JAY CUTLER IS SITTING PRETTY AS DRAFT DAY NEARS. BUT WHERE WILL HE AND HIS FELLOW BONUS BABIES FINALLY LAND? MEL KIPER JR. HANDS OUT HIS FIRST-ROUND FORECAST, WHILE SCOUTS INC. BREAKS DOWN EACH TEAM'S BIGGEST NEEDS
NFC | EAST
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 18
FREE SAFETY Though he fills hard, Keith Davis lacks ideal speed and gets caught out of position far too often. Dallas will zero in on a lockdown safety to push him for the starting job.
CORNERBACK Starters Terence Newman and Anthony Henry are talented but inconsistent, and nickelback Aaron Glenn is on the downslope of his career. A polished, instinctive corner would help stabilize the secondary.
NOSE TACKLE Dallas needs a situational runstuffer to spell the undersize Jason Ferguson. He can hold his ground at the point of attack but tends to wear down over the course of the game.
KIPER They addressed wide receiver and offensive line needs through free agency, so I expect them to go for secondary help and pick Jason Allen, who played safety and CB at Tennessee.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE COWBOYS SINCE 2000: 10 (STEPHEN PETERMAN, AL JOHNSON, JASON WITTEN, JULIUS JONES, MARCUS SPEARS, BRADIE JAMES, DEMARCUS WARE, ROY WILLIAMS, PATRICK CRAYTON [KICK RETURNER], TERENCE NEWMAN)
HALL OF FAME Maryland DT
Randy White, 1st Round, 1975
HALL OF SHAME Arizona St. DE
Shante Carver, 1st Round, 1994
NFC | EAST
NEW YORK GIANTS
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 25
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER Reggie Torbor doesn't make enough big plays from the weak side, while strongside LB Carlos Emmons is coming off a seasonending pec injury. More depth would be nice.
WIDE RECEIVER Plaxico Burress is a strong No. 1, but No. 2 Amani Toomer has lost a step, Jamaar Taylor drops too many passes and Tim Carter has disappointed. Expect the Giants to target an impact playmaker in the early rounds.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE The interior took a major hit when Kendrick Clancy unexpectedly signed with Arizona. The Giants now have to find a physical force to supplement flawed holdovers William Joseph and Fred Robbins.
KIPER Despite their signing five DBs, I think they'll go with a younger corner, Miami's Kelly Jennings. If not, they'll look at OLB, either Ohio State's Bobby Carpenter or Miami's fast-rising Rocky McIntosh.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE GIANTS SINCE 2000: 9 (WILLIAM JOSEPH, GIBRIL WILSON, DAVID DIEHL, CHRIS SNEE, JEREMY SHOCKEY, OSI UMENYIORA, NICK GREISEN, REGGIE TORBOR, COREY WEBSTER)
HALL OF FAME North Carolina LB
Lawrence Taylor, 1st Round, 1981
HALL OF SHAME Notre Dame TE
Derek Brown, 1st Round, 1992
NFC | EAST
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 14
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER Strong-side addition Shawn Barber doesn't solve all of the Eagles' problems here. For one, he's injury-prone. For two and three, Dhani Jones and Matt McCoy are uninspiring options on the weak side. An injection of young blood is the real cure.
OFFENSIVE LINE The Eagles will be looking at a huge hole if right tackle Tra Thomas' bum back doesn't improve, forcing G Shawn Andrews to shift over.
WIDE RECEIVER The Eagles are looking for a receiver with the size, burst and second gear to push the inconsistent Jabar Gaffney for the No. 2 job opposite Todd Pinkston.
KIPER They could take USC OT Winston Justice or Florida State LB Ernie Sims, if he's available. It could also be one of the top two WRs: Florida's Chad Jackson or Ohio State's Santonio Holmes.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE EAGLES SINCE 2000: 11 (TODD PINKSTON, SHAWN ANDREWS, TODD HERREMANS, L.J. SMITH, REGGIE BROWN, BRIAN WESTBROOK, MIKE PATTERSON, SHELDON BROWN, LITO SHEPPARD, MICHAEL LEWIS, BRUCE PERRY [KICK RETURNER])
HALL OF FAME Tennessee DE
Reggie White, 1st Round, 1984
HALL OF SHAME Boston College
DE Mike Mamula, 1st Round, 1995
NFC | EAST
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NONE
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER The LaVar Arrington era is over. And the Skins need a starter opposite Marcus Washington, preferably someone who allows new signee Andre Carter to play at defensive end, where he's much better suited.
OFFENSIVE GUARD Randy Thomas is swift and mean but also oft injured. Derrick Dockery is powerful but inconsistent. Depth? What depth? That's what the Redskins have to find.
CORNERBACK Carlos Rogers has one spot locked down. Now the Redskins need a cover corner to step in for departed nickelback Walt Harris and to eventually supplant 31-year-old Shawn Springs as a starter.
KIPER Their top need is at CB, so they might look at David Pittman of Northwestern St. or Cedric Griffin of Texas. A roll of the dice would be Devin Hester of Miami, who can play WR and CB and return kicks.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE REDSKINS SINCE 2000: 5 (CHRIS COOLEY, DERRICK DOCKERY, CHRIS SAMUELS, CARLOS ROGERS, SEAN TAYLOR)
HALL OF FAME Texas A&I CB
Darrell Green, 1st Round, 1983
HALL OF SHAME Michigan WR
Desmond Howard, 1st Round, 1992
NFC | NORTH
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 26
CORNERBACK Nathan Vasher is rock solid. But with Charles Tillman likely moving to safety and FA Dante Wesley merely a depth buy, the Bears need an impact cover corner to step into the other spot.
