The NFL draft is over. Months and months of anticipation and hope and speculation culminated over the weekend in Philadelphia, and now it's all done.
If you're an NFL fan, this feels like the morning after graduation. It was all you could think about for the longest time, it happened, you had the party, and now you wake up the next day and your first thought is, "OK. Now what?"
We're here for you.
As May dawns, minicamps draw near and 32 teams begin grinding their way through the four-plus months that remain before games start again, here's a look at the biggest issue each team still has to address now that the draft is in the rearview mirror. For those experiencing withdrawal, we'll do it in the order of where each team made its first pick:
Figure out who the quarterback is.
I know, right??? Same exact problem as last week! You've really got to admire the teams that stay true to who they are, even in the season of upheaval. The Browns didn't draft a quarterback until late in the second round, and when they did it was Notre Dame enigma DeShone Kizer. Kizer brings them marginally closer to an answer, at best, and joins a depth chart that includes Brock Osweiler (whom they don't want), Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan. Their first round brought in three guys with whom they could throw a party like the one at the end of "Draft Day," but Kessler's still the Brian Drew of this whole thing, and it'd be a surprise if that turned out to be good enough.
Coach up the defense.
The Bears used exactly one draft pick on a defensive player, and he has a broken leg. All the attention will be on Mitchell Trubisky and the questions about when he's ready to start at quarterback, but I'm sitting here wondering if he can help out at safety. The Bears have a lot of young players on defense, and obviously the draft wouldn't have made that any better. But if John Fox and this coaching staff is to survive another season in Chicago, it would do well to show progress on the defensive side of the ball. The guys they had this time last week didn't get any fresh help. On the flip side, at least they have some job security.
The rookies in charge keep up their hot start.
It was a heck of a draft weekend for first-time general manager John Lynch and first-time head coach Kyle Shanahan, who started the proceedings by snookering the Bears out of three extra picks and used the first three rounds to bolster the heart of their defense. Now, I could have used the same line here we used for Cleveland, but how boring would that have been? And besides, Lynch and Shanahan have six-year contracts. Their long-term answer at quarterback might still be in high school. They can get by with Brian Hoyer and whatever this year, and build up the rest of this hollowed-out roster while they wait out Kirk Cousins if they want to. If they turn out to be as good as managing the team through the summer and fall as they were on the final weekend of April, there's reason to trust them.
Get the offensive line together.
Yeah, again, Blake Bortles, yada, yada. But if all I did was quarterback for every team, who'd keep reading? Everything about Jacksonville's chances ride on whether Bortles can forget 2016 ever happened and pretend he's still trying to build off of a promising 2015. And Leonard Fournette will help. But neither will do anything if the Jags don't put a solid starting five in front of them. Branden Albert doesn't appear to want to play there, Cam Robinson might not be ready to start right away and they need to figure out who the guards are. Tom Coughlin brought in his longtime buddy and offensive line coach Pat Flaherty, who tells a terrifying story about how his father taught him how to play center by slamming himself into an oak tree over and over again. No idea if that can help this group, but I heard it four years ago and it really has stuck with me.
Get Marcus Mariota and his new receivers together.
Mariota must have watched the draft like a guy with a winning Pick-3 ticket. Three of the team's first four picks were pass-catchers, and the cornerback they took with the No. 18 overall pick can play receiver too. They've already built him a solid offensive line and a big-time running game, and now he has a bunch of new friends to play catch with. Coaching up Corey Davis, Jonnu Smith and Taywan Taylor will be a key assignment for the Titans' coaching staff this offseason as they try to expand the offense beyond "Here, DeMarco. Hit that hole."
Find out what Christian Hackenberg has.
No quarterback for the Jets in this draft, and only Josh McCown in free agency. So, no, their biggest question doesn't exactly feel answered. They have Hackenberg and Bryce Petty to go with McCown, but since he was last year's second-round pick, Hackenberg feels like the guy whose ultimate development will determine their fate. If he shows enough in 2017, maybe they have something. If not, maybe they're in position to pick whichever QB they want in the 2018 draft. I've heard there might be some good ones. The secondary issue here is finding trade partners interested in 2013 first-rounder Sheldon Richardson and maybe 2014 first-rounder Calvin Pryor, who's on the outs after the Jets used their first two picks on safeties.
Keep making sure Philip Rivers is happy.
