The NFL is ever changing. With injuries, free agency, contract disputes and various other factors looming, players are always looking to upgrade their situation, and teams are always looking to upgrade their personnel. While free agency is a good place to start, the NFL Draft is where a front office ultimately builds the future of their franchise.
With the NFL offseason kicking into full gear, we have put together the following comprehensive list of what each team needs and how they can accomplish picking up those pieces.
1. Kansas City Chiefs:
- Quarterback: Kansas City’s No. 1 priority is to find a franchise quarterback. Unfortunately, this is the wrong year to have the top pick in the draft, as a new general manager would’ve had to reach for Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, Tyler Wilson or Mike Glennon. However, that strategy won’t work. 49ers’ former starter Alex Smith won’t be nearly as effective without Jim Harbaugh.
- Two Wide Receivers: This assumes Dwayne Bowe leaves via free agency. Kansas City’s new quarterback will need someone to throw to. The front office can nab someone like Justin Hunter atop the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
- Defensive End: Glenn Dorsey is a free agent and Tyson Jackson could be released because his massive contract doesn’t match his mediocre play. Simply put, the Chiefs need to generate more pressure up front.
- Inside Linebacker: Kansas City needs to recover from the unfortunate Jovan Belcher tragedy. A new inside linebacker will be needed alongside Derrick Johnson.
- Guard: Ryan Lilja has announced his retirement. The Chiefs cannot go with Jeff Allen as a starter again because he’s been dreadful.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars:
- Quarterback: It was obvious last year that Blaine Gabbert was a lemon. Given his fear of getting hit, sub-par football IQ and poor attitude, he was destined to fail. It’s obvious that Jacksonville needs to find a franchise quarterback. Tim Tebow has been linked to the team (don’t rule him out just yet even though new GM David Caldwell said he has no desire to bring him in), and despite hemolytic ESPN groupthink, he would be a massive upgrade.
- Defensive End: Jacksonville had the fewest sacks in the NFL this past season. Jeremy Mincey had a down year, while second-round rookie Andre Branch seems to be yet another Gene Smith bust. Jason Babin was added during the season and actually looked pretty decent in brief action, but the Jaguars can’t bank on him. Damonte Moore will probably be heavily considered at No. 2 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft.
- Cornerback: There seems to be something wrong with every Jacksonville cornerback. Derek Cox is an injury-prone free agent. Aaron Ross isn’t any good. Rashean Mathis is old. William Middleton is about to hit the market as well. Sixth-round rookie Mike Harris played decently until Tom Brady exposed him in Week 16. The new front office needs to find a new No. 1 cornerback.
- Right Tackle: Cameron Bradfield was overmatched this year. The Jaguars need need to find an upgrade.
- Two Outside Linebackers: It’ll definitely be two if Daryl Smith leaves via free agency. Julian Stanford and Russell Allen were both terrible as the two Jacksonville outside linebackers this season. Jarvis Jones is currently the favorite to be the second pick in April’s draft, but a lot can change in the next few months.
3. Oakland Raiders:
- Two Defensive Tackles: It doesn’t appear as though Richard Seymour will be back next year. Desmond Bryant is also a free agent. And I don’t need to point out that Tommy Kelly is a lazy player who is more interested in injuring the other quarterback than winning. Two defensive tackle upgrades are needed. One could be Star Lotulelei via the third pick this April.
- Two Cornerbacks: As you’ll see, the Raiders need multiples of various things on defense, including cornerbacks. This area was so bad this past season that safety Michael Huff had to start at one of the positions.
- Three Linebackers: Not one, not two, but three. The linebacking corps is that putrid. Philip Wheeler is a free agent who must be retained. Rolando McClain doesn’t really care. Miles Burris, meanwhile, was a disappointment, but is still young, so he’ll likely get another shot.
- Defensive End: Excluding the Jaguars, no team had fewer sacks in the NFL last year than the Raiders. The front office needs to find some help across from Lamarr Houston. Damontre Moore could be a possibility with the No. 3 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
- Right Tackle: The right tackle position has been a big problem area for the Raiders in recent years. Neither Khalif Barnes nor Willie Smith played well there in 2012.
4. Philadelphia Eagles:
- Nose Tackle: The Eagles are moving to the 3-4, but they have no nose tackle. They’ll be hoping for Star Lotulelei at No. 4 overall. If not, Jesse Williams would make sense atop Round 2.
