There's always a disconnect between most big boards and the draft order come April, though. That's because teams often draft for need rather than value, choosing players who fill a hole even if there are more talented guys available.
It's a weird practice, sure, but its one that usually helps both parties. So long as you're confident in the man you're drafting, it's hard to complain about filling a need.
Here's a look at how the first round might shake out, with an emphasis on teams that might look at need over value.
Note: Highlighted players are pictured
1. Kansas City Chiefs: OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
Andy Reid likes drafting linemen in the first round and, as far as prospects go, Joeckel is a rare specimen. This was a match made in heaven.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
Like Von Miller before him, Damontre Moore has helped carry the Aggies' defense during his college career. And like Von Miller before him, he might be rewarded by going No. 2 overall.
3. Oakland Raiders: DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
The Raiders need help from one to 22, so they can afford to draft solely on value. Lotulelei might be the best player in this year's class, and will immediately help the Raiders' listless rush defense.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
Technically, this is a need-over-value kind of reach. But if Smith pans out as the Eagles would hope, it won't look that way come Week 1.
Geno isn't a perfect fit for Chip Kelly's unique offensive system, but he's a good one. The short-lived Heisman frontrunner has deceptive speed and an insanely accurate arm to boot.
With only the corpse of Michael Vick and the immobile effigy of Nick Foles in tow, Philly needs to find a solution under center. And Geno Smith could well be its guy.
5. Detroit Lions: CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
Does any team need secondary help more than the Lions? Well, maybe. But it's close. Milliner has instant-impact potential, and should be able to start from day one.
6. Cleveland Browns: DE Bjoern Wener, Florida State
It's hard to find a player with a higher motor than Werner. His ceiling might not be that high, but his basement isn't that low. Solid pick for an increasingly solid defense.
7. Arizona Cardinals: OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
No prospect's stock is rising faster than Fisher's. He dominated the Senior bowl—both practice and game time—and now finds himself a very realistic top 10 pick.
8. Buffalo Bills: ILB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
Ogletree has sideline-to-sideline range but isn't bad in the hole either. Kelvin Sheppard has been serviceable for Buffalo, but Ogletree would be a major upgrade in the middle.
9. New York Jets: OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
The Jets lost a little bit of swagger (for lack of a better term) on defense this season, but Jones could help remedy that. There's a reason scouts are so high on his pass-rush ability.
10. Tennessee Titans: DE Barkevious Mingo, LSU
The Titans are willing to roll the dice on Mingo's considerable upside. There's speculation that he might be all sizzle no steak. But if his skill can match his frame, the LSU pass-rusher could quickly become elite.
11. San Diego Chargers: OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
Phillip Rivers spent more time on his backside than his feet last season, and as a result the once-feared Chargers offense was a shell of its former self.
In Johnson, the Bolts would be getting a big, capable pass-blocker who acquitted himself well at the Senior Bowl. He might not warrant a selection quite this high, but San Diego is in a desperate position.
He's not Jake Matthews or Taylor Lewan—both of whom made the Charger-unfriendly decision to play another season of college ball—but Johnson is worth taking a flier on.
12. Miami Dolphins: WR Keenan Allen, California
Ryan Tannehill needs targets and he needs them fast. Allen dealt with injuries his senior season, but when healthy he resembles former Dolphins pass-catcher Brandon Marshall.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State
It's not that Johnthan Banks doesn't deserve to go in the top half of the first round. He does. It's just that unless a team like Tampa was this depleted in the secondary he probably wouldn't.
The Bucs were toasted on the back end all season last year, and it's probably what kept them out of the playoffs. They excelled in every other facet of the game—rush offense, pass offense, rush defense—but their sole flaw was lethal.
In Banks, they'll be getting a physical corner he likes to get in receivers' grills. And that might be enough to push them into late January.
14. Carolina Panthers: DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida
It's not Star Lotelelei—who, at one point this season, the Panthers looked like they might draft high enough to procure—but Floyd isn't a bad consolation. He's among the draft's fastest risers.
