NFL Draft logoNFL Draft

2014 NFL Draft: Where Can Each Team Find Best Value to Fill Biggest Needs?

Kristopher KnoxFeatured ColumnistApril 13, 2014

2014 NFL Draft: Where Can Each Team Find Best Value to Fill Biggest Needs?

1 of 33

    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Each NFL offseason, 32 teams gather with the goal of selecting premier collegiate athletes in order to (hopefully) improve their respective rosters.

    The best teams try to figure out how to improve their rosters as efficiently as possible.

    This is why determining value is such an important factor when it comes to the NFL draft. Overpaying to fill a need can hurt a franchise's building or rebuilding efforts. Waiting too long to address a particular need can have the same effect if team winds up missing out on a real talent in the process. 

    Over the next 32 pages, we will examine each NFL team and its needs heading into the 2014 draft. We will then try to assess at what point in the draft each team should target each individual need.

    Since it is nearly impossible to predict exactly how the draft will fall and what kind of runs (and bypassing) may occur, analysis will be based strictly on the prioritization of needs and on the type of talent and depth available at each position of need. 

Buffalo Bills

2 of 33

    Team Needs: OT, LB, WR

     

    Analysis

    The Buffalo Bills have needs along the offensive line, in the linebacking corps and could use some additional depth at wide receiver. Fortunately, they should be able to allow the draft to come to them in order to fill these needs, at least in the first round.

    However, Buffalo's best bet is probably to target an offensive tackle to play opposite Cordy Glenn in Round 1, as one of the top tackles—like Auburn’s Greg Robinson, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews and Michigan’s Taylor Lewan—is likely to still be available when Buffalo picks at No. 9.

    Of course, the Bills might want to pull the trigger on Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins or Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack should either somehow fall to that spot.

    If not, they can look to add solid value in a second-round receiver, especially if a guy like Brandin Cooks of Oregon State somehow slides to the top of Round 2.

    Since Buffalo ranked just 28th against the run (128.9 yards per game allowed), it probably will look for linebacker depth once the tackle and receiver positions have been targeted. Solid talent should be there for the taking in Round 3, and Buffalo should feel pretty good about landing the likes of Wisconsin's Chris Borland, BYU's Kyle Van Noy or Lamin Barrow of LSU.

Miami Dolphins

3 of 33

    Nam Y. Huh

    Team Needs: OT, OG, RB

     

    Analysis

    Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was sacked an alarming 58 times during the regular season in 2013. Therefore, it only makes sense for the team to address the offensive line early in the draft.

    However, the Dolphins can probably hold off until Round 2 to add a tackle to play opposite offseason acquisition Branden Albert. Albert is currently in line to protect Tannehill's blind side, according to Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. Miami should be able to add a talented right tackle prospect like Alabama's Cyrus Kouandjio or Tennessee's Antonio Richardson with the 50th overall pick.

    With the 19th pick in the first round, Miami should have an opportunity to snag one of the top guards in the draft. Adding a premier prospect like Mississippi State's Gabe Jackson here would really help bring together its rebuilt line.

    Miami added former Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno during the offseason, but it shouldn't be afraid to look at guys like Andre Williams of Boston College or LSU's Jeremy Hill in Round 3.

New England Patriots

4 of 33

    Team Needs: DT, WR, C

     

    Analysis

    The New England Patriots were good enough to make it to the AFC title game last season but not quite good enough to match blows with the Broncos when it mattered. 

    The Patriots need to focus on completing a championship-caliber roster while the window with quarterback Tom Brady is still open. This is why I don't believe the team should wait around for another second-round receiver and should instead target a true No. 1 receiving prospect with its 29th overall pick.

    Grabbing a wideout like Oregon State's Brandin Cooks or Kelvin Benjamin of Florida State might just give New England enough firepower to keep pace with the Broncos next season.

    Even though the Patriots still have Vince Wilfork manning the heart of the defensive front, the team shouldn't hesitate to add a guy like Tennessee's Daniel McCullers or Penn State's DaQuan Jones in Round 2.

