Cornerback: Terence Newman was released, and then Dallas signed former Kansas City corner Brandon Carr. The Cowboys will also lose backup cornerbacks Frank Walker and Alan Ball, who are both free agents.Mike Jenkis and Orlando Scandrick would give the Cowboys only 3 cornerbacks on the roster.Dismissed UofF Gator Janoris Jenkins may be worth the risk for Jerry Jones at the 14th pick. ex-Raven Dominique Foxworth and UFA Texan Jason Allen could be added for depth as they both come from teams that run similar defenses.
Guard/Center: Left guard Kyle Kosier suffered a torn MCL in the season finale.Veteran guards Montrae Holland and Derrick Dockery are free agents. The Cowboys could upgrade at center for undrafted Phil Costa. There are quality free agents at both guard and center.Pro Bowl guards Eric Steinbach,Robert Gallery,and Steve Hutchinson are free agents. Pro Bowl centers Jeff Saturday, Jeff Faine, and Chris Myers would be available also. The Cowboys lost $10 million to its salary cap over the next two years for League salary violations. Guard Nate Living, and guard Makenzy Bernadeau have free agent visits scheduled. A second round pick may be something Jerry won’t do, but Wisconsin center Peter Konz should be available with the 45th overall pick.
Linebacker: OLB Anthony Spencer was given the franchise tag, that helps for this year. They will still need to acquire a pass rusher opposite DeMarcus Ware. Bradie James, and Keith Brookings are both free agents that won’t be resigned Sean Lee lead the team in tackles and replaced Brookings in the starting line-up. 2011 2nd round pick Bruce Carter is expected to contribute as a starter in James’ spot. With little cap space a pass rusher may have to be drafted and counted on. In the middle rounds OLB,Chandler Jones, Shea McClellin, Cam Johnson. ILB Tank Carder, Danny Trevathan should be available.
Quarterback: The Cowboys signed Kyle Orton, to back-up……maybe?
Middle linebacker: The Eagles need a playmaker in the middle. Rookie fourth-rounder Casey Matthews struggled last season, and was eventually benched in favor of Jamar Chaney who was moved form the strong side to the middle, he couldn’t adjust either.The Eagles should have a target on Boston Collage ILB Luke Kuchley with their 15th overall pick.
Strong-side linebacker: Akeem Jordan became the starting strong side backer in the second half of the season, but Jordan, is basically a special-teamer. Free agent Ben Leber has made a visit. but this may be a drafted position.
Strong safety: The Eagles had hoped 2011 second-round pick Jaiquawn Jarrett might be able to step in and start as a rookie, he didn’t pan out.Kurt Coleman started 14 games, but his slight 190 lbs frame doesn’t deliver the pop Castillo is looking for. George IIoka maybe?
Quarterback: The only reason I even have this as a priority need is. RGIII is not in the building yet.Rex Grossman, and John Beck should never be starters , hence the bold move to deal a trio of first-round picks to St. Louis for the right to pick Robert Griffin III.If it works Shanahan is a genius, if not he’ll never coach in the NFL again. How much time do you think he get’s
Offensive tackle: Right tackle Jammal Brown hasn’t come close to the Pro Bowl form he displayed before needing hip surgery in New Orleans and will be 31 next month. With left tackle Trent Williams, the fourth overall selection in the 2010 draft, one failed drug test from a one-year suspension, the Redskins need to use an early round draft pick on a swing tackle. Washington’s current third tackle is Willie Smith, a rookie free agent in 2011.
Running Back:Read my Mock Draft from February it’s all in there, Scroll down to Archives
New York Giants
Runnining back: Everyone has the Giants top priority as a tight end. Some so much they mock them to draft ,second grade talent , TE with their first pick.The Giants have a formula, wide reicevers who can get open, or they don’t get the ball. A servicable offensive line, and a Defensive Line that is deep and relentless. They spend their money on defensive linemen. They don’t resign their own receivers or running backs. They will need to relieve some pressure from Eli, Jacobs was cut and Bradshaw can’t stay healthy. There are plenty of quality RB ‘s in the mid – rounds. Cyrus Gray, Robert Turbin, Bernard Pierce can all do what the Giants want.
