2014 NFL Draft: Identifying the Prototype Player Every Team Needs

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2014 NFL Draft: Identifying the Prototype Player Every Team Needs
Michael Conroy

Most of the NFL draft process is about finding prototypes. Take away the names and personalities and you have combine numbers and skills. Match those up with team needs and you have done most of the work those front-office types are wrapping up now.

Names, personalities and rap sheets are the final deciding factors. Let's leave those out of the discussion right here.

Instead, we focus this 32-team slideshow on the objective stuff, the skills of the players and the biggest need of the franchises, ignoring all of the noise, including the myriad mock drafts.

Everyone could use another pass-rusher, and a game-changer like South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney could fit every single franchise. It might be only one team can pick him, and it is a team that has J.J. Watt, so they don't actually truly "need" him.

That might not matter, as ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper wrote Thursday in his latest Mock Draft 4.0 (subscription required):

I believe that while more than one "safe" pick exists in this draft, it's hard to play it safer in terms of upside than selecting a generational physical talent, a guy who has exceptional physical skills and the ability to bring immediate impact and create consistent matchup problems up front as teams deal with the reality of how to block both Clowney and J.J. Watt. The questions on Clowney still aren't enough to diminish the potential impact. He's the top prospect in a draft full of very good ones, and I think Houston will feel the same.

So, the projected No. 1 pick is a pass-rusher for a team that already has arguably the best one in football, despite arguably the biggest hole at franchise quarterback, a need they have had since their inception. The Houston Texans can still find and answer for that with the first pick in Round 2.

While this slideshow is laid out by the first-round draft order, do not look at this as a mock, matching names with teams. We are merely identifying each franchise's No. 1 hole and what prototype they are looking to fill it with, regardless of the round—again, focusing on the skills over the names. Enjoy this exercise.

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