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

 

AFC SOUTH

HOU


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

   
QB Schaub is a good quarterback.  Grossman is an UFA.  A young quarterback to groom as a backup could be added in the draft.
RB Slaton didn't follow-up his rookie campaign with anywhere near a similar campaign.  Foster was pumped as a possible starter, but he is best served as a backup.  Look for the Texans at worst to add a big back to play with Slaton, and at best draft a new lead back.
WR Johnson is top-drawer.  Walter is an UFA.  Jones and Anderson, two younger receivers showed some promise.  If  Walter leaves the Texans will need to add a receiver to its mix. 
TE I like the Texans' trio at tight end.  Daniels is a good blocker and fine receiver.  Dreessen was a player I liked coming out of college and it's nice to see him finding a role in the NFL.  So far he's been used primarily as a blocker, but the kid can catch as well.  Hill is a good blocker with good hands.  This assumes Daniels recovers from injury.
OL The Texan' offensive line is solid.  Perhaps they could add a guard to challenge Studdard.
DL This unit is a defensive tackle away from possibly being one of the best in the NFL.  Williams, Smith and pass rush specialist Barwin are set at end.  Okoye is a good young tackle.  Cody is okay, but best suited as a third tackle.
LB The Texans have an excellent starting unit.  Competition for backup jobs is all that is needed.
DB Robinson is an UFA and will need to be replaced.  The Texans like Quin, a player they had more highly rated than me.  Pollard is set at strong safety, but a playmaking free safety to pair with him is needed.
ST Brown is solid but inconsistent, often at the worst times.  Turk is fine but old and could be replaced.  Davis and Jones have the feel of a good unit, but something just doesn't feel right.

IND

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

QB Manning is as good as it gets at quarterback.  No one will really know about Sorgi until he is tested.  Obviously the Colts' coaching staff likes him.  Painter is a long way off from being able to hold the reins in case of a Manning injury.
RB Addai and Brown are a nice one-two tandem.  Hart, well, has heart.
WR This is a great unit.  with Wayne, Garcon, Collie and the returning Gonzalez, they are fine.
TE Clark is still a top tight end.  Robinson was okay in his role as second tight end but it wouldn't be surprising if an upgrade is secured.  Tamme has potential.  This is not a need area but if a good tight end falls into the Colts' lap they will pull the trigger. 
OL The Colts' need a left tackle.  They could also use competition at right tackle and right guard.
DL It seems like annually the Colts are looking for defensive tackles who can stuff the run.  This year is no exception.  At end Freeney and Mathis can get after the quarterback, and Brock is solid as a #3 end.
LB Brackett is a UFA.  Even if he is resigned a young middle linebacker to groom needs to be added.  Session is a beast.   Wheeler is solid.  Competition for backup spots could be added.
DB The Colts are fine here, even with Sanders constantly hurt.  Bethea and Bullitt are excellent and fine respectively.  At corner Haydes, Powers and Lacey are a good trio of corners and Jackson, a RFA, has shown good corner skills when healthy as well.
ST Stover is an UFA.  That's no problem if Vinatieri is healthy.  McAfee is a good punter.  Simpson is an acceptable, but replaceable kickoff returner, but Rushing has fallen off the map so a punt returner is needed.

JAC

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

QB Garrad bounced back some and is good enough to win with.  McCown is okay as a backup.  Look for Jacksonville to draft a developmental quarterback maybe a bit higher in the draft than many think.
RB Jones-Drew proved he can carry the load.  Jennings didn't get many opportunities so the jury is out on him as a quality backup, but I think he'll be fine.  The Jaguars could add a back for depth and to challenge Jennings. 
WR Sims-Walker has the look of a #1 receiver.  I love the skills and potential of Mike Thomas.  Dillard showed he can play in the NFL as well.  With Holt released, Jacksonville could add a veteran receiver.
TE Lewis has developed into a good two-way tight end.  If Wrighster can continue his comeback, the Jacksonville will have a reliable backup.  In either case adding at least one tight end is something Jacksonville needs to do min the offseason.
OL After addressing the tackle position in last year's draft, it's time to look inside in this draft.  A guard and a center are needed.
DL Inside Knighton played better than I thought he would and gives the Jags a good pair of starting tackles.  At end, Harvey will continue to get better, but they need a pass rusher to play opposite him very badly.
LB Ideally, the Jags would play Smith, a very good player at SAM and bring in a sideline-to-sideline WILL.  Durant has also not grabbed the MIKE as expected, although that could come.
DB Cox and Mathis are a good pair of starting corners.  However, better depth (and nickel) are needed.  Nelson hasn't become the turnover-machine he was expected to be.  Alexander and Considine are both bets served as reserves.  Therefore, two safeties could be added, one to push Nelson, the other to start at strong safety.
ST Scobee had a bad year.  Podlesh is okay, but replaceable.  Thomas is a good returner, but if his role grows on offense, the team could look for a return specialist.

