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The AFC’s biggest roster holes after the draft

New York Jets v Cincinnati Bengals - Wild Card Round Getty Images

Having the draft before free agency made things a little different over the weekend.  It will certainly change the dynamics of free agency, whenever it finally starts.

Many needs were filled, but the teams that still have roster holes now could get desperate in free agency.  We already looked at what teams still need quarterbacks, so let’s take a look at other big needs that weren’t addressed over the weekend.  AFC up first.

Patriots pass rush: They don’t want Tully Banta-Cain or Mike Wright leading the team in sacks again.  The defensive line’s youth infusion will have to wait a year and there still isn’t a difference-making outside linebacker on the roster.   They could target an edge pass rusher in free agency.

Dolphins running back:  Even after adding Daniel Thomas, they need to add a veteran to the mix.

Jets wide receiver: We expected the team to re-sign Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes, most likely Edwards.  Now they have to sign at least one, probably two veterans.   (Think Edwards and a lower cost option.)  Their current No. 2 wideout is, uh, Mark Sanchez’s buddy Scotty McKnight?  Patrick Turner?

Bengals running back: After failing to find a running back before the seventh round, they basically have to re-sign Cedric Benson.

Steelers cornerback: Free agent-to-be Ike Taylor has some leverage.  The Steelers are used to a no-name cornerback crew, but they’ll want to fortify the position even after taking third-round pick Curtis Brown.

Jaguars defense: Taking two small school defensive backs on the third day of the draft isn’t enough.  The Jaguars say they will be aggressive going after defense in free agency.  Linebacker and more secondary help is in order.

Texans secondary: We know they added depth with three picks here, including a second round cornerback (Brandon Harris).  They still need to add a veteran presence that could compete to start.

Broncos defensive tackle: They couldn’t fill every need in one draft, but it hurts they didn’t address their worst position over the weekend.  The top of the depth chart right now: Kevin Vickerson and Ryan McBean.  Uh oh.

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32 Responses to “The AFC’s biggest roster holes after the draft”
  1. p4hbiz says: May 2, 2011 5:17 PM

    So I guess the Raiders are good.. Thanks~

  2. onwisconsin42 says: May 2, 2011 5:17 PM

    “Taking two small school defensive backs on the third day of the draft isn’t enough. The Jaguars say they will be aggressive going after defense in free agency. Linebacker and more secondary help is in order.”

    My God. What is this fascination with “small schools?”

    Rashean Mathis in his prime was an excellent defensive back–Bethune-Cookman.

    Vincent Jackson, Danny Woodhead, Jacoby Jones, Greg Toler, Nate Washington, Kevin Boss, Jordan Babineaux, Jon Kitna, and Greg Toler all came from D-2 schools, let alone Div-1 AA. Pierre Garcon came from Mount Union.

    Why don’t you wait and see how they perform on the field at an NFL level before you anoint them as not being able to help the defense because they’re “small school” prospects.

    You find football players where you find football players.

    That being said, I sure as hell am crossing my fingers for the Jags’ defense.

  3. dbellina says: May 2, 2011 5:18 PM

    You think the Pats would be interested in Ray Edwards?

  4. hawkeye6 says: May 2, 2011 5:23 PM

    Ah. Excellent analysis.

    I suppose the Browns, Titans, and Bills are all set to make runs for the division.

  5. citizenstrange says: May 2, 2011 5:26 PM

    The Steelers have 2010 Round #5-B pick CB Crezdon Butler and and 2009 Round #3 pick CB Keenan Lewis in the pipline.

    However Joe Burnett fell off the radar.

    GO STEELERS!

  6. mrzazz41387 says: May 2, 2011 5:28 PM

    You do know that the Jets have Cotchery, and they also drafted Jeremy Kerley

  7. SpaceJam says: May 2, 2011 5:36 PM

    I think the Jets #2 if they only signed Braylon would be Cotchery… aka the guy who was #2 behind Braylon before they traded for Santonio, and who was #3 all of last season.

