The regular season is over and players on the teams that missed the postseason will be receiving rest. The front offices for these franchises, however, will now be working hard to prepare their strategies for the 2013 NFL draft.
The Kansas City Chiefs are now on the clock and will pick first this April.
Choices at the top of the draft tend to be made based on value, not need, but there is a reason these franchises own high picks, and each team with a top-five selection has glaring holes in its roster that it must address.
Here is the greatest need for each team with a top-five pick.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
What should the Chiefs do with the No. 1 pick?
The Chiefs are truly unfortunate to be picking first this year. The team is a year too late to grab Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, and picking West Virginia’s Geno Smith or USC’s Matt Barkley first is a reach.
Kansas City will have to assess how truly desperate it is for a new player under center. Trading down from the first pick is not always easy, and it may decide that one of the top two quarterbacks is worth taking a chance on.
If the Chiefs opt to pick based on value, they will have to wait until later rounds to address their greatest need.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
Need: Defensive End
While the Chiefs face a difficult decision in deciding whether need or value dictate their pick, this draft class is ideal for the Jaguars.
Jacksonville’s 20 sacks this past season ranked dead last in the NFL, and there is no doubt the team will take one of the many talented pass-rushers available.
Texas A&M’s Damontre Moore, Florida State’s Bjoern Werner and LSU’s Barkevious Mingo would all provide Jacksonville with the speed and athleticism it needs at defensive end.
3. Oakland Raiders
Need: Defensive End
The Raiders recorded fewer sacks this season (25) than any team except the Jaguars, and they too will surely be targeting a defensive end.
The three previously mentioned players are all talented enough to justify being a top-five pick, and Oakland will not have to fret too much about Jacksonville stealing the player it needs.
With little to separate those three pass-rushers, the Raiders will happily settle for one of the two left over after Jacksonville makes its selection.
4. Philadelphia Eagles
Need: Offensive Line
Jason Peters’ injury showed just how fragile the Eagles' offensive line truly is, and the team desperately needs to add another productive player in front of Nick Foles.
Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel has been drawing rave reviews from draft experts, and he would be an ideal choice for Philadelphia in this position.
If Peters is healthy and ready to be a Pro Bowler again in 2013, Joeckel will have time to develop at right tackle. Otherwise, the Aggies' standout will provide Philadelphia with an excellent backup plan.
5. Detroit Lions
The Lions' two best defensive backs are free agents, and if cornerback Chris Houston and safety Louis Delmas leave, Detroit’s secondary will go from mediocre to inept.
Pass defense has been an ongoing problem for the Lions. Dee Milliner is clearly the best defensive back in the draft, and would be an excellent pick for the team.
However, defensive end Cliff Avril is also a free agent and Kyle Vanden Bosch is not the player he used to be. The defensive end that gets passed over by Jacksonville and Oakland will provide better value with this pick, and it will be extremely tempting for Detroit to add a pass-rusher.
2013 NFL Draft Order
Note: picks 20-32 are projected and subject to change based on playoff results.
|1. Kansas City Chiefs|
|2. Jacksonville Jaguars|
|3. Oakland Raiders|
|4. Philadelphia Eagles|
|5. Detroit Lions|
|6. Cleveland Browns|
|7. Arizona Cardinals|
|8. Buffalo Bills|
|9. New York Jets|
|10. Tennessee Titans|
|11. San Diego Chargers|
|12. Miami Dolphins|
|13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|14. Carolina Panthers|
|15. New Orleans Saints|
|16. St. Louis Rams|
|17. Pittsburgh Steelers|
|18. Dallas Cowboys|
|19. New York Giants|
|20. Chicago Bears|
|21. St. Louis Rams (via WA)|
|22. Minnesota Vikings|
|23. Indianapolis Colts|
|24. Houston Texans|
|25. Cincinnati Bengals|
|26. Baltimore Ravens|
|27. Green Bay Packers|
|28. Atlanta Falcons|
|29. Seattle Seahawks|
|30. New England Patriots|
|31. San Francisco 49ers|
|32. Denver Broncos|