Teams In Need

By Michael-Louis Ingram
Updated: April 16, 2009

NFL Draft PHILADELPHIA — Smokey Robinson & the Miracles once performed a song called, “If You Can Want,” which included the hook, ” If you can want, you can need.

Since needs and wants are the difference in this and every Draft, we will take it from there and go from A to Z in the Alphabet Soup world of the NFL and decide if a want or a need better fits the script in their first selection.


Cards get eight picks and did a good job with the immediate impact of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. While the D-line and O-line are needs (especially with Antonio Smith coming of age, then going) I play the want card because my first pick is at No. 31, where DB Domonique Johnson (Jackson State) is patiently waiting; the move provides Arizona with great secondary depth and two tall, talented corners who have versatility and shutdown potential.


At No. 24, Falcons did great with OL Sam Baker being a great plug & play pickup. Grady Jackson’s run-stuffing will be missed, so a big defensive tackle and a linebacker could be on the menu. And since we know the linemen always go early, Atlanta should go need here and select DL Peria Jerry out of Ole Miss; in large part because B.J. Raji will be long gone.


A pick six for the Black Birds, and the loss of Bart Scott and an up and comer in safety Jim Leonhard makes both strong need situations. If Utah’s Sean Smith is still there at No. 26, Ravens have a prototype understudy who will be able to learn at the feet of the Master (Ed Reed, still the best safety in all of football).


Bills may get more picks (especially if a trade with Philly for Jason Peters comes through) but that further impacts the need for O-line help, and I don’t think Buffalo will play around with a clear need like that, especially now that protecting Trent Edwards becomes an even bigger imperative. At No. 11, there ain’t no half steppin’ as Bills will grab either Oklahoma’s bad ass Duke Robinson (if guard) or Ole Miss’ Michael Oher (if tackle).


The Black Cats don’t believe in bad luck, especially recently with the DeAngelo Williams-Jonathan Stewart combo. But with no picks in the first round, the Panthers will be grateful for this very strong wide receiver crop. At No. 63, Carolina will still have plenty of goodies to choose from in giving the mercurial Steve Smith a comparable weapon on the other side. You can go big (Marko Mitchell, Aaron Kelly) small (Derrick Williams, Deon Butler) or deadly (Jarrett Dillard); and if somehow Josh Freeman is adrift, Carolina makes a lotta sense as a new address for a potential franchise successor to Jake Delhomme.


Bears get eight picks and know they must get a receiver or two to placate their whiney brat QB Jay Cutler; and a tall target may be what the doctor ordered at No. 18. Clemson’s Aaron Kelly or Ramses Barden from Cal-San Luis Obispo fills a definite need; and could disrupt several teams’ plans for a legitimate red zone threat.


With 11 picks, Puddy Tats must make every one count. Repairing the offensive line and another LB to bookend with Keith Rivers are needs – and depending on if Aaron Curry falls to No. 6, Bengals should pounce on him. If not, center Alex Mack (Cal) should be a no-brainer here.


While I almost expect to hear “Clay Matthews, linebacker, USC,” the Brownies need a pass rusher, and Texas’ Brian Orakpo would make Eric Mangini and the Browns’ front office seem like they really know what they were doing.


Thanks to the WR lust in overspending for Roy Williams, Cowboys have no first-rounder. They need linemen; Flozell Adams and Leonard Davis did not look good down the stretch – but I think Dallas will go “want” with their first of nine picks and either scoop up a safety like Clemson’s Mike Hamlin or will Jerry Jones have the balls to rock the house and take Pat White as a quarterback – and play him at QB? (Texas A&M’s Stephen McGee ran the second fastest 40 time for QB’s, and I can see Dallas taking him as a Day Two shopper’s special).


Defense, defense, and more defense – the Orange Slush must get some backbone; that means up the middle with some prime beef; and at No. 12, LSU’s Tyson Jackson or Boston College’s Ron Brace would sop up a lot of run traffic.


I’m hearing the Isley Brothers’ “Fight the Power” after the hook as Ron Isley sings, “I get knocked on the ground by all this bullshit goin’ down…”and I’m thinking, “that’s right, Detroit – don’t fall into the trap. Don’t take Stafford with the first pick.” Lions must build their lines – it doesn’t matter what side either B.J. Raji on defense or Jason Smith on offense – that’s the move. Josh Freeman or Nate Davis will be waiting in round Two – and they will have a healthy Daunte Culpepper to serve as a mentor.


Packers another team that was totally devoid of a pass rush, and in a draft with not a lot of pass rushers, they need to get Florida State’s Everett Brown while the gettin’ is good at No. 9.


Texans have been slowly getting it together and have some nice pieces, so I’m thinking their want will overrule their need. I could see Ohio State’s Brian Robiskie as a nice complement to Andre Johnson; and Matt Schaub is happier than a pig in slop…


If new head man Jim Caldwell is going to put his own variation on the Colts, I think he will likely add more beef up the middle. At No. 27, if Brace is gone, Mizzou’s Evander Hood is looking good.


