NFL Teams: Breaking Down the Position Each Team Needs (NFC)
With each year in the NFL, each team improves and regresses; for each regression, a team gets players that they believe can change their luck around or improve their record.
Some teams do not to improve a lot. Others are in desperate need of help. The most common form is to add new players, who can either add depth or improvement from the previous year.
I will break down specifically what each team needs, why and what is their best possible choice to improve that position
Each position may not necessarily need a player to fill a hole, but may need more backup or specialized players.
All players I recommend each team gets is based on how plausible that player will leave their current team (Jason Taylor may leave the Jets this year, but Adrian Peterson will most likely stay a Viking).
REMEMBER: This is based on my perspective, you're welcome to place your input, but please do not be rude.
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I do not think they need a quarterback. I think Jimmy Clausen just needs time to develop; remember, he's not working with a lot of talent.
Tight End: They've never had a great tight end. Dante Rasario and Jeff King are not cutting it. While King may be a good run-blocker, they need a tight end that can go down the middle, make a catch and fight for yards.
Wide Receiver: Having one good (yet declining and upset) player in Steve Smith does not a receiving corp make. They play with rookie receivers in David Gettis and Brandon LaFell. They need to get themselves a proven receiver, maybe trade for Larry Fitzgerald.
Defensive End: Julius Peppers was a huge loss, as they lost a great amount of pass rushing skill. Charles Johnson, their leading sacker, may not return next season, but if he does they need a new rusher opposite of him to help out.
Cornerback: When the seventh-round Captain Munnerlynn takes the starting position from former first-rounder Chris Gamble, you know they are lacking playmakers. Adding a player like future free agent Nnamdi Asmougha would increase the depth of defensive backs and improve the defense 10-fold.
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Tight End: Tony Gonzalez isn't gonna be around forever, so they need a young playmaker to come around. While not a serious need, as they have multiple weapons, a good tight end can make the team extremely effective against defenses. They will probably attack this need through the draft.
Wide Receiver: Roddy White has been a red-hot threat against opposing secondary. Michael Jenkins has been lukewarm his entire career. The Falcons could really benefit from a serious threatening wideout opposite of White. They could probably pick up James Jones through a trade or Santonio Holmes and/or Braylon Edwards from the Jets, as their contracts expire after the year is over.
Defensive Tackle: The team has not had that interior pressure. When you don't have that interior pressure, then you give quarterbacks room to step up. When you play in the same division as Drew Brees, you need that pressure. One of their best options would be to get Richard Seymour from the Raiders who franchised him last season.
Safeties: The safeties are very complementary of each other, as Thomas DeCoud is a physical hitter while William Moores plays the cover. The duo could get a third safety to use in rotation to mix it up against defenses. Picking up a veteran safety such as Darren Sharper or Brian Dawkins could bring leadership, and a mental toughness to that defense.
New Orleans Saints
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Running Backs: Despite having a very filled running back corp (Reggie Bush, Chris Ivory, Julius Jones and Pierre Thomas), they lack a true feature back since Deuce McAlister, Chris Ivory and Pierre Thomas are coming back from injuries, so they may not be up to snuff at the beginning of the season and Julius Jones probably won't be back.
They need a big power back that can pick up first downs. Marion Barber would be a great option, while having injury concerns, he would be used in a rotational system, keeping opponents on their toes.
Defensive Tackle: Just like the Falcons, that interior pressure is missing and it's putting pressure on that secondary. They could probably draft a big tackle in the first round and add a lot of depth to the team.
Outside Linebacker: Despite running a 4-3 defense, they utilize their outside linebackers extensively. The pass rush has become almost nonexistent from the second level since the loss of Scott Fujita. This is another need that can be addressed in the draft.
Safety: If you watched that Saints-Seahawks game, then you know they need safeties. When Malcolm Jenkins went down, they were exposed on the backside. Darren Sharper is getting too old and Roman Harper can't stay with receivers. They might trade or draft a more athletic safety that they can use in place of the aging wonders.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Guards/ Tackles: The lack serious depth at OL. Despite keeping up Josh Freeman and creating holes for the run game, they need more talented players.
Defensive Tackle: They need someone next to Gerald McCoy. They lacked the pressure from the defensive line, leaving big holes in their secondary. They would also benefit from bringing a veteran such as John Henderson to help mold the youngsters.
