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

 

AFC WEST

DEN


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

   
QB The Broncos can win with Orton, but Orton cannot make the Broncos win; if that makes sense.  Simms has talent, but it's been awhile since he displayed it.
RB Moreno did as I expected.  He is a solid back, but not the top tier talent the Broncos think he is.  He lacks game-breaking speed.  Buckhalter continues to produce whenever he is given an opportunity.  A third running back could be added.
WR Marshall will be gone.  Royal has talent and could go back to being productive next year if he plays in the slot.  Stokely, McKinley and possibly Lloyd could fill out reserve spots.  The Broncos, however,  need a number one receiver.  
TE Graham is a solid blocking tight end.  Scheffler is a good receiving tight end, but it appears he is another player on the outs in Denver.
OL The Broncos are continuing to get rid of the zone-blocking offensive lineman on its roster.  Weigmann has been let go and Hamilton, an UFA will be allowed to walk.  The Broncos need a guard and a center.
DL The Broncos have a decent defensive line, but could use upgrades at end and on the nose.
LB The Broncos' linebackers played well, especially Dumervil and Williams.  Davis and Hagans are reliable veterans who could be upgraded.  I still don't quick get how Ayers fits into this defense.  In my mind he is a 4-3 defensive end.
DB I like the Broncos' cornerbacks.  Bailey, Goodman and Smith are a very good trio.  At safety Dawkins played terrifically and still has gas in his tank.   Hill is okay at string safety and I like the potential of both Bruton and Barrett.
ST Prater stepped up as the Broncos kicker.  Berger could be replaced.  Royal is a very good returner.

KC

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

QB Cassel played okay in his first year as a starter and should improve as the talent around him gets better.  I was also glad to see Croyle, a player I liked coming out of college, play well when called upon.
RB Charles was phenomenal after taking over as the Chiefs' main ballcarrier.  Williams or battle have a shot to be a power back who compliments Charles.  However, a player could be brought in to challenge them.
WR Bowe is a top talent.  Chambers played well but he is an UFA.  If Chiefs need him or someone not currently on its roster to start opposite Bowe.  Long and Wade are okay in the slot but an upgrade could be secured.
TE Pope and especially Cottam have upside but neither has grabbed a starting job and ran with it when given opportunities.  O'Connell also has the physical skills to be successful.  If a better option is available, the Chiefs will explore it.
OL Albert is best served at guard not tackle.  Therefore, the Chiefs need a left tackle so he can be moved to guard.  They also need a center and more depth.
DL Jackson, Dorsey and Magee are three young players for end.  However, Jackson needs to improve, the Chiefs may be best served trading Dorsey to a team that plays a 4-3, and Magee needs playing time.  An upgrade at nose is also needed.
LB A pass rushing outside linebacker to pair with Hali is needed.  Vrabel is best served now as a part time player.  Inside, Williams and Mays are okay, but not star quality.  what happened to Johnson?
DB Young corners Carr and Flowers are a good tandem.  Washington has upside.  Brown, played well, has a history of injuries and is an UFA.  McGraw is replaceable at free safety.
ST The Chiefs need an upgrade at punt returner, and a kick returner now that Charles is too important on offense to use there.

OAK

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

QB Russell is an enigma.  He has the skills, but appears to be happy to collect a big pay check and not work hard.  Gradkowski is scrappy but should be a backup not a starter.
RB Fargas, McFadden and Bush give the Raiders a talented three-headed option at running back.  Unless they move one of their three backs, the Raiders have no need at running back.
WR Youngsters Murphy, Higgins, and Schilens are NFL "roster-worthy", but none are top talents.  Heyward-Bey appears to be "Ted-Ginn-Jr.-light".  This team needs a number one receiver and a veteran receiver.
TE Miller is one of the better tight ends in the league.  Stewart, is a good blocker.
OL Green and backup Walker are UFAs.  In addition, Henderson would be better on the right side.  So a left tackle is needed, as is depth at guard and possibly another tackle.
DL The Raiders starting defensive line is solid.  A player to compete with tackle Warren, and provide depth could be added.  
LB I like Morrison.  The Raiders are pushing him towards the door so a middle linebacker will be needed.  Scott played well when inserted as a starter, but Howard, a RFA has been up and down, so a WILL to push Howard could be added as well.
DB Asomugha and Chris Johnson are a good cornerback tandem.  Routt hasn't developed as hoped but there is still time.  The Raiders will look to add a corner to compete for the nickel.  At safety Branch was terrific and Huff was improved.   The Raiders surprise second round selection last year, Mitchell, will have trouble cracking the starting lineup
ST Punter Lechler, the best in the biz.  Janikowski is solid.  However, with all the speed on this team you would think they would have had a kick returner who could at least average 20 yards a return (they didn't), and a punt returner who could as least have averaged 6 yards a return (they didn't).

