Team-by-team Needs

April 24, 1994|By Vito Stellino

1. Cincinnati Bengals (3-13)

The Bengals can use a defensive lineman, and Dan Wilkinson of Ohio State more than fits the bill. He already is being compared to Reggie White, and the Bengals figure they can't pass him up. They also think David Klingler is as good as the top quarterbacks in this year's draft. The tough part for the Bengals will be signing Wilkinson. His agent, Leigh Steinberg, likes to think of creative ways to get around the rookie salary pool, and Bengals GM Mike Brown likes to go by the book. The Bengals also will look for a wide receiver and an offensive lineman later in the draft.

2. Indianapolis Colts (4-12)

When the Colts traded Jeff George to the Atlanta Falcons last month, it was assumed they would take a quarterback with this pick. But Bill Tobin, the new director of football operations, has signed Jim Harbaugh and thinks he can do the job even though he flopped in Chicago. Tobin drafted Harbaugh in Chicago and seems determined to prove he's not a bust. This opens the door for the Colts to draft running back Marshall Faulk of San Diego State, although with Harbaugh at quarterback, defenses will key on Faulk. With the seventh pick they got from Atlanta, the Colts figure to take a defensive lineman -- Bryant Young of Notre Dame or Sam Adams of Texas A&M.

3. Washington Redskins (4-12)

The Redskins will draft a quarterback on the first round for the first time in more than three decades, and they're likely to get their choice of Heath Shuler of Tennessee or Trent Dilfer of Fresno State. Although Dilfer might have more long-term potential, Shuler is the chalk pick rated the edge by most teams, and the Redskins probably can't afford to gamble. The Redskins also have a lot of other holes to fill. They'll be looking at wide receivers, defensive linemen, offensive tackles and fullbacks.

4. New England Patriots (5-11)

Bill Parcells is a frustrated man. He has the fourth pick in a draft with four blue-chip players, so he should get one of them. His problem is that if the Colts take Faulk, his logical choice is Dilfer, but he doesn't need a quarterback after taking Drew Bledsoe last year. He'd like to trade down a few spots with a team looking for a quarterback, notably Tampa Bay at No. 6. If he stays in this spot, he needs help on defense and will likely take USC defensive lineman Willie McGinest.

5. Los Angeles Rams (5-11)

If a team doesn't make a deal with the Patriots to take Trent Dilfer, he could fall to the Rams here. The Rams weren't looking for a quarterback after signing Chris Miller, but he has a history of injury problems and Rams coach Chuck Knox has said he'll take one of the two quarterbacks if he's there. Knox may be hoping the Bucs will trade up for a quarterback so he can take a defensive lineman -- Bryant Young or Sam Adams would be the logical pick. Another priority is an offensive lineman.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11)

If the Bucs don't trade up to get a quarterback, they may trade down and get San Francisco's two No. 1 picks. If they wind up staying in this slot, they'll be looking at cornerbacks, running backs and offensive linemen. This team has a history of blowing first-round draft picks and needs to get a player who can make an immediate impact. Cornerback Aaron Glenn of Texas A&M might be able to do that for them.

7. Atlanta Falcons (6-10)

The Falcons gambled when they traded their first-round pick to the Colts for Jeff George, who was a flop in his hometown of Indianapolis. The Falcons think he can have a rebirth in the run-and-shoot offense. The Falcons are looking for a defensive end, cornerback and offensive lineman later in the draft. They also may try to deal for veteran defensive lineman Chris Doleman of Minnesota.

8. Seattle Seahawks (6-10)

The Seahawks have one of the game's best defensive linemen in Cortez Kennedy, but they need to get him some help up front so he's not double-teamed all the time. If Bryant Young is gone, that makes Sam Adams the logical choice so that Kennedy will become even more effective. They also need a linebacker and a wide receiver.

9. Cleveland Browns (7-9)

The Browns were willing to trade this pick to the Cowboys for wide receiver Alvin Harper until Jerry Jones changed his mind and decided that swapping first-round picks wasn't fair value for Harper. They Browns are willing to trade down if Jones won't make the Harper deal, but if they can't swing a deal, they probably will fill their most pressing need by taking linebacker John Thierry of Alcorn State.

10. Arizona Cardinals (7-9)

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