    The sheer amount of tackle and guard depth in this class is likely to push down the stock of centers slightly, and New England should be able to grab a starting-caliber player in the third round. 

New York Jets

5 of 33

    Don Ryan

    Team Needs: OG, WR, CB

     

    Analysis

    Like the Patriots, the New York Jets need to attack the receiver position as soon as possible in the draft. 

    Adding former Broncos wideout Eric Decker certainly boosts the receiving corps, but Decker is more of a great No. 2 option than a true top target. New York can grab a legitimate No. 1 receiver, such as USC's Marqise Lee or Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin, with the 18th overall pick.

    Adding a competent cover corner should be the Jets' next priority, as the team gave up an average 246.7 yards per game last season. Guys like Rashaad Reynolds of Oregon State and Clemson's Bashaud Breeland should be around in Round 2, and the Jets shouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger.

    With the 16th pick in the third round, New York should be able to target a starting-caliber guard like Notre Dame's Chris Watt. 

Baltimore Ravens

6 of 33

    Michael Conroy

    Team Needs: OT, RB, S

     

    Analysis

    The Baltimore Ravens find themselves in an interesting position with the 17th overall pick in the first round. Should a premier safety like Calvin Pryor be available at No. 17, they may be tempted to pull the trigger. However, Baltimore should be able to grab a quality safety like Minnesota's Brock Vereen or Marqueston Huff of Wyoming in Round 2. 

    With the 17th overall pick, Baltimore should be able to target an offensive tackle capable of immediately taking over the spot vacated by Michael Oher. This first-round prospect might also be able to eventually take over for Eugene Monroe, who was re-signed during the season, at left tackle. 

    Additionally, the Ravens might want to target a running back in the third or fourth round for depth purposes and as an insurance policy in the event that starting back Ray Rice fails to rebound next season. 

Cincinnati Bengals

7 of 33

    Team Needs: CB, OT, DE

     

    Analysis

    Despite drafting cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick in the first round just two years ago, the Cincinnati Bengals still have a need at the position. Kirkpatrick ranked just 98th overall among cornerbacks last season, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

    With a bevy of premier cornerback prospects like Ohio State's Bradley Roby and Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller likely to be available at No. 24, the Bengals should be able to grab a plug-and-play corner in the first round.

    Cincinnati also needs to replace departed swing tackle Anthony Collins and should be able to find a capable player in Round 2. 

    While the pass rush isn't the biggest need, finding a replacement for Michael Johnson should be somewhat of a priority. Adding a developmental prospect like Louisville's Marcus Smith in Round 3 or 4 makes sense, especially if he can develop into a full-time player down the road.

     

Cleveland Browns

8 of 33

    Michael Conroy

    Team Needs: QB, WR, CB

     

    Analysis

    Armed with two first-round picks (No. 4 and No. 26), the Cleveland Browns have an opportunity to add some serious talent early in next month's draft.

    While the team is still searching for consistency at the quarterback position, I believe the Browns can get better value by targeting the wide receiver and cornerback positions in the first round. Adding a guy like Clemson wideout Sammy Watkins at No. 4 would give the team a legitimate playmaker to pair with Josh Gordon on the edges of the offense.

    Grabbing a defensive back like Roby or TCU's Jason Verrett at the end of the first round would also give Cleveland a solid duo (with Joe Haden) at the cornerback position.

    Returning quarterback Brian Hoyer is likely talented enough (3-0 as a starter last season) to hold down the quarterback position, at least on a short-term basis. This would allow Cleveland to target a signal-caller like Alabama's AJ McCarron or Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round. 

    It would give the Browns a quarterback to compete with Hoyer or to bring along slowly as an eventual starter.

Pittsburgh Steelers

9 of 33

    Team Needs: OL, WR, CB

     

    Analysis

    The Pittsburgh Steelers are in position to add a true No. 1 wideout with the 15th overall selection in the first round. Adding a guy like Marqise Lee or LSU's Odell Beckham Jr. would give quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a dominant target, likely for the remainder of his career.