Cornerback: Ronde Barber may move up to safety or retire, but either way, they need a new shutdown corner. While Aqib Talib did a masterful job; when he went down, the defense was exposed. Another talent opposite of him would drastically improve the defense.
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Quarterback: McNabb should not be the starter, but should stay on the team. Grossman is not the future, that's extremely obvious. They would benefit by taking a young quarterback into the roster and have McNabb mentor him. Grossman might have some trade value with the performances he's put up.
Wide Receiver: One of McNabb's issues is that he is used to playing with reliable players. Santana Moss will not be there next season, so that leaves Roydell Williams and Anthony Armstrong as your starters.
They could bring in T.O. or Steve Smith to the team, because we all know Dan Synder will pay big money for them. But they might also help that weak offense start to move the ball. Drafting a receiver with some good hands would be a good decision too, as they rank last in third down conversions, which is also an NFL record.
Guards: They need some serious help, because Donovan McNabb has never looked so uncomfortable. Their interior linemen are their weak points. If you ever watch them when they run, they always run outside or beyond the tackles and were very ineffective when running between.
Defensive Tackle: Because Albert Haynesworth does not want to play nose tackle, they lacked that key element of a 3-4 defense. They need a young and athletic nose tackle, but getting a space eater such as Shaun Rogers to take that place.
Cornerbacks: The only reason DeAngelo Hall made the Pro Bowl was because of one good game. Take out that one game and you just see one bad secondary. The aging Philip Buchanan has done a decent job while Carlos Rogers just gets constantly burned. They need a young and aggressive player.
One possibility is Mike Jenkins from the Dallas Cowboys, whose play this year was not what got him to the Pro Bowl; Jerry Jones might just part ways with him.
Safety: While LaRon Landry is a great player, he's a better hitter then cover man and they could use someone who can run with receivers.
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Tackles: They lost a game due to injured linemen (Week 1), and the backup made too many penalties. They could benefit from drafting a young offensive tackle and guard to give some athletic youth to that line.
Outside Linebacker: DeMarcus Ware could use a second pass rusher. Anthony Spencer has not played to the first-round expectations placed on him. Bringing in a pass rushing specialist can cause mayhem against defenses. The best option is to draft a youngster despite missing on the last two (Spencer and Bobby Carpenter).
Inside Linebacker: Keith Brooking is a great motivator, but lacks the athleticism to impact the team. Bradie James is solid, but nothing more. They could draft a youngster to get into a rotation to mix and matchup situations.
Cornerback: Normally two Pro Bowlers would not end up on this list, but when you have Terrance Newman declining and Mike Jenkins just not playing smart football, they need some help. Bringing in a player like Jabari Greer or Nnamdi Asomugha would bring in a smart player, who focuses more on stopping a pass rather than trying to make a play.
Safety: Where they need consistency at Corner, they need risk takers at safety. The two players they had excelled when they took risks, but they never took enough. Getting a playmaker would be the best choice, and creating a rotation system lets players play when they are most useful.
Kicker: The lack of consistency and mental errors by David Buehler exposed the need for a new kicker. The pool of kickers is good, such as Shayne Graham, who showed he's a good kicker still and will be released after the season.
New York Giants
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Center/Guards: Injuries hampered the team all season long. They need guards who can stay healthy and a young center to have behind Shaun O'Hara and Rich Seubert.
Tight End: Kevin Boss is a solid tight end and getting another receiving tight end can cause mayhem. With two players running through the middle of defenses, they can get great matchups. Some options are Delanie Walker and LJ Smith.
Defensive Tackle: They have a plethora of defensive ends, but no game changers at tackle. A defensive tackle will disrupt opposing running games and, combined with the pass rushing Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, quarterbacks will be in constant trouble.
Outside Linebackers: They have a deep pool at defensive end, but are a puddle at outside linebackers. Keith Bulluck and Chase Blackburn are not good enough. While they are a 4-3 and don't rely on linebackers, they need much more solid tacklers and playmakers. Two options are Joey Porter and Jason Taylor.
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Offensive Tackles: Pass rushers were getting to Michael Vick late in the year and that's because they were running out of stamina. They need much more youthful tackles and their best options are to draft.
