Arizona Cardinals-Arizona is an interesting team. Their defense is solid, and they are proving to be capable of winning games behind any QB. They could use help at the QB position (Shane Carden mid-to-late rounds?) since Palmer is injured every year, but don't expect them to draft one high. They could also use a replacement for Larry Fitzgerald, who is retiring soon...but John Brown has stepped in nicely this year and proven to be a solid talent. That being said, they could use help at both linebacker and defensive line, and I expect them to target both early. A late round TE and some offensive line depth would also be helpful here. DeAndre Smelter could be a really nice late round addition for them.
Atlanta Falcons- Remember when the Falcons were a dominant team for a season or two? Those years are gone, but not by much. The Falcons still need some help along the offensive line, and could use a replacement for Tony Gonzalez at TE. Running back depth would help as well later in the draft, but early, expect them to target a tight end and some defensive help. The Falcons have some big needs and will need to do well in the draft to meet them. If they fail to address a TE early, they might take a look at a guy like Devin Funchess (who has had injury issues) or Clive Walford in the middle of the draft.
Baltimore Ravens- The Baltimore Ravens followed a very familiar trend over the past few years. Win a Superbowl and then implode. The Ravens need to replace Ray Rice, who was the centerpiece of their offense until he forgot how to play football and was then released from the team following his suspension for domestic violence. They also need help on the offensive line and a solid linebacker or two. They could target a RB in the first round, perhaps Melvin Gordon.
Buffalo Bills-The Bills may target a QB this year after benching EJ Manuel and allegedly attempting to trade him. If EJ Manuel isn't the answer, neither is Kyle Orton, who is a journeyman type of QB that would be tough to build a franchise around in this stage of his career. A linebacker or safety would be nice as well. If I'm Buffalo, I also go after a running back like Zach Zenner late; Spiller is perpetually injured, and Fred Jackson also takes an annual vacation on the boo boo bus. I love Jackson and Spiller, but both get hurt often.
Carolina Panthers-The Carolina Panthers need to draft some help for Cam Newton before his career ends. They could benefit from a running back (your starting QB should NOT be your team's leading rusher), an additional WR, and an offensive lineman to help keep Cam Newton upright. They could also use a pass rusher or two. Jamison Crowder could be a nice late pick at WR to team with Kelvin Benjamin, and Jamon Brown from Louisville could be a steal late in the draft on the offensive line.
Chicago Bears-Even if they don't trade Jay Cutler, the Bears need a QB. Cutler is hurt (or benched) every season in Chicago! More importantly, the Bears need a defense. You name it on defense they need it. They have a few solid players but the formerly elite Chicago defense is a shell of its former self. Expect them to go defense hard and heavy in this draft. If I'm Chicago, I trade Cutler for a high 1st round pick, draft a QB to replace him (Mariota or Winston), then trade back with my second pick in the first to gain a 1st round pick and a second second round pick. Then I grab ILB Denzel Perryman late in the first, Hau'oli Kikaha (DE/OLB) early in the 2nd, and DE/OLB Nate Orchard late in the 2nd. Then I trade back up into the end of the 2nd with my 3rd round pick and a 6th or 7th rounder and grab Cody Prewitt at Safety late in the 2nd. This instantly gives the defense an identity, and in the 4th round I shore up the defensive line with defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. This defense will quickly become dominant again after that.
Cincinnati Bengals-The Bengals need help on defense. Their offense has come together nicely with threats at WR, TE, and RB, a competent QB in Dalton, and a decent offensive line. Their weak points are at DT (Geno Atkins is still playing well after his injury, but the players around him are getting old), DE if Gilberry leaves, and at LB. They also could use a kicker and a kick returner (Jamison Crowder perhaps). Grady Jarrett could be a great DT to pair with Geno Atkins if they opt to pass on Danny Shelton in the first. I'd also love to see them pair Denzel Perryman with Vontaze Burfict in the 1st.
Cleveland Browns- The Browns need to draft a front office that can actually develop a QB. They also need WR to pair with Josh Gordon. They could use help at linebacker at well. If I'm Cleveland, I grab best WR available in the first and then grab some linebacker help and/or some pass rushers...then I go WR again late, just to give the Browns offense plenty of help. Alvin Dupree or Trey Flowers could be interesting defensive line candidates early to bolster their pass rush, and a linebacker like Jordan Hicks from Texas could be a great middle round pick. If they opt to go WR early, Ty Montgomery could be a great physically aggressive fit in the AFC North.
Dallas Cowboys- The Dallas offense is solid. Their defense? Not so much. They could especially use help at cornerback, and need to find a replacement for Demarcus Ware. Trae Waynes or Ifo Ekpre-Olomu could be good early picks at cornerback. Quentin Rollins could be a nice pick in the 2nd or 3rd; he's a converted point guard now playing CB that could be great in a season or two. Anthony Chickillo could be a great late pick at DE for them.