TIGHT END Vets Desmond Clark and John Gilmore simply don't make Dbs sweat enough. Or at all.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER Problem: Restricted free agent Hunter Hillenmeyer is a middling starting option. Bigger problem: His backups are even worse.
KIPER UCLA's Marcedes Lewis is exactly the kind of pass-catching TE the Bears need. But they could also consider a shutdown corner like Fresno State's Richard Marshall.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE BEARS SINCE 2000: 13 (TERRANCE METCALF, JUSTIN GAGE, REX GROSSMAN, TOMMIE HARRIS, IAN SCOTT, ALEX BROWN, LANCE BRIGGS, BRIAN URLACHER, CHARLES TILLMAN, NATHAN VASHER, MIKE BROWN, CHRIS HARRIS, BERNARD BERRIAN [KICK RETURNER])
HALL OF FAME Jackson St. RB
Walter Payton, 1st Round, 1975
HALL OF SHAME Texas T
Stan Thomas, 1st Round, 1991
NFC | NORTH
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 9
CORNERBACK Dre' Bly and Fernando Bryant form an adequate-at-best starting tandem-and that's when they're not injured. The Lions are hurting for depth, too. The draft is the all-purpose elixir.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER Even if Detroit doesn't shift Teddy Lehman inside, this is still a major need, as starter Boss Bailey and backup Alex Lewis are coming off season-ending injuries. Look for the Lions to add a polished OLB to help fill in.
INSIDE LINEBACKER Lehman would help here, but guess what? He's also coming off a seasonending injury, and there's no depth behind him. They need a backup option who can also help the weak cover teams.
KIPER If Texas CB/S Michael Huff is still around, the Lions won't hesitate to call his name; free safety is their top need. If not, don't be surprised if they draft the QB of their future, either Vandy's Jay Cutler or Texas' Vince Young.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE LIONS SINCE 2000: 12 (ROY WILLIAMS, JEFF BACKUS, DOMINIC RAIOLA, KELLY BUTLER, CHARLES ROGERS, KEVIN JONES, CORY REDDING, SHAUN ROGERS, JAMES DAVIS, TEDDY LEHMAN, BOSS BAILEY, KEITH SMITH)
HALL OF FAME Oklahoma St. RB
Barry Sanders, 1st Round, 1989
HALL OF SHAME Houston QB
Andre Ware, 1st Round, 1990
NFC | NORTH
GREEN BAY PACKERS
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 5
OFFENSIVE GUARD Adrian Klemm, Scott Wells and William Whitticker proved to be poor substitutes for departed FAs Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera. They'll look for a fierce blocker who will get the pile moving again.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER The Pack cut Na'il Diggs; Robert Thomas has been injured. There are no dependable options among the backups. Expect Green Bay to aim high for an elite OLB.
WIDE RECEIVER Javon Walker, coming off a season-ending knee injury, has made it clear he wants out if the Pack don't redo his contract. Nice. At 31, Donald Driver is bound to lose a step. Fresh legs will keep Brett Favre stoked.
KIPER For a team that needs two outside linebackers, Ohio State's A.J. Hawk is the obvious call. He's a Chris Spielman-type player who can come in and play right away.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE PACKERS SINCE 2000: 11 (CHAD CLIFTON, SCOTT WELLS, NICK COLLINS, MARK TAUSCHER, WILLIAM WHITTICKER, BUBBA FRANKS, JAVON WALKER, KABEER GBAJA-BIAMILA, AARON KAMPMAN, NICK BARNETT, AHMAD CARROLL)
HALL OF FAME Alabama QB
Bart Starr, 17th Round, 1956
HALL OF SHAME Michigan St. T
Tony Mandarich, 1st Round, 1989
NFC | NORTH
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 17
INSIDE LINEBACKER UFA Sam Cowart has lost a step, making him a poor fit for the Cover 2. Rather than sliding E.J. Henderson inside, they'd be better off drafting an ILB with range.
CORNERBACK Backup Brian Williams signed with Jacksonville, no small deal considering starter Fred Smoot missed five games last year. That's why the Vikes will target a corner with the cover skills to excel at nickelback who could also fill in for Smoot.
STRONG SAFETY The Vikes hope Dustin Fox, returning from a broken arm that cost him all of 2005, can replace Corey Chavous. Still, they'd be smart to draft an insurance policy.
KIPER Iowa LB Chad Greenway or Florida State LB Ernie Sims would take care of their most pressing need, at linebacker. The wild-card question: Are they willing to take a chance and move up for Cutler or Young?
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE VIKINGS SINCE 2000: 7 (BRYANT MCKINNIE, E.J. HENDERSON, MARCUS JOHNSON, WILLIE OFFORD, ERASMUS JAMES, KEVIN WILLIAMS, KENECHI UDEZE)
HALL OF FAME Notre Dame DT
Alan Page, 1st Round, 1967
HALL OF SHAME Penn St. RB
D.J. Dozier, 1st Round, 1987
NFC | SOUTH
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NONE
OFFENSIVE GUARD Sorry-Kynan Forney isn't strong enough and Matt Lehr isn't durable enough to cut it as quality starters. The Falcons will look for at least one replacement early on Day 1.
