Round 1
PICK(OVR)PLAYER/SCHOOLPOSDRAFTED BYNOTES
  • What he brings 

    Newton has the physical tools -- frame, arm strength, mobility -- teams covet, and he proved this past season he can play at a high level while dealing with the kind of adversity that comes with the territory for first overall picks. He flashes above-average accuracy when his footwork is sound but he is the definition of a boom-or-bust prospect. He played in a run-heavy scheme that simplified his reads and signaled plays in from the sideline. It doesn't mean he can't be successful running a pro-style offense. It just means that he faces a steeper learning curve. Inconsistent footwork causes him to miss the strike zone too much, and he needs to do a better job of keeping his eyes downfield when forced to move around. Finally, there are the polarizing intangibles. Some question his maturity and ability to win over the locker room at the NFL level, while others point to his record as proof that he's an effective leader. He led his team to a juco championship two years ago and led Auburn to the 2010 FBS championship.

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    How he fits 

    Carolina is a team with a lot of needs and could not pass on someone the Panthers feel should be the face of their franchise. They are desperate for a QB who can produce because their offense was the worst in the NFL. Matt Moore probably will not be back, and that leaves Jimmy Clausen and Tony Pike as the Panthers' only other real QB options. As a result, Newton probably will be forced to play early. But if there is a silver lining, this has been a pretty good running team, which can help take some pressure off him early. This is the ultimate roll of the dice. This could be a great pick to turn the franchise around or set the Panthers back for five years.
  • What he brings 

    Miller is the best edge rusher in this class. He has elite burst to turn the corner and impressive flexibility to bend back inside, and he closes on the quarterback in a flash. Miller has active hands to keep blockers off his frame, he can set blockers up inside and counter inside. He has some trouble against the run at times, but he has the toughness and upper-body strength to set the edge against tight ends. He also has the versatility to drop into coverage or rush from a two- or three-point stance, and he showed at the Senior Bowl that he is athletic enough to hold up in space.

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    How he fits 

    Fixing the defense is the top priority for John Elway and the Broncos were last in sacks a year ago with only 23. What is interesting is that they are making the transition from the 4-3 to the 3-4 and now have two undersized pass-rushers in Elvis Dumervil and Miller. Look for Miller to play OLB on first and second down because he can drop into coverage, but his best attribute may be in the Broncos' nickel package as an upfield rusher off the edge. Much like the New York Giants, this gives them some interesting versatility in their up front pass rush.
  • What he brings 

    At 319 pounds, Dareus can play anywhere along the defensive line, and his greatest strength is defending the run. He can sink his hips and get under double-teams, but he is not a one-dimensional space-eater. He can get off blocks and has the body control to make the tackle once he's free. Though not an elite pass rusher, he has the power and motor to force quarterbacks to get the ball out before they want to. He can be a high-pressure guy for the Bills. In addition, his football character is beyond reproach. He has excellent awareness, is a hard worker and has the mental toughness you're looking for.

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    How he fits 

    This was the worst run defense in the NFL last year and was incredibly soft inside versus power run games. The Bills' 3-4 defense still doesn't have the perfect personnel and NT Kyle Williams is their only legitimate inside player, and the coaches would like to play multiple fronts. Dareus can play DE in the 3-4 and DT in the 4-3 and not only will he help him versus the run but he can be a disruptive inside penetrator as a pass rusher. This is a solid pick without much risk for failure, something the Bills have had to deal with in recent years.
  • What he brings 

    Green might not be as naturally gifted as Julio Jones but he is the most complete receiver in this class. Green is a crisp short-to-intermediate route-runner with the burst to separate and create after the catch, and while he doesn't have elite top-end speed it is above-average, plus he has the body control, focus and competitiveness to consistently come down with the ball in one-on-one situations. He is fearless going after passes, even when he knows he is going to get drilled.

