NFL Draft

The Smartest Move Every Team Can Make in the 2014 NFL Draft

Nick KostosContributor IMay 4, 2014

The Smartest Move Every Team Can Make in the 2014 NFL Draft

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    The 2014 NFL draft is less than a week away, and as excitement continues to build at a fever pitch, it's time to assess the smartest move that every team can make when the festivities kick off Thursday night in New York City.

    For some decision-makers, the smartest move is an obvious one. Others will have to choose between several different options to select the player most capable of improving the team and helping it win more games.

    Should a particular team trade up? Should it trade down? When is the right spot, if any, to select a quarterback? These are all difficult decisions that could shape the future of a franchise in either a positive or negative manner.

    Luckily for every coach and general manager, I'm here to provide advice. In this column, I'll tell you the smartest move that every team can make in the 2014 NFL draft.

Arizona Cardinals: Don't Take a Quarterback in the First Round

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    In my recent column rounding up the expert mock draft picks for each NFL team, I saw that the majority of selections pointed to the Arizona Cardinals selecting a quarterback with the 20th overall pick. I think this would be a major mistake, and my advice to general manager Steve Keim and coach Bruce Arians is to go elsewhere with their first-round pick.

    While I'm not a huge fan of their current starting quarterback, Carson Palmer, he did lead the team to a 10-6 record last year and proved that he still has gas left in the tank.

    The bottom line is that the Cardinals are a team that is ready to make a run at the postseason and challenge the Seahawks and 49ers for NFC West supremacy. Spending their first-round selection on a developmental quarterback when a defensive player (likely a cornerback) could push the team over the top would be a major mistake.

    Don't do it, Arizona. Don't draft a quarterback in the first round. Take a cornerback and thank me next offseason.

Atlanta Falcons: Don't Trade Up

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Three years ago, the Atlanta Falcons swung a seismic draft-day trade with the Cleveland Browns, trading five (five!) picks to move up 21 spots to No. 6 overall in order to draft Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones.

    While Jones has dazzled when healthy, the trade has yet to push the Falcons into the Super Bowl. And it can be easily postulated that the trade damaged the team's depth, something that was made apparent during last year's disastrous 4-12 campaign.

    Now, the Falcons hold the sixth overall pick in the draft, and scuttlebutt has been that they could once again be interested in moving up, presumably for South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

    Though SportsRadio 610 in Houston has reported that the Falcons aren't interested in trading up to No. 1 overall with Houston, it's important to remember that this is lying season, and it's impossible to ascertain what holds veracity and what is patent falsehood.

    My advice to Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff? Don't trade up. 

    The Falcons can't afford to trade another bevy of picks, not even for a potential star like Clowney. They need to improve the overall quality of their roster. There will be plenty of solid options at No. 6 overall, and they won't have to trade current and future selections if they stand pat.

Baltimore Ravens: Continue to Fix the Run Game

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    Al Behrman/Associated Press

    Last season, the Baltimore Ravens missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008, when John Harbaugh became the head coach and Joe Flacco was drafted to be the franchise quarterback.

    The biggest reason for their failure to advance into January was the complete and utter lack of a run game, as the Ravens averaged a measly 3.1 yards per carry.

    Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome addressed the offensive line in free agency by re-signing left tackle Eugene Monroe and trading for Tampa Bay Buccaneers interior lineman Jeremy Zuttah, but there is still work to be done. The team needs a right tackle to replace the departed (and ineffective) Michael Oher and might look to take one with the 17th overall pick of the first round.

    Plus, the situation at running back is nebulous. Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce both had down years, and with Rice experiencing legal issues, Newsome needs to draft a running back at some point during the draft.

    If Newsome can continue to upgrade the offensive line and add a solid young back, the Ravens could definitely find themselves back in the postseason.

Buffalo Bills: Improve the Pass Protection

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Last year, the Buffalo Bills hitched their wagons to quarterback EJ Manuel when they made him the 16th overall pick in the first round. Now, it's time for coach Doug Marrone and general manager Doug Whaley to give their second-year signal-caller the best chance for success, and they can do that by upgrading the pass protection.

    The Bills offensive line surrendered 48 sacks last season, tied for fourth-most in the NFL. And with Manuel reminding no one of a young Brett Favre in missing six games last season, it's imperative that the pass protection is improved.

