The sights of the brass of all 32 NFL teams are now set on how they can improve their team through free agency and the 2013 NFL draft to give their team the best shot to play in Super Bowl XLVIII.
The question that every team now must answer is which players its sights should be set on in the upcoming draft. Not every team will land the player on top of its draft board, but for most teams, there is one player who should be an easy choice if he is still available at their draft pick.
In the following slideshow, we take a look at the player for each team who would be available for it to draft in a best-case scenario. This is a player who would be a great choice for both need and value at the team's current draft pick and could make an immediate impact to improve it in 2013.
While the players selected for each team are ideal selections for their team, players who have almost no realistic chance of being available at the team’s current draft slot were not chosen for their teams. For example, while the Indianapolis Colts would almost certainly love to draft Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel to improve their offensive line, the projected top-five pick will almost certainly not be available when the Colts pick at No. 24 overall, even if the Colts try to trade up the board.
Teams are listed in alphabetical order. Some players are chosen for multiple teams.
Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones would be a great choice for many teams, but for which teams is he a prize target? Read through the following slides to find out.
The sights of the brass of all 32 NFL teams are now set on how they can improve their team through free agency and the 2013 NFL draft to give their team the best shot to play in Super Bowl XLVIII.
The Arizona Cardinals will likely to have a tough decision to make at the No. 7 overall pick between drafting an offensive tackle and a quarterback, but if Luke Joeckel is still available, their decision should be made with ease.
Joeckel could be selected as high as the No. 1 overall pick, and with good reason. He is a very well-rounded left tackle with great length, feet and technique, and who could come in and immediately become one of the NFL’s best pass-protectors at the position.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals desperately need to rebuild their offensive line, and that effort should begin with finding a franchise left tackle.
Central Michigan left tackle Eric Fisher and West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith are also top targets at the No. 7 pick, but if Joeckel is still somehow available, it would be a dream scenario for the Cardinals.
There are many positions that the Atlanta Falcons could look to address with their first-round pick, and players at each position who would be great choices late in Round 1. Depending on which position they decide to emphasize, there are many players who would be terrific choices.
One player who would be tough to pass up, however, is Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams. The Falcons need to find a big, powerful defensive tackle who can be an upgrade next to Jonathan Babineaux, and the massive and strong yet quick Crimson Tide nose tackle would fit the bill.
Williams is a terrific run-stopper who fills gaps well, gets great leverage and can take up blockers to allow the Falcons’ linebackers to make more plays. While not much of a pass-rusher, he would be a terrific addition to the defense and great value if he falls all the way to the No. 30 overall pick.
Other players who the Falcons could have at the top of their board as first-round prize targets include Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert, Texas defensive end Alex Okafor and Alabama running back Eddie Lacy.
The Ravens need to replace Ray Lewis, who played his final game in Super Bowl XLVII. To fill his massive shoes, the Ravens need to find an athletic playmaker at inside linebacker who is not only a run-stopper, but can also explode into the backfield and make plays in pass coverage.
Georgia’s Alec Ogletree is not the most polished inside linebacker in the 2013 NFL draft, but he may have the most upside, and is the best choice for the Ravens to add to take over the major role Lewis has played on their defense.
A former safety, Ogletree has terrific speed, drops into coverage effectively and is also a very good blitzer. He needs to become a sound run tackler and has character concerns, but he has the potential to be a standout in the middle of the Baltimore Ravens’ defense.
It will be a surprise if LSU inside linebacker Kevin Minter is still available at the end of Round 1, but if he is, he would be a terrific choice to fill Lewis’ shoes.
Unfortunately for the Buffalo Bills, there is no perfect choice for them with the No. 8 overall pick regardless of who is available. The Bills should be focused on either drafting a quarterback or linebacker with their first-round pick, but there are no players truly worthy of being top-10 picks at either position.
In a quarterback-driven league, however, quarterbacks are always valued higher in the draft. Therefore, the top target for the Bills should be Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson, who would be a good fit for Doug Marrone’s offense and is the most polished downfield pocket passer in the draft class.