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    How he fits 

    What was once an explosive passing game doesn't strike fear into anyone anymore. Terrell Owens is likely gone and Chad Ochocinco's act may be wearing thin. The Bengals do have some decent, young developmental guys like Jordan Shipley but they really needed a big, outside threat. The obvious question is will this pick have any influence on Carson Palmer playing? New coordinator Jay Gruden will run a version of the West Coast offense and Green really gives him a quality guy to work with.
  • What he brings 

    There are those who believe a 219-pounder is really a safety, but Peterson is fluid enough to turn and run with receivers, can mask his lack of elite fluidity by getting physical and re-routing receivers with his long arms, and his competitive nature is infectious. Most importantly, he has elite ball skills and knows what to do after he gets it in his hands. If you're going to take a corner in the top five you want a playmaker and Peterson is that. And even if he doesn't work out at corner, the Cardinals have a potential Pro Bowl safety and will improve their secondary no matter what.

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    How he fits 

    This is a vintage value pick over need. The Cardinals desperately need a franchise quarterback and there are needs on the offensive and defensive line, but passed on all those needs because Peterson was obviously the best player available. On top of making big plays in the secondary, he can also contribute on special teams. This defense has not had an effective pass rush and hesitant to blitz, but now with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Peterson the Cardinals can be left on an island in coverage and be creative in their front seven attack packages.
  • What he brings 

    Jones doesn't always play to his ability on film and his hands aren't as good as Green's, but there's no questioning his upside. He can stretch the field and force teams to keep safeties high, and he is a physical route-runner who can use his frame to get open underneath. Finally, he has the competitive edge and desire to continue to get better once he gets to the NFL. His performance on a fractured foot at the NFL combine is evidence of that.

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    How he fits 

    Interestingly, the Falcons probably had their biggest needs on the defensive side of the ball (DE or OLB) but not only did they pass up on them, they came up a ton to get Jones. On the positive side, this offense has lacked a No. 2 to complement Roddy White for several seasons, even though Michael Jenkins had a chance, Jones can be the guy. QB Matt Ryan now has two great outside targets and a Hall of Fame TE in Tony Gonzalez. Plus, with Michael Turner in the backfield, Jones will be effective in play-action. Defenses will have their hands full guarding Jones and White. 
  • What he brings 

    Smith could play 4-3 end or 3-4 OLB, but either way he has to get better against the run. He struggles to sink his hips and needs to play with better leverage, but he has the frame and upper-body strength to improve in that area. He is a tenacious pass-rusher with initial quickness that is just a notch below elite and the flexibility to bend back inside when he gets underneath the blocker. He also has above-average athletic ability and can redirect inside after starting outside.

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    How he fits 

    The 49ers used a four-man rotation at OLB last year with Manny Lawson, Travis LaBoy, Ahmad Brooks and Parys Haralson. Lawson and LaBoy are free agents, while Brooks and Haralson are under contract. The 49ers run a 3-4 scheme and Smith fits perfectly as an edge rusher, which is a huge need for this defense but he can also put his hand in the dirt in a 4-3 front. New defensive coordinator Vick Fangio will run a similar defense to the Green Bay Packers with a lot of fronts and looks, including a variety of nickel and Smith can really fit in thanks to his versatility.
  • What he brings 

    The concerns about Locker's inconsistent accuracy from within the pocket were expected to hurt his stock more than they did in the end. He must improve his footwork and the consistency of his release, but he has all the physical tools, enough size, strong arm and excellent mobility. There are no questions about his intangibles, either. Locker is the kind of player who can command the huddle and win over a locker room. If he can improve his fundamentals and ability to hit receivers from within the pocket he will prove to be worth the pick.

