NFL Draft 2011: An English Perspective
With the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl both rapidly approaching and the lineups for both games now confirmed, it also means that the NFL Draft is quickly approaching as well.
While Packers and Steelers fans will be particularly excited about the Super Bowl and there's no reason neutral fans shouldn't be either, many teams will already be looking ahead to the draft in the hope to get themselves a better shot at the Lombardi Trophy next time around.
So, all the way from England, here's and English perspective on what each team needs in the draft.
1. Carolina Panthers
What they need: Arguably, most positions in this team needs improvement, but some are obviously more necessary than others. They would have liked to take on a new QB in the draft in Andrew Luck but as that is no longer possible, the Panthers will have to look elsewhere.
Chances are they'll take a defensive player in either a defensive end or defensive tackle. As the old saying goes, "Offence wins you games, Defence wins you Super Bowls".
What they'll get: Probably either Nick Fairley from Auburn or Da'Quan Bowers from Clemson, a defensive end and defensive tackle.
2. Denver Broncos
What they need: Like the Panthers, the Broncos may want to strengthen their defence over the course of the summer. They'll also want to start putting together an offence that can work around Tim Tebow.
That would suggest they need to improve everywhere, but a number of positions are more important to fill than others. For example, a replacement for Champ Bailey may need to come soon as would a strong defensive end.
What they'll get: Either Nick Fairley and Da'Quan Bowers, depending on who hasn't been picked already by the Panthers.
The Broncos may also choose to have a look at Patrick Peterson from LSU as an eventual successor to Champ Bailey.
3. Buffalo Bills
What they need: Most prominently an outside linebacker. This could mean a surprise pick in the draft but the Bills won't be scared to do that, as long as it improves their squad.
They also need a cornerback or defensive end to tighten up their defence against both the run and the pass. They may want a young quarterback to replace Fitzpatrick but chances are they'll give him one more season.
What they'll get: The amount of positions the Bills will be looking at throw up a range of opportunities, so don't be surprised if any of these players are signed: Marcel Dareus (Alabama), Von Miller (Texas A&M), Da'Quan Bowers (Clemson), Blaine Gabbert (Missouri).
4. Cincinnati Bengals
What they need: Unlike most of the early teams in this draft, it looks like the Bengals will largely be focussed on improving their offence.
The Bengals may also be interested in shoring up some of their defensive positions, mainly at defensive end. Chances are though that their main picks will be offensive players before they start looking at defensive positions.
What they'll get: The two most likely candidates are AJ Green, out of Georgia, or Mark Ingram out of Alabama.
Most people would put their money on AJ Green out of the two though.
5. Arizona Cardinals
What they need: A quarterback is clearly the main priority for the Cardinals in the draft. Maybe we'll all be shocked again to find Favre come out of retirement and return with a new team, but the chances are very slim of that happening.
They may also be interested in taking a look at an outside linebacker at some point during the draft, although it is widely expected that a quarterback will take precedence over this.
What they'll get: The most likely options are Blaine Gabbert, out of Missouri, or Jake Locker, out of Washington.
If they're looking for an outside linebacker instead, they may draft Robert Quinn from North Carolina.
6. Cleveland Browns
What they need: A defensive end. Like most other teams in this draft, it's the defence that needs further improvement. The Browns will no doubt be looking to get the best defensive end they can that has not already been drafted.
If that's not the case, then they may also follow another trend by looking for an outside linebacker.
What they'll get: It's likely that they'll be hoping to get Von Miller if he's not already been drafted, since he has the ability to play both Defensive End and Outside Linebacker.
Other than that, the Browns will likely be interested in Marcell Dareus as well, out of Alabama.
7. San Francisco 49ers
What they need: A quarterback or a cornerback would not go too far amiss for the 49ers. Alex Smith has probably not done enough to establish himself as the 49ers QB and so, he may well be replaced in the draft.
The QB pick may not come in the first round though, as the team will also be looking to find another cornerback as well.
What they'll get: Patrick Peterson looks like the most obvious choice for them, coming out of LSU.