CORNERBACK DeAngelo Hall shuts down all comers. Problem is, Jason Webster and Kevin Mathis, while adequate, struggle to stay healthy. They could use consistent help keeping opponents' second options in check.
OFFENSIVE TACKLE Frank Omiyale doesn't have the lower-body strength to replace Kevin Shaffer; shoot, he didn't even play in a game last year. The Falcons likely will bring in some competition with one of their Day 1 picks.
KIPER I'd expect them to look for a CB or for help on the offensive line- maybe LT Marcus McNeill from Auburn, if he's available, OT Andrew Whitworth from LSU or OT Guy Whimper from East Carolina.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE FALCONS SINCE 2000: 12 (RODDY WHITE, FRANK OMIYALE, KYNAN FORNEY, DEANGELO HALL, ALGE CRUMPLER, MICHAEL JENKINS, MICHAEL VICK, JUSTIN GRIFFITH, MICHAEL BOLEY, CHAD LAVALAIS, DEMORRIO WILLIAMS, BRYAN SCOTT)
HALL OF FAME Texas LB
Tommy Nobis, 1st Round, 1966
HALL OF SHAME Auburn LB
Aundray Bruce, 1st Round, 1988
NFC | SOUTH
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 27
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER If he played with more consistency, Chris Draft might be able to fill one of the holes left by Will Witherspoon and Brandon Short. The Panthers will look to fill the other hole with an instant-impact rookie.
RUNNING BACK DeShaun Foster and Eric Shelton are coming off major injuries, and Nick Goings is not a premier option. Plenty of backs will be available in the middle rounds.
TIGHT END Kris Mangum, Mike Seidman and Michael Gaines get open underneath, but Carolina needs a guy who makes plays over the middle when defenses overcompensate for Steve Smith and Keyshawn Johnson.
KIPER The Panthers could take a move-the- chains runner like USC's LenDale White to hedge against the injury-prone DeShaun Foster. But they'd also be hard-pressed to pass on a TE like UCLA's Marcedes Lewis.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE PANTHERS SINCE 2000: 9 (DESHAUN FOSTER, CHRIS GAMBLE, THOMAS DAVIS, KEARY COLBERT, STEVE SMITH, JORDAN GROSS, TRAVELLE WHARTON, JULIUS PEPPERS, DAN MORGAN)
HALL OF FAME Utah WR
Steve Smith, 3rd Round, 2001
HALL OF SHAME Colorado WR
Rae Carruth, 1st Round, 1997
NFC | SOUTH
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 2
DEFENSIVE TACKLE The Saints desperately need to land an impact run-stuffer. Johnathan Sullivan is too inconsistent, while Brian Young and Willie Whitehead struggle to anchor. This is a Day 1 priority.
INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINE A quick-footed center would be a better option to replace departed starter LeCharles Bentley than Jamar Nesbit, whose versatility makes him valuable as a backup.
TIGHT END Drew Brees is used to Antonio Gates as a safety valve. Zach Hilton, who drops too many passes, won't fill that bill. Look for the Saints to go after a pass-catching TE to keep their new franchise QB happy.
KIPER Though this pick has a lot of trade value, all indications are that the Saints will keep it. That should lead them to one man: NC State DE Mario Williams. He's the best player on the board.
HALL OF FAME Pittsburgh LB
Rickey Jackson, 2nd Round, 1981
HALL OF SHAME Texas K Russell
Erxleben, 1st Round, 1979
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE SAINTS SINCE 2000: 9 (DONTE' STALLWORTH, MONTRAE HOLLAND, JAMMAL BROWN, MIKE KARNEY, DEUCE MCALLISTER, CHARLES GRANT, WILL SMITH, COLBY BOCKWOLDT, JOSH BULLOCKS)
NFC | SOUTH
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 23
WIDE RECEIVER Vet Joey Galloway caught everyone by surprise in 2005. Then again, so did Michael Clayton (in the wrong way). Even if the latter returns to form, the Bucs need to improve their depth.
OFFENSIVE TACKLE This team is so pressed to replace Kenyatta Walker and Todd Steussie that it would reach for a lessthan- elite tackle in the first round.
DEFENSIVE END Thirtysomething starters Greg Spires and Simeon Rice aren't getting any quicker, and backup Dewayne White just isn't an every-down guy. A high-upside prospect makes all kinds of sense.
KIPER They'll address needs at offensive line and cornerback by taking either Auburn OT Marcus McNeill (although this might be a little high for him) or Florida State corner Antonio Cromartie.
HALL OF FAME Oklahoma DE
Lee Roy Selmon, 1st Round, 1976
HALL OF SHAME Bethune-Cookman
DE Booker Reese, 2nd Round, 1982
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE BUCCANEERS SINCE 2000: 7 (CADILLAC WILLIAMS, MICHAEL CLAYTON, CHRIS SIMMS, KENYATTA WALKER, SEAN MAHAN, DAN BUENNING, JERMAINE PHILLIPS)
NFC | WEST
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 10
SAFETY To complement strong safety Adrian Wilson, who plays close to the line, the Cardinals will target someone who has expansive range in coverage.