    The temptation might be strong for the Bills to add a potential game-changing reciever (Texas A&M's Mike Evans?) or tight end (UNC's Eric Ebron?), but it won't matter if Manuel doesn't have time to get them the ball.

    Whaley and Marrone should address the offensive line with the ninth overall pick.

Carolina Panthers: Add Sufficient Talent at the Receiver Position

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    Chuck Burton/Associated Press

    The Carolina Panthers are extremely unsettled at the receiver position.

    The team callously cut Steve Smith and watched as Ted Ginn Jr. (Arizona) and Brandon LaFell (New England) signed elsewhere. While general manager Dave Gettleman did sign Jerricho Cotchery and Tiquan Underwood, he must add more weapons in an effort to aid quarterback Cam Newton.

    And just one receiver won't do the trick. Gettleman must draft multiple pass-catchers in the early rounds.

    Just look at the team's competition in the NFC South. The Saints, Buccaneers and Falcons all improved in free agency, while the Panthers got worse. If the team wants to defend its division crown, adding more weaponry at the receiver position is a must.

    Or the Panthers could find themselves once again on the outside looking in during the postseason.

Chicago Bears: Defense, Defense, Defense

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    This one is a no-brainer.

    The advice to Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery is to use most—if not all—of his draft picks to shore up a defense that was horrendous in 2013.

    The unit finished 30th overall last season and allowed a preposterous 5.3 yards per carry. With the offense looking like one of the most explosive in the NFL, it's imperative that the defense improves enough to help the team advance to the postseason.

    Emery fixed the defensive line in free agency with the signings of ends Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young, but there is still work to be done. He has a number of options with the 14th overall pick, but one thing is certain: It must be spent on a defensive player.

Cincinnati Bengals: Add a Young Quarterback to Push Andy Dalton

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    Tom Uhlman/Associated Press

    While it's a fact that Andy Dalton has led the Cincinnati Bengals to the postseason in each of his first three seasons as the team's starting quarterback, it's also true that he's been the albatross around the team's collective neck, preventing it from advancing past the opening round.

    Dalton might have set team records last year for passing yards (4,293) and touchdowns (33), but he also tossed 20 interceptions and was once again atrocious in the postseason, turning the ball over three times in the Wild Card Round loss to San Diego.

    The Bengals possess a Super Bowl-caliber roster, and thus far, Dalton hasn't elevated his level of play to match the talent around him. That means that the Bengals must draft a quarterback in the early rounds of the draft to provide Dalton with competition and potentially be a competent alternative if he continues to struggle.

    I'm not advocating that the Bengals use their first-round selection (No. 24 overall) on a quarterback; that would be foolish. But the team must bring in someone in either the second or third round that it can turn to if Dalton continues to play hot potato with the football in critical moments.

Cleveland Browns: Draft Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    The Cleveland Browns are a franchise passer away from being a perennial playoff contender in the AFC. 

    Seriously. I wrote as much last week.

    And with the team holding the fourth and 26th overall selections in the first round, it will have the opportunity to select its signal-caller of the future.

    That quarterback should be Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel.

    Manziel would fit well in offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's scheme. Remember that Shanahan worked wonders in our nation's capital with Robert Griffin III, and Manziel possesses a similar skill set. Plus, he would provide the Browns with an identity. You think the man known as "Johnny Football" would be intimidated to go into Pittsburgh, Baltimore or Cincinnati? Not a chance.

    Manziel would inject confidence and swagger into a Browns franchise in desperate need of both. General manager Ray Farmer needs to make sure Manziel is a Brown by the time the first round wraps up Thursday night.

Dallas Cowboys: Add an Edge-Rusher

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    Years of gross mismanagement of the salary cap meant the Dallas Cowboys were forced to part ways with future Hall of Fame pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware, the team's best player over the last 15 years.

    With the Cowboys also losing defensive tackle Jason Hatcher in free agency (he signed with the rival Washington Redskins), they lost half of their sack total from 2013 (17 out of 34). Team owner and general manager Jerry Jones must restock the pass-rushing cabinet if the Cowboys are to contend in the NFC East.

