Here’s the conclusion of team needs:
1. Defensive End – Seymour is the only note worthy pass rusher on this team. Shaughnessy has potential and Lamarr Houston is okay, but a real presence could go a long way.
2. Linebacker – Wimbley is out, Currey is in, but the jury is still out on his career (I missed big on that pick apparently), and Rolando McClain has had some legal trouble recently. A good outside linebacker would be helpful, particularly since they’ve lined Wimbley up as a pass rusher on nickle formations.
3. Offensive line – Left tackle is an issue and their interior could use some juice.
San Diego Chargers
1. Pass rusher – Antwan Barnes began to step up late and finished with the team lead in sacks, but there’s nothing on the other side of him. Larry English is a bit of a bust, Shaun Phillips has been declining and there’s not much else.
2.Offensive Tackle – Jared Gaither is taking over at LT, and he’s a good pass rusher, but he’s proven unreliable in the past. They could use help on the right side as well so it wouldn’t hurt there either.
3. Wide Receiver – Vincent Jackson is gone, and his presence really opened up the field for Gates to work. Malcolm Floyd is good, but they could use another big time target for Rivers.
1. Offensive line – This unit just is not consistent. They can get it going on occasion, but under Martz they were killing Jay Cutler. JaMarcus Webb is only a serviceable tackle and they could use new talent at Guard and Center.
2. Defensive End – Peppers is elite but heading towards the end of his career. It would have been incredible to see them land Mario Williams and watch that duo tear the NFC North a new one, but they lost out to Buffalo (really Mario? Buffalo?). Whitney Mercilus, Chandler Jones, or Michael Brockers could be options in the first.
3. Defensive Backs – Safety and corner are concerns. Major Wright is a major liability (see what I did there?) and their corners are aging fast and not gracefully. Both positions need to be addressed.
1. Defensive End – Long gone are the glory days of contract year Albert Haynesworth and Vanden Bosch. This unit lacks much presence at all. Jason Jones shows flashes but disappears and Derrick Morgan didn’t shine immediately.
2. Cornerback – Cortland Finnegan is gone leaving Jason McCourty alone. A second is needed this season against Matt Schuab and Andre Johnson.
3. Guard – This unit also regressed from a few years back. They’ll need to add a couple of bodies to keep up with CJ.
1. Cornerback – Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph were a great duo, but they let Joseph go in favor cast offs Nate Clements and Pacman Jones. Both were once very sought after prospects, but they need a youthful CB to pair with Hall.
2. Running back – If you live in the AFC North you play a form of 1950’s football. Hard to do that without a good running back. Benson is pretty average at this point in his career and they could find some good value in the 2nd and 3rd rounds (ie Polk or Wilson).
3. Defensive End – Another position they’ve signed some once promising players, they picked up Jags cast off Derrick Harvey and Jamaal Anderson but lack a really dynamic defensive end. They should have some options with their 2nd first round pick with rumors that defensive ends are falling down the boards.
1. Offensive Tackle – If you’re starting left tackle is getting benched, you have a problem at tackle. He might be a solid RT or G, but I think it’s clear they reached when they moved back up for him (got that one right at least). They won’t have a pick until the 2nd round so that might not be fixable this year.
2. Defensive end – John Abraham wants a new contract, but at 34 he’s got a tough sell. They need someone next to Ray Edwards.
3. Center – Is it just me or is the entire crop of NFL centers about 33? McClure is 35 and they could use a new body in there.
1. Offensive Tackle – I’ve been saying that for years the Lions must protect Matt Stafford. Instead they continue to defend Jeff Backus (who might be a solid RT or G, but is not a LT). Stafford has finally made it through a season and they made the playoffs, should be obvious what they have to do.
2. Secondary – Delmas looks solid at FS, but they don’t have much with him. I’m sure they’re drooling over Mark Barron to pair with him, but he’ll be long gone by then. Same can be said of Stephen Gilmore and Morris Claiborne. Kirkpatrick is an option as is Janoris Jenkins if they feel they can overlook that Marijuana thing (they have before obviously).
3. Defensive End – Cliff Avril will stick it out one more year at least (and working next to Suh isn’t a tough gig really). They need a nice pass rusher to get after Aaron Rodgers and Cutler to help this secondary.
1. Offensive line – This unit is awful. And injured constantly. Max Starks went down last season, Willie Colon as well. Marcus Gilbert is expected to play one tackle spot next to whomever is healthy, but this unit simply needs bodies. Other than Pouncey, there’s not a top talent in the group. The best that can be said about them is that they never quit trying to block while Ben runs around back there.
2. Middle Defense – This means Nose Tackle and Inside linebacker. Casey Hampton is very old and James Farrior is 37. Larry Foote will hang around at 31 for another year next to Timmons, but a replacement wouldn’t hurt. Donta Hightower and Dontari Poe could be available for them when they draft in the 1st.