TIGHT END Adam Bergen and Eric Edwards really shouldn't be every-down players. Arizona needs a third option who can hold his own as a blocker and is talented enough as a receiver to take advantage when defenses bite on play-action.
OFFENSIVE TACKLE The 31-year-old Oliver Ross appears to be on the downside of his career, so the Cardinals will go after a young tackle with the natural ability to push for immediate playing time.
KIPER Dennis Green got Daunte Culpepper at No.11 in 1999. Vince Young could be on the board here. If not, the Cards QB of the future will be Jay Cutler.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE CARDINALS SINCE 2000: 9 (ANQUAN BOLDIN, LEONARD DAVIS, NICK LECKEY, LARRY FITZGERALD, DARNELL DOCKETT, ANTONIO SMITH, KARLOS DANSBY, ANTREL ROLLE, ADRIAN WILSON)
HALL OF FAME Utah S Larry
Wilson, 7th Round, 1960
HALL OF SHAME Colorado State QB
Kelly Stouffer, 1st Round, 1987
NFC | WEST
ST. LOUIS RAMS
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 11
CORNERBACK The Rams could go for an impact CB early and load up late, as starters Travis Fisher and Jerametrius Butler can't stay on the field and Ronald Bartell has yet to earn the job.
WEAKSIDE LINEBACKER The Rams are looking for a big playmaker to take over for 33-year-old Dexter Coakley.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE After being bowled over by the run, the Rams wisely signed vet LaRoi Glover to line up opposite Jimmy Kennedy. Still, the draft should provide a badly needed infusion of youth.
KIPER The Rams like speed and will have a hard time passing on Maryland TE Vernon Davis if he's available. An OLB like Iowa's Chad Greenway or Florida State's Ernie Sims would make sense too.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE RAMS SINCE 2000: 9 (ALEX BARRON, STEVEN JACKSON, CLAUDE TERRELL, BRANDON MANUMALEUNA, MADISON HEDGECOCK, ANTHONY HARGROVE, PISA TINOISAMOA, DEJUAN GROCE, RONALD BARTELL)
HALL OF FAME Jackson St. OL
Jackie Slater, 3rd Round, 1976
HALL OF SHAME Nebraska RB
Lawrence Phillips, 1st Round, 1996
NFC | WEST
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 6
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER With the loss of Julian Peterson and Andre Carter, the Niners are looking for a new pair of outside LBs. Lucky for them, the draft is stocked.
CORNERBACK The 49ers will hunt for a savvy talent who can hold up on an island and push Shawntae Spencer for the No. 1 role.
DEFENSIVE END San Fran will target a DE who can spell solid starters Bryant Young and Marques Douglas (and eventually replace Young, who's going on 34).
KIPER They like Ohio State's A.J. Hawk; who doesn't if they need to reload on D? Hawk will be gone, so the 49ers will look at Vernon Davis and Texas CB Michael Huff, whose versatility reminds me of Ronnie Lott's.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE 49ERS SINCE 2000: 13 (ARNAZ BATTLE, ADAM SNYDER, JUSTIN SMILEY, ERIC HEITMANN, KWAME HARRIS, DAVID BAAS, ALEX SMITH, KEVAN BARLOW, DERRICK JOHNSON, SHAWNTAE SPENCER, ANTHONY ADAMS, RASHEED MARSHALL [PUNT RETURNER], ANDY LEE)
HALL OF FAME Notre Dame QB
Joe Montana, 3rd Round, 1979
HALL OF SHAME Virginia Tech QB
Jim Druckenmiller, 1st Round, 1997
NFC | WEST
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 31
FREE SAFETY Seattle hopes Ken Hamlin can return from a skull fracture, but that's far from a sure thing. With little depth behind him, the Seahawks need a free safety who can contribute immediately.
OFFENSIVE GUARD Pork Chop Womack, the new left guard, is decent but no Steve Hutchinson. His move into the starting lineup also weakens depth at tackle and guard. Another solid body is a must.
WIDE RECEIVER The undersize No. 1, Darrell Jackson, will always be dogged by durability concerns, and there's little depth behind him. The Seahawks could go top-shelf in Round 1; otherwise, they'll stockpile solid talents in later rounds.
KIPER Boston College DE Mathias Kiwanuka is more potential than product at this point, but he'd add muchneeded line depth. Seattle also needs WR help, so keep an eye on Western Michigan's Greg Jennings.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE SEAHAWKS SINCE 2000: 12 (FLOYD WOMACK, SEAN LOCKLEAR, JERRAMY STEVENS, DARRELL JACKSON, SHAUN ALEXANDER, ROCKY BERNARD, LOFA TATUPU, LEROY HILL, MARCUS TRUFANT, MICHAEL BOULWARE, KEN HAMLIN, JOSH BROWN)
HALL OF FAME Texas A&M DE
Jacob Green, 1st Round, 1980
HALL OF SHAME San Diego St. QB
Dan McGwire, 1st Round, 1991
AFC | EAST
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 8
OFFENSIVE TACKLE The 2002 No. 1 pick, Mike Williams, was cut in March. Jason Peters made progress last season on the right side. But Mike Gandy, who lacks lateral mobility, is a marginal starting LT. Tackle is a Day 1 priority.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE The Bills signed the 295- pound ex-Colt Larry Tripplett to handle one starting spot. But Sam Adams is gone, so this is a big need; only Houston gave up more rushing yards.
