2012 NFL Draft: One Dream Pick for All 32 NFL Teams

Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterOctober 6, 2011

2012 NFL Draft: One Dream Pick for All 32 NFL Teams

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    Making the right selection with your first-round choice is the difference between Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf. Sounds easy, right?

    With four weeks under our belts this season, it is becoming clear what each NFL team needs, and also where college football's best players will be headed in the NFL draft. Who would be the dream pick for every team?

    While I am projecting the dream scenario, there's some realism here. Andrew Luck won't be there for anyone outside the first few picks, same for the other elite players. This is a look at the dream pick from the talent pool that will be available where each team sits today.

    This is not a mock draft. The order is set by the win/loss record of each team.

Indianapolis Colts- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

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    Biggest Need: Quarterback

    Current Roster: Peyton Manning (injured), Curtis Painter, Kerry Collins

    The Indianapolis Colts are facing the reality of what life is like without Peyton Manning, and it's not good. The only consolation that could come from losing Manning for the season is the consolation of winning the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes.

    Luck is, by far, the best and most safe prospect to enter the draft since Manning came into the NFL. Colt fans across the country are already dreaming of seeing No. 12 in blue and white.

Miami Dolphins- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

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    Biggest Need: Quarterback

    Current Roster: Chad Henne (injured), Matt Moore

    The Chad Henne experiment will be ending soon, either by injury or by choice. Henne was given the 2011 season to prove he belonged as the franchise quarterback in Miami, and he hasn't performed up to those expectations.

    Miami needs a savior at the position. A quarterback who can make plays with his legs and his arm. They need a better Cam Newton.

    That's Robert Griffin III to a "T". Griffin is college football's most exciting player, and he already has NFL scouts excited about the possibility of a Luck/Griffin draft.

Minnesota Vikings- Matt Kalil, OT, USC

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    Biggest Need: Offensive Tackle

    Current Roster: Charlie Johnson, DeMarcus Love

    The Minnesota Vikings let Bryant McKinnie go before the season in a move they have to regret now that the offensive line has been exposed as a massive weakness. The best option for the team now that they have a quarterback-in-waiting with Christian Ponder would be to find a left tackle of the future.

    Matt Kalil comes from a pro-style offense, is a can't-miss prospect and has the toolset to become an immediate stud at left tackle in the Vikings' balanced offensive set.

    Forget all that talk about the Vikings drafting a quarterback if they have the first overall pick. The Vikings like Christian Ponder, and they need a left tackle. Kalil makes the most sense.

St. Louis Rams- Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

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    Biggest Need: Wide Receiver

    Current Roster: Brandon Gibson, Mike Sims-Walker, Danario Alexander

    The St. Louis Rams lead the NFL with 17 dropped passes through four games. With play like that, it's understandable that second-year quarterback Sam Bradford would struggle.

    The Rams need a true No. 1 wide receiver to round out a talented offense and give Bradford a go-to threat on passing downs.

    South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery is the most physically impressive wide receiver in college. He has the size, strength and hands to have an Andre Johnson-like impact on the NFL in his rookie season.

    Sam Bradford needs Alshon Jeffery.

Arizona Cardinals- Jonathan Martin, OT, USC

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    Biggest Need: Offensive Tackle

    Current Roster: Levi Brown, D'Anthony Batiste

    When the Arizona Cardinals made Levi Brown their first-round pick in 2007, they hoped their 12-year answer at left tackle was found. That didn't happen.

    Brown has been serviceable but never more than that. What the Cardinals need to get their offense rolling is an elite left tackle.

    Jonathan Martin is that tackle. He's smart, athletic and a technician at the position. He would also let the team move Brown back to right tackle, rounding out an offensive line that would be much improved.

Carolina Panthers- Quinton Coples, DE/DT, North Carolina

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    Biggest Need: Defensive Line

    Current Roster: Charles Johnson, Sione Fua, Greg Hardy, Terrell McClain

    The Carolina Panthers have a good young defensive line, but outside of Charles Johnson, the foursome are living on potential while waiting to produce. There is one star on this line with three players who could develop eventually into something special.

    The team spent two draft picks in the 2011 class on defensive tackles, but neither has the talent of Coples as a three-technique pass-rusher.

    Coples has the size and skill to play inside or outside on the defensive line. Should Hardy fail to live up to expectations, Coples can slide to left end and pick up the slack.

Denver Broncos- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

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    Biggest Need: Quarterback

    Current Roster: Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn, Tim Tebow

    The Denver Broncos wishlist would include Andrew Luck, but unless they have the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, that won't be happening. Denver does need a quarterback, though. Badly.

