Tampa Bay Buccaneers: QB, OT, RB
Despite finishing tied with the worst record in the league this season (2-14), the Buccaneers found themselves competing in close games with some good opponents. That being said, they lacked the talent to finish games and perform consistently on a weekly basis. The main issue with the Bucs is at quarterback, which is where they should focus on in the first round. Whether it be Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston, the Bucs need a franchise quarterback that can throw to Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. Although drafting a franchise quarterback would solve some of their problems, Tampa needs to also address the offensive line in the draft and free agency.
New Orleans Saints: CB, DE, LB
The Saints had an overwhelmingly disappointing season in 2014, finishing third in the NFC South at 7-9. A lot of the blame can be pointed at Rob Ryan and his 31st ranked defense, but the offense did not perform to their normal standards this year either. Drew Brees did not play as well as he is capable of playing, and to make matters worse, he lost his number one target Jimmy Graham in a trade with the Seahawks. One bright spot for the offense was Mark Ingram, who came into his own as the lead running back for the Saints. Still, the defense could use plenty of help at the corner position, as well as another pass rusher opposite of Cameron Jordan. Tight end is an issue now that Graham is gone. With two picks in the first round now, the Saints have a few different options they could go.
Atlanta Falcons: DE, CB, DT, TE
Suspect coaching and the league’s worst defense found the Atlanta Falcons under .500 for the second consecutive season, and also left former head coach Mike Smith without a job. The Falcons ranked dead last in total defense in 2014. The biggest positional need lies on the defensive line, where they struggled to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks last season. The Falcons should address this need early, especially with the uncertain futures of Kroy Bierman and Osi Umenyiora, who are both free agents. Atlanta could also use some help in their secondary, where they ranked dead last in passing defense last season. The hiring of former Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn all but guarantees that Atlanta will address their defense throughout the draft.
The Panthers finished 7-8-1 in 2014, which in most years, would not even come close to making the playoffs. Luckily for Carolina, they played in quite possibly the worst division in NFL history in 2014, which allowed them to win the division. Cam Newton struggled throughout most of the season due to inexperience and injuries to his offensive line, which should be a major priority for them going into the draft. They did add to their o-line with the addition of Michael Oher in free agency, but still lack overall depth on the line. Newton could also use some more weapons. Kelvin Benjamin had a tremendous rookie season, but cannot continue to shoulder the load for the team offensively for years to come.