SD

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

QB Rivers, Volek and Whitehurst are a very solid one, two, three.
RB It now looks like Sproles will be back.  However, this team needs a starter.
WR This is a solid unit with Jackson, Floyd, and Naanee.  This doesn't even include former high draft pick Craig Davis.  However, a slot receiver could be added to challenge Naanee.
TE Gates is top drawer.  However, Manumaleuna is an UFA.  If he leaves a blocking tight end will have to be added.
OL The line is solid, but of upgrades at right guard and right tackle could be brought in.
DL This unit may be in a little more trouble than many think.  The team cut Williams and hope to bring him back.  Behind him Scott isn't the answer and is an UFA and Martin is a big kid with upside but isn't ready.  At end, only Castillo would be considered a must have starter.
LB This is a deep and talented unit.  Even if Merriman is allowed to walk, this unit is in good shape.
DB There is talk that Cromartie could be traded.  Cason is ready to start, but a player to compete with Hughes for the nickel would have to be added.  Weddle is a good player.  The Chargers other safeties are solid but unspectacular.  An upgrade is possible.
ST Kaeding and Scifres are fine.  Sproles is a great return man assuming he returns.

NFC WEST 

ARZ

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

   

QB With Warner retired, Leinart gets his chance.  An insurance policy is needed.
RB Wells will be a star.  Hightower is surprisingly effective.  Stephen-Howlings has skills as well.
WR It appears that Boldin will be traded.  Even without Boldin this team is deep and talented at receiver with Fitzgerald, Breaston and Doucet.  A receiver for depth may be added.
TE The Cardinal tight ends all look good at times and replaceable at times.  Patrick has the biggest upside, Bechte is the best blocker.  An upgrade is very possible.
OL Gandy was suppose to solidify left tackle, but he got hurt and is an UFA so the Cards need a left tackle.  In addition depth is needed, especially a center who can push Sendlein.
DL Deep and talented at end, the Cardinals are still waiting for Branch or Watson to become a force on the nose.  An upgrade at nose tackle is possible.
LB Dansby is an UFA and will need to be replaced if he leaves.  Hayes is solid.  Okeafor is an UFA but he is better as a DE in a 4-3 than an OLB in 3-4 anyway.  Haggans is okay outside but replaceable.  This unit could look very different next year with up to three new starters.
DB Rolle is an UFA and I'm not sold on Johnson as his replacement.  Wilson is a top strong safety.  Rodgers-Cromartie is a top starter, McFadden is okay, but better served as a nickel so an upgrade is possible.
ST The Cardinals kicking and punting games are fine.  Stephen-Howlings is a good kick returner.  Breaston had a disappointing year as a punt returner and a replacement makes sense if his responsibilities increase at receiver.

STL

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

QB Think the Rams regret not taking my advice and drafting Sanchez last last year?  Bulgar is suppose to be cut and Boller is an UFA leaving ????
RB Jackson is one of the better running backs in the league.  Gado showed he can be a capable backup.  However, a speed option to play a few downs and possibly in third and long could be added.
WR I like Avery but this is a key year for him.  Not for production since the Rams' quarterback situation could be a mess, especially early, but for staying on the field.  Robinson and Gibson are also keepers.  However, if a true #1 receiver can be secured, the Rams will grab him.
TE McMichael is an UFA and would have needed to have been replaced anyway. 
OL Ingocnito was cut so the Rams need a guard, maybe two for depth.   
DL Little is an UFA.  It's time to move Carricker to end and draft a nickel rusher.  Then upgrade defensive tackle.
LB Laurinaitis had a very good rookie campaign.  Vobora played well enough at SAM to be given another year.  However, an upgrade at WILL is needed.
DB The Rams have a good core of young corners.  At safety Atogwe and Butler form a solid starting pair.  
ST The Rams kicking/punting game is a strength. Amendola proved to be an excellent return man.

SF

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

QB Smith is not the long term answer at quarterback.  I think the team would be better served with Hill starting.  He is an excellent game manager.  Long term they need a starter making Hill the backup.
RB Gore is a top starter.  I'm not sure Coffee is the answer as his backup.
WR This is a solid, underrated unit.  Crabtree, Morgan, Hill, Zeigler and Jones are a nice contingent.  They can let UFA Battle walk.
TE Dvais and Walker are a great one-two.  Finley or Curtis are fine as a #3.
OL A right tackle and a possible upgrade are guard are the 49ers' needs on its offensive line.
DL This is a good unit that even has a couple of players who they don't need but have room to improve in Balmer and Mitchell.  Depth at nose tackle could be addressed.
LB This is another solid unit with depth.  If a top pass rusher can be brought on that would help, but only a top guy.  The team has enough solid players.
DB Bly is an UFA and if he leaves the team will need an additional corner to compete for playing time.  They could also use shut down corner.  Safety is a strength.
ST The 49ers could use a top flight return man.

SEA

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

QB Hasselbeck is aging rapidly and Wallace is not the future starter.  The Seahawks need a quarterback of the future.
RB Jones and Forsett are okay, but not feared threats.  An upgrade is possible.
WR Burleson is an UFA.  T.J. is a good receiver but plays best when their is a threat opposite him.  Brach used to be that guy but hasn't been for awhile.  Butler has potential.  This team needs receivers.
TE This is a good unit.  Carlson is a very good tight end and I like Morrah.
OL With Jones retiring this team needs a stud left tackle.  Outside of that, players to push and challenge starters could be added.
DL Kerney is another player getting old fast.  The Seahawks need a pass rushing defensive and a tackle to challenge to start next to Mebane.
LB The team goes four deep with studs and only starts three.  Perhaps adding a linebacker for special teams and depth, but that's about it.
DB Good corners and acceptable safeties pepper the Seahawks roster.  They could use an upgrade at safety, brining in a playmaker, and possibly a corner to push the existing players on the roster.
ST The Seahawks could use a dynamic punt returner.