    The team could try and package Tim Tebow for draft picks, but their chief focus in the first round will be on finding the franchise quarterback Tebow was supposed to be.

    Baylor's Robert Griffin III is making a run up the draft board. He could easily be a strong contender for the No. 2 overall spot once the draft rolls around.

Jacksonville Jaguars- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

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    Biggest Need: Cornerback

    Current Roster: Rashean Mathis, Derek Cox, Drew Coleman

    The Jacksonville Jaguars have been surprisingly better in pass coverage this season, but they still need an influx of talent at cornerback. Making that a priority in the first round of the 2012 draft will be the key to the Jaguars' improving from a good team to a contender.

    The best cornerback in college football right now plays at LSU, but which of their stud corners is that? For the 2012 draft, at least, it's Morris Claiborne.

    Claiborne is a ball-hawking cornerback with run stuffing talent at the line of scrimmage. He comes from an NFL style defense and is ready to step in as a starter opposite Rashean Mathis.

Kansas City Chiefs- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

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    Biggest Need: Offensive Tackle

    Current Roster: Branden Albert, Jared Gaither

    It would be easy to say the Kansas City Chiefs need a lot of things, but unfortunately, you cannot draft a head coach.

    What you can draft is an offensive tackle who can help foster a change. Look at the struggles in Kansas City this season and you can point to an offensive line that is letting too much pressure through to quarterback Matt Cassel.

    Riley Reiff is NFL-ready and can play either left or right tackle in the NFL, which would allow Branden Albert to either stay at tackle or even move back to his college position of guard.

Philadelphia Eagles- Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State

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    Biggest Need: Linebacker

    Current Roster: Brian Rolle, Casey Matthews, Jamar Chaney, Moise Fokou

    Two rookies and two unproven youngsters make up the linebacker corp in Philadelphia right now, and you could easily point to these four players as a big part of the team's struggle to win games over the last three weeks.

    The Philadelphia Eagles need a difference maker at linebacker. They need a Trent Cole-style impact player at middle linebacker. They need someone to scare the offense.

    They need Vontaze Burfict.

    Burfict is college football's most dominating defender, and his bone-crushing, high-intensity play would bring instant credibility to the Philadelphia defense.

Seattle Seahawks- Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

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    Biggest Need: Quarterback

    Current Roster: Tarvaris Jackson, Charlie Whitehurst

    You may wonder why Landry Jones is listed here and not Pete Carroll's former quarterback at USC, Matt Barkley. Carroll has had many chances to bring in former USC players to Seattle, and he's added just one during his time with the team (Mike Williams, WR).

    If Carrol didn't want a quarterback who led him to a national championship in Matt Leinart, I can't see him jumping for a quarterback he coached just one season with.

    What Carroll does need is a quarterback, and that's without debate. Landry Jones comes from a passer-friendly system that will make his transition to the NFL and its spread offenses smoother than other collegiate passers.

Cleveland Browns- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

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    Biggest Need: Wide Receiver

    Current Roster: Greg Little, Brian Robiskie, Mohamed Massaquoi, Josh Cribbs

    The Cleveland Browns have a good group of young, talented wide receivers here, but there is no true No. 1 receiver who can take over a game single-handedly like a Calvin Johnson can.

    Justin Blackmon can and will.

    Blackmon is an ideal fit for Pat Shurmur's West Coast offense due to his ability as a route runner and his exceptional skill at making plays after the catch. You can't help but see Terrell Owens-like ability when looking at Blackmon, and Owens did his best work in the WCO with the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles.

Chicago Bears- Matt Kalil, OT, USC

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    Biggest Need: Offensive Tackle

    Current Roster: Gabe Carimi, J'Marcus Webb

    I said in the opener that the dream picks assigned to each team would be a realistic pick from where the team would pick if the NFL draft were today. Matt Kalil would be a stretch here for the Bears, but it's at least possible.

    And oh, do the Bears need Matt Kalil.

    The team hopes that 2011 first-rounder Gabe Carimi will become entrenched at right tackle and become the All-Pro player we all saw at Wisconsin. Opposite Carimi, the team is using former seventh-round pick J'Marcus Webb, who has been up and down in his career.

    No disrespect to Webb, but he's no Matt Kalil. Webb has given up three sacks and six quarterback pressures in four games. The Bears are at a position to upgrade the roster, and with the chance to grab Kalil, they shouldn't blink twice.

    Another consideration for Chicago would be wide receiver, at which time Justin Blackmon makes excellent sense for the team.

