Vito Stellino's team-by-team needs

THE BALTIMORE SUN

AFC East

Indianapolis Colts

1999 record: 13-3 Number of picks: 7

First round: No. 28

Major needs: LB, DE, WR, OL

Outlook: After grabbing Peyton Manning and Edgerrin James the last two years, the Colts have the difficult task of finding a quality player at the 28th slot. They've got to upgrade their defense, ranked 15th last year, to complement their dynamic offense. That means they can take the best defensive players available, although a receiver to complement Marvin Harrison and a guard would help.

Buffalo Bills

1999 record: 11-5

Number of picks: 8

First round: No. 26

Major needs: OLB, DB, DL, OL, WR

Outlook: It sounds surprising that they want to upgrade their defense because they finished No. 1 in yardage allowed last year. But they have only two outside linebackers, lost cornerback Thomas Jones and safety Thomas Schultz in free agency and were forced to cut Bruce Smith. They also could use depth in the line and a receiver to replace departed Andre Reed.

Miami Dolphins

1999 record: 9-7

Number of picks: 5

First round: None

Major needs: OL, S. LB, RB, WR, DL

Outlook: New coach Dave Wannstedt finds himself in a difficult position. Dan Marino is gone, he has lots of holes and his first pick is the 53rd on the second round and he has only five overall. He probably won't take a chance on a troubled player the way Jimmy Johnson did last year with Cecil collins. His top priority is to upgrade the offensive line.

New York Jets

1999 record: 8-8

Number of picks: 8

First round: Nos. 12, 13, 18, 27

Major needs: WR. DL, TE, OT, FS

Outlook: The Jets are the first team to have four first-round picks, but that's misleading because back in the 12-team draft, it'd be like having four in the first 2 1/2 rounds. The decision by Bill Parcells and new coach Al Groh to trade their best player (Keyshawn Johnson) to Tampa Bay for the 13th and 27th picks is puzzling because the Jets were a game from the Super Bowl a year ago and now apparently are in a rebuilding mode. In another puzzling move yesterday, Parcells gave up a second-round pick to the 49ers to move from 16 to 12.

New England Patriots

1999 record: 8-8

Number of picks: 12

First round: None

Major needs: RB OL. DL, WR

Outlook Owner Bob Kraft's decision to give up his first-round pick for coach Bill Belichick astounded many Cleveland fans who remember how he all but wrecked the Browns' franchise. Now Belichick has to find a franchise running back without a first-round pick. The loss of Curtis Martin to the Jets and the injury to Robert Edwards have crippled the Patriots' running game that's also hampered by the lack of a good llne.

AFC Central

Jacksonville Jaguars

1999 record: 14-2

Number of picks: 11

First round: No. 29

Major needs: G, WR, LB, CB

Outlook: It's a sign of how good the Jaguars are that their major need is at guard, not a top priority for most teams. They also need depth at receiver because Keenan McCardell seems in decline. What the Jaguars really need is to figure out how to beat the Titans, who handed them all three defeats.

Tennessee Titans

1999 record: 13-3

Number of picks: 9

First round: No.30

Major needs: TE, OL, S. WR, LB

Outlook: The Titans were in the Super Bowl last year because Eddie George fell to them at the 14th slot in 1996 and Jevon Kearse to the 16th slot last year. They won't be so fortunate at No. 30, but they need mostly depth, mainly at tight end after losing Jackie Harris to Dallas in free agency, and in the offensive line where they lost Jon Runyon and know Bruce Matthews can't play forever.

Pittsburgh Steelers

1999 record: 6-10

Number of picks: 9

First round: No. 8

Major needs: WR, OT, CB, DL, LB

Outlook: Free agency losses and suspect drafting and coaching have eroded the team, now in a rebuilding mode under new personnel chief Kevin Colbert. Last year, they took Troy Edwards over Jevon Kearse and find themselves once again looking for a game-breaking receiver. There's been talk they could draft Chad Pennington, but they're probably not ready to give up on Kordell Stewart so they could go for a wide receiver for the second straight year.

Cincinnati Bengals

1999 record: 4-12

Number of picks: 7

First round: No.4

Major needs: CB, WR, DE, DL, OL

Outlook: The Bengals are fortunate to have the fourth pick in a four-player draft. They'll take the player left over after the first three are selected, but they're hoping Peter Warrick falls that far. With Akili Smith throwing to Warrick, Darnay Scott and Carl Pickens, they think they can have an explosive offense. They also have to decide what to do with disgruntled running back Corey Dillon. There's talk that they'll try to trade him to the Ravens for the 10th pick, but his agent, Marvin Demoff, may be starting much of that talk.

Cleveland Browns

1999 record: 2-14

Number of picks: 14

Firstround: No. 1

Major needs: WR, RB, CB, DE, LB

Outlook: Courtney Brown or LaVar Arrington. That's like choosing between lobster and steak. The problem starts with what they do after the first pick. Personnel boss Dwight Clark isn't doing much better than he did in San Francisco, where the 49ers have just one player left from each of his 1995, 1996 and 1997 drafts. Among other things, they have no playmakers on offense except for Tim Couch.