Defensive End: Osi Umenyiora will begin the final year of his 8 year contract, the Giants, pass rush is the foundation of their defense, maybe the team. New York has won 2 Super Bowls in 4 years beliving in a relentless pass rush. The Giants don’t have a front 7, they have a front 12, talent.That said Umenyiora is unlikely to get a long-term extension, assuming he’s even with the team in 2012. Justin Tuck will be 29 by opening day and has suffered some significant injuries in two of the last three years. Dave Tollefson will be an unrestricted free agent ,and Mathias Kiwanuka, who could be moved down from linebacker to defensive end, is entering the final year of his contract in 2012. It would not surprise me if the Giants drafted Andre Branch,Vinny Curry,Jared Crick, or even Cam Johnson with their top pick.
Offensive tackle: I only say this because of age, Kareem Jackson is showing his age. Will Beatty did well untill his eye injury sidelned him forcing OG David Diehl, The Giants believe Eli’s timing and persision, of the offense rairly has him take big hits, He releases the football before anyone can get to him. Like many of the elite quarterbacks in the league, the belief of paying a primium for a position that has little value in the Giants offense.
Offensive line: Every position on the line could be upgraded, but left tackle is probably the most pressing need, given the lack of protection provided by J’Marcus Webb last season. But there is one school of thought that says Webb isn’t as bad as he was made to look last season by Mike Martz’s preponderance of seven-step drops and the lack of help he received from tight ends.
Pass-rushing defensive end: Free agent Israel Idonije is a solid run defender, but he had just five sacks playing across from right end Julius Peppers, who drew constant double-teams. The Bears’ defense is based on getting solid pass-rush pressure from the linemen, but they did not get that consistently last season, even though 3-technique tackle Henry Melton had seven sacks.
Left tackle: The offensive line, with the possible exception of center John Sullivan, isn’t good enough to win with a young quarterback and a run-oriented philosophy. Left tackle Charlie Johnson is a hard worker who is overmatched on Christian Ponder’s blind side. He’s built to play guard, so the Vikings need to consider moving him to guard and using the No. 3 overall draft pick on a left tackle. Near the top of the draft is where the franchise left tackles are taken. Protecting Ponder is a major priority.
Cornerback: The Vikings went into the 2011 season praying their top three corners – Antoine Winfield, Cedric Griffin and Chris Cook – would hold up in a pass-happy division that includes six games against Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler. Winfield, 34, broke down and played only five games. Griffin proved that his knees are shot. And Cook missed 10 games because he faces felony domestic assault charges. The team lacks depth and talent at the position. And that’s the main reason the team ranked 31st in points allowed (449) and went nine games without an interception.
Wide receiver: The Vikings tried to go without a No. 1 receiver last year. It was a disaster. Percy Harvin is an outstanding receiver, but he was the team’s only legitimate threat at the wideout position. He’s a small slot receiver, so he’s not the kind of guy who can line up wide and use his physical skills to dominate deep downfield. The Vikings need a legitimate No. 1 receiver to pair with Harvin and Michael Jenkins, who could be a productive No. 2-3 receiver.
Green Bay Packers
Defensive end/outside linebacker: GM Ted Thompson focused on bolstering the defense in the 2009 draft, when he made nose tackle B.J. Raji a top-10 pick and then initiated a rare trade up to snag linebacker Clay Matthews late in the first round. The Packers, who had the worst-rated defense in 2011, are in desperate need for a capable pass rusher opposite Matthews in their 3-4 system. Thompson undoubtedly will have to go on the offensive to try to land an impactful contributor for the defense in Round 1 this year – and just may be compelled to do so higher than the No. 28 spot at which the team picks.
Safety: Three-time Pro Bowl free safety Nick Collins, the “quarterback” of the defense, expressed optimism after the season he would be cleared to resume playing after he had elaborate surgery for a career-threatening neck injury he sustained in September. Collins will know for sure about his future when he reconvenes with his doctors in March. Even if Collins is given the OK to play again, the Packers would be wise to take out an insurance policy and upgrade the depth at the position with starter Morgan Burnett the only surefire player back there.
Running back: Running the football takes a well-removed backseat in Green Bay’s pass-happy offense. Still, the halfback position is filled with uncertainty. Veteran Ryan Grant is headed toward free agency and isn’t a priority to be re-signed. James Starks, who led the team with just 578 rushing yards in the 2011 regular season, has been damaged goods his first two years. The team likes young prospects Alex Green and Brandon Saine, but Green had his rookie season cut short by an ACL injury.
