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PFW: NFL Draft Inner Circle - Top 3 Draft Needs for all teams


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Draft needs

Three areas of need for each team

By Nolan Nawrocki

April 18, 2005

The NFL draft is driven by team needs. After analyzing the rosters of every NFL team and consulting with NFL decision makers and factoring in how the salary cap will force teams to build for the future, we arrived at three crucial team needs that each club will be looking to address. Teams selecting in the first half of Round One generally seek the best available player in lieu of team needs and are most likely to address premium positions — quarterbacks, receivers, left offensive tackles, defensive ends, defensive tackles and cornerbacks. But after the first round, teams will draft heavily for need.

AFC East 1 2 3

Buffalo DT OLT FS DT Pat Williams signed with Baltimore. Mike Gandy is unproven at left tackle. FS Troy Vincent is on his last legs. Travis Henry could be traded.

Miami RB QB OLB Lamar Gordon is not a solid starter. A.J. Feeley and Gus Frerotte are unproven. Junior Seau is on his last legs, and Marlon Greenwood departed for Houston.

New England ILB CB OL Tedy Bruschi may be forced to sit out in '05. Ty Law must be replaced. Joe Andruzzi signed with Cleveland.

N.Y. Jets TE CB NT Anthony Becht departed to Tampa Bay. Donnie Abraham is aging. Jason Ferguson signed with Dallas.

AFC North 1 2 3

Baltimore WR OLB ORT Lost Travis Taylor, and Derrick Mason is not a blazer. With Edgerton Hartwell gone, need ILB help to continue using 3-4 packages. ORT Orlando Brown's knees are a concern.

Cincinnati TE OLB DL Have not had a complete tight end in a number of years. Kevin Hardy is past his prime. Need help upfront.

Cleveland OT QB DE Lacking bookend tackles has long been a problem in Cleveland. Trent Dilfer is not the long-term answer. Sent most of D-Line to Denver.

Pittsburgh CB ORT TE CBs Willie Williams and Deshea Townsend are on the wrong side of 30. ORT Oliver Ross departed for Arizona, and Max Starks is unproven.

AFC South 1 2 3

Houston OT ILB DL OLT Seth Wand struggled last year. Jamie Sharper departed, and Jay Foreman is not expected back, leaving Troy Evans slated to start inside. Youth is needed on the defensive line.

Indianapolis CB DT ILB Defense takes priority. Cornerback and defensive tackle are thin and can be upgraded. ILB Rob Morris likely will not be back.

Jacksonville DE CB OT An infusion of youth is needed at DE. CB Kiwaukee Thomas is not a solid No. 2. Mike Pearson is coming off a serious knee injury.

Tennessee CB WR ORT Cut Samari Rolle, Derrick Mason and ORT Fred Miller for salary-cap reasons.

AFC West 1 2 3

Denver CB OLB OL Lost RFA Kelly Herndon to Seattle and need a solid nickel back. Need more depth at OLB to use more 3-4 packages. OLT Matt Lepsis could be cap casualty next year, C Tom Nalen is aging and interior O-line help is needed.

Kansas City DE LB WR DE Eric Hicks does not get much pressure off the edge. LBs Shawn Barber and Scott Fujita are only adequate. Youth is needed at receiver with Johnnie Morton and Eddie Kennison aging.

Oakland OLB CB DE Traded Napoleon Harris and do not have solid starters at OLB spots. Charles Woodson has a huge cap number, and Phillip Buchanon wants to be traded. More pressure is needed from the D-line.

San Diego WR DE OT More help is needed at receiver. Jacques Cesaire does not bring much pressure off the edge. Roman Oben and Shane Olivea could be upgraded.

NFC East 1 2 3

Dallas WR DE RB Giving Drew Bledsoe a reliable target is a priority. More depth is needed at end. Eddie George is not expected back.

N.Y. Giants CB RB DE Will Allen has has been an unhappy camper playing for Tom Coughlin. Ron Dayne departed and there is little depth after Tiki Barber. Need to begin preparing for Michael Strahan's departure.

Philadelphia DT OT OLB Corey Simon is on the trading block. ORT Jon Runyan is aging. Team is a bit thin at OLB.

Washington CB WR ILB Lost Fred Smoot to Minnesota in free agency. Traded Laveranues Coles. Lost Antonio Pierce in free agency.

NFC North 1 2 3

Chicago RB WR OLB Thomas Jones finished the season weighing 206 pounds — a power back is needed. The receiving corps is thin. SLB is weak.

Detroit DE S ORT DE James Hall is not a solid starter. Kenoy Kennedy is a Band-Aid. Lost Stockar McDougle in free agency.

Green Bay LB DE S Little-used Steve Josue may be third-best LB. More upfield speed is needed off the edge. Losing Darren Sharper left a hole in the secondary.

Minnesota WR DE OL Finding a speed threat to replace Randy Moss must be a priority. More depth is needed at end. The offensive line could use more help.

NFC South 1 2 3

Atlanta DT FS OL NT Chad Lavalais is undersized and unproven, and rotational help is needed. Ronnie Heard is not a long-term solution. More help is needed on offensive line.

Carolina OT WR OLB OLT Travelle Wharton is unproven. Losing Muhsin Muhammad was a blow to the WR corps. The LB corps lacks depth.

New Orleans OLB SS OT Speed is needed on defense at OLB and SS. Offensive line help is a priority.

Tampa Bay WR RB OLB Offensive playmakers are in high demand with Tim Brown retiring, Joe Jurevicius departing for Seattle, and Mike Alstott and Charlie Garner coming off injuries. Losing Ian Gold was a blow to the defense.

NFC West 1 2 3

Arizona RB CB TE Emmitt Smith retired and a featured back is not on the roster. Duane Starks was traded and Renaldo Hill departed. TE Freddie Jones is not returning.

San Francisco QB WR DT QB is the top priority. WR Brandon Lloyd is not a No. 1. Anthony Adams is very undersized, and Isaac Sopoaga is a project.

Seattle DE OLB CB Chike Okeafor departed, and Grant Wistrom is brittle. Chad Brown is old and injury-prone. Kelly Herndon is best as a nickel.

St. Louis SS ORT OLG With Pisa Tinoisamoa slated to stay at LB and FS Aeneas Williams retiring, a safety is a huge priority, as is ORT with Kyle Turley not expected back. Interior O-line depth is needed.

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