- Right Tackle: The Eagles had major issues on their offensive line. The return of Jason Peters would fix things on one side, provided he’s close to 100 percent coming off an Achilles tear. Repairing the right side of the line could be solved by drafting Luke Joeckel No. 4 overall, which would allow Todd Herrmans to move to a more natural guard position.
- Cornerback: Remember how great Philadelphia’s cornerbacks were considered after the team signed Nnamdi Asomugha and traded for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie? Well, Asomugha is bound to get released because he was so brutal in 2012, while DRC, an impending free agent, lived up to his nickname, “Doesn’t Really Care.” The front office will have to obtain a new No. 1 cornerback to pair with Brandon Boykin, who had an impressive rookie campaign.
- Safety: Two safeties might be needed, but Colt Anderson was serviceable down the stretch, so Philadelphia might be able to get away with him as one of the starters. Nate Allen, however, was horrific this past year.
- Rush Linebacker: Does Trent Cole make sense for the 3-4? If not, Philadelphia will have to find someone who does.
5. Detroit Lions:
- Two Defensive Ends: Only one defensive end will be needed if the Lions can retain Cliff Avril. They’ll have to upgrade Kyle Vanden Bosch, who struggled in every aspect of the game this past season. He’s done.
- Two Safeties: Louis Delmas is an impending free agent, but he barely played because he was always injured. Detroit had nothing outside of Delmas at the safety position, so the front office will need to find two upgrades there if the Western Michigan product isn’t brought back.
- Cornerback: It wouldn’t be an offseason if the Lions didn’t need a cornerback. Chris Houston is a free agent, while Dwight “Bullet Bill” Bentley did not look good in three starts – even for a third-round rookie.
- Two Outside Linebackers: Justin Durant and DeAndre Levy are a couple of other free agents that Detroit will have to re-sign. Perhaps Travis Lewis will get a chance if one of them leaves, but he was just a seventh-round rookie in 2012 who barely saw the field.
- Wide Receiver: It’s Calvin Johnson, and that’s it. Ryan Broyles, who looked promising, tore yet another ACL. Titus Young, meanwhile, actually tried to sabotage a potential Detroit victory by intentionally lining up in the wrong spots. Matthew Stafford won’t win many games throwing to Mike Thomas, Kris Durham and Brian Robiskie.
6. Cleveland Browns:
- Quarterback: Brandon Weeden will turn 30 in October. Nice first-round pick, Holmgren. Cleveland desperately needs a franchise quarterback that the team has never had since its return to the NFL in 1999. The Browns missed out on Robert Griffin, and now there aren’t any worthy signal-callers to draft this April.
- Rush Linebacker: Jabaal Sheard led the team in sacks with only seven. Juqua Parker-Thomas was next with six, and he’ll be a 35-year-old free agent this offseason. Cleveland desperately needs rush linebacker help. Damontre Moore is the no-brainer pick if he’s available at No. 6 overall this April.
- Wide Receiver: Rookie Josh Gordon improved as the year went on, but Greg Little kept dropping passes. Little is too unreliable, so the front office should bring in some competition for him.
- Cornerback: Sheldon Brown is a 34-year-old free agent, so Cleveland will need to find young blood across from Joe Haden. Buster Skrine is too heavily penalized to be relied upon as a starter.
- Right Guard: The Browns had issues at both guard positions, but John Greco handled himself well since replacing Jason Pinkston in October. Right guard Shawn Lauvao, however, was the weak link on an otherwise solid offensive line.
7. Arizona Cardinals:
- Quarterback: This is obvious. The Cardinals have started Kevin Kolb, Derek Anderson, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley, Brian Hoyer and Max Hall since Kurt Warner retired. Arizona will probably select a signal-caller fairly early in the 2013 NFL Draft.
- Offensive Tackle: Levi Brown will be coming back from a triceps tear, but needed to be upgraded anyway. Nate Potter’s not the answer at left tackle either. Scottsdale native Taylor Lewan will be awfully temping at No. 7 overall this April.
- Rush Linebacker: Arizona lacks someone who can consistently get to the quarterback. Sam Acho is just OK, while O’Brien Schofield can’t seem to stay healthy.
- Running Back: Chris Wells is just a pedestrian, fragile Big Ten plodder, while Ryan Williams simply cannot stay healthy. The Cardinals need a solution at this position, so they’ll probably take a runner with a mid-round selection.