    Although the team has needs on the offensive line and in the secondary, adding a blue-chip pass-rusher is of paramount importance. UCLA's Anthony Barr would be an intriguing fit if he's still on the board when the Cowboys pick at No. 16 overall.

Denver Broncos: Continue to Improve the Defense

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Denver Broncos general manager John Elway took significant steps in free agency to upgrade the team's defense, signing pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware, safety T.J. Ward and cornerback Aqib Talib. But Elway cannot afford to rest on those signings, as there is still work to be done to elevate the defense to the level of the Seattle Seahawks or San Francisco 49ers. He must spend early draft picks to continue to improve the unit.

    Remember: Anything short of a Super Bowl title next season will be a failure for the Broncos. With Peyton Manning returning as the club's quarterback, the offense will once again be a juggernaut and of a championship quality.

    It's up to Elway to make sure the defense is close to the same level. He should use the team's first few picks on that side of the ball.

Detroit Lions: Acquire Help in the Secondary

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    Rogelio Solis/Associated Press

    Even though the Detroit Lions finished 7-9 last season, they still possess a talented roster that is capable of reaching the postseason. 

    But there is one noticeable exception: the secondary. General manager Martin Mayhew needs to add an impact cornerback or safety with the 10th overall pick, especially considering the team plays in a division with explosive passing attacks in Green Bay and Chicago.

    The good news is that there will be a number of options available. If I were Mayhew, I'd take a long look at Alabama free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (pictured above) or Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert.

Green Bay Packers: Draft a Playmaking Safety

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    Reed Hoffmann/Associated Press

    The Green Bay Packers depth chart at secondary currently has Morgan Burnett as the starting strong safety and Sean Richardson as the starter at free safety. For a club with Super Bowl aspirations, that simply isn't good enough. The advice for general manager Ted Thompson is to add a playmaking safety who can solidify the back end of the defense.

    It's a suggestion that ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky agrees with, and he offers a cavalcade of potential options for Green Bay throughout the draft.

    Thompson has never selected a safety in the first round. It's time for him to buck that trend. Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Louisville's Calvin Pryor and Northern Illinois' Jimmie Ward are all potential options for the team at No. 21 overall.

Houston Texans: Draft Jadeveon Clowney with the No. 1 Overall Pick

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    RICHARD SHIRO/Associated Press

    At his pre-draft press conference earlier this week, Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith should have worn a sign around his neck reading "No. 1 overall pick for sale. Send offers!"

    While Smith is clearly trying to drum up potential interest for the top overall selection, the advice to him is not to accept any offers. He needs to stand pat and select South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

    For as long as Andrew Luck is the quarterback in Indianapolis, the Colts will be a force to be reckoned with. Texans fans surely still have nightmares of former Colts signal-caller Peyton Manning torching their team year after year en route to countless AFC South titles.

    The best chance for the Texans to rise back to the top of the division is to add defenders that can get at Luck and neutralize the Indianapolis passing attack, and a one-two combination of Clowney and star defensive lineman J.J. Watt could do just that.

    Don't overthink it, Houston. Do the right thing. Stay put and select Clowney. You'll be thanking me for the advice by this time next year.

Indianapolis Colts: Don't Trade Down

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Because of the trade that brought running back Trent Richardson to Indianapolis, the Colts don't have a first-round selection in next week's draft, and their first pick doesn't come until No. 59 overall (second round).

    And as Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star recently penned, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson loves to wheel and deal and could be looking to trade down to acquire more picks.

    That would be a mistake. The advice to Grigson and the Colts is to stand pat at No. 59 overall and select the best player available.

    The Colts are coming off back-to-back 11-5 seasons and playoff appearances, and they aren't far from ascending to the AFC's rarefied air currently occupied by Denver and New England. The team would be better served by taking a potential impact player (either a free safety or offensive lineman) at No. 59 overall in what's a very deep draft than by trading down.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Don't Take a Quarterback in the First Round

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    The Jacksonville Jaguars are a team on the rise, but in order to ascend to the next level and truly become competitive in the AFC, they must add more players capable of making an impact. Considering the numerous holes on the roster, it would be a mistake if general manager David Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley used the third overall pick on a quarterback.

    The club re-signed Chad Henne, and while he's not a guy you'd ideally want leading your team for 16 games, he's not terrible, and the Jaguars likely won't find themselves in playoff contention next season anyway.

