One way or another, seven teams have a chance to make this one of the more interesting NFL drafts in years.
At the very least, they will do so by executing all of their combined 76 picks -- their original choices, plus those they received from the league as compensation for free-agent losses, and/or through trade.
At the very most, they could end up swinging a flurry of deals to add current picks, future choices, veteran players, improve their draft position, or all four.
Keep a close watch on these teams. One way or another, they will be extremely busy this weekend filling needs and enhancing other spots.
"It just depends on how a draft starts going, if people want (your picks)," says Eagles general manager Tom Heckert. "But you have to go into it thinking you're going to get stuck with them and you're going to have 11 picks and you have to pick the guys that are there and see what happens."
"With 11 picks," Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff says, "we could be real creative with all positions and even double up at some positions."
The Falcons own the highest pick of the seven clubs, third overall. Plenty of drama surrounds their decision. Will they go with whatever defensive lineman is available after the St. Louis Rams choose at No. 2 (such as Virginia's Chris Long, LSU's Glenn Dorsey, or Ohio State's Vernon Gholston)? Will they go with a quarterback, such as Boston College's Matt Ryan? Will they move up ... or down?
However, the players who figure to make the largest impact on the Falcons' fortunes this season and beyond are the ones they select in the second and middle rounds. It's difficult to tell whether any of them will become starters, although it seems likely that some will. The Falcons aren't looking for a specific number of front-line players to emerge from those areas.
"But what we have done is we've stepped back and tried to realize how many will be true contributors right off the bat," Dimitroff says. "You can come out of this draft with a solid group of contributors."
Herman Edwards, the Chiefs' coach, also isn't offering an exact number of starters he expects to gain from this draft. But he is expecting it to be fairly solid, especially with two first-round picks, fifth and 17th overall. The fifth is Kansas City's original choice, which could be used for a defensive end, an offensive tackle, or a quarterback. The 17th, which the Vikings gave up as part of the Jared Allen deal, could be used for any of those positions as well.
"We're not drafting all of these guys to develop them," Edwards says. "We're drafting some of these guys to play. It's not only about their talent, but it's about whether they can handle it, whether they can handle lining up and starting. That's what we're dealing with this year, and that's okay."
"We'd like guys to come in and start for us, whoever we take," Heckert says. "By the same token, we're not going to pass on a good player, even if we know he's not going to start for us this year. ... I'm not saying we're great right now, but to take a guy just because he can play right away, I think that's stupid."
The first of the Bears' 11 picks is 14th overall, which could be used on a running back to replace disappointing Cedric Benson. Chicago has two third-round choices, but four in the seventh round. For all practical purposes, that gives the Bears a leg up on the post-draft signing frenzy that will begin the moment the final pick leaves the board on Sunday.
Asked earlier this week how many prospects he'd feel comfortable taking in the No. 14 spot, Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said three. He'd prefer it grow to four or even five by the time Saturday rolls around.
"The more numbers (of players identified for a particular choice) gives you latitude to do other things," Angelo says.
So does having an abundance of picks.
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