- Inside Linebacker: Paris Lenon can’t be allowed to start again. He was awful last year.
8. Buffalo Bills:
- Quarterback: There’s a reason general manager Buddy Nix told the media he was going to draft a franchise quarterback. The Bills haven’t had one since Jim Kelly, which is why they haven’t been to the playoffs this century.
- Wide Receiver: Nix also mentioned drafting a big No. 2 receiver to complement Stevie Johnson. There will be plenty such players available in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, including DeAndre Hopkins and Cobi Hamilton.
- Inside Linebacker: The Bills spent so much money last season on defensive ends, but then realized that they have a gaping hole in the middle of their stop unit. Kelvin Sheppard was a big disappointment in his sophomore campaign. Manti Te’o would be an obvious solution this April if Nix weren’t so set on finding a franchise quarterback.
- Defensive End: Both Mario Williams and Mark Anderson began their Buffalo careers rather sluggishly. Williams had wrist surgery during the bye week and magically improved. Anderson, however, suffered a knee injury in Week 5 and never saw the field again. He’s due a $1.5 million option bonus, so he may not be back.
- Safety: Jairus Byrd is one of the top safeties in football, so he must be retained. The Bills reportedly began long-term contract negotiations with him back in November.
9. New York Jets:
- Quarterback: Mark Sanchez is garbage, Greg McElroy is not an NFL-caliber starter, while Tim Tebow wasn’t utilized for some strange reason. It’s obvious that the Jets must move on from Sanchez, but his ridiculous contract won’t allow that to happen. The new general manager will have to draft a quarterback this April.
- Right Tackle: Austin Howard was a human turnstile this past season; he’s a major reason why McElroy took 11 sacks in Week 16. The Jets have to think about addressing this position in the first two rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft.
- Rush Linebacker: Calvin Pace couldn’t get to the quarterback this season. Neither could Bryan Thomas. Aaron Maybin was cut. Someone like Dion Jordan has to be considered with the No. 9 pick this April.
- Two Safeties: Both LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell will be free agents. Landry told the media he won’t take a discount to stay with the Jets, while Bell turns 35 in March.
- Running Back: Shonn Greene is a free agent, but he needed to be upgraded anyway. There will be plenty of running backs to choose from in Rounds 2-4 this April.
10. Tennessee Titans:
- Two Safeties: Tennessee could not stop the pass in 2012. A big part of the reason was the play of safeties Michael Griffin and Jordan Babineaux. The front office has a five-day window after the Super Bowl to release Griffin before it has to pay him $4.5 million in 2013. If the Titans don’t give him another chance, they’ll have to find two new safeties.
- Two Guards: Chris Johnson needs better blocking in front of him to truly return to CJ2K form. Left guard Steve Hutchinson was a disappointment in 2012, while Leroy Harris is a sub-par lineman heading for free agency.
- Cornerback: Another reason the Titans couldn’t stop the pass was because they had no cornerback depth. Plus, Alterraun Verner will be a free agent next spring. DeMarcus Milliner could be Tennessee’s choice at No. 10 overall this April.
- Center: Speaking of the interior of the offensive line, Fernando Velasco must be retained after a surprisingly solid 2012 campaign.
- Quarterback: Jake Locker has shown nothing to indicate that he can become a franchise quarterback. The Titans will give him at least one more year to prove himself, but they need to bring in some competition.
11. San Diego Chargers:
- Two Offensive Tackles: Has Philip Rivers truly regressed, or is one of the league’s worst offensive lines to blame? San Diego’s new front office won’t truly know until it makes repairs up front. Neither Jared Gaither nor Jeromey Clary can be allowed to return as the team’s starting tackles. The Chargers will have to consider trading up for Taylor Lewan.
- Two Guards: Continuing with the offensive line, Louis Vasquez and Tyronne Green are both free agents. Vasquez was stellar in 2012, while Green was a serviceable starter. They need to be retained. If they aren’t, the Chargers will have to keep adding new linemen.
- Two Cornerbacks: Starting corners Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason are free agents as well. Jammer will be 34 in June and Cason stinks, so they need to be replaced anyway.
- Rush Linebacker: San Diego spent a first-round pick on Melvin Ingram last April, but it’ll have to find a new rush linebacker unless it re-signs Shaun Phillips. Barkevious Mingo will be an option at No. 11.
