1. Indianapolis Colts - QB Andrew Luck, Stanford*
Even if Peyton Manning makes a complete recovery, and it does appear more optimistic now that could be the case, the Colts should not pass up this opportunity to draft the most polished QB prospect since Manning came out. Manning will be 36 when the 2012 season starts, and despite his extension the Colts can't realistically expect him to be playing well beyond 40. This really is a no-brainer pick, just look at two teams, the Packers and Dolphins. The Packers drafted Favre's eventual replacement in Aaron Rodgers in 2005, sat him on the bench for three years, and by his third year as a starter he was leading them to the Super Bowl. Dan Marino retired from the Dolphins in 1999, and the Dolphins still haven't found an adequate replacement for him yet. Manning has big shoes to fill, and if the Colts are forced to sit Luck for a few years before Manning is pushed out the door then so be it. Other Needs: OL, DB. One could make the argument that probably besides defensive end and linebacker, the Colts have needs at every position. But with the No. 1 pick, this is almost always a quarterback or a linemen. If they were to get a mega-deal and trade down, then beefing up their offensive line and secondary would probably be their top priorities.
2. Minnesota Vikings - OT Matt Kalil, Southern California*
When the Vikings cut Bryant McKinnie last summer, the writing was already firmly on the wall that using a high pick on a left tackle was soon to follow. They signed Charlie Johnson to be a stopgap here, but his future is likely to kick inside to guard at some point. Kalil is the top-rated offensive tackle in this class that they will hope can be what Jake Long was to the Dolphins a few years back. Other Needs: WR, DB. Injuries and inconsistency have plagued the Vikings secondary over the years, and they are pretty bad. Unfortunately for them, conventional wisdom suggests that the No. 2 pick is too high to use on a defensive back, which means if they go in another direction it would likely to be to add a big No. 1 target on the outside of their receiver corps to replace what Sidney Rice was for them.
3. St. Louis Rams - OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford*
While most would presume that the Rams would use this pick on a wide receiver like Justin Blackmon or Alshon Jeffery, the emerging truth is that No. 1 receivers aren't as valuable as many make them out to be except for on fantasy teams. And sure, if you have a Calvin Johnson on your roster, that player can be extremely valuable, but neither Blackmon or Jeffery are in that class. So it's smarter for the Rams to shore up other needy positions. That includes their offensive line, as it has become apparent with their increased attempts to make the vertical pass a regular part of their offense, that these guys cannot hold up long enough. Martin has protected Luck's blindside for the past three seasons, and will be asked to do the same for Bradford in St. Louis. That will likely move Rodger Saffold to the right side where he should be a better fit. Other Needs: RB, WR, CB. It's likely that finding a young replacement for Steven Jackson will be a high priority in this draft, but the 3rd overall pick seems a bit too high for a player like Trent Richardson, unless they are convinced he's the next Adrian Peterson.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars - DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina
Jacksonville has a solid defense, but they've been laden with poor QB play from rookie Blaine Gabbert this year. It would make sense for them to use a high pick on a No. 1 receiver to give Gabbert someone to throw to, but in truth the Jaguars have missed on a lot of first round WRs. R. Jay Soward, Reggie Williams, Matt Jones, and Mike Sims-Walker have all crashed and burned for them, and current GM Gene Smith was there for all of it. Unless the Jaguars feel that either Blackmon or Jeffery are dramatically different, then it would make sense to go with a safer option. A pass rusher like Coples makes a lot of sense as he is comparable to a player like Mario Williams. Other Needs: WR, OT, CB. Eben Britton hasn't developed quite like hoped partially due to injuries that have cut short both of the past two years, so it would not be surprising if the Jags used this high a pick on an insurance policy to solidify the right tackle position.
