NFL Draft: AFC Pre-Draft Notes

The NFL Draft is set to begin tomorrow. attempts to show readers what most AFC teams are most likely to do based on visits and other inside information. League sources have given a number of inside draft tidbits, including more about the Patriots likely choice for the first round. Offense or defense? Running back or cornerback? Get inside for what we're hearing about the Patriots and other teams around the AFC.

AFC Pre-Draft Notes 

Baltimore Ravens – It's no secret that the club covets DT Haloti Ngata with their first-round selection. Should he be off the board at the time they pick or DT Broderick Bunkley, a trade down is an option.  

Buffalo Bills
– Most league sources believe the club will select DT Brodrick Bunkley with their first round selection (#8). Bunkley is seen as a better fit for their defensive scheme which is similar to Tampa Bay's. DT Haloti Ngata is seen as a better fit for a 3-4 scheme/two-gap player.  
Should Bunkley go off the board or the team decides to pass on him, it's believed they'll look strongly at selecting S-CB Michael Huff or go with Ngata. Huff is capable of playing either safety spot and veteran FS Troy Vincent turns 35 years old soon.  
Cincinnati Bengals – A team source indicated to this week that the team will likely pass up selecting one of the top tight ends in the first round and will turn to the top cornerback left on their board at the time they're selecting (#24).  
While some see them needing to find a replacement for aging C Rich Braham, it's believed they're very on his potential replacements—Eric Ghiaciuc and Ben Wilkerson.  
A defensive end is also a likely selection on the first day for depth.  
Cleveland Browns – Two team sources told this week that the team has narrowed down the choices on their first-round selection to DTs Haloti Ngata and Brodrick Bunkley and DE/OLB Kamerion Wimbley. As first reported several weeks ago, the club believes Wimbley could come in and play right away on the opposite side of veteran DE/OLB Willie McGinest if needed.  
If the team trades down, DE/OLB Manny Lawson could be a possibility in round one. 
Indianapolis Colts – Team sources indicated to this week that the club is considering several options with their first round selection (#30) and is also looking at other options if they trade down. Most team observers note that they will select a running back if they don't trade down. The best fit for their offense seems to be Joseph Addai. The team has shown strong interest in RB Maurice Drew but he is seen more as a rotational back. RB Laurence Maroney is also thought to be in their thinking. 
If CB/S Jason Allen drops all the way to their selection, he likely would get stronger consideration because of value than the running backs assuming the team is comfortable with the medical reports on his hip. 
If they traded down to the second round, an option is to select one of the backs that fell or a guard who would be seen as an upgrade over either of their current starters.

Miami Dolphins – Most league sources believe the team will select a receiver, linebacker/defensive end, or cornerback with their first-round pick (#16).  
One end that fits their scheme well is Kamerion Wimbley who first reported they worked out this week. 
The receiver most team observers believe they would select is Chad Jackson because of his speed and upside. 
New England Patriots – A few league sources told this week that the club is looking at selecting either a cornerback or linebacker/defensive end with their first-round pick (#21)—assuming they don't trade up or down. The player they would like to have that fits their scheme best in the "Elephant" role which is the hybrid end/linebacker is Kamerion Wimbley who is also known as a high character person which is very important when you're looking at spending your top selection.  
If it comes down to selecting the top cornerback on their board or Wimbley, it's believed Wimbley would be the selection. 
Why not a running back which is a need? It's believed that position is one of solid depth and they could get one later on the first day. 
New York Jets – Multiple league sources believe the team will not select a quarterback in the first round with either of their selections and will address that position later on the first day. It's believed that they don't see any of the three top quarterbacks as "franchise" types. QB Matt Leinart, according to a league source, didn't impress the club during his private workout and there are some concerns whether or not he could throw the ball effectively in the Meadowlands.  
Should they not trade their first of two first-round picks, it's believed they will select DE Mario Williams if he's still on the board. The club strongly believes he can perform at a high level in their 3-4 scheme and play the "five-technique" end position. They also believe he can be used similar to the way the Patriots use DL Richard Seymour meaning moving him inside and outside through out each game. 
Should Williams go off the board, the club will likely select OT D'Brickashaw Ferguson who would be the franchise left tackle that they badly need. 
They were very intrigued with QB Kellen Clemens after working him out a few weeks ago and Clemens could be their target as early as in round two. In fact, a league source noted that the team was "blown away" with what they saw from Clemens. 
Oakland Raiders – Most team observers feel the team will look hard at selecting CB-S Michael Huff with their first round selection who would take over the starting job for veteran SS Derrick Gibson in 2007.  
The other possibilities are quarterbacks Matt Leinart or Vince Young should either one of them fall. It's also possible the team trades up for either one. 
Pittsburgh Steelers – Two league sources believe the team is looking at a few options with their first round pick. If RB LenDale White falls to them, he or C Nick Mangold are thought to be near the top of their draft board.  
White would fill the role vacated due to the retirement of veteran RB Jerome Bettis
Mangold, if he makes to them, would be the eventual replacement for veteran C Jeff Hartings who turns 34 years old this fall. 
A second day selection that makes a lot of sense is G Willie Colon who the club is said to be very high on.  
San Diego Chargers – A team source told this week that the club is looking at selecting a wide receiver, offensive lineman, or cornerback with their first round selection.  
The source believes the receiver they're targeting is Chad Jackson who they see as having more upside than Santonio Holmes
They also want to improve their offensive line which badly dropped off in performance last season.  
Not only do they need to get an eventual replacement for veteran OLT Roman Oben but as one team source framed it, "they won't let the kid fail," referring to QB Philip Rivers. The team wants to surround him with as much talent as possible.  
Tennessee Titans – While league sources indicate that the team is still undecided on who they will select (Vince Young or Matt Leinart), don't count out them trading down if they believe one of them would be available a few selections later. The team needs help and depth in several areas and picking up extra picks wouldn't be such a bad move.

Patriots Insider Top Stories