Cincinnati Bengals- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

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    Biggest Need: Running Back

    Current Roster: Cedric Benson, Bernard Scott

    Growing up a fan of the Texas Longhorns, I loved what Cedric Benson did while wearing burnt orange and white. Since entering the NFL, I've grown tired of his whiny bitching in the huddle and to the media. Well, that and his annual run-ins with the law in Texas.

    Benson can still be effective at times, but he's also a trouble to the team when he's spending time in Travis County jail and serving suspensions handed down by the commissioner. It's time for Cincinnati to replace Benson with a newer model.

    Trent Richardson is not only the best running back in college football, he possesses a skill set that will immediately make him a playmaker in the NFL. Think Marshall Faulk.

Dallas Cowboys- Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

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    Biggest Need: Quarterback

    Current Roster: Tony Romo, Jon Kitna, Stephen McGee

    Can we all agree that the Dallas Cowboys have won as many games as possible with Tony Romo at quarterback?

    Romo's inconsistencies are driving the fans, coaches and owner mad. It's time to move on, and that happens by drafting a replacement in the first round.

    Jerry Jones has loved Oklahoma players in the past, and there's no reason to think he won't fall head over heels in love with Landry Jones (no relation) once the draft process begins.

New York Jets- Donte Paige-Moss, OLB, North Carolina

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    Biggest Need: Outside Linebacker

    Current Roster: Bryan Thomas, Jamaal Westerman, Calvin Pace

    The lack of a pass rush from the outside linebacker position for the New York Jets has been a large part of the Jets' losses this season. In fact, the Jets have one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL this year.

    New York has ignored making improvements at outside linebacker, making the position tops on the Jets' list of positions to upgrade this offseason.

    Donte Paige-Moss might not be a proven pass-rusher yet, but he has the skill set to make the move from defensive end to outside linebacker at the same level that Aldon Smith has in San Francisco this season.

Oakland Raiders- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

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    Biggest Need: Cornerback

    Current Roster: Stanford Routt, Chris Johnson, Chimdi Chekwa, DeMarcus Van Dyke

    Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick is a 6'3" cornerback with 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash. Sounds like someone Al Davis might like.

    Davis loves drafting speed, the Raiders are a lock to draft skill players with elite speed each year. Sometimes, it works and you get a Darren McFadden or Nnamdi Asomugha. The Raiders would hope to find Asomugha's replacement in the physical, athletic Kirkpatrick.

    Quarterback and wide receiver could also be considerations here. If the Raiders are in a position to draft Robert Griffin III from Baylor, he will be the pick.

Pittsburgh Steelers- Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

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    Biggest Need: Offensive Tackle

    Current Roster: Jonathan Scott, Marcus Gilbert, Max Starks, Jamon Meredith

    It is tough to look past the deficiencies at offensive tackle in Pittsburgh. The Steelers have long ignored their need at offensive tackle, and it's caught up with them in a big way this season.

    Pittsburgh is looking at a 2-2 record after four weeks. If they keep this up, they might find themselves in the rare position of drafting in the top 10 picks next April. If the Steelers find themselves there, Jonathan Martin should be their focal point.

    Martin would immediately step in to a starting position at left tackle, giving the Steelers two young offensive linemen to build around.

Baltimore Ravens- Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

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    Biggest Need: Linebacker

    Current Roster: Ray Lewis, Jameel McClain

    The Baltimore Ravens used their 2011 first-round pick on Jimmy Smith, and unfortunately due to injury, he hasn't been able to contribute yet. The improved play of Ladarius Webb allows the Ravens to feel great about the cornerback position and look to add depth at middle linebacker.

    Ray Lewis joined the NFL way back in 1996. If the Ravens win a Super Bowl this season, it will likely be Lewis' last year in the league. Currently, they have no one in place to even attempt filling his shoes.

    Manti Te'o is a nasty middle linebacker with experience in the 3-4 and 4-3 systems at Notre Dame. He's the kind of smart, athletic leader at the position, the Ravens would need to either complement or replace Lewis.

Buffalo Bills- Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska

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    Biggest Need: Defensive End

    Current Roster: Marcell Dareus, Dwan Edwards

    The Buffalo Bills struck gold when they landed Marcel Dareus with the No. 3 pick in the 2011 NFL draft. They are hoping to get as lucky in drafting his counterpart this year.

    The Bills love the combination of Dareus and nose tackle Kyle Williams, but opposite Dareus, the team could use an upgrade over veteran Dwan Edwards.

