Deciding to address need or value is a common conundrum for NFL teams during the draft process. Some teams, such as the Pittsburgh Steelers, have had great success taking the value route. They have traditionally drafted the best player available over the past 10 years.
It also helps that they've had consistent success. The value picks have served to keep the core pieces around Ben Roethlisberger strong.
Some teams will not have that luxury this year. These teams have such gaping holes at a specific position, that they have no other choice but to draft for need.
Here is a look at those teams within a first-round mock draft.
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
After the Colts waved bye-bye to Peyton Manning, drafting a QB became a need. They could have traded down—possibly even to the No. 2 spot and taken Robert Griffin III. It would have added picks, and they would still be bringing in a franchise QB.
The Colts' brass decided not to stray too far away from the profile of their recent success.
Andrew Luck has been told he'll be the top pick in the draft, and it makes sense. Luck is often compared to Peyton Manning, so replacing Manning with a player thought to be the next Peyton is an easier sell to Colts' fans.
2. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor (via trade with St. Louis)
Some may say RG3 is not a need-based pick for the Skins, but I disagree. Washington has a solid young defense, but the offense needs a play-maker and an identity.
RG3 will give them both, if he is selected here as we all expect.
Rex Grossman is a solid backup, but this team will never attain its goals of reaching and winning a Super Bowl with him at QB.
Griffin III will put wins in the standings and butts in seats.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT, USC
The Vikings have multiple needs, but none bigger than OT. The team gave up 50 sacks in 2011, and that is no way to keep Christian Ponder healthy.
The Vikes do have needs at WR and in the secondary, but they must protect the QB if they plan to contend in the tough NFC North.
Getting Ponder a stud LT like Kalil figures to be, is the next step in properly evaluating him as the future at the position.
If Ponder regresses or is stagnant in his development, Kalil could be protecting another QB in 2013.
Either way, he would be a solid need-based pick for the Vikings.
4. Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson, HB, Alabama
It would be a mistake for the Browns to select Trent Richardson here. As good as he is, the Browns need a WR more than a RB.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
With Aqib Talib's future uncertain and the Bucs' defense less than stout, Claiborne would be an excellent choice.
6. St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Look for Blackmon to become Bradford's No. 1 target if he's selected here.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
I love Ingram's upside. If he pans out, he'll be one of the best pros from this draft class.
8. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Which QB would you rather have?
This is perhaps the poster-child for drafting for need over value. The Dolphins desperately need a QB. After failing to lure Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn in free agency, the Dolphins may turn to Tannehill.
While Tannehill does have upside, he won't be ready to help the Dolphins this year. In my opinion, the Dolphins would have been better off trading out of this pick.
They could have stockpiled picks to place them in position to add a better prospect at QB, like Matt Barkley from USC next season.
That is, of course, provided their draft position isn't suitable to draft Barkley outright. I see Tannehill as a second-round pick, pumped up to the first round because of the shortage of franchise QBs.
9. Carolina Panthers: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Brockers could be a dominant force on the interior defensive line. That is a quality the Panthers could certainly use.
10. Buffalo Bills: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Who will make a Pro Bowl roster first?
The Bills have some holes on defense, but the OT position must be addressed. With the signing of Mario Williams, and the promotion of Dave Wannstedt to defensive coordinator—this is a solid need-based pick.
It is fair to say that the defense will improve and won't be ranked 30th in the NFL in 2012, as it was in 2011. With that side of the ball addressed, the Bills would be smart to draft a LT.
Reiff is one of the top OTs in the draft, and it would make sense to make this selection.
11. Kansas City Chiefs: David DeCastro, G, Stanford
DeCastro may be one of the best players in this draft class—but guard is a under-valued position. This could be a steal for the Chiefs.
12. Seattle Seahawks: Luke Kuechly, MLB, Boston College
Kuechly would make sense for the Seahawks. He could command their defense for the next five to seven years.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
If Arizona makes this selection, the Cardinals could have one of the most dangerous receiving corps in the NFL.
14. Dallas Cowboys: Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis
Poe could be a mixture of Warren Sapp and Jamal Williams—or he could be one the draft's biggest busts.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Fletcher Cox, DT Mississippi State
This would be a solid pick for the Eagles. Cox showed impressive athleticism at the combine, and he looks like a dual-threat (pass-rusher/run-stuffer).
16. New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw, OLB/DE Alabama
The Jets have two major needs, but I believe the need for a pass-rusher is the most pressing.
17. Cincinnati Bengals: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
The Bengals have added Terence Newman, but I still think they need depth at CB. Kirkpatrick is a solid prospect, and he would be a smart pick at No. 17.
18. San Diego Chargers: Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
If Perry slips this far, he could be a huge sleeper pick for the Chargers. His combine totals blew away most of the competition, and his skill set screams big time pass-rusher.
19. Chicago Bears: Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois
The Bears need to upgrade the pass rush, as well as prepare for Julius Pepper's decline.
20. Tennessee Titans: Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia
The Titans could make this selection to keep their traditionally strong running game in order.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
I love Doug Martin, and he could be one of the most productive players in this draft. He reminds me a lot of Ray Rice.
22. Cleveland Browns: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Drafting Jonathan Martin could give the Browns a great set of OTs with Joe Thomas already a perennial Pro-Bowler.
23. Detroit Lions: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
The Lions lost Eric Wright, so adding Stephon Gilmore to a team in need of improvement on the defensive end is logical.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
This is another example of drafting the best player available. In two years, Hightower could be the best player on the Steelers' defense.
25. Denver Broncos: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Kendall Wright could give Peyton Manning and the Broncos their best deep threat. Don't be surprised if he returns kickoffs and punts as well. He is a game-changer with the ball in his hands.
26. Houston Texans: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Hill could have the same effect on the Texans' offense that I mentioned Floyd could have on the Cardinals' attack. Hill just isn't as safe a pick, as he had limited production in college.
27. New England Patriots: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
The Patriots would be an excellent place for Coples to land. It's a winning environment, and he'd be surrounded by veterans.
28. Green Bay Packers: Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia
The Packers must think about drafting Charles Woodson's successor—Minnifield could be the guy.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
Konz is far and away the top center prospect in the draft. The Ravens could be drafting a 10-year starter here.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
Fleener and Vernon Davis could challenge the Patriots' Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez for title of best TE tandem.
31. New England Patriots: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
Jeffery is one of the most dynamic receivers in this draft. If his pro day performance hasn't driven his stock back up, the Pats should take him here.
32. New York Giants: David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
Wilson could add a big-play threat to the Giants' backfield. That is an element Eli Manning hasn't had since Tiki Barber was at RB.
Follow Brian Mazique
and Franchiseplay - A Haven For Sports Expression