Wilson did not have a great senior season, but although he must overcome inconsistency, he is a skilled quarterback with a strong arm, good pocket presence and the ability to make any throw on the field.
Marrone has an obvious link to Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib as his college coach over the past four years, but Wilson is a better quarterback, and he should be the choice for the Bills if available and they draft a signal-caller at No. 8.
It is very unlikely that Utah’s Star Lotulelei would get past both the Tennessee Titans at No. 10 and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 13, but if by chance he falls to the Panthers’ pick at No. 14 overall, they should absolutely pounce on the opportunity to draft him.
The Panthers’ biggest need is for a difference-maker in the middle of the defensive line, which is exactly what they would get from Lotulelei. Lotulelei is not only a massive gap-filler, but is also quick and explosive off the line, and can make plays in the backfield as both a run defender and pass-rusher.
Lotulelei is a talent worthy of a top-five draft selection. Having the chance to draft him would be a dream scenario for the Panthers, in terms of both value and need.
Brian Urlacher is one of the best defensive players of his generation, but the standout middle linebacker may have played his final game with the Chicago Bears. Even if the Bears bring him back on a short-term deal, the time is now to find a replacement for the declining star.
The perfect fit among 2013 NFL draft picks to replace Urlacher is Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o. Like Urlacher, Te’o is a big middle linebacker who does a terrific job at filling holes and making big stops on run defense.
Te’o’s stock may be falling after a rough January both on and off the field, but he remains one of the best defensive prospects in the draft. He is a linebacker with great instincts who can be a playmaker on all three downs, and would fill an impending position of need for the Bears.
Another prize target for the Bears if available at the No. 20 overall pick would be Alabama guard Chance Warmack. Warmack is one of the best offensive linemen in the draft, a position group that the Bears need to rebuild this offseason.
Athletes have long been linked to performing at their best in contract years, but that was not the case for Bengals middle linebacker Rey Maualuga, who will likely be let go as an unrestricted free agent after a disappointing 2012 season. That leaves the Bengals in need of a replacement at linebacker.
The Bengals’ defense uses mostly packages with only two linebackers, but their only solid starter going into next season is Vontaze Burfict, who showed he can play both middle and weak-side linebacker in his rookie season. The Bengals should be looking for another linebacker who can rotate between both spots with Burfict, and LSU’s Kevin Minter would fit the bill.
Minter had a breakout junior season at LSU, and he has a case for being the best linebacker in this year’s draft class. He is an athletic linebacker who makes plays all over the field and is a terrific run defender.
Minter would be great value outside the top 20 picks if still available, and he would add an immediate playmaker to the Bengals’ defensive front seven.
The Cleveland Browns aren’t necessarily going to switch to a 3-4 defense next year, but regardless of what their primary defensive front is next season, they have a major need for a premier pass-rusher to line up across from Jabaal Sheard.
Texas A&M’s Damontre Moore is a very good pass-rusher who has experience as both a 4-3 defensive end and a 3-4 outside linebacker, which would make him a great fit for what is likely to be a multiple-front defense in Cleveland.
Moore is a great athlete who can be a three-down player at either position. He is a good edge-rusher, is a solid run-stopper, has the speed to drop back and make plays downfield and has a consistent motor.
If the Browns plan to run the 4-3 primarily, Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner would be the best fit, while Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones would be the best fit for a 3-4 defense. Moore brings the best position versatility, however, among the top three pass-rushers in the draft class.
The Dallas Cowboys have a need to upgrade at every offensive line spot going right from the center, but their biggest need may be to replace Mackenzy Bernadeau at right guard.
If Alabama’s Chance Warmack is still on the board at the No. 18 overall pick, the Cowboys should jump at the opportunity to draft an outstanding guard prospect who can be an immediate upgrade.
Warmack is a massive, powerful guard who drives opposing defenders off the snap and opens up big holes for the running game. Additionally, he has very good feet for a guard, and he is a very effective pass-protector and pull blocker.