CORNERBACK Nate Clements was franchised, which means he could be gone next year. And Terrence McGee isn't strong enough to consistently stick with opponents.
KIPER The Bills badly need a left OT and a DT. They'd have to trade up for a shot at Virginia OT D'Brickashaw Ferguson. If they stay put, it'll be Oregon DT Haloti Ngata or Florida State DT Brodrick Bunkley.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE BILLS SINCE 2000: 10 (WILLIS MCGAHEE, DUKE PRESTON, COY WIRE, TERRENCE MCGEE, NATE CLEMENTS, CHRIS KELSAY, TIM ANDERSON, AARON SCHOBEL, LEE EVANS, ROSCOE PARRISH)
HALL OF FAME Virginia Tech DE
Bruce Smith, 1st Round, 1985
HALL OF SHAME Clemson WR
Perry Tuttle, 1st Round, 1982
AFC | EAST
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 16
INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINEMAN C Wade Smith and G's Jeno James and Rex Hadnot are serviceable, but the Fins have no depth here. They need immediate backup help from guys who potentially can be upgrades in a season or two.
WIDE RECEIVER Marty Booker turns 30 in July, and current No. 3 Wes Welker isn't big enough-or good enough-to push him. Daunte Culpepper wants more weapons on the outside, and Nick Saban will find them.
CORNERBACK Sam Madison is out and Will Allen is in. So are Andre' Goodman and Renaldo Hill. That's three good No. 3 corners. But no one who scares receivers. A shutdown starter would be nice.
KIPER Miami has holes at safety and on the offensive line, and Ohio State DB Donte Whitner is moving up the draft board. But if USC OT Winston Justice is available, he's got to be the call.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE DOLPHINS SINCE 2000: 7 (REX HADNOT, VERNON CAREY, RANDY MCMICHAEL, CHRIS CHAMBERS, RONNIE BROWN, CHANNING CROWDER, TRAVIS DANIELS)
HALL OF FAME Pittsburgh QB
Dan Marino, 1st Round, 1983
HALL OF SHAME Oklahoma LB
Jackie Shipp, 1st Round, 1984
AFC | EAST
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 21
LINEBACKER Rosevelt Colvin, 28, is the youngster among the starting LBs. Not good, especially when none of the backups has firstteam potential. Which is why Bill Belichick will grab an elite LB in the draft.
WIDE RECEIVER David Givens and Andre' Davis bolted, Troy Brown is still old and new addition Reche Caldwell underachieved in San Diego. Even Tom Brady needs to throw to someone.
CORNERBACK Asante Samuel and Ellis Hobbs can cover, but they're small and better at slot coverage. The Pats need a CB who can hold his own on an island, giving the front seven more freedom to blitz and stack the line.
KIPER Among Memphis' DeAngelo Williams, USC's LenDale White and Minnesota's Laurence Maroney, two may be available. But I think the Pats go with Ohio State WR Santonio Holmes
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE PATRIOTS SINCE 2000: 14 (DEION BRANCH, MATT LIGHT, LOGAN MANKINS, DAN KOPPEN, DANIEL GRAHAM, TOM BRADY, PATRICK PASS, TY WARREN, VINCE WILFORK, RICHARD SEYMOUR, ELLIS HOBBS, ASANTE SAMUEL, EUGENE WILSON, BETHEL JOHNSON [KICK RETURNER])
HALL OF FAME Michigan QB
Tom Brady, 6th Round, 2000
HALL OF SHAME Virginia Tech OL
Eugene Chung, 1st Round, 1992
AFC | EAST
NEW YORK JETS
FIRST-ROUND PICKS: NOS. 4, 29
RUNNING BACK Curtis Martin turns 33 in May and is coming off a knee injury. Cedric Houston has upside as a shortyardage runner and Derrick Blaylock is good on third downs, but neither is lead back material.
OFFENSIVE TACKLE The aging Jason Fabini was cut in March. And while Adrian Jones is a solid starter who's versatile enough to line up on either side, he can't cover two spots at once.
QUARTERBACK The Jets gave up a sixth-round pick for Patrick Ramsey, who will compete with brittle Chad Pennington. But truth be told, there's no indication that either is a long-term solution.
KIPER The Jets have plenty of holes on the offensive line. D'Brickashaw Ferguson would plug one of the biggest. Later in the first, how about Ohio State C Nick Mangold? He's a good anchor for a team that needs one.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE JETS SINCE 2000: 15 (LAVERANUES COLES, ADRIAN JONES, JONATHAN GOODWIN, CHAD PENNINGTON, SHAUN ELLIS, DEWAYNE ROBERTSON, JAMES REED, BRYAN THOMAS, JONATHAN VILMA, ERIK COLEMAN, VICTOR HOBSON, KERRY RHODES, MIKE NUGENT, JERRICHO COTCHERY [PUNT RETURNER], JUSTIN MILLER [KICK RETURNER])
HALL OF FAME Temple DT
Joe Klecko, 6th Round, 1977
HALL OF SHAME Penn St. RB
Blair Thomas, 1st Round, 1990
AFC | NORTH
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 13
SAFETY FA Will Demps bolted, and Chad Williams, who can play safety and dimeback, is unsigned. The Ravens are desperate to choose a starter on Day 1 and may spend a Day 2 pick on depth.
QUARTERBACK Kyle Boller perked up late last season, but he needs to prove he's for real against topflight competition. Right now his backup is Brian St. Pierre.
