1. Carolina Panthers
Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
The Panthers will have a solid offensive core with their offensive line, Steve Smith, Jonathan Stewart and Jimmy Clausen. They should focus on defense early in this draft with the offenses in the NFC South. Dareus is arguably the best defensive lineman coming out and would help create penetration for the solid group of linebackers and corner backs. Ndamukong Suh has paid off extremely well in the first five games for the Detroit Lions, Carolina will hope Dareus can have a similar impact.
2. Buffalo Bills
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
After the hit he put on against USC, I’m a fan for life. Buffalo needs a tough nosed kid like this to lead their team back to respectability. Ryan Fitzpatrick has done well for the Bills so far, but he is not their future. Luck and last year’s first round pick C.J. Spiller would be a fantastic building block.
3. St. Louis Rams
A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Although teams have been recently reluctant to draft a receiver early, the Rams are left with Danny Amendola, Laurent Robinson and Mardy Gilyard this season after Michael Clayton’s season ending knee injury Week 5. They’ll realize that although they could use a lot of help in the secondary, they can’t afford to pass on a talent like A.J. Green who will become Sam Bradford’s favorite target. Green is an excellent receiver who will help Amendola continue to rack up receptions in the slot. With Bradford, Steven Jackson and the addition of Green, the Rams offensive outlook looks far brighter.
4. Detroit Lions
Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
The Lions desperately need help in the secondary. Later in the draft they’ll look for a receiver to help open things for Calvin Johnson, but the offensive nucleus is already on point with Megatron, Matthew Stafford, Jahvid Best, and Brandon Pettigrew. The front seven is much improved this season with the addition of Suh. Only Louis Delmas can be considered a playmaker in the Detroit secondary. He’ll have some help in 2011.
5. Cleveland Browns
Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
Cleveland drafted Joe Haden last year and will continue to build a fantastic secondary to stop the great wide receivers in the AFC North. The Bengals and Jets can do a lot on defense because they have excellent corner backs and I look for Cleveland to try and do the same. Eric Wright has been all wrong for the Browns so far this season. I still believe Holmgren will give Colt McCoy a chance to start before drafting another quarterback. Although Cleveland needs offense, they are not that far off on defense and will address those needs earlier.
6. Seattle Seahawks:
Jake Locker, QB, Washington
‘Clipboard Jesus’ Charlie Whitehurst is not the future in Seattle. Matt Hasselbeck needs to step aside. Pete Carroll and the Seattle fan base will be leaping for joy when they land Jake Locker. One of the better quarterback prospects of the past few years, Locker will continue to breathe life into the Seattle offense. With Deon Butler, Mike Williams, John Carlson, and Marshawn Lynch already in place, Carroll will have a solid, young offense to work with.
7. Arizona Cardinals
Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
Although I don’t believe the Cardinals defense is as bad as most make it out to be, Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt seems intent to give quarterback Max Hall a chance. The offense has a nice core and the secondary has three playmakers in Adrian Wilson, Kerry Rhodes and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The Cardinals do, however, need better penetration in the trenches. Robert Quinn will provide a much better pass rush than the current defensive line is providing.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars
Ryan Mallet, QB, Arkansas
David Garrard has proven he is not the answer. I do not expect Jack Del Rio, if he is still with the team, to trust Trent Edwards to help him keep his job. Jacksonville needs to draft for the future. They have one of the best running backs in the league in Maurice Jones-Drew, but desperately need offensive line help. They’ll address the offensive line later in the draft as they cannot afford to pass on arguably the best quarterback in the draft.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
Somehow, the Bengals aren’t clicking. They have lost close games to opponents they should beat. They could very well be drafting higher than No. 8 in April. They have a great secondary and veteran offense. I do not expect them to go offense in the first round. They could use help at the defensive end position. Adrian Clayborn is next off my board and will be a great addition to this solid defense.
10. Washington Redskins
Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
Although I believe the Redskins line is poor, they are young, so I think Mike Shanahan will give them some time to gel. This team has a ton of needs. They need a running back, a future quarterback, defensive line help and another linebacker. With Santana Moss aging, Devin Thomas cut, Malcolm Kelly a failure, the team only has Anthony Armstrong and two tight ends as receiving options. Shanahan needs to start rebuilding his offense of the future, and it will start with Jonathan Baldwin.
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Anthony Costonzo, OT, Boston College
The Bucs could very well continue building their defensive line, but I think they should look at upgrading their offensive line. Josh Freeman could still use better protection and the offensive line is not generating running lanes for its running backs.
12. Denver Broncos
Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama
Kyle Orton has been excellent in Josh McDaniels’ system. They have somehow made it work with what seemed to be a limited offensive roster. The team needs defensive help although Elvis Dumervil will return next season. The defense needs to get younger and more athletic, Hightower will provide them that luxury.
13. Philadelphia Eagles
Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
The offense is set but the offensive line needs help. Still, I’d be far more concerned about the defense, mainly the secondary. With Dallas and New York in the same division, there are a lot of scary receivers that need to be covered. Asante Samuel is getting up there and Ellis Hobbs is not my definition of a second corner. The Eagles used to have a fantastic duo and will be well on their way to getting back to that.