5. Washington Redskins - QB Matt Barkley, Southern California*
It's been inevitable that at some point Mike Shanahan was going to tap some young quarterback to be his franchise QB. Unfortunately for the Redskins fanbase, the team has yet to find that player in the past two years. Barkley is widely seen as the second best QB prospect behind Luck. His experience playing in a West Coast-like system at USC, accuracy, and intelligence will be intriguing for Shanahan. He is by no means a perfect prospect as questions about his arm strength and character will likely be raised in the coming months, but he's got a potentially bright future as a smart, accurate, efficient passer. Other Needs: WR, OL, DE, CB The Redskins will definitely look for a No. 1 target to take over for Santana Moss for the future. But they also likely will look at potentially upgrading their offensive line, since strengthening that unit was an early priority for Shanahan, and it hasn't reaped great results so far.
6. Philadelphia Eagles - OT Riley Reiff, Iowa*
The Eagles season has gone south thanks to a confluence of events. But their two main priorities this off-season will likely be on strengthening their defense and protecting their most expensive asset: Michael Vick. The weakness of the defense rests in is interior, and it will likely mean that DT, MLB, or S will be high on their priority list. But it's unlikely that besides DT, they would use this high a pick on those positions. And this year's class is without someone at or near the top like an Ndamukong Suh, B.J. Raji, Glenn Dorsey, or Marcell Dareus that stands above the rest. That likely means their will be a focus on protecting Vick, and it likely will come in the form of a brand new right tackle. Todd Herremans has been adequate at times, but it's clear his move from guard to tackle hasn't been that smooth. A player like Reiff coming from Iowa's NFL pipeline should be a guy that can come in and contribute right away. Other Needs: WR, DT, LB, S. Don't be surprised if the Eagles look at some of the wide receivers at or near the top, since it doesn't seem likely that DeSean Jackson will be back, and adding another explosive option on the outside makes sense as a replacement.
7. Carolina Panthers - WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State*
The Panthers would probably love to use this pick to beef up their run defense at defensive tackle, but as noted above there doesn't seem to be a tackle prospect that merits this high a selection. That likely means they will have to "settle" for this year's top-rated receiver in Justin Blackmon. Blackmon has the potential to be the heir apparent as a No. 1 target to Steve Smith, and should fit in well with Cam Newton's big arm. Other Needs: DT, LB, DB Injuries to Jon Beason and Thomas Davis have undermined their linebacker position, likely forcing them to look hard at depth and insurance this coming April. But they definitely need to bolster their secondary, where they could especially use some more help at cornerback.
8. Miami Dolphins - QB Robert Griffin, Baylor*
As noted before, the Dolphins are still looking for the passer that can give them some stability for the future. It's been twelve years since Marino retired. Chad Henne failed to take advantage of his opportunity, and while Matt Moore has been solid in recent weeks, he's not viewed as a long-term option. GM Jeff Ireland, as a Parcells disciple likely has similar rules about drafting QBs, which typically revolve around seniors with three or more years of experience that win. Well, Griffin isn't a senior but neither really is any of the other top QBs in this year's class. But he has already graduated from Baylor, started for 3 years, and has won 25 games...at Baylor! I'm sure they'd be willing to make the exception for him. Cam Newton's success as a rookie this year, will likely have Dolphins fans hoping the same for Griffin, who has a big arm and athleticism, although not on a level with Newton. Other Needs: OT, WR, DB The tandem of Sean Smith and Vontae Davis has not been nearly as strong as it looked like it was on the verge of during their rookie seasons two years ago, which means they could tinker with the idea of taking one of this year's top corners and moving one of them to safety, likely Smith.
