The New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots all have a very good shot at winning the Super Bowl this year. The Ravens and 49ers are defensive beasts. The Giants are riding the ideal type of hot streak you need to be riding to make it to the championship round. And the Patriots, well, they’re out to prove that an offense-centric team with an absolutely porous defense can win the Super Bowl. Never discount the power of Tom Brady.
Despite the fact that each of these teams is clearly busy planning the best way to approach their games this weekend, rest assured – they also have plenty of people planning for the looming NFL Draft. No matter how good they are, each of these squads has some very easy-to-spot weaknesses that a late first round pick could work wonders on.
Obviously things might change after this weekend, but here is how we forecast the proceedings shaking up:
29. New York Giants – Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State. The Giants could probably take a linebacker here, but picking up Adams would be the smartest play at this point in the draft. Mind you, this is a guy who was an unquestionable first round pick before a whirlwind of controversy hit his school, and none of that stuff will have any lingering effects at the next level. He’s big, athletic and, most importantly, knows how to play smart football. Plug him into the Giants’ offensive line and you’ll have a steady piece for years to come.
30. Baltimore Ravens – Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama. The Ravens could probably shore up the offensive line with pick, but there won’t be anything worth taking available at this point. Because of that the team will turn to its calling card – defense. Hightower is a tackling machine and will serve as the perfect heir apparent to the strong personalities that currently hold court in the Ravens’ locker room. This kid’s versatility and inherently physical nature alone make him a no-question first rounder.
31. San Francisco 49ers – Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers. This is one of those picks that just makes a lot of sense for all involved. Sanu knows how to stretch the field and will undoubtedly be the best wide receiver still on the board at this point. His lack of speed is something of a buzzkill, but his 115 receptions and 1200+ yards as a junior weren't exactly a fluke. What with the failure of the Braylon Edwards experiment and all, clearly this team needs a non-Vernon Davis big target for Alex Smith to throw to.
32. New England Patriots – Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia. The Patriots need way too many defensive pieces to count, so picking up a quality cornerback with good quickness and great body control will be as good a place to start as any. There are some justified questions about Minnifield’s tendency to get beaten over the top, but the Patriots have a strange way of instilling necessary lessons in talented young players. As was noted with the other New England pick, though – one of these will probably get traded elsewhere.