This is exactly what I'm talking about when I mention how the 'experts' grade drafts:
Top needs: DT, CB, DE, WR, OLB
Summary: Given all the health problems in their linebacking corps over the last couple years, and an inability to defend the run, Luke Kuechly at No. 9 was no surprise. That's where I had him projected, and I obviously love what he can do -- he's among my top 10 players in the draft, which is saying something for an inside linebacker. I'm pretty shocked they didn't get a single defensive tackle. That was a glaring weakness in 2011, not at all helped by injuries. Frank Alexander has some ability as a pass-rusher, and I can see Josh Norman developing into a starter. As much as I like Kuechly, they drop a little because they didn't hit the top need. Hopefully their young defensive tackles continue to develop.
Now, mind you HE is the one that sets the team 'needs'... We addressed the linebackers exceptionally... We addressed the receivers with an explosive threat... Added a DE that has the potential to contribute significantly... And we addressed the DB's with two value selections... That alone (again by Mel's own analysis) addresses 80% of the 'needs' defined... Yet the grade is a C for how well we drafted based on 'need'... To me, this is a head scratcher... While I am never a fan of drafting based on needs, I fully believe we had at the very least an above average draft in terms of how well we addressed the needs of the team... Also, Mel has labelled our 'top need' as DT... This is a subjective point of view, and short-sights the fact that we played two rookies (who played like you'd expect rookies to play) all season, and missed a complete year from a solid veteran DT... Taking the big picture into consideration (which I don't personally feel was adequately done in this analysis), is DT really the biggest need? I agree, of course, that it would have been nice to have added another body here, but are we really at a point where we should give up on the youngsters after 16 games? And no points for getting the veteran back? Wow... Tough crowd, Mel... Tough crowd...