9. Cleveland Browns - RB Trent Richardson, Alabama*
The Browns will have a big question to answer this off-season: How much faith do they have in Colt McCoy. McCoy has had his ups and downs this year, but how much do they attribute that to a lack of skill or a lack of experience. The answer to that question will likely determine if they target one of the signal callers in this year's draft. They will be in a prime position to draft one. But at this point, the Browns might just be willing to give McCoy another year and hope that solidifying the ground attack with Richardson will improve their offense. Peyton Hillis practically fell off the face of the Earth this season, and Montario Hardesty has done next to nothing in his absence. Richardson is widely seen as the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson, and certainly the type of player that should be able to come in early and be a productive, workhorse. Other Needs: QB, WR, DE If the Browns go after a wideout, it might be smarter to try and pick up a veteran in free agency than use another pick on one. Instead, adding another young pass rusher to team with Jabaal Sheard could be in the cards.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - CB Morris Claiborne, LSU*
The Bucs 2011 season has been a major disappointment. But they will continue to add young pieces in the hopes that it starts to gel in 2011. The off-field troubles of Aqib Talib have not stopped him from putting together a solid year. But they need to find a young replacement for Ronde Barber opposite him, and will also be an option in case Talib's issues don't get corrected. Claiborne is a tall, ball-hawking press corner that should fit well in their Cover-2 scheme. Other Needs: OT, DT Their decision to re-sign Jeremy Trueblood was a head scratcher this past off-season, but they could easily correct that mistake if the right offensive tackle was available here.
11. Arizona Cardinals - Whitney Mercilus, Illinois*
The Cardinals chief problems are a bad offensive line and a bad defense. The defense is caused by a lacking pass rush and a porous secondary. They would love to nab a player like Aldon Smith with this pick that can come in and immediate upgrade that unit. Is that prospect in the draft? Not quite yet, but then again Smith wasn't really being projected as a Top 10 pick at this point last year. A guy like Mercilus has had a breakout year and has the potential to be a guy that starts to rise on boards in the coming months. Other Needs: OT, CB, TE. Despite the team using a high pick on Patrick Peterson last year, don't be surprised if they did the same again this year.
12. Seattle Seahawks - QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
The additions of Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst have been mere stopgaps as the Seahawks have attempted to buy time until the right young passer fell into their laps. This year, they likely will find the right guy. With those two aforementioned QBs, they've seemingly shown a preference for mobile QBs, which probably makes Tannehill their preferred choice over Landry Jones. Tannehill does not have a ton of experience, but has shown a lot of upside in what really has been one and a half season as a starter. But he's got a live arm with good athleticism that could have some comparing him to Aaron Rodgers in terms of his long-term potential. Other Needs: RB, CB, DE, OL. Their pass rush has consisted of Chris Clemons and pretty much nothing else, so getting a guy that can complement him makes sense. Their offensive line is young, but adding more talent certainly could not hurt.
13. Buffalo Bills - OLB Nick Perry, USC*
The Bills committed a lot of money to Ryan Fitzpatrick earlier this year, and he has yet to really impress since he signed on the dotted line. Which could prompt them to get into the QB sweepstakes, but this team has a lot of other areas that could use help, particularly on the defensive side of the ball where they desperately need to improve their pass rush. Someone like a Nick Perry would make sense as Perry has the potential to play either end or linebacker in their hybrid defensive scheme. Other Needs: QB, CB, OL Bolstering their secondary would make a lot of sense since Leodis McKelvin has not lived up to expectations, and Aaron Williams hasn't quite caught fire as a rookie.
14. Kansas City Chiefs - DT Devon Still, Penn State
The Chiefs have used two Top 5 picks on defensive linemen in recent drafts, but neither player has really worked out. Jackson and Dorsey are adequate starters, but neither have lived up to the expectations of their draft status. So it's likely th Chiefs will go back to the drawing board with Still. Still has good size and strength to play in a 3-4 scheme. Other Needs: RB, OT, LB, NT The Chiefs will likely look at finding another outside linebacker that can rush the passer, but also look to bolster their right tackle position.
15. San Diego Chargers - CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama*
Quentin Jammer is getting up in age and probably only has a few years left in San Diego. They had hoped that Antoine Cason could be his heir apparent as a No. 1 corner, but he's taken some steps back this year, which opens the door for a big, physical corner like Kirkpatrick to take the mantle. Other Needs: WR, TE, OT, S, OLB. It would not be shocking if they tried to use one of their earlier picks on the future replacement for Antonio Gates, who has slowed down this year. They also might try and correct the mistake that was Larry English with one of their top picks.