Linebackers: When Stewart Bradley went down, they were exposed. The middle linebacker is a keep position in their defense and they need a physical player. Stewart Bradley will not play complete games next season and bringing in a stronger player could fill the void. AJ Hawk will be a free agent and bringing him in would add that physicality the team needs.
Outside Linebacker: Ernie Sims needs another speedster next to him. While Moise Fokou is solid, he doesn't have the speed and head-hunting abilities the position needs. They could take a player like Jarret Johnson from the Ravens, or instead go for a much more physical player to complement Sims and bring in Clint Session from the Colts via trade.
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Quarterback: I'm a fan of Matthew Stafford, but if he can't stay healthy then his team is lost. Bringing in a reliable backup is a priority. While Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton are admirable, they need someone who can go from second to first string. Alex Smith and Kevin Kolb are both good options, as they have starter potential.
Running Back: Jahvid Best is electrifying, but not tough. They should pick up a bruising back to add the physicality to their offense. Kevin Smith is a good player, but is not tough. Their best option is to pick up Brandon Jacobs, who will become a free agent.
Offensive Tackles: The quarterback position was hounded by pass rushers. They need much more reliable protection. Gosder Cherilus is not reliable and they need to go in a different direction.
Defensive End: Kyle Van Dan Bosch was a monster before being dropped by injury and the line lost a little of its frightening influence. Getting a better rusher opposite of Bosch would improve the line vastly, and if a injury occurs, they have Cliff Avril, a reliant player, to take the place.
Inside Linebacker: Larry Foote was a strong influence on the team in 2009 and they lost a strong player when he was let go. Bringing in a youngster out of the draft is the best choice, but signing a veteran can bring leadership to the young team.
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Quarterback: Quarterback is almost too obvious. With their 12th pick in the draft, they might select a quarterback; TCU Andy Dalton or Alabama's Greg McElroy are possible options. They might trade for Donovan McNabb, who would can play well when given some weapons.
Offensive Tackle/Guard: Despite having a Pro Bowl tackle and guard, they suffer injuries across the offensive line, which also resulted in weaker protection of the quarterback. They will need much more experienced players to take the place of Bryant McKinnie at left tackle and Chris DeGeare.
Outside Linebacker: Ben Leber is an unrestricted free agent and has not made much production. They may part ways with him and pick up someone new. They should focus on a speedy linebacker who is better at playing coverage.
Cornerback: Cornerback has been a huge issue during the season. Last year, the team's interception numbers were shrouded by the sacks the defensive line was producing. But this year, the line was not getting to anyone and the lack of interceptions killed them. The team's corners only produced five of the team's 15 interceptions.
Pass coverage was also a big issue as they were carved up by the league's better quarterbacks. They need to sign someone much more aggressive, such as Antonio Cromartie, who is a free agent after the season.
Green Bay Packers
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Running Back: Despite Ryan Grant returning next season, and James Starks' good production, the team needs another consistent running back. Grant may not be at full form at the start of the season and Starks numbers may not carry over. A proven running back such as Marion Barber, Cadillac Williams or Jerome Harrison are all good backs who have not been given playing time. Getting one of these players adds an extra dimension to the explosive offense.
Defensive Ends: While a defensive end is not as important in a 3-4, they are still needed. Actually, they need to add a larger player to help in run defense, an area where they are ranked 18th. Darnell Dockett is a perfect 3-4 defensive end of a big run stopper.
Inside Linebacker: Desmond Bishop was re-signed, but AJ Hawk was not, meaning he might be gone. They will need to pick up a new ILB who is versatile, which means he can blitz, cover and go man to man. Since they have a good set of linebackers, they may pick up a couple of linebackers from the draft to fill in the void and put in a rotation system where they can maximize their specialties.
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Runningback: More specifically, they need a receiving back. While Matt Forte has done a good job, Mike Martz offense needs more explosiveness then what Forte has brought. The Bears may focus more around Chester Taylor, who has good hands, or pick up Joseph Addai, who is still a double threat.
Offensive Tackle/ Guards: When you give up the most sacks in the NFL, you need some help. Some sacks are the quarterback's fault, but you don't wanna replace that. They have been shuffling players all season long and should focus on getting some veteran guards and a tackle for the offense. The Mike Martz system is fast paced, so whoever they bring in needs good stamina.