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    How he fits 

    This was clearly the Titans No. 1 need but the surprise might be that it was Locker over some of the other QBs available. Vince Young will be gone, Kerry Collins is probably close to the end and young Rusty Smith hasn't shown enough to project any confidence. Under new coordinator Chris Palmer this will be a run-orientated offense with a lot of power sets and that should take some pressure off Locker to have to throw on every down. Due to Locker's mobility and ability to throw on the run, his skill set is similar to Young. The big question will be if they throw him into the fire immediately or somehow try to squeeze another year out of Collins or another QB.
  • What he brings 

    The biggest concerns with Smith are instincts and weight. He misses assignments on occasion and has to show he can maintain the 20-pound weight gain he has had since the end of the regular season. He is coming off a minor knee injury but it does not appear to be a concern going forward, and he has the highest ceiling of any tackle prospect in this class. Smith has excellent foot speed, long arms and good flexibility, and when he becomes more polished he is the hard-to-find player you want protecting your quarterback's blind side. And it's important to point out that the reason he did not play on the left side in college is because USC had Ryan Kalil at left tackle, who projects as a future top-5 pick. It wasn't because the coaches thought he couldn't handle it.

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    What he brings 

    This is clearly the Cowboys' biggest need and they now have bookend tackles as long as they retain Doug Free. Their edge pass protection has been the Achillees heel of this offense and now they have two guys who can really get the job done. Right now, Free is solid at LT but with the addition of Smith he could slide to RT. This pick also takes away aging Marc Colombo, who was a liability at RT. The Cowboys will expect him to step in and play immediately and that is going to force him to improve his consistency from down to down.
  • What he brings 

    Gabbert has the frame, intangibles and arm strength teams look for. He is a tough leader who can play through pain and rally his teammates, and while he needs to improve his pocket mobility and ability to handle pressure he has the toughness and foot speed to do so. It's somewhat surprising he fell this far because he is the most accurate of the top three quarterbacks on our board, and he has the football acumen to make the transition from a college spread scheme to a pro-style offense.

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    How he fits 

    The Jags have many needs on defense, but this is a good pick and Gabbert will be in a good situation. He can sit behind David Garrard, who is serviceable but not great. Backup Trent Edwards doesn't look like the future and this fan base needs someone to get excited about. Gabbert will be helped by a strong running game and a pretty good offensive line, but his biggest challenge will be thriving without a lot of weapons. He really allows a vanilla and conservative offense to open things up and become less predictable.
  • What he brings 

    Watt is a versatile, high-motor player who can line up at LDE in a four-man front or 5-technique in a three-man front. He can also line up at tight end in short-yardage situations. While he could play a little lower he is stout against the run and can hold his ground when teams run at him, and he can get off blocks quickly enough to make the tackle. He's not an elite pass rusher but can walk offensive tackles back and is good at getting his hands into passing windows.

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    How he fits 

    The biggest needs on this team are on defense as the Texans make the transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 and Watt fits perfectly. He is a try-hard player who should be natural at DE in the 3-4 and can also play DT in the 3-4 and nickel fronts. This defense will show a lot of slants and one-gap schemes and his effort should fit very well. He will also allow them some versatility with DE Mario Williams in terms of his ability to move around the formation. Watt will solidify the Texans interior run defense and an inside push in pass-rushing situations. It may not be an exotic pick but it should be a solid one.
  • What he brings 

    Ponder has had problems staying healthy and there are concerns about his durability going forward, but he has had the opportunity to show his toughness and there is a lot to like about his willingness to play through pain. He doesn't have the strongest arm and will have some trouble driving the ball downfield, but he does an excellent job of anticipating and delivering the ball in stride on short-to-intermediate routes. He is also light on his feet and can buy time within the pocket.

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    How he fits 

    One of the big questions regarding the Vikings was whether they would go the veteran QB route or bite the bullet and start over with a rookie -- and we still don't know the answer, despite this pick. Right now, with Tarvaris Jackson and Brett Favre gone and Joe Webb unproven this is an offense that simply can't line up at QB. Is Ponder the immediate answer? Will the Vikings still go out and try to get a veteran to bridge the gap? Bill Musgrave is the new coordinator and he will run a West Coast offense that emphasizes the run with Adrian Peterson and his philosophy will emphasize rollouts, bootlegs, half reads and play-action -- all things Ponder can do well.
  • What he brings 

    There are times on film when Fairley looks like he should be the No. 1 pick. He can explode off the ball, get into the backfield and bring ball carriers down as a run defender, and was the best interior pass rusher in the country last year because of his initial quickness and violent hands. The concern is his inconsistent motor. Fairley will face much more talented interior offensive linemen at the next level and won't be able to skate by on natural ability. He is boom-or-bust, but worth the risk at this point.

