Every NFL Team's Biggest Draft Need Through Week 4

Ryan Alfieri@Ryan_AlfieriCorrespondent IIIOctober 2, 2012

Every NFL Team's Biggest Draft Need Through Week 4

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    Now that we have a full month of NFL football under our belts, teams are starting to separate them selves as they validate or prove wrong everything we have said about them headed into the season. 

    Some teams have fallen into big enough holes to already start looking into next season. 

    Here is the biggest draft need for every team through a quarter of the season. 

Green Bay Packers

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    Biggest Need: Cornerback

    With Charles Woodson making the move to safety this year, Sam Shields is being forced into a role as a boundary corner.

    Shields has not necessarily been bad in his new role, but he is much better suited to play in the slot as a nickel corner. Adding a new starter at the position will help the Packers get better in more ways in one by moving Shields back into the slot. 

    With Tramon Williams playing well again on the opposite side, adding another high-end corner could vault this defense back to its 2010 form. 

Minnesota Vikings

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    Biggest Need: Middle Linebacker

    The Vikings defense has managed to get back to a normal level of competence this year, but they still have a gaping hole in the middle of their defense that they never addressed in the offseason. 

    Brinkley can get you through a few games, but he is not a dynamic player and can be picked on in coverage. 

    The Vikings need to find a three-down linebacker that they don't need to take off the field. 

Detroit Lions

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    Biggest Need: Cornerback

    Many applauded the release of Aaron Berry after a series of DUIs, but he was arguably the best corner on the team at the time. 

    As a result, the Lions secondary has been torched on a consistent basis by even the most pedestrian of passing offenses. 

    In truth, the Lions could use three or four new starters in their secondary, starting at corner. I would not be surprised if the Lions spent some money in free agency to address the position and still spend a high pic on a cornerback. 

Chicago Bears

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    Biggest Need: Offensive Tackle

    For some unknown reason, the Bears insist on thinking that J'Marcus Webb, a former seventh round pick, has the potential to be a quality starting left tackle, despite poor production from Webb year after year. 

    The Bears already have their right tackle in place in Gabe Carimi. Solidifying the left side would do wonders for an offense that has mostly underachieved this year.

    Plus, it would give Jay Cutler one less thing to whine about every week.  

Baltimore Ravens

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    Biggest Need: Offensive Tackle

    The Ravens have pass-rush issues, but most of that could be attributed to the loss of Terrell Suggs. Meanwhile, the offensive line could use some new blood.  

    On the other hand, if the Ravens are able to add another right tackle, it would help them in more ways than one. If they can get a new left tackle, they can move Michael Oher back to his more natural position at right tackle. From there, they can kick rookie Kelechi Osimele inside to guard, where he can be a dominant player. 

    With the addition of one player, the Ravens can upgrade three spots on their offensive line. 

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Biggest Need: Safety

    The Bengals defense has been largely disappointing this season, thanks to shortcomings by their secondary. In particular, the safety position has been a hole on this defense for a few years now. 

    Reggie Nelson is a solid player at free safety, but Taylor Mays, while a physical specimen, is a liability. They drafted George Iloka in the fifth round, but he is in the mold of a free safety and needs time to develop. 

    The Bengals don't necessarily need a superstar on the back end (although it wouldn't hurt), but a smart, reliable player who is always in the right spot would do wonders for this defense.  

Cleveland Browns

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    Biggest Need: Wide Receiver

    The Browns are one of the youngest teams in the league, so finding holes on their team can be a tricky. Many of their players will fill holes as they develop with time. 

    The Browns do have young talent at the receiver position in Greg Little and Josh Gordon, but Little's issues with drops is starting to become a huge problem for their offense. 

    Cleveland doesn't need another possession receiver—they need to snag Keenan Allen or Robert Woods to give their offense a player that truly scares opposing defenses. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Biggest Need: Offensive Tackle

    Pittsburgh has been able to find ways to win without a quality offensive line, but Roethlisberger is taking more hits than ever before. At some point, Roethlisberger is going to get seriously hurt. 

    Right now, the Steelers are getting by with Max Starks at left tackle, who is a player they have been trying to move on from for years. 