16. New York Giants - ILB Luke Kuechly, Boston College*
The Giants are a team that needs to return to what they did well in the past which is run the ball. They can do that by bolstering their offensive line. But they also have issues that need to be addressed on defense, particularly at middle linebacker where they have been searching for some time for the long-term replacement for Antonio Pierce. Kuechly is potentially that player as he is a tackling machine with good instincts and a nose for the ball. He isn't the most physical presence in the land, but he should be a guy that can slide in immediately and be productive here. Other Needs: OL, RB, FS If the Giants do target their offensive line, it will likely come in the form of a center or right tackle.
17. Tennessee Titans - OG David DeCastro, Stanford*
The Titans ground game has suffered mightily this year, and the truth is that the interior of their line really just hasn't been the same since Kevin Mawae retired after the 2009 season. Eugene Amano has not been a good replacement, and Jake Scott has become fairly average in the time since. By drafting a guy like DeCastro, it should shake up their offensive line, solidify that right guard spot. And potentially allow them to move Harris inside to center, where he was an adequate injury replacement for Mawae during the 2009 season. DeCastro isn't the biggest guy, but he's one of the more polished blockers in this year's draft class that is comparable to a player like Logan Mankins. Other Needs: WR, DE, S. Kenny Britt's inability to stay healthy could have them looking for another top-level pass catcher early in the draft. But the Titans are always on the lookout for a really good defensive end or tackle, and with guys like Jason Jones, Dave Ball, and William Hayes becoming free agents, adding a pass rusher is a stronger possibility.
18. New York Jets - WR Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina*
There are going to be serious questions after this season about whether Mark Sanchez is the answer for this team. But it's unlikely that the Jets are likely going to be able to solve those concerns at this point in the draft, so they likely will settle for surrounding him with pieces. Wide receiver is somewhat a luxury item for the Jets, but with a player/prospect as good as Jeffery sitting here, it's worth a hard look. Jeffery has the sort of size/speed potential as a Brandon Marshall, and would make a very nice heir apparent as a big vertical target for Sanchez that he has had with with Plaxico Burress this year and Braylon Edwards last year. Other Needs: OL, DE, DB Because Rex Ryan's aggressive defensive scheme relies heavily on blitzing, bolstering their secondary will also be a priority. The Jets will also likely look to solidify their offensive line in order to try and get back to that physical run-first offensive identity.
19. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland) - CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
The Bengals have a strong defense with a lot of solid young pieces, as well as have added a lot of good young pieces on the offensive side of the ball. If there are any major areas of concern, it rests on their ground attack with an aging Cedric Benson, and in their secondary since losing Johnathan Joseph was a huge blow. Drafting a player like Janoris Jenkins makes sense because the Bengals usually aren't concerned with character as much as other teams, and Jenkins was kicked out of Florida because of off-field issues. But while at Florida, he went up against the likes of A.J. Green and Julio Jones without problem, indicating that he is a highly talented individual. And frankly, the Bengals tend to target SEC talent in the draft, and it's worked out fairly well in recent years. Other Needs: RB, OG, S Safety has been a position of woe for a number of years, but beefing up their offensive line at guard would make a lot of sense since Bobbie Williams could retire or walk after the season.
20. Detroit Lions - CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina*
The Lions are pretty much a team that are likely to design their defense to handle an offense like Green Bay's. And at this point, they need to get better in their secondary before they can really have a legit shot at dethroning that team. Gilmore is a solid corner prospect that is solid both in coverage and against the run that can play opposite a guy like Chris Houston, who has resurrected his carer in Detroit. Other Needs: RB, WR, OL. Beefing up their offensive line will likely be a priority as they hope to try and establish their running game next year around young backs like Best, LeShoure, and/or Kevin Smith.
21. Dallas Cowboys - S Mark Barron, Alabama
The Cowboys still need help in their back seven particularly in the middle at inside linebacker and safety. They are probably a bit more optimistic that Sean Lee and Bruce Carter can solve their issues at inside linebacker, leaving them looking for safety help. Barron is a solid all-around safety that contributes both vs. the run as well as in the passing game. Coming from Alabama, he's well versed in the 3-4 scheme that the Cowboys employ which means he should be able to contribute right away. Other Needs: OC, ILB, CB The Cowboys will continue to try and bolster their offensive line, focusing on the interior as well as could be in the potential market to add another corner since theirs are a bit too inconsistent.
