This post comes from Justin Becker of FantasyFootballOverdose.com. You can follow him on Twitter @NFLRankings or the Fantasy Football Overdose Google+ Page, and for more Premier Fantasy Football Projections visit Fantasy Football Overdose, a fantasy football blog.
The 2014 NFL Draft is just a couple of days away. Needless to say, the smokescreens and rumors are coming in at the highest rate in some time (if not ever). The actual draft with real trades and picks can’t come soon enough. However, to help ease the pain, we’re going to spin some logic and look at what teams actually need, rather than obsess solely on what the big media talking heads think will happen.
Rumors abound, let’s rest our tired heads on what all 32 NFL teams might actually want to do when the picks count:
1. Houston Texans
Houston needs a franchise quarterback, but they’re almost surely going to get this year’s draft started by selecting Jadeveon Clowney. That locks up their outside pass rush, but they still will need to get a quarterback eventually, while depth can be added to the secondary and both lines.
2. Washington Redskins
The ‘Skins don’t pick second thanks to the Robert Griffin III trade, but they probably wish they did. They have a crazy amount of holes on defense, most stemming from a pitiful secondary. They need a legit long-term safety option and more corner talent, while they also need to find a true replacement for the now retired London Fletcher and middle linebacker. A backup tight end at some point might not be a bad idea, just in case Jordan Reed’s 2013 concussion issues arise again.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars are on the rise thanks to good coaching, but they still need a ton of help on both sides of the ball. They obviously need a new franchise passer after trading away Blaine Gabbert, while tight end and wide receiver both could use more talent, as well. On defense, they need more help in the pass rush and could also use depth at linebacker and corner.
4. Cleveland Browns
Cleveland is another team on the hunt for a quarterback, while they really just need to keep adding talent on offense, in general. They could use a true #2 wide receiver to pair with Josh Gordon, a new franchise running back and some competition for the offensive line. On defense they need a second cornerback pretty badly.
5. Oakland Raiders
It’s getting old here, but the Raiders also need a quarterback, although trading for Matt Schaub might curb the need a little more than some other teams. Oakland also could use talent infusion at wide receiver and tight end, as well as the offensive line. Their defense is actually not that bad, but they could use more cornerback depth and a future safety to take over once Charles Woodson finally retires.
6. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons’ biggest needs are at offensive tackle and defensive end. They really need to fix their pass rush, which is why they’ve been tied to Jadeveon Clowney rumors so much. Clowney or Khalil Mack could fix their issues there, while a stud tackle early would help Matt Ryan out a lot. Later in the draft they’ll want to find a replacement for retired tight end Tony Gonzalez, as well.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs are actually pretty balanced on both sides of the ball, but could really use another play-maker at wide receiver after shipping Mike Williams’ corpse to the Buffalo Bills. Tight end can be upgraded upon, as well, while the defensive side could use another linebacker to improve flexibility.
8. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings need a franchise passer, but it doesn’t sound like they’ll target one with the 8th overall pick. That’s where they’ll likely solidify their defensive line on the inside with Aaron Donald. From round three on they’ll look to get a linebacker that can potentially start in 2014, as well as beef up the depth at safety across from Harrison Smith.
9. Buffalo Bills
Buffalo is another pretty balanced team that doesn’t have a ton of glaring needs. One could argue they need to get a franchise quarterback still, but for the moment they seem set with E.J. Manuel. They need another defensive end for their pass rush rotation, while they’re still one offensive play-maker short of being a legit threat on offense. Another wide receiver or tight end could do the trick there.
10. Detroit Lions
Detroit needs to find a way to land a stud corner and difference-making wide receiver. Getting an explosive corner like Justin Gilbert first is starting to make the most sense, and then they can attack a very deep receiving class and get someone like Penn State’s Allen Robinson in round two. They could chase down a long-term center option, while they may need to think about a replacement for Ndamukong Suh, given all the latest trade rumors.