AFC West

Seattle Seahawks

1999 record: 9-7

Number of picks: 8

First round: Nos. 19,22 Major needs: MLB, WR, CB, OL, DL

Outlook: With the extra first-round pick he got from Dallas in the Joey Galloway deal, Mike Holmgren needs to address his run defense, which ranked 25th last year. He's desperate for a middle linebacker because DeShone Myles is injury prone and Anthony Simmons, an outside linebacker, has had to play out of position. He also needs a receiver to replace Galloway.

Kansas City Chiefs

1999 record: 9-7

Number of picks: 8

First round: No.21

Major needs: RB, WR, CB, S

Outlook: The Chiefs need more playmakers on offense, particularly a running back and wide receiver to give more zip to an offense that ranked 12th last year, but was unbalanced. They need a game-breaking runner. The problem is at 21, the top players at running back and wide receiver may be gone and the team could trade down. Ron Dayne is No. 1 on their wish list if he falls this far.

San Diego Chargers

1999 recond: 8-8

Number of picks: 7

First round: None

Major needs: DT, S, KR/PR, OL, LB

Outlook: General manager's Bobby Beathard's strategy of trading his first-round pick and selecting players from small schools hasn't worked as well in San Diego as it did in Washington. He would have had the 13th pick in this draft, but he traded it two years ago to Tampa, which used it in the Keyshawn Johnson trade. Beathard addressed his two top needs in free agency in signing Curtis Conway and DeRon Jenkins and will draft for depth.

Oakland Raiders

1999 record: 8-8

Number of picks: 6

First round: No. 17

Major needs: WR, OLB, S, K

Outlook: The Raiders need a wide receiver to complement Tim Brown because John Jett, who caught just 39 passes last year, has been a disappointment. In a deep draft for receivers, the Raiders hope that one will fall to them at the 17th spot. They need help at linebacker and safety and they'd also like to get a kicker-they lost four division games after leading in the fourth quarter last year - and free-spirited Sebastian Janikowski would certainly fit the Raiders' image.

Denver Broncos

1999 record: 6-10

Number ofpicks: 11

First round: 15th

Major needs: WR, CB, OL, S. TE

Outlook: The Broncos figured they could get the same player at No. 15 that they could get at No. 10 so they traded down with the Ravens to get an extra second-round pick they can use on a cornerback. It's still uncertain which player coach Mike Shanahan wants at 15 although it could be quarterback Chad Pennington. He could use a wide receiver, too.

NFC East

Washington Redskins

1999 record: 10-6

Number of picks: 8

First round: No. 2,3

Major needs: LB, DB, LT, P

Outlook: This is going to be a good draft for new owner Dan Snyder. With the second and third picks, he's going to get a lot of exposure on ESPN's war room camera. But his decision to trade two first-round picks and a fourth and a fifth to move up to the third spot for offensive lineman Chris Samuels was puzzling when the team had more immediate needs on a defense that ranked 30th last year. They're hoping Cleveland takes Courtney Brown because they want linebacker LaVar Arlington.

Dallas Cowboys

1999 record: 8-8

Number of picks: 5

First round: None

Major needs: CB, LB, OL, RB, S

Outlook: The Cowboys gave up their first-round pick for the next two years to get Joey Galloway. It'll be up to Galloway to show he can make a difference on a team that has a lot of other holes. Since the Cowboys have only one of the first 108 picks, they'd like to trade their second-round pick - the 49th - for two third-round picks. Their most critical need is to find a cornerback because they plan to cut Deion Sanders after June 1.

New York Giants

1999 record: 7-9

Number of picks: 7

First round: No.11

Major needs: RB, OL, DT, DB

Outlook: The Giants want to upgrade a rushing game that tied for 24th in yards gained. They plan to draft a running back with the 11th pick. They know Thomas Jones will be gone and they're leery of Jamal Lewis because of his injury history, but they'll be satisfied with either Shaun Alexander or Ron Dayne. They'd also like to improve the offensive line.

Arizona Cardinals

1999 record: 6-10

Number of picks: 8

First round: No.7

Major needs: RB, DL, OLB, TE

Outlook: With holes to fill, they like both running back Thomas Jones and linebacker Brian Urlacher. The odds are that they'll both be on the board at the seventh spot. They're also looking for a defensive lineman in the draft because Simeon Rice wants out and Eric Swann has been plagued with knee injuries. They thought they had a strong DL of Rice, Swarm, Andre Wadsworth and Mark Smith, but they didn't play a single down together last year.

Philadelphia Eagles

1999 record: 5-11

Number of picks: 9

First round: No.6

Major needs: WR, DT, SS

Outlook: The Eagles want a game-breaking wide receiver to give quarterback Donovan McNabb a big target, but they were turned off by Plaxico Burress so they'll probably switch to Corey Simon. If the Packers trade with the Ravens for the fifth spot to grab Simon, the Eagles would probably be looking to tradedown.

