Dallas’s needs are complex to describe. If the goal is for Dallas to become a playoff team, I’d suggest they have no needs at all. Replacing Wade Phillips turned a 1-7 team into a 5-3 team. That suggests that without any changes at all, the team could go 10-6. It’s a simple view, as 3 of the top 4 defensive ends are free agents, as is the best safety and so free agency weighs heavily in any overall planning for Dallas.
The simplest description, ignoring free agency holes for a moment, would be to say that Dallas needs a right tackle and a free safety. Please note that neither position are normally manned by first round draft choices. If you pick the Indianapolis Colts as the ideal offensive team of the previous decade and their line as prototypical, then Ryan Diem is the prototypical right tackle, and he was a fourth round draft choice. You don’t want left tackle talent filling the position, because you don’t want a player with left tackle ambitions and the desire for a left tackle sized paycheck.
Further, this isn’t a class with a standout tackle. Nor is it a draft class with a standout top ten safety. Safeties, unless they are exceptional, are considered second round picks. What this means is that a sober analysis of Dallas’s needs with respect to the talent available means that Dallas has no immediate need to fill with the first round choice.
The take home is, Dallas is positioned to take the best possible athlete at the ninth pick. In a draft thick with defensive talent, and with Dallas’s defense being pretty poor, a player on the defensive side of the ball makes sense. And therefore – not because of need, but because of perceived value – people tend to put Prince Amukamara into Dallas’s slot at nine. These analysts will then talk on about need in a position where Dallas may not have a need. Prince isn’t a safety in size or demeanor; there are arguments enough about his ability as a corner.
More puzzling to me are pundits who have Dallas reach for a left tackle talent to fill a right tackle role. Say what?
Players that generate exceptional interest within Dallas fan circles include Robert Quinn.
Looking around the league, and in particular Rich Tandler’s blog, he has a pointer to a video that aptly explains the needs of the Redskins. Quarterback, wide receiver, and then the line, especially nose tackle. Again, there are plenty of ways for the Skins to go at pick ten. There are two great receivers that are potentially top ten talent, and for any team needing a quarterback, getting value out of this hard to evaluate class will be a tricky issue. I’ll note plenty of interest in the draft thread on Extreme Skins in players like Robert Quinn, Von Miller, and also Jake Locker. The mood of fans is such that they’re expecting a play for a QB in perhaps the second round, where value is likely to be greater and the final expectations of a QB less outrageous.
On defense, people like California’s Cameron Jordan are getting a lot of attention.
The New York Giants have an interesting draft philosophy, which seems to be that if they can’t figure out what to draft, they’ll draft a pass rusher. So they’ve been stocking up on defensive ends, or end-linebacker hybrids, and as a consequence, are more capable of filling the positional needs of the modern nickel or psycho fronts than most teams. They place great value on generating a pass rush, and it was this rush, more than any other factor, that led to their 2007 victory in the Super Bowl.
This year, the belief is that New York needs offensive line help and pundits are focusing on that in mock drafts. The team needs chart at CBS Sports has OT ranked as the highest need for the Giants. On Falc Fans, Aaron Freeman has a short analysis that points out that New York has back seven defensive needs as well.
Future Sons of Washington has slotted Gabe Carimi into their mock for New York.
Philadelphia has become a canny exporter of quarterback talent, much in the mold of Ron Wolf when he was the GM of Green Bay, and a lot of speculation this year revolves around whether Kevin Kolb is going to be traded. If choices come Philadelphia’s way, they again are dealing with a surfeit of riches, and they do well in the second and third rounds of the draft. The only need of serious note on the CBS Sports chart is offensive guard, which classically is a position filled in the second round or later.
Someone like Ben Ijalana could potentially fill this need.
Philadelphia in the first round can easily go BPA. Other needs mentioned are outside linebacker and cornerback; these may be needs only because of free agency. I haven’t looked deeply into whether, say, Ernie Simms is measuring up to expectations. But expect Philadelphia to be a player. They will trade up and down. They are totally capable of taking a player a round above where the consensus places him, if they think that player fits their scheme.