    Seriously guys, I know this is just a blog post, but pretty big oversight there. And, as a previous poster mentioned, if a draftee from this year was #2, it would probably be Kerley, who was drafted ahead of McKnight.

    But that would make for a much less snarky (notice I didn’t say “funny”) post.

  8. SpaceJam says: May 2, 2011 5:39 PM

    That said, it’d be easy to overlook Cotchery. He’s only been on the team longer than any other wideout currently on the roster.

  9. hawkeye6 says: May 2, 2011 5:44 PM

    The Jets’ Scott McKnight will be on the practice squad this year. Expect one of their two #1 receivers to re-sign, two if there’s no salary cap. Brad Smith is gone.

    Edwards/Holmes
    Cotchery
    Kerley
    Turner

    Possibly Edwards and Holmes.

  10. hitdog042 says: May 2, 2011 5:52 PM

    Benson already said he plans on re-signing with Cincinnati.

  11. blester01 says: May 2, 2011 6:15 PM

    You failed to mention the Bengals biggest hole of all: LG. They don’t even have a LG on the roster.

  12. kcfanatic says: May 2, 2011 6:21 PM

    p4hbiz says:
    May 2, 2011 5:17 PM
    So I guess the Raiders are good.. Thanks~
    ————————————————–

    Actually, just hopeless :-)

  13. ampats says: May 2, 2011 6:23 PM

    The Pats will get help in free agency. I would be surprised if BB doesn’t already know who he is going to sign.

    DE/OLB

  14. Deb says: May 2, 2011 6:25 PM

    I like Ike and never doubted he’d be back, but he’s not enough in the defensive backfield. Futile wish but the Steelers have to make a play for Asomugha. Somehow we’ve managed to win a couple of AFC Championships and a Super Bowl with an o-line that often seemed made of Swiss cheese. But when you’re alone on an island, no one else can step into the breach. Polamalu is aging, and when he’s hurt, it shows on the scoreboard. We have to do something at corner, and I doubt the answer will come from Curtis Brown or previous years’ draft picks who are waiting in the wings. Asomugha!

  15. cengelman93 says: May 2, 2011 7:02 PM

    Everyone keeps saying the Pats need a pass rush. I agree it needs to get better, but they did go 14-2 on the season during what was suppose to be a rebuilding year.
    The Pats lost 28-21 to the Jets, but the Jets scored on turnovers from the offense, putting pressure on Brady and creating good field position.
    The Pats have a lot of youth on the defensive side of the ball and had several key injuries to starters. I wouldn’t expect much movement from BB in New England when and if free agency begins.

  16. ar1888 says: May 2, 2011 7:03 PM

    The Colts do not have a SS on the roster. Melvin Bullitt and Aaron Francisco are both free agents.

  17. samoanjungle says: May 2, 2011 7:05 PM

    The link to the Bengal’s having to re-sign Benson goes to an article about the Dolphins

  18. cornellsteelers says: May 2, 2011 7:54 PM

    Good list, but you forgot one last roster hole: Baltimore Ravens quarterback

  19. pettergriffen says: May 2, 2011 8:17 PM

    kcfanatic says: May 2, 2011 6:21 PM

    p4hbiz says:
    May 2, 2011 5:17 PM
    So I guess the Raiders are good.. Thanks~
    ————————————————–

    Actually, just hopeless :-)
    —————————————
    Hopeless? Hopelessly whooped your ash twice last season… supposed playoff team hahahahah

  20. ay1162 says: May 2, 2011 8:21 PM

    The comment was asking who the Jests “current” #2 WR is. Since Edwards, Holmes and Smith are all FAs, Cotchery is their current #1, leaving Patrick Turner as the nominal #2.

  21. forevercorr says: May 2, 2011 8:30 PM

    As for Denver, thanks for not mentioning QB. That only becomes a need if Orton gets traded away, which still might not be ruled out altogether.
    As for DT being the problem, there seems to be an intent to drive hard through FA, and they should have plenty of cash to do it. Also, please recall that Marcus Thomas is also a RFA like McBean and was showing promise until the switch to the 3-4. The switch back might help him.
    On another note, RB seems to be a big hole too as Knowshon can’t seem to stay healthy and everyone else is in the wind. It’s another FA issue that’ll be interesting to watch.