3. Running back – Mendenhall is very average and their backups are journeymen. If they could get a dynamic player here it could really help this offense kick it into high gear.
1. Defensive Tackle – They cut a bunch of defensive tackles last year and passed on Marcel Dareus (don’t get me wrong, it worked out really well for them) . They really need to get a dominant defensive tackle in there.
2. Wide Receiver – They got Peyton, but I’m sure he’d like some better targets. Eric Decker has flashed some potential, as had Demaryious Thomas, but a real number one could help.
3. Cornerback – Champ Bailey continues to play phenomenal, and Andre Goodman is serviceable, but there’s not much depth. They need a future player here.
1. Wide receiver – Andre Johnson does it all by himself year in year out. They’ve tried Kevin Walter, Jacoby Jones, etc and haven’t gotten much production out of any of them. Kendall Wright, Reuben Randle, or Stephen Hill are all good-looking options to pair him with.
2. Nose Tackle – The Texans played their 3-4 with 4-3 personnel last year and looked phenomenal. Add a real 3-4 rush linebacker and a power nose tackle to the mix and this is a scary unit. Isn’t a 1st round need, but if they can find some talent in the 2nd, 3rd or 4th rounds it would be great.
3. Linebacker – DeMeco Ryans and Mario Williams (part of one of the best draft classes in the last decade) are gone. Both were 4-3 guys and the Texans have announced that they’re committed to the transition. Brooks Reed looks good at one position and Cushing seems solid at inside, but an upgrade at either of the other two would be good.
New Orleans Saints
1. Defensive End – Spagnolo will want some dynamic pass rushing ends that the Saints don’t currently possess.
2. Safety – Mark Barron would look nice, but it’s not going to happen. Malcolm Jenkins has shined as a FS, but a big body safety would be a nice boost to this unit.
3. Cornerback – They lost some depth in free agency and they’re going against Cam Newton and Matt Ryan a couple of times a year.
Green Bay Packers
1. Rush Linebacker – Clay Mathews’ production slipped dramatically last season and he really looks like he could use some help from either in front or on the other side.
2. Defensive end – Speaking of help up front, BJ Raji is the only presence left and his belly dance can’t do it all by himself. They really need some 3-4 ends.
3. Cornerback / Safety – Nick Collins may not play this year or ever. If that’s the case, they can extend Charles Woodson’s career by dropping him to safety, or getting a new one. Either way a secondary piece is needed.
1. Linebacker – Ray Lewis doesn’t appear to be quitting anytime soon, but his body is starting to. He’s lost a couple of steps at this point, but his instincts are still incredible. Pairing him with a Hightower or Kuechly would be nice, but they might not be there. Suggs is also by himself with the departure of Jarret Johnson to San Diego. They’ll try Paul Kurger and hope for Kindle, but if a dynamic pass rusher like Shae McClellin is there it might be tough to pass up.
2. Offensive line – Michael Oher is a RT. Yanda is a versatile RG or RT. Matt Birk is ancient (another ancient center?!), Ben Grubbs is in New Orleans, and Bryant McKinnie is a stop-gap. The Ravens went from one of the top offensive lines to a patchwork mess. If Jonathan Martin or Mike Adams is available in the first, they’ll seriously consider him. There should be options at C or G for them to select in worst case scenario. Unless….
3. Wide Receiver – Anquan works best out of the slot. Torry Smith has two routes – go and post. They need a true number one and could see that potential in Stephen Hill or Reuben Randle if they’re available.
San Francisco 49ers
1. Wide Receiver – I wont write off Michael Crabtree yet, but Vernon Davis is clearly the best receiver on this group. They need an elite talent for Alex Smith to wing it to.
2. Cornerback – Carlos Rodgers is back, but this is a thin unit still. If they think they can deal with Jenkins, it might be worth a look a la Jimmy Smith last year.
3. Pass rusher – Aldon Smith burst onto the scene, but wouldn’t hurt to add another either at DE or OLB.
New England Patriots
1. Pass Rusher – The Patriots really have felt the loss of Mike Vrabel. Andre Carter was solid but a young Aldon Smith type player would be a welcome addition to this unit.
2. Safety – Or Cornerback. Pats fans should never want to see Julian Edelman on Anquan Boldin again.
3. Defensive line – It’s not a bad unit, but they need more hybrid players if they want to keep rotating between a 4-3 and 3-4
New York Giants
1. Offensive line – This is more for depth than anything because the unit is strong currently. They’re also very old. It wouldn’t hurt to start grooming some backups.
2. Tight End – This group is all hurt. Ballard went down, Beckum torn his ACL in the super bowl and won’t be available next season. Eli likes his tight ends so a Coby Fleener or Dwayne Allen late could be an option.
3. Running back – Coughlin likes a run by committee approach and has lost most of his committee. Ahmad Bradshaw will be back but Jacobs has bolted for San Fran. Doug Martin is a well-rounded option at 32, or they can address the need later with a Polk or someone else.