Every team in the NFL has areas of weakness that it hopes to address in the draft, especially in the first round where the best players in the nation typically get selected.
But with only a handful of the players available in the draft worthy of being selected in the first round, filling those needs is easier said than done.
Let’s take a look at which teams will get what they need the most while others are forced to address secondary areas of concern.
*Note: Draft order based on standings through Week 15; ties in standings broken by strength of schedule. Teams who will not fill one of its biggest needs in the first round italicized.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-12): Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
On talent and immediate impact alone, Geno Smith isn’t the top overall pick in this year’s draft. But he is the best quarterback in the draft, and Kansas City needs a QB desperately.
A pocket passer who can improvise with his legs, Smith does an excellent job of reading defenses, hits his receivers in stride and has the ability to move defenders when he wants to go deep.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12): Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Don't get me wrong—Jacksonville needs help in a number of areas, including defensive end.
But the team's biggest need is finding a long-term replacement under center for Blaine Gabbert (Chad Henne is not the answer), and there isn't another QB worthy of being selected this high in the draft.
Damontre Moore addresses another major issue for the Jaguars: their nonexistent pass rush. Moore’s 12.5 sacks on the season are nearly as many as the entire Jacksonville defense has recorded—14.
3. Oakland Raiders (4-10): Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Oakland needs a defensive end that can get after the quarterback and Werner excels at getting after the quarterback—but he’s more than a pass-rusher.
Bjoern Werner uses his brute strength and explosive first step to constantly disrupt opposing offenses before a play can develop.
Much like Houston’s J.J. Watt, Werner has an uncanny ability to locate the ball while he’s rushing and knock down passes.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-10): Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Nick Foles is the future under center for the Eagles, so keeping him upright and on the field has to be the first order of business for the rebuilding Eagles.
As complete an offensive lineman as there is in the draft, Joeckel will be a fixture on the left side of Philadelphia’s offensive line for a decade.
5. Detroit Lions (4-10): Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Detroit needs a dynamic corner like Kansas City and Jacksonville need quarterbacks, and the Lions step to the podium with the best corner in the draft sitting there waiting to be selected.
Milliner is the complete package: he has the size to cover bigger receivers, the speed to stay with speedsters and the aggressiveness and open-field tackling ability to make his presence felt against the run.
6. San Diego Chargers (5-9): Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
San Diego has to do a better job of protecting Philip Rivers, and adding Taylor Lewan is a great place to start addressing that problem.
Lewan is an awesome athlete who not only does a great job in pass protection, but he’s mobile enough to get downfield and block for the running game.
7. Buffalo Bills (5-9): Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
Ideally, the Bills would be adding a dynamic wide receiver for Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw to, but there isn’t a receiver worthy of being selected this high.
The instincts of Manti Te’o are off the charts and he is, simply put, a tackling machine in the middle of the field that makes everyone around him better.
8. Cleveland Browns (5-9): Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Adding another corner would be filling a major need as well, but a chance to land Chance Warmack is one that the Browns cannot pass up.
At 6’3”, 320 lbs, Warmack doesn't block as much as he simply moves defenders out of the way. Trent Richardson can attest to that, having run behind Warmack at Alabama.
9. Tennessee Titans (5-9): Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
Neither Derrick Morgan nor Kamerion Wimbley, with a combined 9.5 sacks on the season, is the dynamic edge rusher that the Titans nseed.
10. Carolina Panthers (5-9): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Standing 6’4” and weighing 325 lbs, Star Lotulelei is a beast that clogs the middle of the line and commands double-teams.
He fills a void on Carolina’s defensive line, one that hasn’t been filled since Kris Jenkins left the team following the 2007 season.
11. Arizona Cardinals (5-9): Matt Barkley, QB, USC
While the Cardinals have been burnt by USC quarterbacks before (see Matt Leinart), the current regime will reach for Matt Barkley in an attempt to quickly fix the mess that is quarterback in Arizona.
Kevin Kolb, John Skelton and Ryan Lindley have only succeeded at one thing in 2012, and that’s making stud WR Larry Fitzgerald virtually irrelevant.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8): Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
With the worst pass defense in the NFL, the Bucs take a big step toward solidifying that unit with the selection of Banks.
Banks isn't as fast as some may like, but he is a natural ball hawk who finds the ball in the air as well as any defender in the nation.
13. Miami Dolphins (6-8): Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
Miami's biggest need is a dynamic wide receiver for Ryan Tannehill to throw to, but there isn't one worth taking this early.
Instead, the Dolphins add Jordan, who has the speed and strength to excel in the NFL as an edge rusher but who is versatile enough that he can drop back and play outside linebacker as well.
14. New Orleans Saints (6-8): Sam Montgomery, LSU
New Orleans needs help all over its defense, and taking a dynamic pass-rusher like Montgomery is a great step toward bolstering an awful unit.
His ability to get after the quarterback and stand strong against the run, coupled with the fact that he's got some local flavor being a LSU product, makes this a no-brainer for the Saints.
15. New York Jets (6-8): Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
The Jets need a quarterback that can step in and play right away, but that player isn't available at this point in the draft.
So Gang Green turns to what Rex Ryan knows best—defense.
Arguably the most naturally gifted player in this year’s draft, Jarvis Jones is an exceptional pass-rusher with great instincts who can play the run and drop back into coverage.
