1) Pittsburgh Steelers: They proved last year that they could win the Super
Bowl with a suspect offensive line. And keep in mind the running game should be
buoyed by the return of second-year RB Rashard Mendenhall. But can Limas Sweed
handle the third receiver role? Pittsburgh showed last season that if you have a
decent offense and the league's best defense, you can win consistently.
Needs Still to be Filled: WR, C, S (depth)
2) Philadelphia Eagles: No team attacked the draft and free agency like this
team, but they failed to find a blocking tight end. While free agency
technically lasts all year, can they find someone who can help cure their red
zone woes? Sure, they'll be able to run the ball better based on the help they
got in free agency on the offensive line, but can they throw it better?
Needs Still to be Filled: TE
3) New York Giants: This team doesn't have many weaknesses and they addressed
their weakness at receiver with two of them in the first three rounds of this
year's draft. But who will handle the ball in the running game should Brandon Jacobs get hurt again? The only potential weakness looks to be at safety.
Needs Still to be Filled: S
4) Indianapolis Colts: It will be interesting to see how the coaches handle the
running back rotation between Joseph Addai and Donald Brown. Look for Austin Collie to come in and be a factor right away as their third receiver. It also
will be interesting to see how the defense does with Larry Coyer running the
Needs Still to be Filled: WR, DT
5) Atlanta Falcons: The offense looks to be complete now with the addition of
Tony Gonzalez. But defensively, who can rush the passer other than John Abraham?
Can they find a solid cover cornerback within their roster?
Needs Still to be Filled: DE, CB, S
6) San Diego Chargers: What will do they if LaDainian Tomlinson gets hurt again?
Can Darren Sproles handle a lot of touches in Tominlson's absence? Can Shawne Merriman rebound from a lost season due to injury? The secondary needs to be
more consistent. Can Antonio Cromartie bounce back?
Needs Still to be Filled: RB, DE
7) Minnesota Vikings: This team has what looks to be an average offensive line
again. Can they handle the loss of Matt Birk? Can Percy Harvin stay out of
trouble and prove to be worth a first-round pick? They have to find a reliable
Needs Still to be Filled: RG, C, DT, S
8) Baltimore Ravens: They have to find help for Joe Flacco ASAP. Who will he
throw to who can consistently command the football? Can they run it better than
last season? Does Willis McGahee have anything left? Defensively, can Greg Mattison effectively replace coordinator Rex Ryan?
Needs Still to be Filled: WR, DE
9) New England Patriots: The return of a healthy Tom Brady will help, but the
offensive line was a bit inconsistent last season. Since they run a spread
offense, can Joey Galloway give them quality snaps at 37 years old? The
secondary, which was poor last season, should improve with the additions at
cornerback and safety. But failing to sign Jason Taylor could come back to haunt
them. Can they find a consistent pass rush?
Needs Still to be Filled: WR, RT, OLB
10) New York Jets: It's amazing that they didn't replace Laveranues Coles, so
who will catch the ball opposite Jerricho Cotchery? On defense, can they
effectively replace Kenyon Coleman? Can they find quality play at cornerback
opposite Darrelle Revis?
Needs Still to be Filled: WR, DE, OLB, S, CB
11) Tennessee Titans: The offense should be solid and they finally have what
looks to be quality depth at receiver. They have to figure out how they are
going to get a a consistent pass rush after losing Albert Hayensworth.
Needs Still to be Filled: DE, CB, S
12) Carolina Panthers: They might have the best rushing attack in the NFL, but
can they pass the football when they need to? Who will rush the passer besides
the inconsistent Julius Peppers? Can they find a suitable nickel back after
cutting Ken Lucas?
Needs Still to be Filled: WR, DE, DT, OLB, CB
13) New Orleans Saints: They have a great offense, but can Pierre Thomas handle
a lot of carries this season with Deuce McAllister out of the picture?
Defensively, they have to find consistent pass rush to go along with much better
play from their secondary.
Needs Still to be Filled: RB, DT, OLB
14) Arizona Cardinals: The offensive line looks to be average again and with the
shift to more of a power rushing attack, they'll need to perform at a higher
level. The loss of DE Antonio Smith is potentially huge. They have to find more
of a pass rush and the secondary must also play better if they're going to get
back to the playoffs again.
Needs Still to be Filled: TE, C, DE, CB
15) Houston Texans: Surprisingly, the team didn't sign a back or draft a running
back for depth purposes? Can Steve Slaton hold up as the starter? He wore down
last season. Defensively, the problems still exist in the secondary. The safety
play has been poor since Houston's inaugural season in 2002.