If they do choose to take a QB though, chances are they'll look at Jake Locker, Cameron Newton or Ryan Mallett.
8. Tennessee Titans
What they need: A quarterback, an inside linebacker and a guard should be the team's main priorities. They may choose to stick with Vince Young for a bit longer, but most people are expecting a quarterback to be drafted.
They may wish to strengthen their defence though, meaning the team has a lot of options to choose from.
What they'll get: Jake Locker or Blaine Gabbert seem to be the names mentioned most if they do choose to draft a quarterback.
After that they may have a look at Quan Sturdivant or Greg Jones from North Carolina and Michigan State respectively.
9. Dallas Cowboys
What they need: A Cornerback seems to be the most likely choice for the Cowboys but they'll also be hoping to strengthen a number of other positions.
They will also be hoping to find a good offensive tackle and maybe also a Guard or a Safety. Which they pick will be hard to predict, and so most pundits would play it safe and guess that the team will go for a cornerback.
What they'll get: Prince Amukamara looks likely to be snapped up by the Cowboys. The club may surprise people by picking someone like Anthony Castonzo out of Boston College but that seems unlikely.
Amukamara from Nebraska seems like the odds on favourite to be drafted first by the Cowboys.
10. Washington Redskins
What they need: The Redskins will mainly be looking for another Quarterback to replace Donovan McNabb,but they may also want to tighten up parts of their defence.
Opinions are split on what they'll go for in the first round of picks but they should have plenty of choice of who to draft.
What they'll get: Chances are the Redskins will take either Aldon Smith, out of Missouri, or Ryan Mallett out of Arkansas, on.
That said depending on who has already been drafted they may have more choices. If people such as Jake Locker or Blaine Gabbert are free then they'll also definitely be in the running to be picked.
11. Houston Texans
What they need: Another team that needs to strengthen up it's defence. It seems that the Texans will be interested in picking up either a Linebacker, a Cornerback or a Defensive Tackle.
While they may have other positions and players on their mind most pundits seem to be predicting that it's these three positions that are needing to be filled most importantly.
What they'll get: Probably either Akeem Ayers out of UCLA, or Stephen Paea out of Oregon State.
As is usual with the draft they may have more options depending whose already been picked but it Prince Amukamara may also be on the Texans radar.
12. Minnesota Vikings
What they need: A Quarterback is very important for this team right now with Brett Favre retiring (apparently). The team clearly have bags of talent as could be seen from their 2009 season, but 2010 did not go half as well as they had planned.
A new Quarterback with bags of ability could work wonders for this team.
What they'll get: Most likely Cam Newton out of Auburn, but they'll probably also take a look at a number of the other young Quarterbacks on show.
Some people have predicted that they might surprise people though and go for Mike Pouncey, out of Florida, as a Centre.
13. Detroit Lions
What they need: Another Cornerback seems very important for the Lions right now, while their are also concerns at other Defensive positions.
They may choose to draft a young Defensive End or Outside Linebacker just to shore up their Defence.
What they'll get: Ryan Kerrigan out of Purdue, and Akeem Ayers out of UCLA have both had their names mentioned quite a lot and they are probably the favourites to picked up by the team.
They may also be after Prince Akamukara provided he has not already been drafted.
14. St Louis Rams
What they need: An Offensive tackle appears to be quite high on the teams list of priorities, while a wide receiver and a Guard may also be on the teams list of wants.
While an Offensive Tackle may be their priority, it seems just as likely that the team may choose to draft another player in this first round of picks before deciding on their tackle.
What they'll get: Anthony Castonzo has surprisingly had his name banded about a little bit, coming out of Boston College and he may be picked early.
Julio Jones also looks like he's one of the key players that the Rams might go for. The team ma well pick him to start building an offence around the very able Sam Bradford.
15. Miami Dolphins
What they need: The Dolphins may look for a new Running Back during the draft as well as a new Quarterback.
While the Dolphins are a very able team, it looks as though they'll struggle to get into the play offs regardless of who they draft, thanks to the strength of the Jets and Patriots.
This means the team may choose to relax and gradually build a team that has the capability of winning their division.
