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NFL Draft Team Needs

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NFL Draft Needs Vs. Wants Part II

By: Robert Ferringo - 2006 NFL DRAFT Update

Earlier we looked at the first 16 teams choosing in the first round of the NFL Draft on April 29-30. Here is a rundown on what the teams selecting in the second half of the round will be looking at:

(Teams are listed in order of selection, and include the club's 2005 record as well as their opponent's winning percentage.)

17. Minnesota Vikings (9-7, .484) - Cutler is going to be awfully tempting at this spot. However, I don't think quarterback is the way to go. They lost linebackers m Cowart and Raonall Smith, and OLB starter Keith Newman is still an unrestricted free agent. They appear to be overhauling their identity, and I think they would be wise to find a defensive playmaker like FSU's Ernie Sims. They have no depth in the secondary, and their interior offensive line is still highly questionable.

18. Dallas Cowboys (9-7, .523) - Despite the splash they made with the Terrell Owens signing, The Boys are still a long way from being a Super Bowl team. Their offensive line is in shambles, the secondary is leaky and their linebackers are still below average.

19. San Diego (9-7, .559) - The Philip Rivers Era begins for the Chargers, but the offensive line is showing some cracks and may have lost OL Roman Oben (foot surgery). A lineman would fill a need, but the Chargers were 28th in pass defense and have a critical desire for secondary help. They should benefit from a draft deep with corners.

20. Kansas City (10-6, .559) - This one is easy: they need someone who can hit and tackle. Their secondary is atrocious, and in that pass wacky division they need a lot of help back there. The wideouts are aging, but they've had horrible early selections (Slyvester Morris, Snoop Minnis) in the past. I say go defense with the first three picks and then try to get a burner in the fourth round.

21. New England (10-6, .508) - Well, well, well. Look what we have here. Over the past few springs the draft has been a luxury for the Pats. Now they're facing some serious needs. Their linebacking corps is suddenly depleted. Also, Corey Dillon is on the downside, so they have a need for a first-day running back.

22. Denver (13-3, .539) - After likely picking a wide receiver with their first No. 1, the Broncos are back on the clock. They could go a lot of different directions here but it's likely going to be either a tight end (Mercedes Lewis or Leonard Pope) or a running back.

23. Tampa Bay (11-5, .449) - On the surface it appears that the Bucs don't have any huge needs. But a deeper look unveils their severe lack of depth at several key spots. Their linebackers are aging, the offensive line is still incomplete even after resigning Kenyatta Walker. Also, the defensive end slot could be upgraded. A LB/DE tweener like Kamerion Wimbley could be a nice grab.

24. Cincinnati (11-5, .477) - Marvin Lewis needs to resist the urge to snag another weapon for Carson Palmer. Most mock drafts I've seen have them grabbing a tight end here. That would be a mistake, especially given the depth at that position. Get one in the second round. In the meantime, they need beef up front. Well, more beef to go with elderly Sam Adams.

25. New York Giants (11-5, .492) - When the Giants had to pull linebackers off of construction sites to suit up for the playoffs, I think their weakness was exposed. The offensive line performed admirably last season, but another first-day pick is likely. Also, a DT to pair with William Joseph would be nice.

26. Chicago Bears (11-5, .457) - Despite their putrid offense, the smart money has the Bears selecting a cornerback here. Since early last fall - I mentioned it in The Ferringo Report - I've really, really, really, really, really wanted Pope. The Bears do need a corner, an outside linebacker, another defensive tackle now that Tank Johnson is out, as well as a speedy receiver/kick returner.

27. Carolina Panthers (11-5, .457) - Depth is the buzzword for the Panthers. They need depth at all five O-line slots, as well as a fresh, fast weakside linebacker. They picked up RB Eric Shelton in the second round last season, but I'm not sure he's the answer for their running back woes. I say they go LB-DT-OG.

28. Jacksonville Jaguars (12-4, .465) - If he's still available, the Jags are all over Pope. The Georgia tight end, paired with versatile Matt Jones, would give Byron Leftwich a plethora of mismatches in the red zone. That would be a luxury pick, but a right guard or a strongside linebacker would fill some holes. Also, a young defensive lineman to eat up some minutes would be welcome.

29. New York Jets (4-12, .527) - With their second first rounder the Jets should address either their defensive or offensive line troubles. They've lost two Pro Bowlers - Kevin Mawae and John Abraham - in the last few months. Also, if Eric Mangini is going to switch to the 3-4 he'll need at least a pair of new linebackers.

30. Indianapolis Colts (14-2, .457) - There is a shortage of high-powered running backs in this year's crop. However, that bodes well for the Colts, who need to replace Edgerrin James. The Colts would be thrilled if DeAngelo Williams slides to them, but Laurence Maroney is a more likely candidate. After that, the Colts are just drafting for depth throughout the defense and across the offensive line.

31. Seattle Seahawks (13-3, .430) - Despite re-signing Shaun Alexander, the Seahawks have had an up-and-down offseason. Their receivers have injury and age concerns, and the offensive line will be shuffled after the loss of Steve Hutchinson. Defensively, I disagree with the consensus that they need secondary help. Instead, I think they can help their DB's by finding another outside pass rusher.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5, .492) - LenDale White's stock is plummeting. But he would be an absolute steal, and a perfect fit, to cap the first round for the defending champs. The Steelers also need defensive line depth, and a wide receiver. Also, next year their defense could lose a lot of its star power. Better start stacking up now.


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