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2010 Team Needs
Prior to free agency and the draft
By Jay Goldberg

 

AFC EAST

BUF


Major need
     Need     Upgrade possible     Depth/possible need     Not a need

   
QB No player disappointed me more last year than Edwards.  With Owens, Evans and the rookie Nelson I expected him to take a big step forward.  Even when healthy, he did not.  I'm not totally writing him off; however the Bills need to bring in a better quarterback than Fitzpatrick to challenge him.
RB Lynch took a major step back, while Jackson took a step forward.  Assuming Lynch is not moved, depth is all that is needed. 
WR Oh well, I expected a big year from Evans with T.O. opposite him and Edwards settling in.  That didn't happen.  With T.O. out the door, the Bills are back to needing a wide receiver to play opposite one of the most talented, yet under-utilized players in the NFL (Evans).  Maybe Hardy will develop, but that can't be counted on.  Reed is an UFA.
TE I loved the Bills selection of Nelson last year and expect that pick to pay big dividends this year.  Another sleeper in camp could be Klopfenstein who has good skills, but hasn't displayed them yet.
OL The Bills need a left tackle who can start immediately, and a right tackle to at least compete to start.  Inside they are in better shape.
DL Buffalo is changing to a 3-4 defense and while Kyle Williams could be a stopgap starter on the nose, which is the key position in a 3-4 to control opposing teams' rushing, he is not ideally suited for the position.  At end, Stroud and possibly Johnson could transition to the 3-4 and be productive, but more bodies are needed here as well.
LB This is the system that Maybin was born to play in.  He should be a stud.  While many believe Schobel will be a good fit at OLB, I see a transition similar to Aaron Kampman of Green Bay.  In other words, okay, but a significant downgrade from his effectiveness in the 4-3.  Inside Posluszny and Mitchell should be an effective duo, but depth could be added.
DB McGee and McKelvin are good fits for the 3-4 defense.  Both have good speed to play man-to-man.  Florence could push McKelvin, if he doesn't take the growth step I expect this year.  Lankster is a kid I like and he could move into a nickel or dime role in 2010.  The Bills are also deep at safety with Byrd, Whitner, Wilson, Scott and Wendling.
ST The Bills' could use an upgrade at returner.

MIA

Major need     Need     Upgrade possible     Depth/possible need     Not a need
   

QB I like Henne and believe he will grow into a solid second tier NFL starting quarterback.  Thigpen and White are athletic backups.
RB Last year I had this as a position of need which surprised many, and I still do this year.  Brown is talented, but his injuries continue to mount.  Ricky Williams has been effective, but is getting up in years and says this is his last year.  Hilliard played well in spots, but I'm not sure he would be as good if he was needed to play the key role.
WR The Dolphins have a number of #2/#3 receivers.  Camarillo, Bess, Hartline and Ginn Jr. are not lead receivers.  A true #1 needs to be added to take advatage of Henne's arm. 
TE Fasano took a step back as a receiver last year.  The Dolphins could add either a good two-way tight end, or a receiving tight end with Fasano keeping his starting job.
OL The Dolphins starting offensive line is a very good unit.  However, an upgrade over their current backups could be in the offing.
DL The Dolphins are fine at DE.  However, with Ferguson aging and possibly returning, a nose tackle to challenge and pair with Soliai needs to be added.
LB He mouth that roared (Porter) and the feet that danced (Taylor) could both be gone.  Wake has the potential to develop into a top pass rusher, but needs work in coverage and in the running game.  Anderson has had some good moments, but is best as a backup or in a rotation.  So outside linebackers are needed.  Inside, this team has lacked a top starter since Zack Thomas left.  Ayodele needs to be replaced as a starter.  Crowder is okay, but is also replaceable.
DB The Dolphins' secondary is the strength of their defense.  Rookies Smith and Davis played well and will get better.  Will Allen is a steady pro.  While people in Miami were getting on Wilson, I don't know what they expected.  Pairing him with Bell was not a good idea since they are both best served as strong safeties who play the run better than the pass.  Clemons is an athlete who could take a step forward next year, but adding a safety with good ball skills would help.
ST With Carpenter and Fields, the Dolphins kicking game is solid.  Ginn Jr. had some moments as a returner, but needs to be more consistent.  Competition at returner should be brought into camp.

NE

Major need     Need     Upgrade possible     Depth/possible need     Not a need
   

QB Brady is obviously a top starter.  I liked Hoyer when I analyzed him for the draft last year and obviously the Pats did too.  However, look for New England to bring in competition for Hoyer.
RB New England has a number of solid players, but no difference maker.  Look for them to bring in someone to potentially top the depth chart, or stand "pat".  Another potential area of need is third-down back since Faulk is an UFA.
WR Welker is coming off  injury and may not be available until sometime in the second half of the year.  Moss could be in his last year with the team.  After these two, only Edelman has the look of a receiver who can be counted on if needed to contribute consistently.
TE Watson is an UFA and could be leave.  Baker is an underrated player.  However, depth is needed, especially if Watson walks.
OL With Neal an UFA, and Mankins a RFA look for the Pats to add a guard during the draft.
DL For the first time in a long time, the Pats have a need along their defensive line.  Watson and Warren are still there, but Green, who replaced Seymour after he was traded, is best suited as a valuable reserve.
LB New England is set inside with Mayo and Guyton.  However, outside Banta-Cain is an UFA who a team (but not New England) may overpay because of his career year, and Thomas could be released.  So one, maybe two outside linebackers are needed, as well as an inside linebacker for depth.
DB The Pats are set at safety now and for the future with Meriweather and Chung.  At corner the Pats have numbers and a young player I think can step up this year and be a top corner in Butler.  However, Bodden in an UFA so look for the team to add a veteran if Bodden leaves.
ST The Pats need an upgrade at punter and a return man.  

