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Five GMs who need a big weekend at NFL draft

We don't have to tell you that the NFL draft is a hugely important event for every general manager. Teams lean on GMs to select the players who can drive -- or sink -- a franchise for years.


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With the opening round just hours away, let's take a look at five sitting GMs whose seats could get very warm if they don't hit big at Radio City Music Hall.

Reggie McKenzie, Oakland Raiders


McKenzie's job security in Oakland is tied to patience. For McKenzie to get a fair shake, Raiders owner Mark Davis should afford his GM the time to rebuild the operation the right way. Davis recently gave McKenzie a public vote of confidence, but you have to wonder how Davis will react if the Raiders have another double-digit-loss season.

To avoid that, McKenzie has to hit home runs. The Raiders need to import rookies who can make an instant impact. If they don't, it could be McKenzie who pays the price.

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Jeff Ireland, Miami Dolphins


Ireland has been teflon in Miami for years, but a free-agent spending spree doesn't hide the fact that roster upgrades still are necessary.

The Dolphins have 11 picks in this draft, and Ireland has speculated Miami has the "ammunition" to trade all the way up to No. 1 if they wanted to. That's unlikely to happen -- even if the Dolphins could use an Eric Fisher or Luke Joeckel -- but Ireland's comment was another sign of an all-in approach to 2013.

Martin Mayhew, Detroit Lions


The Lions tumbled to 4-12 last season, the type of regression that would make any owner squirm. Mayhew's spotty track record in recent years certainly had something to do with it.

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Mayhew hit on two gimmes in his first two years with Matthew Stafford and Ndamukong Suh, but he's had more misses than hits since. Titus Young, Jahvid Best and Mikel Leshoure are all on his resume, while the jury remains very much out on early 2012 picks Riley Reiff and Ryan Broyles.

Mickey Loomis, New Orleans Saints


The Saints largely are past the bounty scandal, but not Loomis. He's constructing a draft plan that doesn't include a second-round pick, forfeited as punishment for New Orleans' defunct pay-for-performance system.

Loomis still will be expected to deliver NFL-ready players who can make an instant impact for a team that slipped to 7-9 in 2012. The Saints had a historically poor defense in 2012, an unacceptable regression when you have a once-in-a-generation talent, Drew Brees, at quarterback. Loomis needs to fix the Saints ... quickly.


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Les Snead, St. Louis Rams


By all accounts, Snead -- entering his second season -- is on good footing in St. Louis. Still, this draft and next will go a long way in cementing Snead's Rams legacy. Remember, Snead pulled the trigger on the "RG3 Trade" last year, swapping the No. 2 overall pick for three first-round draft picks and a second-round pick.

How Snead uses those two remaining first-rounders (one this year and one the next) will tell us if the Rams made the right move -- or an all-time franchise blunder.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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