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    How he fits 

    This certainly looks like a value pick because this is not a great need. The Lions' best unit is the defensive line lead by Ndamukong Suh, Corey Williams, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril but obviously Fairley was too good to pass up. The Lions love to play a lot of games up front with loops and one-gap penetrating schemes and this gives them tremendous versatility with three dominating defensive tackles. As talented as Fairley is, he will be surrounded by a group of guys who will force him to play on every down. This could become one of the most productive units in the NFL.
  • What he brings 

    Quinn brings an instant pass-rush presence off the edge. He has natural tools, including elite first-step quickness, the flexibility to shave the edge and above-average closing burst. He needs to develop a counter move back inside and get stronger as a run defender (which we believe will happen with time in the weight room).

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    How he fits 

    This looks like another value pick, rather than a great need because defensive line is one of the Rams strongest units. Starting DEs Chris Long and James Hall combined for 19 sacks and the Rams really like George Selvie as a developmental guy, so now this gives the Rams four guys to mix and match -- much like Steve Spagnuolo did with the New York Giants. He loves to have depth on the DL and he will use outside guys on the inside to get favorable one-on-one matchups. While Quinn will likely line up at RDE initially, he will line up all over the formation. This will be a very interesting to watch.
  • What he brings 

    Pouncey is one of the most NFL-ready linemen in this class with the ability to play guard or center, and the athleticism to fill in at right tackle if needed. He is light on his feet, has great awareness and a good approach to the game, and much like his twin brother Maurkice did with the Steelers, Mike should step in and start away.

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    How he fits 

    This is a perfect match of a good player filling a specific need because he can play either OG spot or C and the only sure thing on this line is LT Jake Long. When a run-oriented offense averages 3.7 yards per rush and is 30th in the NFL, you know the interior blocking isn't very good. If Richie Incognito plays C, then Pouncey can step in at OG or vice-versa. Regardless, he's expected to start early as a rookie.
  • What he brings 

    Kerrigan lacks elite size and athleticism, but when you put on the film he shows the instincts to find the ball and make plays. He'll play outside linebacker for the Redskins and will be at his best moving forward rather than playing in reverse. He has above-average first-step quickness and a wide array of pass-rush moves to provide an immediate upgrade to the pass rush opposite Redskins OLB Brian Orakpo.

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    How he fits 

    He should fit nicely in Jim Haslett's 3-4 defense. The Redskins have really needed a bookend for their best pass-rusher, Brian Orakpo, who will now see less double teams. Right now, the other starter, Lorenzo Alexander, is probably a better run stopper than pass rusher and even though Kerrigan is not an elite edge rusher, he is a try-hard guy who will greatly improve the pressure this unit tries to create.
  • What he brings 

    Solder has great athleticism and length. He does a surprisingly good job staying low for a 6-foot-8 prospect and shows above-average inline power to get movement in the running game. Solder moves very well laterally in pass protection but he needs to develop his technique, particularly getting more depth with his kick step. He will give up the edge on occasion as a result of that flaw.

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    How he fits 

    The Patriots are quietly trying to revamp their offensive line and this is an excellent start. Solder is a tall, rangy player who probably fits best at LT and aging Matt Light could be gone in free agency or close to the end of his career. However, what makes this pick interesting is that Sebastian Vollmer could easily move to LT and Solder could slide in at RT, if he struggles. This should really improve the edge protection for QB Tom Brady.
  • What he brings 

    Liuget's biggest strength is his nonstop motor, and he plays with great pad level and leverage. He shows great initial power and a violent punch to shock and shed blockers. He can also provide some pass rush with his initial quickness and good hands. Liuget could improve his footwork and balance a bit, though, and he does not have elite skills at the point of attack.