The Denver Broncos need to find a defensive tackle who can be a three-down difference-maker, with an emphasis on finding a big, powerful run-stopper who can take up blockers.
Ohio State’s Johnathan Hankins would be exactly what they need, and great value late in Round 1 if he manages to slide to the Broncos’ No. 28 overall pick.
Hankins is a dominant run-stopper and an athletic 320-pound interior lineman. He is not a great pass-rusher, but can chase down runners with his speed and could contribute on both rushing and passing downs as a much-needed nose tackle on the Broncos’ line.
With Cliff Avril likely to leave as an unrestricted free agent, the Detroit Lions need to find a new premier pass-rusher at defensive end. Florida State’s Bjoern Werner is the top 4-3 defensive end and one of the best overall prospects in the 2013 draft class.
Werner is long, athletic and has a tremendous first step off the line. He consistently gets into the backfield to make plays and can harass opposing quarterbacks. He is also strong at the point of attack and can make run plays in space.
Werner is one of only a few players in this draft class truly worth a top-five overall pick. He would be a perfect replacement for and potential upgrade to Avril as the No. 5 selection in the draft.
The Green Bay Packers’ offensive line could use reinforcements at multiple positions, but their biggest need is for an upgrade at center. If Barrett Jones is still available at the No. 26 overall pick, he would be a perfect choice for the Packers in the 2013 NFL draft.
Jones is not only the best center in the 2013 draft class, but is a player who has experience playing every position on the offensive line at Alabama. Jones can be an immediate starter at any interior line spot, and he would be great value late in Round 1.
Jones could slide to this point in the draft due to a Lisfranc injury to his foot. If still on the board, the tough, intelligent offensive lineman could be exactly what the Packers need to spark a struggling unit.
Derek Newton didn’t pan out as the starting right tackle in his sophomore season, leaving right tackle as one of the Texans’ greatest needs. Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson is a rising offensive tackle who could go as high as the early teens of the draft board, but he would be a perfect choice late in Round 1 to fill that need.
With terrific feet and length, Johnson is going to be viewed as a player who can be a potential franchise left tackle, but he has experience excelling on the right side of the line. While he has to gain upper-body strength, he has a very strong lower body and gets great leverage against his opponents.
Johnson could be an upgrade at right tackle as both a pass-protector and run blocker, and he would be great value late in Round 1. The Texans could be looking for a wide receiver or defensive back with their first-round pick, but they should not pass up Johnson if they have the chance to select him.
Chance Warmack is being projected to be selected as high as the top 10 draft picks, but so was Stanford guard David DeCastro in last year’s draft. DeCastro ended up falling to the No. 24 overall pick, which is the exact spot with which the Indianapolis Colts pick in Round 1 this year.
Warmack is an outstanding all-around guard prospect, and it will come as a surprise if he gets past both the Dallas Cowboys at No. 18 and Chicago Bears at No. 20. But because the guard position does not come with high draft value, it is a definite possibility.
If Warmack does have the same fall that DeCastro did last year, he will be an easy choice for the Colts, just as DeCastro was for the Pittsburgh Steelers last year. The Colts have a massive need to rebuild their interior offensive line, and drafting the powerful yet athletic Warmack would give them a terrific building block for that effort.
In a class that may not have one truly elite prospect, there is no true prize target for the Jacksonville Jaguars at the No. 2 overall pick. Their biggest need, however, is to add defensive playmakers to their defensive front seven.
Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones is the best all-around defensive playmaker in the draft class, but with injury concerns and questions about his positional fit in a 4-3 defense, the Jaguars may decide that the better choice is Utah nose tackle Star Lotulelei if he gets past the Chiefs.
The Jaguars need to get better at both stopping the run up the middle and bringing interior pass-rush pressure, and Lotulelei can help them in both areas. He is a massive physical presence with terrific strength, but he is also explosive off the snap and can shoot gaps very well for a big nose tackle.
The ideal scenario for the Jaguars would be to trade down and get better value later in the first round, but in a class lacking stars, there may not be anyone interested in trading up so high on the board. Adding Lotulelei would be a great first step for new Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley to rebuild his defense.