    The Jaguars should look to draft an impact player with the third overall pick (Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins and Buffalo pass-rusher Khalil Mack being the two ideal candidates) and wait to select a passer of the future until either the second or third round.

Kansas City Chiefs: Draft an Impact Wide Receiver and Several Offensive Linemen

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    While the Kansas City Chiefs finished 11-5 last season and qualified for the postseason, it hasn't exactly been a rosy offseason for coach Andy Reid and Co.

    The club lost a number of talented players in free agency, including its starting left tackle (Branden Albert), both starting guards (Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah), a defensive tackle (Tyson Jackson) and an offensive weapon (Dexter McCluster). As Chris Wesseling of NFL.com noted, that's over 3,000 snaps lost from last year's playoff squad.

    The offensive line in particular was decimated, meaning that Reid and general manager John Dorsey must address it early and often in the draft. In addition, the team's depth chart at receiver is putrid outside of No. 1 target Dwayne Bowe, so the club must take a pass-catcher who can provide quarterback Alex Smith with a reliable option.

    The advice to the Chiefs in the draft is to make sure they solidify the offensive line and add a competent No. 2 receiver.

Miami Dolphins: Improve the Pass Protection

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    Bill Wippert/Associated Press

    The Miami Dolphins allowed 58 sacks last season, and coupled with the Bullygate scandal that sent shockwaves throughout the NFL, it's clear the team needs help along the offensive line.

    The advice to new general manager Dennis Hickey is simple: Add talent along the offensive line in an attempt to keep franchise quarterback Ryan Tannehill upright.

    Hickey added tackle Branden Albert and guard Shelley Smith in free agency, but it isn't enough. A player like Notre Dame guard/tackle Zack Martin would be a wonderful addition with the No. 19 overall pick.

Minnesota Vikings: Don't Be Afraid to Draft a QB in the First Round

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    In 2011, the Minnesota Vikings selected quarterback Christian Ponder with the 12th overall pick. They have since watched as Ponder has struggled mightily, going 14-20-1 as the starter and throwing 38 touchdown passes against 34 interceptions.

    In a related story, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported (via Marc Sessler of NFL.com) that the Vikings decided not to pick up Ponder's fifth-year option, meaning 2014 will in all likelihood be his last season in Minnesota.

    Even though he swung and missed with Ponder, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman must not be afraid of taking a quarterback with the eighth overall pick. 

    Minnesota desperately needs a new franchise signal-caller. The NFC North is loaded at the position with Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay), Jay Cutler (Chicago) and Matthew Stafford (Detroit), while the Vikings currently have Matt Cassel atop the depth chart. That won't get the job done.

    If Spielman and new coach Mike Zimmer believe there is a quarterback worthy of the eighth overall selection, the smartest move they can make is to pull the trigger and not let Ponder's failures fuel their decision to draft elsewhere.

New England Patriots: Add a Dynamic Pass-Catching Tight End

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Following the 2012 season, the New England Patriots possessed the best one-two combination at tight end in the NFL with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

    But with Hernandez in jail and Gronkowski recovering from a variety of maladies (including a torn ACL), the Patriots are thin at a position that has proved to be bountiful for coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady in past years.

    The advice to Belichick is to draft a pass-catching tight end early in the draft and provide Brady with another weapon in the passing attack. Belichick clearly knows he needs to improve the position, having recently hosted former New York Jets and Miami Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller for a visit (he left without a contract, per Jeff Howe of The Boston Herald), so expect him to do so.

    Texas Tech's Jace Amaro or Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins would make a lot of sense for New England.

New Orleans Saints: Draft a Cornerback in the First Round

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    The New Orleans Saints added an impact safety in free agency with the signing of Jairus Byrd, and he will join Kenny Vacarro and Raphael Bush to form an imposing trio at the position.

    But cornerback still looms as an area of need, as general manager Mickey Loomis must add a player to complement Keenan Lewis.

    The team did sign veteran Champ Bailey, but he's on his last legs and is no longer a capable 16-game starter. The advice for Loomis and the Saints is to use the 27th overall pick on a cornerback.