- Inside Linebacker: Takeo Spikes just turned 36 and could be a cap casualty because he’s owed $3 million in non-guaranteed money in 2013.
12. Miami Dolphins:
- Left Tackle: Jake Long is a free agent. The Dolphins have plenty of cap room, so they have to make every effort to re-sign him. If they can’t, they’ll have to find a bookend for second-year Jonathan Martin, who struggled as a rookie. If Long leaves, Miami may have to draft Eric Fisher at No. 12 overall.
- Wide Receiver: Make it two wideouts if Brian Hartline leaves via free agency. Ryan Tannehill desperately needs a legitimate No. 1 receiver to throw to. Expect Miami to use one of its picks in the first two rounds on this position. Signing Greg Jennings is also an option.
- Two Cornerbacks: The Dolphins have a mess at cornerback. Sean Smith is a free agent. Richard Marshall, who isn’t very good, is coming off back surgery. Nolan Carroll struggled as well. The front office dealt Vontae Davis for a second-round pick, so that selection could be used on a replacement.
- Defensive Tackle: Randy Starks is a free agent. If he leaves, Miami will have to find someone else to rush the passer in the interior. Fortunately for the front office, this upcoming draft class is deep at the position.
- Tight End: The only reason rookie Michael Egnew wasn’t cut last year was because the front office spent a third-round pick on him. He’ll likely be gone this August at the very latest. Tannehill needs a solid intermediate pass-catcher.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
- Two Cornerbacks: Tampa Bay had one of the worst secondaries in the NFL for a reason. Aqib Talib was traded, while Eric Wright dealt with injuries and suspensions. Wright can’t be counted on to start next year (there’s a good chance he’ll be cut in the offseason), and neither can E.J. Biggers, who’s a free agent. The front office could easily double dip at the position in the 2013 NFL Draft, beginning with Johnthan Banks at No. 13 overall.
- Tight End: Dallas Clark is a free agent, so Tampa Bay will bring in someone to challenge Luke Stocker, who hasn’t developed like the front office envisioned when it took him in the fourth round two years ago. Josh Freeman would really benefit from a dependable intermediate target.
- Defensive End: Michael Bennett is one of the better defensive ends in the NFL. He’s also a free agent. If he leaves, Tampa Bay will have to find someone to compete with Da’Quan Bowes for the starting job across from Adrian Clayborn.
- Defensive Tackle: Roy Miller (a free agent) and Gary Gibson both thrive at stopping the run, but the Buccaneers need to find someone who can rush the quarterback from the interior alongside Gerald McCoy.
- Strongside Linebacker: Lavonte David was awesome as a rookie next to Mason Foster. The Buccaneers got nothing out of the third linebacker spot, however. A Day 2 selection could be used on an upgrade over Quincy Black.
14. Carolina Panthers:
- Two Defensive Tackles: The Panthers really have nothing at defensive tackle, especially with Dwan Edwards about to hit free agency. They need two upgrades at the position, and they could start with Johnathan Hankins or Sheldon Richardson with the 14th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
- Cornerback: Carolina needs to find an upgrade across from Chris Gamble. None of its options worked very well last year. Captain Munnerlyn was OK, but he’s a free agent.
- Free Safety: Hiro Nakamura could stop time. Haruki Nakamura can’t stop anyone. He has to be upgraded. There will be plenty of options in Round 2 this April.
- Right Tackle: Cam Newton needs better protection up front. Right tackle Byron Bell replaced Jeff Otah and was exposed as a liability. He needs to be upgraded. Also, a potential successor for left tackle Jordan Gross needs to be found soon. Gross will be 33 in July.
- Right Guard: Another upgrade for the offensive line. Geoff Hangartner is versatile to play all three positions inside, but he’s not that good.
15. New Orleans Saints:
- Rush Linebacker: Junior Galette and Martez Wilson will start at rush linebacker for New Orleans. The front office will have to find a top pass-rusher.
- Two Safeties: Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins both were completely inept in coverage this past season. Upgrading Harper must be done immediately. Jenkins will be entering the final year of his deal, so the Saints could give him one more shot – though they should bring in some competition.
- Two Offensive Tackles: New Orleans’ greatest priority on offense this spring will be to provide Drew Brees with better pass protection along the edges. Both starting tackles were inept pass-blockers last year.
- Cornerback: Corey White can’t be allowed to play nearly as much as he did in 2012.