Wide Receiver: They all have speed, but none are tough, tall or reliable. None of them are also above the age of 28. What they need is a veteran receiver who can bring consistency to the younger players and act as a third down receiver that Cutler can go to.
Defensive Tackle: Tommie Harris' production went down; he had a season full of criticism and was benched. He probably won't come back next season, so they need someone who can push the pile. The best option would be to draft a player because most of the players on the defense are pushing up or are at least 30 years old.
Cornerback: Charles Tillman has proven to be a great corner, but the team does not have a player who can challenge the other wideout. Bringing in a younger talented player who can learn from Tillman can be frightening to opposing offenses. Tillman is notable for forcing fumbles and having two players who excel at that could spell disaster for others.
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Quarterback: Quarterback play was the biggest issue with the team, as they had three starting quarterbacks throughout the season. Tony Pike delivered the most (albeit still not a lot) and should be a project. They should bring in a veteran quarterback who can mentor the youngster such as Donovan McNabb or Kerry Collins.
Tight End: When Anquan Boldin left, so did the physicality of the team. They have not had a good tight end in years now, and it's been exposed this season. A big and tough tight end will make all the catches that Boldin used to and provide a safety blanket for whoever is quarterback.
Inside/Outside Linebackers: Their weak points. Paris Lenon and Joey Porter are declining and the team lacks talent. They need a consistent and aggressive linebacker out of the draft who can learn behind the two veterans. Meanwhile, the veterans can take plays off and let the newbies exchange experience with athleticism.
San Francisco 49ers
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Quarterback: I don't know who is gonna be quarterback, but I don't think it should be a Smith. They have shown flashes of brilliance, but could never keep it up. With Jim Harbaugh coaching, the team is gonna be different and the best way to show it is by getting a franchise quarterback. With the seventh pick overall, they may be able to get a talented player.
Wide Receiver: We all know that Michael Crabtree had a bit of a slump this year, but that's because he had quarterback issues and was the focal point of defenses. He needs another wide receiver who can attract attention as well. While Josh Morgan, the other viable receiver, and Ted Ginn Jr., the punt returner, they could bring a a veteran to the team. My recommendation is bring T.O. back home. If Jim is anything like his brother, then he will handle T.O..
Nose Tackle: Aubrayo Franklin was franchised, and he didn't like it. He probably won't want to come back and that spells trouble for the team. They will probably dip in free agency to address the position, but not a lot of nose tackles are usually available. Drafting one is a possibility and may pick up Stanford's Sione Fua.
Outside Linebacker: Manny Lawson has not lived up to his first-round expectations and it's probably time for him to pack his bags. Free agency should be filled with linebackers. One of the better options is Mike Vrabel, who is a versatile player and brings leadership to the team.
St. Louis Rams
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Wide Receiver: Sam Bradford showed he's good when he keeps up the good work with guys they sign off the street and practice squads. Donnie Avery and Mark Clayton will come back, but they will not be ready, so they need a receiver who has talent, but lacks an ego (so no T.O. or Ocho). They should trade up in the draft to pick up Julio Jones, or trade and get more picks while taking Torrey Smith.
Tight End: Same as the wideouts, just playing with guys off the street. Bradford would really benefit from a good reliable tight end, so he doesn't have to hold the ball too long or throw it away all the time. Kevin Boss, Randy McMichael and Bo Scaife will be free agents and are proven players.
Cornerback: The corners were young and inexperienced. They have room to grow, but bringing in a veteran will help them learn their fundamentals. Ronde Barber and Champ Bailey are possible options, as they can take lesser roles and still help mature the youngsters. Nnamdi Asamugha can be brought in to teach and play at a high level.
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Defensive Tackle: The defensive ends have not made much noise. The team needs a dominating tackle, who will have the advantage of two good defensive ends. Richard Seymour will add an amazing influence to the team and having him on the team can garner league respect.
Cornerback: Marcus Trufant is aging and Kelly Jennings has not produced at all. With the 22nd pick in the draft, a good corner may fall to them. Brandon Harris and Jimmy Smith are first-round prospects and they can add an extra depth and youth injection to a veteran-filled team.
Safety: Earl Thomas is the future. Lawyer Milloy is the past. Milloy can still play, but not well enough to stay the starting safety. Drafting another rookie safety will create a dynamic duo at the third level who can be all over the field. Milloy can be relegated to a backup position and the dimeback.