Secondary: The Lions do not have a cornerback signed beyond next season and the lack of depth was exposed late last season after starter Chris Houston, nickel back Aaron Berry and free safety Louis Delmas were injured.
Offensive line: Starting left tackle Jeff Backus will be 35 and center Dominic Raiola 34. Backus is expected to sign back for at least one more season and Raiola is entering the final year of his contract. Right guard Stephen Peterman will be 30 next season.
Running back: The Lions are optimistic that both Jahvid Best (concussion) and Mikel Leshoure (Achilles) will be ready to play, but there are no guarantees. Of the two, Leshoure seems more likely to be ready. Best still hasn’t been cleared for contact.
Defensive end: With John Abraham slated to hit free agency, the Falcons are looking for a replacement for their top end in their rotation. Ray Edwards, who had an uninspiring first season with the Falcons, will be back after an injury-marred season. With Kroy Biermann re-signed, waiting in the wings are Lawrence Sidbury and Cliff Matthews. New defensive coordinator Mike Nolan may want to experiment more with Biermann, who has done a nice job while dropping into coverage.
Right guard: The Falcons drafted Mike Johnson in the third round of the 2010 draft and expected him to step in and win the job. However, he was beaten out by Garrett Reynolds and ended up on injured reserve. When Reynolds broke down against superior athletes like Detroit’s Ndamukong Suh, Joe Hawley – the center-in-waiting – had to take over.
Left tackle: Head coach Mike Smith gave left tackle Sam Baker a big endorsement. He likes the way Baker has played when healthy. Unfortunately for Baker, he was not healthy much of last season. He had back surgery during the season and an elbow ailment hindered his play much more than the team let on. So, if Baker does not return to good health, the Falcons will need to upgrade at this position. Will Svitek battled at the position after taking over for Baker.
Cornerback: The Panthers got a bounce-back year from Chris Gamble, but they were patching all year long on the other side. From Captain Munnerlyn to Darius Butler to the revolving door of third and fourth guys, they never found a suitable answer, as opponents essentially ignored Gamble in favor of easier matchups.
Defensive line: End Charles Johnson is the only proven starter along the line not coming off an injury. Any kind of pass rush, from inside or out, would help the personnel-depleted secondary immeasurably.
Offensive tackle: Left tackle Jordan Gross is solid, but entering his 10th season. Right tackle Jeff Otah has flashed moments of dominance, but hasn’t proven able to hold up an entire season. Having a backup plan for the latter and a successor for the former wouldn’t be the worst investment, considering the impact quarterback Cam Newton made last season.
New Orleans Saints
Defensive tackle: The Saints could use a run-stopper in the middle after Shaun Rogers and Aubrayo Franklin were ineffective a year ago. New defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo loves to create a pass rush with the front four, which is more effective when they can stop the run first.
Linebacker: Weak-side linebacker Scott Shanle turns 33 in November and Pro Bowl middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma was slowed for most of the season by a knee injury, which could cause the Saints to take a long look at possibly getting a little younger in this area especially in the draft.
Defensive end: Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who likes to bring heat with long, lean pass rushers, could try to upgrade this area as well even though he has a couple of first-round picks on board in Will Smith and Cameron Jordan.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cornerback: Ronde Barber is 36, has no contract and could retire, depending upon his want to return for a 16th season and the Bucs’ level of interest, contractually, to have him back. Aqib Talib still is facing a trial in March on assault with a deadly weapon in Dallas County, and if found guilty, a likely suspension from the NFL.
Running back: There’s a place for LeGarrette Blount in the Bucs’ offense, but it might not be in the starting lineup After rushing for 1,007 yards as a rookie, Blount showed how limited he is as a factor back last season. He is not fast enough to get around the edge, he is not skilled enough as a route runner or pass protector for coaches to trust him on passing downs.
Linebacker: Sheridan didn’t sound convinced Mason Foster should stay at middle linebacker, although it’s clear he likes the player. But he does believe Foster is versatile enough to play any of the three linebacker positions.
Offensive tackle: The club is trying to re-sign left tackle Levi Brown, figuring he is their best option. Brown played well over the last half of the 2011 season after playing below expectations for most of the earlier 41/2 years. His cap number is due to escalate to $17 million, so he will be released and hit the market if a deal can’t be reached. Brown has value, too, because he can play right tackle. The starter there, Brandon Keith, has shown flashes of ability, but hasn’t produced consistently.