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    How he fits 

    Defensive end may be the No. 1 need for the Chargers and they likely filled it with Liuget. Both of their starters, Luis Castillo and Jacques Cesaire, are steady veteran guys but neither produce big plays and Cesaire is a free agent. This is a position that could potentially use two upgrades and they already have a solid one in Liuget who will fit in nicely with his non-stop motor. Plus, he can easily play DT when they switch to a nickel front and provide a nice inside push.
  • What he brings 

    Amukamara is the most instinctive corner in this year's class. He has above-average recognition and route-anticipation skills, and is also light on his feet and changes directions quickly. He is also above-average when setting the edge in run support. He has shorter arms and that can be a problem against bigger receivers, and at times he will lose momentum when making sudden, 180-degree turns.

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    How he fits 

    This is a thinking man's defense, especially in the secondary where the Giants like to play a variety of packages and pressures. A year ago, the Giants were forced to play a lot of three-safety packages, but this pick alleviates that problem. Amukamara joins Corey Webster, Terrell Thomas and nickel back Aaron Ross, who struggles to stay healthy, and now the Giants have three guys who can play on an island to help their exotic pass rush. This really gives the Giants a lot of versatility.
  • What he brings 

    Clayborn is a thickly-built, powerful end with active and violent hands who does a great job keeping offensive linemen off-balance with slap and rip moves. He suffers from Erb's palsy, which limits the range of motion in his right arm, making him a better fit on the right side where he can protect that arm. He could also do a better job playing with lower pad level against the run.

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    How he fits 

    In Tampa Bay's Cover 2 defense, the Bucs prefer to rush four and drop seven into coverage without much blitzing and that puts a premium on the upfront pass rush. This team only produced 26 sacks last year, which was good for 30th in the league. Last year, they concentrated on DT with Gerald McCoy and Brian Price and with this pick they are focusing on the DE. This was the No. 1 need they had coming into the draft and he should line up and start as a rookie on the left side.
  • What he brings 

    Taylor possesses rare size and athleticism at 6-3 and 334 pounds. He also has nimble feet and above-average range to make some plays outside the tackle box. The concerns are whether he can keep his weight down and stay in condition, and if the Browns can get him to do those things the Browns will get a valuable space-eater in the middle of their defense.

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    How he fits 

    The Browns are painfully thin on the defensive line and they have virtually no difference makers with the exception of Ahtyba Rubin and they only produced 29 sacks a year ago. They are switching from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 and Taylor is a big, physical player who can eat up blockers, free linebackers to the ball and get some penetration. With him and Rubin, the Browns have two solid inside defenders to start rebuilding with.
  • What he brings 

    A smart, instinctive and polished player, Castonzo has the technique and maturity to step in and play right away. His lateral mobility is just average but he does a good job sinking his hips and using his hands when he can get into position. He's not a road-grader as a run blocker but does a good job getting on the edge and covering defenders to create running lanes, which works well with Indy's zone blocking scheme.

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    How he fits 

    Offensive tackle may have been the No. 1 need and he is an excellent fit as an intelligent player in a very sophisticated offense. Even though the Colts get a lot of publicity for not giving up a lot of sacks, much of it is due to Peyton Manning?s quick release and not their pass protection. At LT, Charlie Johnson is a free agent and just not an elite player and at RT Ryan Diem is aging and has too many false starts. This pick gives them three tackles, if Johnson comes back, and Castonzo is a guy they could plug into either tackle spot.
  • What he brings 

    Watkins is a mature, physical player with a nasty disposition. He is a technician who stays low and plays with good pad level, and uses his strong inline power base and powerful upper body to get movement in the running game. While he is light on his feet and does a good job moving laterally as a pass blocker, Watkins lacks elite length and is best-suited to play on the inside at the next level.

