2011 NFL Draft Team-by-Team Needs
by Trevor Whenham - 2/28/2011
As we head into the heart of the NFL draft season, here’s a look at the most pressing needs by position for each of the 32 teams in the league:
Baltimore Ravens - The offensive line needs some real help, and the linebackers could use an injection of youth as well -- Ray Lewis is about 200 years old. A cornerback that can stay healthy wouldn’t hurt, either.
Cincinnati Bengals - Where do we start? They might need a quarterback if Carson Palmer can’t be appeased. They definitely need younger, less diva-ish receivers. They have nothing really resembling a pass rush, so that would help, too.
Cleveland Browns - This is really one of those teams that can pick the best available player because they aren’t totally solid in many spots. The defensive front seven could all be upgraded. The left side of the offensive line is very good, but the right side could be better. The offensive can’t be accused of being too explosive, either.
Pittsburgh Steelers - The corners could be better, and the defensive ends aren’t young, but the first priority has to be the offensive line -- even the toughest, biggest QB needs to be protected.
Buffalo Bills - They need a quarterback and have the pick to get one. They could also use some offensive line help --especially tackles -- to protect that new and expensive QB. On the other side of the ball there is nothing they couldn’t use -- the front seven is brutal against the run, and the secondary lacks depth.
Miami Dolphins - The biggest thing Miami could use is a franchise running back, but those don’t look to be in high supply this year. A quarterback is a popular choice here, though I like Henne.
New England Patriots - The left half of the offensive line is ancient and should be upgraded. The running game could use a boost as well. The team could use a dominating outside linebacker to add character to the defense. Defensive depth can’t hurt, and they have the picks to add that.
New York Jets - Mark Sanchez could be more effective with better receivers. The defensive line is a priority as well as injuries have limited the team’s ability to reach the potential of the talent they have there. I’d like to see them add a safety as well.
Houston Texans - Tight end could be an issue, but unquestionably the biggest need here is in the secondary. They were ridiculously bad against the pass, and could use as much help as they can get back there.
Indianapolis Colts - The offensive line needs a whole lot of help outside of center, and should be a focus -- Manning isn’t getting any younger, so he needs to be protected. Defensive tackle is a need as well, and they need a safety with Bob Sanders out of town.
Jacksonville Jaguars - Offensively the biggest issue is a quarterback -- the team needs to figure out where their future lies. Defensively they are full of holes -- the pass rush needs a booth because they can’t stay healthy, the inside of their linebacking corps is lacking, and the safeties are lousy.
Tennessee Titans - I think I’m second on the depth chart at quarterback for this team right now, so they clearly need to do something there. Offensive guards and linebackers could be useful as well.
Denver Broncos - The Broncos have three huge needs, so it’s hard to know where to focus first -- tight end, defensive end, and cornerback. Beyond those immediate needs they could use a boost at a lot of other spots as well -- linebacker, safety, offensive guard, running back.
Kansas City Chiefs - It’s a pretty lousy offensive line, so they really need an upgrade there. Defensive tackle and linebacker -- several of them -- are burning needs as well. Wide receiver, safety and a second option at QB are secondary needs.
Oakland Raiders - I don’t believe Jason Campbell is anything more than a place-holder, so a franchise QB would be nice if there is one to be had. Regardless of who the QB is, they absolutely need to upgrade the offensive line to protect him -- everything but center needs a serious upgrade. Cornerback could be the biggest need of all, though.
San Diego Chargers - I’d be looking for a defensive end first if I was in charge of this team, but wide receivers are going to be needed, and linebackers could be upgraded.
Chicago Bears - The offensive line improved as the season went along, but a big upgrade at tackle would still be a sound investment -- probably the most pressing for the team. A guard wouldn’t hurt, either. They could use a difference maker at receiver as well, and a linebacker or two would help.
Detroit Lions - If I was drafting for Detroit I would take every decent corner I could find. They could use depth in most other positions, but their need at corner is glaring. Beyond that a linebacker or safety would be near the top of the list.
Green Bay Packers - The Pack is in a lot better shape than a lot of teams. They could use some upgrades at a few positions -- linebacker, safety, and running back primarily - but their need isn’t nearly as desperate as a lot of teams. They can choose the best available players -- in a good way.
Minnesota Vikings - Unless Brett Favre is coming back for another year the team could use some clarity at quarterback. The defensive line -- especially the ends -- could use an upgrade, and the offensive line isn’t as young as it used to be.
Dallas Cowboys - Talent wasn’t the issue with this team last year, so they don’t need a massive upgrade. An injection of heart is more important than anything else. They could use offensive line strength, and upgrade at defensive end, and their safeties aren’t as strong as they could be.
New York Giants - I there is a top-level offensive tackle available the team should take him. Otherwise, linebacker stands out as the most obvious need, and depth in the secondary is badly needed.
Philadelphia Eagles - Regardless of what this team decides to do at quarterback in the long term they need to upgrade their offensive line to offer protection to the pivot. Linebacker and the secondary are focus areas as well, and I’d like to see them add a good running back.
Washington Redskins - There are an incredible number of needs for this horribly managed team. A quarterback would be the first priority since Donovan McNabb clearly isn’t the answer. Other big needs include the entire offensive line, more than one wide receiver, the defensive line, the secondary, and inside linebackers. I’m glad I’m not a Washington fan.
Atlanta Falcons - There is no particular reason to panic with this team. Ideally, the first priority would be to find a replacement for John Abraham at defensive end for a year or two from now -- he’s not getting younger. A linebacker would be nice, and depth at tight end and on the offensive line would also be nice.
Carolina Panthers - The front seven is in trouble -- other than inside linebacker they are full of needs. I’m not convinced Jimmy Clausen is the answer, so a replacement could be useful, but I don’t see them taking one early on. A receiver and a tight end would fit in nicely as well.
New Orleans Saints - On offense they are sound with the likely exception of running back. Defense is a different story -- they could take as many front seven players as they could find with the line being a particular priority, and safeties are an issue.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - My first pick would be a running back if there is a good one to be had. They could really use a defensive end or two and a couple of linebackers as well. Safeties and offensive line are secondary needs.
Arizona Cardinals - There are defensive needs at linebacker and corner, but the focus should be on the offense primarily. They need to find a solution at quarterback, the offensive line is brutal, and a tight end and running back wouldn’t hurt. The offensive cupboard is pretty bare.
San Francisco 49ers - I’d want to look closely at quarterback, but Jim Harbaugh seems reasonably settled with what he has -- for now, at least. That should put the priorities on a defensive tackle, a center, linebackers, a corner and a receiver.
Seattle Seahawks - The offensive line is terrible, so they can use all of the help they can get. They also could use another quarterback -- even if Charlie Whitehurst doesn’t prove to be a lousy acquisition. A safety would help, as would depth in the defensive front seven, and at running back and perhaps receiver.
St. Louis Rams - They have their QB of the future, so now they need to focus on the offensive weapons around him. Running back, wide receiver and tight end are all needs. Defensively linebacker, defensive tackle, and safety seem like the most pressing issues.
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