22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta) - DE Brandon Jenkins, Florida State*
Previously, I mentioned that the Browns would need to take a hard look at their quarterback situation, but spurned it to draft a player like Trent Richardson. Well that move makes a lot more sense considering they also have this pick from the Falcons. Perhaps they can wait until here to draft the QB they want. Or they could take the pass rusher they want. Drafting a Landry Jones at this point would offer good value, but could be wasted potential, thus they instead opt for the edge rusher like Jenkins who should be able to slide in easily across from Jabaal Sheard. Jenkins is not the biggest guy but has comparable talent and potential to a guy like Trent Cole, which Browns GM Tom Heckert is very familiar with having drafted him in Philadelphia. Other Needs: QB, WR, OG. Jason Pinkston has struggled at guard this year, but is expected to move out to his more natural right tackle position next year, which could leave an opening for this team to target someone else to slide in beside Joe Thomas at left guard.
23. Cincinnati Bengals - OG Cordy Glenn, Georgia
Having bolstered their secondary a few picks before this, it's time to address the offensive line. As mentioned before, they've found a lot of success with SEC players, although Andre Smith hasn't been a homerun so far. But they need to find someone that can replace Bobbie Williams, and Glenn offers another big, beefy run blocker in the middle. Glenn has experience playing both tackle and guard, but he's a better fit at the latter spot. He would join ex-teammate Clint Boling, who was a Bengals pick this past year. Other Needs: RB, OLB, S While Thomas Howard has been a solid pick-up at weakside linebacker, they could look at other young options to give them another fast, rangy playmaker to play in the nickel.
24. Chicago Bears - OLB Zach Brown, North Carolina
It's no big secret that the Bears offensive line is at best a work in progress, it has improved as the season has wore on to the point that it would not be a complete shock if they chose to address other areas of their roster with their top pick. While they have a solid defense, much of their best players are older veterans like Urlacher, Briggs, Tillman, and Peppers. They need to do a better job adding younger pieces that can take the mantle in the coming years to continue the identity that Lovie Smith has built over the past 7 years of strong defense. Briggs contract issues could cause them to look hard at replacing him, and a player like Zach Brown would be a very good fit in their version of the Tampa-2 defense. Other Needs: WR, OL, DE, DT, CB. If the Bears do target an offensive lineman, they will likely stress versatility since they are still moving pieces around trying to find the best 5-man unit. Henry Melton has had his moments this year, but it also would not be a shock for them to target a defensive tackle that can adequately replace Tommie Harris in the middle as a dominant pass rusher.
25. Denver Broncos - CB Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska
Despite Tebow's success this year, it's clear that the Broncos brass aren't sold on his potential as a passer. They'll be looking for someone to solidify this spot, and it's likely they could be in the sweepstakes to try and trade up into the Top 10 picks to get the guy they want. Oklahoma's Landry Jones has seen his stock fall from being a potential Top 5 pick before the season to now a guy that would have to work hard just to make it in the Top 15, which would likely prompt him to stay in school with the number of other underclassman entering this year's draft ahead of him. That means that the Broncos might have to settle for a passer later in the draft and target another problem area which is cornerback. Finding someone that can take the mantle of Champ Bailey going forward will be a priority since the secondary has been the most glaring weakness of what has been a strong defense. Other Needs: QB, RB, OL, DT. Beefing up the offensive line should also be a high priority since they will likely continue to try and rely on the running game if they can't solve their quarterback issues.
26. Houston Texans - DT Brandon Thompson, Clemson
The Texans had hoped that Earl Mitchell would be able to provide the quick, penetrating nose tackle that Wade Phillips prefers to have, but he has not lived up to expectations. That will likely mean they will use next year's draft to find that player. Thompson plays both the nose and 3-technique in Clemson's defense, but has the ability to project to either the 3-4 or 4-3 at the next level. He has good size and ability to get upfield to disrupt plays, and should be the final piece to the puzzle for what has been a rebuilt Texans front 7. Other Needs: WR, CB. The time that Andre Johnson was out of the lineup exposed the fact that they don't really have a No. 2 that can consistently make plays. And while Kareem Jackson has improved this year, they could still be on the lookout for a corner to upgrade that position as well.
