2011 NFL Draft Order: Holes Each Team Needs to Fill

Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterJanuary 3, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Order: Holes Each Team Needs to Fill

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    Your 2010 National Football League regular season ends tonight. Tomorrow morning the offseason will start for 20 of the 32 teams playing in the NFL.

    With an eye toward the offseason, we take a look at the predicted draft order for the 2011 NFL Draft.

    What determines the order? It is oddly simple. The team with the worst record picks first. In the event two or more teams have a tying record, strength of schedule is used as the tiebreaker. Each team that makes the playoffs will pick 21-32, with the order being set by which teams are eliminated from the playoffs first, and by record within those teams. Simple, right?

    With the draft order set, the fun begins for draftniks and fans.

    A list of the draft order would be fine, but Bleacher Report loves you so much that we have included each team's top seven needs entering the offseason.

1. Carolina Panthers

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    Head Coach: To be determined

    Expected defensive scheme: 4-3

    Team Needs:

    Defensive End: There is youth here with Everett Brown, Greg Hardy and Eric Norwood, but none of the three has the look of a dominating pass rusher. To compete in the NFC South, defense is the key.

    Defensive Tackle: Stuffing the run is just as important for Carolina's rebuilding as anything. To win they must be able to keep their defense off the field and control the tempo of the game. Defensive tackle is a big area of concern on the current roster.

    Outside Linebacker: Speed is needed here. Thomas Davis has been average since entering the league, and an upgrade could be used. Also, Davis is a free agent as of tonight and may leave Carolina depending on the new coaching staff.

    Wide Receiver: Steve Smith is not only aging, but may not be back in 2011. Dwayne Jarrett never lived up to expectations, leaving the team very young at receiver. Brandon LaFell and David Gettis are intriguing, but neither is a No. 1 receiver.

    Tight End: Jeff King is a free agent after the season, and even if he returns he does not pose a threat at the position. The Panthers are likely to be very young at quarterback next year. Finding a tight end to grow with their quarterback would be a smart move.

    Quarterback: This is not an area of immediate need, not with Jimmy Clausen on the roster. However, if Andrew Luck (Stanford) enters the 2011 Draft, the Panthers will draft him. We do not feel quarterback is a huge need, but they cannot pass on Luck if he is available.

    Cornerback: There is talent here, but depth at cornerback is always welcome. Should Richard Marshall leave via free agency this need becomes more imminent.

2. Denver Broncos

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    Head Coach: To be determined

    Expected defensive scheme: 3-4

    Team Needs:

    Cornerback: Champ Bailey is in the final years of his Hall of Fame career. Finding a suitable replacement for him will not be easy, but it should be the Broncos' first order of business in the 2011 Draft.

    Defensive End: In the Broncos' 3-4 scheme a defensive end must be able to anchor the edge and stop the run. In 2010 the Broncos struggled to do this. Look for Denver to add a college defensive tackle or big-body end here who can stop the run.

    Tight End: As Tim Tebow moves into a full-time starting position with the team they must build the offense around him. Finding a tight end who can work the middle of the field will not only help Tebow as a passer, it will open running lanes for him as well.

    Strong Safety: Upgrading over Renaldo Hill will make a big impact on the entire defense. Denver struggled against the run this season, an area where a strong safety has to make his presence known.

    Guard: The run game in Denver did get better as the season progressed, but this is still a need for the team. You can never have too many good players along the interior offensive line, or too much depth at guard.

    Outside Linebacker: Elvis Dumervil should be back in 2011 after missing the year with an injury. His return will make the entire defense better immediately. The Broncos also have to protect themselves against future injury to their defensive MVP.

    Nose Tackle: Jamaal Williams has been a welcome addition in Denver, but he is not far away from retirement. Ronald Fields is capable, but depth is needed.

3. Buffalo Bills

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    Head Coach: Chan Gailey

    Expected defensive scheme: 3-4

    Team Needs:

    Cornerback: Leodis McKelvin has yet to play up to his draft position. Drayton Florence will enter free agency this offseason and may not be back with the Bills. Finding a viable starter opposite Terrence McGee, who is now 30 years old, is key.

    Outside Linebacker: The Bills recently re-signed Shawne Merriman to a contract extension, despite him playing in zero games for them this year. No one knows what to expect from Merriman in 2011. Whether he returns to his Pro Bowl form or not, Buffalo must get better at outside linebacker.

    Defensive End: Stopping the run will be big for Buffalo as they improve from the bottom of the AFC. Marcus Stroud wants to come back in 2011, but the team may choose to get younger at the position. Youth is a need here either way.

    Tight End: Shawn Nelson has been average, and does not scare defensive coordinators. Ryan Fitzpatrick has the tools to be a good quarterback, but with only marginal arm strength he needs a tight end who can make plays for him.

    Quarterback: Speaking of Fitzpatrick, many will tell you he is not a franchise quarterback. The jury is still out on the Harvard graduate. Word is the Bills will give Fitzpatrick the 2011 season to prove himself. Either way, drafting a young quarterback to groom for a starting position is never a bad idea.

    Wide Receiver: Steve Johnson had a great 2010 season, all the more impressive when you consider the talent around him. Lee Evans can be good when healthy, but age and injuries are becoming a factor. Adding one or two receivers in this draft is likely.

    Strong Safety: Donte Whitner wants to return in 2011, but as a free agent who the team has not approached about an extension, there is doubt about his value to the Bills organization.

4. Cincinnati Bengals

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    Head Coach: To be determined

    Expected defensive scheme: 4-3

    Team Needs:

    Running Back: Cedric Benson is a free agent now that the season is over. He owes the Bengals a lot after they gave him a second chance, and many expect Benson to re-sign with the team. Much of that depends on who is the head coach next season. Marvin Lewis' contract expired tonight and his status remains up in the air.

    Defensive End: Antwan Odom flashed brilliance in 2009, but his potential seems haunted by injuries. Odom should be back in 2011, but at this point the Bengals cannot expect much. Opposite Odom, there is a need at end. A pass rusher with speed is a welcome addition to Cincinnati and could be the team's focus with the fourth overall pick.

    Inside Linebacker: The team does not expect to bring starting middle linebacker Dhani Jones back after the 2010 season. Behind him there is little to write home about. Solidifying the Bengals defense means getting better at MIKE linebacker.

    Strong Safety: The secondary should be a strength for Cincinnati, with two great young cornerbacks on the roster. Unfortunately they are relying on Roy Williams at strong safety. Upgrading to a safety who has at least some ability in coverage will be part of the offseason plan.

    Quarterback: Remember when Carson Palmer was good? It seems like it was not that long ago, but his performance over the past few seasons is getting progressively worse. The end may not be soon for Palmer and the Bengals, but the team must start preparing for that day.

    Guard: The running attack was a major let-down this season, and part of the reason for the huge difference in record from 2009 to 2010. If Cincinnati plans to run the ball as well as they did in '09, they will need to start looking for a guard who can pin his ears back and fight in the trenches.