TEN

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

QB I liked Young on draft day, and I like him now.  Collins is a great backup.
RB Here's my comment from last year, "Johnson and White form an excellent one-two punch for Tennessee.  I talked up Johnson as a prospect last year, and he didn't let me down.  In 2009 he will be even better."  I was right.  Well, if given achance, you'll see that Javon Ringer is a player too.
WR Britt, Gage, Washington and Hawkins are a solid, effective, albeit unexciting foursome.  The Titans could bring in another player to compete.
TE Sciafe, a RFA, was tendered at a high salary which, most likely, means he will hold off the potentially explosive Cook for at least one more year.  Crumpler is an UFA so a third tight end may need to be added.
OL Mawae is an UFA so a center to compete with Harris needs to be brought in if Mawae leaves.  Depth all along the line could also be addressed.
DL Vanden Bosch and Kearse are UFA's.  If Vanden Bosch leaves, a pass rushing defensive end becomes a priority.  Even if Vanden Bosch comes back a defensive end to challenge Hayes could be added.  At tackle they have a lot of good players, however, if a stud can be added it would upgrade the unit.
LB Tulloch grew into a top starter in the middle.  Bulluck is an UFA and Thornton is coming off injury and is a solid but replaceable starter.  Keglar has some upside but the Titans need to add an ouitside linebacker in the draft.
DB Finnegan is a very good cornerback.  The Titans could use an upgrade opposite him.  Griffin and Hope are a good pair of safeties.
ST Bironas, one of the league's top kickers.   Between the veteran Hentrich and the youngster Kern they will settle on a good punter.  They can use a good return man.

NFC SOUTH 

ATL

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

   

QB Ryan  has a very promising future as a starting NFL quarterback.  Redman has the experience and skills you like in a backup quarterback but is an UFA.
RB Turner and Norwood are an excellent one-two punch.  Smith is a young player who can be a useful spot player.  Snelling is a RFA.
WR White is one of the best receivers in the league.  He has speed, is tough and has good hands.  Jenkins is a solid a #2 and Douglas was a promising slot receiver before getting injured.  They might add a receiver to push Jenkins and be available for work out of the slot if Douglas doesn't recover fully.
TE Gonzalez is still a top tight end.  A young tight end to apprentice and upgrade the backup position could be added.
OL The Falcons' line was surprisingly effective.  While upgrades aren't necessary, depth is needed.
DL The Falcons need as pass rushing end to play opposite Abraham.  In addition both Babineaux and Jerry are the quicker smaller defensive tackles.  A tackle with size and strength should be added.
LB A young linebacker to eventually replace Peterson is a need.  Nicholas and Lofton are solid starters.
DB I still like Houston.  I may be in the minority.  However, Jackson, Grimes, and Owens, are not solid starters.  The Falcons should draft a corner to be their #1 and use Houston as its second corner.  DeCoud and Coleman are solid safeties.
ST The Falcons could look to upgrade both kicker and punter.  Weems is a good return man.