    Add a quality left tackle to this group that has spent a pair of first-round picks on a center and a guard, and they could have an old-fashioned Steeler line to work with. 

New York Jets

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    Biggest Need: Offense

    Yes, the Jets have so many needs on offense that I could not pick a single position. 

    They could use a new pair of runners, a left guard, a right tackle, and even a new quarterback. If Stephen Hill doesn't pan out, receiver pops up as a position of need as well. 

    Oh, and Dustin Keller, their top tight end, is on the last year of his contract.

    Whatever issues they have on defense, such as outside linebacker, need to be put on the back-burner while they try to figure out the mess they have on the offensive side of the ball.  

New England Patriots

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    Biggest Need: Right Guard

    Outside of a 45-point half against the Bills last week, the Patriots offense has not been quite as machine-like in year's past, and a leaky offensive line is the primary culprit. 

    Most assumed that Brian Waters would come back after the dog days of training camp were over, but Waters never returned to the team and the Patriots were forced to start Donald Thomas in his place. 

    To be truthful, the Patriots pass protection woes are more due to struggles of Nate Solder at left tackle, but it is far too early to replace a former first-round pick. 

Buffalo Bills

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    Biggest Need: Quarterback

    On paper, the Bills are a fairly complete team. They have a ton of talent of defense (that has underperformed thus far) and enough weapons on offense to succeed. 

    The issue is that Ryan Fitzpatrick, whom the Bills handed a huge extension after a string of strong games last year, cannot stop turning the ball over. 

    When Fitzpatrick plays within his element and does not try to force passes, the Bills are tough to beat. Problem is, he always tries to do too much. 

    It is unclear how the quarterback class with shape out this year and where the Bills will be drafting, but if they have a chance to take someone like Tyler Wilson, they should seriously consider it. 

Miami Dolphins

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    Biggest Need: Wide Receiver

    Despite Brian Hartline's record-breaking performance against the Cardinals last week, the Dolphins have a massive need at receiver. 

    Brian Hartline and Davone Bess are nice players when healthy, but neither can strike fear into a defense and the lack of a true number one receiver could stunt Ryan Tannehill's development. 

    There are a handful of pass-catchers in this year's draft, such as Keenan Allen and Robert Woods, that can give the Dolphins the true deep threat they have been craving. 

New York Giants

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    Biggest Need: Offensive Tackle

    Eli Manning has managed to hide the Giant's protection woes for a while now, but this is an issue Jerry Reese cannot ignore much longer. 

    Not only are the Giants struggling in protection, but they have not been able to run the ball much, with the exception of their game against Carolina (who has the worst run defense in football). 

    Adding a new top-end tackle will help deal with all of the great pass rushers within the division. 

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Biggest Need: Center

    With the much improved play of their safety and linebacker group, the biggest need on the Eagles is the center position. 

    The Eagles line has been their biggest problem area, but stud tackle Jason Peters will return next year after rupturing his Achilles twice in the offseason. This leaves center Dallas Reynolds as the one question mark on an otherwise-talented line. 

    Once the Eagles can settle their issues up front, they are going to be one of the most dominant offenses in the league. 

Dallas Cowboys

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    Biggest Hole: Interior Offensive Line

    So far, Tony Romo has somehow been able to hide the Cowboys issues on the offensive line for the most part with his ability to evade pressure. 

    The Cowboys are getting by with their sub-par line for now, but they cannot keep asking Tony Romo to keep making spectacular plays over and over again. 

    Tyron Smith has been doing his job at left tackle, but the interior spots and Doug Free at right tackle have not been consistent. If the Cowboys don't fix things soon, Romo is going to pay the price with his health. 

Washington Redskins

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    Biggest Need: Right Tackle

    Outside of Will Montgomery and Trent Williams, the Redskins need new starters at every other position on the offensive line, starting with the right tackle spot. 

    The Redskins have been able to hide most of the line woes with their zone scheme and RGIII's mobility, but it's only been four games. With all of the gifted pass rushers within the division, the Redskins are going to have trouble moving the ball on divisional opponents. 