The debate could lead all the way up to draft day for the Kansas City Chiefs: Should they draft a potential franchise quarterback with the top pick, or select the best player in the draft class in Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel? A strong case can be made either way, but at this point, Joeckel looks like the best choice.
There is no quarterback worth the top overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft. The Chiefs’ best offseason game plan would be to find a veteran quarterback such as Alex Smith or Matt Flynn who can fill the need for at least 2013, then add a potentially elite left tackle in Joeckel to lead their line.
The Chiefs have a solid left tackle in Branden Albert, but he is an unrestricted free agent. Joeckel would be a young upgrade over Albert, and even if the Chiefs wish to bring back Albert, they could kick him inside where he could be an upgrade at left guard.
While the potential reward of drafting a quarterback No. 1 is higher than drafting a left tackle, Joeckel can provide outstanding pass-protection on the blind side for whoever the Chiefs’ quarterback will be going forward, and he is a much safer choice.
The Miami Dolphins need to find another cornerback who can start across from Sean Smith. Alabama’s Dee Milliner is the best cornerback in the 2013 draft class, a playmaker with great size, athleticism and ball skills.
Milliner has the potential to be a top shutdown cornerback at the next level, and he would be great value at the Dolphins’ draft slot of the No. 12 overall pick.
In terms of both need and value, Milliner would be an outstanding addition for the Dolphins. He is unlikely to drop outside of the top 10, but should be an easy choice if he falls into their laps.
In an effort to regain the interior defensive line dominance they once had with the “Williams Wall,” the Minnesota Vikings should be looking for a powerful nose tackle to line up next to Kevin Williams. Ohio State’s Johnathan Hankins would be a perfect fit if the Vikings have a chance to draft him.
Hankins is among the draft’s top talents and is unlikely to still be available when the Vikings are on the clock at the No. 23 overall pick. But if he manages to slide in a loaded defensive tackle class, he could be a difference-maker inside, especially to improve the Vikings’ interior run defense.
Hankins is the strong and powerful nose tackle the Vikings need, but is also a great athlete for his size. With Williams on the back end of his career, Hankins could be a much-needed long-term cog in the middle of their defensive line.
To bring more pressure on their defensive front, the New England Patriots need to find a quick, athletic defensive tackle who can line up next to Vince Wilfork as a pass-rushing under tackle. Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson is a perfect fit for this role.
Richardson is very explosive off the line of scrimmage, and does a terrific job shooting gaps inside and making plays in the backfield. With his athleticism and ability to track down runners, he could even play defensive end in certain packages.
Richardson will most likely be selected in the middle of Round 1, but if available when the Patriots select at the No. 29 overall pick, he would be the perfect addition to improve the Patriots’ defensive front.
Jarvis Jones could be selected as high as the No. 2 overall pick, but there is a definite possibility for Jones to fall significantly in Round 1. With concerns about what position he will play in various schemes, his upper-body strength and injury risks related to spinal stenosis, there is a definite chance that he could fall to the end of the top 15.
If Jones is still available when the Saints pick at No. 15 overall, the potential reward would definitely outweigh the risks, and they should pounce on the chance to select him.
The Saints are making a transition to the 3-4 defense next season, which leaves them in need of a pass-rushing outside linebacker. They could get that player in Jones, who is a terrific rusher off the edge, but also makes plays all over the field, has great instincts and a relentless motor.
The Saints should be looking for a player who can be a big playmaker for their new defensive front seven with their first-round draft pick, and there would be no better possible first-round choice than Jones.
Even with a number of high draft picks invested into the secondary in recent years, the New York Giants’ pass defense has continued to give up big plays on the back end. A big reason for that is the team’s lack of a true No. 1 cornerback.
Mississippi State’s Johnthan Banks is a big, athletic and physical cornerback who proved as a four-year starter in the SEC that he can go toe-to-toe with even top-flight wideouts. Banks has very good ball skills and instincts, and is ready to immediately help solidify an NFL secondary.