OFFENSIVE TACKLE Orlando Brown was a cap casualty and a pass-protection liability. He may re-sign, but if not, Tony Pashos (struggles against quality pass-rushers) and Adam Terry (still undeveloped) aren't great alternatives.
KIPER They need a safety and a right tackle, but not as much as they need a DT. That brings them to Oregon's Haloti Ngata or Florida State's Brodrick Bunkley-at least one of them should still be on the board.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE RAVENS SINCE 2000: 11 (MARK CLAYTON, TONY PASHOS, TODD HEAP, KYLE BOLLER, OVIE MUGHELLI, JAMAL LEWIS, JARRET JOHNSON, TERRELL SUGGS, CHAD WILLIAMS, ADALIUS THOMAS, ED REED)
HALL OF FAME UCLA T Jonathan
Ogden, 1st Round, 1996
HALL OF SHAME Oregon R
Patrick Johnson, 2nd Round, 1998
AFC | NORTH
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 24
DEFENSIVE TACKLE John Thornton has a nonstop motor, but at 297 pounds, he lacks ideal bulk. Bryan Robinson is stouter but wears down easily. To improve their shaky run D, the Bengals need someone to clog the middle and draw double-teams.
TIGHT END Reggie Kelly can block, but Cincy needs a pass-catcher to take attention off the receivers.
DEFENSIVE END Robert Geathers doesn't scare anyone at right defensive end. Problem is, without help, neither does Justin Smith on the other side. Cincy needs an end with the burst to make an immediate impact.
KIPER The Bengals can afford to wait until the second round to grab a pass-catching TE, given the tremendous depth at the position this year. That brings them to Virginia Tech CB Jimmy Williams.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE BENGALS SINCE 2000: 13 (RUDI JOHNSON, JEREMI JOHNSON, T.J. HOUSHMANDZADEH, CHAD JOHNSON, CARSON PALMER, ERIC STEINBACH, LEVI JONES, JUSTIN SMITH, ROBERT GEATHERS, DAVID POLLACK, ODELL THURMAN, TAB PERRY [KICK RETURNER], KEIWAN RATLIFF [PUNT RETURNER])
HALL OF FAME USC T Anthony
Munoz, 1st Round, 1980
HALL OF SHAME Oregon QB
Akili Smith, 1st Round, 1999
AFC | NORTH
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 12
DEFENSIVE END Orpheus Roye lacks jump off the ball but plays with good technique and discipline. Alvin McKinley upped his sack total last year but wears down. Simply put, the Browns need an impact player and more depth at this position.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER Willie McGinest brings a champ's cred but an old man's body. His opposite, Matt Stewart, doesn't get to the quarterback enough. With Chaun Thompson moving inside, the linebacking corps is thin.
CORNERBACK The starting tandem of Daylon McCutcheon and Gary Baxter is as good as any in the league. But unless Cleveland drafts some depth, the two can never take a play off.
KIPER They've signed Ted Washington and Willie McGinest but still have to address their front seven. Florida State DE Kamerion Wimbley could be used like Terrell Suggs in Baltimore.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE BROWNS SINCE 2000: 8 (CHARLIE FRYE, DENNIS NORTHCUTT, JEFF FAINE, KELLEN WINSLOW, ANDRA DAVIS, SEAN JONES, BEN TAYLOR, WILLIAM GREEN [KICK RETURNER])
HALL OF FAME Syracuse RB
Jim Brown, 1st Round, 1957
HALL OF SHAME Purdue QB
Mike Phipps, 1st Round, 1970
AFC | NORTH
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 32
WIDE RECEIVER The Steelers lost Antwaan Randle El, and current No. 2 Cedrick Wilson lacks explosiveness. The champs want an Antwaan clone who works the slot and returns punts.
FREE SAFETY When the Steelers lost Hope (as in Chris), this became a glaring need. Using a Day 1 pick on a potential starter isn't enough; they should spend a late-round pick on a safety, too.
DEFENSIVE END How do you replace 35-year-old Kimo von Oelhoffen? Youngsters Rodney Bailey, 26, and Brett Keisel, 27, are a start. But Pittsburgh should use a first-day pick on a DE/DT who occupies multiple blockers and collapses the pocket.
KIPER To make up for the loss of Randle El, they'll look hard at Miami's Sinorice Moss. (It helps that he can return punts.) But if he's not on the board, they might stray for the best available RB or OLB.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE STEELERS SINCE 2000: 11 (BEN ROETHLISBERGER, MAX STARKS, KENDALL SIMMONS, MARVEL SMITH, CASEY HAMPTON, CLARK HAGGANS, LARRY FOOTE, IKE TAYLOR, TROY POLAMALU, HEATH MILLER, RICARDO COLCLOUGH [KICK RETURNER])
HALL OF FAME Alabama A&M WR
John Stallworth, 4th Round, 1974
HALL OF SHAME Georgia RB
Tim Worley, 1st Round, 1989
AFC | SOUTH
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 1
OFFENSIVE GUARD Poor David Carr. His best guard, Chester Pitts, is playing tackle. One starter, Fred Weary, is adequate, and the other, Zach Weigert, is on the downside of his career. One option: draft a new tackle and move Pitts inside.
MIDDLE LINEBACKER Houston has a lot of MLBs, none good. DaShon Polk lacks bulk, Morlon Greenwood isn't physical and Kailee Wong is coming off a knee injury. The team needs to draft some competition.
