2011 NFL Draft: Previewing Each Team's Draft Needs in 2011

Mihir BhagatSenior Analyst IIIApril 27, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: Previewing Each Team's Draft Needs in 2011

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    The 2011 NFL Draft is just days away, and all 32 teams are making last minute adjustments to their plans for the big event. Big boards are being updated, trade scenarios are being evaluated and each organization is praying they can land the next superstar.  

    Based on numerous occasions in the past, the NFL Draft has proven to be one of the most useful tools in order to better one's roster and build toward a championship. Just take a look at the reigning Super Bowl champs Green Bay Packers, who have aced nearly every one of their recent picks.

    As I referenced to earlier, there's a great deal of preparation that goes into the draft each year. While it's important to get the best value for each of your selections, it's also important to fill as many holes on your roster as possible.

    With that said, here's my thoughts on each team's biggest draft need.   

AFC East

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    1. Buffalo Bills: Outside Linebacker. Twenty-seven sacks is unacceptable, so the Bills need to improve their pass rush and find someone who fits their 3-4 scheme. 

    2. Miami Dolphins: Interior Offensive Line. Sure, the quarterback and running back positions are in question, but more important is ensuring that they have good blocking in front of them.The interior offensive line needs to be upgraded.

    3. New England Patriots: Outside Linebacker. If the Patriots have one need, it's finding a dominant edge rusher, so look for them to address that early in the draft.

    4. New York Jets: The Jets, who are typically one of the best at getting after the quarterback, seemed to lose their mojo in the AFC Championship game. They need to add depth at rush linebacker.  

AFC North

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    1. Baltimore Ravens: Cornerback. The Ravens have been one of the most dominant defenses in the NFL for a while now, but it's time to rebuild with younger skilled players. They started last year by working on the front seven. Now I say it's time to take it to the secondary.

    2. Cleveland Browns: Wide Receiver. The Browns have their quarterback in Colt McCoy and their running back in Peyton Hillis. Now it's time to form a trio with a dynamic wideout.

    3. Cincinnati Bengals: Quarterback. They need to take Carson Palmer's demands seriously and figure out who will be taking snaps from center next season.

    4. Pittsburgh Steelers: Cornerback. The defending AFC champions don't have a ton of needs but could use some help at corner.  

AFC South

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    1. Houston Texans: Nose Tackle. The Texans are converting from a 4-3 to a 3-4 under new defensive Wade Phillips with the hopes that it can rejuvenate a unit that ranked 30th in total yards allowed. The one glaring hole is at nose tackle as they simply have nothing at the position.

    2. Indianapolis Colts: Defensive Tackle. The Colts cannot win by allowing 4.6 yards per carry, so they'll need a body to clog up the middle. 

    3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Defensive End. A group that registered merely 26 sacks last season must be upgraded.

    4. Tennessee Titans: Quarterback. The Titans have a ton of needs, but with Rusty Smith as their only quarterback on their roster, I think it's clear what their most pressing is. 

AFC West

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    1. Denver Broncos: Defense. I can't even pick one position because the Broncos simply need help everywhere, especially considering they need the right personnel to fit their new 4-3 system. 

    2. Kansas City Chiefs: Linebacker. The Chiefs defense and overall team took major strides last season, but they need to follow up and keep stacking their roster with fresh talent, especially at linebacker.

    3. Oakland Raiders: Offensive Line. The Raiders offensive line has been too shaky for too long, and they must do something about it. If they don't, they will never get over the hump and into the playoffs.

    4. San Diego Chargers: Defensive End. They need a stout 5-technique to anchor the defensive line. They wouldn't mind taking a nose tackle either.   

NFC East

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    1. Dallas Cowboys: Offensive Tackle. I know Jerry Jones never takes offensive lineman in the first round, but he may have to make an exception here, at least for quarterback Tony Romo's sake.

    2.  New York Giants: Linebacker. Ever since losing Antonio Pierce, they haven't been the same defense. They need to sure up their linebacking corp if they want to get back to being a dominant defense.

    3. Philadelphia Eagles: Offensive Line. Their offensive line is absolutely atrocious, and if it weren't for Michael Vick's ability to escape pressure, they probably would've given up 60 sacks. No questions about it, they must bolster the group.

    4. Washington Redskins: Offense. Whether it be a new quarterback, a wideout for him to throw to or a running back to take some pressure off, the Redskins need a player who they can make the focal point of their offense. Help at offensive line wouldn't hurt either.   

NFC North

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    1. Chicago Bears: Offensive Line. Their pass protection is in shackles, and they better protect Jay Cutler, their prized quarterback.

    2. Detroit Lions: Next Great Player. The Lions jumped up to 6-10 because they continue to draft well, especially after striking gold with Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh. Whether it be an offensive lineman or a cornerback, they simply need to draft the "next great player."

    3. Green Bay Packers: Best Player Available. Super Bowl champions typically don't have many needs, and the Packers are no different. So I say just go with GM Ted Thompson's winning strategy and draft the best player out there. Whomever it may be, depth is always needed, especially after the injury bug bit them last year.  

    4. Minnesota Vikings: Quarterback. This has been their Achilles heel for so long now, and they need to come up with some sort of long-term plan.  

NFC South

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    1. Atlanta Falcons: Wide Receiver. The team with the league's leader in reception needs help at wideout? Yes, because they've got nobody opposite All-Pro Roddy White. 

    2. Carolina Panthers: Offensive Line. A lot of people are quick to point that their lack of production from the quarterback position was the sole reason for their 2-14 campaign. However, why not blame the offensive line that surrendered a whopping 50 sacks? 

    3. New Orleans Saints: Defensive Line. Sedrick Ellis and Will Smith form a nice one-two punch, but they need help opposite them.

    4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Defensive End. They need to get their pass rush going after getting just 26 last year, so it's easy to say finding an edge rusher is their top priority. However, with Aqib Talib likely to be released, they may have to address cornerback as well.    

NFC West

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    1. Arizona Cardinals: Quarterback. They've really felt the impact of Kurt Warner retiring. They experimented with Matt Leinart, Max Hall and John Skelton, but none really worked out. If they don't find stability soon, they could be in trouble.

    2. San Francisco 49ers: Quarterback. Just like their NFC West rivals, the 49ers have nothing at quarterback, which is the primary reason they went 6-10. I'd be surprised if they don't take at least one signal caller. 

    3. Seattle Seahawks: Offensive Line. Whomever the quarterback is, they'll need to stay upright, and even though they spent the No. 6 overall pick on LT Russell Okung last year, they still have voids along the rest of the positions.

    4. St. Louis Rams: Wide Receiver. Congratulations to the Rams for finding their franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford. Now it's time to get him an elite playmaker to throw the ball to.