    Nebraska's Jared Crick is the best candidate in the 2012 draft to make the move to the NFL at defensive end in the 3-4 defense. Crick's strength, speed and experience at defensive end and defensive tackle will make him a starter from his first snaps.

Houston Texans- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

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    Biggest Need: Wide Receiver

    Current Roster: Andre Johnson (injured), Kevin Walter, Jacoby Jones, Bryant Johnson

    The Houston Texans will soon find out what life is like without star wide receiver Andre Johnson. It won't be pretty.

    The Texans have a major need for a true threat at wide out opposite Johnson, and that will be the dream scenario for the team's 2012 draft class.

    If Houston finds themselves in a position to draft an elite wide receiver prospect like Notre Dame's Michael Floyd, they'll jump at the opportunity.

New England Patriots- Brandon Jenkins, DE/LB, FSU

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    Biggest Need: Defensive End

    Current Roster: Mark Anderson, Shaun Ellis, Andre Carter

    With two first-round draft picks in the 2012 class, the New England Patriots will be able to make key additions to a defense that is struggling this season. First up will be addressing the defensive end/outside linebacker position in the team's hybrid defense.

    New England will be looking for a defender who can line up at right defensive end in a four-man front and step back to outside linebacker in a pass-rushing role once the Patriots move to a 3-4 set. That player is Brandon Jenkins.

    The Florida State pass-rusher has the experience at defensive end and the speed to drop back at outside linebacker. With two selections in Round 1, the Patriots will be happy to find a pass-rusher with at least one of the picks.

New York Giants- Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M

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    Biggest Need: Wide Receiver

    Current Roster: Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham, Victor Cruz, Jerrel Jernigan

    The New York Giants have very few needs on paper right now, which makes dreaming up an ideal draft pick for them a little tougher than you might expect.

    The best scenario for the Giants would be for a big-play wide receiver to fall into their laps. The team would be happy to land Jeff Fuller of Texas A&M.

    Fuller would likely line up in an outside receiver role opposite Hakeem Nicks, allowing Mario Mannigham to use his speed in the slot where he is a better match up due to his smaller stature.

San Diego Chargers- Cordy Glenn, OT, Georgia

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    Biggest Need: Offensive Tackle

    Current Roster: Marcus McNeill, Jeromey Clary

    Marcus McNeill has been damn near perfect at left tackle for the San Diego Chargers this season. On the right side, Jeromey Clary has been miserable.

    Out of 72 offensive tackles ranked by ProFootballFocus, Clary ranks No. 71 overall through four games. For the non-math majors reading, that's really bad.

    The Chargers will look to make a move to replace Clary this summer, and that will start with the draft. Cordy Glenn is a massive mauler at tackle who will project well to the right side in the NFL with his size and strength. His experience at guard also makes him a valuable swing player should San Diego want to ease the rookie into the lineup.

San Francisco 49ers- Alameda Ta'amu, DT, Washington

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    Biggest Need: Nose Tackle

    Current Roster: Isaac Sopoaga (injured), Ricky Jean-Francois, Ian Williams

    The San Francisco 49ers defense continues to amaze me. Without huge names, outside of Patrick Willis, the Niner defense is one of the best in the NFL. They're doing it with solid, assignment football that asks each player to be responsible for his gap. And it's working.

    One area the 49ers could improve is at nose tackle. You might say the offensive line or quarterback position needs upgraded, but looking at the players who will be available in the last 12 picks of the first round, San Francisco is better off upgrading the defense and hoping the youngsters on the offensive line will develop further in year two of the Jim Harbaugh offense.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

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    Biggest Need: Cornerback

    Current Roster: Aqib Talib, Ronde Barber

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a good one-two punch at corneback right now, but this is likely Ronde Barber's last season in the NFL. Look for the Buccaneers to use their first-round draft pick on a cornerback who can step into the Tampa 2 defense from Day 1.

    Alfonzo Dennard has shown ability to play well in a press-zone coverage like the Tampa 2. He's able and willing to jam at the line of scrimmage and has the quickness to turn and bail if the wide receiver beats him off the line.

    Tampa fans should be excited if Dennard is on the board when Tampa comes up to pick.

Tennesee Titans- Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M

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    Biggest Need: Wide Receiver

    Current Roster: Kenny Britt (injured), Nate Washington, Damian Williams

    Much like the Houston Texans with Andre Johnson, the Tennessee Titans have had to learn what life is like without their No. 1 wide receiver. Thankfully, Nate Washington has stepped up, but the fact remains that Tennessee has to get better at wide receiver.

    The Titans will look at upgrading the defense in Round 1 as well, but there is no need greater than finding a legitimate threat opposite Britt.

