Now that Wild Card Weekend is over, four new teams have turned their attention to the 2013 NFL Draft.
This past weekend’s results mean the Cincinnati Bengals own the 21st pick in April’s draft, and they will be followed by the St. Louis Rams—who have the Washington Redskins’ first-rounder—the Minnesota Vikings and the Indianapolis Colts. The Redskins will make their first selection in the second round with the 54th overall pick.
All these teams are now evaluating their strengths and weakness while starting to compile their draft boards.
Here are players that will likely be available for each of the eliminated playoff teams.
Cincinnati Bengals, Pick No. 21
The Bengals will likely look to add a linebacker in this position, as their current options are all unreliable.
Rey Maualuga is not the player the team hoped he would be, while Vontaze Burfict’s history with character issues is cause for concern. Thomas Howard is coming off of a major knee injury and Manny Lawson is a free agent.
Georgia’s Alec Ogletree would bring stability and talent to the linebacking corps. LSU’s Kevin Minter would be a reach from this spot, but he also projects to be a productive player.
If no linebackers catch the team’s eye, it should look to a versatile defensive player like BYU’s Ezekiel Ansah or Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson in order to ensure that it has its bases covered if any linemen leave in free agency. This will keep the defensive line’s reputation as an elite unit intact.
Washington Redskins, Pick No. 54
The Redskins must look to bolster their secondary after allowing the third-most passing yards this season.
Fresno State safety Phillip Thomas is an intriguing option at this position, while Washington’s Desmond Trufant would also be a smart pick if the team decided cornerback was a greater need.
But Washington could also decide that the defensive backs are not the primary reason for the poor pass defense, and it may look to improve its pass rush.
Texas’ Alex Okafor would be an option as an outside linebacker, while SMU defensive end Margus Hunt has the size and athleticism to make a major impact along the defensive line.
Minnesota Vikings, Pick No. 23
The Vikings found out how thin they are at wide receiver once Percy Harvin went down, and it will likely look to add options for Christian Ponder in the first round.
Tennessee’s Justin Hunter and Cal’s Keenan Allen are big, physical wideouts who would provide contrast to Harvin, while West Virginia’s Tavon Austin would give the team another small, speedy playmaker.
If the team wishes to add a defensive player, it will likely look to pick a linebacker.
Unfortunately, it will be in the same position as Cincinnati and it will either be Ogletree or a reach from this position.
Indianapolis Colts, Pick No. 24
The Colts would be wise to invest heavily in an offensive lineman who will ensure that Andrew Luck stays healthy for the majority of his career.
Indy’s ideal option would be Alabama’s Barrett Jones. He has played multiple positions along the Crimson Tide’s offensive line, but he has the potential to be Luck’s Jeff Saturday.
Central Michigan tackle Eric Fisher would certainly be an excellent option here as well.
If the team does not have a viable pick along the offensive line, it should target a defensive tackle like Florida’s Sharrif Floyd.
NFL Draft Order
Note: picks 25-32 are projected and subject to change based on playoff results.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14)
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14)
3. Oakland Raiders (4-12)
4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12)
5. Detroit Lions (4-12)
6. Cleveland Browns (5-11)
7. Arizona Cardinals (5-11)
8. Buffalo Bills (6-10)
9. New York Jets (6-10)
10. Tennessee Titans (6-10)
11. San Diego Chargers (7-9)
12. Miami Dolphins (7-9)
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9)
14. Carolina Panthers (7-9)
15. New Orleans Saints (7-9)
16. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1)
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)
18. Dallas Cowboys (8-7)
19. New York Giants (9-7)
20. Chicago Bears (10-6)
21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins) (10-6)
23. Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
24. Indianapolis Colts (11-5)
25. Baltimore Ravens (10-6)
26. Seattle Seahawks (11-5)
27. Green Bay Packers (11-5)
28. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1)
29. Houston Texans (12-4)
30. New England Patriots (12-4)
31. Atlanta Falcons (13-3)
32. Denver Broncos (13-3)
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