Yahoo! Sports has broken down the needs for each team heading into the NFL draft on April 28-29 in New York City.
Team needs: DE, OL, OLB, DT, S
Overall pick/round: 5 (1), 38 (2), 69 (3), 105 (4), 142 (5), 215 (7)
DE: Bertrand Berry is coming off a season-ending triceps injury and they lack a playmaker opposite of him, so strengthening the front four in order to take pressure off the secondary is a priority. It is likely they will opt for a situational pass rusher with either their early third-round choice or wait to see how the first day plays out and go for the highest-rated defensive lineman on their board at the start of day two.
OT: The addition of versatile lineman Mike Gandy not only gave them a potential starter, but it also gives them the flexibility to see how the draft plays out. Gandy could be tried at either tackle spot or even left guard. They could opt for a training camp battle between Gandy and Reggie Wells with the winner playing right tackle and the loser fighting Milford Brown for the left guard spot. At some point, even if for just depth, they'll likely add a draft pick to the mix.
OLB: Karlos Dansby has yet to live up to the team's expectations and they need to find an active outside linebacker that can help make plays in the open field. Two-year veteran Darryl Blackstock has a chance to be a good player, but he's still unproven at this point. Even more, they lack athleticism and they just don't get enough plays out of the guys flanking middle linebacker Gerald Hayes.
S: After signing Roderick Hood in free agency, they now have a little bit of depth at the cornerback spot, so doing the same here would allow them another set of fresh legs for special teams. This pick should be someone more athletic than current starter Aaron Francisco, who gets the most out of his ability and skills, but is a step slow to some plays.
St. Louis Rams
Team needs: CB, DT, WR, OC, ILB
Overall pick/round: 13 (1), 52 (2), 82 (3), 117 (4), 148 (5), 190 (6), 225 (7), 248 (7), 249 (7)
CB: Last year's top pick, Tye Hill, showed steady improvement throughout the season. However, they lack ideal depth and could even upgrade from using Fakhir Brown as the starter at right corner. Ronald Bartell is a little stiff in the hips to start, but fairs decently against most slot receivers, so it would not be surprising to see the Rams go after someone like Darrelle Revis with their first pick.
DT: The Rams would like to add a rugged, run-stopping nose tackle to pair with former first-round pick Jimmy Kennedy, who did not show the ideal skill set to play that position a year ago. Kennedy preferred to push up field rather than taking on double-teams and providing the linebackers with the gap protection to make the play. If they decide to add a top-rated cornerback in the first round, they could then be in position to take someone like Marcus Thomas, Justin Harrell or Paul Soliai later on the first day.
WR: The free-agency departures of Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald compound the fact that starters Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt are getting up in age. The staff could make more of a long-term play here, targeting someone like Sidney Rice in the second round. If not, look for a guy with good size and the ability to make plays from the slot and on third down routes over the middle.
OL: They have moved on from veterans Adam Timmerman and Andy McCollum, and could field an interior line that features Brett Romberg at center and Richie Incognito at one of the guard spots. They are hopeful that guard Claude Terrell can return from injury and get back into the kind of shape he was in a few years ago after being drafted. Either way, they need to continue adding depth and could even find a possible starter like Josh Beekman in round two or wait for someone like center Scott Stephenson in round four. They could also turn to Mansfield Wrotto, a tackle turned guard, at a similar spot in the draft.
ILB: They added free agent Will Witherspoon a year ago, but bumped him inside. Although Pisa Tinoisamoa has proven to be a gritty defender willing to play though almost any injury, both he and Witherspoon could benefit from having a sizable run stuffer in the middle of the defense. If not, they could use a guy for depth purposes since I expect big things from second-year outside linebacker Jon Alston – one of the best all-around athletes in last year's draft.
San Francisco 49ers
Team needs: DE, WR, CB, NT, OT
Overall pick/round: 11 (1), 42 (2), 76 (3), 97 (3), 104 (4), 110 (4), 124 (5) , 135 (4), 147 (5), 186 (6)
DE: The 49ers plan to use a full version of the 3-4 scheme, which has led them to make several offseason free agent additions, but this spot still belongs to veterans Bryant Young and Marques Douglas. They need to find someone that can step right into the rotation, but also a guy with the upside to be a full-time starter within the next year or so.
WR: They added a potential big-time playmaker in the middle of field with last year's choice of tight end Vernon Davis, but they lack a true vertical threat that would make defenses pay for stacking the box to stop running back Frank Gore. There are high hopes for Brandon Williams, but adding a receiver that has both good size and speed is crucial for the development of this offense.
CB: Nate Clements was the team's biggest addition of the offseason and he will start opposite Walt Harris. If Shawntae Spencer can stay healthy, they have a solid nucleus. However, Harris is getting up in age and Spencer has been injury-prone, so adding a young defender that has the type of cover skills to allow them to blitz more often would be helpful.
NT: In order to play the 3-4 style defensive scheme that coach Mike Nolan desires, they need to find a space-eater type for the middle of their defensive line. A number of teams believe that you can find that type of guy in the mid-to-late rounds as you can cultivate them to play the position to their own strengths. The 49ers could wait and grab someone like that in the fourth round since they currently own four picks in that stanza.
OL: The 49ers will once again look towards improving the depth of their offensive line as last year's unit had to be shuffled several times because of injuries. Adam Snyder is their swingman, so he sees playing time at both tackle spots and even guard. Locating another guy in that same mold would be ideal, so they could groom him as a versatile backup for now and possibly the long-term replacement for Larry Allen down the road.
Team needs: DT, OG, LB, DE, TE
Overall pick/round: 55 (2), 85 (3), 120 (4), 161 (5), 197 (6), 210 (6), 232 (7)
DT: The need to acquire a sizeable run stuffer for the middle of their defense since seeing their front line take a beating down the stretch last season. As a result of the trade to acquire Deion Branch, they don't pick until late in the second round. With their first pick, their options for a run stuffer would likely be prospects like Justin Harrell or Marcus Thomas. However, they could deal back or wait until later in the draft for Paul Soliai, Antonio Johnson or Kelly Talavou.
OG: Floyd Womack is still more of a stop-gap measure as he has been injury-prone and inconsistent in terms of finishing his blocks over the past two years. If they use their first pick on an interior blocker, there is a chance that some of the top-rated prospects could slide down to the later part of round two as a run on defensive backs, receivers and pass rushers are expected.
LB: All-Pro Julian Peterson is still in the prime of his career, but it would be wise to secure a solid backup on the second day that could take reps on special teams and potentially replace D.D. Lewis if he opts to sign elsewhere before the draft. It is also possible they could grab another hybrid type guy that could be used in nickel or dime packages.
DE: Even with the addition of Patrick Kerney, they could still target a mid-to-late round prospect. Darryl Tapp had three sacks as a rookie, so there is good reason to believe he can be a solid role player. However, they need someone behind Bryce Fisher that can push Joe Tafoya and eventually be the guy to replace Fisher one day.
TE: Even though the Seahawks have shown a preference in acquiring tight ends through free agency instead of the draft, Marcus Pollard is not a long-term answer. Furthermore, veteran Will Heller offers little in the way of a pass-catcher. Since two of the better small-school prospects at this position hail from the Pacific Northwest, it should come as no surprise to see the front office make a late-round run at either Kevin Boss or Michael Allan.