    The Skins seem to have found enough skill positions to work with, solidifying the offensive line is the last piece of the puzzle to fixing this offense. 

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Biggest Need: Right Tackle

    We continue our trend of offensive line-basing by attacking the Jaguars decision to trot out Guy Whimper on a weekly basis and expecting his play to magically improve. 

    Blaine Gabbert is the type of quarterback that needs a clean pocket to be effective—too much pressure and he starts looking down at it as the game wears on.

    The faster the Jaguars can get their line back into top-top shape, the sooner Blaine Gabbert will look like a real NFL quarterback. 

Houston Texans

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    Biggest Need: Slot Receiver

    Finding a need on the Texans roster is a near-impossible task, but if there is one thing they could add to their offense, it would be a slot receiver. 

    Adding a dynamic slot receiver would make this offense nearly impossible with their stout running attack and additional weapons in Owen Daniels and Andre Johnson. 

    Still, this is more nitpicking than anything, as the Texans are, by far, the most complete team in football. 

Tennessee Titans

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    Biggest Hole: Cornerback

    Since the loss of Cortland Finnegan in the offseason, the Titans have gotten exponentially worse on defense, giving up huge plays in the passing game. 

    Jason McCourty is a decent starter on one side, but they simply do not have the depth to keep up with the spread attacks in the NFL. 

    Adding a starting corner will not only improve the play on the outside, but it will allow them to kick Alterraun Verner back inside to the slot, where he is more suited to play. 

Indianapolis Colts

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    Biggest Need: Offensive Line

    The Colts helped fix their dire corner issues with the trade for Vontae Davis, leaving their biggest issues up front on the offensive side of the ball. 

    Anthony Castanzo, last year's first-round pick, has been solid at left tackle, but every other spot on the line could use an upgrade. 

    Andrew Luck has plenty of promise as the team's franchise quarterback for the next decade, but they need to protect him better so they can get the most out of his talents. 

New Orleans Saints

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    Biggest Need: Cornerback

    Most would point to the loss of Sean Payton as the biggest reason for the Saints 0-4 start, but the departure of Tracy Porter in free agency was a huge blow to this defense. 

    Patrick Robinson has been underwhelming as a former first-round pick, and Jabari Greer is not getting any younger. 

    The Saints could also use a dynamic pressure to help hide their issues on the back end, but somehow, the Saints need to stop giving up so many big plays. 

Carolina Panthers

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    Biggest Need: Defensive tackle

    For some unknown reason, the Panthers refused to solve their issues at defensive tackle during the offseason, electing to spend their draft resources bolstering two of the strongest units of their team, linebacker and running back, instead. 

    What makes their approach even more confusing is that they released one of their starters and 2011 draft pick Terrell Mc'Clain right before the season. 

    Now, the Panthers are as easy to run on as ever before, and Charles Johnson is getting double-teamed on every down. They need to find a way to get stronger at the point of attack in a hurry. 

Atlanta Falcons

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    Biggest Need: Defensive End

    The Falcons pass rush has not been terrible, but if they don't address it soon, it will be. 

    John Abraham, their premier defensive player for quite some time, is not getting any younger at age 34. As he continues to age, he figures to take on a more rotational role. Meanwhile, Ray Edwards has been a non-factor on the opposite side since signing away from the Vikings. 

    If the Falcons are able to land a young rusher in the draft, they will be able to slowly ease him into the rotation as the phase out Abraham without seeing a drop in production. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Biggest Need: Defensive Tackle

    The Bucs took care of most of their issues on the back end by drafting Mark Barron, but outside of Gerald McCoy, they don't have anyone they can rely on to help him out in the middle of the line. 

    The good news is that Gerald McCoy is starting to look like the third overall pick the Bucs need him to be, but there is little help next to him since the Brian Price experiment failed. 

    The loss of Adrian Clayborne is going to make the Bucs defensive line look worse than it really is, but depth is still an issue. 

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Biggest Need: Quarterback

    On paper, the Chiefs roster has few holes on it, which makes you wonder whether or not Matt Cassel should still be the Chiefs quarterback in 2013. 

