NFL Draft: Who goes after Luck and RGIII?
April 22, 2012
Needs and outlooks of the 32 teams heading into the NFL draft, which begins Thursday night:
1. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (2-14)
THEY NEED: QB, TE, DT, WR, RB.
THEY DON’T NEED: DE.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: QB Andrew Luck.
OUTLOOK: Rebuilding project starts at QB, where Colts are looking for first new starter since 1998. They are likely to Luck out with rare opportunity to replace one star with younger, cheaper future star.
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2. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (5-11)
THEY NEED: QB, OL, DB, LB.
THEY DON’T NEED: TE, DL, RB.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: QB Robert Griffin III.
OUTLOOK: After two decades of doldrums, Redskins envision Griffin as type of player who can transform franchise, his personality and talent steadying a team that has used 21 starting quarterbacks over 19 seasons.
3. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (3-13)
THEY NEED: OT, WR, CB, S, DT.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, TE, DE.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: OT Matt Kalil.
OUTLOOK: While Vikings are fully engaged in rebuilding mode, Frazier will need more wins to keep job. Good news for everyone in organization is they have 10 picks, starting with third overall where Kalil is slam-dunk choice – unless GM Rick Spielman, running draft with full authority for first time – is enticed to move down for more picks.
4. CLEVELAND BROWNS (4-12)
THEY NEED: RB, WR, OT, LB.
THEY DON’T NEED: K, DE.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: RB Trent Richardson, Blackmon.
OUTLOOK: With 13 picks, GM Tom Heckert is armed to dramatically improve Cleveland’s roster. Offense needs most help, making Richardson and Blackmon safest picks.
5. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (4-12)
THEY NEED: CB, RB, LB, S.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, DE, PK, P.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Claiborne, Richardson.
OUTLOOK: Former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano hired as Morris’ replacement and vows to build physical team that will thrive on running football and playing stingy defense.
6. ST. LOUIS RAMS (2-14)
THEY NEED: WR, DT, OL, OLB, backup RB, P.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, MLB, starting RB, PK.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Blackmon, Claiborne, Kalil.
OUTLOOK: Contrary to rumors Rams might trade down for more picks, it’s likely they’ll stay put and plug one of many holes. No matter how first five picks fall, they would be happy with Blackmon, Claiborne or Kalil. RB Trent Richardson also is option for future, although Steven Jackson is still going strong after becoming seventh player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in seven straight seasons.
7. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (5-11)
THEY NEED: More talent.
THEY DON’T NEED: More small-school players who fail to pan out.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Blackmon, Claiborne, DE Melvin Ingram, DT Fletcher Cox.
OUTLOOK: Former Bills coach and Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey replaced Del Rio. Mularkey and GM Gene Smith are committed to QB Blaine Gabbert and want to surround him with more talent in hopes of improving NFL’s worst offense.
8. MIAMI DOLPHINS (6-10)
THEY NEED: WR, QB, DE, S, T, CB.
THEY DON’T NEED: C, NT, PK, P.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: QB Ryan Tannehill.
OUTLOOK: Dolphins haven’t drafted quarterback in first round since Dan Marino in 1983, and streak could end with selection of Texas A&M quarterback Tannehill. They’ll likely take WR in early rounds; it’s one of deepest positions in draft. Pass rusher to complement Cameron Wake another priority.
9. CAROLINA PANTHERS (6-10)
THEY NEED: DT, DE, CB, S, OLB, WR.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, RB, C.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: DT Dontari Poe, DE Quinton Coples, Ingram, Cox, LB Luke Kuechly, WR Malcolm Floyd.
OUTLOOK: Panthers have plenty of holes, particularly on defense. They need help up front – time to invest a high pick on cornerback who can play opposite Chris Gamble.
10. BUFFALO BILLS (6-10)
THEY NEED: OT, WR, CB, LB.
THEY DON’T NEED: DL, RB.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: OT Riley Reiff, OT Cordy Glenn, Floyd, CB Dre Kirkpatrick.
OUTLOOK: Entering third year of GM Buddy Nix and coach Chan Gailey’s regime, it might be time for playoff-starved fans in Buffalo to start “Bill-ieving.” Buffalo’s made big offseason splash in shoring up defensive line with DEs Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, while also re-signing WR Stevie Johnson.
11. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (7-9)
THEY NEED: DT, MLB, QB, G, FS.
THEY DON’T NEED: WR, DE, PK, P.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Kuechly.
OUTLOOK: Crennel said last month he wants help on defense, and there’s two glaring needs: middle linebacker and tackle.
12. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (7-9)
THEY NEED: DE, LB, OL, WR, TE, QB.
THEY DON’T NEED: S, RB, K, P.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Coples, Kuechly.
OUTLOOK: Seattle is on cusp of having young, fast, aggressive defense that coach Pete Carroll enjoyed each year at USC. Set in secondary with Brandon Browner, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman. Seahawks brought back run-stuffing DE Red Bryant in free agency, but still could use another pass rusher coming off edge to go along with Chris Clemons.
