Last season, there were some playoff-worthy NFL teams whose seasons finished in December. Now they’ll get an influx of talent in the 2013 NFL Draft and be ready for a rebound season.
These three teams don’t need too much help in the offensive playmaker department, and they get lucky with a defensive-laden draft pool this year. Their general managers all have a track record of making championship-caliber rookie selections, so they know what they’re looking for in their personnel.
Which teams are one draft away from a deep run into February? Read on.
The Steelers looked old and decrepit at times in 2013, with the offense regressing to a 22nd overall ranking. With their middle and late-round picks they’ll look for hard-working players that can shore up their offense.
The running game has been suspect for two years, so they’ll look for a worthy candidate for carries in the middle rounds. Not to mention they will be letting go of Mike Wallace, so finding another pass-catcher would be wise.
Early on, though, Pittsburgh needs to add a few young defensive playmakers, as it is a defensive-heavy draft at the top this year. Getting a versatile pass-rusher to complement James Harrison like Dion Jordan or Ezekiel Ansah would bring some athleticism to an aging unit.
New York Giants
Another team that has their quarterback position settled and a championship pedigree, the Giants may already make the playoffs next season as it stands today.
They need some youth, though, primarily on the offensive line and in the secondary. Corey Webster has overstayed his welcome after a horrid season and needs a rookie to come in and push him, like David Amerson or Xavier Rhodes.
A middle-round selection addressing the offensive line, much like David Diehl, would go a long way in restoring the depth they have had in their past two Super Bowl years.
New Orleans Saints
A defense-heavy draft is just what the doctor ordered in New Orleans. A few spot-on picks and their defensive unit will be just good enough to help Drew Brees win games.
Rob Ryan’s defensive scheme centers on attacking the quarterback, but before they get to third down they need to stop their opponent on the first two. That’s why a defensive lineman, such as Sheldon Richardson or Sharrif Floyd, would be the ideal selection.
Then the Saints should hope an Eric Reid or Xavier Rhodes is around with their next pick to add to their secondary. From there they should select the best player available, with emphasis on defense the rest of the way.
They won't be far off from contention after making those selections.
Mike Shiekman is a Breaking News Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow his sports musings and random life observations on Twitter.