16. St. Louis Rams (6-7-1): Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
As QB Sam Bradford goes, so do the Rams, which makes bolstering the offensive line a priority for St. Louis.
Jake Matthews isn’t a sexy pick, but he’s a safe pick that will be a rock on the right side of the Rams’ offensive line for the next decade or more.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7): Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Johnathan Hankins isn’t much of a pass-rusher, but at 6’3”, 335 lbs, he occupies multiple blockers in the middle of the line, putting his teammates in one-on-one situations that they can exploit.
With Casey Hampton not getting any younger, now is the time to bring in a youngster to learn from the wily veteran so that he’s ready to take over the spot when Hampton moves on.
18. Cincinnati Bengals (8-6): Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
A big-time running back would be the ideal selection here, but there isn't a back worth taking at this spot in the draft.
Instead, the Bengals target an explosive athlete in Ogletree, one who has tremendous instincts on the field and the speed and tackling ability to make a difference. He adds depth to a unit that already features Vontaze Burfict and Rey Maualuga.
19. St. Louis Rams (From Washington Redskins (8-6): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
St. Louis shores up its other tackle spot with the selection of Fisher, a 6'7", 305-pound beast who is a powerful run blocker and able to fend off oncoming speed rushers trying to get after Sam Bradford and blow things up in the Rams backfield.
20. Chicago Bears (8-6): Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Chicago would prefer to add someone who can step in from the start and bolster the offensive line, but Johnson is an athletic freak with so much upside that the Bears cannot afford to pass on him.
A former quarterback, tight end and defensive end, Johnson played right tackle for the Sooners in 2011 and moved to the left side in 2012, showing constant improvement as he continues to learn how to play the position.
21. Dallas Cowboys (8-6): Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
While Dallas' pass defense has been much improved on the outside, opposing quarterbacks have found success attacking the middle of the field against the Cowboys.
Enter Vaccaro, who has excellent instincts, the ability to turn his hips quickly and run with streaking receivers, and someone who has no problems stepping up and playing the run.
22. Minnesota Vikings (8-6): C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
While Chad Greenway has been a consistent performer for the Vikings, the rest of their linebacking crew leaves something to be desired.
Mosley has tremendous instincts, gets from sideline to sideline quickly and has figured out how to use his quick hands to knock down passes that come near him.
23. New York Giants (8-6): David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State
Corey Webster has taken a step back in 2012 and there is major concern over whether Terrell Thomas can stay healthy as he's now missed two full seasons due to knee injuries.
Amerson hasn't put up gaudy numbers like he did in 2011 when he picked off 11 passes for the Wolfpack, but he fills a major void on Big Blue's defense.
24. Indianapolis Colts (9-5): Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Ansah is the answer for a Colts defense that has multiple needs in its new 3-4 setup.
Much like the Giants' Jason Pierre-Paul, Ansah is a tremendous athlete who has not played much football and is a bit of a project, yet his combination of size and speed make his upside considerable and worth the risk that comes along with his selection.
25. Baltimore Ravens (9-5): Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
While injuries decimated what would have been a stout Ravens defense in 2012, the unit isn't getting any younger and adding eventual replacements is a necessity.
Okafor isn't a speed rusher, but he uses his hands very well to get past blockers and attack the quarterback, yet he's solid against the run and versatile enough to slide around the line if needed.
26. Seattle Seahawks (9-5): Keenan Allen, WR, California
As Russell Wilson continues to develop, adding more weapons for him to utilize becomes a must.
Keenan Allen has the size (6'3", 210 lbs) and speed to become a potent force opposite Sidney Rice for Seattle.
27. Green Bay Packers (10-4): Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama
Jones has the ability to play either tackle spot or center and that versatility makes him an ideal pick for the Packers, who need help all along their offensive line.
He's faced the best defenses in the nation playing in the SEC and won most of his battles that bodes well for a team that finds itself among the elite squads in the NFL on a yearly basis.
28. New England Patriots (10-4): Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
New England's defense continues to improve, but adding a piece like Sylvester Williams is never a bad decision.
Williams has great speed and the ability to clog the middle of the line and can be worked into New England's rotation to give Vince Wilfork and Kyle Love a breather when they need one.
29. San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1): Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia
Jenkins is a mountain of a man, standing 6'3" and weighing 358 lbs, yet he moves like someone who weighs 100 pounds less.
He has the size to occupy blockers and stuff the run, and with the 49ers potentially facing the departure of Isaac Sopoaga via free agency, Jenkins is a great choice to fill that void.
30. Denver Broncos (11-3): Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
The Broncos need a pair of defensive tackles and they land a good one in Short, who stands 6'3" and weighs 325 pounds.
Short has the uncanny ability to get penetration in opposing backfields and finished 2012 with 14.5 tackles for loss and six sacks.
31. Houston Texans (12-2): Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Houston’s offense would benefit from having another dynamic receiver across the field from Andre Johnson, and Tennessee’s Justin Hunter fits the bill.
Hunter has the size (6’4”, 205 lbs), body control and route-running ability to excel at the next level, though he needs some tweaking before he can be considered a finished product.
32. Atlanta Falcons (12-2): Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Tony Gonzalez isn't going to play forever, so now is as good a time for the Falcons to address their future at tight end.
With Gonzo still playing at an incredibly high level, Eifert will have time to learn from the master while preparing himself for the eventual spot in the starting lineup.
Rick Weiner is a member of B/R's Breaking News Team.