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Breaking Down Every NFL Team's Draft Strategy

Marc LillibridgeContributor IApril 3, 2013

Breaking Down Every NFL Team's Draft Strategy

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    All 32 NFL teams address the NFL draft differently.  Some teams draft the best player available while others will draft by need.  Some teams rely on the expertise of their scouts and others will put much of the emphasize on the coaches input.

    There is no perfect way to draft.  After every draft, each war room thinks they had the best draft of all the teams and everyone is excited.  But as history shows, there will be more missed draft picks than those that end up in the Pro Bowl.

    Here is a look at team needs and how each team should address the draft.  Quite a few teams filled their needs in free agency, so their holes may not be as large as others.

Arizona Cardinals

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    The Cardinals were not huge players in free agency, adding quality low-risk players like running back Rashard Mendenhall, outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander and quarterback Drew Stanton.  All told, general manager Steve Keim signed nine players off the free-agent market.

    Those signings add quality depth to the Cardinals and allow them to draft more for need.  Look for the Cardinals to address the offensive line early in the draft, especially at right tackle and center.  With the acquisitions of quarterback Carson Palmer, the Cardinals will not draft a quarterback until day three, if at all.

    On the defensive side of the football, look for Arizona to draft a cornerback to compete against Antoine Cason and Jerraud Powers for the starting spot opposite Patrick Peterson.  The seven selections the Cardinals have will be used to add depth.

Atlanta Falcons

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    The Falcons went out and made a splash in free agency with the signing of running back Steven Jackson.  They added a solid piece to replace defensive end John Abraham with the addition of Osi Umenyiora.

    Those signings fill holes the Falcons had before free agency, so now general manager Thomas Dimitroff can use his draft picks to fill other needs.  The Falcons are set at wide receiver but drafting a backup quarterback is a need.  Look for the Falcons to address tight end early in the draft.  They need a young player for Tony Gonzalez to mentor.

    On the defensive side of the football, the Falcons need to address the cornerback position.  Going into the season with Asante Samuel and Robert McClain as starters is not going to work.  Look for the Falcons to draft either a cornerback or a defensive end in the first round.

    This will be a defensive heavy draft for Atlanta.  I would expect the Falcons to use eight of their 11 picks in the 2013 NFL draft on defensive players.

Baltimore Ravens

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    The Ravens were ransacked in free agency.  They lost a starter at every position on defense and traded away one of their best wide receivers in Anquan Boldin.  The Ravens made some sneaky good moves on defense by adding outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil and safety Michael Huff.  But the Ravens, a historically good drafting organization under general manager Ozzie Newsome, still has work to do on draft weekend.

    On the offensive side of the football, the Ravens need to address left tackle.  Michael Oher is much better on the right side.  Though center Gino Gradkowski was drafted in the fourth round last year, look for the Ravens to address the position in the draft to provide competition.  Replacing Matt Birk will be harder than most people realize.

    On the defensive side of the football, the Ravens need to replace pass-rusher Paul Kruger.

    They signed Marcus Spears, but look for Newsome to add another speed rusher early in this draft.  Cory Graham is a solid cornerback, but the Ravens will draft a cornerback in the top three rounds.  They need a young player to push former first rounder Jimmy Smith.  Most pundits believe inside linebacker is a major need.  I think the Ravens will draft one, but not until day three.

Buffalo Bills

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    The best move the Bills made this offseason was keeping safety Jairus Byrd.  The young playmaker is one of the best safeties in the NFL, and the Bills could not afford to let him walk in free agency.

    They did lose offensive guard Andy Levitre to the Tennessee Titans.  According to depth charts on Ourlads.com, college free agent David Snow is listed as the starter at left guard. 

    The Bills will address the guard position in the first or second round.  They must also find more playmakers on offense, especially tight end and wide receiver.  Though Kevin Kolb is listed as starting quarterback, the position needs to be addressed in Buffalo.  The problem is that the Bills only have six selections and more holes than picks.

    On defense, the Bills need to add a safety opposite Byrd and another linebacker.  The defense has some solid depth, so I would expect out of the six picks the Bills have, four or five will be used on the offensive side of the football.

