What does your team need heading into this year's NFL draft?
Arizona is picking a bit late to sit and wait for OT Taylor Lewan (Michigan), but it should be in position to take a chance on Cyrus Kouandjio (Alabama), who has some health concerns but worked out very well in front of NFL personnel at his pro day. Arizona also needs athleticism on the outside of its defense and Dee Ford (Auburn) would fit that bill if the Cardinals wanted to go with defense in the first round. Another player to keep your eye on is BYU outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who would be a decent fit for what the Cardinals need this year.
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The Falcons will have to replace Tony Gonzalez, which is nearly impossible, but they have a young tight end they like in Levine Toilolo. However, Toilolo is more of a (Y) than an (H), so they should take a very close look at injured star Trey Millard (Oklahoma), who is as versatile a player as there was in college football. They have to improve on defense, and that should happen if they can play with the lead more than they were able to last year. With the lead it is imperative the Falcons create pressure on the QB, but they do not have an edge rusher that teams are fearful of. Anthony Barr (UCLA) has the highest upside of any defender in the draft outside of Jadeveon Clowney, and his athleticism and pass-rushing ability is the perfect fit with the No. 6 pick.
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Baltimore was wise to bring back free agents Eugene Monroe and Jacoby Jones, and extend Terrell Suggs with a new deal. They also signed Steve Smith and Owen Daniels to fiscally sound deals, banking on both players' past production and a faith that they can contribute to the offense this year. In this year's talent-rich draft, an elite talent that can play right away will almost surely drop to the Ravens at 17th overall. Look at three players -- safety Calvin Pryor (Louisville), offensive tackle Taylor Lewan (Michigan) and guard David Yankey (Stanford) -- as three possibilities in the first round.
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When healthy, Buffalo has one of the best, young punishing front sevens in all of football but they lost arguably the best player on the entire 2013 roster when Jairus Byrd left for New Orleans. The Bills traded out of the eight spot in the first round last year, moving back to 16 and scooping up quarterback EJ Manuel in the process. With the ninth overall pick this year, look for Buffalo to pick up another offensive weapon for Manuel to grow old with. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins (Clemson) should be off the board, but wideout Mike Evans (Texas A&M) could be there when they're on the clock.
Getty ImagesTom Szczerbowski
The Panthers are in desperate need of WR help as they lost all of their production from last season, so the 29th pick in the NFL Draft is going to be a pass catcher and it would not be a surprise if they go for a true No. 1 like Kelvin Benjamin (FSU) or Marqise Lee (USC) with that pick. They also need to beef up their secondary and offensive line, and there are plenty of players at those positions in the middle rounds that can help them out like Bradley Roby (Ohio State), Lamarcus Joyner (FSU) or Stanley Jean-Baptiste (Nebraska).
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Injuries and ineptitude riddled the Bears' rush defense a season ago. Jared Allen steps in for Julius Peppers, and Lamarr Houston should help solidify the interior, but don't think Chicago's done with the position just yet. Look at DT Ra'Shede Hageman (Minnesota) and Timmy Jernigan (FSU) as possibilities in the first round, with a guy like Kony Ealy as an option if they're looking to solidify the pass rush.
Getty ImagesJonathan Daniel
The Bengals are now 3-0 in going to the playoffs with Andy Dalton as their quarterback, but 0-3 in those playoff games. The team lost Michael Johnson, Anthony Collins and Andrew Hawkins this offseason, but still look like favorites in the AFC North. Dalton's contract will be the big discussion point all year, but the team could pick up a solid first-year contributor with the 24th pick. Cornerback and linebacker make the most sense to me. I'd keep an eye on LB C.J. Mosley (Alabama) and cornerback Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech).
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY SportsAndrew Weber
If Cleveland wants to go big with the fourth overall pick, either Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Derek Carr or Teddy Bridgewater will be available. If they go the best player available route, Khalil Mack would make for an awfully nice addition to an already talented young defense. One thing's for certain -- they won't be taking a running back with a top five pick this year.