14. Miami Dolphins
Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
I could very well see both Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown playing for other teams in 2011. Williams has not been productive to start the season and Brown has a lengthy shopping list of injuries. Ingram will make a solid transition for the Dolphins who will be awarded with a workhorse running back.
15. San Diego Chargers
Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
After the Chargers let go of Vincent Jackson, they may be forced to pull the trigger on Jones. The Chargers have gone younger on offense but are led by veterans Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates. Malcolm Floyd is not the definition of a No. 1 receiver and Legedu Naanee has been ineffective since the opener against Kansas City. Jones will be a big compliment to Gates and Rivers’ strong arm.
16. Kansas City Chiefs
Malcolm Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
Although teams have let receivers slip in the draft, I’m high on this year’s core crop of receivers. Dwayne Bowe has been a major disappointment for the Chiefs in my eyes. Todd Haley is an offensive guy. The defense has been stout this year, although they need help at the linebacker position. Still, Matt Cassell needs another target to make this an explosive offense. With Bowe and Floyd on the outside, McCluster in the slot and Jamaal Charles at running back, this offense would finally be ready to put up points.
17. Chicago Bears
Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU
Not much else to say except that the Chicago Bears’ offensive line has been atrocious for over a year. Look no further than Week 4 against the New York Giants.
18. San Francisco 49ers
Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
San Francisco desperately needs a change at quarterback as the Alex Smith experiment has failed miserably. Should’ve drafted Aaron Rodgers. Mike Singeltary will continue to build his defense. The 49ers have a solid secondary and a very good linebacking corps. Their major concern is on the defensive line where they can go either end or tackle. I’ll go end here.
19. Houston Texans
DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson
The Houston Texans secondary is abysmal. They desperately need help at corner and safety. Realistically, Houston could probably pick out of a hat of the top defensive backs and he would be an instant upgrade.
20. Tennessee Titans
Bruce Carter, LB, North Carolina
The Titans defense is a solid group overall, but they need help at linebacker. Carter will be able to step in immediately behind a very good and underrated offensive line.
21. Dallas Cowboys
Allen Bailey, DE, Miami (FL)
The Dallas offense is clearly set for a long time. They must continue to build their defense if they hope to ever win a Super Bowl again. The Cowboys could use help as safety, but Allen Bailey will provide a lot of help to DeMarcus Ware on the pass rush.
22. New England Patriots (from Oakland Raiders)
Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio St.
As long as the Patriots have Tom Brady, they will be just fine on offense. Belichick needs to continue to find defensive playmakers as the team has gone younger over the past two seasons. The team has a fantastic young core already. The Patriots could use help on the defensive line more than anything else. With two picks in the first round, they will stock up.
23. Minnesota Vikings
Janoris Jenkins, CB, Florida
The Vikings will clearly need to find a quarterback for the future. Unless, of course, Brett Favre was lying as usual and comes back for another season. With the top quarterbacks off the board already, Minnesota will be forced to wait to find their new signal caller. With Cedric Griffin tearing his ACL again, the Vikings will be looking to add a corner to their great defense.
24. New England Patriots
Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon St.
As stated, the Patriots will continue to build their defense. The Patriots suffered injuries at the defensive tackle position early in the season. They need to penetrate up front to truly exceed on defense, so they need to bolster the tackle position.
25. New Orleans Saints
Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA
The Saints could use help at corner and safety, but they could very well upgrade their line backing corps. The Saints need to get younger and corner. Ayers would work well with veteran Jonathan Vilma.
26. Indianapolis Colts
Rodney Hudson, OG, Florida St.
The Kansas City Chiefs frustrated Peyton Manning all day Week 5. The offensive line needs to get younger finally. While the Colts could look at line backer, they may be forced to address offensive line needs.
27. Green Bay Packers
Mark Barron, S, Alabama
The Packers secondary has been continuously hit by injuries over the past two seasons. The Packers need help at the safety position. Barron will immediately come in and start for Green Bay. This would be a perfect situation for Barron with the veteran presence around him.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers
Marcus Cannon, OG, TCU
The Steelers have needed offensive line help for about two years now. With a young offensive nucleus intact, they should finally address their glaring need.
29. Atlanta Falcons
Aldon Smith, LB, Missouri
The Falcons could use another receiver opposite superstar Roddy White. They could also use help on the defensive line. However, the line backer position needs more help than any. Smith will be an excellent addition working behind John Abraham to rush the passer. The two of them could be quite the force.
30. Baltimore Ravens
Ras-I Dowling, DB, Virginia
The Ravens need a lot of help in the secondary. Their front seven is fantastic but aging. Ed Reed is constantly banged up and has considered retirement in the past. It’s time to look at the future, and that future is Ras-I Dowling.
31. New York Giants
Gabe Camri, OT, Wisconsin
The Giants offensive line has been lackluster for over a year now. They are not providing the same protection for Eli Manning or generating the running lanes for the running backs that we saw during the Super Bowl run. Their drop off in production was a major reason the team missed the playoffs in 2009.
32. New York Jets
Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
For the second year, defensive tackle Kris Jenkins was sidelined with an injury. The Jets defense is already incredible, but with a massive force up front at the tackle position, they can do even more with their defensive schemes.
Based on standings as of Week 6 and future predictions
About the Author
Written by Brandon Galvin