    Cassel can win in the perfect situation, as we saw in 2010. When things are not perfect, however, he simply cannot win games on his own. In a way, he is the Chiefs version of Mark Sanchez

    Because Scott Pioli has so much invested in Cassel, he is unlikely to move on from him after this season, but doing so would probably be in the best interests of the Chiefs. 

Denver Broncos

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    Biggest Need: Safety

    The Broncos have greatly improved their run defense, giving up just 3.4 yards per carry, but they need to get better at preventing big plays in the passing game. 

    Rahim Moore is only starting because of an injury to Quinton Carter, and Mike Adams is a slow, aging vet that can be taken advantage of in coverage. Even with Carter in the lineup, this is an average unit at best. 

    Luckily for the Broncos, this is a strong safety class that will allow them to get younger and more athletic on the back end of their defense. 

San Diego Chargers

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    Biggest Need: Wide Receiver

    The cupboard is not completely bare for the Chargers at the receiver position with Malcolm Floyd and Robert Meachem, but they are still lacking the number one target that Vincent Jackson provided. 

    They are still waiting on Vincent Brown to come back from injury and emerge as a deep threat, but all he is at this point is potential. 

    If Brown can be the player the Chargers think he is this year, than the needs move to the offensive line, but for now, Rivers needs some more weapons to work with. 

Oakland Raiders

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    Biggest Need: Cornerback

    General manager Reggie McKenzie was forced to terminate a lot of bloated contracts this offseason to fix the Raiders dire salary cap situation, which included the release of Stanford Routt. 

    The loss of Ron Bartell, a free agent signing from the Rams this offseason, has put the Raiders in an tough position, forcing Shawntae Spencer and Pat Lee to be their starting corner tandem. 

    Bartell could return later in the year thanks to the new IR rules, which could make this unit look much better. In any case, this team has lacked a true number one corner since Nnamdi Asomugha left for Philadelphia last summer. 

Arizona Cardinals

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    Biggest Need: Quarterback

    Give Kolb credit for getting the Cardinals to 4-0, but if this team wants to become legitimate Super Bowl contenders, they need to get themselves a new passer. 

    Could the Cardinals win the division and get to the playoffs with Kevin Kolb pulling the trigger? Absolutely. Can they win a Super Bowl? No way. 

    The offensive line also has tons of issues, but they will get Levi Brown back next year to make it at least resemble an NFL unit.

    In the meantime, the Cards need to get back into the quarterback market, except this time, they cannot afford to make another multi-million dollar mistake. 

Seattle Seahawks

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    Biggest Need: Wide Receiver

    You know a team is desperate for receiving threats when they bring in Terrell Owens for training camp. 

    Sidney Rice has not been able to avoid the injury bug and be the player he was in Minnesota, and Braylon Edwards is clearly not the same player he used to be because of injury. Golden Tate is getting better, but he is more suited to be a slot guy than a starter. 

    The Seahawks still need Rice to be their number one, but adding a quality starter opposite him will take some pressure off Rice and help him play up to his contract. 

San Francisco 49ers

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    Biggest Need: Defensive Tackle

    Like the Houston Texans, the 49ers are as close to a complete team as you can get in the NFL, making finding holes in their 2013 squad very difficult. 

    However, they could potentially have issues at defensive tackle with Isaac Sopoaga up for free agency next season. In a defense filled with superstars, Sopoaga is an underrated yet integral part of their stout run defense that sets the tone for the rest of the game. 

    Of course, re-signing Sopoaga would solve this problem, but the 49ers have a lot of money tied up in other players. 

St. Louis Rams

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    Biggest Need: Offensive Tackle

    The Rams are managing to eek out wins with horrendous protection issues, but this cannot last for long. For a team that has invested so much in terms of money and draft picks into the unit, this team needs at least four new offensive lineman. 

    Roger Saffold is a marginal starter at right tackle, nevemind holding the fort on Sam Bradford's blindside. We have seen enough to Wayne Hunter to know that he should never be a starting lineman ever again. 

    As much as this team as invested into their line, they must cut their losses with their wrong decisions to give Bradford more protection, especially when they face other stout defenses in their division. 


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