NFL Draft 2013: Teams with Biggest Need for Top Offensive Lineman
The need for good, strong offensive lineman in the National Football league is a big one, for there's simply no point in having a world-class quarterback otherwise.
Teams around the league know that unless they can give their man under center some time to throw the football downfield and the chance to operate inside the pocket without getting drilled from every direction, they stand little chance at succeeding in 2013.
So the need for top lineman this year is a pertinent one, and we can expect to see several teams run for the best that the 2013 NFL Draft has to offer.
This year's draft class is stacked with good guys up front that will significantly benefit teams right around the league; read on to see several teams that have the biggest need for new offensive lineman and the guys they could turn to this year to help them.
We might as well start with the big one—the Arizona Cardinals—who need help on the offensive line more than Dwight Howard needs help making free throws.
This team plain-old sucked up front during 2012. Unless they can get some serious assistance in the trenches this year, it's going to be more of the same in 2013.
They ranked as the worst pass-blocking and run-blocking team in 2013, and basically any player that they draft on their offensive line will be an improvement.
I mean, Larry Fitzgerald ranked as their second-best pass-blocker in 2012—that in itself should explain just how poor those front five guys were.
Eric Fisher is the logical pick for the Cardinals to try and get eighth overall, though they may have to try and move above the Detroit Lions if Luke Joeckel goes before the fifth pick. That, or be completely sure that the Lions are moving for Dee Milliner or someone who isn't Eric Fisher.
St. Louis Rams
Sam Bradford showed over the last few games of 2012 that he truly can be a dominating quarterback—as long as he has enough time to throw the football.
With two first-round draft picks (thank you, Washington), the Rams have a great chance to build upon their strong year even more. That has to start with getting some new talent and consistency into their offensive lineman this year.
Yes, their secondary needs help, but their offensive line must take precedence given the lack of standout secondary players compared to lineman this year.
Jonathan Cooper and Dallas Thomas are two players that would be great additions for the Rams offensive line in the first round. Either would be instant starters and better replacements than the guys currently ahead of them; nabbing both would be a draft masterstroke from St. Louis.
Chicago should have made the NFL Playoffs this year, and most likely would have if it wasn't for Adrian Peterson's freakish efforts in 2012.
However, even accounting for AP's brilliance, the Bears should have still made it if their offensive line had been up to scratch throughout the year.
The Bears finished the year with the third-worst ranked offense in the league—set up largely by their pass-blocking, which finished fifth-worst in the league.
Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler showed that they have a strong connection, but Chicago weren't completely able to utilize it due to the pressure Cutler received throughout the year. Thirty-eight sacks put an end to that plan, but they can change it around in the draft this year.
Whoever the Rams don't pick (Jonathan Cooper or Dallas Thomas) should be the guy that Chicago pull the trigger on in the first round. Heaven knows they need it.
Green Bay Packers
If it weren't for the brilliance of Aaron Rodgers and the fact that the Green Bay throw so many short throws and runs across field, the Packers offensive line would have been really left wanting throughout the year more than it already was.
They ranked fourth-lowest in the league in run blocking last year, and left Rodgers taking far too many hits and hurries for a guy that is their offensive heart and soul.
Expect Ted Thompson to fix that in 2013 by bringing in some quality players on the offensive front—most likely just drafting the best player on the board at the time.
Barrett Jones can play at either guard or center and would be a nice option, whilst someone like D.J. Fluker could even be a surprise pick.
Either way, the Packers desperately need some help on the offensive line if they're going to get the best out of Rodgers and their ground game in 2013.
Which teams do you think most need help on the offensive line?
Comment below or hit me up on Twitter: Follow @dantalintyre
All statistics and rankings courtesy of Pro Football Focus.
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