27. New England Patriots (from New Orleans) - DE Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
It's no secret that the Patriots defense is their biggest weakness. And after this year they will have to determine whether the 4-3 will remain their base defense going forward or whether or not they should switch back to a 3-4 scheme. More than likely, they will mix a little of both. But if they continue with the 4-3 it will be important for them to add edge pass rushers. They've use a lot a high picks on defensive backs in recent drafts, and it's probably time that they dip into free agency to fix some of those issues since adding more youth probably won't really help. A player like Ingram is a good fit because he's an athletic and versatile player that could even get some reps at fullback or tight end if they wanted. He also has the potential to play some linebacker, which again means if they don't make up their mind about what scheme they want to play he still won't be miscast. Other Needs: WR, OC, DEF. While the Patriots would indicate otherwise, their lack of a top notch playmaker outside at WR is a concern. And if they were going to use a high pick on such a player, then a guy like Michael Floyd would be a good fit since his experience with Charlie Weis at Notre Dame should make his learning curve much less than it is for most Patriot wideouts.
28. New England Patriots - DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State*
Back to back picks. Their attempts to add an interior pass rusher with Albert Haynesworth ended in failure, which will likel mean they will dip back into that well. A player like Worthy is probably not going to be an immediate impact player, but he has good size and ability to be a disruptive player in the middle of that defense, something they need since they get very little pressure from the interior of their line. Teaming him with Vince Wilfork should be a solid fit for them. Other Needs: WR, OC, DEF. The season-ending injury to Dan Koppen coupled with his becoming a free agent next year could have the Patriots looking to add a pivot man with their top pick. They've been known to like to draft offensive linemen high, and center is the only potential problem area of what is widely considered one of the best lines in the league.
29. Baltimore Ravens - OC Mike Brewster, Ohio State
Matt Birk is a free agent after this year, and could retire. The Ravens offensive line which appeared to be a major strength a few years back has been a work in progress the past two years. Bolstering the center position with a young piece won't solve their problems, but could be a major step forward. A guy like Brewster isn't quite on the level of a Nick Mangold, but he's a solid center that has the experience and ability to step in immediately as the starting center in Baltimore. Other Needs: TE, OT, S, LB. Don't doubt that the Ravens are well aware that there are not any standout candidates to fill the shoes of veterans Ray Lewis and Ed Reed on their roster. They have some options, but nobody has run away with those spots. The Ravens know that both players aren't likely to be around for a lot much longer.
30. San Francisco 49ers - TE Dwayne Allen, Clemson*
It will likely be a priority for the 49ers to get their offense playing at a level comparable to their defense. But in truth, unless they make a major upgrade at quarterback, that's unlikely to happen. And with how well Alex Smith has played this year, and the fact that they picked up Colin Kaepernick last year, it doesn't seem likely they will dip into the quarterback well again in this coming April's draft. At Stanford, Jim Harbaugh used a ton of two-TE sets, and potentially taking a page from the New England Patriots, putting an athletic pass catcher like Dwayne Allen opposite Vernon Davis could really help out their offense giving them two dynamic tight ends that could upgrade their offensive attack without changing their identity as a ground-oriented offense. Other Needs: WR, CB, S, NT. The 49ers have had a revolving door of veterans at the safety position, and if they see a young player that can solidify this spot for years to come, they would likely jump all over it.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers - CB Chase Minnifield, Virginia
Many thought that the Steelers would use their top pick a year ago on a corner since it was their weakness at that position that had them exposed in the Super Bowl, and this year their utter lack of turnovers isn't helped by the lack of ballhawking corners. A player like Minnifield is a good fit because of his size and ball skills to help correct those issues. And it also feels right that his dad (Frank) was a Pro Bowl corner for hated rival Cleveland in the 80s. Other Needs: OL, NT, ILB. Both Casey Hampton and James Farrior are going to be entering the final years of their contracts in 2012, so adding an adequate heir apparent at either position could potentially be a high priority. While the Steelers O-line leaves a lot to be desired, they feel their issue is more due to injuries than lack of talent, meaning it's no slam dunk that will be a high priority in the draft.