13. ARIZONA CARDINALS (8-8)
THEY NEED: OT, WR, OLB, DE.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, RB, TE.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Reiff, OT Jonathan Martin, Glenn, Floyd.
OUTLOOK: Cardinals believe strong 7-2 finish, led by defense that improved as year went on, creates optimism. Offensive line has been inconsistent, and that’s putting it charitably. Arizona still is looking for reliable No. 2 WR behind Larry Fitzgerald.
14. DALLAS COWBOYS (8-8)
THEY NEED: CB, S, DL, WR depth.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, PK.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: A defensive player from Alabama.
OUTLOOK: Only campus pro day Garrett attended was at Alabama, which has several defenders likely to go in first round. Safety Mark Barron, Kirkpatrick or DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw would all fit into Dallas’ needs, and all visited Valley Ranch after that pro day.
15. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (8-8)
THEY NEED: DL, S, LB, OL.
THEY DON’T NEED: WR, RB, K.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Cox, OT Riley Reiff, CB Stephon Gilmore.
OUTLOOK: Eagles’ biggest needs are defense where they struggled mightily last season. Addition of LB DeMeco Ryans is major upgrade, but they could use more help.
16. NEW YORK JETS (8-8)
THEY NEED: S, LB, DE, WR, RB.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, CB, C, LT.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Upshaw, Ingram, Floyd, Barron, Richardson.
OUTLOOK: Ryan and Jets enter draft with 10 picks after a total of 13 over past three years. But GM Mike Tannenbaum always likes to make noise on draft day, so he might wheel and deal to move up.
17, 21. CINCINNATI BENGALS (9-8)
THEY NEED: G, CB, WR, RB, S.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, PK, P.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: DeCastro, Kirkpatrick, Gilmore.
OUTLOOK: Bengals need guard to shore up middle of line and help running game, which struggled on short-yardage downs. Also in market for cornerback with Leon Hall returning from torn Achilles tendon. CBs Nate Clements (age 32) and Terence Newman (33) are temporary fixes. Cincinnati has failed to address its biggest problem on offense in offseason: a receiver to complement Green, who made Pro Bowl as rookie. They got 17th overall pick from Oakland as part of Carson Palmer trade.
18. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (8-8)
THEY NEED: SS, OLB, NT, OL.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, PK, P.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Upshaw, DE Nick Perry.
OUTLOOK: Chargers loaded up in free agency, particularly on offense and especially at wide receiver, where they lost Vincent Jackson before adding Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal. Still need impact players on defense, particularly pass rusher and strong safety.
19. CHICAGO BEARS (8-8)
THEY NEED: DL, OL, LB, WR.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, RB, PK, P, KR.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Kuechly, DE Courtney Upshaw, Coples, Floyd, DE Whitney Mercilus.
OUTLOOK: Bears have been busy bunch under new GM Phil Emery, addressing biggest need by acquiring Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall from Miami. Also signed RB Michael Bush to team with disgruntled Forte, added Jason Campbell to back up Cutler, brought in special teams star Eric Weems, and signed CBs Kelvin Hayden and Jonathan Wilhite for depth. Pro Bowl LB Lance Briggs got extension through 2014, but Forte hasn’t signed $7.74 million franchise tag tender.
20. TENNESSEE TITANS (9-7)
THEY NEED: DE, S, CB, OL, WR.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, PK, P.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Barron, Gilmore, Mercilus, C Peter Konz.
OUTLOOK: Signing Kamerion Wimbley and planning to play him at end helps pass rush, but Titans need more help on defense after letting CB Cortland Finnegan leave and tagging S Michael Griffin as franchise player. They also visited with four veteran centers after signing G Steve Hutchison to help boost run game. With Britt coming off torn ACL, another receiver for either Hasselbeck or Jake Locker also is possibility.
23. DETROIT LIONS (10-6)
THEY NEED: CB, S, OL.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, WR, DT.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Gilmore, Kirkpatrick.
OUTLOOK: After first 10-win season since 1995, Lions kept every player they wanted other than CB Eric Wright, who signed with Tampa Bay. To take another step, DT Ndamukong Suh needs to produce like he did two years ago as rookie and secondary must improve. It would also help to strike balance on offense with RB Jahvid Best and RB Mikel LeShoure coming off injury-shortened seasons.
24. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (12-4)
THEY NEED: WR, NT, RB, OT.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, C, LB.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Still, Glenn, Brockers.
OUTLOOK: Roster overhaul already well under way. Veteran WR Hines Ward was released then retired, as did defensive linemen Aaron Smith and Chris Hoke, with LB James Farrior almost certain to follow. Future at nose tackle cloudy with veteran Casey Hampton rehabbing knee injury and youngster Steve McClendon largely unproven. Running game also needs depth with starter Rashard Mendenhall on shelf with torn ACL.
25. DENVER BRONCOS (8-8)
THEY NEED: DT, RB, QB, OL, DB.