NYJ

Major need     Need     Upgrade possible     Depth/possible need     Not a need
   

QB Sanchez had a good rookie year.  Clemens is best served as a backup and the jury is out how effective he can be even in that role.
RB Releasing Thomas Jones will come back to bite the Jets in the a**.  Green had a very strong finish to the year, out-performing what I expected from him.  I want to see him do it again for a full season.  There is also no guarantee that Washington will be back to what he was before his injury.  And if he checks out medically, he is a RFA who a another team may roll the dice with as a return man and running back committee member.
WR Cotchery is a really, really good receiver.  He is very underrated.  Edwards is a RFA who has the tools, but is inconsistent.   He'll be back for another year and will be given every chance to succeed.  I like Clowney and believe he could take a step forward next year.  Smith, a RFA, is a role player who is okay as a backup receiver.  This year they may add a player for depth, however, 2011 this could be a need depending upon how Edwards plays.
TE Kellar is a stretch-the field, bulked-up wide receiver playing tight end.  He's a keeper.  Hartsook is a good blocker.  The Jets could add a third tight end in the off season.
OL The Jets' line is becoming one of the best in the league.  Some young players to groom as future contributors is all that is needed in the offseason.
DL Ellis, Jenkins, and Coleman are a good 3-4 front.  However, Douglas is an UFA and there is little behind him.  Pouha is a good young nose tackle who can help keep Jenkins fresh.  Depth and youth at end is needed.
LB Inside Barton and Harris are solid, but depth is needed. Outside, Pace is a keeper and Thomas continues to be a solid, but replaceable starter.  It's time for Gholston to step up or step out.  Since I have confidence in him (don't know why), I have the Jets' need for an outside linebacker lower than many.  
DB The Jets have the best cornerback in the league and need to get a good player to play opposite him.  At safety, I like Rhodes, but Phillips appears to want more of a playmaker at that spot.  He's just been spoiled by Ed Reed.  Leonhard is solid.
ST The Jets signed Folk so they may not bring back Feely.  Weatherford is solid.  The Jets could use a return man in case Washington doesn't make it back.  You don't want to use Cotchery as a punt returner.  He's too valuable to the offense. 

NFC EAST

DAL

Major need
     Need     Upgrade possible     Depth/possible need     Not a need

   

QB Romo starting with Kitna backing up is a strong a situation as any team in the league.
RB While Barber and Jones are very good players, they get hurt a bit too much.  However #3 running back, Choice may be the best of the bunch in terms of being an all around back.  That's too bad because he is buried here and won't be traded because of the injury concerns.  It is possible that Barber could be traded if the Cowboys get an offer they can't refuse.
WR Austin is the real deal.  Crayton is solid.  Williams is an enigma.  It wasn't too long ago he was looked at as a future star when playing in Detroit.  Ogletree has skills as well.  Look for the Cowboys to draft a player they can develop late in the draft.
TE Witten, Bennett and Phillips may be the best tight end threesome in the league.
OL I'll say it again, it's time to replace Flozell Adams at left tackle, so a left tackle is needed.  Also, competition for left guard Kosier will be added.
DL Spears is an UFA and with more and more teams employing the 3-4 he could be a hot commodity in free agency.  If he leaves, the Cowboys will need a defensive end.  Even if he stays backup Hatcher is an UFA.  So defensive end is a need.   Ratliff is a top nose tackle.
LB Spencer and  Ware give Dallas terrific pair of starting outside linebackers.   Butler showed some promise to develop into a solid backup.   James is a terrific inside linebacker.  Brooking played well and is a leader, but is getting up there in age.  The Cowboys drafted Williams last year and he is a top athlete and could be Brookings eventual replacement.
DB Newman, Jenkins and Scandrick give the Cowboys three good corners.  Sensabaugh is a hitter at strong safety who at least has the speed to keep up in coverage when called upon.  I have always felt Hamlin was miscast as a free safety.  To me, he is more of a strong safety.  The Cowboys need a free safety will ball skills who can cover receivers when alignments call for it.
ST This team needs a reliable field goal kicker.  I like Buehler more than Suisham, but look for Dallas to bring in another player to compete with those two.  McBriar is a good punter, Crayton a solid punt returned.  Jones should be a better kick returner than he's shown to date.