What they'll get: A young quarterback like Cam Newton shouldn't go too far amiss, while Mark Ingram out of Alabama, has also had his name mentioned.
16 Jacksonville Jaguars
What they need: A Defensive End would be a good pick for the team, despite many teams that are due to pick before them also looking for one.
They may also want to look for a quarterback following David Garrard's inconsistent year.
What they'll get: If he's not been picked already, then Ryan Mallett seems like he could be on his way to the Jaguars, although any of the other strong, young Quarterbacks that have not already been drafted may also be in the frame.
Ryan Kerrigan out of Purdue, has also had his name mentioned a number of times to fill the Defensive End position.
17. New England Patriots
What they need: Having taken this pick from the Oakland Raiders, the Patriots will look to bulk up on more young talent again.
An Outside Linebacker or an Offensive Tackle look like two of the most likely positions to be filled by the Patriots in the draft.
What they'll get: They could well take their pick of any of the following: Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin), Aldon Smith (Missouri), Anthony Castonzo (Boston College), Von Miller (Texas A&M).
18. San Diego Chargers
What they need: The Chargers will want to get hold of a wide receiver over the course of the draft unless Vincent Jackson is resigned.
Other than that they may be looking for a Defensive End that hasn't already been drafted or an outside linebacker, that again, hasn't already been drafted.
What they'll get: Probably either JJ Watt or Julio Jones, dependant on which position they choose to go for and who's already been drafted.
While they may have some other positions that could do with strengthening, it seems that Jones and Watt are the favourites to be picked.
19. New York Giants
What they need: Maybe a Tight End or Quarterback could be surprise picks for the Giants, but it looks as though they'll be going for a Defensive Tackle in this pick.
The team have a number of players and positions they could choose to draft in and so it's hard to predict who exactly will be picked.
What they'll get: Most likely it seems they could pick up Corey Liuget from Illinois as a Defensive Tackle in the first round.
They may have their eyes on a number of promising Quarter Backs to provide cover for Eli Manning who did not have the best of years in 2010. Kyle Rudolph is another option for the team, coming out of Notre Dame.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
What they need: A Defensive End or Offensive Tackle could be in the running to be picked up here by the Buccaneers.
An Inside or Outside Linebacker may also be picked up but this isn't as much of a priority as the other two positions and so seems less likely the team will pick someone up in the first round for this position.
What they'll get: Possibly Nate Solder out of Colorado, or Adrian Clayborn out of Iowa.
With the earlier picks and the teams current needs those two players seems like the two favourites in the two positions that the team need to fill the most.
21. Indianapolis Colts
What they need: Simply put a Defensive Tackle, a Defensive End and an Offensive Tackle are the main positions that need filling for the Colts.
This gives them a number of options but as most other teams are also looking to improve their defence, the Colts will be looking to just get the best players they can that are still available.
What they'll get: Adrian Clayborn out of Iowa is the favourite for Defensive End if the team choose to pick that up, while Nate Solder, out of Colorado, looks the most likely to be picked up if the team are searching for an Offensive Tackle.
22. Kansas City Chiefs
What they need: It is thought that the Chiefs will certainly be looking to draft an Offensive tackle this year, but in what round they will do so is unpredictable.
They may also wish to draft an Outside Linebacker or a Nose Tackle.
What they'll get: Most likely either Anthony Castonzo out of Boston College or Derek Sherrod out of Mississippi State. Both are very strong and able Offensive Tackles and the team could do with signing one of them up.
23. Philadelphia Eagles
What they need: A Guard or a Cornerback seem to be the most prominent positions that the team need to fill, with a number of options available to them.
They may also wish to draft a Defensive End, if one of high enough quality is left after all the previous picks.
What they'll get: Most pundits seem to be guessing Brandon Harris, out of Miami, will be picked up although there have been some predicting that the team will go for Robert Quinn, out of North Carolina instead.
The problem with Robert Quinn is that he missed 2010 through suspension and his character may put the team off picking him.
24. New Orleans Saints
What they need: A Linebacker seems to take priority here for the current Super Bowl champions (at least until the 6th February).