32. Green Bay Packers - OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
It's clear that the Packers offense is a juggernaut, which will likely prompt them to focus on the defensive side of the ball early in the 2012 draft. Adding another reliable pass rusher opposite Clay Matthews makes a ton of sense. While Erik Walden has been a serviceable stopgap, there is plenty of room for an upgrade with a player like Upshaw. Upshaw is a polished edge rusher, but also has the athleticism and speed to impact as a run defender and cover guy, which makes him a good fit in Green Bay since Dom Capers prefers his outside linebackers to be able to be effective in all three facets of the position. Other Needs: CB, DE, FS. The secondary is also a problem area thanks in part to the decline of Sam Shields, age of Charles Woodson, and a career-threatening neck injury to Nick Collins. Replacing Collins with another solid cover guy will likely be high on their list, as well as bolstering their nickel cornerback spot with a player that could replace Woodson down the line.
33. Indianapolis Colts - CB Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech*
The Colts secondary is atrocious and they need a ball-hawking corner that can provide some big plays like Hosley. Other Needs: WR, OC, DE.
34. St. Louis Rams - RB Bernard Pierce, Temple*
Pierce has the combo of speed and size that should make him a nice heir apparent to Steven Jackson. Other Needs: WR, CB, DT
35. Minnesota Vikings - FS Robert Lester, Alabama*
The Vikings really need to find some stability at the safety position with a ballhawk like Lester. Other Needs: WR, CB
36. Jacksonville Jaguars - WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
Floyd's character issues could cause him to fall in the draft, but the Jaguars will happily roll the dice on his potential in the second round. Other Needs: OT, CB
37. Philadelphia Eagles - SS Kenny Vaccaro, Texas*
Vaccaro is another solid defensive back from Texas that has the sort of talent they've been missing since they let both Brian Dawkins and Quentin Mikell walk. Other Needs: WR, DT, OLB
38. Carolina Panthers - DT Alameda Ta'amu, Washington
Ta'amu provides some much needed beef in the interior of the Panthers defensive line. Other Needs: LB, CB, OT
39. Miami Dolphins - OT Mike Adams, Ohio State
Adams should solidify the right tackle position that Marc Colombo was supposed to. Other Needs: WR, DB
40. Cleveland Browns - QB Kirk Cousins, Michigan State
Cousins is another smart, solid passer that can give them a nice insurance policy behind McCoy. Other Needs: WR, OG, CB
41. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - OT Zebrie Sanders, Florida State
Sanders is an athletic blocker that should help bolster the right side of a weak offensive line. Other Needs: DT, OLB, S
42. Washington Redskins - WR Rueben Randle, LSU*
Randle gives them a big, explosive target on the outside to team with Moss. Other needs: OL, DE, CB
43. Seattle Seahawks - RB Lamar Miller, Miami*
Miller gives them the explosive change of pace option behind Lynch. Other Needs: CB, DE, OL
44. Buffalo Bills - CB Brandon Boykin, Georgia
Boykin should be able to upgrade a weak secondary. Other needs: OL, QB
45. Kansas City Chiefs - NT Dontari Poe, Memphis*
Poe is another big piece of beef to upgrade their defensive line. Other Needs: RB, OT, LB
46. San Diego Chargers - OLB Bruce Irvin, West Virginia
Irvin had a down year, but he's still viewed as a high upside pass rusher. Other Needs: WR, TE, OT, SS
47. Philadelphia Eagles (from Arizona) - WR Kendall Wright, Baylor
Wright is the type of explosive playmaker that will be a good replacement for DeSean Jackson. Other Needs: OLB, DT
48. New York Giants - FS T.J. McDonald, Southern California*
They will hope that McDonald will correct the mistake that was signing Antrel Rolle. Other Needs: OC, OT, RB
49. New York Jets - DE Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State*
Cox is another long, athletic interior presence that will be solid across from Wilkerson. Other Needs: CB, OG