Carolina Panthers

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    Most Panther fans are probably frustrated by the lack of action the team took in free agency. None of the five signings were added to be starters.  And with only five draft picks in the 2013 NFL draft, new general manager Dave Gettleman cannot afford to miss on these picks.

    On the offensive side of the football, the Panthers are in decent shape but will address the right tackle position to give Byron Bell competition.  Gettleman may look to add a dynamic wide receiver.  Steve Smith is not getting any younger and will need to be replaced in the near future.

    On the defensive side of the football, former general manager found a steal in the sixth round of the 2010 draft with defensive end Greg Hardy.  The Panthers front office is going to need to find another gem in 2013.  Look for a linebacker and defensive tackle to be added in this draft.  With no third round pick, the Panthers need to find two starters in the first and second round.

Chicago Bears

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    General Manager Phil Emery made a splash his first year on the job by trading for wide receiver Brandon Marshall.  This year in free agency, Emery went all-in on offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod and tight end Martellus Bennett.  The loss of Brian Urlacher was stymied by signing linebackers James Anderson and D.J .Williams.

    The Bears only have five picks in the 2013 NFL draft and will need to use those to add depth.  While they signed Matt Slauson from the New York Jets to play left guard, don't be surprised if they draft that position as well.  A backup tight end in a deep draft for the position is also a very real option.

    On defense, the Bears are solid at all positions but will look to add a speed rusher opposite Julius Peppers.  Corey Wootton is solid versus the run, but the Bears lack another edge rusher.  This draft is deep on speed rushers, but the Bears will need to secure one with their first two selections.

Cincinnati Bengals

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    The Bengals signed quarterback Josh Johnson in free agency.  That was the extent of their spending on other teams' free agents.  They were able to keep linebacker Rey Maualuga and defensive end Michael Johnson, two cogs of a solid defense.  With 10 selections in the 2013 NFL draft, the Bengals should be able to address all their needs.

    On offense, the Bengals need to address right tackle if they choose not to re-sign Andre Smith.  Finding a quality center will be on the Bengals wish list as well.  Look for Cincinnati to draft a speedy runner like Arkansas’ Dennis Johnson or Clemson’s Andre Ellington to balance out the power of BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

    Keeping Johnson and Maualuga was huge but losing Manny Lawson is tough.  The Bengals need to draft linebacker depth as well.  If any of the starters get injured, the Bengals defense is in a world of hurt. 

Cleveland Browns

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    The Browns went all-out in free agency to add defensive help.  New general manager Mike Lombardi signed outside linebacker Paul Kruger and defensive end Desmond Bryant. 

    Lombardi has seven picks to use in the upcoming draft.  Former general manager Tom Heckert did a solid job of stacking young talent, so Lombardi does not have many holes to fill.

    Offensively, the Browns need to draft a quarterback.  Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell will be given a chance to compete to start,  but neither looks like the answer for the Browns’ offensive woes.  Having a young quarterback in the wings to mold is a priority for the Browns.  The rest of the offensive roster is solid.

    On defense, the Browns need another inside linebacker, and while the sixth pick overall may be too high for the position, look for the Browns to use their third round pick to draft a player like Sio Moore from UConn or Nico Johnson from Alabama.

    With the first round pick, the Browns will address the cornerback position.  They need another shutdown player opposite of Joe Haden.  Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes is a sleeper pick for new defensive coordinator Ray Horton.

Dallas Cowboys

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    With quarterback Tony Romo locked up to a long-term deal, the Cowboys can turn their focus on the 2013 NFL draft.  With six selections, owner Jerry Jones needs to make sure he has his general manager hat on straight to hit on all the picks.

    The Cowboys need help at offensive guard and center.  With the future of right tackle Doug Free in question, the Cowboys could be in play to draft D.J. Fluker of Alabama in the first round.

    The Cowboys need some depth at running back with the oft injured Demarco Murray, so look for the Cowboys to draft a running back as well.

    Defensively, Dallas needs a difference maker at safety.  The free-agent signing of Will Allen helps, but he is more of a stopgap player at this point in his career.