    Wide Receiver: You have to think that Terrell Owens and/or Chad Ochocinco will not return in 2011. Jordan Shipley looks like a steal from the 2010 draft class, but he is not suited to be a No. 1 receiver. We have heard grumblings about the Bengals scouts loving Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green. He will likely be available when the Bengals pick in Round 1.

5. Arizona Cardinals

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    Head Coach: Ken Whisenhunt

    Expected defensive scheme: 4-3/3-4 hybrid

    Team Needs:

    Quarterback: Derek Anderson, Max Hall and John Skelton. Those are your starting quarterbacks for the Arizona Cardinals this year. They are also the reason Arizona is picking at No. 5 instead of No. 25. Or higher. No one position holds more weight in the 2011 NFL Draft to the Cardinals success than quarterback. This has to be a first-rounder if a legitimate veteran is not added via free agency or a trade.

    Guard: Alan Faneca is eyeing retirement after a great career. He will be missed up front, but his play also started to decline this year. Finding a starting left guard in the draft will not be easy, as this draft is not particularly strong at guard, but Arizona is in a good position to find potential starters at the top of Rounds 2 or 3.

    Outside Linebacker: Joey Porter is most likely done in Arizona, and he really will not be missed. Porter failed to live up to the hype and can be replaced with a rookie. Speed is key here in the Cardinals' aggressive, versatile scheme. The do like to rush from the edge, so do not rule out college defensive ends here.

    Offensive Tackle: Levi Brown has never been overly impressive, but he is serviceable. At right tackle, the Cardinals are in a bad position. Tackle could easily become a first-round pick if the team falls in love with any of the talented tackles in this class.

    Cornerback: The starters are good enough here to win, but depth is needed for the Cardinals to feel good about their secondary. Arizona favors taller cornerbacks who can be aggressive. Look for Arizona to target corners in Rounds 5 or 6.

    Tight End: Here is a position that could be drafted higher than we have ranked it. Arizona needs a playmaker at tight end, especially with a young quarterback coming in and taking over in 2011.

    Defensive Tackle: You can never have too many run-stuffing tackles. Arizona likes the big bodies up front, but there is a need for depth and a possible upgrade over free agents Gabe Watson and Bryan Robinson.

6. Cleveland Browns

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    Head Coach: To be determined

    Expected defensive scheme: 3-4

    Team Needs:

    Defensive End: Much of the needs for Cleveland are based on the belief that Mike Holmgren will stay with a head coach who runs the 3-4. Should the Browns stick with the three-man front, a lot of work is needed. Defensive end is perhaps the weakest position on the entire roster. There is no one here capable of stopping the run and setting the edge for the defense. Cleveland needs an end who can command a double-team and free up the outside rush.

    Outside Linebacker: Just like they need an end to open up the outside pass rush, the Browns need someone who can actually rush the passer from outside. This has been a need for Cleveland since moving to a 3-4 defense. They must make adding a speed rusher a priority in the 2011 Draft.

    Inside Linebacker: Noticing a trend here? Cleveland was bad against the run in 2010. We will give them credit. They played better than anyone expected, but more talent is needed here. To stop the run in a 3-4 defense you need two inside linebackers who can tackle, fight through blocks and read the offensive line. Cleveland does not have this right now.

    Wide Receiver: As Colt McCoy matures and becomes the Browns' franchise quarterback, he will need receivers to grow with him. Cleveland could pull the trigger as early as Round 1 on a No. 1 receiver for McCoy.

    Offensive Tackle: Joe Thomas could very well be the best offensive lineman in football. He has the left tackle position locked down for the next decade in Cleveland. The right side is not quite as steady. Cleveland could use an upgrade at right tackle to achieve more balance on offense.

    Guard: Eric Steinbach is pretty underrated as a left guard. At right guard the Browns have a hole. The running game was much improved in 2010, but most of that is thanks to a tough-as-nails running back and a left side that is better than any in football.

    Free Safety: T.J. Ward came on strong as a rookie for Cleveland, making the secondary instantly better. With Ward and fellow rookie Joe Haden at corner, Cleveland has a nice secondary building. One spot that is weak is free safety. Depth is an immediate need here. An upgrade would not be a terrible thing.

7. San Francisco 49ers

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    Head Coach: To be determined

    Expected defensive scheme: 3-4

    Team Needs:

    Quarterback: The 49ers gave Alex Smith a fair chance to win the starting job and establish himself as a starting quarterback in the NFL. He failed time and time again. Owner Jed York knows it is time to start over at the position. The 49ers will have their pick of quarterbacks at No. 7 overall. Jake Locker, Cameron Newton and Ryan Mallett will all be heavily considered as the 49ers rebuild yet again.

    Outside Linebacker: If the new head coach keeps the 3-4 alignment on defense, the 49ers will look to improve at outside linebacker. Speed is needed, but more importantly they need an edge rusher who can scare offenses. This is something San Francisco never had under Mike Nolan or Mike Singletary.

    Cornerback: Nate Clements is declining and could see a move to free safety next fall. Cornerback will be a position of high need and could eventually be the 49ers' first-round pick if the best player on their board is still available.

    Nose Tackle: Aubrayo Franklin was the team's franchise tag recipient after a very good 2009 season, but he did not live up to expectations this year. It is very likely he will return, but adding depth here is a good idea should Franklin continue to decline.

    Guard: Mike Iupati looks like a future Pro Bowler for San Francisco. He has the one guard spot locked down; the other is in trouble. Chilo Rachal was supposed to be a fixture at guard, but he has been so-so thus far.

    Defensive End: Justin Smith was an unlikely Pro Bowler this year, but NFL players know the importance an end plays in a 3-4 defense. To get better next year the 49ers need to add a complimentary end opposite Smith to balance out the defense.

    Free Safety: As mentioned, Nate Clements may end up here but that is only a temporary fix. Taylor Mays is a bright young star at strong safety, making the need at free safety all the more evident. This could be a late-round pick-up for depth and finding a developmental player.

8. Tennessee Titans

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    Head Coach: Jeff Fisher

    Expected defensive scheme: 4-3

    Team Needs:

    Inside Linebacker: The Titans have done a good job of patching up holes in the defense. This is a testament to the job Jeff Fisher has done there. The need at middle linebacker is becoming more obvious, though, and it is starting to hurt the overall defense. At pick No. 8, the Titans will not reach for a middle linebacker, but this is the most imminent need in Tennessee.

    Guard: The running game must be hot for the Titans to win with any regularity. The biggest difference between 2009 and 2010 was the guard play for Tennessee. Leroy Harris is a free agent, and with many other unsigned players on the roster Tennessee could use this as a chance to get better at the position.

    Quarterback: We will say that this should be the Titans primary need for the offseason, and even their first pick in the draft, but it will not happen. Owner Bud Adams loves Vince Young, and no matter how bad he plays or how immature he acts, Young will still be the quarterback in 2011.