    In Round 2, the Steelers could land a starting-caliber defensive back like Rashaad Reynolds or Bashaud Breeland to help solidify the back end of the defense.

    While there is definitely some talent along the offensive line, the team should look to add a run-blocking guard or tackle (it ranked just 20th in run blocking last season, according to Pro Football Focus) in the third or fourth round. Guys like Stanford guard David Yankey or Nevada tackle Joel Bitonio would give Pittsburgh some additional depth along the line.

Houston Texans

10 of 33

    Team Needs: QB, LB, OL

     

    Analysis

    The Houston Texans have a tough decision to make with the first overall pick in May's draft. While the team is in need of a franchise-caliber signal-caller, it will likely get much better value out of drafting a defensive playmaker like South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney or Buffalo's Khalil Mack at the top of the draft.

    Solidifying the offensive line by adding a starting guard or tackle in the second round would also be a smart decision, unless Houston is sold on a quarterback prospect like McCarron or Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois.

    If the Texans do decide to grab a signal-caller in Round 2, they should still be able to add a capable lineman in the third round. Guys like Ohio State's Jack Mewhort and LSU's Trai Turner may fall to the top of the third, where the Texans will select at 65th overall. 

Indianapolis Colts

11 of 33

    Michael Conroy

    Team Needs: WR, S, LB

     

    Analysis

    The Indianapolis Colts find themselves without a first-round pick after trading for Browns running back Trent Richardson during the 2013 season.

    Still, the Colts should be able to add a couple of starters early in the draft. Targeting a linebacker like BYU's Kyle Van Noy or Georgia Tech's Jeremiah Attaochu in the second round should help improve the team's 21st-ranked run defense (108.9 yards per game allowed).

    Adding a safety like Brock Vereen in the third round also makes some sense, especially after former starter Antoine Bethea left via free agency.

    Assuming Reggie Wayne is able to return at 100 percent next season, the Colts shouldn't have a desperate need at the receiver position. However, it wouldn't hurt to look for some depth in the fifth or sixth rounds (the Colts don't currently own a pick in Round 4).

Jacksonville Jaguars

12 of 33

    Team Needs: QB, RB, OL

     

    Analysis

    The Jacksonville Jaguars are one of the few teams that should actually target a quarterback in the first round of next month's draft. This is because a signal-caller like Central Florida's Blake Bortles or Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel would do a lot to help energize a franchise that is considered rather stale outside of the immediate fanbase.

    Should the Jaguars chose to add a new franchise quarterback, they will need to think about adding a pass-protector early as well. Grabbing a starter like Alabama's Cyrus Kouandjio in Round 2 would at least help ensure Jacksonville's new quarterback has a fighting chance to succeed.

    It would also make sense to look at a running back like Kent State's Dri Archer or Towson product Terrance West if either is available in the third round. There is a chance that newly signed running back Toby Gerhart can be an every-down back, but depth at the position rarely hurts. 

Tennessee Titans

13 of 33

    Sue Ogrocki

    Team Needs: CB, RB, QB

     

    Analysis

    The Tennessee Titans have may find themselves in position to draft the top cornerback available in the draft with the 11th overall pick. This may be Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert, who would provide much more value with the pick than selecting a quarterback or a running back that high.

    Still, the Titans need to add a running back at some point to replace the recently released Chris Johnson. Targeting a player like Auburn's Tre Mason in the second round would likely do the trick. The Titans may even have a shot at Ohio State's Carlos Hyde should he fall out of the first round.

    Since the Titans are without a third-round pick, the team would likely wait until the fourth or fifth to add a quarterback prospect. However, it needs to strongly consider adding to the position as insurance against another Jake Locker injury. 

Denver Broncos

14 of 33

    Michael Conroy

    Team Needs: CB, WR, LB

     

    Analysis

    The Denver Broncos managed to fill quite a few needs during free agency and should use this draft to load up on talent for one last run with Peyton Manning.

