As the combine comes to a close, many of this year’s draft prospects have solidified their draft status, while others have slipped down many team’s draft boards. At this point, it is pretty clear where the deficiencies within each team are, and here is how each team will address those come April.
1. Detroit Lions - Matt Stafford - QB - Georgia
Everything is a need for the Lions here, but there is offensive and defensive line depth that they can tap into later on in the draft. Right now, this franchise needs a new face.
2. St. Louis Rams - Eugene Monroe - OT - Virginia
Though many believe Aaron Curry will be an option here, (which is entirely possible with Spagnulo being the new head coach) only once since 1998 has a linebacker been chosen in the top three (LaVar Arrington). With Orlando Pace rumored to be a cap casualty in the near future, never mind his age, Monroe is a great building block for St Louis.
3. Kansas City Chiefs - Mark Sanchez - QB - USC
New general manager, new head coach, this smells like a new era to me. Todd Haley is one of the best in the league at developing quarterbacks and offenses, and he will want fresh meat to work with. Defensive and offensive line are an option here; a lot will depend on free agency.
4. Seattle Seahawks - B.J Raji - DT - Boston College
This is one of the toughest picks to gauge, because Seattle has so many areas of need. The truth here is that with Tatupu in place and Hill being franchised, they clearly want to build around the defense, especially with so many questions on offense. God knows they will need defense if they hope to overthrow Arizona.
5. Cleveland Browns - Aaron Curry - LB - Wake Forest
This is the best situation for Curry to land in. Cleveland has a good defensive line in place, but no linebackers to hit the holes. The effort on the line goes to waste, and that changes in a big way with Curry.
6. Cincinnati Bengals - Andre Smith - OT - Alabama
The most talented LT in the draft, he had character issues that surfaced during the combine which should cause him to slip a little. Character issues, Cincinnati, it’s a match made in heaven. In all seriousness, though, Carson Palmer needs to remain upright regardless of who he is throwing to.
7. Oakland Raiders - Michael Crabtree - WR - Texas Tech
Al Davis loves the sexy pick, which is exactly what Crabtree is. I'm sure Russell will be pleased to receive some help on offense.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jason Smith - OT - Baylor
This team needs help defensively, but there is no one with as much value at an area of need as Jason Smith right now.
9. Green Bay Packers - Brian Orakpo - DE -Texas
A physical monster, Orakpo can be the presence in the Pack’s new 3-4 scheme at outside linebacker. Outside linebacker is one of the most important positions in a 3-4 scheme, and Orakpo will be the rock in Green Bay for a long time.
10. San Francisco 49ers - Everette Brown - DE - FSU
After a season where head coach Mike Singletary pulled his pants down to describe the way his team was being humiliated, he could use a guy to rip the pants off opposing offenses. While this team could use a quarterback, there is no option of value here, and the team will hope to ride Fran Gore and Vernon Davis in their new offense.
11. Buffalo Bills - Brandon Pettigrew - TE - Oklahoma State
With their franchise quarterback in place, Buffalo will need some type of threat to take the attention away from Lee Evans. Pettigrew does just that and is the best available player here.
12. Denver Broncos - Aaron Maybin - DE/OLB - Penn State
This team has a lot of defensive needs, but franchises are built around pass rushers. Maybin can pitch a tent in opponents' backfields for a team that didn’t see a player graze the backfield all season in '08.
13. Washington Redskins - Michael Oher - OT - Mississippi
Sir Daniel Snyder loves the sexy pick as much as Count Al Davis, but he is going to have to deal with it and take an offensive tackle here. The Skins need help in the trenches, and because they have been linked to Albert Haynesworth offensive line makes more sense here.
14. New Orleans Saints - Vontae Davis - DB - Illinois
Davis had a great combine, establishing himself as the top defensive back prospect in the draft. He has great closing speed and build, and should represent a big upgrade in New Orleans.
15. Houston Texans - Rey Maualuga - ILB - USC
Samoan defenders from USC have a pretty good track record (see Polamalu, Troy and Tatupu, Lofa), and Maualuga should solidify an up and coming defense on an up and coming team.
