War room debates
Key Debate: They have to replace three starters on defense and need a dependable running back? Should they take a corner or linebacker at No. 12? Is running back Anthony Thomas the right guy to replace Willis McGahee?
My Advice: Take the defensive player they have rated the highest -- perhaps Leon Hall, Darrelle Revis or Patrick Willis -- in the first round. Then come back and find the running back in the second or third round. Antonio Pittman, Kenny Irons or Brandon Jackson will be available in the second.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Key Debate: Will cornerback Asante Samuel be there long term? How much longer will safety Rodney Harrison and linebacker Tedy Bruschi play at a high level? Can Laurence Maroney carry the load by himself?
My Advice: Focus on defense in the first round. A big-time corner should still be on the board at No. 24, and look for a safety or linebacker at No. 28. Aaron Ross, Brandon Meriweather, Reggie Nelson or Jon Beason would keep the defense playing at a high level.
NEW YORK JETS
Key Debate: Who will start opposite cornerback Andre Dyson? Will they find a pass rusher to improve a mediocre pass defense? Is Chris Baker the long term answer at TE?
My Advice: Take tight end Greg Olsen if he is on the board in the first round, then grab a quality corner like Daymeion Hughes or Jonathan Wade in the second round. A pass rusher like Anthony Spencer would also be a nice pick up in the first round if Olsen is already off the board.
Key Debate: Can they find a franchise quarterback to groom? How do they address the offensive line woes?
My Advice: Hope that Brady Quinn falls to No. 9. If he isn't there, take offensive tackle Levi Brown, then focus on finding a quarterback like Trent Edwards or Drew Stanton in the second round. There will be plenty of offensive linemen available in rounds two and three. Josh Beekman, Marshal Yanda and Ryan Harris are candidates.
Key Debate: They wonder if star offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden will return for another season, and there are other holes along the offensive line. Will Samari Rolle return to Pro Bowl level? Is Kyle Boller still considered a potential quarterback of the future?
My Advice: Take the best available offensive lineman at No. 29, then grab a cornerback in the second round. Tony Ugoh, Ben Grubbs, Justin Blalock or Arron Sears would be first-year starters along the line, and a young corner like Jonathan Wade or Josh Wilson would compete for time in their nickel package.
Key Debate: How do you improve a defense that ranked 30th overall in yards allowed and 31st in pass defense? Who steps in for suspended receiver Chris Henry?
My Advice: The defense needs to be addressed early in the draft. They can grab a top pass rusher such as Jamaal Anderson or Jarvis Moss at No. 18 and patch up their secondary holes by adding a versatile defensive back like Tanard Jackson at No. 49.
Key Debate: Is Charlie Frye or Derek Anderson the quarterback of the future? Can Jamal Lewis improve the 31st-ranked rushing offense? Finding a starting cornerback is also a priority.
My Advice: The prospect of adding Brady Quinn is intriguing, but running back Adrian Peterson gives the offense an workhorse to build around. A quality corner should be available at the top of the second round -- Eric Wright or Marcus McCauley would be intriguing options at No. 36.
Key Debate: Do they draft defensive personnel for the 3-4 or the 4-3? They need to find a big back to complement Willie Parker and stud guard Alan Faneca is in the final year of his deal.
My Advice: Stay at No. 15 and grab an explosive player like Lawrence Timmons or trade back to grab an OG like Grubb or Justin Blalock late in the first round. Address the running back situation in the second or third round with a power back like Tony Hunt, or gamble on the talented, but injured Michael Bush.
Key Debate: The quarterback situation has been addressed with the Matt Schaub trade, but they must find offensive linemen to protect him. Can they find another receiver to take the pressure off Andre Johnson?
My Advice: Hope that Levi Brown falls to No. 10, but if he is not available take a cornerback like Leon Hall or Darrelle Revis to solidify the secondary.
Key Debate: The defending Super Bowl champions lost several key players during free agency. Can they find a run stopper at DT to help improve a weak run defense? Who replaces Cato June at linebacker? Is Joseph Addai ready to carry the load?
My Advice: Focus on defense during the early rounds. Take the best available defender at No. 32. Justin Harrell or Jon Beason both fit in the Tampa 2 scheme. Look for another running back to complement Addai in later rounds.
Key Debate: The team is solid, but aging at several spots on defense. Can Reggie Hayward bounce back from an Achilles injury? Who replaces safety Deon Grant?
My Advice: Add a dominant pass rusher like Jamaal Anderson or Jarvis Moss at No. 17 to boost the pass rush and pick up a ball-hawking safety in the second or third to solidify the secondary. Take a gamble on a quality receiver that falls into the third round.
Key Debate: They let the leading rusher and receiver walk during free agency, and also lost Pacman Jones for the year due to a suspension. Who does Vince Young throw to?
