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

 

AFC NORTH

BAL


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

   
QB Flacco his growing into a solid starting NFL quarterback.  Troy Smith backs up and is okay for now.
RB Rice, McGahee and McClain are a terrific top three.  Parmele is a promising young back as well.
WR This unit needs a consistent, reliable deep threat for the cannon-armed Flacco.  Stallworth, signed in the offseason could be that guy, but his play has been spotty in the past. Mason is still a solid receiver, but is a number two, not a number one and is contemplating retirement.   Clayton and Williams were player I liked coming into the league but haven't developed as I or the Ravens expected.  Washington is a good fourth receiver.  The Ravens need to make a bold move at this spot this year.
TE If this was three years ago you would think with Heap and L.J. Smith this was a strength.  But not now.  Both are serviceable, but a true #1 tight end is needed.
OL This unit is a team strength.  They could use better depth.
DL Edwards is an UFA and with more and more teams moving to the 3-4, could get over-payed in free agency.  Therefore, the Ravens need a defensive end.
LB This is a deep and talented unit.  They could stand pat and be very happy heading into next year.
DB Webb is a good young corner.  Foxworth gets bad pub but is a valuable commodity.  Carr held his own when called upon.  Still the team could look to add a top level corner if one falls to them in the draft.  At safety, the question will be is Reed coming back?  assuming he is then the team is set at the position.  If not, they could use a playmaker since his backup, Zbikowski, is more of a hitter than a playmaker.
ST The Ravens need to bring in competition for Cundiff.  He's okay, but replaceable.  Elsewhere they are fine.

CIN

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

QB This is a key year for Palmer who needs to show he is back to a top tier quarterback.  There backups, including Palmer's kid brother, are pedestrian.
RB It appears I was wrong about Benson.  The key to that last sentence is appears.  However, I like Scott and believe he could be a good NFL starting running back.  Larry Johnson is an UFA.
WR The Bengals will, most likely, have a new starter opposite Ochocinco next year.  I like Caldwell, but not Simpson, a player I felt the Bengals over-drafted.  Look for Cincinnati to bring in two new receivers.  I like do like Cosby.
TE Coffman could develop, but if he couldn't carve a role on the team last year with their group of tight ends, his upside is in question.  This is an area of need.
OL Williams is an UFA and if he doesn't re-sign, the Bengals will need a starting caliber guard.  Even if he signs a guard for depth needs to be added.  The Bengals rolled the dice with Smith in last year's draft and we'll see if that pays off next year.
DL If Odom comes back, the team is set at end.  It he isn't back, it will be interesting to see if Johnson can be counted on to generate a pass rush.  Based on those two statement, a adding a pass rush specialist would be a good idea.  Tank Johnson is an UFA and if he walks, a player to compete to start will need to be added.
LB I like this unit.  Maualuga will probably spend another year at SAM with Jones at MIKE.  However, if a young SAM the Bengals like is available in draft, they could draft him to get ready to get ready for the transition of Maualuga to MIKE in 2011.
DB Love the starting corners and believe Trent will improve at nickel.  However, Crocker isn't the playmaker a team needs at free safety and, while you can get away with Williams or Ndukwe at strong safety, an upgrade wouldn't hurt.
ST Graham is an UFA so a kicker will need to be secured in the offseason.  Huber is a steady punter and Scott, Caldwell and Cosby are fine as returners.