CAR

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

QB Whether they go with Moore or Delhomme, the Panters need to address their future at quarterback very soon.
RB I had DeAngelo Williams graded much higher than other backs who were graded by other analysts higher than or as his equal.  That included Maroney, White and Addai.  So I am not surprised to see his success.  Look for Williams to continue to hold off Stewart as starter.  However, Stewart provides a great tandem with, and excellent insurance for Williams.   Sutton and Goodson are two other young backs with NFL-caliber skills.  With all of the trade rumors around McNabb, let me start one that makes sense.  McNabb to the Panthers with Williams going to the Eagles.
WR Smith and ????.  Muhammad's skills are in decline and he is an UFA. No one else on their roster at receiver makes my toes tingle.
TE The Panthers three-headed tight end is fine.  King, Rosario and Barrnidge are a good group.  However, one day (better be soon) the Panthers just might decide to get one of those new fly down the field tight ends to take advantage of how teams defend Smith.
OL The Panthers line is solid.  Depth needs to be addressed, in particular a guard to push Vincent.
DL Peppers is an UFA as is Brayton.  Brown and Johnson are two young players with upside, but an additional player needs to be added.  However, while the Panthers at least have some young defensive ends with upside to replace last year's starters, their starters at tackle were weaker and Thomas is also and UFA.
LB Davis and Beason are top starters.  Diggs is a reliable veteran, who could be pushed by Connor.  Anderson is a RFA.  Landon Johnson is a quality reserve as well.
DB This is a solid unit top to bottom.  Gamble, Marshall and Munnerlyn are all quality NFL corners.  Martin, Harris and Godfrey are three solid safeties.
ST The Panthers special teams are in good shape.

NO

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

QB Brees is a top quarterback.  Brunell is the backup, it's questionable how he would perform at this point in his career if he was needed for a long stretch of games and he is an UFA.  Look for New Orleans to address the backup quarterback position this offseason.
RB Thomas has become a good all around back.  Bush is a useful offensive weapon, although he will be an expensive one next year.  Bell is a solid backup.
WR The Saints have a deep and talented group of receivers.
TE Shockey and Thomas are a nice one-two punch.  However, Shockey is moody and injury prone.  Campbell, an excellent blocker is coming off injury and is an UFA.  Miller is also an UFA.
OL The Saints have an efficient, productive offensive line.  However, depth is needed, especially at tackle (and center if UFA Leckey is not resigned).
DL The Saints need a backup defensive end, one who could even push Grant to start.  They also need an upgrade at defensive tackle opposite Ellis.
LB Fujita is an UFA.  If he leaves, there isn't a good option to start on their roster.  Shanle is a solid, but replaceable starter.  Vilma is fine in the middle.
DB The Saints have a lot of good players at corner.  I like Geer, Porter, Jenkins and Gay to as a unit.  At safety, Harper is fine at strong safety, but Sharper is an UFA.  If he doesn't resign, his replacement could be Jenkins.  Whether Sharper resigns or not either a corner or safety needs to be added depending on where the Saints see Jenkins future.
ST The Saints young kickers look good.  Bush had a poor year returning punts.  Roby is a good kick returner but may have to beat out a bottom of the roster receiver to keep the job.

TB

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

QB Freeman had a nice start to his career.  Johnson is a player with upside as well.
RB Ward, Williams and Graham are all above average backs, and make for a respectable trio.  However, most teams want to set their sights above respectable.  Williams, if he can take another step back towards what he was before his injuries, has the best chance of breaking into the top back category.
WR Bryant is an UFA.  That leaves the frustrating Bradley, Clayton and Stovall and the youngster Stroughter.  Not a unit that will strike fear in opposing defenses.
TE Winslow gives the team at least one top notch receiving option.  Stevens is a good backup.
OL The Bucs line is solid, but their tackles are in the good but replaceable category, especially Trueblood at right tackle.  They also need depth.
DL It's time for the Bucs to revamp their defensive line.  They could use a defensive end to play with White, and a run-stuffing defensive tackle.
LB The Bucs trio of Hayes, Ruud and Black are a good young group.  Depth could be added.
DB Barber is aging, but still is more plus than minus.  However, his replacement needs to be added.  Talib is a good young corner.  Jackson is a keeper.  I like Piscitelli more than most.  At worst, however, a player to challenge him for the starting job should be brought in.
ST Returner Smith is a keeper.  However, upgrades at kicker and punter could be looked at in the offseason.