Ok, now this is really the last installment in my “Pre-Draft” series. Last time, we took some notes on the first 16 teams, and figured out what their key needs are. I was planning on releasing just one piece with all 32 teams, but the last half got deleted, so I decided to divide it into two parts. Let me stop talking now so we can get started. And note, the number in parentheses is the first-round draft choice of each team.
1. Miami Dolphins (8)
The Miami Dolphins started the season with an 0-7 record, but then finished the year with a 6-10 record. This offseason, the Dolphins were linked to Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn, and Alex Smith. They didn’t get any of them. I’m guessing Jeff Ireland’s charm didn’t do the trick. It seems like Miami’s number one need is a quarterback. They need someone for the long term, because Matt Moore can’t be the answer, although he did play well at times in 2011.
Also look for the Dolphins to add a wide receiver after letting Brandon Marshall go. Offensive line is another key need, especially if they draft a new franchise quarterback.
2. Minnesota Vikings (3)
The Vikings are currently caught up in their stadium situation, so it might be hard for the executives to focus on the draft. But they have to. The safest pick might just be Matt Kalil, and the Vikings should definitely draft him. They need to shore up the offensive line if they want to see Christian Ponder improve.
Minnesota also needs some more help in the secondary, specifically at the safety position. Look for the Vikings to take a safety early on. Don’t rule out the possibility of drafting a running back, either. Adrian Peterson is coming off of major knee surgery.
3. New England Patriots (27,31)
First off, don’t ask me why the Patriots decided to keep Chad Ochocinco (Soon to be Johnson, again). Even with the restructured deal, it’s a waste of money. If I were to point out the biggest need for the Patriots, it’s probably on the defensive line. The Pats need to draft a solid pass-rusher, who can get after the quarterback.
They addressed wide receiver with the addition of Brandon Lloyd, but there’s still a relatively big hole at safety for New England. If they are wise, they will draft a safety early on.
4. New Orleans Saints (Uh, yeah, no first-round pick in 2012)
Obviously the Saints have had a tumultuous offseason, but have somehow managed to attract some free agents. Part of the harsh punishment was the forfeiting of draft picks, so New Orleans might not be able to do much in this year’s draft. I’d say the biggest need might just be at safety, where Roman Harper constantly gets beat up.
New Orleans could also use some depth on the defensive line, so look for them to address this through the draft. All in all, the Saints haven’t had a bad offseason given the punishment handed down from Roger Goodell.
5. New York Giants (32)
You might remember these guys. They, uh, won that Super Bowl thingy in 2012. The biggest hole for the Super Bowl champs is at left guard, where David Diehl and Kevin Boothe didn’t get the job done. I’d advocate using the 32nd overall pick on the guard position.
Surprisingly enough, the G-Men also need a running back. Ahmad Bradshaw has become prone to injury, and Brandon Jacobs is no longer with the team. It would be intelligent to draft a solid running back somewhere in the first three rounds.
6. New York Jets (16)
No Super Bowl? What happened, Rex? The Jets should follow the example of the guys right above them, instead of clowning around in the locker room. I say the Jets need a wide receiver to help out
Mark Sanchez Tim Tebow, and that should be a top priority in the draft. The Jets also desperately need a right tackle. I mean, Wayne Hunter was just awful. I don’t claim to be an expert, but surrendering 11 sacks?
The Jets might also look for a tight end to help out Dustin Keller, and free him up for more routes.
7. Oakland Raiders (Do not have a first-round pick in 2012)
The Oakland Raiders actually finished at 8-8 in 2011. However, they need to improve on defense, especially at the nose tackle position. Remember, Oakland will be transitioning to a 3-4 defense. Oakland also needs to draft some linebackers early on. If you recall, the Raiders released Kamerion Wimbley and they are thin at linebacker.
Oakland needs a tight end as well. The Kevin Boss experiment was short lived.
8. Philadelphia Eagles (15)
Uh, I don’t think the “Dream Team” is supposed to be drafting 15th overall. Oh now wait, that’s correct. Philadelphia’s linebackers were crushed, so they need to add some depth at the linebacker position. The Eagles have been linked to Luke Kuechly, but he won’t fall that far.