    Cornerback: Alterraun Verner has been a nice surprise for the Titans. With Cortland Finneran already a very solid starter, Tennessee has two good young corners. Depth is the only need here. The Titans could add one or two corners this offseason.

    Tight End: Bo Scaife is a free agent and may leave town. Much depends on if Jeff Fisher is brought back for another season. Scaife is a good player, but he is also very vocal and prone to drops in big moments. Even if Scaife is back in 2011, the Titans could look to add more speed at the position.

    Outside Linebacker: David Thornton has been a good player, but injuries have made the team re-evaluate his worth. His price tag and injury history could push him off the roster. With Thornton back in 2011, this becomes a need for depth only.

    Wide Receiver: Kenny Britt has been great this year. The Titans have a young star in the making with Britt and Nate Washington. Finding depth is the only real need at receiver.

9. Dallas Cowboys

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    Head Coach: Jason Garrett (formerly interim head coach)

    Expected defensive scheme: 3-4

    Team Needs:

    Offensive Tackle: Doug Free has been great in replacing Flozel Adams this year. He has the left side of the line locked down in Dallas. At right tackle we could see Dallas replacing Alex Barron/Marc Colombo with a first-round draft choice. Jerry Jones has not historically gone offensive line early on, but this is a big need for an offensive-minded coaching staff.

    Defensive End: This all hinges on if Marcus Spears is back in 2011. If Spears does re-sign with Dallas in free agency they have a good foundation here and only need depth. Without Spears, you have to look at defensive end as a top need for the Cowboys. Jerry Jones was very public about improving the defense. This could be step one.

    Guard: Kyle Kosier has never been special at guard, but he did a good enough job to stick around. With Wade Phillips gone, Kosier may follow. Finding a starting left guard is hard enough—doing it through the draft is even harder. The smarter move would be drafting a guard like Marcus Cannon (TCU) and giving him a year to learn behind Kosier.

    Free Safety/Strong Safety: The Cowboys could easily blow up the secondary and start over through the draft. Both free and strong safety positions proved to be a weakness in Dallas as team after team exposed their ineptitude. Jones loves athletic defensive backs, and this could be a deep draft at safety if key underclassmen declare.

    Inside Linebacker: Keith Brooking has been better than anyone could have hoped, but his career is on its last legs. Sean Lee looks like a long-time starter at the position, but in Dallas' 3-4 defense they need to add at least one more quality inside linebacker through the draft.

    Cornerback: Mike Jenkins has been a pretty big disappointment thus far in Dallas. It is too early to give up on him, but adding depth and a player or two who can challenge Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick would be a smart move for Jones and Garrett.

10. Washington Redskins

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    Head Coach: Mike Shanahan

    Expected defensive scheme: 3-4

    Team Needs:

    Quarterback: Donovan McNabb will not be back in 2011—no matter what anyone says, he is done there. Rex Grossman proved once again in limited time that he should have never been a starter in the NFL. This leaves Washington with a Rex Ryan-sized hole at quarterback. At pick No. 11 they will have a shot at Jake Locker, and maybe Ryan Mallett should he decide to leave Arkansas.

    Guard: Derrick Dockery is the epitome of an average NFL lineman. He will get the job done, but pass blocking has never been his strong suit. Opposite Dockery there is a mess. Washington needs to aggressively scout all possible guards and find one or two they trust to start at right guard in 2011.

    Cornerback: DeAngelo Hall should have never made the Pro Bowl. In fact, it is surprising he is still starting. Hall is among the NFL's most overrated players at any position. For every interception he makes he will surrender two to three touchdowns and big plays. For the Redskins defense to improve, they must start by replacing Hall.

    Defensive End: Albert Haynesworth never panned out at nose tackle or defensive end, and there is no way he is back in 2011. Washington will look for defensive ends over 300 lbs who can anchor the edges and stop the running game.

    Inside Linebacker: Rocky McIntosh is a very good player, but he is not a great fit in the 3-4 defense and could leave for a 4-3 scheme as a free agent. Should McIntosh return, the Redskins need to add at least one inside linebacker who can take on blocks and stuff the run. Without McIntosh, Washington could look to add two players here.

    Wide Receiver: There is some talent here with Santana Moss and Anthony Armstrong. Washington does need depth at the position and should look for young targets to pair with whomever their new quarterback will be.

    Offensive Tackle: Trent Williams should settle in nicely at left tackle given enough time, and we do like Jamaal Brown more than others at right tackle. Depth is the key here. Should either player be lost to injury, the Redskins would be in a terrible position.

11. Houston Texans

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    Head Coach: Gary Kubiak

    Expected defensive scheme: 4-3

    Team Needs:

    Cornerback: It was announced today that Gary Kubiak would return for the 2011 season, but changes must be made on defense. Those changes will start at cornerback. Kareem Jackson already has people thinking bust after a terrible rookie season. With a top-11 pick, Houston could eye a better athlete at the position to play opposite Jackson. Janoris Jenkins of Florida is a possibility.

    Free Safety: You will notice that improving the secondary is a huge concern for the Texans. A playmaking free safety with the range to make plays in deep coverage will instantly make this secondary better. Houston could easily draft a defensive back with their first three picks.

    Strong Safety: Bernard Pollard is now a free agent and from reports is on the fence about returning to Houston, depending on who is hired and which scheme they implement. Pollard is a good tackler and intimidating force for the defense, but he is also known to give up big plays. Re-signing him will at least give Houston some continuity in the secondary.

    Defensive Tackle: We can officially call Amobi Okoye a bust at this point. Okoye never developed into the pass rushing, run stuffing stud the Texans hoped for. Finding a replacement for Okoye in the starting lineup and adding a viable run stuffer will be key.

    Tight End: Owen Daniels is another key free agent in Houston. Daniels has been unhappy with his contract before in Houston and could be a candidate to leave town. If Daniels leaves, the Texans will need to move quickly to add a replacement who can help in the passing game.

    Center: Chris Myers is a veteran of the zone blocking scheme and has done a nice job for Houston, but he will never be confused for a dominating center.

    Wide Receiver: Andre Johnson and Jacoby Jones make a nice 1-2 punch for Houston, but another tall receiver to help in the red zone would help, especially if Owen Daniels leaves.

12. Minnesota Vikings

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    Head Coach: Leslie Frazier (formerly interim head coach)

    Expected defensive scheme: 4-3

    Team Needs:

    Quarterback: Brett Favre has to be done, right? Quarterback is a big need for this Vikings team. They have the talent to be a Super Bowl contender next year, but to do that they must add a quarterback who can, at the very minimum, manage the game and limit turnovers.

    Outside Linebacker: Chad Greenway and Ben Leber will be free agents. It is unlikely both will leave, but losing even one makes this a priority for Minnesota. Losing both would be devastating.