- Nose Tackle: Brodrick Bunkley should be able to start at nose tackle, but a long-term solution is needed.
16. St Louis Rams
- Offensive Tackle: Rodger Saffold actually played pretty well in the second half of the year after missing the first portion of 2012. He could be more effective at right tackle or guard though. Regardless, St. Louis needs an upgrade at offensive tackle. Eric Fisher will be an option with the 16th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
- Free Safety: The Rams have made it known that they plan to upgrade the free safety position this offseason. This has to be a priority because Craig Dahl, a free agent, was brutal in 2012.
- Wide Receiver: Danny Amendola is a great slot receiver, while Chris Givens served as a dangerous deep threat, but the Rams lacked a No. 1 receiver. Maybe Brian Quick can become that, but he didn’t show any signs of being able to do so as a rookie. The front office could take a receiver with one of their two first-round picks.
- Strongside Linebacker: James Laurinaitis and JoLonn Dunbar played pretty well this past season, but no one the team tried at strongside linebacker did very well.
- Left Guard: Another upgrade that must be made up front. Sam Bradford is brittle and needs all the solid pass protection he can get. The front office likes 2012 fifth-round pick Rokevious Watkins, but he looked terrible in his only game last year.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers
- Rush Linebacker: The Steelers tied for just 15th in sacks in 2012. That would help explain why their defense couldn’t force any turnovers. Luckily, there will be plenty of pass-rushers available at No. 17 in the 2013 NFL Draft.
- Wide Receiver: Mike Wallace cost his team with so many drops this past season. He’s a free agent, so he’ll likely move on to another venue.
- Strong Safety: How many more years can Pittsburgh keep relying on Troy Polamalu? He’s always hurt. The front office needs to start thinking about bringing in a successor.
- Offensive Tackle: Second-round rookie Mike Adams struggled in his first NFL campaign, but maybe he’ll improve. The Steelers should bring in veteran competition just in case he doesn’t.
- Defensive End: Pittsburgh got absolutely no pass rush out of its young defensive ends, Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward. Hood was especially terrible.
18. Dallas Cowboys
- Two Interior Linemen: There’s some talk about the Cowboys moving Mackenzy Bernadeau from right guard to center. I have my doubts about that helping at all. Regardless, Dallas needs help at both guard and center.
- Strong Safety: Dallas had major issues at strong safety this past season, and it all started when Barry Church went on injured reserve. Church tore his Achilles, so he may not be 100 percent next year. Eric Reid will be an option this April.
- Defensive End: Anthony Spencer is a free agent, as is Victor Butler. If the Cowboys don’t re-sign Spencer, they’ll have to find a worthy complement for DeMarcus Ware in their new 4-3.
- Defensive Tackle: Jay Ratliff could back next year, but he hasn’t played well since signing a big contract. Help is needed at defensive tackle. Sharrif Floyd and Bennie Logan will be options at No. 18 overall this April. Trading up for Sheldon Richardson is also a possibility.
- Right Tackle: Doug Free has been terrible ever since signing a $32 million contract nearly two years ago. Jerry Jones needs to find some competition for him (assuming he’s even on the roster).
19. New York Giants
- Two Offensive Tackles: William Beatty was rock solid at left tackle this past season, but he’s set to hit free agency. Meanwhile, right tackle David Diehl was a human turnstile. Re-signing Sean Locklear would help. Unfortunately, the top tackles are likely to be off the board by No. 19 overall this April.
- Two Linebackers: General manager Jerry Reese said that there needs to be better linebacker play next year. Chase Blackburn and Keith Rivers, both of whom struggled, are free agents. At least one early selection will be used to upgrade the linebacking corps.
- Cornerback: I don’t know what happened to Corey Webster, but he was torched relentlessly this year.
- Defensive End: Both Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck were huge disappointments in 2012. The former is a free agent. The Giants have to bolster their pass rush across from Jason Pierre-Paul.
- Left Guard: Kevin Boothe needs to be re-signed unless New York feels 2012 fourth-rounder Brandon Mosley is ready to step in.
20. Chicago Bears
- Offensive Tackle: Fixing the offensive line is priority No. 1 this offseason. J’Marcus Webb was beaten early, but improved as the season went along, so I don’t know if the Bears want to keep him at left tackle or move him to the right side. Either way, they need help at tackle. If Eric Fisher is unavailable at No. 20 this April, they’ll have to take someone in Round 2.