As the clear-cut No. 2 cornerback in the 2013 draft class, Banks would be good value at the No. 19 overall pick. Giving up big passing plays was one major reason that the Giants failed to make the postseason this past year, and the addition of Banks could help rectify that problem quickly.
With a need to rebuild their linebacker corps, LSU’s Kevin Minter would also be an outstanding pick for both value and need if available for the Giants, but they should not pass up Banks if he is available.
The New York Jets’ biggest need is for a new quarterback, but they also have a major need for a pass-rushing outside linebacker, a position at where there is much greater value among first-round talent. If Georgia’s Jarvis Jones is still available when the Jets are on the clock with the No. 9 overall pick, they should not pass him up.
Jones can be the playmaking edge-rusher that the Jets lack and desperately need at outside linebacker. In addition to giving the Jets a much-needed pass-rusher, Jones can also really help them against the run as a player who has great instincts and can make plays all over the field.
If West Virginia’s Geno Smith or Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson is available at No. 9, the Jets should certainly consider either of them as the potential franchise quarterback they do not have. Jones, however, is one of the best players in the draft class and would be both great value and fill a major need.
The Oakland Raiders’ pass rush was one of the league’s worst this past season with only 25 sacks. The biggest reason for that was the team’s lack of a consistent pass-rushing threat at defensive end.
If the Raiders have the chance to draft the class’ top 4-3 defensive end, Florida State’s Bjoern Werner, they should not pass him up with the No. 3 overall pick. An explosive athlete off the edge with great length, Werner can be the premier pass-rusher the Raiders lack.
Werner is also strong at the point of attack and makes play in space very well, so he could be an asset to the Raiders’ run defense as well. He is well worth a top-five draft pick, and he could address one of the team’s greatest needs.
The Philadelphia Eagles have greater needs than a left tackle, but they should not pass up Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel if presented with the chance to select him.
Joeckel is the best all-around prospect in the draft class, and he could be a franchise player to lead the Eagles’ offensive line for many years to come. For a unit that struggled with injuries and disappointing performances in 2012, the long, angular and athletic Joeckel could be a leader and star for the group going forward.
The Eagles have one of the NFL’s best left tackles in Jason Peters, but he is coming off multiple injuries to his Achilles tendon. But even if Peters returns to his All-Pro form, Joeckel could be an immediate upgrade at right tackle. That would allow the Eagles to fill a need at right guard by shifting Todd Herremans inside and groom Joeckel into their left tackle of the future, or shift Peters over to the right side.
Joeckel’s value would simply be too good for the Eagles to pass up if he is still available at the No. 4 overall pick.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have invested four draft picks in the first two rounds over the past three year in efforts to stabilize their offensive line, but it remains an ongoing process. The Steelers have yet to find the long-term option they need at left tackle, so they should not pass up Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher if he manages to fall to them at the No. 17 overall selection.
Fisher is the top prospect in this year’s draft class from outside the major-conference schools, and has the skill set of a franchise left tackle. Fisher has terrific length, great feet and very good strength, making him a very effective pass-protector and run-blocker.
Protecting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been an ongoing problem for the Steelers in recent years, but if they had the chance to draft Fisher, they might finally be able to overcome that issue.
Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson is not as strong of an all-around prospect as Fisher, but he would also be a great choice to fill the need for a left tackle if available at No. 17 overall.
The San Diego Chargers have as great of a need for offensive tackles as any team in the NFL, so if they have the chance to draft Eric Fisher, they absolutely should not pass it up.
Fisher would be an immediate upgrade at offensive tackle on either side of the line, but would likely take over right away at left tackle. The Chargers need to protect quarterback Philip Rivers more effectively, and Fisher is a very well-rounded left tackle who is especially strong as a pass-blocker with great length, quick feet and great use of his hands.
Neither Jared Gaither nor Mike Harris is a legitimate option going forward at left tackle, leaving the position as the Chargers’ biggest need. Fisher would be a great investment with the Chargers’ No. 11 overall pick.