Denver Broncos-The Broncos don't have a ton of needs. They could use help along the Defensive Line (Danny Shelton could be a nice fit here), and potentially at linebacker as well (Perryman?). They might look at WRs or a tight end as well, since the Thomas couple, Julius and Demaryius, are both in option years. They may also want to consider a developmental QB prospect to compete behind Peyton Manning so that they have options when his eventual retirement hits.
Detroit Lions- The Lions could use a replacement for Ndamukong Suh along the defensive line, someone that doesn't stomp on innocent offensive linemen. Eddie Goldman or Danny Shelton could fit the bill here, since Leonard Williams will be off the board. They will also need help at CB (Trae Waynes, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, or Marcus Peters?). A kicker would be helpful as well. Roberto Aguayo is one of the better kicker prospects to come out over the past few seasons and could be a huge help.
Green Bay Packers-The Packers need to focus on two things this year, upgrading their linebacking corps and adding a TE to replace Jermichael Finley. Benardrick McKinney and Denzel Perryman would both be great additions to this defense. They could wait until the 2nd or 3rd round and still grab one of the better tight ends in this class; this just isn't a great tight end class. Their best option at the position might be through free agency.
Houston Texans-The Texans need a quarterback! Their island of misfit toys under center make a great collection of backups, but there is no surefire starter in this draft. They've taken themselves out of the running for Mariota and Winston by having a good season, but Mannion or Hundley could wind up in Houston. Also look for them to grab a WR to replace potential hall of fame WR Andre Johnson, who will soon retire.
Indianapolis Colts-The Colts need some help on offense. They need a starting running back. A real starting running back. Melvin Gordon, Todd Gurley, Tevin Coleman could do the trick here. They need a WR to pair with TY Hilton down the road as well; Devante Parker or Jaelen Strong could make a great replacement for Reggie Wayne, who, like Andre Johnson, will retire eventually. They'll also look to upgrade their offensive line (Rob Havenstein and Jamon Brown are some nice options at offensive tackle late that could provide great depth, but they may want to grab someone earlier than that), and their secondary.
Jacksonville Jaguars- The Jaguars have a great young quarterback. Now they need to protect him and give him weapons. If I'm Jacksonville, I go offense-heavy this year. First, you get your 2nd year QB Amari Cooper to throw to. A guy like AJ Cann could help out on the interior of that O-line, and they could grab Telvin Coleman or Ameer Abdullah in the 2nd to fill out their running back corps, then grab WRs again later in the draft.
Kansas City Chiefs-How many TDs have Kansas City wide receivers scored this season? Don't answer. Their quarterback isn't Derek Anderson, so this isn't funny. They should grab a guy like Kevin White or DeVante Parker in the first, then grab Ty Montgomery in the 2nd. Boom. Two starting WRs to go with Dwayne Bowe. Then you add some offensive line help and defense, and maybe a QB to develop, and the Chiefs look like a solid team. They could grab Mannion or Carden in the 3rd or 4th at QB.
Miami Dolphins-The Dolphins need some help at linebacker and along both lines. Their offensive line is vastly improved but a tackle could help out. This could be a good year to upgrade their linebacking corps though, with Shaq Thompson and Vic Beasley making nice options on the outside in the first, and McKinney or Perryman potentially sitting there at the inside in the 2nd when they pick.
Minnesota Vikings-The Vikings need to focus on building around Teddy Bridgewater. While they could use a few upgrades on defense, they have some nice pieces there already. A cornerback could help. That being said, this might be a perfect draft for them to trade back if WR Amari Cooper isn't sitting there when they come up to pick. Trade back, pick up a slightly later first round pick along with a second or 3rd and a late round pick, and use those extra picks to bulk up at WR and RB. You'll get a good player at both positions in the late first or in the second round since running backs are more and more undervalued. If they can trade back to just before the Ravens and Colts pick, they'll still have a shot at a guy like Melvin Gordon at RB, who would help their team immensely if they are ready to cut ties with Adrian Peterson.
New England Patriots-The Patriots need help at wide receiver and defensive line. This is a great year for both. Belichick will trade around like he always does, but defensive tackles Eddie Goldman and Michael Bennett should still be on the board when their pick comes in. New England would be smart to go DT in the first and then add a WR in the 2nd or 3rd since this is a deep WR class. Or if they want to wait on DT, they could grab Grady Jarrett later in the draft (3rd or 4th?).
New Orleans Saints-The Saints need help at cornerback and could benefit from an improved pass rush. This is a nice draft for defense, and with that, the Saints should trade back to somewhere later in the first round and go best player available between the two areas of need. They could also use a good young QB to groom behind Brees, but this isn't a good year for QBs.
New York Giants-The Giants will likely go defense in the first round, like they usually do. They also need a ton of help on the offensive line, but I expect them to go for a pass rusher in the first. Vic Beasley or Alvin Dupree make sense. So do offensive linemen Brandon Scherff and Cedric Ogbuehi.
