwara — might not return. Ansah is an unrestricted free agent; Okwara is a restricted free agent. With this being a strong draft for front-seven players, the Lions should be looking across all rounds to find edge-rush talent that would fit coach Matt Patricia’s scheme. The first round will garner the most attention, though, and players such as Josh Allen and Clelin Ferrell will be players to look at in the No. 8 spot. More positions to watch: TE, CB, WR — Michael Rothstein

Edge rusher. Clay Matthews is a free agent. Nick Perry could get cut. And who knows if Kyler Fackrell can come close to replicating his 10.5-sack season from 2018? Even if the Packers re-sign Matthews and/or keep Perry, they need a long-term player to rush the quarterback from the outside, and with two first-round picks (Nos. 12 and 30), there’s a good chance GM Brian Gutekunst will take one early on. They probably would have liked to see Louisiana Tech’s Jaylon Ferguson, who will be allowed to conduct limited interviews and get medical evaluation. He cannot take part in drills or testing because he was found guilty of simple battery during his freshman year after a fight. They’ll take a long, hard look at the edge-rushing class in Indy. More positions to watch: S, G/T, WR, TE, ILB — Rob Demovsky

Guard. It’s difficult to see the Vikings spending their first-round pick on anything other than an offensive lineman, with their biggest need being on the interior. The free-agent guard market is relatively bleak, so instead of shelling out for a veteran when money is already tight, Minnesota can use the draft to help bolster protection around Kirk Cousins. It also could use multiple high picks to build up the offensive line. Though this year’s class of offensive linemen isn’t as deep as the group from 2018, the Vikings should have a handful of intriguing prospects to consider at No. 18. More positions to watch: Edge rusher, DT, LB — Courtney Cronin


NFC SOUTH

Defensive tackle. The Falcons need a playmaker next to Grady Jarrett, a guy who can finish off plays after Jarrett gets penetration and a player with enough speed and physicality to win his one-on-one opportunities. Houston’s Ed Oliver continues to be linked to the Falcons, and draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. had Oliver going to the Falcons with the 14th overall pick in his latest mock draft. More positions to watch: OL, DE, CB — Vaughn McClure

Edge rusher. The Panthers need help on the offensive line as well, but with the retirement of Julius Peppers and the defense transitioning to a mix of 3-4 to go with Ron Rivera’s traditional 4-3 scheme, an edge rusher looms as the biggest need. Outside of Mario Addison and project Efe Obada, the Panthers don’t have another end on the roster, although Pro Bowl tackle Kawann Short has the flexibility to move inside and out. More positions to watch: C, LB — David Newton

Offensive line. The Saints have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, but they need to start developing some future replacements for left tackle Terron Armstead, center Max Unger and maybe left guard Andrus Peat (a free agent in 2020). The Saints have to think long-term with this year’s draft class, because they don’t have any picks in Rounds 1, 3 or 4. They’ll have to use free agency to address their more immediate need for a pass-catcher at TE or WR. More positions to watch: DT, S — Mike Triplett

Defensive tackle. The Bucs truly have needs at every level of their defense, especially because they’re undergoing a scheme change under coordinator Todd Bowles. This is a particularly strong class of interior defensive linemen, and Tampa must prepare for life without Gerald McCoy, given McCoy’s $13 million salary-cap hit in 2019. With the fifth overall selection, the Bucs could really have their pick with player such as Alabama’s Quinnen Williams and Houston’s Ed Oliver if they stay put (GM Jason Licht has traded down two out of the past three years). More positions to watch: OT, ILB, DB — Jenna Laine


NFC WEST

Wide receiver. Besides Larry Fitzgerald, who will be 36 when the season begins and will be playing in his 16th year, and second-year receiver Christian Kirk, the Cardinals don’t have any other impact receivers on the roster. And they saw this past season how a lack of receivers can impact an offense. Arizona needs to add depth to its receiving corps but, more important, the Cards need at least one impact receiver and one big receiver to work the sidelines and corners of the end zone. More positions to watch: ILB, CB, TE — Josh Weinfuss

Edge rusher. It was a position of need in 2018 and remains as such this offseason. Though the pass rush was dynamic at times, the Rams were unable to create consistent pressure from the edge last season despite acquiring outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. at the trade deadline. Fowler is now a pending unrestricted free agent, as is Matt Longacre, whom Fowler replaced. Opposite of Fowler was Samson Ebukam, a second-year pro and first-year starter, and after he produced three sacks in 18 starts, including the playoffs, it’s uncertain whether he is a long-term solution. More positions to watch: CB, S, OL — Lindsey Thiry

Edge rusher. Namely, a Leo defensive end, which is the spot in the Niners’ defense expected to be manned by the team’s best pass-rusher. It’s no secret the 49ers need a difference-making presence off the edge, and it’s also well-known that this draft happens to be loaded at the position. The combine will be important for the Niners to get a feel (and the medical information) for top guys such as Ohio State’s Nick Bosa and Kentucky’s Josh Allen, but also to get a better read on players who could be available in the event of a trade back. More positions to watch: DB, WR, LB — Nick Wagoner

Edge rusher. The Seahawks got a combined 23.5 sacks out of Frank Clark and Jarran Reed, but Reed is an interior player and Clark’s long-term future with the team is uncertain. Plus, no other Seahawks defender had more than three sacks. They need an impact edge rusher to line up opposite Clark. This draft is considered to be deep at that position, so there’s a good chance the Seahawks will be able to get one who’s ready to contribute right away even though they’re slated to pick at No. 21. They also could trade back to acquire more selections than the four they currently have. More positions to watch: OL, LB, WR — Brady Henderson

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