On the heels of the Matt “White Lines” Jones and Reggie Williams failures, Jags need an ace receiver before David Garrard gets the blame and they kick his ass to the curb. The lineman lust could domino either Michael Crabtree or Jeremy Maclin to the Jags at No. 8; but if Detroit has enough common sense to avoid the trap and take Jason Brown up top, don’t be surprised if you hear, “With the eighth pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars select Matthew Stafford, QB, University of Georgia.”


Well the Chiefs won’t pussyfoot around this – they know they’re gonna take a quarterback – it’s just a matter of which round they do it in. If Detroit makes the right move and avoids Stafford, Mark Sanchez will be the first QB called at No. 3 – and Pete Carrill will be pissed again.


The Fish That Ate the AFC East are swishing their dorsal fins with pride; but now they get a first place schedule. Hmmm…could that be the theme from “Jaws” playing in the background? I think the Dolphins know Joey Porter could use some help, so, how do you spell relief at No. 25? You spell it U-S-C – as in Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews or Rey Maualuga.


Pats are always locked in what they do in fixing holes. They scored with Jerod Mayo at linebacker last year; and a playmate for him in the middle makes a lotta sense. At No. 23, Maualuga or Ohio State’s James Laurinaitis fits the script.


Saints need linebacker help, but I think because of the linemen frenzy that always seems to happen, they will move to a “want” and select a lineman like UConn’s William Beatty or Andre Smith from Alabama; with quality like that, even Reggie Bush might wanna take it up the middle.


If the Giants do make the trade with Cleveland for Braylon Edwards, the equipment manager just has to change the name on the No.17 jersey. That said someone like a Kenny Britt will be available later. I think G – Men go O – line for need and a safety for want. Since most of the prime O – line talent on their leader board may be gone by No. 29, they will go want and select someone like Mizzou’s William Moore or Alabama’s Rashad Johnson.


Firstly, Jets will not select Kansas State QB Josh Freeman; they already have a Black QB that they refuse to allow to play the position (Brad Smith). That said, 3 – 4 teams need linebackers, and the Jets will likely continue in a defensive posture with their first pick under Rex Ryan. Jets could beat a lotta folks to the punch and take Laurinaitis; or go want and select Arizona’s Eben Britton and add some fresh blood to the O – line rotation.


Raiders have a lot of options in front of them, and I can see two scenarios forming: they need receivers, and no doubt at least two will be taken; but if Michael Crabtree gets plucked by Seattle or Cleveland, Maclin is the choice – unless Wake Forest LB Aaron Curry is still off the board. Raiders should grab his ass and hand the card over immediately – and get a wideout in Round Two.


Andy Reid, to my disdain, is a safe GM – he will think offensive line whether it’s a need or a want. With two picks at No. 21 and No. 28, they won’t go tight end because Brandon Pettigrew will likely be gone. My hunch here is that Philly is so cheap, they won’t spend free agent $$$ on an Anquan Boldin or Chad Ocho Cinco. My hope is that North Carolina’s Hakeem Nicks and the best hands in the Draft come to Philly. At No. 28, because I think Philly will make the Jason Peters trade with Buffalo, I would love to see either Ron Brace or Auburn’s Sen’ Derrick Marks add to the D – line rotation; with a safety eyed for Round Two.


That Steelers won the Super Bowl with an average offensive line is a testament to Head Coach Mike Tomlin. Line is a clear need here, and LSU’s Herman Johnson is a huge (and I mean huge) upgrade at guard or tackle.


You could almost say with the embarrassment of riches San Diego already has, to be at No. 16 is almost sinful; or a testament to A.J. Smith and Norv Turner’s incompetence. What the Chargers really need is a personality transplant in the front office, but since we know that ain’t happening, we’ll say want; either Georgia’s Knowshon Moreno if offense and Oregon’s Patrick Chung on defense.


‘Niners need to get to the passer, but there’s not much out there; so try to further repair the O – line with someone like Michael Oher out of Ole Miss at No. 10.


This team epitomizes the need/want paradigm better than any other. The obvious need is the receiver spot; and there’s nothing to indicate Seattle won’t get first shot at Michael Crabtree. By that token, Walter Jones, one of the best linemen the league has ever not seen (’cause he’s in Seattle) could use an heir apparent at tackle. Given Detroit or St. Louis take Jason Smith, Virginia’s Eugene Monroe would be a perfect stud – in – waiting to learn alongside the great Mr. Jones.


Rams got off to a good start in putting their O and D lines back together; and needless to say, the beat should go on. This pick should be the fastest one recorded all day – if Stafford’s thrown to the Lions, the Rams do their best to hide their smile and snatch the big man from Baylor; or gangsta some other team for a heap of extra picks for a quicker fix.


After all that bullshit came out about how Chucky (aka Jon Gruden) dissed his players, all you can say is…ARRRRRRRRRGH! At No. 19, Tampa Bay could still take Josh Freeman, but I doubt it now that Byron Leftwich is the prohibitive starter. So how about someone like Maryland’s Darrius Heyward-Bey to throw to alongside Antonio Bryant?


Titans know they let one get away last year; but filling a want along the offensive line can never hurt. Try Tulane’s Troy Kropog for size.


Washington needs to get back to its Hog roots; and at No. 13, Oher, Herman Johnson or South Carolina’s Jamon Meredith would be a righteous fit.