    Defensive Tackle: Pat Williams has made comments that this could be his last year. His status as a free agent also makes his leaving more likely. Kevin Williams is one of the best tackles in the NFL, but he needs a big body next to him that can draw double teams.

    Free Safety: The Vikings ignored the safety position in the 2010 draft, to the surprise of many. Madieu Williams is good enough, but if given the chance to get younger at the position, the Vikings should pull the trigger.

    Strong Safety:  Just like free safety, strong safety is a need the Vikings didn't address last year. Tyrell Johnson looks promising when healthy, but depth is, at the minimum, a need here.

    Guard/Offensive Tackle: The Vikings have a good offensive line, especially when it comes to run blocking. Adding depth and young players to challenge the established veterans could be a late-round focus for Leslie Frazier's first draft.

13. Detroit Lions

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    Head Coach: Jim Schwartz

    Expected defensive scheme: 4-3

    Team Needs:

    Cornerback: As good as the Lions were in the 2010 NFL Draft, they were not able to find a No. 1 cornerback. This will be the Lions' focus as they enter the offseason. In fact, the Lions could use two picks early on drafting corners. The talent here is very weak in Detroit right now.

    Guard: The talent at guard is average in Detroit, and below average at pass blocking. When not drafting cornerbacks early on, Detroit could look at adding a guard in Round 2 or 3 who can step in and challenge for a starting spot immediately.

    Strong Safety: C.C. Brown is a player the Lions could definitely upgrade over this offseason. Brown is not only an average-at-best player, but he is a free agent. Detroit could look to the draft to get better at strong safety, but also to save money.

    Outside Linebacker: Julian Peterson remains a very good player, but as he gets older he inevitably slows down. For a player whose entire game is about speed, this is a bad thing. Depth is a need at outside linebacker, but finding a replacement for Peterson could also be worth exploring.

    Inside Linebacker: On most rosters, DeAndre Levy would be a backup. In Detroit, he is starting. Levy is a promising player, but the Lions could find a better option at linebacker through the draft.

    Offensive Tackle: Jeff Backus has enjoyed a long run at left tackle in Detroit, despite a love-hate relationship with fans. Backus could definitely move inside to left guard if a replacement is found at tackle through the draft. This would make the Lions offensive line markedly better immediately.

14. Miami Dolphins

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    Head Coach: Tony Sparano

    Expected defensive scheme: 3-4

    Team Needs:

    Running Back: Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams will both enter free agency this offseason. The Dolphins are not expected to bring both back and could ultimately choose to start fresh at the position and let both leave. Whichever they decide, running back figures to be a key need for Miami in the draft.

    Guard: Richie Incognito is another free agent for Miami, but there has also been talk about moving him to center should he return. The Miami offense has been built around a solid running game; losing Incognito means replacing him with another strong run blocker early in the draft.

    Quarterback: Chad Henne did not improve this season the way he was expected to. With Chad Pennington's career likely over and Tyler Thigpen looking like a career backup, this becomes a big need in Miami. At a minimum the Dolphins will need to add a quarterback to compete with Henne.

    Free Safety: Chris Clemons has been okay, but he does not scare offensive coordinators. Reshad Jones was drafted last year, but he does not look like a future starter either. Miami will have the chance to draft a safety here who can make plays and force turnovers.

    Wide Receiver: Miami has a nice one-two punch in Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess, but they need to add more speed at the position. Finding a slot receiver later in the draft would bring a new element to an offense that gets stale at times.

    Offensive Tackle: Jake Long was once again a Pro Bowler at left tackle, and he should be every year that he is healthy. At right tackle there is a question mark. Vernon Carey ended the year on Injured Reserve and depth is a concern.

    Cornerback: The Dolphins cut former first-round pick Jason Allen midway through the season, leaving an opening at cornerback. Vontae Davis and Sean Smith are good, young players; depth is the only need here.

15. St. Louis Rams

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    Head Coach: Steve Spagnuolo

    Expected defensive scheme: 4-3

    Team Needs:

    Outside Linebacker: The Rams were one win away from the playoffs after winning only one game in 2009. To get over the hump and win the NFC West next year they will need major improvements on defense. Outside linebacker stands out as the biggest need. More speed on the edge will be what Steve Spagnuolo is thinking in Round 1.

    Guard: Adam Goldberg will most likely not be back at right guard next year, leaving a decent hole in the Rams' mostly solid line. In Round 2, St. Louis could be looking at a Marcus Cannon (TCU) to step in and start right away next to Jason Smith.

    Wide Receiver: The Rams did a lot this year with little talent at receiver. Donnie Avery will be healthy next year, and Danny Amendola is a nice slot receiver. The jury is out on Danario Alexander as a true No. 2 receiver, but he looks promising. With a young quarterback, the Rams could afford to add more talent at receiver.

    Tight End: Just like adding a playmaking wide receiver is a need, finding a consistent tight end is, too. Sam Bradford would only get better if given a tight end to expose soft spots in zone coverage and also stretch defenses in the red zone.

    Defensive Tackle: Spagnuolo knows how important the defensive line is to winning football games, especially down the stretch. Gary Gibson will be a free agent, but even if he returns the Rams could get better here.

    Strong Safety: There are a lot of players on the roster at strong safety, but none of them stand out as long-term solutions. Do not be surprised if St. Louis adds a late-round pick here.

    Running Back: Steven Jackson continues to be one of the best runners in the NFL, but behind him the Rams need depth and an option should Jackson ever go down.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Head Coach: Jack Del Rio

    Expected defensive scheme: 4-3

    Team Needs:

    Defensive End: Aaron Kampman can be a dominating pass rusher, but for the second straight year he tore an ACL and had to have surgery. His long-term value has to be in question. This makes adding a defensive end in the first round all the more important for Jacksonville.

    Free Safety: Sean Considine remains one of the biggest weaknesses on the Jaguars roster. The Jags secondary was one of the worst in the NFL this season, and the play at free safety is a big reason why. Expect Jacksonville to overhaul this position through the draft.

    Inside Linebacker: If Kirk Morrison leaves via free agency the Jaguars could draft his replacement earlier than needs placed above this. With Morrison back in 2011, the Jags can rest easy with their middle linebacker positions.

    Strong Safety: As explained above, the Jaguars secondary was really bad this year. Heads will roll at safety in an effort to improve the glaring weakness on the roster. With an improved secondary this is a playoff team.

    Quarterback: David Garrard had a very up-and-down 2010. At times he is brilliant, others a liability. We expect Garrard to be the starter next fall, but also look for Jacksonville to add a young player to groom behind him.

    Outside Linebacker: Daryl Smith and Justin Durant make up a nice duo at outside 'backer, but depth is a need for the Jaguars.

    Cornerback: The draft would not be complete in Jacksonville without adding at least one cornerback. Rashean Mathis could very well be the only starter from 2010 in the starting lineup for the 2011 season. This would be a very good thing.