My Advice: Add a playmaker at wide receiver in the first round. Dwayne Jarrett, Robert Meachem and Dwayne Bowe are nice fits, but Ted Ginn Jr. , because of his return skills, would be the best option if he is still on board. If they grab the receiver early, take an underrated pass rusher like Charles Johnson or Lamarr Woodley in the second round.
Key Debate: The team has several question marks on defense. Linebacker Al Wilson was let go, and there are bigger issues upfront. How do you improve a weak pass rush? Can safety John Lynch keep playing at a high level?
My Advice: Take the best available safety or pass rusher in the first round. Reggie Nelson or Michael Griffin would be nice fits at safety. Or they could go with Anthony Spencer or Jarvis Moss to improve the pass rush. In the second round, target a big defensive tackle like Tank Tyler to help stop the run.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Key Debate: The sudden departure of Will Shields and the losses of Jordan Black and Kyle Turley have left the offensive line in shambles. Can they find a receiver to replace Eddie Kennison? How much longer can Ty Law and Patrick Surtain hold up at the corners?
My Advice: Take Ben Grubbs or Justin Blalock in the first round to solidify the middle of the offensive line, pick up Daymeion Hughes or another Cover Two type corner in the second round. The draft is deep at receiver, so there will a good player available in the later rounds.
Key Debate: They struggled offensively and need help along the offensive line. Andrew Walter isn't the answer at quarterback, so who is? Will Randy Moss and Jerry Porter return to form?
My Advice: JaMarcus Russell is too intriguing to pass up at No. 1. Logic would say grab the best offensive lineman on the board in the second round, but it would be a great opportunity to snatch a talented player that unexpectedly dropped out of the first round. Don't rule out picking up a dependable tight end to give the offense a bona fide threat down the middle of the field.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
Key Debate: How long can they win without a legitimate No. 1 receiver to take pressure off LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates? Can veteran linebacker Donnie Edwards be replaced? Who replaces safety Terrence Kiel in the deep middle?
My Advice: The roster is full of quality players, so they have the luxury of waiting for the best available player to fall to them at No. 30. Michael Griffin and Dwayne Jarrett would be instant upgrades, but a sturdy linebacker like David Harris would fit the bill too.
Key Debate: The 'Boys aggressively filled their needs in free agency, so they enter the draft with only a few needs. Both receivers, Terry Glenn and Terrell Owens, turn 33 this season and may not be brought back in 2008? Can cornerbacks Anthony Henry and Aaron Glenn still get it done?
My Advice: Without huge holes on their roster, the Cowboys can focus on taking the best available player in each round. Darrelle Revis or Aaron Ross would be great picks in the first round and they could find their receiver of the future in the second round. Anthony Gonzalez should be there.
NEW YORK GIANTS
Key Debate: Defense has glaring holes at linebacker and cornerback. Who replaces Luke Petitgout at LT? Can receiver Armani Toomer bounce back from an injury at 32?
My Advice: Pay attention to the defense on the first day. Take Lawrence Timmons in the first round and look to pick up a solid cornerback like Tanard Jackson or Marcus McCauley in the second. An underrated receiver should be there in the third round.
Key Debate: The addition of Takeo Spikes helps at linebacker, but Jeremiah Trotter and Dhani Jones are on the decline. Can Jevon Kearse return to Pro Bowl form after a major injury? How much longer can Brian Dawkins patrol the middle of the field?
My Advice: Picking at the bottom of the first round limits their options, but Brandon Meriweather or Michael Griffin should fall to them at No. 26. Finding an impact linebacker, cornerback or pass rusher should be a priority in rounds two and three.
Key Debate: They have five draft picks, but only one on the first day. Should they trade down in the first round and pick up another first-day pick? How do you improve a defense that only sacked the quarterback 19 times in 2006? Who lines up beside Sean Taylor after the failed Adam Archuleta experiment?
My Advice: Find a trade partner and move back into the middle of the first round. Grab a pass rusher or defensive tackle in the first round and take the best available players with the other selections. If no one is willing to trade up, take LaRon Landry or Amobi Okoye at No. 6.
Key Debate: How do they handle the Lance Briggs situation? Who steps in for Tank Johnson if he is suspended for an extended period of time? Does Rex Grossman have enough weapons in the passing game to be successful?
My Advice: Trading up is a possibility, but standing pat at No. 31 and No. 37 gives them a chance to get two good players. Jon Beason fills their need for a weak side linebacker in the first round and grabbing Dwayne Jarrett, Sidney Rice or Zach Miller in the second round gives Grossman another weapon in the passing game.
Key Debate: Can they take another receiver early in the first round? Jon Kitna is OK, but who is the quarterback of the future?
