The draft will be held Saturday and Sunday in New York. The Times' NFL writer, Sam Farmer, examines the needs of each team by division:
After trading Jay Cutler to Chicago, the pressure is on new Denver Coach Josh McDaniels and Broncos brass to find a better-than-capable successor. That could entail packaging picks to trade up for USC's Mark Sanchez or possibly Kansas State's Josh Freeman. Those flames were fanned this week when two Denver assistants flew to Los Angeles this week to give Sanchez a private workout. As it stands, the Broncos have the 12th and 18th picks and are in prime position to fill some other needs (defensive line, linebacker).
Even though Tom Cable is an old offensive line coach, and there are some very good tackles in this draft, his Raiders are likely to add a playmaker with their seventh pick. They will have plenty of choices, probably including receivers Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin. JaMarcus Russell would love to have either as targets. How about a run-stopping defensive tackle such as B.J. Raji for a franchise that was 31st in that department last season? The team also needs a safety but can pick one up in a later round.
Drafting third, the Chiefs are in a very interesting spot. They would love to trade down for more picks, but that happens only if there's a prospect a team desperately wants. If Kansas City stays put, it could take an elite tackle -- Baylor's Jason Smith or Virginia's Eugene Monroe should be available -- or perhaps Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry, whom many see as the safest pick in the draft.
The Chargers, who draft 16th, were ranked 31st in pass defense last season and might try to bolster their secondary with a cornerback such as Vontae Davis or Malcolm Jenkins, or they might grab Rey Maualuga, the best inside linebacker in this class. Should they decide to add depth at running back, they could take Ohio State's Chris "Beanie" Wells, or a back some scouts like better: Georgia's Knowshon Moreno.
Good as they were last season, the Cardinals just couldn't generate a ground attack. Credit Kurt Warner and his outstanding receivers with powering that offense. So it's entirely conceivable that Arizona will take a running back at the end of the first round. The best available one could be Connecticut's Donald Brown. A good outside linebacker would also be a helpful find.
Like a lot of teams, the 49ers need a quarterback, and they're intrigued by Sanchez, who probably won't be around when they pick 10th. They could use an offensive tackle too, and should grab Alabama's Andre Smith if he were to slip that far. Their middle-of-the-pack defense is in need of an outside linebacker, but more pressing priorities should allow them to pass on USC's Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews.
The Seahawks have dropped a lot of hints that they're interested in Sanchez at four. But would they really make that move when they have so many other needs, or are they trying to entice someone to trade up? The addition of T.J. Houshmandzadeh takes the pressure off to get the best receiver in this draft, and Seattle could really use an offensive tackle and a defensive end/outside linebacker who could ramp up its anemic pass rush.
Didn't the Rams just have the second pick last year? Well, they have it again. A year after taking Chris Long, they could go for another pass rusher in Curry, or -- with Orlando Pace now in Chicago -- have their pick of the two top offensive tackles. There have been some rumblings they're looking at Sanchez, which would be a very interesting move.