17. New England Patriots (from Oakland Raiders)

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    Head Coach: Bill Belichick

    Expected defensive scheme: 3-4

    Team Needs:

    Outside Linebacker: Jermaine Cunningham has looked good in his rookie season, but he is not a dominating pass rusher by any means. Tully Banta-Cain earned himself a contract extension, and he is a solid starter, but the Patriots need to add depth and a true pass rusher here.

    Defensive End: Ty Warren can be one of the best 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL when healthy. Opposite him in 2011 will be Mike Wright and Gerard Warren, both consistent but not special. With two first-round picks the Patriots can add another defensive end with more potential than Warren and Wright.

    Tackle: Matt Light is a free agent after the playoffs and could fall under the Patriots' history of not re-signing older players. Light can be replaced on the left side by Sebastian Vollmer, but this leaves a hole on the right side. No matter what is done with Light, adding a future right tackle is a focus for New England with one of their three picks in the first 33 selections.

    Cornerback: New England hit the lottery with 2010 first-round pick Devin McCourty, a Pro Bowler this year. Darius Butler and Kyle Arrington do a nice job and can hold down the No.2 and nickel corner jobs for the next decade. What the Patriots need here is depth and players who can contribute on special teams.

    Guard: Logan Mankins missed half of the season over a contract dispute and could be lost to free agency this summer. Losing Mankins would hurt the Patriots offense more than most would acknowledge. With or without Mankins on the roster in 2011 there is a need to add depth at the position.

    Wide Receiver: Gone is Randy Moss, but many see this as an improvement. Deion Branch was brought in and has done a nice job, but he is on the downside of his career. Brandon Tate and Julian Edelman are nice backups, but neither has stepped up as a future starter opposite Wes Welker. New England could surprise people and draft a receiver very early in the 2011 draft.

    Running Back: Bill Belichick has not historically drafted running backs high, especially after missing on Laurence Maroney. Danny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green-Ellis are doing a fine job, but depth is a concern with the aging Fred Taylor the best option behind them.

18. San Diego Chargers

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    Head Coach: Norv Turner

    Expected defensive scheme: 3-4

    Team Needs:

    Wide Receiver: If Vincent Jackson is re-signed after the season this can be marked off the Chargers list of needs for the 2011 draft. Without Jackson, which is a real possibility, the Chargers need to find a No.1 receiver for Philip Rivers. The Chargers offense was not the same without Jackson for the first half of the 2010 season. Without a number one receiver for the entire year, San Diego would be picking much higher.

    Inside Linebacker: Stephen Cooper and Kevin Burnett enter free agency after the season. Donald Butler could start in replacement of one of them next year, but he missed 2010 with a torn Achilles tendon and has no NFL experience.

    Outside Linebacker: The Chargers have shown in the past that they will draft an outside linebacker even when they are set at the position. Adding a solid No.3 pass rusher behind Larry English and Shaun Phillips would be a smart play for the Chargers in the middle rounds.

    Strong Safety: The safety position in general has not been great in San Diego, but strong safety is a bigger need. Paul Oliver is a liability in coverage and not particularly strong against the run. San Diego added Darrell Stuckey in the 2010 draft, but this remains an area of need.

    Nose Tackle: No position is more important to the success of a 3-4 defense than nose tackle. Antonio Garay has been promising, but there is a hurry to add depth here. An injury at nose tackle could devastate the entire defense.

    Defensive End: Jacques Cesaire and Travis Johnson, both starters, will be free agents. San Diego is facing an offseason with multiple starters entering free agency and there may not be enough money to re-sign them all. Johnson could easily be one of the players who are not re-signed.

    Running Back: It appears that Darren Sproles may not be back next fall after a disappointing season. Ryan Mathews was drafted to take over for LaDainian Tomlinson, but he had a rough rookie year. Mike Tolbert carried much of the load this year, but he is projected to play fullback in the future.

19. New York Giants

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    Head Coach: Tom Coughlin

    Expected defensive scheme: 4-3

    Team Needs:

    Outside Linebacker: Tom Coughlin will return in 2011, so expect more of the same on defense. Coughlin likes speed at linebacker and defensive end to create matchup problems for offensive lines. Mathias Kiwanuka, an end/linebacker hybrid, is unlikely to return next year. Without him on the roster the Giants will have an opportunity to add another young athlete at the position.

    Defensive Tackle: Barry Cofield is another defensive lineman who will be a free agent this summer. Cofield has been a solid player but many believe Coughlin will use this as a chance to get younger and rebuild the defensive line through the draft.

    Offensive Tackle: Injuries decimated the Giants offensive line this year, but this also exposed weaknesses and areas of need. No position needs more attention than offensive tackle. Building depth at tackle is a need, but the Giants can also look for young players who can eventually start.

    Cornerback: Aaron Ross and Corey Webster do not get much credit, but they are a solid duo at corner. There is a need here for depth and improvements at nickelback. Giants fans would also tell you they would not mind upgrading over Webster.

    Guard: Chris Snee is the NFC's best offensive guard and he will remain the cornerstone of the Giants line. Opposite Snee, the Giants need to at least add depth. The future of Shawn Andrews will determine how high the Giants choose a guard.

    Running Back: Ahmad Bradshaw is an established starter, and a good one. Backup runner Brandon Jacobs may not be back after voicing his wishes to be a starter. The Giants could look to add a speed back who can spell Bradshaw.

    Quarterback: Eli Manning led the NFL in interceptions in 2010. It is definitely too early to call for Manning's head, but it is time for the Giants to look for a better backup than Sage Rosenfels.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Head Coach: Raheem Morris

    Expected defensive scheme: 4-3

    Team Needs:

    Defensive End: The pass rush in Tampa Bay has been non-existent in 2010. As good as the Bucs were, their season ended early because of their inability to rush the passer. The No.1 area to address in the offseason will be defensive end.

    Inside/Outside Linebacker: Tampa Bay in the early 2000s was known for its defense. Not so in 2010. The Buccaneers will need to remake their front seven through the draft and free agency to compete with the Falcons and Saints again next year. Re-signing inside linebacker Barrett Ruud should be part of the Bucs' plans, as should drafting at least one outside linebacker.

    Guard: Davin Joseph is scheduled for free agency. The team should realize his importance and work to re-sign him, but they have allowed Joseph to hit the open market. With or without Joseph next year, the Bucs need to add to the interior offensive line in the later rounds.

    Strong Safety/Free Safety: As with the linebacking crew in the earlier rounds, Tampa Bay should use the later rounds to re-tool the safety position. There is good starting talent here, but the depth is lacking.

    Cornerback: While the Bucs are adding depth at safety they should also consider adding one or two cornerbacks to help in nickel and dime packages, as well as on special teams.

