Before the NFL draft on May 8-10, we'll be looking at all the key prospects and also breaking them down by position. In our "Draft Needs" series we will also examine which teams will be in the market at each position, looking to fill their remaining roster holes.
New Orleans Saints: Despite signing future Hall of Fame cornerback Champ Bailey, the Saints still need a solid second option to compete for the other slot. Bailey signed a two-year deal, which indicates the Saints view him as a short-term solution. New Orleans signed standout safety Jairus Byrd in free agency to improve defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s impressive defense.
According to Yahoo’s Eric Edholm’s latest mock draft, New Orleans should select Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller in the first round. Fuller was a second-team Walter Camp All-American selection and a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference player last year. During the NFL scouting combine, Fuller ran the 40-yard dash in 4.49 seconds, had a 38.5-inch vertical leap and bench pressed 225 pounds a dozen times. Considering New Orleans must face Julio Jones (Falcons), Roddy White (Falcons) and Vincent Jackson (Bucs) twice a year, the Saints must upgrade their cornerback position early in the draft. NEED LEVEL: Extremely high
Chicago Bears: Yes, Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman were re-signed, but they are 30 and 33, respectively. Safeties Chris Conte and Major Wright struggled last season. Wright recently signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Chicago could use an upgrade at safety and cornerback. Alabama safety Hasean “Ha Ha” Clinton-Dix or Louisville safety Calvin Pryor could be on the board at No. 14. If either player is available, Chicago should not waste any time pulling the trigger. NEED LEVEL: Extremely high
St. Louis Rams: Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson are the Rams’ top two corners, but this team could use some help, and Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard is the answer. Yes, the Rams desperately need a receiver, but the draft has plenty of quality pass-catchers. St. Louis released Cortland Finnegan earlier this year, and Dennard is a physical cornerback who could excel with the Rams. The Rams also need help at free safety, but it will be hard to let Dennard slip by. NEED LEVEL: Extremely high
San Diego Chargers: San Diego re-signed cornerback Richard Marshall, but he is not exactly an upgrade at that position. Utah cornerback Keith McGill (6-foot-3, 211 pounds) stood out during Senior Bowl practices, and he has the body to hang with big receivers. Florida cornerback Marcus Roberson is a Day 2 option that could instantly improve a secondary that faces Peyton Manning twice a year. NEED LEVEL: High
Detroit Lions: If there is one position general manager Martin Mayhew loves, it is defensive backs. Mayhew enjoys hoarding them like candy. Detroit did not re-sign safety Louis Delmas, but signed safety James Ihedigbo, who is on his fourth team in the past five years. Clinton-Dix would be a smart selection for Detroit at No. 10, but it is hard to argue against adding a premier cornerback. The Lions should consider Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert if Clinton-Dix is gone. NEED LEVEL: Medium
Other teams in need: Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers.
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