15. New Orleans Saints: DE/OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon
Jordan has long arms and a disposition built for rushing the passer. New Orleans desperately needs someone like that on defense, the side of the ball that cost them a playoff berth last season.
16. St. Louis Rams: OG Chance Warmack, Alabama
Warmack probably shouldn't fall this far, but there's a weird stigma about interior pass-blockers and their draft value. On pure talent though, the dynamic guard should probably go top five.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: DT John Hankins, Ohio State
Casey Hampton's time in Pittsburgh appears to have run its course. Hankins might not be capable of providing Pro Bowl-level run-stuffing from the get-go, but he has the size and drive to get their sooner rather than never.
18. Dallas Cowboys: OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
The Cowboys' offensive line failed them down the stretch, but Cooper could come in and fix a lot of their problems. DeMarco Murray is a big fan of this selection.
19. New York Giants: TE Zach Ertz, Stanford
Martellus Bennett showed up in stretches, but long-term it's hard to think he's the solution at tight end. Eli Manning loves throwing to his big, over-the-middle targets and in Ertz, he gets the draft's best.
20. Chicago Bears: ILB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
Is there a better mentor—both on and off the field—for Manti Te'o than Brian Urlacher? I think not. The eight-time Pro Bowler could help shape the Heisman runner-up into a heck of a pro.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
A receiver might make sense here too, but the Bengals want to make their defense great, not good. There's a hole opposite Reggie Nelson in the secondary, and Vaccaro's punishing brand of football would fit right into it.
22. St. Louis Rams: WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
Patterson's impact doesn't stick out much on paper, but on film he's capable of making scouts drool. Whether or not that translates to the league remains to be seen, but the Rams can't afford not to take a shot.
23. Minnesota Vikings: DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
Jared Allen, Brian Robinson and Kevin Williams are not spring chickens, and Minnesota has always prided itself on its defensive line. Richardson would be an infusion of youth, and a nice piece for the future.
24. Indianapolis Colts: DE Sam Montgomery, LSU
More so than any playoff team in recent memory, the Colts need help at almost every position. Montgomery comes from a winning tradition and his toughness might help build a strong defense from a soft one.
25. Seattle Seahawks: DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina
On the flip side of Indy, no team that lost so early has ever had so few glaring weaknesses. If there's something Seattle needs, though, it's more depth in the A-gap. At this point of the draft, Williams is the best fit for that.
26. Green Bay Packers: DT John Jenkins, Georgia
B.J. Raji is a man up the middle, but when he comes out (as big men so often do), the Packers' defense often gets exposed. Mount Jenkins could quickly assuage those fears and make Raji a fresher, more-productive player in the process.
27. Houston Texans: DE/OLB Ezekiel Ansah
The Texans' defense faded in a big way down the stretch this year, and a lot of that had to do with pressure. Scouts are split on Ansah, who some consider a one-year wonder, but if he pans out properly he'll be a steal this low.
28. Denver Broncos: DT Kawann Short, Purdue
Short was inconsistent at (all-) times at Purdue, but when he showed up, he made a big difference. Denver can bring him along slow up the middle, but eventually they'll need him to become a big factor.
29. New England Patriots: WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia
Wes Welker's New England future is in doubt, but even if the former Dolphin returns, Austin has Patriot written all over him. Belichick can and will get creative with the do-it-all speedster.
30. Atlanta Falcons: TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
Tony Gonzalez won't be around forever; actually, he could be gone as soon as next year. Eifert doesn't provide the same type of receiving threat, but he's a great blocker who could help re-establish Atlanta's once-vaunted running game.
31. San Francisco 49ers: CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson
In their final two playoff games, the Niners' secondary was exposed as the team's biggest (or only) weakness. Wreh-Wilson has been shooting up draft boards and could provide San Fran with another option on the back end.
32. Baltimore Ravens: LB Kevin Minter, LSU
In case you haven't heard, Ray Lewis won't be around next season. So the Ravens will look to college football's most vaunted linebacking corps to replace him.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!