This past weekend of the 2020 NFL season brought more surprises and upsets than previously anticipated. It showed there are several teams still a year or two from competing in the playoffs. There are also teams that look like they have regressed from their previous season. Regardless of how composed an NFL team is, they can always get better through the 2021 NFL Draft on April 29th. This past weekend in the NFL, four teams showed their biggest weaknesses on their roster. These are positions that these teams should probably address in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Biggest Positional Needs in 2021 NFL Draft after Week 11
Cincinnati Bengals – Guard/Tackle
The Bengals found their franchise quarterback in Joe Burrow, who had been playing well despite problems with the rest of the offense. The offensive line has been one of the most inconsistent units on Cincinnati’s offense. Cincinnati’s offensive line has allowed the second-most sacks in the league with 36. It would be a matter of time before Burrow would suffer an injury due to the terrible blocking from most of the starters. In the loss to Washington, Burrow’s leg was crushed by a holding Michael Jordan and his defensive linemen. The Bengals cannot accept terrible performances from this unit and Jordan any longer. They will need a new guard to keep the pocket clean in-between the tackles. The Bengals currently are listed with the third overall pick. They have the capability to pick up Oregon Ducks tackle Penei Sewell and move some players around.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Quarterback
For multiple weeks, the Jaguars have placed all their confidence in second-year quarterback Gardner Minshew II. He hasn’t played terribly but he wasn’t something that the Jaguars could develop with. Minshew is questionable to miss his fourth consecutive game and Jacksonville is switching from rookie Jake Luton to veteran Mike Glennon. Having the second overall pick, it is time for the Jaguars to start thinking about the possibility of drafting a new franchise quarterback. Likely, Ohio State Buckeyes explosive quarterback Justin Fields will be available, if the New York Jets take Trevor Lawrence from Clemson. Jacksonville ranks 22nd in passing yards per game (229.7) and has only thrown 15 touchdowns in 10 games. Last season, Fields threw for 3,273 yards, 41 touchdowns, and only three interceptions on 238 completions (out of 354 passing attempts). Fields could be a solid franchise quarterback if given some more efficient weapons and a stout offensive line.
Atlanta Falcons – Cornerback
The NFC South is one of the most star-studded divisions in the league. Each team, including Atlanta, has a roster full of unique Pro Bowl-caliber talent. The Falcons defense has many holes on the field that will need to be addressed through free agency and the Draft. Their defense ranks 31st in the league in passing yards allowed per game (300.3). They are one of five teams in the league to allow 22 passing touchdowns, which is the highest. Finally, they have allowed the highest quarterback rating so far this season with a 105.9 rating. The Falcons could use an upgrade to Kendall Sheffield, who has allowed the sixth-most passing yards in coverage (499) this season. There are plenty of high-caliber cornerbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft. If the Falcons are able to take Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II at seven overall, they cannot hesitate.
Baltimore Ravens – Wide Receiver
One of the most underwhelming playoff contenders this NFL season are the Ravens and their offense. The Ravens offense ranks 31st in the league (just ahead of the Jets) in passing yards per game (183.4). Their leader in reception yards is tight end Mark Andrews, who has caught 38 receptions for 454 yards and six touchdowns. Outside of Marquise Brown, the Ravens do not have a consistent deep-target receiver. It will not be likely that the Ravens go deep in the playoffs as a Wild Card team. A number one receiver in the 2021 NFL Draft that Baltimore could select and utilize efficiently would Alabama’s DeVonta Smith or Purdue’s Rondale Moore. They may also make a move for Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle to run multiple different passing schemes and routes. He’d be a perfect weapon for quarterback Lamar Jackson.
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