WIDE RECEIVER Andre Johnson can be the best receiver in the league. And he may prove he is with the newly acquired Eric Moulds on the other side. But a No. 3 would be nice too.
KIPER The obvious call is USC's Reggie Bush. But the Texans could also trade down for D'Brickashaw Ferguson. The trick is, they can't trade down too far because he won't be on the board long.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE TEXANS SINCE 2002: 13 (ANDRE JOHNSON, CHESTER PITTS, FRED WEARY, TRAVIS JOHNSON, DAVID CARR, DOMANICK DAVIS, ANDRE JOHNSON, ANTWAAN PEEK, DUNTA ROBINSON, DEMARCUS FAGGINS, GLENN EARL, C.C. BROWN, JEROME MATHIS [RETURNER])
HALL OF FAME LSU RB
Domanick Davis, 4th Round, 2003
HALL OF SHAME Florida WR
Jabar Gaffney, 2nd Round, 2002
AFC | SOUTH
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 30
RUNNING BACK Funny, whenever you hear Colts suits talk about replacing Edgerrin, they always say, "We'll find someone." Assume that someone isn't Dominic Rhodes.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER Cato June has one spot locked down; the other is up for grabs. Kind of like that running back position.
OFFENSIVE GUARD Jake Scott developed into an adequate starter, but adequate isn't good enough when Peyton is in the pocket. This position needs to be upgraded to avoid fiascoes like the Pittsburgh playoff loss.
KIPER With the top RBs likely gone, expect Indy to find a cover safety. It could draft South Carolina's Ko Simpson or Ohio State's Donte Whitner, or move Marlin Jackson to safety and take a corner.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE COLTS SINCE 2000: 9 (REGGIE WAYNE, JAKE SCOTT, RYAN DIEM, DWIGHT FREENEY, CATO JUNE, JASON DAVID, MIKE DOSS, DALLAS CLARK, BOB SANDERS)
HALL OF FAME Tennessee QB
Peyton Manning, 1st Round, 1998
HALL OF SHAME Illinois QB
Jeff George, 1st Round, 1990
AFC | SOUTH
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 28
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER Daryl Smith is a solid weakside LB. The depth chart lists Pat Thomas (who?) on the strong side-and that's it. The Jags could spend their first three picks on 'backers
TIGHT END And their next pick on a tight end to help out Byron Leftwich. Three-year vet George Wrighster hasn't developed. To keep teams from stacking the line, a TE who can stretch the field is a must.
DEFENSIVE END Paul Spicer turns 31 before the season, and Marcellus Wiley is nothing more than an adequate situational pass-rusher. A Day 1 pick at this spot will improve depth and give the Jags a chance to groom Spicer's replacement.
KIPER The Jags can go one of two ways with this pick: rangy UTEP OLB Thomas Howard (though he's probably a first-round reach) or USC guard Taitusi "Deuce" Lutui, who's fierce, explosive and, best of all, massive.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE JAGUARS SINCE 2000: 13 (KHALIF BARNES, VINCE MANUWAI, MAURICE WILLIAMS, ERNEST WILFORD, BYRON LEFTWICH, GREG JONES, MARCUS STROUD, JOHN HENDERSON, DARYL SMITH, RASHEAN MATHIS, JOSH SCOBEE, LABRANDON TOEFIELD [KICK RETURNER], ALVIN PEARMAN [PUNT RETURNER])
HALL OF FAME Florida RB
Fred Taylor, 1st Round, 1998
HALL OF SHAME USC WR
R. Jay Soward, 1st Round, 2000
AFC | SOUTH
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 3
OFFENSIVE TACKLE With Brad Hopkins a cap casualty, Michael Roos will move from right to left. But the other tackles, Jacob Bell and Daniel Loper, may never be every-down players. Adding a right tackle will be the priority.
MIDDLE LINEBACKER Peter Sirmon, a fragile strong-side LB, will move over. Even if the change works, the Titans lack depth here, which is needed given Sirmon's history.
QUARTERBACK Steve McNair won't play forever. Can't be done. Physically impossible. Could there be a more natural pick here than a quarterback who won a Heisman playing for Titans O-coordinator Norm Chow?
KIPER USC's Matt Leinart is a no-brainer for a Titans team that needs a young signal-caller behind McNair. Leinart can learn the system (and develop) before taking over in the not-too-distant future.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE TITANS SINCE 2000: 12 (MICHAEL ROOS, DAVID STEWART, ERRON KINNEY, TROY FLEMING, CHRIS BROWN, RANDY STARKS, ALBERT HAYNESWORTH, TRAVIS LABOY, KEITH BULLUCK, REYNALDO HILL, PACMAN JONES, ROB REYNOLDS)
HALL OF FAME USC OL
Bruce Matthews, 1st Round, 1983
HALL OF SHAME Miami RB
Alonzo Highsmith, 1st Round, 1987
AFC | WEST
FIRST-ROUND PICKS: NOS. 15, 22
WIDE RECEIVER Rod Smith turns 36 in May, No. 2 Ashley Lelie is inconsistent and Darius Watts and Charlie Adams don't have a starter's tools. A No. 3 with upside will satisfy Jake Plummer.