    If the Cowboys do not draft an offensive tackle in the first round, look for a safety to be the choice at pick 18.  The Cowboys also need depth behind outside linebackers Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware.

Denver Broncos

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    While much has been made of the Wes Welker signing, the best transaction John Elway made this offseason was franchising Pro Bowl left tackle Ryan Clady.  Adding offensive guard Louis Vasquez at right guard gives the Broncos one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.

    Elway has done a solid job of drafting since being named the boss, and with six picks on a deep team, can draft the best player available in every round.

    On the offense, quarterback Peyton Manning has tons of weapons.  But adding depth at running back behind an aging Willis McGahee will be an option.  A backup tackle should be a selection as well.

    On defense, the Broncos need defensive tackle help, and this should be the position they address with the 28th pick overall.  Look for cornerback help to come in the second round.  The Broncos do not have a quality nickel cornerback behind Champ Bailey and newly signed Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Detroit Lions

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    The Lions have holes on both sides of the ball, and general manager Martin Mayhew needs to hit a homerun with all eight picks in the 2013 NFL Draft.  With the fifth pick overall, the Lions could find offensive tackle help, a defensive end or cornerback help.  Either way, both positions need to be addressed in this draft.

    Besides offensive tackle, the Lions need offensive center help as well as an offensive guard.  The Lions have 14 wide receivers on the current roster but other than Calvin Johnson, most fans outside of Detroit could not name another.  Look for the Lions to add depth in the later rounds of the draft.

    On defense, the Lions took a huge hit losing defensive ends Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch.  The linebacking corps lost Justin Durant as well.  The Lions need help at every level of their defense, and any player they select will have a chance to come in to compete to start.  The Lions may draft two defensive ends in 2013.

Green Bay Packers

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    Ted Thompson, the general manager of the Packers, is one of the hardest working head men in the business.  Thompson rarely weighs in on free agency so he has more time to focus on the draft.  With eight selections in 2013, look for the former Houston Oilers linebacker to draft heavy on defense.

    Offensively, the Packers could always use a running back.  But Thompson is counting on runners he selected in 2010 and 2011 to carry the workload.  James Starks and Alex Green need to stay healthy and prove Thompson can draft running backs.  The Packers will need to draft an offensive tackle, and do not be surprised if Thompson drafts another quarterback this year to groom behind Aaron Rodgers.

    The Packers need more talent on defense, and finding a replacement for Charles Woodson is priority No. 1.  A player like LSU’s Eric Reid would be a great fit in defensive coordinator Dom Capers' defense.  Look for Thompson to add at least two inside linebackers and a cornerback as well.  At least five draft picks by the Packers will be dedicated to the defensive side of the football.

Houston Texans

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    General manager Rick Smith is quietly becoming one of the best in the NFL.  He has eight picks to build more depth behind an already stacked roster.  Of those eight selections, it will be hard for more than five to make the current Texans team.

    One position Smith does need to address is the receiver spot opposite Andre Johnson.  Look for the Texans to use the 27th pick overall to draft the likes of Cordarrelle Patterson from Tennessee or Keenan Allen from California.  Depth at running back and along the offensive line is needed as well.

    On defense, the Texans do not have many holes.  All the starting spots are set with the addition of safety Ed Reed.  The play of last year’s first round pick, Whitney Mercilus, allowed Smith the freedom to let former starter Connor Barwin walk.  Depth at all positions for special teams help can be found in the later rounds.

Indianapolis Colts

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    The general manager of the year for 2012, Ryan Grigson, did a masterful job of drafting last season.  He will need another solid draft in 2013 to continue to build around quarterback Andrew Luck.

    With only six picks, Grigson needs to choose wisely, and a major need for the Colts is linebacker and right guard.  The Colts addressed left guard with the signing of former Patriot Donald Thomas.  The right tackle hole was filled by signing Gosder Cherilus away from Detroit.  The Colts are solid at tight end, running back and wide receiver.  Finding a replacement for Mike McGlynn is a priority.

