With the 2009 NFL Draft less than two days away, here is a helpful guide of things you need to know:
- In the first round, each team has ten minutes to announce their pick. In the second round, each team has seven minutes. After the second round, each team has five minutes to announce their pick. If the pick isn't announced within that time frame, the team is considered "tardy" and the next team is allowed to announce their pick (football.about.com).
- The draft order is determined by the previous season's win/loss record, with the team with the worst record getting first pick. This season, playoff teams will pick according to how they did in the post-season. For example, the Pittsburgh Steelers will get the 32nd pick because they won the Super Bowl, despite Tennessee having the league's best regular season record.
- Teams are allowed to trade their picks before or after they have used the pick. The best example of this is the 2004 Draft, where the Chargers traded first overall pick Eli Manning for Giants' No. 4 pick Philip Rivers. This is not limited to newly drafted players.
What does your team need? What don't they need?
Detroit Lions: The Lions, obviously, need improvement in every aspect of their team. They were at or near the bottom of the league in every statistical category. Their first pick will likely deal with their need for a QB. Hopefully, their later round picks will address their weak offensive and defensive lines.
St. Louis Rams: Look for the Rams to address their needs at offensive line. You can have a boat load of skill players, but if they have no one to block for them, they will never reach the endzone (see the Rams' 31st rank in points scored). In successive rounds, watch for the Rams to look at their defensive needs.
Kansas City Chiefs: Kansas City addressed one of its biggest needs with free agency by acquiring QB Matt Cassell. The Chiefs were one of the worst teams defensively last season, and any help they can get at any defensive position will benefit them. Look for this draft to be spent helping a defense that has historically been the weak link.
Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks will likely look for an understudy for QB Matt Hassleback in the first round. This draft will probably be spent improving the Seahawks' offense, despite their defense being in dire need also.
Cleveland Browns: The Browns will probably look to address their needs at WR in the first round. After the first round, their focus will probably shift to defense.
Cincinnati Bengals: Carson Palmer needs offensive line help, so Cincinnati will probably look to improve their line in the first round. Don't be surprised, though, if they go after a receiver. Who knows how much longer Ocho-Cinco will be a Bengal?
Oakland Raiders: Two seasons ago, the Raiders did the right thing in drafting JaMarcus Russell. Last season they had a steal with Darren McFadden. Now, they need to keep those guys from getting clobbered. Look for the Raiders to pick up an offensive lineman in the first round and continue to focus on offense throughout the draft.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Jacksonville was in the lower middle of the pack in most statistical categories, so any improvement they can get should help move either of those units to the next level. The defense will probably be a focus this draft, with the glaring problem being the defensive line.
Green Bay Packers: When Brett Favre "retired" last season, Packer fans thought their team was doomed, but Aaron Rodgers led the offense very well in his first year. Look for Green Bay to pick up an offensive lineman to help out Rodgers in the first round. Their focus will then shift to improving a below-average defense.
San Francisco 49ers: While I may sound like a broken record, the 49ers will probably address their offensive line woes this draft. Their offense ranked near the bottom of the league, and this draft should be used to improve that unit.
Buffalo Bills: As with Jacksonville, the Bills were in the lower middle of the pack in most statistical categories. Look for them to improve their defense, especially after acquiring Terrell Owens. The later rounds should have them looking for a team counselor to help with team chemistry...
Denver Broncos: I still don't know what the Broncos were doing when they got rid of Jay Cutler. He was a great QB and was worth more than what they got from Chicago. The Broncos will probably address defensive needs. If the skill players around whoever becomes the Broncos QB are deemed satisfactory, this should be a defensively minded draft for Denver.
Washington Redskins: Washington has lost a lot of its impressive defense to free agency this offseason, so look for their first round to fill the gaps left by those players. Later rounds will probably see the team improve a less-than-stellar offensive unit.
New Orleans Saints: While the Saints had one of the most productive offenses last season, it was all through their passing game. The Saints should try to improve their running back corps in the first round and look into improving their defense in later rounds.
Houston Texans: Houston has taken huge strides in the past few years, and most of that is due to smart picks in the draft. Look for them to improve a secondary that gave up far too many big plays last season. Later rounds will probably be used to complement a much-improved offensive unit.
San Diego Chargers: San Diego needs better production out of its defense, and it should use this draft to improve it. Depending on how the LT situation is progressing, they might need to pick up a sleeper running back in later rounds.
New York Jets: With the "final" retirement of Brett Favre, the Jets need to address a hole at QB. Later rounds should be used to fill in weak points of both units.
Denver Broncos: (Pick from the Chicago Bears) Let's call this the Cutler compensation pick. With their second first round pick, the Broncos should look to the defensive line and take the best available player at that position.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tampa Bay has gone through some radical changes this offseason, including, but not limited to, the firing of John Gruden. The Bucs will probably look to improve their defense in the first round, but will look for offensive players with later picks.
Detroit Lions: (Pick from Dallas Cowboys) We all know that the Lions need all the help they can get. With their second selection they should go after a linebacker in hopes of improving their terrible, at best, defense.
Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles need another offensive threat, and look for them to address that need at the TE position. Later rounds should see them bringing in more complementary offensive players.
Minnesota Vikings: How do you improve the play of one of the nation's best running backs, Adrian Peterson? You give him someone to run behind. With one of the deepest offensive line drafts in recent memory, look for the Vikings to bring a big man to block for Peterson.
New England Patriots: With Tom Brady hopefully returning from injury next season, the Patriots need to help their aging defense. Look for them to help out their linebackers in the first round and improve both units later on.
Atlanta Falcons: To anyone who predicted Matt Ryan being the stud he turned into, you are psychic. The Falcons should try to improve their secondary in the first round and get Matt Ryan some offensive pieces with later picks.
Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins had an incredible resurgence in 2008. Any improvement on either line will be a big help for Miami. Later picks should be used to improve their defense.
Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens' offense needs help, preferably from a WR. Later rounds should be used to bring the defense back to what it once was.
Indianapolis Colts: Ever since Edgerrin James left for Arizona, the Colts' running game has been mediocre at best. Indianapolis should improve it in the first round and address defensive needs later on.
Buffalo Bills: (From Eagles, through Panthers) Yes, how the Bills got this pick is confusing, but their pick shouldn't be. Continuing the offensive lineman trend, Buffalo will pick up one. Buffalo should improve their defense in later rounds.
New York Giants: With Plaxico Burress in legal limbo, the Giants need a big time threat at WR and the first round should relieve them of that need. Later rounds should be used to address holes in the defense.
Tennessee Titans: How do you improve on a perfect regular season? You draft the offensive threat that this team didn't have last season. The Titan defense was dominant the whole season, and this draft needs to address their lacking offense.
Arizona Cardinals: Where did these guys come from? Edgerrin James hasn't pulled his weight since he put on a Cardinal uniform, and this draft should have the Cardinals addressing this need. In later rounds, Arizona should address a defense that was below average.
Pittsburgh Steelers: World champions. Once you reach the top, how do you improve? You pick up a receiver who can, hopefully, help bring the offense to the level of the defense. Later rounds should be used to complement the dominant defense.
Teams without first round picks:
Dallas Cowboys: Their first pick, which comes in the second round, will probably be from the leftovers of the deep offensive lineman class. In later picks, the Cowboys need to address the need for another deep threat and issues at safety.
Chicago Bears: The acquisition of Jay Cutler was great for Chicago, but now he needs someone to throw to. Their first pick, which comes in the second round, should bring in a receiver. Later picks will probably include a running back and improvements to the defense.
*stats from NFL.com