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY SportsPat Lovell
In a draft rich with talent in the trenches, look for Dallas to go with either a pass rusher (Dee Ford of Auburn and Kony Ealy of Missouri could make sense) or a big boy up front on the interior offensive line. Names that would make sense at 16th overall are Zack Martin (Notre Dame), David Yankey (Stanford), and Morgan Moses (Virginia). Calvin Pryor (Louisville) could be a nice fit at 16th, too.
Denver's defense has gotten a facelift with the additions of big names like Aqib Talib and DeMarcus Ware in free agency -- and it could add another piece in the draft, such as linebacker Ryan Shazier (Ohio State). Denver has to find a way to run the ball effectively and replace the production of Knowshon Moreno. That will be the responsibility of Montee Ball and likely someone selected in the upcoming draft (Washington's Bishop Sankey or Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey would work). Keep an eye on guards David Yankey (Stanford) and Xavier Su'a-Filo (UCLA), as well as center Weston Richburg from Colorado State.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY SportsMark J. Rebilas
The Lions missed the playoffs for the second straight season and did so in rather disappointing fashion over the campaign's final weeks. Jim Schwartz is out; Jim Caldwell is in. Nate Burleson is out; Golden Tate is in. James Ihedigbo and Rashean Mathis could help solidify the secondary. With the 10th pick, look for the Lions to select a cornerback, a need that continues to hamper them in the pass-happy NFC North. Names to consider include Darqueze Dennard, Kyle Fuller, Justin Gilbert and rising prospect Bradley Roby.
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Green Bay Packers
The Packers were down to their fourth- and fifth-string outside linebacker across from Clay Matthews in their playoff loss to the 49ers. Nick Perry still is the name they're talking up in Green Bay, but don't be shocked if a pass rusher was scooped up at No. 21 overall. If Anthony Barr (UCLA) slips to the back half of the first round, Green Bay could be the destination. Other names to watch are Ryan Shazier (Ohio State) and Kyle Van Noy (BYU).
Getty ImagesHarry How
Most teams draft for some combination of need and best player available, but the Texans don't need a defensive end and the best player available in the draft is Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina). Houston should have their pick of the second-tier signal callers like Derek Carr (Fresno State), which is unlikely, AJ McCarron (Alabama), Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois) and Zach Mettenberger (LSU). They also could be in the market for a tight end, like Crockett Gillmore (Colorado State) in the middle rounds.
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Indianapolis is one of two teams that are not scheduled to select in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. The Colts sent their pick to Cleveland in exchange for Trent Richardson, who averaged only 2.9 yards per rush and only 32.7 yards per game. The Colts must do a better job protecting Luck and that will be a focus for them in the draft. This is a very deep class of offensive linemen, especially in the interior, so don't be surprised if you see David Yankey (Stanford) or Gabe Jackson (Mississippi State) join the Colts in the second round.
Getty ImagesNorm Hall
Jacksonville had one of the best free-agency classes in the NFL this offseason, addressing some major needs like interior offensive line and defensive end. However, that all flies right out of the window if the Jaguars don't solidify the QB position, and that is exactly what they will do with the No. 3 overall pick in the draft. They will have their pick of the litter, which means Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M) could be their guy.
Jim Brown-USA TODAY SportsJim Brown
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs have found their future at QB with Alex Smith, but he needs more weapons around him to get the ball down the field. They could look to draft a few defensive backs -- such as cornerbacks Jason Verrett (TCU), Bradley Roby (Ohio State) or Terrance Mitchell (Oregon) and free safety Calvin Pryor (Louisville) -- along with a WR to help Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles. Kelvin Benjamin (FSU), Marqise Lee (USC) and Brandin Cooks (Oregon State) could all be WR targets for Kansas City.
