NFL Teams with the Most Work to Do on Draft Day
It's easy to look at the worst teams from the previous season and say they need to have a productive draft. However, sometimes the best teams need the draft just as much to stay the best.
Like every other competitive sport in the world, pro football is all about finishing first. No NFL team is looking for a second-place finish.
With that being said, those teams at the bottom of the league also must use the draft to restock their talent pool. The way a team drafts typically directly impacts the success or failure of a franchise.
These five teams have the most work to do on draft day.
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Despite signing several big-name free agents, the Miami Dolphins still have plenty of holes to fill on the roster. Any team that spends as much as Miami did will expect to see immediate results. However, issues along the offensive line and in the secondary could keep this team out of the playoffs.
Because of their five picks in the first three rounds, the Dolphins have an opportunity to fill the spots they couldn't during free agency. In fact, they have enough ammo to even orchestrate trades to ensure they land the players they want.
Miami's main targets will be at cornerback and offensive tackle. Losing Sean Smith and Jake Long in free agency created major holes.
The cornerback position is very deep in this draft, and Miami could find a starting-caliber player as late as the third round. This means the Dolphins shouldn't hesitate to trade up in the first round to ensure they land one of the top offensive tackles in this draft.
A move into the top 10 appears necessary to land someone like Oklahoma's Lane Johnson.
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The Oakland Raiders' roster is void of talent. It's hard to identify one player who projects as a top-level talent. The only candidates are Jared Veldheer and Denarius Moore, but Moore needs to find a way to stay healthy.
This means the Raiders must use the draft to address a wide range of needs. Because of interesting trade decisions by the previous regime, Oakland lacks the assets to make a real splash come April.
Reggie McKenzie and company will need to be creative to increase the team's number of draft picks. This situation actually works in the Raiders' favor as this draft has better depth than top-end talent.
It'd make sense to use the No. 3 pick to add picks in later rounds.
I avoided naming specific needs here because there are holes at just about every spot on the field.
Last season was a major disappointment for a Detroit Lions team that was coming off its first playoff appearance in a long time. Getting this franchise back on track won't be easy. The loss of several players this offseason created big holes.
Detroit's decision to release Kyle Vanden Bosch and failure to re-sign Cliff Avril make adding a pass-rusher in the draft a necessity. The dilemma comes in deciding when to target this position.
This is an issue because the Lions also have to replace both starting offensive tackles. Detroit wasn't prepared to match the Indianapolis Colts' offer to Gosder Cherilus, and Jeff Backus decided to retire.
With the No. 5 pick, the Lions will have a chance to add an immediate starter at either position. It's up to Martin Mayhew and company to decide which position is more important.
The offensive tackles who could be on the board at this spot are Central Michigan's Eric Fisher and Oklahoma's Lane Johnson. Oregon's Dion Jordan, LSU's Barkevious Mingo and BYU's Ezekiel Ansah are among the pass-rushers who could be available.
While addressing the need for an offensive tackle and pass-rusher is necessary, the Lions also need to consider adding help at cornerback.
New York Jets
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The New York Jets are a magnet for media attention. This includes the good and the bad, but it has been more of the bad recently. New York's situation isn't going to get better any time soon. This roster has holes at several key positions.
Mark Sanchez and the quarterback spot is the most publicized problem spot. However, the needs at other positions will make it tough for the Jets to find Sanchez's replacement in this draft. They're actually better off giving him one last chance to show some promise.
Even if they ignore the need at quarterback, the Jets will still have a tough time addressing all the team's needs.
This is another case where a team might be better off moving down in the draft to add extra assets.
New England Patriots
Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are again coming off a season in which they failed to capitalize on a chance to bring home another Super Bowl title. While Belichick and company deserve credit for building such a successful team, they appear to undervalue Tom Brady.
That might seem impossible. But each offseason has seen the talent level around Brady decrease. This year, the Patriots decided to play hardball with Wes Welker and now he'll be catching passes from Peyton Manning.
The Danny Amendola signing doesn't fill the void left by Welker. Amendola's injury history makes him a very unreliable player.
New England must use its limited draft resources to add a playmaker at wide receiver, increase the talent level in the secondary and fill holes along the offensive line.This roster isn't in nearly as good a shape as it has been in recent years.