Wide receiver: Coaches still like Andre Roberts, the starter opposite Larry Fitzgerald. But Early Doucet, the No. 3 receiver, is an unrestricted free agent and there isn’t much proven talent behind those three players. The Cardinals could still use someone with the ability to get deep. It’s not likely to be addressed in the first round but somewhere in the fourth and fifth rounds makes sense. Free agency is also a possibility.
Outside linebacker: The projected starters, O’Brien Schofield and Sam Acho, are young but there the depth is shallow. Joey Porter won’t be re-signed. Clark Haggans is 34 and a free agent. The Cardinals are committed to a 3-4 so drafting an outside linebacker or two every year makes sense.
St. Louis Rams
Wide receiver: The Rams are looking for talent outside the numbers that can support quarterback Sam Bradford. Brandon Lloyd is an unrestricted free agent the Rams say they are interested in bring back, but Lloyd could be destined to follow offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to New England. Danario Alexander has shown the ability tom make plays down the field, but injuries have kept him off the field. The Rams will look closely at the league’s unrestricted free agents as well as considering the selection of Justin Blackmon in the draft.
Defensive tackle: This is a strong year for the position in the draft, and the Rams could be tempted, especially if they trade out of the second overall pick in the first round. Fred Robbins and Justin Bannan were released. The other main players in the rotation last season were Gary Gibson and Darell Scott.
Cornerback: Injury question muddle the evaluation of this position goring forward. Ron Bartell was cleared to play late in the season after suffering a broken bone in his neck in the first game but was released. Bradley Fletcher suffered a torn ACL in October during the team’s bye, and it’s unknown when he will be cleared to play. Jerome Murphy missed the entire season with a broken ankle suffered early in training camp. Cortland Finnegan agreed to terms, but more help is needed.
San Fransisco 49ers
Wide receiver: The 49ers have only three receivers under contract, which seemed to be news to Baalke; he kept saying there were only two (he was probably omitting Joe Hastings). Williams and Michael Crabtree are signed, Ted Ginn is not. The glaring lack of a receiver was abundantly clear in the NFC title game with Crabtree’s one catch for three yards being the only reception by a wideout. The 49ers could delve into the draft and the deep pool of free-agent receivers for help, although they did sign Randy Moss.
Cornerback: The 49ers are likely going to lose Shawntae Spencer and they could lose Pro Bowler Carlos Rogers as well. The team actually seems more high on Tarell Brown than Rogers. They also have promising youngsters Chris Culliver and Tramaine Brock from last year, but NFL teams always need corners and the 49ers could be down by two of them after free agency starts.
Running back: Frank Gore is now over 1,500 career carries and it showed at the end of the season. Anthony Dixon failed to impress with his limited carries and while Kendall Hunter provided a spark, he’s only 5-7, 199 pounds. The team doesn’t have a ready heir apparent to Gore and they may look for one in free agency and the draft.
Quarterback: Starter Tarvaris Jackson finished 7-7 as a starter in his first year in Seattle, and showed toughness by playing with a torn pectoral muscle for most of the season. But Jackson also failed to lead the Seahawks to a win in four late-game situations where Seattle needed to come from behind for a victory. The Seahawks would like to see Jackson take a major step in his performance similar to San Francisco’s Alex Smith in 2011. Charlie Whitehurst will become a free agent, and likely will not return. And the Seahawks like the potential of undrafted rookie free agent Josh Portis.
Defensive end: The Seahawks struggled to generate much of a pass rush in 2011, and finished with just 33 sacks, tied for 19th in the league. Once again defensive end Chris Clemons led Seattle with 11 sacks, but the next guy behind him was linebacker Leroy Hill with four. The Seahawks have one of the best young defensive backfields in the league, but they’d like to add a couple explosive pass rushers up front.
Linebacker: Pete Carroll has said he’d like to get faster at linebacker. Veterans David Hawthorne and Leroy Hill are scheduled to become free agents. Hawthorne has led Seattle in tackles the past three seasons, but Carroll liked the way rookie K.J. Wright played at middle linebacker early last season, although he sees his best spot at outside linebacker.