21. Seattle Seahawks

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    Head Coach: Pete Carroll

    Expected defensive scheme: 4-3

    Team Needs:

    Strong Safety: In the 2010 NFL Draft, Pete Carroll made the smart pick of Earl Thomas to lead his secondary. Thomas has been brilliant at free safety in his rookie season. The 2011 draft will give Seattle a chance to add a strong safety to complete a secondary that is one player away from being dominant.

    Defensive Tackle: The defensive tackles on the roster are all solid players, but none of them are the type of tackle an offense has to scheme around. There is no Ndamukong Suh here. Seattle's defense would benefit from a tackle who can draw double-teams and make plays in the offensive backfield.

    Offensive Tackle: Russell Okung's rookie season has been up and down due to injury, but he looks like the long-term answer at left tackle. Right tackle is more of a question mark with Sean Locklear. Locklear will be a free agent and could leave for more money and a guaranteed starting job.

    Guard: Guard is a position where Seattle could ride what they have next year, or completely blow things up and start over. They are solid at the position, but no one here scares you as a defense. At a minimum we would expect Seattle to draft for depth.

    Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck is a free agent after the playoffs and few think he will return next year. Charlie Whitehurst was brought in to take over for Hasselbeck, but in limited reps this year he did not look great. Pete Carroll has a long record of good quarterback play at USC and could add a quarterback in the middle rounds to push Whitehurst.

    Defensive End: With a 4-3 defense in place the Seahawks will need to keep a steady flow of pass rushers on the roster. The position looks good on paper, but through free agency the Seahawks expect to see changes to the position. This would be a late-round addition only.

    Wide Receiver: Mike Williams, Ben Obomanu and Golden Tate look like a great starting three heading in to 2011. Adding depth and a potential return man in Round 6 or 7 would be a smart pick-up for Seattle.

22. Indianapolis Colts

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    Head Coach: Jim Caldwell

    Expected defensive scheme: 4-3

    Team Needs:

    Offensive Tackle: The Colts missed big on Tony Ugoh at left tackle and Charlie Johnson is a stop-gap player at best. Addressing the need at left tackle will be Bill Polian's number one priority this offseason. The Colts traditionally build through the draft. Expect left tackle to be one of their first two picks.

    Defensive Tackle: If the Colts pass on a left tackle in the first round it will be to draft a defensive tackle. The position is bare right now, with many draft misses haunting the roster. Polian and Caldwell like small defensive tackles who can penetrate the offensive line and create pressure in the pocket.

    Guard: The offensive line in Indianapolis has been surprisingly bad this season. More than any other team in the NFL, the Colts rely on the health of their quarterback for wins. If Peyton Manning goes down, the Colts season will too. Improving at guard is a need for 2011 and the future.

    Running Back: Joseph Addai is a free agent, and while many expect him to return there is a great chance he leaves for a more stable running game. The fact that the Colts let him hit the open market speaks to their value of him. Donald Brown has, to date, looked like another first-round bust in Indy.

    Cornerback: The Colts do a good job of drafting cornerbacks in the middle rounds and turning them into starters. We expect no changes to this philosophy in the 2011 draft. Look for Polian to find one or two corners late that end up contributing.

    Outside Linebacker: Rush defense was a problem for the Colts this year, and it almost cost them the division championship. Don't expect a major shake-up at linebacker, but drafting a later-round project player would be a smart play.

    Strong safety: Bob Sanders is a fan favorite, and a Pro Bowler when healthy, but the problem is keeping him healthy. Melvin Bullitt can step in for Sanders, but this leaves a hole in the secondary behind Bullitt.

23. Green Bay Packers

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    Head Coach: Mike McCarthy

    Expected defensive scheme: 3-4

    Team Needs:

    Cornerback: Charles Woodson enjoyed another Pro Bowl year in 2010. The team also signed Tramon Williams, an underrated cover man, to a long-term deal. The Packers are set in the starting lineup, but depth is an issue. Woodson could eventually move to free safety, and as of now there is no one on the roster to replace him at corner.

    Running Back: The injury to Ryan Grant almost cost the Packers a playoff berth in 2010. Grant will return in 2011, but the injury exposed a weakness on the roster. John Kuhn is a good short-yardage back, but Green Bay needs a solid replacement for Grant should he go down again.

    Defensive End: The 3-4 defense is all about stopping the run if you are a defensive end. Cullen Jenkins and Johnny Jolly make up a very good pair at defensive end, but both are free agents. If even one does not return the Packers will move early in the draft to replace them.

    Guard: Bryan Bulaga, drafted to take over at left tackle, may eventually end up playing inside. Until that happens, or in case it doesn't, the Packers need to add depth at guard. Daryn Colledge is also facing free agency here, although it appears he will be re-signed.

    Center: Jason Spitz has been good, but the Packers have not been happy with the pass blocking of their offensive line for some time now. Should the opportunity to add a future replacement arise, expect Green Bay to jump on it.

    Wide Receiver: Donald Driver may not return in 2011, something that could make a strength in Green Bay a weakness next fall. Without Driver, the Packers would need to address wide receiver earlier in the draft. With him back they should look at adding a player in Round 6 or 7.

    Outside Linebacker: Rushing the passer is one of the most important things for every defense. Keeping a roster full of outside linebackers who can attack the edge is paramount to succeeding with a 3-4 defense.

24. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Head Coach: Todd Haley

    Expected defensive scheme: 3-4

    Team Needs:

    Outside Linebacker: Both Mike Vrabel and Tamba Hali will be free agents this year, leaving the future of the position in flux. Hali should return, but he will expect big money after a huge year. Vrabel could ride off into the sunset after a surprising playoff season in Kansas City.

    Nose Tackle: Ron Edwards is another on the Chiefs' list of free agents. He had a good year, but the team could look to upgrade at the position. The 2011 draft is strong at nose tackle, giving Kansas City an opportunity to get younger at the position.

    Inside Linebacker: Derrick Johnson had his best year as a pro in 2010, and was rewarded with a contract extension for it. Next to Johnson, the Chiefs would like to add a linebacker who can take on blocks and attack the run. Look for KC to add an inside linebacker in Rounds 3 or 4, depending on value.

    Wide Receiver: Kansas City looks set at receiver with Dwayne Bowe and Chris Chambers playing well together. Depth is a concern here. Kansas City could also benefit from adding a slot receiver to open up the downfield passing game.

    Offensive Tackle: Right tackle has been the weak point on the offensive line in Kansas City this year. The Chiefs are not likely to draft a tackle early—that has never been Scott Pioli's style—but drafting a right tackle later in the draft is something to expect.

    Defensive End: Glenn Dorsey had a much better year in 2010, but he is still not the elite player the Chiefs expected when drafting him No. 5 overall. Adding depth on the defensive line is a Scott Pioli trademark late in the draft.

25. Philadelphia Eagles

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    Head Coach: Andy Reid

    Expected defensive scheme: 4-3

    Team Needs:

    Guard: Philadelphia is a team with few needs, assuming Michael Vick is back in 2011. Upgrading the talent along the offensive line would be the smart pick early on, but Andy Reid is known for identifying future needs and drafting to fill those needs before they hurt the team. With that strategy in mind, look for Philly to go guard or even cornerback early on.