    As Bleacher Report's Chris Simms notes in this video with Adam Lefkoe, Ohio State's Bradley Roby (pictured above) would be an excellent fit.

New York Giants: Improve the Talent on Both the Offensive and Defensive Lines

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    During the coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning era on Broadway, the New York Giants have had success when they've been able to rush the opposing passer and keep Manning upright and run the football.

    Last year, they did none of those things successfully, and as a result, Big Blue missed the postseason for the second consecutive year.

    I know that many Giants fans are pining for a skill position player like LSU receiver Odell Beckham Jr. or North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron, but the advice to general manager Jerry Reese is to stockpile talent on both the offensive and defensive lines. If the team can't protect Manning or bring down the opposing quarterback, the Giants could trot out Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green at receiver and it wouldn't make a difference.

    Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan or Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald would be ideal fits at No. 12 overall.

New York Jets: Add an Impact Wide Receiver

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    The New York Jets improved the talent at the skill positions in free agency with the signings of receiver Eric Decker and running back Chris Johnson, but there is still work to be done to advance the offense into the 21st century.

    General manager John Idzik must add more weapons at the receiver position in order to give whoever the quarterback is (Geno Smith or Michael Vick) the best chance of success. 

    Luckily for the Jets, there are a number of excellent options at receiver in this draft, and they should have the opportunity to select one with the 18th overall pick.

    The advice to Idzik is to spend that selection on a potential game-changing receiver (such as Oregon State's Brandin Cooks). A talented rookie would join with Decker, Jeremy Kerley and tight end Jeff Cumberland to give the Jets a fairly talented pass-catching corps.

Oakland Raiders: Do Not Draft a Quarterback in the First Round

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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    Last season, the Oakland Raiders possessed the worst 53-man roster in the NFL, and while general manager Reggie McKenzie improved it with a spate of free-agent signings, there is still work to be done.

    But one position the Raiders should not be looking to upgrade with the fifth overall selection is quarterback. 

    McKenzie traded for former Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, and while his best days are surely behind him, Schaub is still a capable option. He needs to be the team's starter next season as McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen fight to keep their jobs.

    The Raiders should opt to take a potential game-changing player at fifth overall rather than spend the pick on a quarterback. 

Philadelphia Eagles: Improve the Pass Rush

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    Michael Perez/Associated Press

    Chip Kelly's first year as coach of the Philadelphia Eagles was a rousing success, as the team rode the NFL's second-ranked offense to a 10-6 record and NFC East title.

    The offense is clearly in good hands with Kelly and quarterback Nick Foles, so the Eagles should be drafting defense with the 22nd overall pick—and specifically a pass-rusher to add punch to a unit that only managed 37 sacks last season.

    The advice to Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman is to avoid the temptation of adding another potential weapon on offense and address the pass rush.

    A player that makes a lot of sense is Auburn pass-rusher Dee Ford. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller connected those dots in his latest scouting notebook.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Draft a Cornerback in the First Round

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    Nati Harnik/Associated Press

    The Pittsburgh Steelers desperately need to add youth and playmaking ability at the cornerback position and could definitely do so with their first-round pick (15th overall).

    My advice is that general manager Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin use that selection to do just that.

    There are a number of cornerbacks that would make sense in the Steel City, such as Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard (pictured above). Ike Taylor and William Gay are decent players, but the club needs more, and a player like Dennard would greatly improve the quality of the back seven.

San Diego Chargers: Draft a Cornerback in the First Round

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    Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

    The San Diego Chargers currently boast the NFL's weakest collection of cornerbacks, with Shareece Wright (who?) serving as the No. 1 option.

    For a club coming off a surprise run to the divisional round of the postseason, that's not good enough. The advice for general manager Tom Telesco and coach Mike McCoy is to use an early pick to add a talented player at the cornerback position.

    As stated throughout this column, there are a number of fantastic options that are sure to be available when the Chargers hit the clock with the 25th overall selection. Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller, TCU's Jason Verrett and Ohio State's Bradley Roby could all be potential fits.

San Francisco 49ers: Add a Wide Receiver to Stretch the Field

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    While the San Francisco 49ers possess one of the most complete rosters in the NFL, there is one glaring area of need: a speedy wide receiver capable of stretching the field.

    Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree are fine receivers, but neither fit that mold. Imagine what a receiver with true game-breaking speed would bring to the 49ers offense. The middle of the field would be opened up even further for Boldin, Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis, and the team could take full advantage of the cannon attached to quarterback Colin Kaepernick's right shoulder.

    The advice to general manager Trent Baalke and coach Jim Harbaugh is to find that receiver (Indiana's Cody Latimer?) in the early rounds of the draft. It could be the piece that finally pushes this iteration of the 49ers over the hump and to Super Bowl glory.

Seattle Seahawks: Add a Pass-Catching Tight End

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    What do you get for a team that already has everything?

    Just three months removed from winning Super Bowl XLVIII, Seattle Seshawks general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll have an opportunity to further add to one of the deepest and most talented rosters in the NFL.

    My advice is to grab a stud pass-catching tight end to help open up the offense for quarterback Russell Wilson.

    Zach Miller was the team's leading receiver at the position last season, hauling in 33 passes. The Seahawks can do better.

    A prospect that makes sense is local product Austin Seferian-Jenkins out of the University of Washington.

St. Louis Rams: Draft Clemson WR Sammy Watkins

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    Richard Shiro/Associated Press

    During last year's NFL draft, St. Louis Rams general manager Les Snead and coach Jeff Fisher moved up to the eighth overall selection and drafted West Virginia receiver Tavon Austin, so conventional wisdom would dictate that the Rams not use one of their two first-round picks this year (No. 2 and 13 overall) on a receiver.

    My advice is that the Rams spit in the face of conventional wisdom and make sure they leave the draft with Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins.

    Watkins is a true game-changer at the receiver position. If the Rams are truly committed to Sam Bradford as their quarterback and want to give him the best opportunity to succeed, drafting Watkins is the best way to do it.

    They also have needs along the offensive line, but Watkins should be the top priority. He would be a beast on the turf of the Edward Jones Dome and strike fear into the hearts of NFC West competitors Seattle, San Francisco and Arizona.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Draft Texas A&M WR Mike Evans

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hold the seventh overall pick in Thursday's draft, and the depth chart at the receiver position is thin outside of No. 1 option Vincent Jackson.

    With Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins likely to be off the board, the advice for new Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht is to find a way to leave the draft with Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans.

    With wideout Mike Williams traded to Buffalo, there is a gaping hole opposite Vincent Jackson at the No. 2 receiver spot. Evans would fill that void. He'd also provide new quarterback Josh McCown with a big (6'5", 231 lbs) target, giving him a receiving corps similar to the one he possessed in Chicago with 6'4" Brandon Marshall and 6'3" Alshon Jeffery. (Jackson is 6'5" in his own right.)

    The mock drafters agree, as Evans is the consensus selection for Tampa Bay.

Tennessee Titans: Draft a Quarterback in the First Two Rounds

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    John Russell/Associated Press

    The presumptive starting quarterback for the Tennessee Titans is Jake Locker, but he's failed to dazzle and stay healthy since the team made him the eighth overall pick of the 2011 draft.

    Locker has shown an inability to stay on the field, having missed 14 games over the past two seasons. The Titans declined to exercise his fifth-year option, per Jim Wyatt of USA Today, meaning 2014 is a make-or-break year for Locker.

    With a new head coach (Ken Whisenhunt) in town, the advice for Titans general manager Ruston Webster is to add a quarterback in either the first or second round to provide competition for and potentially replace Locker in the event of injury or ineffective play.

    Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo would be a fine option in the second round for Whisenhunt and Webster.

Washington Redskins: Draft Help Along the Offensive Line

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    Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press

    By virtue of the trade that brought quarterback Robert Griffin III to our nation's capital in 2012, the Washington Redskins don't hit the clock in Thursday's draft until the 34th overall pick (second round). And the advice to general manager Bruce Allen and new coach Jay Gruden is to use that pick to improve the offensive line.

    Gruden runs a power run scheme, which runs in stark contrast to the zone-blocking scheme employed by deposed coach Mike Shanahan. The Redskins must get bigger along the offensive line, and the 34th pick provides an opportunity to do just that.

    A player such as Nevada lineman Joel Bitonio would be a marvelous fit at right tackle. He would both help in the run game and provide needed protection for Griffin.

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