  22. dennis2488 says: May 2, 2011 8:57 PM

    the patriots did add marcus stroud and ty warren and ron brace are coming back from injury. those guys will open it up for cunningham and any defensive back blitzes.

  23. friendlylittletrees says: May 2, 2011 9:03 PM

    Browns have no holes either?!

    SUPER BOWL!

  24. TheWizard says: May 2, 2011 9:17 PM

    I would be ok with Wright leading the Pats in sacks. He was having a hell of a year before the concussion, especially considering he plays in a rotation.

  25. winterbengal says: May 2, 2011 9:30 PM

    @blester01

    Well they have Nate Livings, but they drafted a guard so they filled the need. Plus they have a couple projects due to pan out this year in Jason Shirley and Otis Hudson, so providing (ManBoobs) Andre Smith plays this year… They should have a decent line.

    Now technically they do not have to resign Benson… There is a plethra of FA – RB’s this year, and with installing a new offensive scheme one is as good as another technically. I like Benson alot, but you could sign Ricky Williams or whoever for a year and be okay.

  26. dennis2488 says: May 3, 2011 3:52 AM

    in this case black hole describes the raiders perfectly.

  27. blester01 says: May 3, 2011 12:20 PM

    @winter, Livings and Mathis are free agents. Boling was drafted to replace Williams at RG in 2012. Shirley is Mike Brown’s project and is not going to pan out most likely. Hudson was a fifth round pick last year.

    This is not a good OL you need to develop your young franchise QB behind. A solid QB takes a year or two to develop. Carson took two years – one on the bench behind Kitna and then one as a starter. 2005 was his break out season after a slow start in 2004. But Palmer developed behind an OL that was finally becoming a solid unit after being built by a number of successful drafts – first and second round picks (Jones, Anderson, & Steinbach) – prior to Palmer’s arrival.

    Dalton is going to come into a situation where the OL has nothing but big question marks – except for two spots: C & LT. Our RT may or may not show up in shape. The RG is approaching his final year of a contract and is beyond his prime and it remains to be seen if he has enough in the tank to make it through his last season. We do not even have a high quality LG on our present roster…

    This is typical Bengals management stupidity. Good teams build their lines and then fill in the players around it. Mike Brown tried this approach multiple times in the 90′s and it failed every time.

  28. EJ says: May 4, 2011 7:43 AM

    hawkeye6 says:
    May 2, 2011 5:23 PM
    Ah. Excellent analysis.

    I suppose the Browns, Titans, and Bills are all set to make runs for the division.

    No, but I think they were saying besides QB, those teams addressed their needs during the draft.

  29. getweird4u says: May 5, 2011 10:46 PM

    @blestero1
    You make some great points there cook and whit are the only dependable boling will end up playing alot as a rookie. i think the offense changing coord. and total philosiphies alone wll help ,brat was such a joke last year it really was pathetic,that bein said u wanna buy my seat liscense?

  30. hitdog042 says: May 10, 2011 11:15 AM

    blester01:

    Livings is NOT a free agent.

    He is the starting LG.

    They are strong at C with Cook. Williams is a decent RG. Collins/Whitworth are decent tackles (when Collins is healthy). Bengals are 7-2 when Collins is healthy and starts… health is the issue with Anthony.

    Andre Smith will either play T or G. They still have Otis Hudson who they like a lot, and of course Bolling.

    They will be fine. They have more depth than you think, and they will sign at least one veteran as insurance.

    They protected Palmer very well last year, look up the numbers. Palmer was hit way less than most starting QB’s.

  31. leib15 says: May 17, 2011 10:23 PM

    Chargers-Head Coach

  32. dryzzt23 says: May 31, 2011 9:12 AM

    Who does everyone keep dissing high-motor guys like Mike Wright & Tully Banta-Cain? All they do is play and produce and do whatever the coach says.

    Clearly both can play at the NFL level, they might not be flashy but I’d rather have one of them than one of the “diva” players on the All-Potential team

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