11. Tennessee Titans
New head coach Ken Whisenhunt needs to decide if he wants to upgrade over Jake Locker at quarterback right now, or wait until next year’s class. The Titans can still add depth to their offensive line, while a transitioning 3-4 defense needs a true edge rusher. They also need another corner after Alterraun Verner bolted for Tampa Bay.
12. New York Giants
New York has a lot of talent, but they still have a lot of holes. Solid moves in free agency shored up their secondary, but letting defensive tackle Linval Joseph walk was a mistake. They could spend their first rounder on a stud interior defensive lineman, while tight end, wide receiver and offensive line depth all deserve hard looks throughout the draft.
13. St. Louis Rams
The Rams are in good shape this year, as they have three top-40 picks, with two in the first round. They need help at offensive tackle and safety, and hopefully will land two elite prospects with their first two selections. They also might take a swing at a talented wide receiver since this class is so deep, while they also could use more depth in the secondary.
14. Chicago Bears
Chicago is good to go on offense as long as Jay Cutler can stay healthy in 2014. This draft is all about getting back to being an elite defense for them. They already brought in some solid talent in free agency, but they’ll still want to target an impact defensive lineman, an inside linebacker and a stud safety. They’re fine for now, but could also use more depth at corner, too.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh has been rumored to be interested in landing Big Ben another weapon in the passing game, so it’s possible they start the draft that way. Either way, they’ll eventually add a wide receiver or tight end (maybe both). Their biggest need is probably cornerback, though, as Ike Taylor is nearing the end. They should also add depth to both lines.
16. Dallas Cowboys
Cue a crazy Jerry Jones draft. The Cowboys desperately need to focus all of their energy on the defensive side of the football, so I’m sure Jones will draft seven wide receivers. They did add Henry Melton inside their defensive line, but one more stud defensive tackle might be necessary. They also need a safety in the worst way, while grabbing some insurance behind often injured stud Sean Lee might be wise idea.
17. Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore lacked any potency in their passing game last year, so landing a wide receiver and/or tight end that can make them a little more create is in line. They also could even look at running back with Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce struggling last year. On defense, they still need one more inside linebacker and could use another safety. Arthur Jones is now a Colt, so someone for the defensive line will be needed, as well.
18. New York Jets
New York added Chris Johnson, Eric Decker and Michael Vick to open up their offense, but they could still use one more piece. A stud wide receiver or tight end in round one or two makes sense. They’ve otherwise got to make adjustments on defense, where they badly need an elite corner to fall to them in round one or two. They also could use depth at linebacker and safety.
19. Miami Dolphins
It’s all about the offensive line for the Fins early in this draft, with Zack Martin looking like their man due to his talent and versatility. They might consider bringing in a wide receiver thanks to Mike Wallace being a waste of space, while they might look to add corner and safety depth, as well.
20. Arizona Cardinals
This could be a good time for AZ to add a franchise passer, although it’s not completely crucial unless the right guy falls to them in the early rounds. Otherwise most of their work should be on defense, where they need to get younger up front on the defensive line. They’ll also look for a 3-4 pass rusher or two, while safety could use some depth, as well.
21. Green Bay Packers
Green Bay is mostly set on offense, but don’t be shocked if they grab a stud tight end early. It’d be nice if they focused on defense first and snatched up Colt Lyerla late as a value pick, however. Speaking of defense, they could really use impact talent on the defensive line, inside or outside linebacker, corner and safety. Calvin Pryor, C.J. Mosley and Louis Nix III are three names to watch in round one.
22. Philadelphia Eagles
Philly let DeSean Jackson go so they should be in the mix for a wide receiver early. Guys like Odell Beckham, Brandin Cooks or Kelvin Benjamin could help them kick off a successful draft. On defense it’s all about safety and the pass rush as they continue to improve on their new 3-4 scheme.
23. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are another dark horse that could consider nabbing a franchise passer in round one – especially given ongoing talks with Alex Smith aren’t going so swimmingly. They also need a wide receiver with Dwayne Bowe doing next to nothing the past two years. Tight end is also needed, while they could use depth at outside linebacker on the other side of the ball.
24. Cincinnati Bengals
As long as the Bengals don’t pull a ridiculous move like taking a quarterback to spurn The Red Rifle, they should be mostly focused on defense this year. They need to patch up their defensive line with Michael Johnson gone, while they also need an outside linebacker and safety. They could also use some depth at corner with their main options aging rapidly.
25. San Diego Chargers
San Diego has two glaring holes on defense – their cornerback talent and their muscle up front on the defensive line. If someone like nose tackle Louis Nix III falls to them, they will have to snatch him up. If he’s not around, though, they’ll probably look for corner help in someone like Bradley Roby or Jason Verrett. The Chargers may also want to add fresh legs at wide receiver at some point in the draft.
26. Indianapolis Colts
Indy is just the second other NFL team charged with getting better in 2014 without a first round pick. Their biggest needs come on the defensive side of the ball, where they could use a pass rushing linebacker, as well as help in the secondary at corner and safety. Reggie Wayne is aging and Hakeem Nicks is signed on a one-year deal, so wide receiver might be worth a look on offense, as well.
27. New Orleans Saints
New Orleans is aging on offense and needs to keep adding pieces to their still transitioning 3-4 defense. They could use an extra body at corner, while a pass rushing outside linebacker just might be their top defensive need. If Kony Ealy slides down to them at the 27th spot, he’s their pick. Otherwise they’ll take the top corner or switch it to offense to inject some talent and youth at the wide receiver position.
28. Carolina Panthers
Carolina needs a wide receiver in the worst way, but with stud tackle Jordan Gross retiring, they also could be in rough shape at offensive tackle. At this point it’s a toss-up, but they need to spend their 28th overall selection on one of those picks. They can’t finish the draft without landing an impact weapon for the passing game, though, while they also could use depth at linebacker and cornerback.
29. New England Patriots
Vince Wilfork is nearing the end, so if a stud defensive tackle slides this far, the Pats will have to snatch him up. They love versatile defenders in general, too, so they could add someone like Stephon Tuitt, who can do a lot of different things for them. A tight end might make sense after the debacle on offense, too. Jace Amaro and Austin Seferian-Jenkins are hot names to creep into the back end of the first round via the Pats.
30. San Francisco 49ers
The Niners are extremely well built, so they have very few pressing needs. However, they do have some injuries and off field issues with some guys, so they might go after a defensive end or linebacker to help with depth. Corner and wide receiver are their top needs, though, and that’s likely how they kick off the draft in round one.
31. Denver Broncos
Another well built team, the Broncos did an excellent job patching problem areas up during free agency. They still need depth at corner and defensive end, though, and really don’t have a long-term answer at inside linebacker. Some depth for the offensive line would be wise, too, while pending free agents Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker should prompt them to add a young wide receiver at some point.
32. Seattle Seahawks
Change the record. The defending Super Bowl champs are another extremely well built squad and they lost no one worth crying over in free agency. They’ll start the draft with luxury picks abound, while positions of need might be wide receiver, tight end and linebacker.
Tags: 2014 Nfl Draft 2014 Nfl Mock Draft Arizona Cardinals Atlanta Falcons Baltimore Ravens Buffalo Bills Carolina Panthers Chicago Bears Cincinnati Bengals Cleveland Browns Dallas Cowboys Denver Broncos Detroit Lions Green Bay Packers Houston Texans Jacksonville Jaguars Kansas City Chiefs Miami Dolphins Minnesota Vikings New England Patriots New Orleans Saints New York Giants New York Jets Oakland Raiders Philadelphia Eagles Pittsburgh Steelers San Diego Chargers San Francisco 49ers Seattle Seahawks St. Louis Rams Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tennessee Titans