With the Super Bowl over, it is now time to focus squarely on the draft. Most teams will draft based on need, but here, we're going to focus a little more on teams that will draft for value. Naturally, they will be some of the better teams.
Value Picks in italics.
1. Indianapolis Colts, Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
This is still the pick that makes the most sense for the Colts. It is time to move on from Peyton Manning and build for the future, which is Luck.
2. St. Louis Rams, Matt Kalil, OT, USC
The Rams shouldn't even consider keeping this pick, but they also can't take themselves out of position to get Kalil. Keeping Sam Bradford on the field has to be this team's only goal.
3. Minnesota Vikings, Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Offensively, this team has been too reliant on Adrian Peterson. His injury at the end of last season is a sure sign that they need to find other ways to move the ball.
4. Cleveland Browns, Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Resist Robert Griffin III. This team needs a back to help sustain possessions in the brutal AFC North. Richardson is by far the best back in this draft.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Morris Claiborne, CB LSU
No team allowed more points than the Buccaneers. If they don't take the draft's best defensive back, something is seriously wrong the people making the decisions.
6. Washington Redskins, Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
It is time to finally find the first franchise quarterback in a long time. If the Redskins leave this draft without RG3, they should consider it a massive disappointment.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars, Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
There is no way that the Jaguars should take anything other than a defensive back here. Dennard did great against strong receivers in the Big XII before Nebraska switched conferences last season. He would be a cornerstone defender in Jacksonville.
8. Carolina Panthers, Devon Still, DT, Penn St.*
If the Panthers put a big man up front and match him with a returning Jon Beason at middle linebacker, they will have a decent run defense, which was pathetic all year in 2011.
9. Miami Dolphins, David DeCastro, G, Stanford*
The best way for Miami to score is to move. The man who helped guide Stanford's power attack is the only way to go here.
10. Buffalo Bills, Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
No team in the NFL sacked the quarterback less than the Bills. That has to change if this team is ever going to think about competing in the AFC East.
11. Kansas City Chiefs, Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa*
A good offensive line is the only thing that keeps the Chiefs from competing for the AFC West crown again. Reiff will keep the quarterback protected and make this team a force.
12. Seattle Seahawks, Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama*
Kirkpatrick's arrest is going to drop him further than it should, but the team that lands him will get an absolute steal. Unlike most defensive backs, Kirkpatrick has the size and physical ability to play with the toughest NFL receivers.
The Seahawks already have the pieces in place to be an elite defense for a few years. With a player like Kirkpatrick, the deep ball wouldn't be such a weapon against them. Seattle would be foolish to let him drop.
13. Arizona Cardinals, Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
The Cardinals gave up too much for Kevin Kolb to protect him as poorly as we saw in 2011. That is something that needs to change if they are going to compete in an increasingly competitive NFC West.
14. Dallas Cowboys, Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
Much like Kirkpatrick, his history with drug arrests will drop Jenkins down the boards, but that will end up being a mistake.
While at Florida, Jenkins was a tough matchup against elite SEC receivers like Julio Jones and A.J. Green. The Cowboys allowed too many deep balls this year to do anything but take a defensive back. He will end up making the Cowboys a better team and is by far the best player available.
15. Philadelphia Eagles, Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
The opposite of a value pick, but the Eagles can't leave this draft without addressing their linebacking corps. Burfict is the best middle linebacker available and has to go to Philly.
16. New York Jets, Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
He will bring a vertical threat to the Jets, which they need, as it's quite possible that both Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes will be elsewhere next year. Jeffery has raw athleticism like nobody else in the draft and a team like the Jets needs him.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (via Oakland Raiders), Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
Right now, the Bengals need a receiver to put on the other side of A.J. Green. Floyd is a different kind of receiver, but brings a similar big play threat.
18. San Diego Chargers, Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia
The Chargers have issues at every position on the line. They need depth and need it now, or Philip Rivers will struggle through another poor season.
19. Chicago Bears, Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
The Bears don't need Upshaw, but he will be a fantastic player. The defense is too good to focus on any one player, which will allow Upshaw to get into attack mode all year. The matchups will be favorable, as will the results.
By the time the old group of Bears defenders needs to go, Upshaw will be in place to lead Chicago's new Monsters of the Midway.
20. Tennessee Titans, Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
With the likely departure of Cortland Finnegan, the Titans will need to reload in the secondary. Gilmore is the best player that will be available here to fill that particular need. In terms of overall value, there are better players. But when you factor need in, Gilmore is the man here.
21. Cincinnati Bengals, Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
There is only one way around this pick. The Bengals need to bring in Miller to help run the offense. The only exception would be if Richardson falls to their previous pick. That isn't going to happen.
22. Cleveland Browns (via Atlanta Falcons), Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
The Browns can't possibly get out of this draft without taking a receiver. Wright is a dynamic big play threat that must be taken.
23. Detroit Lions, Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
Kuechly is a solid tackler and middle linebacker. The Lions missed that skill from that position in 2011 and aren't going to go beyond the first round of the playoffs unless that changes.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers, Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
We have our first true project pick of the first round. The Steelers don't need a lot, but they do need to get younger and deeper on defense, as they are getting old fast. Hightower is an impact player that can be phased in, ready to take a more prevalent role in 2013.
25. Denver Broncos, Mark Barron, S, Alabama
The Broncos' defense was not an overall strong unit in 2011. Nothing would make it better than to bring in a guy who can defend both the run and the pass. Barron fits that role.
He was the anchor of a brilliant Alabama defense in 2011. He is capable of dropping back and defending the pass, but if you're a running back, know where Barron is, or you will get leveled.
That is a similar description of Brian Dawkins, who the Broncos will have to replace soon, if not now.
26. Houston Texans, Mohamed Sanu, WR Rutgers
The Texans have to put someone on the other side of Andre Johnson. It was abundantly clear this year that Jacoby Jones and Kevin Walter do not fill that void. Sanu has great hands and size. In favorable matchups, Sanu will have a big rookie campaign.
27. New England Patriots (via New Orleans Saints), Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma
If you don't think the Patriots need help in the secondary, you're just not watching the game. They were 31st in the league in pass defense. That has to change if they are to return to the Super Bowl, or win it.
28. Green Bay Packers, Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
Ingram brings the pass rushing threat the Packers lacked all season. With him, quarterbacks will throw passes earlier, defensive backs will attack the ball, and the defense will resemble the unit we saw at the end of 2010.
29. Baltimore Ravens, Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
The Ravens run a lot. They are clearly a team that revolves around power, meaning that a tough interior lineman is going to be essential.
Konz anchored Wisconsin's explosive offense, opening up gaps for Montee Ball and getting the ball to and protecting Russell Wilson. He is ready to step into the league immediately, which makes the Ravens a viable Super Bowl threat again.
30. San Francisco 49ers, Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
The 49ers can go a few ways here, but they need to protect the quarterback better. If the 49ers gave Alex Smith a little more time, there is a very good chance that they would have another Vince Lombardi Trophy now.
31. New England Patriots, Zach Brown, OLB North Carolina
New England has to address the secondary with the first pick. Here, they need to address the rest of the defense, and there is no better overall player than Brown.
He can defend the run, rush the passer and defend the pass. The Patriots won three Super Bowls with those kind of linebackers and need to bring in another now.
32. New York Giants, Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech**
Obviously, the Giants don't need much, but help in the secondary is a need that has to be filled. The NFC is going to be strong again next year, and the Giants will have to defend the pass better. When they do, the front four will be even more lethal.
* Picks 8/9 and 11/12 will be decided by coin toss.
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