Seriously, the Chargers' first three picks were a receiver and two offensive linemen. What better gift is there for a 35-year-old quarterback who might not be all the way thrilled about moving up the freeway and playing home games in front of 30,000 people? Flowers? Candy? A nine-pack of iPod shuffles for his wife and kids? The Chargers didn't draft Rivers' successor, as some thought they might. If they're to make a big splash in L.A. and compete in the league's baddest division, Rivers has to be kept happy and content. So far, so good.
Cross their fingers about Cam.
The biggest offseason issue for the Panthers is one neither the draft nor the offseason program can help address. Quarterback and 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton is coming off of shoulder surgery and isn't likely to be ready until training camp. Which means new guys Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel will have to get ready with Derek Anderson and then, hopefully, cram with Cam in August. Nothing the Panthers have done or can do now will matter if Newton has a setback or can't recover fully, so Carolina fans are unfortunately saddled with an offseason of angst.
Get that line together.
The Bengals drafted speedy wideout John Ross in the first round to help make Andy Dalton forget that they let two critical veteran offensive linemen leave in free agency a couple of months before. Dalton's going to remember that last part very quickly, however, if the Bengals don't see a big offseason jump from young linemen such as Cedric Ogbuehi, Jake Fisher and Christian Westerman. Adding Ross and controversial running back Joe Mixon to an offense that already had A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert and Jeremy Hill is exciting. But if the Bengals can't block it, they're never going to see what Dalton can really do with that group.
Figure out life after Jamaal Charles.
The veteran back wasn't a factor last season, but now that he's really gone, the Chiefs have a running game to sort out. Is Spencer Ware the bell cow? Can rookie Kareem Hunt factor in? Is there a place in the whole thing for C.J. Spiller? The Chiefs have good options, and they seem poised to make another playoff run under Andy Reid, but when Alex Smith is your quarterback, the whole point is to control the game. The way Kansas City puts together its running game will help determine how well it can do that.
Put the new defense together.
The draft was all about defense for the Saints, who have been miserable on that side of the ball for what seems like forever and spent five of their seven picks on defensive players. Marshon Lattimore will help shore up the back end right away, but other than Cameron Jordan, it's still hard to see anybody who can rush the passer. As always, there seems to be more work to do on D to compete in a division that features Can Newton, Jameis Winston and reigning MVP Matt Ryan.
Not an apples to apples comparison, of course, since Prescott was a fourth-round pick and Watson is a decorated national champion the Texans traded up to get in the first round. But no one would have thought Prescott was ready to start for the Cowboys as a rookie last year, and he went 13-3 and to the Pro Bowl. The Texans could sit Watson behind Tom Savage until he's ready. They could start Watson right away. They could yo-yo back and forth between quarterbacks all year, as Bill O'Brien for some reason likes to do. But if Watson is ready to silence his doubters right away, the Texans have the team around him to do something special. Just like Dallas had last season, even though we didn't know it.
Hope Carson Palmer has something left.
An MVP candidate in 2015, the veteran quarterback ranked 18th in Total QBR in 2016. He is 37 years old, and after failing to select a quarterback in the draft, the Cardinals continue to roll with Drew Stanton and Zac Dysert as backup options should something happen to Palmer. (Or should he just not play well again.) It's a high-wire act out there in the desert, where the Cardinals look like a team with all of the pieces in place. The defense got better this weekend, David Johnson might be the best running back in the league, but none of it matters if Palmer can't hold it together for one more big year.
Set the offensive depth chart.
They have interesting pieces at wide receiver with Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith joining Jordan Matthews. They have a bunch of fun running backs such as Darren Sproles, Donnel Pumphrey and Wendell Smallwood. But it remains to be seen what part Ryan Mathews plays in the latter group, or how rookie Mack Hollins fits into the former. Doug Pederson is a creative offensive coach who can put it all together around second-year quarterback Carson Wentz, but there's a puzzle to be solved here, and you wonder if the pieces will all fit together or if they have to keep working on it.
Find a pass rush.
The Colts signed big Johnathan Hankins to help plug up the middle on defense and drafted Malik Hooker and Quincy Wilson to help shut things down on the back end. But their edge rushers don't really scare anybody. Can third-rounder Tarell Basham factor in early and help? This isn't a position where it's easy to find guys on the street in August. And just because the division champion Texans don't have a quarterback doesn't mean they don't need to be able to sack one.