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The Dolphins went through a turbulent 2013 season, battling negative press and a national media firestorm, but still controlled their own playoff destiny heading into Week 16. Alas, they lost their final two games -- to Thad Lewis and the Bills and Geno Smith and the Jets -- and missed the postseason for the fifth straight year. Though Miami brought in left tackle Branden Albert in free agency, they've got to address an offensive line that struggled. Names to watch with the 19th pick include OT Taylor Lewan (Michigan), guard Xavier Su'a-Filo (UCLA), and DT Timmy Jernigan (FSU).
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY SportsSteve Mitchell
The Vikings could turn to Matt Cassel or Christian Ponder at quarterback, or they could go ahead and draft one with the eighth pick. Norv Turner might see a Blake Bortles-, Derek Carr- or Tom Savage-sized quarterback being the guy and not a Bridgewater or Manziel. If the Vikings address the pass rush with their first-round pick, look for either Khalil Mack or Anthony Barr being high on their list.
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY SportBrace Hemmelgarn
New England Patriots
The Patriots rarely go by the "experts" boards, selecting players like Tavon Wilson, Duron Harmon, and Jamie Collins well before many pundits had them going in recent drafts. There's been a lot made of the Patriots using team visits up on rookie quarterback prospects, but don't look too much into that for the first round. With its pick, New England could look to beef up the offensive line with a guy like Zack Martin (Notre Dame), give Vince Wilfork a promising complement in DT Aaron Donald (Pittsburgh), or go with a game-changing wideout in WR Brandin Cooks (Oregon State).
Getty ImagesThomas B. Shea
New Orleans Saints
With Brees making so much money, and deservedly so, New Orleans has to hit on its draft picks for the next couple of years in order to compete at the highest level. Look for them to select an offensive tackle at some point, and that might be in the first round with Cyrus Kouandjio (Alabama). Also, look for defensive help in the middle to late rounds of the draft with an outside linebacker like Christian Kirksey (Iowa) or Jordan Tripp (Montana), or a cornerback like Terrance Mitchell (Oregon) or Chris Davis (Auburn).
Getty ImagesRob Tringali
New York Giants
The Giants have been busier than any team in the NFL this offseason, revamping a roster that's had its ups and downs since winning the Super Bowl in 2012. New York could look up to beef up the offensive line in the first round. Some names for Giants fans to circle with that pick are OT Jake Matthews (Texas A&M), CB Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech), and OG David Yankey (Stanford). If they throw a curveball and go wideout, Texas A&M wideout Mike Evans could serve as quite the complement to Victor Cruz.
Getty ImagesGeorge Gojkovich
New York Jets
Instead of breaking the bank on a group of aging veterans, look for Idzik to build the roster a lot like he, Pete Carroll, and John Schneider did in Seattle -- with value picks and culture fits. This year, New York could scoop up cornerback Darqueze Dennard (Michigan State), offensive tackle Zack Martin (Notre Dame), or wideout Marqise Lee (USC). It also wouldn't be surprising if New York went gang-busters and traded into a top-three spot to snag a guy like Jadeveon Clowney if he were to get past Houston.
The Raiders need help on the outside to assist new addition James Jones, but that should not be hard to find with the fifth pick in the draft, likely Clemson WR Sammy Watkins (unless they opt for a quarterback there, such as Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater). The Raiders still love speed and skill players, so don't be surprised if they pull the trigger on receiver Dri Archer from Kent State in the back half of the draft. He ran the fastest 40 time at the NFL Scouting Combine since Chris Johnson in 2006.
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The big news this offseason was the loss of DeSean Jackson, but losing veteran leaders Jason Avant and Michael Vick could also alter the look and feel of this team. Outside linebacker is a need and an added pass-rushing presence like Ryan Shazier (Ohio State) or Kyle Van Noy (BYU) could be the pick. Also look to wide receiver. Chip Kelly loves his Pac-12 guys, and if either USC's Marqise Lee or Oregon State's Brandin Cooks are on the board, they are possibilities here.
