Five teams under the most pressure at the NFL Draft

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April 17th, 2020

There are NFL coaches on the hot seat already. Fans and franchise owners are anxiously awaiting the NFL Draft as one avenue to help change the fortunes of their teams. 

Every team is under pressure on draft days, but there are five teams that should really be feeling the pressure these days. 

Detroit Lions

Matt Patricia is entering his third year as Detroit Lions head coach. 

The former New England Patriots defensive coordinator hasn’t experienced anywhere near the same success in Detroit, with a 9-22-1 record and not a whiff of the playoffs. 

Reports circulated in December that Patricia was on the hot seat

It’s time to deliver. A Super Bowl seems unlikely, but a playoff berth needs to be the goal, and the Lions have a chance to select an impact player with the No. 3 pick.

The biggest area of concern is on defense. 

The Lions defense gave up 400 yards per game last season, the second-worst average in the league. The secondary gave up 284.4 passing yards per game and 33 touchdowns. 

Recent mock drafts have the Lions taking Ohio State product Jeff Okudah, the top-ranked corner in the draft. That would be a significant addition for the Lions, who traded Darius Slay this offseason. 

The offense shouldn’t be a problem in Detroit, provided quarterback Matthew Stafford is healthy. Defense needs to be improved, and bringing in Okudah could be one step in the right direction.

If things don’t begin to turn around, Patricia could soon pay the price. 

New England Patriots

The impact of Tom Brady’s departure in New England is still being felt. 

Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer are New England’s quarterbacks at this moment, and it’s difficult to believe the Patriots would go into the season without addressing the position any further. 

But if the Patriots want to land one of the top quarterbacks in this draft class, they'll have to move up from 23rd into at least the top 10.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals have the first pick, and are in prime position to land Joe Burrow, the top-ranked quarterback in this draft class. 

That comes with plenty of pressure, especially if another team is willing to pay a premium to trade up for the No. 1 selection. 

There are plenty of reasons to draft Burrow, who is only months removed from an outstanding season with LSU. There are also reasons to at least listen to possible trade offers — if teams are willing to part with a massive haul of draft picks to make it happen. 

The Bengals haven’t made the playoffs since 2015, following a run of five straight losses in the Wild Card round. Burrow represents a chance to turn the franchise around, but any serious trade offer would make the decision a little more intriguing. 

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins have been busy this offseason, with a number of key signings in free agency, many of them aimed at reshaping the defensive scheme for next season. 

They’re also about to enter the draft with 14 picks, including six in the first three rounds and a trio of first-round selections. 

That is significant draft capital, and there should be some pressure to use some of those assets to move up in the first-round order.

It’s believed they’re targeting a quarterback in this draft — just like the Bengals, Chargers, and presumably the Patriots. 

Do they package a number of picks to move up to No. 1? Or do they sit tight, knowing a highly ranked QB prospect likely falls to them at No. 5? 

The market may not force the Dolphins into a big trade. But anything can happen at the draft, and if another team moves into position to scoop the quarterback Miami is after, the pressure will be on.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars went all the way to the AFC Championship Game in 2017, Doug Marrone’s first full season as head coach. 

It’s been a downward spiral since. Jacksonville missed the playoffs in each of the last two seasons and wrapped up 2019 with a 6-10 record. 

Add Marrone to the list of NFL coaches who will begin the 2020 season on the hot seat.

The Jaguars have the ninth pick in the first round, and addressing their defense seems like the top priority, after the recent losses of Calais Campbell, A.J. Bouye, Jalen Ramsey, and Dante Fowler. 

Things looked promising for the Jaguars not too long ago, but this defense is not what it once was, and it is facing a significant rebuild.