NFL Draft Needs: A lot of good teams need to fix some offensive line issues

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 22: Former Auburn offensive lineman Greg Robinson takes part in a drill during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 22, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

2014 NFL Combine

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 22: Former Auburn offensive lineman Greg Robinson takes part in a drill during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 22, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Before the NFL draft on May 8-10, we'll be looking at all the key prospects and also breaking them down by position. In our "Draft Needs" series we will also examine which teams will be in the market at each position, looking to fill their remaining roster holes.


Atlanta Falcons: Signing free-agent guard Jon Asamoah was huge, because it upgraded the interior line. It still doesn't fix the tackle situation, which is not good. If the Falcons want to keep Matt Ryan healthy for many years to come, they can't continue to trot out one of the worst sets of tackles in the league. That's why their decision with the sixth pick is so interesting. The Falcons need a pass rusher just as badly as they need a standout left tackle. Let's say the first five picks include defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, the three top quarterbacks and receiver Sammy Watkins. Atlanta could be choosing between Auburn left tackle Greg Robinson and Buffalo outside linebacker Khalil Mack, two outstanding talents who fill a strong need. What a draft room debate that would be. NEED LEVEL: Very high

Miami Dolphins: Like the Falcons, the Dolphins made one big free-agency move on the line (signing Branden Albert from the Chiefs) but more needs to be done. This is a line that gave up 58 sacks last year, which makes quarterback Ryan Tannehill's progress in his second year that much more impressive. We all know the backstory behind why the offensive line was in shambles in 2013. With Albert as the anchor, the Dolphins can continue to build at guard or right tackle. In addition to signing Albert, Miami made a couple of solid signings in guard Shelley Smith and tackle Jason Fox, but there's a lot of work to be done in the draft, too. Perhaps a top talent like Michigan's Taylor Lewan will slip to them at No. 19. NEED LEVEL: Very high

Carolina Panthers: The Panthers are another team with a young, franchise quarterback and a mediocre line to protect him. Having left tackle Jordan Gross retire was a huge blow, and Carolina hasn't signed anyone to fill that gap. Not that they had the cap room to sign an elite left tackle, or that any remain on the market at this point. Carolina has confidence in Byron Bell to replace Gross, but then who plays right tackle? The problem is the Panthers will show up on a few of these lists, at receiver and corner, to name two. They're not filling all the holes they need to fill in this draft, though the line should be a priority. NEED LEVEL: High

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs followed up a very promising season by having perhaps the worst free-agency period of any NFL team. The biggest hit came on the offensive line. Three offensive linemen (Asamoah, Albert and guard Geoff Schwartz) were among the most coveted on the market and all of them left the team in the first few hours of free agency. Losing two top guards and a left tackle like Albert is not ideal. Eric Fisher, the top pick of last year's draft, moves from right tackle to the left side, but that just opens up a hole at right tackle. Donald Stephenson is the probable new starting right tackle. Still, the Chiefs need to draft some linemen, for depth purposes if nothing else. NEED LEVEL: High

Indianapolis Colts: The tackle duo of Gosder Cherilus and Anthony Castonzo is not the worst in the NFL, but still allows too much pressure when your quarterback is the best young player in the NFL. Building a strong line in front of Andrew Luck should be a top priority and who knows, it might even help Trent Richardson. A problem is that the Colts traded their first-round pick for Richardson, which to this point looks disastrous. Still, it's probably wise for the Colts to add to the line with their remaining picks. NEED LEVEL: Medium

Other teams in need: Green Bay, New Orleans, St. Louis, Cincinnati

NFL Draft Needs series
April 18: Linebacker
April 19: Defensive line
April 20: Offensive line
April 21: Running back
April 22: Receiver/tight end
April 23: Quarterback
April 24: Defensive back
April 25: Running back

More NFL coverage:

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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