NFC Central

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1999 record: 11-5

Number of picks: 6

First round: None

Major needs: TE, OL, LB

Outlook: The Bucs needed a big wide receiver to jump-start their anemic offense. They were thinking about trading their two first-round picks to move up for Plaxico Burress until the Jets came by bearing a big gift - Keyshawn Johnson. Getting him for the 13th and 27th picks was the bargain of this draft and could put the team in the Super Bowl.

Minnesota Vikings

1999 record: 10-6

Number of picks: 10

First round: No.25

Major needs: DE, DB, OL, RB

Outlook: The only consolation for the Vikings is that coach Dennis Green can't do as poorly in the draft as he did last year when he picked Daunte Culpepper and Dimitrius Underwood over Jevon Kearse and Shaun King. Green raised more eyebrows during the off-season when he ran off several assistant coaches and quarterback Jeff George. The Vikings are desperate to upgrade a defense that ranked 27th last year, but with the untested Culpepper at quarterback, the Vikings appear to be in for a long, frustrating year.

Detroit Lions

1999 record: 8-8

Number of picks: 6

First round: No. 20

Major needs: OL, LB, CB, RB

Outlook: Even though they signed James Stewart, they're still looking for a running back now that Barry Sanders apparently isn't coming back. The entire team rushed for only 1,245 yards last year, fourth worst in the NFL. If Ron Dayne falls this far, they might grab him. Otherwise, the Lions will mainly draft for depth, particularly in the offensive line.

Green Bay Packers

1999 record: 8-8

First round: No. 14

Number of picks: 14

Major needs: DL, LB, TE, WR, OL

Outlook: The Packers have to upgrade their defense, which ranked 19th last year. Their top two needs are defensive linemen and linebackers and they're interested in moving up to the Ravens' fifth spot to take defensive tackle Corey Simon. Even if Brett Favre makes a comeback this year, the Packers must improve on defense if they're to return to the playoffs.

Chicago

1999 record: 6-10

Number of picks: 6

First round: No.9

Major needs: WR, LB. RB, G

Outlook: The Bears have become a passing team under offensive co-ordinator Gary Crowton so upgrading their wide receiver corps is a priority. Crowton's offense often features four or five receivers. That's why they traded for Eddie Kennison and would like to get Plaxico Burress if he falls this far. If he doesn't, they may grab Brian Urlacher because they lack a big-play linebacker. They also want to get a running back because Curtis Enis has been injury prone.

NFC West

St. Louis Rams

1999 record: 13-3

Number of picks: 9

First round: No.31

Major needs: OT, CB, DT, C, OLB

Outlook: The Rams, who picked in the top 10 for years (remember Lawrence Phillips?), suddenly find themselves picking last as the Super Bowl champions. They have the luxury of drafting for depth, but they definitely need an offensive tackle because they only have the two starters (Orlando Pace and Ryan Tucker) after losing Fred Miller to Tennessee.

Carolina Panthers

1999 record: 8-8

Number of picks: 6

First round: 23

Major needs: OT, DB, OLB, RB, OL

Outlook: Although quarterback isn't a need thanks to Steve Beuerlein, they'd grab Chad Pennington if he falls this far. Otherwise, coach George Seifert said he was burned in the past by drafting for need at San Francisco and will take the ultimate cliche - the best available athlete - or trade down.

Atlanta Falcons

1999 record: 5-11

Number of picks: 6

First round: None

Major needs: OL, RB, CB, QB

Outlook: Dan Reeves made the blunder of last year's draft when he traded his first-round pick in this draft to the Ravens for a second-round pick so he could take tight end Reggie Kelly, who caught eight passes. When he made the trade, he was coming off a Super Bowl and thought he was dealing a late-round pick. But the team nosedived to 5-11 and he wound up giving away the fifth pick in the draft. Now his first pick will be the 37th and it won't be easy to find impact players there.

San Francisco 49ers

1999 record: 4-12

Number of picks: 11

First round Nos. 16,24

Major needs: CB, DE, LB, QB, OT

Outlook: The 49ers had one of the great runs in NFL history. But years of bad drafting - they have one player each left from the 1995, 1996 and 1997 drafts - salary cap problems, injuries and age have decimated the team. Bill Walsh has been brought in to try to rebuild and will try to find five starters in this draft. He has already traded down twice in the first round, collecting two firsts from Washington and a second from the Jets.

New Orleans Saints

1999 record: 3-13

Number of picks: 8

First round: None

Major needs: CB, S, DL, FB, WR

Outlook The Saints have just one of the first 95 picks - the 33rd selection on the second round - because they traded away their first-and third-round picks in the Ricky Williams deal that helped cost Mike Ditka his job. The new regime of Randy Mueller and Jim Haslett has already brought in 20 new players as they remake a team that was 19th on offense and 20th on defense last year. Their major task, though, is to try to turn Williams into the runner he was supposed to be last year.

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