My Advice: Conventional wisdom says take Joe Thomas or Gaines Adams, but passing on Calvin Johnson at No. 2 would go against the theory of taking the best available player. Adding Johnson in the first round and Trent Edwards or Drew Stanton in the second round sets up the Lions offense for years. There are enough pass rushers in this draft to get one in later rounds.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Key Debate: Who replaces the departed Ahman Green? Is Bubba Franks still a threat down the middle of the field?
My Advice: This is a tough one because impact players, Marshawn Lynch and Greg Olsen, should still be on the board. Lynch gets the nod because he is a big back who fits in perfectly in the west coast offense. The Packers have several picks in the draft, so they can take the best available player in each round and add depth to several key positions.
Key Debate: Can they improve the 31st-ranked pass defense? Is Tavarius Jackson a franchise quarterback? Who is the go-to guy in the passing game?
My Advice: The Vikings are in a tough spot because they have to wait and see if Adrian Peterson, Brady Quinn or Gaines Adams will be there when they pick at No. 7. If those guys are gone, LaRon Landry or Leon Hall should be the pick. Offensive weapons will be there in the second and third rounds. Adding a combination of Dwayne Jarrett, Sidney Rice or a talented runner like Antonio Pittman would help improve an offense lacking playmakers.
Key Debate: The defense is not only small upfront, but also needs to replace Patrick Kerney at DE. Is Jimmy Williams ready to start opposite DeAngelo Hall? Will the pass protection improve around Mike Vick?
My Advice: Taking Levi Brown at No. 8 would finally give them the franchise tackle that they have been missing for a long time. In the second round, pick up a pass rusher and corner or safety to bolster the weak pass defense. Charles Johnson and Tanard Jackson would fill those needs.
Key Debate: The defense finished in the top 10, but has issues at linebacker and safety. Can Dan Morgan stay healthy in the middle? Who replaces Mike Minter at safety? Can they find another pass rusher to start opposite Julius Peppers?
My Advice: Hope that Patrick Willis falls to No. 14 or trade up to get him. If they are not able to get him, grab a pass rusher like Jamaal Anderson or Jarvis Moss in the first round. In the second round take the best available linebacker or safety. David Harris would help out at MLB. Or hope that Brandon Meriweather slides into the second round.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Key Debate: Is Marques Colston ready to be the No. 1 guy? Can Scott Shanle and Scott Fujita continue to play at a high level? Will Fred Thomas bounce back from a sub-par year in 2006?
My Advice: The Saints will have a good player fall to them at No. 26. Paul Posluszny, Chris Houston or Dwayne Bowe may be sitting there for them. In that scenario, take Houston in the first round and find a receiver or linebacker in the second or third round.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Key Debate: Will Calvin Johnson fall to them at No. 4? Simeon Rice still gets after the quarterback, but how much longer can he play? Can they find a quality tackle to help protect the quarterback?
My Advice: If they want Johnson, they will have to move up to get him. They may lose the rest of their first-day picks, but he's worth it for them. If they are not able to make the move, Gaines Adams would give them a pass rusher in the mold of Simeon Rice and they might be able to pick up their tackle, Joe Staley, in the second round.
Key Debate: Will the Cardinals solve their offensive line woes through the draft? Is running back Edgerrin James on the decline? Can they find a corner to pair with Antrel Rolle?
My Advice: Take the best available player at No. 5. Joe Thomas would help immediately at OT and they should have a quality corner fall to them in the second round. Marcus McCauley would give them an explosive and athletic corner opposite Rolle.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Key Debate: With 10 draft picks, they have a chance to fill several holes. Can they find more playmakers for their 3-4 defense? Is Ashley Lelie a No. 1 receiver?
My Advice: Unless one of the elite players falls out of the top 10, try to grab linebacker Patrick Willis at No. 11 to upgrade ther inside linebacker spot. Take the best available player in the second round. A top-rated receiver or offensive lineman will fall to them in the second. Offensive linemen Arron Sears and Tony Ugoh and receiver Steve Smith should be available at their pick.
Key Debate: They need a defensive tackle and don't have a first-round pick. Who replaces Jerramy Stevens at TE?
My Advice: There aren't a lot of options without a first-round pick. They can sit and wait for the best available player to fall to them in the second round. Taking a chance on Tank Tyler may solve a problem at DT, and picking up a solid offensive lineman like Josh Beekman in the third round would give them depth at offensive guard.
ST. LOUIS RAMS
Key Debate: They finished 31st against the run last year. Can they find a pass rusher to take some of the pressure off Leonard Little? Who starts opposite Tye Hill at cornerback?
My Advice: Focus on improving the defense through the draft. Take Darrelle Revis in the first round to solve the cornerback problem, then add in Ray McDonald in the second round to shore up the defensive line.