Needs Still to be Filled: RB, G, DE (depth), S
16) Green Bay Packers: RT, DE, OLB, S
Needs Still to be Filled: With Mark Tauscher unsigned and unlikely to
return to the team, the right tackle position looks like an issue. Does this
team have the personnel on defense to make the conversion to the 3-4 scheme
17) Dallas Cowboys: I'm still trying to figure out if Roy Williams is a No. 1
receiver. If he's not, Dallas will have big problems in their passing
game--Jason Witten can only do so much. The secondary looks like the weakness of
Needs Still to be Filled: WR, CB, S
18) Chicago Bears: Who will catch the passes from Jay Cutler? They really need
to upgrade the receiver position. Defensively, they could use another pass
rusher and depth in the secondary.
Needs Still to be Filled: QB (backup), WR, G, DE, CB
19) Washington Redskins: A lot of pressure will be put on Jason Campbell to move
the football in the air this season, but who will catch it at receiver other
than Santana Moss? The additions of Albert Haynesworth and Brian Orakpo will
help, but this defense only posted 24 sacks last season.
Needs Still to be Filled: WR, RT, OLB
20) Miami Dolphins: They still lack quality playmakers at receiver and they need
to make a bigger commitment to Ronnie Brown this season. It would have helped if
they improved the tight end position with a good pass catcher. Adding Jason
Taylor really should help on the other side of Joey Porter.
Needs Still to be Filled: WR, TE
21) Seattle Seahawks: RB, G
Needs Still to be Filled: Despite the struggles of Julius Jones last
season, the team didn't add a single running back in free agency or in the
draft. The offensive line, which was once of the top two or three, is looking
pretty average these days. The secondary, which was poor last season, must
rebound if Seattle is going to be competitive each week.
22) Buffalo Bills: The offensive line looks to be average at best, but the
passing game looks to be improved. They'll certainly be able to run the football
effectively. The defense will get help from a healthy Aaron Schobel, but he
needs help on the other side. Aaron Maybin is more of a project than anything
else at this point.
Needs Still to be Filled: LT, DE
23) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The additions of Derrick Ward and Kellen Winslow
should certainly help their offense. But it's looking like a shaky defense
again. They have no depth to speak of on their defensive line and the secondary
was shaky down the stretch last season.
Needs Still to be Filled: DE, DT, CB
24) Denver Broncos: The key for this team is for QB Kyle Orton to get off to a
good start as he did with the Bear last season. But can he perform at a high
level in a spread offense? This is going to be quite a change from what he's
been used to. They certainly should be able to run the ball effectively. But can
this defense, which has been pitiful in recent years, be at least average?
Needs Still to be Filled: DE, CB
25) Cincinnati Bengals: The offensive line is a shell of what it once was, but
the addition of Andre Smith will help. Getting back a healthy Carson Palmer
behind center has to help their offense as a whole. The defense, under Mike
Zimmer, is probably a bit underrated and has a chance to surprise this season.
Needs Still to be Filled: RT, DT, DE, CB
26) San Francisco 49ers: The quarterback position, once again, could be the bane
of their existence. They'll run a power rushing offense which will certainly
help control the clock, but can they actually score points? And can the defense
actually stop teams consistently? There are just too many questions to be
answered for this team to be competitive each week.
Needs Still to be Filled: QB, OLB, S
27) Cleveland Browns: They have to stick with one quarterback this season and
live with the results. Can they get anything out of the running game? Will they
keep Braylon Edwards? Those questions will be answered in training camp. The
defense was poor last season, so it will be up to Rob Ryan to get it back to
Needs Still to be Filled: RB, TE, OLB, CB
28) St. Louis Rams: They've done a nice job of rebuilding their offensive line,
but there are still problems left on both sides of the ball. It will be
interesting to see how new head coach Steve Spagnuolo improves what has been a
very average defense in recent years.
Needs Still to be Filled: WR, DT, DE
29) Oakland Raiders: They should be able to run the ball fairly well, but can
they pass it? They are going to be very young at receiver once again this
season. The defense looks to be very ordinary again.
Needs Still to be Filled: WR, DE, CB
30) Jacksonville Jaguars: One of the keys to their offense is how much David Garrard can improve from last season. It would help if they got him better
talent at the receiver position. Maurice Jones-Drew is a star in the making, but
can he hold up all season with the expected increase in touches? Why was Mel
Tucker brought in after the Cleveland defense collapsed last season?
Needs Still to be Filled: WR, TE, DT, S, CB
31) Detroit Lions: They filled a bunch of needs during the draft and in free
agency, but they've got a long way to go toward respectability. This team
underachieved in a major way last season and they're not devoid of talent. It's
up to the new coaching staff to get them headed in the right direction.
Needs Still to be Filled: G, DE, DT
32) Kansas City Chiefs: They made upgrades at quarterback, guard, defensive end,
and linebacker. But no team had more needs coming into the draft. New team czar
Scott Pioli has this team on the right track, but it's going to take a while for
them to be very competitive again.
Needs Still to be Filled: WR, OLB (pass rusher)