    Jeff Fuller's name will be mentioned a lot at the end of the first round. He is a big, strong wide receiver well versed in the intricacies of the NFL passing game, as he has learned under former NFL coach Mike Sherman while at Texas A&M.

Washington Redskins- Matt Barkley, QB, USC

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    Biggest Need: Quarterback

    Current Roster: Rex Grossman, John Beck

    Many expected Mike Shanahan and the Washington Redskins to make a play in the 2011 NFL draft for a quarterback. With four quarterbacks being drafted in the top 12 picks, the 2011 class seemed like the ideal time to make a move for a franchise passer.

    Shanahan didn't see it that way, so he used his pick on an outside linebacker (Ryan Kerrigan) who is the early favorite for Defensive Rookie of the Year on the 3-1 Redskins.

    The 2012 draft will be the year that Shanahan finds his quarterback. While Mike would love to see Robert Griffin here, he will be glad to find Matt Barkley. Barkley is a great athlete, something the quarterback must be in the Shanahan offense, and he has the arm strength to make plays in the intermediate passing game. Barkley is a bad fit for some NFL systems, but he's ideal for Shanahan's offense.

Detroit Lions- Andrew Datko, OT, FSU

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    Biggest Need: Offensive Tackle

    Current Roster: Jeff Backus, Gosder Cherilus, Jason Fox

    The Detroit Lions have made it to 4-0 despite the play of their offensive tackles early this season. Jeff Backus has looked old and slow, while Gosder Cherilus is still waiting to live up to the potential that made him a first-round draft choice.

    Backus turned 34 this year and is finally showing signs of slowing down late in his NFL career. While he's good enough most weeks, against a good defensive end, he will struggle. Truth is, the Lions could use an upgrade at both tackle positions.

    Andrew Datko is a player who isn't receiving much fan-fare in the early draft talk but keep an eye on the FSU tackle. He's athletic, strong and has a great first step. Datko could work at either left or right tackle.

Green Bay Packers- Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

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    Biggest Need: Cornerback

    Current Roster: Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, Sam Shields

    Charles Woodson may be playing like he's 24 years old, but he's actually turning 36 on October 7. Unbelievable, right?

    Woodson may ride off into the sunset soon, no matter how well he's playing right now. Once that happens, the Packers will struggle to replace a player who I believe is the best cornerback of all time.

    No one will be able to replace Woodson immediately, but a player with an ideal skill set for the Green Bay defense is Janoris Jenkins. Formerly a Florida Gator, Jenkins has his off-field issues to deal with and was kicked out of school. He's resurfaced at North Alabama, where he's a man among boys on the football field.

    Jenkins needs a second chance, and the Packers have the strong lockerroom to provide a healthy environment for a troubled young man.

Atlanta Falcons- Josh Chapman, DT, Alabama

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    Biggest Need: Defensive Tackle

    Current Roster: Corey Peters, Peria Jerry, Jonathan Babineaux, Vance Walker

    I'm sure some Atlanta Falcon fans will be up in arms over this, but the defensive tackle play has been miserable this season from the players on the roster. It's time for an influx of talent.

    Without a first-round pick thanks to the trade to move up for Julio Jones in the 2011 draft, the Falcons will find themselves waiting until Round 2 to pull the trigger on their new defensive tackle.

    A name to remember is Josh Chapman of Alabama. Chapman has a great mix of burst off the line and strength to plug gaps against the run. He would be an immediate upgrade for the 4-3 defense the Falcons and head coach Mike Smith run.

New Orleans Saints- Kwame Geathers, DT, Georgia

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    Biggest Need: Defensive Tackle

    Current Roster: Sedrick Ellis, Shaun Rogers, Aubrayo Franklin

    The New Orleans Saints have to be happy with the play of Sedrick Ellis this season. The combination of Shaun Rogers and Aubrayo Franklin at nose tackle? Not so much. The two have split snaps this season in an effort to stay fresh, but if anything, it appears to be keeping them from getting into a rhythm.

    The Saints do not have a first-round pick, they used their 2012 first-rounder to move up and select Mark Ingram last year. With a 3-1 record, it is easy to see New Orleans making another run at the NFC championship. This means they won't have an early pick in Round 2.

    With a late pick, most likely in the 58-64 range, the Saints will need to target a big, strong tackle who can really push the pile and make plays against the run. They won't have to look far.

    Georgia's Kwame Geathers is a massive run plugger who has shown the quickness and agility to get into the backfield and make stops. He's an excellent prospect for Saints' fans to keep an eye on in the late second round.

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