All the general managers and coaches around the league are putting together their war room. In it you'll find a white board with the list of the rankings that team has for each player. Those rankings are based on the teams scouting department's evaluations, the results of the combine / pro-day / private workouts and the most unique aspect, the team's roster needs. A player maybe be in the top five for one team but doesn't crack the top ten if he doesn't play a position that the team has a vacancy for.
Everyone says they want to draft the best player available. That's how you get a good bargain. A player that is ranked much higher that falls to you because no one before you needed him. But if every team is drafting the best player available, how did this guy fall? Because need factors in to every decision. Just like the teams who reach for a player often have that player valued higher than others because of need.
So, what are the needs of the different team? Rarely will a team come out and say what they are looking for. Other times you get a decision make talking so much about a certain position, it becomes obvious. Tom Coughlin, new VP of the Jacksonville Jaguars has been talking about getting running back help a lot this off season, that's a pretty safe bet.
Let's break down the teams by division starting off with the American League East, home of the Super Bowl winning New England Patriots.
2016 Record: 7-9
First Pick: #10
Needs: Defensive Back, Wide Receiver, Tight End and Offensive Tackle
Analysis: The Bills are staying with QB Tyrod Taylor, which makes the loss of Stephan Gilmore their biggest hole. Taking a corner in the first round is a must and at #10 there should be a few good options. They need to find a right tackle and some targets for Taylor to throw to, so put wide receiver and tight end on their shopping list.
2016 Record: 10-6
First Pick: #22
Needs: Linebacker, Offensive Guard, Cornerback
Analysis: The Dolphins biggest need is linebacker. Adding Lawrence Timmons didn't change that. There are some good choices that should be available in the first round when the team picks. After that, they need to add depth / competition to the guard and cornerback positions.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
2016 Record: 14-2
First PIck: #72
Needs: Offensive Tackle, Linebacker, Running Back
Analysis: Coming off a 14-2 season that ended with hoisting the Lombardi trophy means that you have a pretty good team to start with and they added CB Stephon Gilmore, DE Kony Ealy and WR Brandin Cooks. This leaves their offensive line their biggest need with shoring up their linebacking corps and some fresh legs their main concerns. The problem is that they don't have a pick until their third round. They used them for trades and lost a fourth round pick in Deflategate. But Bill Belichick and his crew do well with late round picks.
NEW YORK JETS
2016 Record: 5-11
First PIck: #6
Needs: Quarterback, Outside Linebacker, Cornerback
Analysis: The Jets are in bad shape with a lot of holes to fill. Josh McCown is a stopgap at best at quarterback. There is a glaring need at corner and some kind of pressure from the edge would be advantageous. The nice thing is that with the defense, one pick helps the other. A strong pass rush makes the defensive backs look better and good coverage gives the rushers more time to get to the quarterback. As desperate as they are for a quarterback of the future, there isn't one early on that demands attention. So look for them to solidify the DBs first and then address QB and edge rusher in the second and third rounds.