    On defense, Grigson rebuilt the defensive line by signing Ricky Jean-Francois from the 49ers and Aubrayo Franklin from the Chargers.  Erik Walden brings experience to the outside linebacker position, but look for Grigson to bring in competition for linebackers Jerrell Freeman and Kavell Conner. 

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    New general manager David Caldwell has already put his stamp on the franchise.  Most of the leaders from last year are gone, and he has worked to make the roster much younger.  He will have seven picks to continue to rebuild the roster.

    Jacksonville signed center Brad Meester back, but will look to replace him in this draft.  The Jaguars have a major hole at right tackle, and depth at tight end must be addressed.

    The one interesting position for the Jaguars is quarterback.  With the No. 2 pick overall and so many options, does Caldwell roll the dice on a quarterback or head into the season with Blaine Gabbert as the starter?

    On defense, Derek Cox, Aaron Ross and Rashean Mathis are no longer cornerbacks for Jacksonville.  If the season started today, Mike Harris and Alan Ball would be the starters.  Look for Caldwell to use three of his picks on secondary players in the 2013 NFL draft.

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Another team with a new general manager, John Dorsey has already shaken up the Chiefs this offseason.  Before the new league year was even underway, Dorsey already had a handshake deal to acquire quarterback Alex Smith from the San Francisco 49ers.  He now has eight selections in the 2013 NFL draft to see if he has the draft acumen of his former boss, Ted Thompson.

    On offense, the starters on the offensive line are set.  As a matter of fact, all five are former top three-round selections.  Look for Dorsey to add depth on the offensive line.  While many pundits expect the Chiefs to take an offensive tackle with the No. 1 pick overall, I believe Dorsey will try to trade out or go defense with the selection.

    Defense is where the Chiefs need improvement, especially at inside linebacker and along the defensive line.  While no linebacker is worth the No. 1 pick, look for Dorsey to make a splash by taking Utah’s Star Lotulelei or Florida’s Sharrif Floyd at defensive tackle.  Without a second round pick, the Chiefs will address inside linebacker in the third round.

Miami Dolphins

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    Jeff Ireland may be drafting for his job in 2013, and if he wins in the draft the way he won in free agency, Ireland will be a fixture in South Florida for a long while.  Ireland addressed the entire Dolphins needs in free agency, so he will be allowed to use his 11 picks in the draft to plug holes and build depth.

    On offense, Ireland made a weakness in 2012 into a strength in 2013 by signing Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson at wide receiver.  With the 12th pick overall, the Dolphins need to select a left tackle like Lane Johnson from Oklahoma and move Jonathan Martin back to right tackle. 

    Defensively, Ireland added two inside linebackers with Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler.  Look for the addition of a pass-rusher opposite Cameron Wake with one of the Dolphins’ second-round picks.  With the other, look for Ireland to draft a cornerback to compete with Brent Grimes and Richard Marshall for a starting spot.  The loser of the three will be the nickel player.

Minnesota Vikings

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    This draft will make or break the future of general manager Rick Spielman.  With two first-round picks and six in the top 120, Spielman needs to knock this draft out of the park to get the Vikings competitive in the NFC North.

    The signing of wide receiver Greg Jennings takes a bit of sting off the trade of Percy Harvin to Seattle.  But the Vikings still need help at the position and need to use a top pick on another playmaker.  Brandon Fusco is a solid player but look for Spielman to upgrade the right guard position in this draft as well.

    On defense, Kevin Williams and Jared Allen are not getting any younger.  The Vikings need to draft a speed rusher and some girth on the interior of the defensive line.

    Depth at cornerback is an issue as well.  While Chris Cook and Josh Robinson are good players, replacing Antoine Winfield can only happen by selecting a young star in the NFL draft like Desmond Trufant from Washington or Jamar Taylor from Boise State.

New England Patriots

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    Bill Belichick is a solid personnel man but only has five picks to work with in 2013.  As a matter of fact, New England does not have a selection in rounds four, five or six.  While I fully expect Belichick to trade for more selections, the three he has in the top 91 need to be starters.