CLE

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

QB Well see if Quinn can become a quality NFL starter, or even if  Holmgren thinks it's a possibility.  Anderson will begone.  I like Ratliff, but with the new regime he may not get the chance he could have while Mangini was calling the shots. 
RB Here is my quote from last year, "Harrison is a player I liked in the draft, has shown big-play ability when given a chance, but hasn't been used enough.  Look for that to change this year."  It did. Look for the Browns to add a running back to share the load with Harrison.
WR I like Massaquoi's potential, and I wouldn't give up on Robiskie developing into a quality starter.  Cribbs is more of a playmaker than a top receiver.  Stuckey has dependable hands.  This unit has potential, but in the short run is lacking a #1 receiver.  I wouldn;t be surprised to see them add a quality receiver to their mix.
TE Holmgren has always had offenses that utilized tight ends.  If he expects Mangini to do the same he'll have top go out and get him one.  Royal is okay, but not a top starter. 
OL Hadnot is an UFA and St Clair is more of a backup/stop-gap starter.  Therefore, a guard and a tackle are needed.
DL This starting unit is surprisingly solid.  However, depth and some youth at end could be added.
LB Wimbley is starting to appear to be the okay but replaceable starter.  Roth looked good after he was signed.  The Browns should add an outside linebacker who can push to start.  Inside, Jackson is solid, but all other players on their roster are better off as backups and special team players.
DB McDonald and Wright are two young corners who have showed promise.  I would love to see what Lawson, a player I had as an underrated prospect in the draft a couple of years ago could do as a nickel corner.  As it is I expect the Browns to add a corner in the offseason.  At safety, Pool was starting to get it, but has suffered numerous concussions and may not play again.  Adams is best served as a backup and Elam is an average, but replaceable starter at strong safety.  Look for the Browns to add a free safety to start and, possibly, a strong safety to push Elam.
ST Special teams are the strength of this team. Dawson, Zastudil and Cribbs are a solid trio.

PIT

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

QB If I was a GM and could choose any quarterback in the NFL for now and the future, Big Ben is the player I would select.  Batch is an UFA.  Dixon looks like he can be a solid backup if Batch leaves.
RB Mendenhall came on and will be a top running back for the next few years.  Moore is  a terrific third down and backup running back.  Vincent is intriguing.  Parker is an UFA.  Look for Pittsburgh to add a runner to challenge for the top backup spot behind Mendenhall.
WR Ward, Holmes and Wallace are a very solid one, two, three.  Sweed has had a tough go so far.  Jason Cherry could surprise in camp.
TE Miller is a good blocker and very good receiver.  Spaeth is a RFA and a team looking for a two-way tight end could take a chance on him.  If he leaves, the Steelers will need a backup, blocking tight end. 
OL This unit is better on paper than on the field.  I wouldn't be surprised to see the Steelers draft a lineman at any position for depth and to push to start.
DL End Smith and nose tackle Hampton are top-drawer, but aging.  Hood was drafted last year ands he could start at end over Keisel or UFA Kirschke. It's time to draft a young backup nose tackle and possibly another young end.
LB This is one of the best linebacking units in the NFL.  Outside Harrison and Woodley are terrors.  Inside Farrior is still a force, and Timmons played well.  A young player to groom behind Farrior and depth outside is needed.
DB Carter, Clark and Towsend are UFAs and Gay is a RFA who the Steelers may allow to walk.  If they cannot resign Clark they will need a starting free safety.  The team also needs a couple of cornerbacks.
ST Reed and Sepulveda are fine kickers.  Logan is a top returner.

NFC NORTH 

CHI

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

   

QB Cutler is an overrated commodity, but that doesn't mean he isn't a good quarterback.  He will win some games, but also lose some games.  Haine is a bit of an unknown quantity as Cutler's backup.
RB Forte took a step back as I expected because of Cutler.  With Martz now running the offense, Forte, a good receiver could see more receptions.  However, the team could look for a speedy, quick role player at running back who could cut into Forte's time.
WR The only receiver who I think Martz will love on the Bears' roster is Knox.  Cutler liked throwing to Aromashodu so he may also find a role.  Hester will become more of a return threat than a receiver.  He could be limited to four receiver sets.  Look for Chicago to add a receiver.
TE Olsen is very good, but Martz doesn't use tight ends.  Clark, a solid backup who can block, could end up starting with Olsen traded for draft picks.
OL The Bears could use a guard and a tackle.
DL Even if  UFA Ogunleye is resigned, the Bears need an UFA a pass rushing defensive end.  At this point in his career, brown is an acceptable, but replaceable starter.  A force opposite him would help.  Inside Harris can't stay healthy and a new starter should be targeted to play with him.
LB This is an interesting position.  Urlacher got hurt, but he wasn't the same as dominate self during his last full year.  Briggs is solid.  Tinoisamoa won a starting job, got hurt and is now an UFA.  Roach, who started for him and held his own is a RFA.  Hillermyer is serviceable.
DB The Bears secondary is a mixed bag.  Tillman is a solid and sometimes unappreciated corner.  Bowman and Graham are also good players.  The unfortunate thing on the Bears' roster is that they have a lot of good safety, but all are best served at strong safety, not free safety.  Manning could have been the guy, but he isn't a good enough playmaker to play there as a starter.  A playmaking safety is a big need on this team.
ST The Bears special teams are in good hands.  There should be few complaints with Gould, Maynard, Hester, Knox and Manning