16. San Diego Chargers - Chris Wells - HB - OSU
Wells is the top running back in this year’s class and can help this organization regardless of what happens with LaDainian Tomlinson in the near future. Either way, Wells is too good to pass up.
17. New York Jets - Tyson Jackson - DE - LSU
With Rex Ryan in the driver’s seat in New York, you can bet the focal point of the draft will be defense. Jackson is a great talent who should find a home where he is used well in New York.
18. Chicago Bears - Jeremy Maclin - WR - Missouri
Simply put, Devin Hester is not a No. 1 receiver. He is a nice luxury, but not a polished pass catcher. Maclin will give the bears what they need in that regard.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Knowshon Moreno - HB - Georgia
Whoever is quarterback down there will need some help, and Moreno provides just that. He is the most talented player on the board at this time, and the Bucs have nothing but question marks at halfback right now.
20. Detroit Lions - William Beatty - OT - UConn
A franchise quarterback, a new left tackle, Calvin Johnson, Kevin Smith, wow, suddenly the Lions don’t look half bad. Well, I guess when you factor in that defense part, that’s what they are—half bad.
21. Philadelphia Eagles - Eben Britton - OT - Arizona
The Eagles always draft linemen, and this year it makes as much sense as ever with both tackles set to become free agents. They have two first round picks, so some other issues can be addressed later on.
22. Minnesota Vikings - Louis Delmas - FS - Western Michigan
With a trade for Sage Rosenfels in place, the offense seems to be coming together quite well for Minnesota. On the other hand, Darren Sharper is set to retire and, thus, Minnesota would be wise to grab the most talented safety on the board to eventually succeed him.
23. New England Patriots - Malcolm Jenkins - DB - Ohio State
Jenkins was touted as the best defensive back in this year’s class until Davis leap-frogged him. With that in mind, he is the best player on the board as of right now and makes a lot of sense, as New England can use him as a safety or a corner.
24. Atlanta Falcons - Brian Cushing - OLB - USC
The Falcons will be losing Keith Brooking as well as safety Lawyer Milloy, so Cushing could provide a real boost at the linebacker position, despite the secondary still being suspect.
25. Miami Dolphins - Larry English - DE/OLB - Northern Illinois
English was a very productive edge rusher at NIU and would be a perfect fit on the outside in Miami. Bill Parcells has used four of his 10 first round picks on linebackers, no matter where he has been. They are the true difference-makers in a 3-4 scheme.
26. Baltimore Ravens - Alphonso Smith - DB - Wake Forest
Corner is a huge weakness for the Ravens right now, but they should get a quality one in Smith, who will slide right in that system in Baltimore.
27. Indianapolis Colts - Percy Harvin - WR - Florida
Marvin Harrison is gone now, and though Harvin lined up in the backfield a lot at Florida, he can still provide the Colts with a significant spark. Offensive as well as defensive line is of need here as well, but they will push hard to resign Jeff Saturday, and there is plenty of defensive line depth in this draft.
28. Philadelphia Eagles - LeSean McCoy - HB - Pitt
Buckhalter is a free agent and Westbrook has a degenerative knee, so they will be looking for the back of the future. Homegrown LeSean McCoy should provide them with a very good option for a number of years.
29. New York Giants - James Laurinaitis - LB - OSU
Laurinaitis has seen his stock drop because of a so-so combine and no senior bowl appearance, but that doesn’t mean very much. Put the tape on of him these past few years and you will see why he was touted as a top 10 pick last year. He can play the weak side in New York right away and eventually replace Antonio Pierce in the middle.
30. Tennessee Titans - Darius Heyward-Bey - WR - Maryland
Heyward-Bey had a great combine and could prove to be another good weapon for this Titans team. Not to mention the Titans' recent success with guys who had the fastest 40 time.
31. Arizona Cardinals - Donald Brown - HB - UCONN
Not many people have this guy set to go in the first round, but believe me, just put the tape on. His ability to catch the ball coming out of the backfield makes him great for this team
32. Pittsburgh Steelers - Max Unger - C - Oregon
Ben Roethlisberger is known for running around because, well, that’s what he has to do to stay up right. Unger should provide a versatile option up front for years to come.
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