NFL Draft 2011: Will NFL Teams Draft for Need or Stick to Their Draft Board?

Greg HerringtonContributor IApril 8, 2011

J.J. Watt
J.J. WattStephen Dunn/Getty Images

With no free agency this offseason, the draft becomes the only avenue in which to acquire talent. Think about it...  

Each season, teams try to fill holes on their roster through free agency so that when the draft arrives, they are not trying to fill needs but can also draft the best available player.

Scenarios play out before the draft and during the first few weeks of free agency. It's always interesting to see where the high profile players will land.

This season, there are teams that desperately needed free agency to take place. Teams with major holes to fill... 

Instead, teams have to rely solely on the draft. That's a lot or pressure to get each pick right, and we know all know that getting each pick right is nearly impossible.

Think about players like Carson Palmer and Kevin Kolb. Palmer has said that he is ready to move on, and I'm sure Kolb would like a chance to start. Teams like the Titans, Panthers, 49ers and Cardinals would have probably given up draft picks to acquire one of these top caliber QB's. Instead, they are relying solely on the draft, and it remains very unclear if there is a backup plan after the draft.

CB, Ndamdi Asomugha, RB, Ronnie Brown, WR, Terrell Owens, WR, Chad Ochocinco, QB Matt Hasselback and RB DeAngelo Williams are among the top potential free agents for 2011. Think about your favorite team and how these acquisitions would improve their roster and also create flexibility come draft day.

The Titans, Cardinals and 49ers are among the teams with major needs at QB. This creates a scenario where they may have to reach for a QB in the draft if one of the two top QB prospects (Gabbert and Newton) are off the board when they pick.

Teams needing a RB who are picking in the first half of the draft may reach for RB Mark Ingram or even Mikel LeShoure.

The CB draft class is thin, so teams may reach for a CB early, knowing that the depth of the CB class is relatively weak.

3-4 teams needing a five-technique DE may jump up in the first round and target J.J. Watt or Cameron Jordan.

This year's draft should be very interesting to say the least. If you know your team, you know their needs. The question remains, will teams reach for an area of need or stick to their draft board?

After the draft, if teams have addressed their needs through the draft, they will be watching the CBA clock and hoping that there will be free agency before the start of the season...

If there is a season at all...