    New England did a complete overhaul at the wide receiver position this offseason.  Now the top-three players at the position are Danny Amendola, Michael Jenkins and Donald Jones.  Not one has ever caught a meaningful pass from Tom Brady.  The Patriots view this position as a strength now, so they will use picks on offense to upgrade the offensive line.

    On defense, look for Belichick to use his first-round pick on an interior defensive lineman like Alabama’s Jesse Williams or Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson.  Alfonzo Dennard has been a positive at cornerback, but as an old secondary coach, Belichick covets cornerbacks.  Look for the Patriots to use pick No. 59 on a cornerback.

New Orleans Saints

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    The Saints are coming off a horrible season and only have five picks to fill the holes they have.  While quarterback Drew Brees is one of the best in the game, his contract has limited the Saints in free agency.  This will allow the five players they select to compete for starting roles in 2013.

    General Manager Micky Loomis could use all his picks on defense.  The offensive line is solid, as is the receiving corps.  The Saints are loaded at running back as well, and Jimmy Graham is one of the best tight ends in the game.  The Saints have the offensive pieces in place to compete in the NFC South.

    But on defense, even with the addition of Victor Butler from the Cowboys, the Saints need help.  Keenan Lewis signing as a starting cornerback is a great addition.  But look for the Saints to add a safety and a pass rusher early in the draft.  Matt Elam from Florida would be a fantastic selection for Loomis in the first round.  Then adding Auburn’s outside linebacker Corey Lemonier in the third round would be a major coup for the Saints and new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

New York Giants

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    Jerry Reese is the best general manager in the NFL in my opinion, and his Super Bowl rings back that statement up.  With his eight picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, Reese needs to continue to find gems like Jason Pierre-Paul and William Beatty.

    On offense, the Giants need a top-flight tight end to go along with the addition of Brandon Myers in free agency.  Quarterback Eli Manning is always more efficient when he has a quality tight end to throw the football too.  Even though Reese took David Wilson in the first round in 2012, look for the Giants to add a runner in 2013 as well.

    The defense for the Giants lost Michael Boley, Chris Canty and Osi Umenyiora.  The Giants need to draft a young, tough defensive tackle, and adding a linebacker to compete with Dan Connor at middle linebacker is a must.  The Giants will also add a kicker in the draft to compete with Josh Brown.

New York Jets

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    The Jets have so many holes, even if they traded cornerback Darrelle Revis for more picks, it might still not be enough.  New general manager John Idzik has his work cut out for him, and with his current seven selections in the 2013 NFL Draft, Idzik needs to find at least five starters.

    Austin Howard was solid at right tackle, but look for the Jets to address the situation early in the draft.  Tight end is a huge need with the loss of Dustin Keller.  Wide receiver is another position the Jets must find a playmaker at in the draft.

    On the defensive side of the football, the signing of Antwan Barnes adds instant pass rush to go along with last year’s first rounder, Quinton Coples.  But at the other outside linebacker spot, look for the Jets to take a pass-rusher like Ziggy Ansah from BYU or Dion Jordan from Oregon with the ninth pick overall.

    The Jets will also select a safety at some point in the draft.  A name to keep an eye out for is ex-Georgia safety Jakar Hamilton, now from South Carolina State.

Oakland Raiders

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    General manager Reggie McKenzie has to be excited to actually have a first round pick this season.  Last year, his first year on the job, McKenzie did not get to select a player until the third round.  This week, McKenzie traded away quarterback Carson Palmer and acquired Matt Flynn from the Seattle Seahawks.  That still may not keep the Raiders from taking a quarterback at No. 3 overall.

    But with so many holes to fill on the offensive line and in the secondary, I believe the Raiders take one of those positions with the third pick.  Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher would be a natural fit.  The Raiders need to address tight end, left guard and backup running back on offense.

    McKenzie covets big cornerbacks, so Alabama’s Dee Milliner fits the bill if the Raiders decide to go defense with the No. 3 pick overall.  McKenzie made some quietly solid moves on defense in free agency.  Adding Pat Sims, Vance Walker, Jason Hunter, Nick Roach, Kaluka Maiava and Kevin Burnett puts six new starters on the Raiders defense.

