NFL Draft 2014: Teams That Did Best Jobs Addressing Biggest Needs

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NFL Draft 2014: Teams That Did Best Jobs Addressing Biggest Needs
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The NFL draft is the best opportunity for teams to improve and address their biggest needs, and a few franchises did a great job of improving their teams this past weekend.

This year's draft was filled with tons of impressive talent, and there are bound to be a number of long-term starters in the league who come from this draft. Moving the draft back a few weeks also helped ratings for both NFL Network and ESPN, according to Pete Dougherty from the Times Union, as both networks saw increased ratings of around 50 percent from last year.

Now that the draft is over, let's take a look at a few teams that did the best jobs addressing their biggest weaknesses.

 

Baltimore Ravens

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For a team that lost so many players on defense after winning the Super Bowl in 2013, the Baltimore Ravens did a nice job once again in this year's draft of restocking that side of the ball with tons of talent.

The Ravens made a strong move with their first-round pick, taking Alabama inside linebacker C.J. Mosley. Mosley is an incredible athlete with top-tier instincts at the position, finding ways to consistently get to the ball-carrier play after play. With Mosley, Daryl Smith and Arthur Brown, the Ravens are now set at inside linebacker.

But Mosley wasn't the only prospect they brought in on defense who will be an instant contributor. Timmy Jernigan out of Florida State will find ways to get on the field at defensive tackle, and while stamina may be an issue, he will be a great asset against the run. Meanwhile, Terrence Brooks has a very good chance of starting at free safety, giving the Ravens two talented young safeties in the defensive backfield with him and Matt Elam.

Ozzie Newsome has added a few more key players on defense, and the Ravens are suddenly the favorites to win the AFC North once again.

 

Houston Texans

It was an incredibly disappointing season for the Houston Texans, earning the No. 1 overall pick a year after they thought they were potential Super Bowl contenders. After such a dramatic fall, this was a crucial draft for them to turn things around, and they did exactly that.

The Texans made the right move bringing in Jadeveon Clowney and sticking to their board throughout the draft. While fans were nervous about the fact that they didn't draft a quarterback in the first three rounds, they came away with four terrific selections before taking Tom Savage in the fourth round, revamping both sides of the ball in a hurry.

NFL.com's Adam Schein believes the Texans won the draft, saying:

Make no mistake about it: The Texans simply won the draft. Houston snagged the best player available in Jadeveon Clowney at No. 1 overall. Opponents now must deal with a pass rush that includes Clowney and the great J.J. Watt. Does it get any scarier than that?

Indeed it does!

Houston general manager Rick Smith could get arrested for stealing Notre Dame defensive tackle Louis Nix in Round 3. He's an ideal specimen for coordinator Romeo Crennel's 3-4 defense, and I thought he'd go much higher than he did. Bottom line: The Texans landed two instant-impact defenders in the draft's first two days. And it's not like they ignored the other side of the ball ...

While Savage isn't as talented of a quarterback as Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles or Teddy Bridgewater, the Texans may have still found their starting quarterback for 2014 while adding a ton of solid prospects on both sides of the ball. By sticking to their board, new head coach Bill O'Brien is off to a strong start with his new team.

 

St. Louis Rams

It's going to be very difficult for the St. Louis Rams to make a run at the NFC West title, but they were able to bring in a lot of players to strengthen some of their weaker positions in this draft.

The two first-round picks the Rams made were spot on. Greg Robinson will give the Rams an option at either right or left tackle depending on where they want him, while Aaron Donald will give the Rams another threat on the defensive line to go along with Chris Long, Robert Quinn and Michael Brockers.

That's not a defensive line any team wants to mess with.

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The Rams weren't done there, however, as they continued to add key pieces as the weekend went on. The secondary was a major concern heading into the draft, and the Rams came away with Lamarcus Joyner and Mo Alexander, both of who could potentially start next season with solid training camps.

Running back Tre Mason will be a nice backup to give the Rams a change of pace in the backfield behind Zac Stacy, but the most talked about pick from the draft was Michael Sam.

As the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Sam will be looking to find a way onto the team as a pass-rusher, and while his size makes him a "tweener" at either defensive end or linebacker, his production in one of the toughest conferences in football is hard to ignore.

"Let me tell you something, if we were playing the Vikings right now, I'd probably have three sacks the first game," Sam said during a conference call with St. Louis media, according to ESPN.com. "Since February and my big announcement, this has been a whole [lot of] speculation of the first openly gay football player, but you know what? It's not about that. It's about playing football.

With so many new faces at positions where they needed help, the Rams arguably had the best draft of any team in the NFL.

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