NFL Free Agency: Which Teams Were Unable to Fill FA Needs Through the Draft?
In a normal year, free agency happens before the NFL draft and by now, teams are putting some finishing touches on their rosters.
With the league halted by a lockout, however, no free agency took place after the 2010 season, and teams were left with only the NFL draft to make player moves.
Some teams drafted for need, acquiring players from positions they may have targeted in free agency.
Other teams, like the ones to follow, missed the boat on filling needs and are left with major questions on the roster, still.
Now, here are the teams that were unable to fill free agent needs through the draft.
By all accounts, the Denver Broncos had a great draft.
Although Broncos got future stars in Rahim Moore and Von Miller and certainly picked up value with Virgil Green and Jeremy Beal, the team fell short when it came to filling a big need.
With the move to a 4-3 defense, there is no one to play defensive tackle.
Presumably, the Broncos would have picked up two adequate 4-3 tackles in free agency, but with the lockout, the team missed out.
The Lions got fantastic value with their first three picks, getting blue chippers Nick Fairley, Titus Young and Mikel Leshoure.
While Jim Schwartz and Martin Mayhew certainly improved the team, they ignored two glaring needs that the team would have presumably addressed in free agency.
The team has shaky play at left tackle from the declining Jeff Backus and doesn't have a true No. 1 cornerback.
Despite the flashiness of their picks, the Lions fell short of addressing needs in the 2011 draft.
The Cowboys got a young offensive tackle in the first round, which will help the team along, but the Cowboys entered the offseason with major questions in the secondary and still haven't answered those questions.
Terrence Newman struggled mightily last year with below-average safety play and incapable corners lining up on the other side of the field.
Dallas went a disappointing 6-10 last year, mainly because the defensive backs couldn't hold opposing offenses in check.
The rival Giants got a corner, but the Cowboys failed to address a need they certainly would have addressed in free agency.
There is a huge elephant in the room in Arizona—the quarterback position.
With Derek Anderson, John Skelton and Max Hall the only quarterbacks on the roster, the Cardinals didn't select a rookie signal-caller in the draft.
Without a lockout the Cardinals would presumably have had a quarterback already, and it is feasible to think that Arizona could already have a deal in place for Kevin Kolb.
The Cardinals need (much) better quarterback play to compete in 2011 and certainly left a big need unfilled during the draft.
New York Jets
The Jets love to rush the passer, and Rex Ryan's creative blitzing schemes allow the Jets to send a host of defenders after the quarterback.
In the 2011 offseason, it was presumed that the Jets would target a pass-rusher to make the defense run more smoothly and not leave the team susceptible to big gains by the opposition when coverage is blown.
The Jets didn't accomplish that, drafting a 3-4 run-stuffing defensive end in the first round and a nose tackle in the third round.
Major questions still remain about who will be playing rush linebacker for New York, and if free agency had happened, maybe those questions would have been answered at this point.
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