THEY DON’T NEED: PK, P, LB.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: DT Jerel Worthy, DT Devon Still.
OUTLOOK: Broncos gained additional draft pick in trading Tebow, and they need to hit on most selections as they build around Manning on offense. Denver will augment a defense that was vastly improved last year with addition of Rookie of Year Von Miller and return of fellow Pro Bowl pass rusher Elvis Dumervil.
26. HOUSTON (10-6)
THEY NEED: WR, OL, DE, S.
THEY DON’T NEED: RB, CB, LB, TE.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: WR Kendall Wright.
OUTLOOK: Houston took several hits in free agency, losing 2006 overall first draft pick DE Mario Williams, Pro Bowl LB DeMeco Ryans and veteran offensive linemen Mike Brisiel and Eric Winston. Texans would like to find WR to complement Andre Johnson, two-time All-Pro who missed much of last season with hamstring injuries.
28. GREEN BAY PACKERS (15-1)
THEY NEED: OLB, S, DL, CB.
THEY DON’T NEED: WR.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Mercilus.
OUTLOOK: Packers never replaced departed free agent defensive end Cullen Jenkins last year and still don’t have true complement to Clay Matthews at other outside linebacker spot. Pass rush suffered as result. Packers also might look for offensive line depth.
29. BALTIMORE RAVENS (12-4)
THEY NEED: C, OT, G, S, WR, LB.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, RB, CB.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Konz, WR Rueben Randle.
OUTLOOK: Ravens lost free agent G/C Ben Grubbs to New Orleans, C Matt Birk is nearing end of career and OT Bryant McKinnie struggled at times last season. Baltimore needs offensive linemen, although GM Ozzie Newsome won’t draft for need if far better player is available.
30. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (13-3)
THEY NEED: DT, WR, OL.
THEY DON’T NEED: S/CB, PK, P.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: NT Alameda Ta’amu, DT Josh Champman.
OUTLOOK: San Francisco already has many pieces in place, including bringing back QB Alex Smith and all 11 defensive starters from last year. SF ended eight-year drought without playoff berth or winning record. GM Trent Baalke re-signed CB Carlos Rogers (tied with S Dashon Goldson with six interceptions) and signed CB Perrish Cox. Smith will have WRs Randy Moss and Mario Manningham in what has become deep receiving corps to join Michael Crabtree, TE Vernon Davis and re-signed wideout/return man Ted Ginn Jr. 49ers’ receivers managed one catch for 3 yards in 20-17 OT loss in NFC championship game to eventual Super Bowl champion Giants at Candlestick Park.
27, 31. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (13-3)
THEY NEED: OLB, DE, CB.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, TE, PK, P.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: LB Shea McClellin, CB Janoris Jenkins.
OUTLOOK: Josh McDaniels takes his former role as offensive coordinator, with speedy Brandon Lloyd added to Brady’s targets. Steady RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis signed with Cincinnati, but Ridley is more of breakaway threat. They could have better luck building defense through draft with four picks in first two rounds.
32. NEW YORK GIANTS (13-7)
THEY NEED: TE, WR, OT and, of course, another pass-rushing lineman.
THEY DON’T NEED: CB, PK, P.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: WR Mohamed Sanu.
OUTLOOK: Championship cost Giants in free agency. OT Kareem McKenzie has not been re-signed. CB Aaron Ross, RB Brandon Jacobs, DE Dave Tollefson and WRs Mario Manningham signed elsewhere. TEs Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum had major knee injuries in Super Bowl. Giants can’t get enough pass-rushing linemen; if right one is there, they will take another.
55. ATLANTA FALCONS (10-6)
THEY NEED: OT, TE, RB, S, CB.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, WR, DT.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: TE Dwayne Allen, Clemson.
OUTLOOK: Falcons will have to make most of what will be very limited draft because of Jones trade, having surrendered this year’s first-round pick. Falcons will likely be looking for help on offensive line.
89. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (13-3)
THEY NEED: DT, CB, DE.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, WR, RB, OL, TE, PK, P.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: DT Mike Martin.
OUTLOOK: Because Saints traded away first-round pick to get RB Mark Ingram last year, and because they were docked second-round pick this year and next in connection with bounty scandal, and barring a trade, Saints won’t pick until late in third round. Bigger concern under interim head coach Joe Vitt and new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is revamping interior defensive line and compensating for loss of CB and 2010 Super Bowl hero Tracy Porter in free agency.
95. OAKLAND RAIDERS (8-8)
THEY NEED: LB, CB, OL, WR, TE, RB, DL.
THEY DON’T NEED: PK, P.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: LB Nigel Bradham, DL Malik Jackson, DT Mike Martin, CB Coryell Judie.
OUTLOOK: Reggie McKenzie was hired as team’s first general manager; longtime owner Al Davis died in October. McKenzie has put his imprint all over by cutting ties with some of Davis’ favorites and building team along model he helped create in Green Bay. McKenzie and new coach Dennis Allen have just five picks. Oakland got three compensatory picks and first comes at end of third round.