    This is why it makes sense for the Broncos to target a receiver like Brandin Cooks with the 31st overall pick. Manning is already one of the most dangerous quarterbacks to ever play the game. However, it's difficult to imagine a scenario where it would hurt to add another talented target.

    Though the team added cornerback Aqib Talib in free agency, it would make sense to add a cornerback in the second or third round, depending on the players available.

    Grabbing a linebacker like Wisconsin's Chris Borland or Stanford's Shayne Skov in the second or third round would also benefit the Broncos defense, which ranked 22nd (24.9 points per game allowed) last season. 

Kansas City Chiefs

15 of 33

    Michael Conroy

    Team Needs: WR, OL, S

     

    Analysis

    The Kansas City Chiefs find themselves in an unenviable position after losing three-fifths of their starting offensive line in free agency. Realistically, they should target the best offensive lineman available with their first pick in the draft, be it a tackle like Notre Dame's Zack Martin or a guard like Gabe Jackson. 

    The Chiefs are without a second-round pick after trading it away for quarterback Alex Smith. Using a third- or fourth-round pick on a guard or tackle (whichever isn't selected in the first round) would be a sound move, though the team could also use an impact receiver if one is available.

    Should a quality safety like Washington State's Deone Bucannon be available in the third or fourth round, it might make sense to pull the trigger as well. 

Oakland Raiders

16 of 33

    Timothy D. Easley

    Team Needs: QB, OL, WR

     

    Analysis

    The Oakland Raiders are another team that could justifiably draft a quarterback in the first round, despite the offseason acquisition of former Texans signal-caller Matt Schaub. Adding a guy like Johnny Manziel or Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater would give the Raiders an understudy to Schaub and a long-term plan at the position.

    Should Oakland choose the quarterback route in Round 1, it only makes sense to then add a pass protector in the second round. Even if the Raiders do not, protecting Schaub should be a priority as well.

    Guys like Zack Martin and Cyrus Kouandjio might be available when the team selects at 36th overall. If so, it should not hesitate.

    It would also benefit the Raiders to add another pass-catcher at some point in the draft. With big targets like Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews potentially available, it makes sense to do so in Round 3. 

San Diego Chargers

17 of 33

    Team Needs: CB, WR, DL

     

    Analysis

    The San Diego Chargers have a few key needs, despite being a playoff team a season ago. Cornerback has to be the team's biggest priority. The Chargers had the league's third-worst coverage unit last year, according to Pro Football Focus

    This is why they need to take a long look at the likes of Kyle Fuller or Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard with the 25th overall pick.

    Adding a receiver to pair with 2013 breakout rookie Keenan Allen in the second round also makes a lot of sense.

    While the Chargers run defense was fairly respectable last season (ranked 12th, allowing 107.8 yards per game on the ground), it wouldn't hurt to add some defensive line depth in the third or fourth round.

Dallas Cowboys

18 of 33

    Michael Conroy

    Team Needs: DT, DE, S

     

    Analysis

    The Dallas Cowboys managed to put up 27.4 points per game in 2013 (fifth in the NFL), so naturally, most of the team's need exist on the defensive side of the football.

    Did we mention that the defense allowed a whopping 415.3 yards per game last season?

    The Cowboys have needs at defensive tackle and at end. The offseason release of DeMarcus Ware has made it a priority to add a pass-rusher early in the draft. However, the best value may be in grabbing a defensive tackle like Minnesota's Ra'Shede Hageman in the first round.

    Addressing the end position in the second round should allow Dallas to add a situational pass-rusher and potential franchise player.

    There should still be some starting-caliber safeties, like Deone Bucannon or Brock Vereen, around when the Cowboys pick in Round 3. They cannot afford to miss out on one. 

New York Giants

19 of 33

    Joe Raymond

    Team Needs: DT, WR, CB

     

    Analysis

    The New York Giants don't have a ton of glaring weaknesses on defense, but they could stand to get stronger up front. Fortunately, the team should have an opportunity to grab a stout defensive tackle like Ra'Shede Hageman or Notre Dame's Louis Nix with the 12th overall pick.

