My opinion on needs: we obviously need help at DT but I agree this doesn't have to happen from the draft. Edwards may or may not return next year and help. I wouldn't wanna leave all our eggs in that basket, though. If we can't get a good FA, I'd hope we address DT earlyish, preferably in the first two rounds.
We NEED a 2nd CB. It could be Hogan or Butler, Butler's looked solid but I dunno about as a full time starter yet. I've read on the Huddle that "the FO is high on Hogan". Where is this coming from? Of course Rivera and co. are going to talk him up in interviews and stuff, they're not going to blast him before he's even gotten a chance to play. All I know for sure is that if Captain continues to start, we're going to continue to get burnt on long passes, and give up stupid PI's and that's going to severely hurt our defense.
We need another starting caliber OLB. As much as I love TD, there's NO WAY we can count on him coming back and playing 16 games. LB is much easier to address in the middle rounds though. If we can get great value on a super stud in the 1st round somewhere then ok. Von Miller has come in and played pretty well as a 4-3 OLB, despite not being in the ideal system for his talents, I'd take a player of his potential in the top 10, but I don't see any Von Millers in this draft. Not really even close. Otherwise, very good starting LBs can be gotten in the 2nd round and later.
WR and OT aren't glaring needs, but they are needs nonetheless. Next on my list of needs after DT, CB, LB. And the talent in this draft looks like WR and OT will be MUCH MUCH MUCH better value at the top of the 1st round than of the previous 3 positions (outside of possibly Claiborne). We need an eventual #1 receiver. Gettis showed flashes last year, but just like with Edwards and Hogan/Butler, that's not a basket I want to put all my eggs in. Gettis and Lafell splitting #3 reps, and both on the field for 4 WR sets, would be an ideal situation. We have no decent receivers active right now other than Smitty and Lafell. And at OT, we really can no longer assume Otah is going to make a full recovery. It's the same situation as with TD, and I'll be GD if Byron Bell should be starting in the NFL. Gross looks to be regressing anyways, if we can snag Kalil and move Gross back to RT next or the following year and have him and Otah splitting reps (to cater to Gross's advancing age and Otah's fragile back/knee/heart) I think that would be ideal. If we get Reiff or Martin, we can let them split with Otah to start and evaluate the assignments later.
After that, the next tier of needs would probably be a Safety (Martin is regressing from his promising rookie year), a kicker and maybe a punter too. Maybe spend a late round pick on a top kicker and look for an UDFA or FA punter.
If we're picking top 5 (most likely) I'd prefer, in this order: Kalil, Blackmon, Claiborne. I'd be ok with any of the picks. We don't need a DE, Hardy is most certainly a solid starter in the NFL. He's not an all-pro yet, but he's hardly a liability. And I think Coples is getting overhyped a bit. He definitely has potential, but even if we did decide to ignore all the good players we could pick in spots of need for a luxury pick, he wouldn't just waltz in and be an instant starter over Hardy. And Brown in the top 5? Ludicrous. A non-pass rusher LB that high is an extreme reach and Brown isn't even a consensus top half of the 1st round pick anyway. Most of what I've seen says mid to late 1st round at earliest. We might as well be talking about Trent Richardson with our pick if we're ignoring positional value and area of strength vs area of weakness.
If we can parlay our high pick into a 10-15 pick and grab an extra 2 and 3 or maybe a 1st next year (or even maybe Cleveland's two 1st round picks if they win a couple more and decide they aren't satisfied with McCoy and want a Barkely or Jones or Griffin3), that'd be great. In that range I could see us taking Devon Still (I think he compares well to Fairley without the negatives, as far as I know), Reily Reiff or Jonathan Martin, or I'd be less opposed to a LB in this range (Brown, or Burfict if he projects well at OLB too). I'm a little hesitant about Kirkpatrick, but if Rivera likes him I'd be ok with the pick here. I'd be even more hesitant about Jenkins (druggie, not even quite dominating his lesser competition right now) or Dennard (a little undersized) even though some people are talking about them in this range.
If we could trade down like the Browns did last year and get into the bottom 1/3 of the 1st, then I'd be pleased with picking an OLB like Brown or Burfict or an ILB like Teo or Keuchley (if they look up to it) converted to OLB (much better value here, will probably be available) or a riskier WR like Jeffrey or Floyd (still doubtful about him though). One of the mammoth DTs like Poe or Ta'amu could be good picks here if they perform well at the combine.
In the 2nd, assuming we only have our top 5 pick, if we go OT or WR (like I'd hope if we're picking with our top 5 and don't trade down), BPA from this list (or comparable if new names crop up by then): Brown, Jenkins, Brandon Thompson, Chase Minnifield, Poe, Ta'amu, Cliff Harris, Stephon Gilmore. If we take Claiborne with our top 5 pick, I'd like to see either an O-lineman (an OT that slipped, or one of the Guards that are looking special like Cordy Glenn or David DeCastro) or a WR like Dwight Jones or Floyd if he drops because of his alcohol problem. No more little WRs like Edwards or Pilares though.
If we pick up extra 2nds and/or 3rds look at more LBs, CBs, Safeties or DTs like Poe or Thompson that might fall. Good value at those positions in that range.
Edited by JawnyBlaze, 06 December 2011 - 01:56 AM.