NFL Draft 2011: 5 Teams That May Add To Their Strength in the First Round
Often, taking the best player available means a team will not be addressing a specific need.
This approach prevents teams from reaching for a prospect, especially in the first round.
It also prevents the organization and the fan base from suffering any disappointment if the reach didn't perform up to expectations.
Usually, teams add depth to their sweet spots in later rounds. However, there are times when a player's talent can't be ignored in the early rounds—even if the prospect plays a position the team is already stacked in.
There is no harm in adding riches to an already wealthy part of a team.
Here are five teams that may do exactly that in the upcoming draft.
Teams are listed by their draft order.
1. Detroit Lions, DE
After an improved pass rush led by veteran leader Kyle Vanden Bosch, Ndamukong Suh and Cliff Avril, one would figure the last thing the Lions need is DL help.
However, Vanden Bosch is entering the twilight of his career.
Detroit will need to replace him in a few years. He also missed five games in 2010 due to injury.
Whether Avril will stay long term is still unknown. Even if he does, he is a pass-rushing specialist. The Lions could use a more complete defensive end.
Turk McBride and Lawrence Jackson are the current backups, but nobody is sure if they can step in and become full-time starters.
A defensive end drafted by the Lions would certainly provide insurance, challenge for a starting job and solidify the Lions' defensive front as one of the best in the NFL.
2. New England Patriots, OL
If Tom Brady is the heart of the New England Patriots, then his O-Line is responsible for pumping the blood through it.
Brady is often one of the least sacked QBs in the NFL.
One would think that they would address greater needs in the first round, like a pass-rushing threat.
It is uncertain whether guard Logan Mankins will return. Even if he does, there may be some prospects that would be an upgrade over guard Dan Connolly.
Tackle Matt Light is also a free agent.
With two picks in the first round, it wouldn't be surprising to see Bill Belichick use one of them to grab a guy that can protect Tom Brady from now until he retires.
3. New York Giants, OL
The Giants already added to their strength last year when they added Jason Pierre-Paul to one of the league's best pass rushing units.
The G-Men have kept the same offensive line together for almost seven years now.
Unfortunately, due to injuries, they did not all play together in 2010.
Even so, Eli Manning is one of the least sacked QBs in the NFL. The Giants also finished within the top 10 in rushing.
A blocker picked up here would provide good insurance for an aging offensive line.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers, LB
The last position the Steelers are expected to draft is linebacker.
James Harrison is a premier pass-rusher.
So is LaMarr Woodley. He got hit with the franchise tag, but it's unknown if that will still exist once the new CBA is worked out.
If he doesn't return, the Steelers will have a void at OLB.
Inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons is a beast, but counterpart James Farrior isn't getting any younger.
Great linebackers are part of Pittsburgh's trademark.
Do not be surprised if they pick up a linebacker that falls through the first round.
5. Green Bay Packers, WR
With virtually no running game until the playoffs, Aaron Rodgers constantly threw the ball to possibly the deepest receiver corps in the NFL.
No other team has a receiver group as productive and consistent as Green Bay.
That was without its star tight end, too.
The aerial attack was on display in the Super Bowl. Despite multiple dropped passes and an injured Donald Driver, the receivers still came through when it mattered.
If the Super Bowl was any indication, Brett Swain is not ready to become a starter anytime soon.
Also, Donald Driver is likely entering his final season before retiring.
James Jones is currently a free agent.
Green Bay needs to ensure that Aaron Rodgers still has enough dependable targets.