Figure out wide receiver.
Look at the receivers the Steelers and Bengals have. Antonio Brown? A.J. Green? Martavis Bryant? John Ross? JuJu Smith-Schuster? The Ravens' division rivals hoard receivers. The Ravens are rolling with Breshad Perriman, Mike Wallace and not much else. Ozzie Newsome is one of the best GMs in the league, but he knows what year it is, right? You have to chuck it to win in this league, and Joe Flacco isn't presented with the same array of targets his fellow AFC North quarterbacks have. Maybe 2015 first-rounder Perriman finally pops, but even so ... they need bodies at that position.
Sign Kirk Cousins long term.
I know, I know, they probably won't. But they have until July 15 to come to their senses. Franchising Cousins again next year is cost-prohibitive (something like $34 million), and while they could transition-tag him, that's still $29 million and allows other teams (Hello, 49ers!) to hit him with an offer sheet and set the price. Odds are, if Washington doesn't sign Cousins to a long-term deal by the July deadline, this is his last season there. And if that happens, this time next year it is getting the same blurb as the Browns and the Jets, and you don't want that.
Sort out the running game.
Jameis Winston threw 567 passes in 2016. After adding O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin in the draft and DeSean Jackson in free agency, there will be temptation to jack that number up over 600. But everybody prefers balance on offense, and with Doug Martin set to serve a four-game drug suspension, Tampa Bay still waited until the fifth round to draft a running back. Can the Bucs count on a Martin bounce-back? If not, can they get by with Charles Sims, Jacquizz Rodgers and fifth-round pick Jeremy McNichols? Will they have to sign LeGarrette Blount or Jamaal Charles? Winston will want to hand off the ball at some point. To whom can he do that?
Get Garett Bolles ready to start at left tackle.
Even after signing Ronald Leary in free agency, the Broncos' biggest question is how they'll protect whoever's playing quarterback for them. That's right -- the Broncos are a team with quarterback questions that doesn't actually mind them. They are so good on defense, and so determined to run the ball, that the underwhelming combination of Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch is good enough as long as they can keep those guys upright. Enter first-round pick Bolles, whose tuxedoed baby was one of the stars of the first night of the draft. Can he start right away on the left side, or do they have to go back to the Ty Sambrailo well? And where do you get a tuxedo that small?
That pass-rush thing I said about the Colts.
It's not a completely uncommon problem, this pass-rush issue. But the Lions' whole 2016 season was built on fourth-quarter miracles. And the better way to handle the fourth quarter than counting on Matthew Stafford miracles is to fund guys to make life miserable for Aaron Rodgers and other opposing quarterbacks. The Lions didn't address pass rush in the draft and will rely on Ezekiel Ansah and a Kerry Hyder encore. And, I guess, miracles.
Solidify things on the offensive line.
This isn't really a major problem area, as Laremy Tunsil should be able to slide over to left tackle, rookie Isaac Asiata might start at guard and there's some reasonable level of optimism about the health of Mike Pouncey. But honestly, it was hard to find something here. The Dolphins' biggest problem is the team in front of them in the standings. Their roster looks ready to compete for a title in basically any division but the one the defending Super Bowl champions have won 13 of the past 14 years. Maybe Miami can petition for a one-year realignment or something.
An Ereck Flowers attitude adjustment.
I covered the Giants for three years, so I still hear from my share of Giants fans on Twitter. They like the team. They hate the tackle situation. Unfortunately, there's no real solution coming. Flowers was the No. 9 pick in the 2015 draft. If he's not a real NFL left tackle, the Giants should and will suffer for that. Flowers so far has been inconsistent at best and doesn't seem like a guy who loves to take coaching or advice. If that changes this offseason, the Giants' offense should hum. If it doesn't ... well, you kind of know what that looks like.
Hope they didn't just waste their first-round pick.
Accused of rape in the days leading up to the draft, Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley has maintained his innocence and worked hard to convince teams he would be cleared. The Raiders bought it, and made Conley the No. 24 overall pick. If Conley is cleared, the Super Bowl-hopeful Raiders got a top-half-of-the-round player in the bottom half of the round. If he's not, they might have wasted their first-round pick. They surely did their homework, and we'll find out whether they got it right.
