No NFL team is perfect. Even the league’s best front offices can’t assemble foolproof rosters. Luckily, every club will have the opportunity to add talent in advance of the NFL’s trade deadline. Let’s walk through the league’s contenders and identify the biggest weakness on every roster, zeroing in on areas where teams could improve before October 31.
From the current NFL standings to team depth charts to coverage of every game in the 18-week NFL schedule, we have all the news from around the league to keep you up to speed!
Biggest Pre-NFL Trade Deadline Weakness for Every Contender
In order to filter down to the NFL’s contenders, we’ll look at teams with at least a 20% chance to make the playoffs per the New York Times’ projection model. While clubs like the Green Bay Packers or Washington Commanders could conceivably make moves before the deadline, they’re more likely to hold.
Philadelphia Eagles | EDGE Depth
Playoff odds: 99%
The Philadelphia Eagles addressed their most glaring concern on Monday when they acquired safety Kevin Byard from the Tennessee Titans in exchange for fellow defensive back Terrell Edmunds and 2024 fifth and sixth-round picks. Byard will play alongside Reed Blankenship and instantly upgrade Philadelphia’s secondary.
With their defensive backfield fixed, the Eagles don’t have any other obvious weaknesses. But Howie Roseman is never afraid to add additional pass rushers, as evidenced by last year’s trade for Robert Quinn. If Philadelphia wants to ensure Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat are still fresh for the playoffs, bringing in another EDGE wouldn’t hurt.
Kansas City Chiefs | Wide Receiver
Playoff odds: 99%
Sure, the Kansas City Chiefs already forged a reunion with wideout Mecole Hardman by acquiring him from the New York Jets last week, but they shouldn’t stop there. While Rashee Rice has staged a mini-breakout in recent weeks, Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney remain endlessly frustrating.
Patrick Mahomes didn’t seem to have any problems against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, hitting Travis Kelce for 12 catches, 179 yards, and a score while connecting for TDs with three other pass catchers. But not every pass defense is as porous as the Chargers’, and Mahomes had struggled — by his lofty standards — over K.C.’s last several games.
San Francisco 49ers | CB Depth
Playoff odds: 98%
Former Denver Broncos defensive end Randy Gregory joined the 49ers via trade earlier this month, fortifying the club’s pass-rush rotation ahead of the deadline. Another defensive addition could make sense over the next week.
MORE: NFC West Trade Candidates
Charvarius Ward and Deommodore Lenoir have been solid as the San Francisco’s 49ers’ outside cornerbacks, but the 49ers have little depth behind them. Meanwhile, slot CB Isaiah Oliver probably hasn’t played as well as SF might’ve hoped when it signed him this offseason. A veteran defensive back capable of playing the nickel should be on the Niners’ radar.
Detroit Lions | Cornerback
Playoff odds: 95%
The Detroit Lions’ secondary was buoyed by slot corner Brian Branch’s Week 8 return. Still, fellow CB Jerry Jacobs (knee) — the NFL’s interceptions leader — was a late addition to the Lions’ injury report and was subsequently ruled out of Sunday’s loss following a pre-game workout.
Jacobs was already filling in for projected starter Emmanuel Moseley, an offseason addition who ruptured his Achilles in his first game back from a torn ACL. Jacobs’ absence forced Detroit to turn to Will Harris, who’s fine in the slot but is limited at outside corner.
Miami Dolphins | Interior OL
Playoff odds: 92%
The Miami Dolphins already bolstered their WR3 spot by acquiring malcontent pass catcher Chase Claypool from the Chicago Bears earlier this month. And while Miami could try solidifying a defense that ranks in the middle of the pack in yards per play allowed, Jalen Ramsey’s return from injury will feel like an addition itself.
Instead, the Dolphins’ most pressing need remains on offense, where their interior line is extremely banged up. Center Connor Williams (groin) has missed three of the last four games, while left guard Isaiah Wynn (quad) went to injured reserve on Tuesday. Miami should search for a veteran with guard/center flexibility.
Baltimore Ravens | Running Back
Playoff odds: 89%
Although the Baltimore Ravens didn’t look like they had any needs in their 38-6 destruction of the Lions on Sunday, another running back wouldn’t be a bad idea. J.K. Dobbins is out for the season, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill have already dealt with injuries, and UDFA Keaton Mitchell is week-to-week with a hamstring issue.
Baltimore could also look at pass rushers. The Ravens lead the NFL with 29 sacks, but they rank just 14th in pass-rush win rate and 25th in pressure rate. They’re outperforming their underlying metrics, so getting ahead of any potential regression should also be in Baltimore’s plans.
Dallas Cowboys | Cornerback
Playoff odds: 85%
While the Dallas Cowboys might look for a linebacker to replace Leighton Vander Esch (sidelined for another month or so with a neck injury), Markquese Bell and Damone Clark have gotten the job done at the second level of Dan Quinn’s defense.
But what about the secondary, where Trevon Diggs is out of the year after tearing his ACL during a September practice? DaRon Bland has done an admirable job moving from the nickel to outside to replace Diggs, but Jourdan Lewis has struggled as Bland’s slot fill-in. A CB with inside/outside versatility should be on Dallas’ mind.
Jacksonville Jaguars | Pass Rusher
Playoff odds: 85%
Josh Allen is playing at an All-Pro level, while 2022 No. 1 overall pick Travon Walker looks much improved from his rookie campaign. But the Jacksonville Jaguars need more talent on the edge if they don’t want their top two options to burn out.
Dawuane Smoot recently returned from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. He played almost half of Jacksonville’s defensive snaps last season and managed five sacks, so his presence should help. But one more pass-rushing option should be in consideration for the Jags.
Atlanta Falcons | CB Depth
Playoff odds: 71%
The Atlanta Falcons already made one deal this month, picking up wide receiver Van Jefferson from the Los Angeles Rams. Jefferson instantly became Atlanta’s WR2 behind Drake London, playing 39% of the club’s snaps against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
MORE: 3 Reasons the NFL Should Move the Trade Deadline
Although the Falcons don’t have any other prominent areas of concern, they might be able to add reinforcements at cornerback. A.J. Terrell is one of the NFL’s best CBs, and summer trade addition Jeff Okudah has been outstanding.
But Okudah has a lengthy injury history. If he goes down later this year, Atlanta probably doesn’t want to turn to options like Mike Hughes or Tre Flowers at outside CB with the playoffs on the line.
Seattle Seahawks | EDGE
Playoff odds: 63%
The Seattle Seahawks’ defense has been one of the NFL’s most improved units this season, rising from 26th in EPA per play in 2022 to ninth in 2023. But the club lost a critical piece on Sunday when edge rusher Uchenna Nwosu suffered a season-ending pectoral injury.
2022 second-round edge defender Boye Mafe has been a revelation this year, ranking first in pass-rush win rate at his position. The Seahawks can ask for more from Darrell Taylor and rookie Derick Hall, but they might need to find an experienced option on the trade market.
Cleveland Browns | OL Depth
Playoff odds: 62%
The Cleveland Browns could theoretically become both buyers and sellers at the trade deadline, per The Athletic’s Dianna Russini, who recently reported Cleveland could be looking for an offensive lineman and a wide receiver over the next week.
Adding another body up front makes sense. Joel Bitonio has missed time with injury, while center Ethan Pocic has gotten banged up in multiple games. An interior backup could be on the Browns’ agenda, but they’re also thin at tackle, where Jack Conklin is already out for the season.
Buffalo Bills | Linebacker
Playoff odds: 61%
Injuries have ravaged the Buffalo Bills’ defense to the point where the once-elite unit looks nearly unrecognizable. Cornerback Tre’Davious White, linebacker Matt Milano, and defensive tackle DaQuan Jones are all out for the season, while DT Ed Oliver is dealing with a toe issue.
MORE: NFL Trade Rumors — Intel on Eagles, 49ers, Browns and More
Buffalo could theoretically seek to reinforce any of those affected position groups, but linebacker might be the most important. The Bills don’t have any hope of replacing Milano’s production, but they need a veteran who can play ahead of still-learning third-round rookie Dorian Williams, who was benched against the New England Patriots on Sunday.
Minnesota Vikings | EDGE Rusher
Playoff odds: 57%
While the Minnesota Vikings looked like obvious sellers at 1-4, two straight wins — including an impressive Week 7 victory over the 49ers — have moved Minnesota’s playoffs odds to about 50%.
The Vikings could use more depth at defensive tackle and cornerback, but their most pressing need is at pass rusher. Danielle Hunter now appears likely to stay put in Minnesota, but Marcus Davenport is on IR with a high ankle sprain. Any defense that blitzes as much as Brian Flores’ unit needs capable players on the edge.
Pittsburgh Steelers | Cornerback
Playoff odds: 54%
The Pittsburgh Steelers remain a top-10 defense by EPA per dropback, but the club’s pass rush is largely responsible for the defense’s success against the pass. Cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Levi Wallace have struggled in coverage, while Pittsburgh has been reticent to deploy second-round rookie Joey Porter Jr.
Porter finally started overtaking Wallace in Week 8, but the Steelers could add another cornerback if they’re uncomfortable with their depth. The only problem? Pittsburgh has just $2.6 million in cap space, the third-least in the NFL.
Houston Texans | Defensive Tackle Depth
Playoff odds: 36%
The Houston Texans have looked far more competent than most expected this season, and their 3-3 record has them in the postseason hunt. Still, this team is looking a year or two down the road, so they’re more likely to hold at the deadline than to swing a deal for a veteran.
If Houston wants to add somewhere, it should be along the defensive interior, where the Texans haven’t gotten much out of Sheldon Rankins and Maliek Collins this season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Tight End
Playoff odds: 36%
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were expected to take a step back this season — and they still might. Tampa Bay has lost back-to-back games and has the Bills and Texans up next. Baker Mayfield and company could be 3-5 by the trade deadline.
MORE: NFC South Trade Candidates
But if the Bucs keep winning, a tight end upgrade should be part of general manager Jason Licht’s plan. While Cade Otton might be Tampa Bay’s long-term starter, a veteran like Hunter Henry could be a more immediate solution.
New Orleans Saints | Offensive Line
Playoff odds: 32%
The New Orleans Saints’ offensive line is no longer the first-rate unit it once was, and now they’re dealing with injuries. Ryan Ramczyk and James Hurst missed Week 8 with injuries, while Andrus Peat is also banged up.
New Orleans might have to sell off pieces, depending on how it plays over the next two weeks. But if they stay in the NFC South race, another body along the front five should be the club’s move.
Los Angeles Rams | EDGE
Playoff odds: 31%
As Sean McVay suggested earlier this year, the Rams are no longer in a position to swap multiple early-round draft picks for established players. Los Angeles has exceeded expectations through seven weeks, but this is still a franchise looking toward the future.
The Rams won’t be making the type of deal they executed during their Super Bowl run, when they acquired future Hall of Fame pass rusher Von Miller from the Broncos. But adding another edge defender to a defense that has — against all odds — performed like a league-average unit could be on the docket, especially if a low-cost option is available.
Cincinnati Bengals | Pass-Catching RB
Playoff odds: 30%
The Cincinnati Bengals haven’t made an in-season acquisition in a half-century, and that streak is unlikely to be broken in 2023. But that doesn’t mean Cincinnati doesn’t have needs.
Zac Taylor’s team is still searching for a third-down running back behind Joe Mixon. Former Bengal/current Bronco Samaje Perine would seem to be the ideal candidate for that job. Alternatively, Cincinnati could try to replace tight end Irv Smith Jr., who’s been disappointing through six games.
Los Angeles Chargers | Secondary
Playoff odds: 30%
The Los Angeles Chargers could look a lot different two weeks from now. The Chargers play in prime time twice before the deadline. If the team loses both games and drops to 2-6, could the Chargers fire Brandon Staley and hold something of a firesale?
MORE: NFL Week 7 Winners and Losers
The Bolts are facing the Chicago Bears and New York Jets in those games, so they’ll be favored in both. Assuming they remain in contention, the Chargers could use help at safety, where Derwin James, Alohi Gilman, and Raheem Layne (IR) are dealing with injuries.
New York Jets | Offensive Line
Playoff odds: 25%
The Jets could really use Kirk Cousins, but the Vikings’ quarterback has no plans to waive his no-trade clause. With Zach Wilson as its starter for the rest of the season, New York could think about adding offensive line help.
Gang Green has had to scratch and claw to get to 3-3, so they’re unlikely to give up significant assets for marginal improvement up front. But a modest OL addition could make sense with Duane Brown and Alijah Vera-Tucker on IR, Mekhi Becton consistently hobbled, and Joe Tippman dealing with a thigh injury.
Indianapolis Colts | Cornerback
Playoff odds: 20%
Realistically, the Indianapolis Colts are more likely to hold — or even sell — at the trade deadline rather than acquire assets. Indianapolis is still rebuilding its roster under head coach Shane Steichen. With rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson out for the season, the Colts aren’t about to sacrifice future capital for immediate reward.
Still, a low-cost cornerback addition could be in the cards for Indy, especially if they remain in playoff contention through the next two Sundays. Week 1 starter Dallis Flowers is already on IR with an Achilles injury, while second-round rookie JuJu Brents left Week 8 with a quad issue.