NFL Draft 2014: Analyzing Each Team's Top Position of Need, Best-Suited Prospect

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NFL Draft 2014: Analyzing Each Team's Top Position of Need, Best-Suited Prospect
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

After a flurry of offseason transactions, many NFL team's needs have changed heading into the 2014 draft.

Addressing these needs through the draft is of the utmost importance, as a solid selection can bolster a roster position for years to come, while a poor selection could potentially set a franchise back in a big way.

There will be prospects who are coveted by many of the same teams; however, they'll go as draft order dictates. Some front offices will surely jump positions with draft-day trades—it happens every year—leaving others to wonder what may have been.

At this point, we have no way of knowing which teams will be big movers during the draft, so trades will not be a part of this process.

Also, one thing to note: This is not a mock draft. Many teams have the same positions of need, and if they are picking near each other, they will potentially have the same best-suited prospect.

The projected draft position for each prospect will also be taken highly into consideration here. Sure, the Carolina Panthers would love Sammy Watkins, but he certainly won't be around at No. 28 overall.

 

NFL Team Draft Needs and Best-Suited Prospects

2014 NFL Draft Team Needs and Best-Suited Propects
Position Team Need Prospect
1 Houston Texans QB Blake Bortles
2, 13 St. Louis Rams WR (2) Sammy Watkins, (13) Mike Evans
3 Jacksonville Jaguars QB Johnny Manziel
4, 26 Cleveland Browns QB (4) Johnny Manziel, (26) Derek Carr
5 Oakland Raiders QB Blake Bortles
6 Atlanta Falcons OT Greg Robinson
7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Sammy Watkins
8 Minnesota Vikings QB Blake Bortles
9 Buffalo Bills OT Jake Matthews
10 Detroit Lions S Calvin Pryor
11 Tennessee Titans CB Justin Gilbert
12 New York Giants WR Mike Evans
14 Chicago Bears DT Aaron Donald
15 Pittsburgh Steelers WR Mike Evans
16 Dallas Cowboys S Calvin Pryor
17 Baltimore Ravens OT Taylor Lewan
18 New York Jets CB Justin Gilbert
19 Miami Dolphins OT Taylor Lewan
20 Arizona Cardinals S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
21 Green Bay Packers TE Jace Amaro
22 Philadelphia Eagles S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
23 Kansas City Chiefs WR Odell Beckham Jr.
24 Cincinnati Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard
25 San Diego Chargers OG Zack Martin
27 New Orleans Saints WR Odell Beckham Jr.
28 Carolina Panthers WR Odell Beckham Jr.
29 New England Patriots DT Ra'Shede Hageman
30 San Francisco 49ers WR Allen Robinson
31 Denver Broncos LB C.J. Mosley
32 Seattle Seahawks OG Xavier Su'a-Filo
34 Washington Redskins S Deone Bucannon
58 Indianapolis Colts WR Davante Adams

Draft Order via NFL.com

 

Analysis

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Before the free-agency period, it could be argued that the Buccaneers' biggest need was on the defensive side of the ball. Although, after acquiring Michael Johnson and Clinton McDonald, the team's defensive front looks great.

The Buccaneers did lose Mike Williams and have yet to find a complementary wide receiver for Vincent Jackson. If the team expects Mike Glennon to continue to progress, he'll need plenty of help.

Sammy Watkins would be the ideal choice here. He's a bona fide No. 1 receiver and would give opposing defenses fits alongside Jackson. This duo would give the Buccaneers a much-needed boost in their passing attack.

 

Chicago Bears

Chicago—like most teams—has several big needs; however, none more important than the defensive tackle position.

The Bears made some great moves in free agency, acquiring Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston. The team's pass rush will certainly be a huge force this season. Although, the team still hasn't addressed the need to stop the run.

Chicago's defense was horrid last season in this department. The team finished dead last against the run, allowing an average of 161.4 yards per game on the ground.

Adding a defensive tackle like Aaron Donald would be ideal in the first round.

Donald is a stout run defender, plugging holes with his massive frame; however, he's also surprisingly nimble for his size. He can slice through the interior of an offensive line to help attack the quarterback as well. Lining up alongside Allen and Houston won't hurt his production either.

 

New England Patriots

It's widely conceived that New England's biggest need in the draft is at the tight end position. That's certainly a big hole due to the ongoing injuries of Rob Gronkowski; however, it's on the defensive line where the team needs to improve most.

Last season, the Patriots allowed an average of 134.1 yards per game on the ground—good enough to rank 30th in the league. On the plus side, New England got after the quarterback nicely, racking up 48 sacks.

This team thrives on versatility on both sides of the ball. That's how Bill Belichick works. Adding a player like Ra'Shede Hageman gives exactly that to this defense.

Hageman is extremely athletic and can play multiple positions along the defensive line. He can be a gap-stuffing defensive tackle or a pass-rushing defensive end. A player with his skill set would act as a major chess piece for Belichick.

Adding a defensive tackle will not only shore up the Patriots' run-stuffing woes, but also ensure the team's pass rush stays highly active in 2014.

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