New York Jets-The Jets need to draft a front office that knows what they're doing. They drafted Mark Sanchez. Then they didn't give him any weapons. Then he struggled. Then they drafted Geno Smith. Then they didn't give him any weapons. Then he struggled. Then they signed Michael Vick. Then they didn't give him any weapons, then he struggled. Next they'll draft a QB (either Mariota or Winston), won't give him any weapons, and he'll struggle. This is an abysmally run franchise that seems utterly incapable of building around a young quarterback. I think I can help owner Woody Johnson right the ship though. Here are some suggestions. It is always a good idea to draft good, capable offensive linemen that are able to keep your quarterback upright. Your team is severely lacking at the offensive tackle position. If you don't know what an NFL-caliber offensive talent at offensive tackle looks like, might I suggest Brandon Scherff, Cedric Ogbuehi, or La'el Collins? Your young quarterback would also like some wide receivers to throw to. Percy Harvin is great for a game or two until he gets injured, but might I suggest drafting a top talent at wide receiver such as Amari Cooper? Your quarterback will look much better when there are players other than the other team's safeties and corners open for him to throw to. Then maybe sign some coaches that will stand by him and let him develop instead of pulling out the rug from under him after one bad game.
Oakland Raiders-See Jets, New York. The Raiders need to stop depending on other teams' cast off slightly-pre-retirement players and start bringing in some young talent to build this team. They need some weapons around Carr. Amari Cooper would be great here. So would a running back like Melvin Gordon. If Cooper is there, grab Cooper first and then get a RB in the beginning of the second, and grab some offensive line help and some defensive players. This team has some pieces to build around. They just need to put it together.
Philadelphia Eagles-The Eagles need help on defense. A safety or two would be extremely helpful for their defense. Strong safeties Landon Collins, Anthony Harris, and Jaquiski Tartt and Free Safeties Cody Prewitt, Gerod Holliman, and Derron Smith are nice options. They might also opt to go CB with either Trae Waynes or Ifo Ekpre-Olomu or grab Perryman or McKinney to shore up their linebacking corps. A quarterback could make sense as well, but ultimately I think they'll turn to free agency or stick to Sanchez or Foles for QB.
Pittsburgh Steelers- The Steelers are another team that needs help at safety, and I think Cody Prewitt could make a great fit here. He's an extremely hard-hitting safety that plays Pittsburgh-style football. Alvin Dupree, Nate Hunter, or Danny Shelton could make for a nice upgrade along the defensive line.
San Diego Chargers- The Chargers could grab one of the top cornerbacks in this year's draft with Trae Waynes or Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. They could also look at adding another WR for Philip Rivers, and grabbing some OL help. It also wouldn't surprise me to see them grab a running back at some point in the draft as well. Ryan Matthews is solid player, but there's a 50% chance that he injured himself while you were reading this comment.
San Francisco 49ers- The 49ers don't actually have a lot of holes. I wouldn't be surprised to see them grab a QB at some point fairly early in the draft (maybe Hundley in the 2nd) to provide a solid backup option in case Kaepernick struggles next season. In the first, I expect them to go best player available, but offensive line or defensive line depth could be useful.
Seattle Seahawks-The Seahawks need to draft a wide receiver or three this year. Doug Baldwin is a great number 2, but he's a number 2. look for them to add a guy like DeVante Parker or Kevin White if they fall. If not, they'll likely pull the trigger on Ty Montgomery or Dorial Green-Beckham (also both solid WR prospects). Then they can add some defensive and offensive line depth, and then they're set.
St. Louis Rams-This is an interesting year for the Rams. They have big question marks at quarterback, and no sure-fire number 1 wide receiver. Their defense is set, but they need to decide whether they want to give Bradford one more chance or move on. If I'm the Rams, I grab WR Amari Cooper, sign Bradford to a one year incentive-laden deal, and go from there. I'd also grab some additional receivers and some offensive linemen to keep Bradford from getting broken....again.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers-This is going to be an interesting pick. Do the Bucs go for a QB or somewhere else? Lovie Smith is hesitant to start rookie QBs, so they may look at the defensive side of the ball; there aren't any #1 overall-caliber offensive linemen in this draft class. If I'm the Bucs, I trade back to a team that wants to draft a QB. DT Leonard Williams could wind up here if they don't trade back.
Tennessee Titans-The Titans have a few big holes. Zach Mettenberger probably isn't the answer at quarterback, and they could opt for Mariota or Winston here. They could also use a pass rusher like Alvin Dupree, but if they're looking at a pass rusher, they should trade back. They could also use a running back to compete with Bishop Sankey, since he may not be the answer as well.
Washington Redskins-The Washington professional football franchise needs to draft a new name. They could use offensive line help. They need to figure out if they want RGIII at QB as well. If they do, then they don't need to draft a QB. If he's not the answer in their eyes, then draft QB first. They also need help throughout their defense. This is a franchise in shambles that needs a lot of help to become competitive again. I picture them going either QB or pass rusher in the first round though.
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