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    How he fits 

    This is a player who really grew on teams as we got closer to the draft and even though he'll be a 26-year old rookie, he will be a high-effort guy who fills a need on the right side of a struggling Eagles offensive line. RG Max Jean-Gilles is a free agent and not a great player and RT Winston Justice really struggles against edge rushers. Watkins has played LT and RT, but look for him to step in and start at either position on the right side under legendary OL coach Howard Mudd. And remember that the right side is left-handed QB Michael Vick?s backside, which makes this pick that much more important.
  • What he brings 

    Jordan has great measurables (6-4, 290) and has long arms and massive hands. He shows good strength at the point of attack to set the edge against the run, and can pressure the passer with active hands and a quick swim move. He needs to develop a wider array of pass-rush moves but he plays with great effort on every down.

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    How he fits 

    The Saints' No. 1 need on the defense is defensive end and Jordan should fill it well. He is a high-effort guy with great measurables and a strong football background. His dad, Steve, was an outstanding TE for the Minnesota Vikings. Veteran DEs Alex Brown and Will Smith are just not producing a lot of big plays and pressure, although the coaches are hoping Smith still has something left in the tank at RDE. With this 4-3 defense, they would like to blitz left and if Jordan can put pressure off the edge at LDE, it can take some pressure off the backend and he will likely replace Brown.
  • What he brings 

    Carpenter has above-average athleticism and is light on his feet, and show active hands in his pass sets and recovers when they are knocked down. He is a bit of a waist-bender who will have some trouble with speed off the edge and is likely better suited to play on the inside. He has enough power to get movement in the run game but needs to play with better pad level, but overall his versatility to play inside or at right tackle is likely what made him so intriguing at this point.

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    How he fits 

    The offensive line was the biggest position of need for the Seahawks at RT and both OG positions. This team used 10 different offensive line combinations last year, partly due to injuries, and they would love to stabilize their line under new OL coach Tom Cable. They are using a zone-blocking scheme and could lose several guys in free agency and Carpenter probably fits best replacing Sean Locklear at RT but he also showed his versatility at OG at the Senior Bowl. In a perfect world, the Seahawks would like to see him step in at RT to give them bookend edge protectors for the next 10 years.
  • What he brings 

    Baldwin is a big, physical and athletic receiver who brings an immediate big-play presence. He has elite body control and ball skills, especially when tracking the deep ball, and has outstanding leaping ability with a 42-inch vertical jump. He is a limited route runner who is best on intermediate-to-deep routes and is by far one of the biggest boom-or-bust prospects in this class due to some character and immaturity concerns.

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    How he fits 

    Ironically, the Chiefs passed on some pretty good defensive players, which looked like their top needs, but getting a complementary WR to Dwayne Bowe was certainly a need. Baldwin is a big, physical guy who should fit well in the Chiefs' West Coast offense that runs a lot of crossing routes and demands yards after the catch. He should also be a great red zone target along with Bowe and Tony Moeaki. This gives QB Matt Cassel three big targets who can all catch jump balls and when you look at the other guys on this roster, they combined for 67 catches. Now it will be difficult to double team either.
  • What he brings 

    There are obvious red flags surrounding Smith's off-field character, but there is no denying his combination of size, speed and fluidity. On tape he has the best overall cover skills of any corner in this class. He has shutdown skills and immediately bolsters the Ravens' secondary. He is loose in the hips for his size and does a great job re-routing receivers in press coverage. There should be no issues with Smith in terms of what he can do on the field. It's all about keeping him out of trouble and maintaining his focus.

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    How he fits 

    This used to be a very proud secondary with great depth and talent, but injuries really hurt them last year. They were devastated in 2010 and three of their best four corners are free agents and the Ravens won't keep all of them. As a result, this is their biggest need. This is not a very big and physical group and Smith brings much-needed size and physicality to this unit. It is also probably a good thing that he will go to a stable organization that will hopefully keep him out of trouble and headed in the right direction. The Ravens love to blitz and put their corners on an island, but now that may happen more often.
  • What he brings 

    Ingram is the most instinctive back in this year's class. He has great balance and lateral movement and is a determined runner. He picks up a lot of yards after contact, and is an above-average receiver out of the backfield. He needs to work on his pass protection, but the Saints got a very good back.