Seattle Seahawks starting 3-technique defensive tackle Alan Branch is an unrestricted free agent, and the Seahawks could be looking for a quicker, more explosive interior defensive lineman to fill his spot. If Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson were to fall to the No. 25 overall pick, he would be a terrific fit for that role.
Richardson’s explosive quickness and ability to penetrate in the middle would make him a great complement inside next to nose tackle Brandon Mebane. Additionally, he has the athleticism to play at defensive end also, where he is a good fit to play as the 5-technique defensive end opposite the “Leo” in the Seahawks’ defensive front.
Defensive tackle may not be the Seahawks’ biggest need, but Richardson would be very good value outside of the top 20 picks, and he could make a very good defensive front even more dynamic.
It is unclear whether unrestricted free agent free safety Dashon Goldson will return to the San Francisco 49ers next season. As was exposed by the big plays allowed in the 49ers’ Super Bowl defeat, they need to reinforce their secondary either way.
Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro would be a great fit regardless of whether or not Goldson returns, as he is a versatile defensive back who can play either safety spot and also slot cornerback. He comes with some of the same concerns as Goldson and strong safety Donte Whitner — missed tackles and big plays allowed — but he is a skilled cover safety with very good measurables and big upside.
LSU free safety Eric Reid would also be a prize target at the No. 31 overall pick if the 49ers end up moving on from Goldson, but Reid lacks the positional versatility in the secondary that they could get from Vaccaro.
The St. Louis Rams need to find another offensive tackle to bookend with Rodger Saffold. It is looking unlikely that the rising Eric Fisher will still be available when the Rams first pick at No. 16 overall, but he would be a perfect choice to fill that role if available.
Fisher can play on either side of the line, though drafting him would likely lead the Rams to move Saffold to right tackle. Either way, Fisher is a long and athletic offensive tackle who can excel in pass protection and be a strong, physical run-blocker on either side.
Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson may be a more realistic option unless the Rams make a move to trade up, but Fisher would be great value and address one of the Rams’ greatest areas of need if still available in the middle of Round 1.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ pass defense struggled mightily this past season, and they look very thin at cornerback. The Buccaneers traded top cornerback Aqib Talib last season, Eric Wright is expected to be released (per Pewter Report) and E.J. Biggers is an unrestricted free agent.
The Buccaneers need to upgrade at cornerback, so if Alabama’s Dee Milliner makes a surprising fall to the No. 13 overall pick, he would be a no-brainer selection for Tampa Bay. Milliner is a very talented cornerback with the potential to be the shutdown corner and playmaker the Bucs very much need in their secondary.
Milliner would be very good value outside of the top 10, and could help the Buccaneers’ pass defense make immediate progress. Mississippi State’s Johnthan Banks would also be a strong upgrade at cornerback and may be a more realistic option, but Milliner should be the target at the top of the Buccaneers’ board.
Defensive tackle is not among the Tennessee Titans’ biggest needs, but their interior defensive line could use a consistent force and difference-maker. If massive, powerful and explosive nose tackle Star Lotulelei is still available at the No. 10 overall pick, they would be hard-pressed to pass up his value.
Lotulelei could be a big addition to the Titans' defensive line as both a strong gap-filler and a quick penetrator, and be a long-term cog at nose tackle. He is one of the best all-around players in the 2013 draft class, and he would be great value at the end of the top 10.
The Washington Redskins are the only team in the 2013 NFL draft who do not have a first-round pick. That does not necessarily stop them, however, from making a move into the late first round or up early into the second round if a player they are targeting slides down the draft board.
One player who could be worth trading up for if he falls into that range is Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro. The Redskins are in serious need of upgrades at safety, and Vaccaro is an athletic, hard-hitting and skilled cover safety who could be a potential upgrade at either safety spot.
If the Redskins stay put with their first pick being at No. 51 overall, the ideal target to fall to that slot would be Florida strong safety Matt Elam. Elam, the No. 3 safety in the draft class, is a hard-hitting run-support safety who is also a great athlete and has good ball skills.
Dan Hope is an NFL Draft Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report.