- Left Guard: Another position that desperately needs to be upgraded. Chance Warmack has to be the pick if he’s on the board at No. 20.
- Two Linebackers: Brian Urlacher and Nick Roach are free agents, but both needed to be upgraded anyway. I know Urlacher was hurt last year, but he was awful. He’ll be 35 in May.
- Tight End: Jay Cutler needs someone to throw to besides Brandon Marshall. A dependable intermediate target would be a big boost.
- Defensive Tackle: The Bears cannot allow Henry Melton, their top pass-rusher, to walk away. Even if he’s retained, depth is needed here.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
- Running Back: BenJarvus Green-Ellis is just a mediocre plodder whose stats were enhanced because of a powerful offensive line. The Bengals need to add a speed complement. There will be plenty of options in Round 2. Reggie Bush might also be considered.
- Two Linebackers: Vontaze Burfict was a pleasant surprise for Cincinnati this season, but Manny Lawson is a free agent, while Rey Maualuga was the worst starting linebacker in the NFL. There’s a good chance Manti Te’o may fall to No. 21 this April.
- Safety: Nate Clements had to play the safety position despite being a natural cornerback because Taylor Mays was awful. Both Clements and Chris Crocker are free agents in their 30s.
- Right Tackle: Andre Smith is coming off a Pro Bowl-type campaign. He’ll be hitting free agency and must be retained.
- Defensive End: The Bengals have three defensive ends entering free agency – and this includes starter Michael Johnson. Someone like Sam Montgomery makes sense at No. 21 overall if Johnson isn’t franchised.
22. Redskins (First Round Pick Traded To Rams in RG3 Trade)
- Two Safeties: Washington’s secondary is an absolute mess. Help is needed everywhere, including both safety positions. Madieu Williams is a mediocre free agent, while Brandon Meriweather can’t ever get healthy enough to see the field.
- Cornerback: A cornerback must also be added. Josh Wilson is just OK, while DeAngelo Hall is inconsistent and Cedric Griffin is set to hit free agency. Luckily, there will be plenty of corners available in Round 2.
- Right Tackle: The biggest hole on Washington’s front is easily right tackle. Jammal Brown is always hurt, while backup Tyler Polumbus performed miserably in his absence.
- Inside Linebacker: Keenan Robinson barely played last year, so the Redskins don’t really know if he’ll be able to play alongside Perry Riley once London Fletcher calls it a career.
- Left Guard: Another offensive line upgrade is needed here. Kory Lichstensteiger, who isn’t very good, happens to be a free agent.
23. Minnesota Vikings
- Wide Receiver: Two of these will be needed if Percy Harvin is traded. Christian Ponder needs someone to throw to besides Harvin. He won’t ever develop as well as Minnesota would like if he has to keep airing it out to bums like Jerome Simpson and Michael Jenkins. The front office should have plenty of receivers to choose from at No. 23 overall.
- Two Linebackers: Jasper Brinkley is one of the worst starting middle linebackers in football. He’s a free agent anyway, as is Erin Henderson, who is just an average starter.
- Defensive Tackle: Letroy Guion did not get the job done next to Kevin Williams. The Vikings could go after a nose tackle early in the 2013 NFL Draft. Johnathan Jenkins would make sense with the 23rd pick.
- Two Guards: It’s amazing that Adrian Peterson nearly broke Eric Dickerson’s record running behind two pedestrian guards. Charlie Johnson and Brandon Fusco can both be upgraded.
- Safety: Harrison Smith deserves Rookie of the Year consideration, but he’s the only talented safety on Minnesota’s roster.
24. Indianapolis Colts
- Right Tackle: The Colts have to upgrade Andrew Luck’s protection. Winston Justice, a free agent, was constantly on and off the field because of various injuries last year.
- Cornerback: Indianapolis has multiple cornerbacks set to hit free agency. All of them struggled across from Vontae Davis.
- Nose Tackle: Antonio Johnson’s contract is up, but he was playing out of position anyway. Indianapolis will have to consider Johnathan Jenkins at No. 24 overall this April.
- Rush Linebacker: Dwight Freeney will be hitting the free-agent market, but he didn’t exactly transition comfortably into the 3-4. Jerry Hughes, meanwhile, has yet to prove that he’s nothing more than a marginal talent. Luckily, this upcoming draft class is deep at the rush linebacker position.