TIGHT END Jeb Putzier was released because he lacked the speed to make plays. At 30, backup Stephen Alexander's best days are behind him. Expect Denver to use a high pick on a tight end.
RUNNING BACK Mike Anderson is a Raven. Last year's No. 2, Tatum Bell, is injuryprone. No. 3 Ron Dayne lacks a starter's burst. Expect Mike Shanahan to find gold using a Day 1 pick on his next 1K man.
KIPER Denver wants Florida WR Chad Jackson or Ohio State WR Santonio Holmes. Then look for them to nab an RB like Memphis' DeAngelo Williams, USC's LenDale White or Minnesota's Laurence Maroney.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE BRONCOS SINCE 2000: 8 (BEN HAMILTON, GEORGE FOSTER, COOPER CARLISLE, ASHLEY LELIE, TATUM BELL, IAN GOLD, D.J. WILLIAMS, DOMINIQUE FOXWORTH)
HALL OF FAME Minnesota LB
Karl Mecklenburg, 12th Round, 1983
HALL OF SHAME UCLA QB
Tommy Maddox, 1st Round, 1992
AFC | WEST
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 20
WIDE RECEIVER Eddie Kennison makes big plays but doesn't run good routes. Samie Parker is raw. And Dante Hall's return game suffers when he's overused at receiver. The Chiefs need a true No. 1 and more depth.
CORNERBACK The options opposite Patrick Surtain are bleak. Eric Warfield (inconsistent) and Dexter McCleon (oft injured) were cut, and Dewayne Washington is 33.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE To cut down on the 4.1 ypc KC gave up last season, Ryan Sims needs a run-stuffing partner. Lionel Dalton and John Browning will not do.
KIPER The Chiefs will take the best available CB (Clemson's Tye Hill or Ohio State's Ashton Youboty) to upgrade their coverage packages and eventually to start opposite Patrick Surtain.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE CHIEFS SINCE 2000: 9 (DANTE HALL [RETURNER], SAMIE PARKER, LARRY JOHNSON, RYAN SIMS, JARED ALLEN, DERRICK JOHNSON, KAWIKA MITCHELL, GREG WESLEY, DUSTIN COLQUITT)
HALL OF FAME Alabama LB
Derrick Thomas, 1st Round, 1989
HALL OF SHAME Penn St. QB
Todd Blackledge, 1st Round, 1983
AFC | WEST
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 7
OFFENSIVE GUARD Langston Walker shows promise but is coming off a season-ending abdominal injury. Brad Badger, 31, had a bad 2005, and there's no viable competition behind him. But hey, that's what drafts are for.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE Oakland finished 25th against the run with mammoth Ted Washington. Since his release, the team has done nothing to replace him. But hey, that's what drafts are for.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER Second-year weakside LB Kirk Morrison has developed into a solid starter, but who lines up next to him? Currently it's Sam Williams, who missed 2005 with a knee injury. But hey, all together now, that's what drafts are for.
KIPER A tough read. With Aaron Brooks and Andrew Walter already in the fold, will they take another quarterback? If so, they could trade up to get Matt Leinart or trade down and hope Vince Young or Jay Cutler is still around.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE RAIDERS SINCE 2000: 11 (JERRY PORTER, ROBERT GALLERY, JAKE GROVE, COURTNEY ANDERSON, TYLER BRAYTON, KIRK MORRISON, NNAMDI ASOMUGHA, STUART SCHWEIGERT, FABIAN WASHINGTON, SHANE LECHLER, SEBASTIAN JANIKOWSKI)
HALL OF FAME Villanova DE
Howie Long, 2nd Round, 1981
HALL OF SHAME USC QB
Todd Marinovich, 1st Round, 1991
AFC | WEST
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
FIRST-ROUND PICK: NO. 19
WIDE RECEIVER San Diego has depth at this position. What it needs, though, is a fieldstretching WR to open up the middle for Keenan McCardell and TE Antonio Gates. Expect the Chargers to draft a WR early.
OFFENSIVE TACKLE Shane Olivea is a passable starter on the right side; the left side is the problem. Roman Oben, 33, is coming off a season-ending foot injury, and backup Leander Jordan struggles in pass protection.
SAFETY San Diego finished fifth in sacks last season and 28th in pass D. The team needs to spend a Day 1 pick on a big, athletic DB who can cover deep on obvious passing downs.
KIPER They'd love to see Santonio Holmes or USC OT Winston Justice fall to them. The plan B? A cornerback like Ty Hill or Ashton Youboty or South Carolina's Jonathan Joseph.
NUMBER OF CURRENT STARTERS DRAFTED BY THE CHARGERS SINCE 2000: 12 (LADAINIAN TOMLINSON, NICK HARDWICK, SHANE OLIVEA, LUIS CASTILLO, IGOR OLSHANSKY, SHAWNE MERRIMAN, QUENTIN JAMMER, TERRENCE KIEL, DRAYTON FLORENCE, NATE KAEDING, MIKE SCIFRES, DARREN SPROLES [RETURNER])
HALL OF FAME Oregon QB Dan
Fouts, 3rd Round, 1973
HALL OF SHAME Washington St.
QB Ryan Leaf, 1st Round, 1998
ESPN TOP HEADLINES
- Sources: Love trade talks narrowed to Cavs
- Kemp laces winner in 10th to turn away Braves
- Riley says Heat OK after LeBron's departure
- Presidential farewell: Jeter honored by Bush