    Cornerback: Ellis Hobbs, the team's number two corner, is a free agent after the season. The end of Round 1 one would be a smart place to find a future starter at cornerback, leaving Round 2 for the need at guard. Reid tends to like aggressive corners who attack the ball. Brandon Burton of Utah fits the Eagles' scheme very well.

    Outside Linebacker: Ernie Sims is a free agent, but most expect him to re-sign in Philadelphia. Should he not, the Eagles are faced with a bigger hole on defense. No matter Sims' status in 2011, outside linebacker is a position where Philadelphia can add depth in the middle rounds.

    Offensive Tackle: This has been a long-standing need for Philadelphia in the middle rounds, and one they have ignored. The Eagles not only need depth, but they could also look at upgrading the right tackle position.

    Strong Safety: Quintin Mikell has been very good this year, but he will enter free agency and could command big money on the open market. Without Mikell, the Eagles could address strong safety as early as Round 1.

    Center: Jamaal Jackson's season ended early with a torn triceps tendon. As he ages, the risk of injury does too. Nick Cole played well in reserve, but he is a free agent and may parlay his starts this year into a starting job elsewhere in 2011.

    Running Back: LeSean McCoy enjoyed a great year in 2010. He will be the Eagles' featured back for years to come. To keep McCoy fresh, the Eagles would do well to add depth to the position late in the draft.

26. New York Jets

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    Head Coach: Rex Ryan

    Expected defensive scheme: 3-4

    Team Needs:

    Wide Receiver: Brad Smith, Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards will be free agents once the Jets' season ends. Not all three are likely to leave New York, but losing even one makes drafting a receiver early on a priority for the Jets.

    Defensive End: Shaun Ellis is a candidate to leave via free agency this offseason, opening up a big hole on the three-man front in the Jets defense. Should Ellis return, the Jets are still in a position to get younger at defensive end.

    Outside Linebacker: Jason Taylor played better than expected in 2010, but this could also be his last season in the NFL. Calvin Pace does well, but he is not a pass rushing threat that scares most NFL quarterbacks. The Jets are very likely to spend an early draft pick on an edge rusher.

    Guard: Matt Slauson has been unimpressive in games we scouted this year and could definitely be replaced with a draft pick in Rounds 2 through 4. Vlad Ducasse looks like the early favorite to replace Slauson, but he could also be looked at to start on the right side next year as an upgrade to Brandon Moore.

    Free Safety: Eric Smith/Brodney Pool have been average at free safety. It is unlikely the Jets would draft for depth here without cutting one of them, but should New York fall in love with a safety prospect like Kenny Tate (Maryland), they could make drafting a free safety an early-round priority.

    Offensive Tackle: Depth is the chief concern here, as the Jets are set in the starting lineup. With a physical running attack in place, the team cannot afford a drop-off in talent from the starters to the backups. Improving their second team will be a focus in Rounds 6 and 7.

    Nose Tackle: Kris Jenkins is among the best nose tackles in football, but he has mentioned retirement before and could surprise the staff at any time. Bringing in his future replacement now is much better than waiting too long.

27. New Orleans Saints

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    Head Coach: Sean Payton

    Expected defensive scheme: 4-3

    Team Needs:

    Defensive Tackle: Stopping the run continues to be a problem for the Saints, despite being improved in this area during the 2010 season. Getting a big body next to Sedrick Ellis to plug running lanes will be an early focus of the Saints during the 2011 draft.

    Outside Linebacker: Speed and athleticism are needed here. Too often, the Saints linebackers are beat in pass coverage by backs and tight ends. The team could get better with Scott Shanle in Rounds 2 or 3 of the draft.

    Strong Safety: Replacing Roman Harper, a 2010 free agent, will be a priority at some point in the draft. Strong safety has not historically be a highly drafted position. With good depth at the position in this draft class, the Saints could find a starter in Round 3.

    Defensive End: Speed and depth are the keys here for New Orleans. The Saints feel good about starters Will Smith and Alex Brown, but bringing in a defensive end early who can spell Brown and potentially replace him down the road would be welcome.

    Running Back: Chris Ivory surprised folks with a solid rookie season, but can he hold up over an entire season? Many feel Pierre Thomas will not be back in 2011 after spending most of the season in the training room. Reggie Bush continues to be one of the most overrated players in the NFL.

    Tight End: The Saints have gotten by with little production from their tight ends in the past, but they have enjoyed having Jeremy Shockey on the roster. Behind Shockey, the Saints could look to add depth late in the draft.

    Guard: Again, depth is a need for the Saints at many positions. Guard is one of those. With Carl Nicks and Jahri Evans, the Saints have the best guard duo in the NFL. Keeping them fresh and healthy is the key.

28. Chicago Bears

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    Head Coach: Lovie Smith

    Expected defensive scheme: 4-3

    Team Needs:

    Offensive Tackle: Chris Williams was drafted to be the left tackle of the future, but injuries and inconsistent play have seen him moved to offensive guard. J'Marcus Webb is intriguing at right tackle, but he is incredibly raw. Left tackle will be the early focus of the Bears in the 2011 draft. With as many as six tackles expected to be drafted in Round 1, many of them in the 20s, Chicago should be able to land a starter with pick No. 28.

    Guard: The Bears surprised many people by winning 11 games this year, especially when you consider the sad state of their offensive line. Improvements need to be made at guard, where Chicago needs an upgrade in pass protection. Do not be surprised to see Chicago draft offensive linemen in Rounds 1 and 2.

    Wide Receiver: Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett could eventually become a solid one-two punch in Chicago, but neither player has the body type to dominate in the red zone. Chicago, and Jay Cutler, would love to have a big receiver who can out-position defensive backs in the end zone.

    Outside Linebacker: Pisa Tinoisamoa will be a free agent once the Bears' season ends, and while he should return to the Windy City, he could also look to get out of the shadow of the two Pro Bowl linebackers next to him. With Pisa back on the roster, Chicago could still add depth on the outside in the middle rounds of the draft.

    Defensive Tackle: What happened to Tommie Harris, and how do the Bears fix it? The reality may be that Chicago moves on from the one-time Pro Bowl player and looks to the draft for their answer.

    Center: Olin Kreutz has been a fixture in Chicago for the last decade, but as his career winds down he may not return next year after hitting free agency this summer. Should Kreutz return, the Bears should still look to add a future replacement late in the draft.

    Strong Safety: The Bears secondary is solid despite having no "big-name" players on it. Part of their success is based on having quality players two-deep at each position. Continuing to add depth at strong safety late in the draft is a smart move for the Bears.