Getty ImagesAl Messerschmidt
It's a crowded AFC North and the Steelers haven't been to the playoffs in a few years. With the 15th overall pick, Pittsburgh could snag an elite tight end like Eric Ebron, an offensive lineman like Notre Dame's Zack Martin, or beef up their secondary with a guy like Darqueze Dennard out of Michigan State or Calvin Pryor out of Louisville.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY SportCharles LeClaire
Saint Louis Rams
With the No. 2 overall pick, St. Louis is in perfect position to get the best player in the draft or the best offensive tackle available depending on what Houston decides to do with the first pick. If Houston goes with the QB that it desperately needs, then St. Louis will have the chance to create one of the best defenses in the game by selecting DE Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina). If Houston takes Clowney, the Rams will be able to solidify their offensive line with Jake Matthews (Texas A&M), who is the most NFL-ready offensive tackle.
Getty ImagesThearon W. Henderson
San Diego Chargers
Phillip Rivers found a tremendous young target in rookie Keenan Allen, and they could use another option to help him out, such as Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews or Colorado's Paul Richardson. The interior of the Chargers' defensive line has to get better, and they must find a way to put more pressure on the QB. Defensive tackles Rashede Hageman of Minnesota and Will Sutton of Arizona State could help them in the draft, and San Diego is another team that could be in on Ohio State CB Bradley Roby.
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY SportsPat Lovell
San Francisco 49ers
For a team that is in the market for a true stretch-the-field wide receiver the 49ers are in luck, because this draft is ripe with pass catchers who can help an organization right now. San Francisco already has a couple of guys who are solid possession receivers in Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree, plus they have one of the best tight ends in the game in Vernon Davis, so drafting a deep threat like Kelvin Benjamin (FSU) or Paul Richardson (Colorado) will make them even more dangerous. They can also get a tough, smart, quality center in Gabe Ikard (Oklahoma) later in the draft.
Getty ImagesRob Tringali
Seattle won the Super Bowl in a passing era without a marquee target on the outside. Percy Harvin getting healthy will absolutely help in 2014, which is why I think they will go with a tight end or offensive lineman in the first round.One choice is Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Washington), who won the 2013 Mackey Award as college football's top tight end. Another interesting prospect with Northwest ties and some questions entering the draft is Colt Lyerla, who is fast and has great hands, providing a play-now flex TE for any organization that wants to take a chance in the Rounds 4-6 range.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Starting 0-8 sealed the fate of Greg Schiano and now the keys are in the hands of new head coach Lovie Smith, who will immediately command the respect of the locker room. Lovie has a history of being a players' coach, which is exactly why he needed a veteran to be his QB, and Josh McCown is the perfect fit. This team has some talent, and with all of the parity in the game it won't be surprising at all if Tampa is battling for a playoff spot this year or next. However, it is a passing league and the Bucs finished dead last in passing last year, which has to improve.
Getty ImagesStreeter Lecka
The Titans' biggest need will absolutely be addressed with their first-round selection when they pick up a safety at No. 11. They should have their pick between Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix (Alabama) and Calvin Pryor (Louisville). The NFL is all about which teams can cover the middle of the field, and because of this, safety is the way to go with that first pick rather than taking one of the top corners.
Getty ImagesJoe Robbins
The Redskins do not have a first-round pick this year, but do have the 34th pick in the draft, which should mean there will be plenty of talent still left on the board at the start of Day 2. Brandon Meriweather and Ryan Clark are a serviceable safety duo, but I could see Washington trying to get a little younger at the position and scooping up either Jimmie Ward (Northern Illinois) or Terrence Brooks (Florida State). Defensive tackle could be a position the Redskins look to add depth to, as well. Two names that could be around at 34 -- Will Sutton (Arizona State) and Dominique Easley (Florida).