- Two Guards: Here’s more help up front. Starting guards Mike McGlynn and Jeff Linkenbach were both brutal last year.
25. Seattle Seahawks
- Defensive Tackle: The Seahawks have an outstanding defense, but it can be even better if they manage to add an interior pass-rusher. If they can get to the quarterback more effectively, it’ll make their dominant secondary that much more potent.
- Wide Receiver: It’s amazing how great Russell Wilson was as a rookie despite not having a legitimate No. 1 receiver at his disposal. One could be acquired with the 25th pick this April.
- Right Tackle: Breno Giacomini is a huge liability at right tackle. He can’t pass protect, and he commits way too many penalties. If the Seahawks don’t find an upgrade in free agency, they’ll have to obtain one in the first few rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft.
- Defensive End: Chris Clemons tore his ACL in early January, so he may not be ready for the start of the 2013 season. As we all saw in the playoff loss to Atlanta, Bruce Irvin cannot be a starter because he gets demolished against the run.
- Guard: James Carpenter hasn’t proven that he can stay healthy. Paul McQuistan isn’t very good. The Seahawks could stand to find at least one upgrade on the interior.
26. Green Bay Packers
- Center: Jeff Saturday was voted to the Pro Bowl despite being benched in favor of Evan Dietrich-Smith. The center position desperately needs to be upgraded.
- Running Back: DuJuan Harris had a nice playoff run, but he probably can’t be counted on to carry the load. The Packers have to find a true starting back. They can try one in the first round, but there will be plenty of options available in Round 2.
- Wide Receiver: Greg Jennings is a free agent. If he leaves, Aaron Rodgers will still have Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and James Jones at his disposal, but none of those guys are No. 1 receivers. General manager Ted Thompson may opt to draft one at the end of the first round.
- Rush Linebacker: Green Bay’s front office needs to make sure that Erik Walden isn’t on the field very much next year. He is terrible.
- Offensive Tackle: The Packers need to bring in another tackle for depth purposes so Don Barclay doesn’t have to see the field next year.
27. Houston Texans
- Wide Receiver: The Texans have needed a deep-threat No. 2 receiver across from Andre Johnson for years now. Soon, they’ll have to find a new No. 1 as well.
- Inside Linebacker: Bradie James is not the answer next to Brian Cushing. Neither are Darryl Sharpton or Tim Dobbins. Kevin Minter and Alec Ogletree could be pursued in the first round this April.
- Right Tackle: Houston was thinking about drafting a right tackle in the first round last year. That still might be the plan because Derek Newton has to be upgraded.
- Right Guard: The team also had issues at right guard. Ben Jones and Antoine Caldwell both struggled at the position in 2012.
- Free Safety: Houston has some key free agents, including Glover Quin, who was outstanding this past season. He has to be retained.
28. Denver Broncos
- Two Defensive Tackles: It’s pretty barren for the Broncos at defensive tackle. Starters Kevin Vickerson and Justin Bannan, who aren’t very good, both happen to be free agents. There will be tons of options toward the end of the first round.
- Middle Linebacker: Keith Brooking, 37, saw extensive action at middle linebacker this past season when Joe Mays was lost for the year. Neither is very good, so the Broncos could be looking at Manti Te’o, Alec Ogletree or Kevin Minter at the end of the first round.
- Safety: Notice a theme here? The Broncos have to upgrade the middle of their defense. Rahim Moore obviously had that bone-headed play on the Jacoby Jones touchdown, but this is more for an upgrade over the inept Mike Adams.
- Left Tackle: Ryan Clady had a fantastic 2012 campaign, so that means he’s due a big contract as a free agent. The Broncos have to re-sign him.
- Running Back: I don’t think Knowshon Moreno can be trusted. Willis McGahee is old. Ronnie Hillman’s just a change-of-pace back.
29. New England Patriots
- Two Wide Receivers: Wes Welker is a free agent. A starting receiver is also needed across from Brandon Lloyd. There will be plenty of options available at No. 29 overall.
- Defensive Tackle: The Patriots don’t have much of an interior pass rush. They may spend an early draft choice on a complement for Vince Wilfork. Signed Armond Armstead
- Cornerback: Aqib Talib was a great mid-season acquisition, but as witnessed in the AFC Championship, the New England secondary looked completely inept without him. Talib is about to hit the free-agent market.
- Right Tackle: Sebastian Vollmer, a free agent, is one of the top right tackles in football. The Patriots have to bring him back.