    Adding a talented wideout like Mississippi's Donte Moncrief or Fresno State's Davante Adams in the second round should help offset the free-agent loss of Hakeem Nicks.

    Though the Giants' pass defense was fairly consistent in 2013 (ranked 10th, allowing 223.3 yards per game), it couldn't hurt to add secondary depth in the third round. The Giants currently hold the 74th overall selection there and should be able to find a capable slot corner or rotational player. 

Philadelphia Eagles

20 of 33

    Michael Conroy

    Team Needs: S, CB, WR

     

    Analysis

    Despite being a playoff team last season, the Philadelphia Eagles have some serious deficiencies on the defensive side of the football. Philadelphia was particularly bad against the pass (ranked dead last, allowing 289.8 yards per game), so it makes sense to add a high-caliber pass defender early in the draft.

    Should a prospect like Louisville's Calvin Pryor be available at No. 22, the Eagles shouldn't hesitate to pounce.

    Adding a starting-caliber cornerback in the second round also makes a lot of sense, as any additional help at the back end of the defense would be a boon.

    While head coach Chip Kelly appears confident in his ability to adapt his offense to any and all skill players, the Eagles might want to consider using their third-round pick on a receiver to replace recently released wideout DeSean Jackson

     

Washington Redskins

21 of 33

    Team Needs: S, LB, OL

     

    Analysis

    The Washington Redskins don't have a first-round pick this year thanks to their 2013 trade to acquire quarterback Robert Griffin III. However, they may still have a shot at a premier safety prospect like Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Wyoming's Marqueston Huff should either last until the second round. Washington holds the 34th overall pick.

    Adding a linebacker like Shayne Skov or Alabama's Adrian Hubbard at the top of the third round should also allow the Redskins to make some improvements on the 31st-ranked defense (29.9 points per game allowed).

    Meanwhile, it wouldn't hurt to seek some offensive line depth in the fourth or fifth rounds considering the Redskins should probably do everything they can to protect the investment they have in Griffin. 

Chicago Bears

22 of 33

    Team Needs: DT, CB, S

     

    Analysis

    There was once a time when the Chicago Bears were known as a defensive team. That time certainly wasn't 2013. The Bears ranked 30th, allowing 394.6 yards per game, last season.

    Chicago's defensive problems start up front, which is why the team should target a dominant defensive tackle like Minnesota's Ra'Shede Hageman with the 14th overall pick. Adding such a force should at least help improve the league's worst run defense.

    Adding a cornerback like Rashaad Reynolds, Bashaud Breeland or Jason Verrett in the second round should help aid things on the back end of the defense.

    Pairing the rookie corner with a safety like Brock Vereen should further help the Bears' pass defense. Therefore, targeting a center field safety in the third round is far from a bad idea. 

Detroit Lions

23 of 33

    Jim Cowsert

    Team Needs: CB, S, OL

     

    Analysis

    The Detroit Lions added to an already impressive offense by bringing in wideout Golden Tate in free agency. Now, the team needs to utilize the draft in order to improve the defensive side of the football. Considering that it gave up nearly 250 passing yards per game last season, it only makes sense to start with the secondary.

    Targeting a cornerback like Justin Gilbert or a safety like Calvin Pryor with the 10th overall pick would be a solid start for Detroit. Should the Lions feel confident in their ability to land a starting-caliber corner like Jason Verrett in the second round, safety should be the target in Round 1.

    Detroit could also use some depth along the offensive line, and adding a third-round prospect like Ohio State's Jack Mewhort should be considered. Or, it wouldn't hurt to draft a pair of cornerbacks early should the right one slip into the third round. 

Green Bay Packers

24 of 33

    Team Needs: TE, CB, S

     

    Analysis

    The Green Bay Packers are another team without a ton of glaring needs, though finding replacements for tight end Jermichael Finley and wide receiver James Jones should be an immediate priority.