    Free safety needs to be a position that is filled in the draft as well.  As of this posting, Cory Nelms is listed as the starter at free safety.

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Now that former head coach Andy Reid is gone, general manager Howie Roseman has complete control of the front office.  Roseman was very aggressive in free agency, especially in the secondary where he signed four new starters.  With nine selections in the 2013 NFL draft, look for Roseman to continue to build on the defensive side of the football.

    Right guard is a need, as is depth at wide receiver.  With Jason Peters coming back off injury, finding a swing backup tackle is imperative as well.  The running back depth is very good and the Eagles currently have five quarterbacks under contract.  Look for Roseman to move one of these quarterbacks before the draft.

    On the defensive side of the football, even with all the free-agent signings, the Eagles need defensive line help.  The Eagles will draft at least two players on the defensive line in 2013.  I would expect the Eagles to draft a linebacker and a cornerback as well.  While the Eagles have solid depth at safety, they do not have a dynamic playmaker.  Look for Roseman to draft the best safety available in round two or three.

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    The Steelers lost wide receiver Mike Wallace, cornerback Keenan Lewis and running back Rashard Mendenhall to free agency.  The Steelers also moved on from outside linebacker James Harrison and offensive lineman Willie Colon.  General Manager Kevin Colbert is adept at reloading his roster, and with eight picks this draft, look for the Steelers to fill all their holes.

    The Steelers have too much age at wide receiver behind Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders.  The Steelers will draft a wide receiver in the top three rounds.  The Steelers have addressed the offensive line in the past three drafts and may look to draft a left guard in 2013.  A running back needs to be added as well.

    On the defensive side, the Steelers need to find a young safety to be mentored by Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark.  The loss of Harrison will finally allow Jason Worilds and Chris Carter to get some playing time.  But look for Colbert to draft an inside linebacker and outside linebacker in this draft as well.

San Diego Chargers

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    Another team with a new general manager, Tom Telesco has his hands full at rebuilding a roster that got old fairly quickly.  With seven selections to work with, Telesco has a lot of holes to fill and not enough selections to fill all the voids.

    The Chargers fell into wide receiver Danario Alexander but do not have a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver on the roster.  Look for the Chargers to get quarterback Philip Rivers three new targets in this draft.

    While many pundits expect the Chargers to draft an offensive tackle at No. 11 overall, I would not be surprised if the Chargers took a cornerback or wide receiver with that pick.  The offensive line does need more players, and except for center Nick Hardwick, the other four positions are up for grabs come training camp.

    Defensively, the Chargers need cornerback help and defensive line help.  They currently have only five defensive linemen under contract, and two are college free agents.  Look for Telesco to use at least two selections to address the defensive line.

Seattle Seahawks

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    General manager John Schneider is known for being aggressive in free agency and the NFL draft.  In 2012, Schneider surprised a lot of people by selecting defensive end Bruce Irvin in the first round.  Look for Schneider to take more risks again in 2013 since his roster is full of depth and playmakers.  Schneider can afford to take the best player available since the Seahawks do not have many needs.

    On offense, the Seahawks are loaded at wide receiver with the addition of Percy Harvin.  The offensive line is solid and quietly one of the best in football.  I would not be caught off guard if Schneider took a quarterback with his first pick of the draft in the second round.  With the trade of Matt Flynn to the Raiders, Russell Wilson is currently the only quarterback on the roster.

    Schneider was very aggressive in free agency on the defensive side of the football.  With 11 picks to work with, Schneider will gamble on defensive players with upside in the 2013 NFL draft.  The only position on defense that does not have a returning starter is weak side linebacker. 

    Jamie Collins of Southern Mississippi or Sean Porter of Texas A&M are players that fit well into the Seahawks defensive scheme.  I expect Schneider to draft players with height, weight and speed in the later rounds to fill out his roster.

San Francisco 49ers

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    The 49ers represented the NFC in the Super Bowl this past season and have a roster stacked with Pro Bowl players.  With the most picks in the 2013 NFL draft, look for general manager Trent Baalke to load up the team with the best player available with every selection.