The secondary is thin as well. Look for the Eagles to add a safety. Also note that Asante Samuel was just traded to the Atlanta Falcons for a 7th-round pick. Seriously, that’s all the Eagles got for him.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (24)
I must say I’m rather surprised that Mike Wallace is returning to the Steelers. I thought some team would attempt to sign him, but there was literally nothin’ doin’. Besides center, the whole offensive line is in disarray. The Steelers must add a left tackle and a left guard to protect Ben Roethlisberger.
Rashard Mendenhall tore his ACL in week 17, so Pittsburgh needs some insurance at running back. Nose tackle, cornerback, and linebacker are other needs. I must say right now, I don’t see Pittsburgh fairing too well in 2012 with the roster they have.
10. San Diego Chargers (18)
Yes, I can see the Chargers returning to the playoffs in 2012 after they finally fired Norv Turner. Oh wait, I forgot they decided to keep Norv for reasons no human being can understand. Turner will be back…The Chargers aren’t deep at the cornerback position. Quentin Jammer is aging and there simply isn’t much depth.
I’m not buying into Ryan Mathews. San Diego could draft someone like LaMichael James. In fact, San Diego needs to draft someone like James because the running game just hasn’t been the same.
11. Seattle Seahawks (12)
First of all, I have to applaud Seattle for signing Matt Flynn. Not because it was a good signing because I’m not too sure about that, but because it probably aggravated Jeff Ireland. The Seahawks look promising, really promising. I don’t really see any huge holes.
But, I think Seattle needs to add a defensive end to improve the pass rush. Maybe some offensive line depth wouldn’t hurt either. Overall, I can see Seattle improving in 2012. Of course, we’ll have to see if Matt Flynn is the real deal.
12. St. Louis Rams (6)
Sam Bradford will probably be the starter to open 2012. The St. Louis Rams have needs. Many needs. Arguably the biggest need is left tackle, or just the offensive line in general. Sam Bradford got hurt in 2011, and he and his contract are just screaming for protection.
St. Louis has been very active in free agency this offseason. Safety is also a must for the Rams. Darian Stewart did not cut it, and I know the 2012 safety class isn’t very deep, but there has to be someone that can play better than Stewart.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5)
Well, Tampa Bay didn’t really finish out the season strong. Actually, they didn’t even finish games at all. The Bucs lost ten straight to end the 2011 season. Tampa Bay has holes at cornerback. Aqib Talib’s status is still unclear, and Ronde Barber is old, really old.
Moreover, LeGarrette Blount needs help. He hasn’t been a third-down back yet, and can’t block. Linebacker is another position of need. Mason Foster might be able to move to the outside, his natural position, if the Bucs draft a MLB.
14. Tennessee Titans (20)
The Tennessee Titans are still looking for a center. They have been linked to Jeff Faine, and I reported that the Titans would probably sign him. That hasn’t happened yet, so they are still looking. The draft might be the answer. Interior line help is a must, but this comes after the Titans sign a center.
Cornerback depth might also help. Cortland Finnegan is gone. Maybe some linebacker depth should be considered as well.
15. Washington Redskins (2)
The Washington Redskins all but have Robert Griffin locked up. Unless Indianapolis is screwing with us, they will take Andrew Luck. I mean, Ryan Grigson straight up told us they are taking Luck. No, it’s not a smokescreen. If you think it is, please see a doctor.
Other than quarterback, Washington needs some interior line help to protect Griffin, and just because they really do need it. A nose tackle should also be drafted fairly early on.
16. San Francisco 49ers (30)
I saved San Francisco for last because I was really impressed with them in 2011. That was a great run. So if you were following the alphabetical order, I’m sorry. No really, I actually forgot to put them in between San Diego and Seattle. I was really impressed with the defense and the 13-3 record.
I don’t really see priorities except on the offensive line. I think San Francisco should draft a right guard to bolster the line. Adding some defensive end depth would be wise, too.
Here’s the first part if you missed it: Pre-Draft: Final Notes On All 32 Teams Part 1
I’m finished. If you read all the way down to this point, I want to say you’re insane. No, thank you if you did. If you just scrolled to the bottom, that’s ok, too. Now, it’s time to sit back and watch the draft…have fun.
You can follow Max Luckan on Twitter @MaxLuckan