29. Baltimore Ravens

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    Head Coach: John Harbaugh

    Expected defensive scheme: 3-4/4-3 hybrid

    Team Needs:

    Strong Safety: Dawan Landry will be a free agent this summer and may not return, as Baltimore has a long list of potential free agents to re-sign. Should Landry leave, the Ravens could target a replacement in Round 2, as there are no clear cut first-round prospects at this position.

    Cornerback: Cornerback is the most likely first-round priority for the Ravens. Dominique Foxworth missed the year to injury and could be slow to return in 2011. Josh Wilson is an able starter, but not spectacular, and Fabian Washington is a free agent. The Ravens could do well to upgrade with a first-round pick at cornerback.

    Offensive Tackle: Michael Oher played well in his first season at left tackle, but right tackle was a bit unstable with Jared Gaither's back injury and questionable future on the team. Drafting a right tackle in the first three rounds will help the Ravens stay near the top of the AFC.

    Wide Receiver: Anquan Boldin did not provide the spark the Ravens envisioned when bringing him to town, nor did the addition of Donte Stallworth and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Derrick Mason should return in 2011, but the Ravens could easily upgrade over Stallworth and Housh in the middle rounds of the draft.

    Center: Matt Birk has been a great center in the NFL, but his best days are behind him. Baltimore will use the draft to replace one of the most respected players in the National Football League.

    Guard: Chris Chester will be a free agent this summer, opening a hole at right guard. With a long list of free agents prioritized above him, the Ravens could be looking to the draft for their replacement at guard.

    Free Safety: Ed Reed is perhaps the best free safety ever, but his career is nearing an end. Drafting for depth and the future is what Baltimore does as well as any team in the league.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Head Coach: Mike Tomlin

    Expected defensive scheme: 3-4

    Team Needs:

    Guard: Pittsbugh is fortunate to have no pressing needs on either side of the ball. We do feel the Steelers will look to improve an offensive line that has been shaky in the past. Right guard Trai Essex is a free agent and could be replaced by Florida's Mike Pouncey, brother of Steelers rookie Pro Bowler Maurkice Pouncey.

    Offensive Tackle: The injury bug hit Pittsburgh hard at tackle this year, and the replacements played well in reserve. There is still a belief that the Steelers could get better at tackle over time. Should a talented tackle fall through the cracks in Round 1 or 2, Pittsburgh should make a move to add him.

    Cornerback: The cornerbacks are solid, but could be better as a unit. It is unlikely Pittsburgh would draft a corner in Round 1 unless a top player fell to them, but they could target cornerback as a position to upgrade through the middle rounds.

    Defensive End: Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel are perfect for Pittsburgh's 3-4 defense, and neither player has to worry about their starting job. Both Smith and Keisel are getting toward the twilight of their careers, so depth and youth is a need here.

    Nose Tackle: Like linemates Smith and Keisel, Casey Hampton is nearing the end of his run. Backup nose tackle Chris Hoke is also a free agent, making nose tackle a position of need later in the draft.

    Wide Receiver: At some point Hines Ward will start to slow down. While Ward cannot be replaced easily, Pittsburgh has to think about life after Ward. Continuing to add depth and young players at receiver late in the draft will ease the pain of losing a fan favorite down the road.

31. Atlanta Falcons

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    Head Coach: Mike Smith

    Expected defensive scheme: 4-3

    Team Needs:

    Tight End: Tony Gonzalez has likely played his final regular season game in the NFL, as many expect him to retire after the playoffs. Whether he retires or not, Gonzalez is a free agent and nearing the very end of a Hall of Fame career. Atlanta will need to draft a tight end early to replace Gonzalez's role in this offense.

    Cornerback: Atlanta has a very good starting duo at cornerback in Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes. They could add depth behind the two, though. With Drew Brees and Josh Freeman in their division, Atlanta must stay stocked full at corner to compete in the NFC South.

    Outside Linebacker: Sean Weatherspoon has the look of a future Pro Bowler for the Falcons. With Mike Peterson a possibility to leave via free agency, Atlanta could be adding a starter or just depth here in the draft.

    Wide Receiver: Roddy White emerged as one of the NFL's best receivers during the 2010 season. What is more surprising is that White is doing so well without a legitimate threat opposite him. Michael Jenkins has been average and inconsistent at times. We do like Harry Douglas in the slot, but Atlanta could look to upgrade over Jenkins if a player were to fall in Rounds 1 or 2.

    Guard: To date, right guard Harvey Dahl has not been re-signed and no talks have been announced about an extension. We believe Dahl will hit the open market and could leave town. Some in Atlanta welcome the loss, as this would give the Falcons reason to upgrade at the position.

    Defensive End: John Abraham looked five years younger this year, but can he continue to hold up? Throughout his career Abraham has been plagued with injuries, and there is also the fact that he's now 32 years old. Adding more young players with the speed to crash the edge is a smart move for Atlanta in the mid-to-late rounds.

    Tackle: Sam Baker has regressed some this year, a concern for Falcons fans and coaches. We believe in Baker, but it would not hurt to add a young player late in the draft to push the former second-round pick.

32. New England Patriots

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    Head Coach: Bill Belichick

    Expected defensive scheme: 3-4

    Team Needs:

    Outside Linebacker: Jermaine Cunningham has looked good in his rookie season, but he is not a dominating pass rusher by any means. Tully Banta-Cain earned himself a contract extension, and he is a solid starter, but the Patriots need to add depth and a true pass rusher here.

    Defensive End: Ty Warren can be one of the best 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL when healthy. Opposite him in 2011 will be Mike Wright and Gerard Warren, both consistent but not special. With two first-round picks the Patriots can add another defensive end with more potential than Warren and Wright.

    Tackle: Matt Light is a free agent after the playoffs and could fall under the Patriots' history of not re-signing older players. Light can be replaced on the left side by Sebastian Vollmer, but this leaves a hole on the right side. No matter what is done with Light, adding a future right tackle is a focus for New England with one of their three picks in the first 33 selections.

    Cornerback: New England hit the lottery with 2010 first-round pick Devin McCourty, a Pro Bowler this year. Darius Butler and Kyle Arrington do a nice job and can hold down the No. 2 and nickel corner jobs for the next decade. What the Patriots need here is depth and players who can contribute on special teams.

    Guard: Logan Mankins missed half of the season over a contract dispute and could be lost to free agency this summer. Losing Mankins would hurt the Patriots offense more than most would acknowledge. With or without Mankins on the roster in 2011 there is a need to add depth at the position.

    Wide Receiver: Gone is Randy Moss, but many see this as an improvement. Deion Branch was brought in and has done a nice job, but he is on the downside of his career. Brandon Tate and Julian Edelman are nice backups, but neither has stepped up as a future starter opposite Wes Welker. New England could surprise people and draft a receiver very early in the 2011 draft.

    Running Back: Bill Belichick has not historically drafted running backs high, especially after missing on Laurence Maroney. Danny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green-Ellis are doing a fine job, but depth is a concern with the aging Fred Taylor the best option behind them.