NYG

Major need     Need     Upgrade possible     Depth/possible need     Not a need
   

QB Manning is a solid quarterback you can win with.  He is not a top tier guy and will never be.  Carr looked fine as his backup but is an UFA.
RB The need here is tied directly to the health of Jacobs.  Bradshaw is fine as a the second back in the rotation.  The Giants did draft a running back I loved in last year's draft, Brown, but he had injuries in college and got injured in preseason.  Look for the Giants to do the same thing this year, draft a runni8ng back with the potential to play a big role if needed.
WR With Nicks, Smith, Manningham and Hixon.  The Giants have a nice core at receiver.  The team could add a receiver and let Moss, a RFA, go in free agency.
TE Boss is an underrated tight end.  Bechham has upside.
OL The Giants' line is very good.  Look for the team to start Beatty at left tackle and move Diehl inside to guard.  They may also draft a right tackle as competition and a future replacement for McKenzie.
DL At tackle, Robbins is an UFA, Cofield is a RFA, Bernard was a bit of a disappointment, and Canty was hurt.  At end Tuck and Kiwanuka are solid, Omenyiora should be better his second year back after injury.  The Giants may bring in both a tackle and and end.
LB Pierce was let go and his replacement isn't on the roster.  Clark is an UFA who is a replaceable starter at SAM anyway.  Between Boley, Kehl and Wilkinson the team should find a WILL.
DB Boy, what a difference a year makes.  I still like the Giants corners.  Webster, Ross, Thomas, Dockery and B. Johnson are fine.  However, with Phillips coming back from an injury and the imperfect M. Johnson, Rouse and Brown on hand, a top safety is a definite need for this team.
ST The Giants kicker is okay but replaceable, and their punter will be able to go straight  to old-timer games the day he retires.  Hixon is a good returner.

PHI

Major need     Need     Upgrade possible     Depth/possible need     Not a need
   

QB McNabb is under contract, should be back and will be back.  If the Eagles trade him and go to Kolb they will be in trouble.  I know he played well when given a chance, but I'm still a skeptic.  Vick should be traded.  He is better on paper at this point than on the field.
RB Westbrook is gone.  McCoy looked good as his replacement.  Depth is needed.
WR This unit has depth and talent.  Jackson, Macklin, Avant, Curtis, Brown are all good players.
TE Celek is top notch.  Ingram has the physical skills but is coming off injury and hasn't done it on the field yet.  Alex Smith is an RFA.
OL The Eagles gave up 15 more sacks last year even after adding a supposed stud left tackle in Peters.  The team could bring in bodies to compete for jobs inside (Guard and center), especially with center Jackson's return by the beginning of the year in question.
DL The Eagles have a great player in Coles at one end and solid, but not spectacular options opposite him.  If they can secure a stud to play with Coles they'll grab him, otherwise they may not even address the position.  Inside Patterson and Bunkley form a terrific young duo and Haws is a fine young third tackle. 
LB What the Eagles do here depends on how they feel Bradley is recovering.  They loke him in the middle.  Outside they have some solid options in Witherspoon, Fokou, Gocong and Jordan.  If they can secure a playmaker outside they will pull the trigger.  Otherwise, like at end they may pass on the position.
DB Samuel and Brown are a top pair starting corners.  Hansen is solid.  At safety I like the potential of both Macho Harris and Demps at free safety but they haven't stepped up and grabbed the job.  Another player to compete with them will be brought in.  Especially with Sean Jones an UFA. 
ST A very solid unit with Akers, Rocca, Hobbs and Jackson.  

WAS

Major need     Need     Upgrade possible     Depth/possible need     Not a need
   

QB With Campbell, a young quarterback I like and believe will grow into a top tier QB, the vet Collins and the surprising Colt Brennan, the Redskins are fine here; despite what many think.
RB This is a major need area for Washington.  Portis' best days are behind him and Betts cannot stay healthy.
WR The team has questions at receiver with Kelly and Thomas still having to prove their NFL worth.  However, with Moss and Randle El still effective Washington has too many other holes to worry about receiver.  They will (and should) roll the dice with primarily what they have.
TE Cooley and Davis are an excellent pair of tight ends and whoever starts will thrive in Shananhan's offense.
OL Where to start?  They need two tackle.  How's that for a start?  At center Rabach is an UFA who had a poor year.  Oh they also went through a lot of right guards, so maybe adding one they like would be a good thing.
DL The key to the Redskins' new 3-4 defense is where they plan to play Haynesworth.  He has the size and strength to play the nose, but may be unhappy there.  He could be a monster at end, but you would have to have an athletic linebacker who can get to the outside on running plays playing behind him, not just one who can get after the quarterback.  In any event two starters (one could be Daniels and UFA as an end) are needed to pair with Haynesworth.
LB Fletcher-Baker and McIntosh should be fine inside.  I don't think Carter is ideal at OLB in a 3-4, he is best at end in a 4-3.  Orakpo will be a terror in the 3-4.  Look for Washington to add an outside linebacker.
DB Rogers and Hall are solid, Smoot has his ups and downs.  Landry and Doughty, a RFA is a sold safety combo, and Horton provides quality depth.
ST Gano could be the answer at kicker, but he may not be the answer.  Smith is solid but replaceable.  Randle El has lost his return magic.