    The 49ers have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL and have solid depth at running back as well.  The 49ers could use another tight end to compliment Vernon Davis.  Baalke expects former first-round receiver A.J. Jenkins to step up his game in 2013, but I still expect the 49ers to address the position with at least one pick this draft.

    On the defensive side of the football, the 49ers lost two defensive linemen in free agency.  Ian Smith is currently listed as the starter at nose tackle.  Baalke will draft at least three defensive linemen.  Losing Dashon Goldson in free agency will hurt, but the signing of Craig Dahl tempers the sting a little.  Look for the 49ers to draft a playmaking safety in the first two rounds, though, to challenge Dahl for the starting spot.

St. Louis Rams

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    With four picks in the top-78 selections, general manager Les Snead needs to keep the momentum from the 2012 NFL Draft and have another solid draft in 2013.  With two first round picks, the Rams are set to control the first round and will field many offers from teams looking to move up in the draft.

    With one of the first round picks, the Rams need to draft a wide receiver, and West Virginia’s Tavon Austin is a perfect fit.  Even though the Rams selected two running backs in 2012, they will look to add another one in 2013.  An offensive guard is needed as well, but the addition of Jake Long in free agency takes away the need at offensive tackle.

    On defense, the Rams need two outside linebackers and a free safety.  If the Rams keep their other first-round selection, look for them to take Alec Olgetree from Georgia or Kansas State’s Arthur Brown.  In the second round, Phillip Thomas from Fresno State fits into Jeff Fisher’s defensive scheme very well.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    The Buccaneers have eight selections in the 2013 NFL draft, and general manager Mark Dominik needs to continue to find players that fit head coach Greg Schiano’s mold.  Dominik hit the draft out of the park last year by selecting safety Mark Barron and running back Doug Martin.  Dominik needs to have the same success this year to get the Buccaneers back to the playoffs.

    On offense, look for Dominik to find a playmaking wide receiver early in the draft to compliment Vincent Jackson.  A pass-catching tight end is also needed as well.  The offensive line is very good and does not need to be addressed at all.

    On defense, the Buccaneers signed Dashon Goldson at safety and added Jonathan Casillas from the New Orleans Saints at strong side linebacker.  Look for Dominik to address the cornerback position in the first round and possibly even in the second round as well.  With the fate of cornerback Eric Wright still up in the air, the Buccaneers need a lot of depth at the position.

Tennessee Titans

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    With nine picks in the 2013 NFL draft and three in the top 70, the Titans and general manager Ruston Webster are geared to make a splash like they did in free agency. Webster rebuilt the interior of the offensive line in free agency, adding starting guards Andy Levitre and Robert Turner.  This takes away a draft need at the position and allows Webster to focus on other needs.

    Even though the Titans signed Delanie Walker from the San Francisco 49ers, look for the team to draft a tight end at some point.  Offensive tackle depth is also needed behind starters Michael Roos and David Stewart, both of whom were drafted in 2005.

    Defensively, the additions of Bernard Pollard and George Wilson at safety fill a void, but cornerback depth is a major issue for the Titans.  They currently only have four players under contract at the position.  Look for the Titans to also draft defensive end depth behind Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley.

Washington Redskins

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    Without a first-round pick this year, general manager Bruce Allen will need to make the most of his seven picks.  Allen rolled the dice last year and traded away this year’s first rounder to acquire quarterback Robert Griffin III.  That gamble paid off in the form of a playoff berth.  Now Allen needs to seize that momentum and put more playmakers around Griffin and running back sleeper pick in 2012, Alfred Morris.

    Depth at running back behind Morris is a must, and adding two interior linemen to protect Griffin when he comes back from his injury is important.  Jeremy Trueblood is a warrior at right tackle, but if Allen can find a first day starter in the second round, that is the pick he should make.

    On defense, the Redskins need to address the defensive line and cornerback positions.  The defensive line has depth but does not have a dynamic player in the front three.  A healthy Brian Orakpo changes the way the defense works, but adding another interior pass-rusher is a position Allen needs to address.  At cornerback, E.J. Biggers was a quality signing, but adding another young cornerback to compete for the starting job will help the entire team.

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