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

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIApril 15, 2014

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 03:  Sammy Watkins #2 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates a touchdown in the first quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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
PositionTeamNeedProspect
1Houston TexansQBBlake Bortles
2, 13St. Louis RamsWR(2) Sammy Watkins, (13) Mike Evans
3Jacksonville JaguarsQBJohnny Manziel
4, 26Cleveland BrownsQB(4) Johnny Manziel, (26) Derek Carr
5Oakland RaidersQBBlake Bortles
6Atlanta FalconsOTGreg Robinson
7Tampa Bay BuccaneersWRSammy Watkins
8Minnesota VikingsQBBlake Bortles
9Buffalo BillsOTJake Matthews
10Detroit LionsSCalvin Pryor
11Tennessee TitansCBJustin Gilbert
12New York GiantsWRMike Evans
14Chicago BearsDTAaron Donald
15Pittsburgh SteelersWRMike Evans
16Dallas CowboysSCalvin Pryor
17Baltimore RavensOTTaylor Lewan
18New York JetsCBJustin Gilbert
19Miami DolphinsOTTaylor Lewan
20Arizona CardinalsSHa Ha Clinton-Dix
21Green Bay PackersTEJace Amaro
22Philadelphia EaglesSHa Ha Clinton-Dix
23Kansas City ChiefsWROdell Beckham Jr.
24Cincinnati BengalsCBDarqueze Dennard
25San Diego ChargersOGZack Martin
27New Orleans SaintsWROdell Beckham Jr.
28Carolina PanthersWROdell Beckham Jr.
29New England PatriotsDTRa'Shede Hageman
30San Francisco 49ersWRAllen Robinson
31Denver BroncosLBC.J. Mosley
32Seattle SeahawksOGXavier Su'a-Filo
34Washington RedskinsSDeone Bucannon
58Indianapolis ColtsWRDavante 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.