    Due to the receiver depth in this draft, the Packers would probably be better off targeting a tight end like North Carolina's Eric Ebron or Texas Tech's Jace Amaro with pick No. 21. There should be plenty of starting-caliber receivers still around in Round 2, and the Packers really only need a complementary piece at the position anyway.

    Improving the league's 24th-ranked pass defense (247.2 yards per game allowed) should be another priority for Green Bay. Adding a safety like Brock Vereen or Florida State's Terrence Brooks should remain a viable option. 

Minnesota Vikings

25 of 33

    Timothy D. Easley

    Team Needs: QB, CB, S

     

    Analysis

    New Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer doesn't appear too impressed with quarterback Johnny Manziel, but that doesn't mean the team will pass on him if he happens to fall to No. 8. In fact, the Vikings really should consider a quarterback like Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater in the first round, even though journeyman Matt Cassel appears capable of leading the offense in the short term.

    Considering Minnesota surrendered an average of 287.2 yards per game through the air last season (31st in the NFL), it also makes sense for the Vikings to spend their next couple of pick bolstering the defensive backfield.

    Adding to the safety and cornerback positions in Rounds 2 and 3 makes a ton of sense for a team that gave up more points (30 per game) than any other in the league a season ago. 

Atlanta Falcons

26 of 33

    Michael Conroy

    Team Needs: OL, TE, RB

     

    Analysis

    While it won't be an easy task, the Atlanta Falcons need to find a way to replace the production of retired tight end Tony Gonzalez sooner rather than later. This is why they will likely consider targeting a tight end like Eric Ebron or Jace Amaro in the first round. However, the team would get much more value by adding one of the premier offensive tackle prospects at sixth overall.

    Should Amaro or another top tight end happen to fall into the second round, the Falcons should jump at the chance to draft him. If not, a guy like Troy Niklas or Iowa's C.J. Fiedorowicz could be considered with the pick. 

    While Steven Jackson will likely be given an opportunity to rebound from his disappointing and injury-inhibited 2013 campaign, Atlanta should consider adding to the backfield. Doing so, perhaps as early as the third round, would provide an insurance policy at the very least. 

Carolina Panthers

27 of 33

    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Team Needs: WR, OL, CB

     

    Analysis

    The Carolina Panthers have a dire need at the wide receiver position, especially after the release of longtime veteran Steve Smith.

    Adding a true No. 1 receiving prospect like Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin or LSU's Odell Beckham Jr. in the first round would be a quick way for the Panthers to bolster the receiving corps. However, it wouldn't hurt to add another young pass-catcher in the second or third round as well.

    Using a second- or third-round selection on a starting-caliber cornerback or rotational offensive lineman would be a sound strategy, though the team's biggest needs are clearly at the receiver position.

    Quarterback Cam Newton is still very young (he'll turn 25 next month) and has a lot of time left to develop. However, that doesn't mean the Panthers can afford to stunt his growth by ignoring the receiver position any longer than they absolutely have to. 

New Orleans Saints

28 of 33

    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Team Needs: CB, WR, OL

     

    Analysis

    The New Orleans Saints appear likely to remain playoff contenders so long as head coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees are at the sideline and on the field, respectively. However, the Saints can improve their chances of making another championship run by adding to a couple of key positions in next month's draft.

    Grabbing a top-flight cornerback prospect like Darqueze Dennard or Jason Verrett at the end of Round 1 would certainly help, though the Saints did manage to rank second in pass defense (192.1 yards per game allowed) a season ago.

    Adding some depth to the offensive line in Round 2 wouldn't be a bad idea, especially if a starting-caliber tackle is available. And never hurts to have extra pass-catchers in a aerial offense like the Saints', so adding a receiver in the third round makes a lot of sense. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

29 of 33

    Patric Schneider

    Team Needs: OT, CB, QB

     

    Analysis

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have an opportunity to add a franchise-caliber player with the seventh overall pick. The team's decision there will likely be between offensive tackle and quarterback, though taking any playmaker at No. 7 would benefit the Bucs.