DET

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

QB The Lions are putting their faith in Stafford and we'll see how that goes.  Bothe Ramsey and Culpepper are UFAs.  Stanton is the backup right now.
RB Smith is coming off an injury and is one of those good but replaceable running backs when healthy.  Morris has skills but is best in a limited role.  Peerman intrigues me.  Still, the Lions need a runner defenses will fear.
WR The Lions' receiving corps is a one-man show, Calvin Johnson.  It may be time to classify Bryant Johnson as nothing more than a three or even a four.  I like Williams and think he can grow into a solid number three receiver.  However, the Lions need a starter who can take some heat off Johnson.
TE Most analysts were higher on Pettigrew than me.  This will be a telling year.  I think he will be okay, but he won't be a feared down the seam receiver.  Heller is a good backup but he is an UFA.
OL The Lions need to draft a left tackle and kick Backus inside.
DL Tear it down and start again.  Over the next two or three years no one starting on the Lions' defense line will most likely still be starters.
LB Sims, Levy and Peterson are a promising starting group.  Depth is needed.
DB This is a similar situation to their defensive line, except that Delmas is a keeper.  Make that a gem.  If Bullocks ever gets back to full health, he could be a keeper as well.
ST Age may be finally catching up to Hansen.  They could also use an upgrade at returner.

GB

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

QB Rodgers is a top flight starter.  Flynn is developing into a reliable backup.
RB Grant remains on the fringe of the top backs in the league.  His backups are clearly a step down from him.  However, it may be time to bring in a runner who could push Grant a bit and be a better option to spell him.
WR Thi8s is a talented and deep unit with Jennings, Driver, Jones and Nelson.
TE Finley proved me wrong.  He's a star.  Lee is solid backup.
OL Tauscher and Clifton are UFAs.  Barbre is an athletic young player behind them but he may not be ready for prime time.  So tackle is a concern this offseason.  The Packers are set inside.
DL The Packers put together an impressive defensive line for a team playing the 3-4 defense for the first time.  They could use anothe body for the bench, but that's about it.
LB The Packers are set in three of their starting positions.  I'm not sold on Brad Jones as the long term answer opposite Matthews.  Worst case, however, he is a quality reserve.
DB A corner for depth, a player to push Bigby.  That's all the packers need in the secondary.
ST The Packers have good return men.  However, for the second year in as row their talented kicker and punter didn't live up to expectations.  Maybe they aren't as talented as we all thought.

MIN

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

QB Hmmm. What to say.  I'm going to say that I severely doubt Favre will have anywhere near as good a year as he did last year even if he comes back.  So if Jackson and Rosenfels are not the quarterback of the future for the Vikings, they need to start looking for one whether or not Favre returns.
RB Taylor is an UFA so the Vikings will need a runner to support Peterson, although I kind of like Ian Johnson.
WR Rice became a big time player, but Berrian took a step back.  Harvin is a weapon.  A player for depth who could also eventually challenge Berrian could be added.
TE Shiancoe is proved he is a quality tight end.  Kleinsasser is a fine backup.
OL A right guard and an insurance policy for the volatile McKinnie should be addressed in the offseason.
DL Valuable reserve Kennedy is an UFA.  The starters are excellnet.  Depth inside and outside could be addressed.
LB The Vikings starters with either Henderson or Brinkley in the middle is very strong.  However, backups are needed.
DB The Vikings are fine at corner, but both starting safeties could be replaced.
ST The Vikings are strong at kicker, punter and returner.