The first rule of blowing a 25-point lead in the Super Bowl is that you don't talk about blowing a 25-point lead in the Super Bowl. Dan Quinn needs one of those little black memory-eraser thingies from "Men in Black." Atlanta has some legitimate questions -- adjusting to life after Kyle Shanahan with Steve Sarkisian as offensive coordinator, working the rookies into the defense (which they're good at). But nothing is more important than putting the crushing Super Bowl loss to New England behind them and moving on. If they want an example of a killer Super Bowl hangover, they need look no further than division rival Carolina, which had a whopper just a year ago.
Settle all family business.
The day-after-the-draft firing of general manager Doug Whaley felt like a Michael Corleone-style play by new coach Sean McDermott, consolidating power and announcing to the world that this is his team now and he will call the shots. McDermott, who already was the face of the front office during draft weekend, is likely to have a strong hand in helping select the new GM. If his players had any doubt whether this was someone who could command authority, they shouldn't anymore.
Reassemble the defense.
Seven of Dallas' nine picks were defensive players. This makes sense, as the offense should continue to hum as long as the linemen stay healthy. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is a master at piecing things together at the front of the defense, and first-round pick Taco Charlton brings a new element (and a host of potential restaurant endorsement deals) with him from Michigan. Three of their first five picks were defensive backs, which is nice when you lose three starting defensive backs in free agency.
Knock down a wall in the wide receiver meeting room.
Getting crowded in there! I think Martavis Bryant and Sammie Coates were kidding on Twitter about which of them JuJu Smith-Schuster was drafted to replace, but their point is an interesting one. Those three, Antonio Brown, Eli Rogers and Justin Hunter form an interesting group. And they have the best pass-catching running back in the league in Le'Veon Bell. It's almost enough to make Ben Roethlisberger forget he doesn't have a tight end.
Add a running back.
Yeah, I like the Ty Montgomery story as much as anyone. I picked him up in fantasy as a free agent and spent like three weeks fighting with everybody in my league to get him running back eligibility. I'm impressed. But while the Packers added three(!) running backs in the draft, none came before the fourth round. Aaron Rodgers doesn't love it when the team is quiet in free agency. They could put a smile on his face if they picked up a LeGarrette Blount or Jamaal Charles here in the next few weeks.
Chill everybody out.
The draft came and went without Richard Sherman being traded, which means he's likely to be on this year's Seahawks team. Obviously, the people who run the Seahawks trust Pete Carroll and his coaching staff to maintain a productive atmosphere and not let their collection of strong personalities overwhelm the team's goals. Sherman tickled the line there a bit last season, and you wonder, if things get tough again, whether it could get even messier this time around. Seattle made some risky acquisitions such as Eddie Lacy, Dion Jordan, Malik McDowell and Luke Joeckel. If they all pan out, that's a lot of talent for a win-now team. But Carroll has to keep everybody calm, and it wouldn't hurt if the line could protect Russell Wilson a little bit for a change.
Foster love between Jared Goff and his new coaches.
Coach Sean McVay was in Washington and offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur was in Atlanta last year when the previous Rams administration forked over a bunch of picks to move up and draft Goff No. 1 overall in the 2016 draft. We all know quarterback evaluations are subjective, and while McVay has no choice but to be open-minded about Goff, it remains to be seen how they'll click and whether Goff fits what McVay wants to do with his offense. If they can get along and grow together, Goff has a bunch of new weapons on offense and a veteran left tackle to help make things easier. If not, the Rams' chances of their first winning season since 2003 look bleak.
Protect Sam Bradford.
The inability to do this cost the Vikings a 5-0 start and a playoff spot in 2016, so they spent huge to add tackles Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers in free agency. Are those guys good enough? They'd better be. You love what the Vikings have on defense, and you love the depth they now have at running back even with Adrian Peterson gone. But getting the line together as a pass-protection unit is job No. 1 for the Minnesota coaching staff this summer. Bradford has got to have time to do more than check it down -- which we assume he wants to.
Do everything exactly the same.
The Patriots have been hyperactive since winning their fifth Super Bowl. They traded draft picks for Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy, Dwayne Allen and Mike Gillislee, then were therefore among the least active teams in the draft. There aren't many question marks on this roster, and while some Super Bowl champs might fear a hangover, the Patriots have done this so much that it's hard to imagine them struggling with it. Bill Belichick seems determined to win as many titles as he and Tom Brady can before they're done.