    Since the Buccaneers signed journeyman Josh McCown this offseason, taking a quarterback in the first round is not necessary. The team would likely get better value out of drafting a premier tackle like Jake Matthews or Taylor Lewan at the top of the draft.

    Tampa Bay could then address the quarterback position in the second or third round, adding a developmental prospect like McCarron or Virginia Tach's Logan Thomas.

    Though it did sign Alterraun Verner during the offseason, adding to the cornerback position in the second or third round would also make a lot of sense. 

Arizona Cardinals

30 of 33

    Team Needs: CB, S, QB

     

    Analysis

    The Arizona Cardinals appear to be on the verge of becoming a perennial contender (they barely missed the playoffs at 10-6 last season). Adding the right pieces in May's draft might be enough to get them there.

    In the first round, Arizona should target a starting-caliber cornerback to pair with Patrick Peterson. Grabbing a guy like Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard at No. 20 should accomplish that goal.

    The Cardinals could also use a playmaking safety and might be able to land a player like Marqueston Huff or Craig Loston in Round 2. 

    Though quarterback Carson Palmer appears to be capable of leading Arizona to the playoffs under the right circumstances, it isn't too early for the team to start thinking long-term at the position. Adding a developmental prospect like LSU's Zach Mettenberger or Pittsburgh's Tom Savage in the third or fourth round would be a smart move, as the incoming quarterback would have some time to learn from Palmer. 

San Francisco 49ers

31 of 33

    Michael Conroy

    Team Needs:L WR, C, CB

     

    Analysis

    The San Francisco 49ers are a relatively stacked team (one that has made three consecutive appearances in the NFC title game) and have six draft picks in the first three rounds. This means they should be able to add to an already playoff-caliber roster early.

    Adding a receiver capable of stretching the field in the first round should be heavily considered here. The 49ers can target a guy like Brandin Cooks or Mississippi's Donte Moncrief and immediately plug him into the offense.

    With two second-round picks, San Francisco can add a starting-caliber cornerback like Rashaad Reynolds, along with a franchise center. Guys like USC's Marcus Martin and Arkansas' Travis Swanson should be around when the 49ers are on the clock on Day 2.

    San Francisco currently owns the 24th and 29th picks in the second round. 

Seattle Seahawks

32 of 33

    Michael Conroy

    Team Needs: WR, TE, DL

     

    Analysis

    The defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks do not enter the draft with a ton of needs, which is fortunate considering the team will select at the end of Rounds 1 and 2 and is without a third-round pick. However, Seattle is in position to grab a starting-caliber tight end like Notre Dame product Troy Niklas or Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the first round.

    With Golden Tate now a member of the Lions, the Seahawks have a need at receiver that can likely be addressed in Round 2. Guys like Jarvis Landry should be available at the bottom of the second round. With a dominant defense (ranked first in scoring, allowing just 14.4 points per game last season) and a strong running game, Seattle really only needs to add an above-average receiver here.

    While the Seahawks already have a good deal of defensive line depth, the team's rotational approach makes it a smart move to add to the group in Rounds 4 or 5. 

St. Louis Rams

33 of 33

    Team Needs: WR, OT, S

     

    Analysis

    Thanks to the lucrative RGIII trade, the St. Louis Rams enter next month's draft with a pair of first-round picks (No. 2 and No. 13). This should allow the team to target its biggest needs, receiver and offensive tackle, early. It also gives St. Louis the flexibility to target a premier receiver like Sammy Watkins or a franchise tackle like Greg Robinson with the second overall pick.

    The Rams can then address the other position at No. 13, giving the team two immediate starters and franchise-caliber players.

    With the 44th overall pick, the team can target a safety worthy of starting like Marqueston Huff or Craig Loston.

    In all, the Rams should be able to find a way to add three new starters at key positions by the end of the second day of the draft. 

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices