Editor's note: NFL.com analysts and former NFL scouts Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks of the Move The Sticks Podcast share some of their scouting notes, including:
But first, we kick off this week's notebook with Jeremiah's ranking of teams in need of an outstanding 2018 NFL Draft.
We've reached the time of year when all 32 teams can turn their focus toward free agency and the 2018 NFL Draft. While free agency can fill some roster holes, most teams believe the draft is the best way to build a sustainable, championship-caliber roster.
After looking at the rosters and current climate with each team, I've identified five teams that need to have a very productive 2018 draft class in order to build some much-needed momentum in their organizations. Here's my list.
1) Cleveland Browns
2017 record: 0-16
Premium draft capital: Round 1, Nos. 1 and 4 overall | Round 2, Nos. 33, 35 and 64 overall | Round 3, No. 65 overall
Analysis: Obviously, after a winless season, Cleveland has plenty of holes to fill. The Browns are loaded with draft picks this spring. They own 6 picks in the first 65 selections! They are set up to fill some glaring needs, starting with the quarterback position. After passing on several elite signal-callers in recent years, they must come away from this draft with their franchise QB. They could also fill needs in the secondary and at the wide receiver position. GM John Dorsey has assembled an all-star cast of evaluators and I expect them to hit a homerun in late April.
2) Buffalo Bills
2017 record: 9-7
Premium draft capital: Round 1, Nos. 21 and 22 overall | Round 2, Nos. 53 and 56 overall | Round 3, No. 96 overall
Analysis: The Bills are coming off their first playoff appearance in a very long time. They accomplished that goal even after trading several prominent players like Sammy Watkins and Marcell Dareus. They are in prime position to upgrade their roster this spring as they look to take the next step. They own two first-round picks (courtesy of the trade with the Chiefs in last year's draft) and two-second round picks (courtesy of the Sammy Watkins trade). They need to identify their quarterback of the future in this draft class, and they have the ammunition to move up if their desired target starts to drop down the board. They also need to add some talent up front on the defensive side of the ball.
3) New York Giants
2017 record: 3-13
Premium draft capital: Round 1, No. 2 overall | Round 2, No. 34 overall | Round 3, No. 66 overall
Analysis: Many (myself included) expected the Giants to make a deep run in the postseason. Well, that didn't happen. In fact, the entire season was a disaster. The Giants now have a new head coach and general manager. There is some good news -- they own the second pick in every round this April. This is a huge opportunity to identify and collect some blue-chip players. They have a big decision to make in the first round. Do they pick Eli Manning's replacement? Do they opt to add a weapon for Manning? Do they add some firepower to their defensive line? Do they shop the pick to a team willing to pay a steep price for one of the draft's top quarterbacks? This decision could shape the franchise for the next decade.
4) San Francisco 49ers
2017 record: 6-10
Premium draft capital: Round 1, No. 9 overall | Round 2, No. 59 overall | Round 3, Nos. 70 and 74 overall
Analysis: John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan must be smiling. They have a young franchise quarterback locked up for the foreseeable future and they also have some nice young building blocks on the defensive side of the ball. In this draft, they need to acquire some weapons for Garoppolo. If one of the quarterbacks in the draft were to slide, I could see them shopping their first-round pick and sliding down the board. They can find skill-position players later in the round and the added middle-round picks would allow them to plug other roster holes. The future looks very bright in San Francisco, but they still need a highly productive draft class to help push the franchise over the top.
5) Indianapolis Colts
2017 record: 4-12
Premium draft capital: Round 1, No. 3 overall | Round 2, No. 36 overall | Round 3, No. 67 overall
Analysis: Indianapolis finds itself in a very interesting predicament. The Colts have a franchise quarterback in Andrew Luck, but the uncertainty about his health makes planning for the future very difficult. One thing is for sure -- the entire roster needs an infusion of talent. They can't afford to miss on players in GM Chris Ballard's second year. The good news is that they own the third overall pick, which could be traded to the highest bidder in the hopes of accumulating a bevy of draft picks. They need them. This roster isn't very good. -- Daniel Jeremiah
2018 DRAFT PROSPECT SIMILAR TO VON MILLER
It might surprise some to see Boston College's Harold Landry near the top of the list in the OLB section of my positional top-five rankings, but pass rushers are always coveted at a premium and Landry remains one of the most explosive sack artists in the 2018 class.
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound playmaker finished his collegiate career with 25 sacks, 48 tackles for loss and seven forced fumbles in 38 games while exhibiting exceptional first-step quickness and athleticism. Granted, he didn't post spectacular production (five sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss) during an injury-riddled senior season, but he's only one year removed from dominating the ACC as a high-motor playmaker off the edge.
As a junior, Landry posted 16.5 sacks and 22 tackles for loss as a versatile edge rusher capable of hunting the quarterback from various spots and angles. He's one of the few disruptors in the class with the speed, athleticism, and movement skills to rush from a three-point stance or an upright position as a hybrid playmaker. With the Eagles also aligning Landry at other positions along the front seven to exploit potential mismatches along the line, it's easy to envision him thriving in a Swiss Army knife-like pass-rushing role in an exotic defense.
"He is explosive and plays with great energy," said an AFC assistant college scouting director. "He has some juice and that will give always give him a chance to get home."
Landry didn't have a great senior campaign and scouts will need to revisit his junior game tape to reacquaint themselves with his disruptive potential off the edge. When I look at Landry's game, he reminds me a lot of Von Miller during his time at Texas A&M. Now, that is a helluva comparison for a top prospect based on how the Super Bowl 50 MVP has dominated the league as a pass rusher, but Landry's first-step quickness, balance and body control are eerily similar to Miller's movement skills, including the dip-and-rip move that the Boston College star seemingly stole from the Pro Bowl pass rusher.
In a draft where pass rushers are in short supply, I expect Landry to climb the charts as draft day approaches. -- Bucky Brooks
POTENTIAL DRAFT STEAL ALERT!
Here's a name to remember: Notre Dame wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown. I recently completed my study of his game film, and I came away very intrigued.
He has outstanding size, quickness and route-running savvy. However, his production fell off this fall. He caught 58 balls and 9 touchdowns as a sophomore but he only hauled in 33 balls and 5 touchdowns this past season. After watching all of his targets from the 2017 season, the drop-off in production is easily explained. Yes, he has a couple drops, but the lack of accuracy at the quarterback position was the main reason for his disappointing numbers. He consistently created separation down the field, only to see the ball fly out of reach.
St. Brown has a complete tool set to be a quality starting NFL receiver. I think teams will see the same thing. I value him as a second-round player and he could end up being a steal in April. -- Daniel Jeremiah