- Defensive End: Another pass-rusher should be acquired. Jermaine Cunningham continues to be a bust, while third-round rookie Jake Bequette barely saw the field.
30. Atlanta Falcons
- Two Defensive Ends: The Falcons can’t put any pressure on the quarterback whatsoever. John Abraham will be 35 in May, while Ray Edwards was released during the season. The front office could double dip at this position during the draft.
- Running Back: This is an obvious need. Michael Turner’s career is about finished, so the Falcons need to bring in a replacement. There will be plenty of backs available on Day 2 of the 2013 NFL Draft.
- Linebacker: The Falcons’ play at linebacker must improve. Stephen Nicholas can’t be on the field on all three downs, while Akeem Dent was a disappointment in his first season as a starter. The team needs to find a linebacker capable of playing all three downs with Sean Weatherspoon.
- Defensive Tackle: Atlanta will look for a defensive tackle to complement Jonathan Babineaux this offseason. Someone like Kawann Short makes sense at the end of the first round this April.
- Interior Lineman: The Falcons will need a new right guard or center, depending on where they want to put Peter Konz. Current center Todd McClure is a 36-year-old free agent. Luckily, this upcoming draft is deep in terms of interior blockers.
31. San Francisco 49ers
- Defensive Tackle: Starting nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga will be 32 years of age at the early stage of the 2013 season. He is solid against the run, but he provides very little as a pass rusher. Sopoaga also requires frequent rest and can no longer be considered an every-down player. He made $3.8 million this year and will be a free agent in 2013. It is highly unlikely the 49ers will offer him anywhere near that figure, so Sopoaga may go to another team.
- Cornerback: Carlos Rogers isn’t getting younger but also the lack of another presence on the other side of the field is a big concern. Tarell Brown is a solid player but tends to get picked on a little. The pass rush gets home for the most part but in a passing league where teams and coordinators adapt quickly their will be a exploitable hole in the secondary
- 3-4 Defensive End: When the injury to Justin Smith occurred, it accentuated this fact.Smith makes everyone better. Teammate Aldon Smith has not recorded a sack in the 10 quarters that Smith has been out.There is a major drop off with Ricky Jean-Francois in at the defensive end spot. He is ideally suited to be a reserve who gets in for 15-20 plays a game. Jean-Francois is also the 49ers’ best reserve nose tackle.
- Kicker: Akers is 38 years of age and coming off a poor year. It would be wise of the 49ers to invest one of their many late-round picks on a kicker. At a minimum, it would provide competition for the position, but it could also result in the 49ers solving their kicking problems for the next decade.
- Guard: Goodwin is 34 years old and the 49ers have groomed Daniel Kilgore to replace him. Goodwin is due to make $3.7 million in 2013, so it entirely possible that the 49ers release him. The only way Goodwin stays is if he’s willing to negotiate that salary down. The 49ers’ other reserve offensive linemen are Leonard Davis, who is 34 years of age and rookie Joe Looney, who has hardly played. It’s uncertain if Davis will stay in San Francisco or whether Looney is ready to play in the NFL.
32. Baltimore Ravens
- Inside Linebacker: The Hall Of Fame career of Ray Lewis is over and life without the emotional leader in the huddle begins. Addressing this need is a priority. This defense is solid and this piece will be protected but will hav to live up to a legacy and also have to learn quickly.
- Safety: Ed Reed will be a free agent and his comments about Bill Belichick lead many to believe he may leave. Even if he does decide to remain a Raven, he isn’t getting healthier or younger. Reed will need a replacement plan and now is a great time.
- Center: Matt Birk is uncertain if he will retire. He is alos not getting any younger and a good replacement for him or at least a swing lineman who can play multiple positions to fill that gap down the road would be a great stop gap for now.
- Outside Linebacker: Courtney Upshaw their second round pick didn’t get much time and while Albert McClellan is a capable player Terrell Suggs needs a little help. An undersized tweener with good upside and speed off the edge that is only asked to rush the passer is what is needed. Easing a player in slowly but building his responsibility will go a long way to rebuilding this defense.
- Cornerback: The Ravens took a flier on Jimmy Williams who hasn’t really panned out and subsequently they are in need of some late round secondary help. Lardarius Webb will be back but how he looks early will be in question and knee injuries leave players never being the same. At the least more depth at the postion is needed.