A Defensive End or Defensive Tackle seem to also be on the Saints agenda and they'll no doubt try to pick up some defensive players at some point throughout the draft.
What they'll get: Probably either Justin Houston out of Georgia, or Cameron Jordan out of California based on their needs and previous picks.
Houston would fill in the Linebacker position nicely as would Jordan in the Defensive End position.
25. Seattle Seahawks
What they need: Possibly a quarterback, with Hasselback beginning to get particularly old and there being no prominent back ups at the team.
They may also wish to sign a Running Back to help out Marshawn Lynch which would provide them with a number of choices during the draft.
What they'll get: If the team are going for a Quarterback or a Running Back they'll obviously have to just pick the best of what's left from earlier picks. Jake Locker or Cam Newton may be left and may be available to be picked.
In terms of running back, it looks likely that Mark Ingram could be picked up by the team to share Lynch's current carries.
26. Baltimore Ravens
What they need: A Defensive End, Outside Linebacker and a Cornerback appear to be the priorities the Ravens.
They may wish to strengthen elsewhere, including a number of offence positions, but it's these defence positions that the team are expected to want to strengthen most.
What they'll get: Jeremy Beal seems like a good prospect for the team, and is able to play in two of the positions that they may be looking to fill.
In terms of Cornerback, Aaron Williams may take the Ravens fancy if they choose to fill that position.
27. Atlanta Falcons
What they need: A Defensive end seems one of the most likely options that will be picked up by the Falcons. That is, if there are enough good Defensive Ends left in the draft by this point.
Other than that they may want to pick up a Tight End to prepare a replacement for Tony Gonzalez.
What they'll get: The main two names that have been thrown around when talking about the falcons is Cameron Heyward, out of Ohio State, and Allen Bailey out of Miami.
They may also take a look at Kyle Rudolph or DJ Williams if they wish to pick up a tight end.
28. New England Patriots
What they need: Same as on Slide 17
What they'll get: Likely one of the players from slide 17 that they didn't pick earlier in the draft, presuming the rest of them are still available.
29. Chicago Bears
What they need: Most people are predicting that they'll pick up an Offensive tackle in this draft meaning they'll have a number of options to choose from.
A Guard or Wide Receiver may also be on their agenda, provided they manage to bring in an Offensive Tackle that they like at some point during the course of the draft.
What they'll get: As most people are predicting that they'll pick up an offensive tackle, a lot of those people are also suggesting that the person they are looking for is Tyron Smith out of USC.
Smith seems like the favourite to be picked up by Chicago during this draft.
30. New York Jets
What they need: A Quarterback is not the main concern at New York with Sanchez stepping up during the play offs, although Brunnell and Clemens aren't the most respected back ups for the former USC star.
Depending on which of the free agents the Jets resign in the summer, they may also be looking for a new wide receiver as well as a small amount of Defensive tightening.
What they'll get: Some people are predicting that they could try and get Stephen Paea or Allen Bailey to start providing more back ups for the teams defence.
If they do choose to look for a wide receiver it is thought that Jon Baldwin may be of interest to the team.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers
What they need: The Super Bowl team may wish to find another Defensive tackle or an Offensive Guard to strengthen their team even further. While they have a strong defence already, it could always use more strengthening.
The team may also want to look for a new Guard although this depends on who's already been picked earlier in the draft.
What they'll get: The odds on favourites look like Muhammed Wilkerson out of Temple, or maybe Mike Pouncey out of Florida.
32. Green Bay Packers
What they need: The problem the Packers have is largely the depth in their squad. This means they may want to strengthen positions like Cornerback or Running back.
Other than this they may also wish to strengthen at Outside Linebacker or Offensive Tackle, to provide more cover for Aaron Rodgers.
What they'll get: Provided the team do go for an Outside Linebacker or Offensive Tackle, they will probably be looking at Benjamin Ljalana out of Villanova or Justin Houston out of Georgia.
Other than that they may look at the left overs at Running back and Cornerback to pick up as back ups for their solid first string.
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