50. New England Patriots (from Oakland) - WR Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers*
Sanu is an athletic and versatile playmaker to add another weapon in Brady's repertoire. Other Needs: FS, OC, OLB
51. Detroit Lions - OT Matt McCants, Alabama-Birmingham
McCants is still pretty raw, but he's an athletic specimen that could help replace Backus at left tackle. Other Needs: OC, RB, WR
52. Dallas Cowboys - OC Ben Jones, Georgia
The Cowboys hope that Jones can help solidify the pivot vacated by Andre Gurode. Other Needs: ILB, CB
53. Atlanta Falcons - OT Andrew Datko, Florida State
The Falcons always use their top pick on a player that can immediately add value as a starter. With the inconsistency up front for the Falcons, beefing up their offensive line could do exactly that. Datko is coming off a shoulder injury, but he's a polished and experienced left tackle that can potentially step in immediately to replace Sam Baker who has been in the doghouse in Atlanta. Other Needs: TE, OG, S, DE. If the Falcons can't retain or replace Tony Gonzalez, it's a strong possibility that drafting a tight end will be at the top of their to-do list in the off-season. Free safety may also be high due to the impending free agency status of both James Sanders and Thomas DeCoud.
54. Cincinnati Bengals - RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin*
Ball is a physical workhorse back that should be a solid long-term answer after Benson. Other Needs: OLB, SS
55. Chicago Bears - OG Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State
The Bears know that running the ball is the key to their success, and the massive Osemele offers immediate potential upgrade at left guard there. Other Needs: CB, DE, DT, WR
56. Denver Broncos - QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State
Weeden's age (28) won't be a huge deterrent for the Broncos who are looking for a passer that could immediately step in as a starter over Tebow. Other Needs: RB, OL, DT
57. Tennessee Titans - DE Vinny Curry, Marshall
Curry is a solid pass rusher that should provide some needed help and insurance at the position. Other Needs: WR, S
58. New Orleans Saints - OLB Travis Lewis, Oklahoma
The Saints linebacker corps is a hodge-podge of average talent. Lewis offers a nice upgrade to that unit. Lewis was a productive weakside linebacker at Oklahoma but also offers enough potential and awareness to make the eventual move inside down the road. Which is nice for the Saints since Jonathan Vilma has declined in skill since their Super Bowl year. Other Needs: WR, DT, DE, CB. The Saints could look to upgrade their wide receiver corps or defensive tackle position since Marques Colston, Robert Meachem, Shaun Rogers, and Aubrayo Franklin are all prospective free agents after this season. It's more likely that defensive tackle will be prioritized over receiver.
59. New England Patriots - OLB Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma*
Lewis can help out their pass rush and also offer immediate value on special teams. Other Needs: OC, FS
60. Baltimore Ravens - ILB Don'ta Hightower, Alabama*
Hightower could see his stock fall due to lack of speed concerns similar to Brandon Spikes a few years back. But the Ravens won't mind since he could be the heir apparent to Ray Lewis in the middle. Other Needs: TE, OT, S
61. Houston Texans - WR Dwight Jones, North Carolina
Jones gives them another potential dynamic weapon on the outside to team with Andre Johnson. Other Needs: CB
62. San Francisco 49ers - DT Josh Chapman, Alabama
Chapman gives the 49ers another widebody in the middle that can help solidify their defense. Other Needs: WR, CB, S
63. Pittsburgh Steelers - OG Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin
Zeitler has had a strong senior campaign and can help provide depth on the interior of the Steelers line. Other Needs:
64. Green Bay Packers - CB Casey Heyward, Vanderbilt
Heyward is probably a better fit in a Cover-2 scheme, but has potential to play corner or safety if developed for the Packers. Other Needs: DE, FS
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.