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    How he fits 

    For a gifted offensive team, this was a tremendously weak position in 2010 as the Saints' rushing offense dipped to No. 28 in the NFL. At the end of the season they had five RBs on IR. Pierre Thomas is coming off a foot injury and Reggie Bush will have to restructure his contract in order to return and will likely step into a third-down role and exotic packages. They needed a bell-cow runner who could give them 20 carries a game and can you imagine how good this offense can be if QB Drew Brees has the threat of play-action off the run game? Also, remember Ingram is also an excellent outlet receiver.
  • What he brings 

    Carimi lacks elite lateral agility, foot quickness and athleticism, which could give him problems against speed rushers off the edge. His strength is in the run game, where he is technically sound, takes good angles to the point and works hard to finish blocks. These qualities make him a great fit as a right tackle at the next level.

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    How he fits 

    This is an offensive line that gave up a league-leading 56 sacks, which is partly due to Mike Martz's passing game, but they are not a great blocking group. Frank Omiyale is a better run blocker than pass blocker at LT and not an elite player and J'Marcus Webb is decent at RT but there is some talk he could move to LT. Carimi played LT in college but is probably best suited to play on the right side for the Bears with Webb moving to the left side. This pick fills their biggest position of need.
  • What he brings 

    Wilkerson (6-4, 315) is a powerful player at the point of attack. He can stack and hold the edge as well as any 5-technique in this class, and in addition he shows above-average range to make plays outside the tackle box. Wilkerson also brings a pass-rush presence with quickness and active hands. He needs to play with a more consistent effort and could dominate more regularly, though.

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    How he fits 

    The biggest need for the Jets was their edge pass rush at DE or OLB and they filled one of them with this pick. Veteran Shaun Ellis has been a solid player but he's 33 years old and may not be back. Mike DeVito plays hard but doesn't give you much of a pass rush and former first-round pick Vernon Gholston has been a huge bust. Wilkerson is an unusual 3-4 DE because he is more than just a run stopper with his 9.5 sacks a year ago. He should start immediately in this front seven and fill a huge gap at DE, where they have struggled recently.
  • What he brings 

    Heyward lacks elite athleticism but he is strong and powerful. He has heavy hands and a quick, compact punch that can shock blockers at the point of attack, and does a great job shedding blocks and getting to the ball. He is relentless as a pass-rusher but needs to refine his technique. Most importantly, though, he loves the game and has the intangibles to become a solid starting 5-technique for years to come.

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    How he fits 

    This was a terrific need pick because as good as this defensive line has been, all of the main contributors with the exception of Ziggy Hood are 32 years or older and injuries are starting to be a factor as well. Heyward gives them additional depth and the chance to develop he and Hood into the DEs of the future. The Steelers want physical two-gap players at this position who eat up blockers in space and let OLBs LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison make plays and Heyward fits this description. Pittsburgh is an organization that always seems to have a great handle on its future needs and seems to be one step ahead.
  • What he brings 

    Sherrod displays above-average football intelligence and has excellent length. However, he lacks elite athleticism and quickness and that will likely force him to the right side in the NFL. He needs to play with lower pad level in the running game he has the frame to cover defenders and create lanes. The most glaring weakness is lack of strength in the lower body.

    Video analysis 

    Todd McShay Video

    How he fits 

    What looked like a huge position of weakness may have dramatically changed with this pick. The Packers have gotten by with aging LT Chad Clifton and aging and often-injured Mark Tauscher at RT, although Bryan Bulaga filled in nicely at RT last year. Sherrod has great length and is a very smart player and will likely get his first look at LT where he could either replace Clifton or spend a year behind him and the bonus is that Bulaga could also move from RT to LT if Sherrod struggled. This gives the Packers potentially quality bookends for the next 10 years.