Dallas Cowboys- 8-8
The Cowboys can never get their act together when it matters most. Whether it is poor offensive line play, injuries or just plain old bad luck, this team has lost its gusto. Luckily, they are putting together some nice young talent (Bryant, Lee, Carter, Claibourne) and can continue that streak in the draft. The focus of this draft should be best player available, with preferences going towards linebacker and safety.
1] Interior Offensive Lineman- Phil Costa, Mackenzie Bernardou and Nate Livings make up a mediocre interior offensive line for the Boys who had trouble establishing rhythm last year. With the amount of quality pass rush in the NFC East, drafting one if not two offensive linemen is a must if the cowboys want to have success. Given the talent later in the draft, I think the Cowboys can wait until the second round to grab an offensive linemen, especially with other needs more pressing.
Ideal Pick: 2(17): G Dallas Thomas- Tennessee
2] Safety- The Cowboys also need a safety. The boys released Gerald Sensenbaugh and are relying on Barry Church, who is coming off a torn ACL, to be the starter even though he has never started a full season before. The Cowboys need a dynamic safety who can make big plays but keep the back half of the field safe from big deep plays. The safety is the heart of new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffen’s Tampa 2, so it will probably be their first round pick as well.
Ideal Pick: 1(18): S Matt Elam- Florida
3] Running back- The Cowboys finally rid themselves of Felix Jones who was an inconsistent joke last year. Still, Murray can never safety healthy so adding a running back, not just for depth, but for significant playing time as a change up back has to be a priority addressed early in the draft.
Ideal Pick: 3(18): RB Montee Ball- Wisconsin
New York Giants- 9-7
The Giants are the most inconsistent team in the NFL. They can win a super bowl and not make the playoffs in two consecutive seasons. The Giants did get a lot done in free agency but still have plenty of needs in the draft. If they want to win a third super bowl in the Tom Coughlin era, these needs must be addressed this year.
1] Offensive Tackle- Will Beaty was resigned but the other side is the problem. David Diehl was miserable last year but, hopefully, it was just a bad year. I consider this the top need given Diehl’s play last year but I think they can address this need by adding some competition in the third round. Diehl just needs motivation or an eventual replacement, which is basically what the third round is for.
Ideal Pick: 3(19): OT Jordan Mills- Louisiana Tech
2] Linebacker- The Giants did some depth work here in free agency by signing Dan Connor and Keith Rivers but they still lack an explosive play maker. The Giants need a guy who can rush the passer and stop the run and that versatility was badly missed last year in one player. Plus, in the Giants defensive scheme, you can never have too many linebackers. One must be taken early this year.
Ideal Pick: 1(19): LB Alec Ogletree- Georgia
3] Cornerback- Corey Webster is old and overrated while Aaron Ross, who they just recently signed, was a free agent bust in Jacksonville. That leaves Terrell Thomas and Prince Amukamara as the projected starters next year. I like Amukamara but Thomas is mediocre and better as a slot corner anyway. Plus, as I have said before, you can never have too many cornerbacks.
Ideal Pick: 2(19): CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson- Connecticut
Chicago Bears- 10-6
If the Bears didn’t have bad luck, they would have no luck at all. A team that goes 10-6, and started 7-1, misses the playoffs. It is easy to blame Jay Cutler for their 3-5, as most of it was his fault. The Bears did a great job in free agency signing quality role players so the draft may end up being best player available. The team needs to fix their linebacker situation, both outside and inside.
1] Quarterback- For those of you gripping about how the Bears wont draft a QB in round one, don’t worry: it will never happen! The Bears are set on Jay Cutler, but they should really rethink that. The Bears have been a top ten defense the past 4 years, have brought in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte, and have improved their offensive line. It is hard compiling a list of the top needs for the Bears because of the amount of depth the team has. Jay Cutler is a head case and not worth it. The Bears need a competent, young thrower who can either push Cutler to reach his “potential” or step up and take the Bears to where they can go. And, Cutler is on his last year for his contract. It is time for him to put up or shut up.
Ideal Pick: 1(20): QB Geno Smith- West Virginia
2] Inside Linebacker- The Bears need a new inside linebacker to replace Brian Urlacher, who has been the staple of the franchise the past 13 years. The heart of the Bears is the linebacking core, so solidifying a new face of the franchise is a must. This is not their top need since the Bears signed D.J. Williams and James Anderson, but a long term fix is needed.
Ideal Pick; 2(20): ILB Kiko Alonso- Oregon
3] Defensive Tackle- The Bears franchised Henry Melton, but depth here is needed. The Bears are going to need to increase their pass rush especially if Cutler stays at Quarterback. They are going to need to be a better defense since their offense wont be able to do anything.
Ideal Pick: 4(20): DT Brandon Williams- Missouri Southern