RAMS: WR, OT, OLB, CB — There is no question the Rams need to help Sam Bradford with playmakers outside the numbers. The Rams could use two receivers; one from free agency and the other in the draft. As much as I liked Brandon Lloyd’s route-running and competitive nature, he was non-productive in run-after-catch skills. With Jason Smith ailing from several concussions and his career in jeopardy, look for coach Jeff Fisher and the staff to add a tackle somewhere during the offseason.
ARIZONA: WR, OT, OLB, TE – The Cardinals are looking for a complementary receiver to play opposite Larry Fitzgerald, and it will be fun to watch coach Ken Whisenhunt use Patrick Peterson more on offense. Edge protection and keeping injury prone quarterback Kevin Kolb upright will be the key to the 2012 season for the Cards. Beefing up the outside linebacker position is a priority as well.
ATLANTA: OT, CB, OG, TE — Matt Ryan is an elite quarterback, but the running game is what makes that offense tick. Adding both edge and interior offensive linemen will be a focal point for the Falcons during the offseason in free agency or the draft. Despite tight end Tony Gonzalez getting long in the tooth, he still plays the game at a high level with production, but time is not on his side. Look for the Falcons to add a superstar at the tight end position.
BALTIMORE: LT, ILB, WR, CB — Coach John Harbaugh has done it with mirrors and scheme when covering a hole at left tackle. This draft is heavy on offensive tackles with nice feet, athletic ability and wing span. Look for general manager Ozzie Newsome to fill the left tackle slot early, and possibly before the draft.
BUFFALO: OLB, ILB, WR, OT – The Bills made the switch to the 3-4 defense, but played the 2011 season with several holes, one being the outside linebacker position. After taking care of the interior defensive line in last year’s draft, linebacker is now their top priority, along with a playmaker outside the numbers.
CAROLINA: WR, DT, CB, OLB — The selection of Cam Newton proved to be the right move for general manager Marty Hurney and the Panthers in last year’s draft. In the pass-happy NFL, you will need to score a lot of points and stocking up on playmakers that can go deep with run after catch skills will be the key to the future. Also, building the defense from the inside out is key in order to be competitive in the NFC South.
CHICAGO: WR, OG, OLB, CB — This is the year for teams to draft receivers, and the Bears need help in this department. The key is signing running back Matt Forte to a long-term contract, adding an interior offensive lineman or two and grab an outside linebacker early in the draft or through free agency.
CINCINNATI: OG, OC, RB, S — This young team had an outstanding 2011 season. Quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green played pitch and catch and it was fun to watch. In the 2012 draft, the Bengals have two first-round picks, so look for them to add defensive fire power as well as interior offensive linemen and a backup running back to Cedric Benson.
CLEVELAND: WR, OLB, DE, QB – Quarterback Colt McCoy is solid; adding other pieces will be the key moving forward for head coach Pat Shurmur. With the addition of offensive coordinator Brad Childress, look for him and club president Mike Holmgren to push for playmakers and difference-makers outside the numbers at the receiver position.
DALLAS: OG, OC, CB, DE — Interior offensive linemen should be the focus in free agency and the draft. Tyron Smith had a productive rookie season, but they need more help at the center and guard positions for the long haul.
DENVER: QB, DT, CB, WR — We all love the intangibles that quarterback Tim Tebow brings to the table, and he had an exciting run in 2011. How he is developed and what they draft around him will be the key for the future of both club executive John Elway and coach John Fox. Finishing nearly last in the league in most of the passing statistics is something that must change and in a hurry. Replacing cornerback Champ Bailey is coming faster than most want to admit. Look for the defensive-minded Fox to build and great defense in the Mile High City.
DETROIT: RB, CB, OLB, OG, S — While the Lions are young and competitive, don’t be fooled by youth. If they can protect quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was been injury prone his first two seasons, general manager Martin Mayhew’s roster development is on the brink of creating several championship seasons. The key is finding a big-time running back.
GREEN BAY: DE, OLB, G, WR — The 2011 Super Bowl champions who ran the table last season, struggled down the stretch this year with a bend but don’t break defense. They need to add disruptive personnel to their defensive front. They missed Cullen Jenkins, who was lost in free agency. Sooner rather than later, they must add another receiver to help on the edge.
HOUSTON: NT, WR, CB, S — Wade Phillips pushed for the 3-4 defense and added rookie J.J. Watt, who didn’t disappoint off the edge. Look for the Texans to add a dominating interior nose tackle via free agency or the draft to clog the middle. With Andre Johnson getting up in age and struggling with injuries the last few seasons, a young receiver is a major focal point.
INDIANAPOLIS: QB, WR, CB, OL, S — March is a big month for the Colts ownership and new general manager Ryan Grigson. The Peyton Manning rule is about to take effect. Several players in the NFL don’t finish with the team that drafts them and Manning won’t be any different. We saw John Unitas, Joe Montana, Brett Favre, wear other NFL team logos so look for Manning to do the same. The question is how healthy is he, and which team will sign him. Look for the Colts to draft Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
JACKSONVILLE: WR, DE, G — To help quarterback Blaine Gabbert’s progression as an elite quarterback, get him some playmakers that have good run-after-the-catch skills. While protecting your quarterback is the key, rushing the passer is the next big concern for the Jaguars.
KANSAS CITY: OT, NT, ILB, WR — Securing both offensive and defensive linemen is the major focal point for the Chiefs. Also needed is another weapon rushing the passer in the form of an outside linebacker.
MIAMI: QB, OLB, OT, S — Look for new coach Joe Philbin to add a signal-caller to the mix. Is it Matt Flynn? Time with tell. The question is whether two starting quarterbacks are needed on the roster. Is it Matt Moore, or can Philbin rejuvenate Chad Henne’s career. The Dolphins could use another outside linebacker to rush the passer and cover in space.
MINNESOTA: WR, RB, LT, S, CB — Rookie quarterback Christian Ponder displayed enough talent to get the job done. The Vikings need to add playmakers at the receiver spot and with Adrian Peterson suffering a knee injury (ACL), building depth at the running back position is key.
NEW ENGLAND: OLB, WR, S, OG — I take my hat off to coach Bill Belichick, who did more with less talent than any other NFL coach during the 2011 season. With two No. 1 picks and two No. 2 choices, look for the Patriots to add an outside linebacker early followed up by a playmaking receiver to complement the tight ends and slot machine Wes Welker.
NEW ORLEANS: OLB, DT, CB, OT – With Gregg Williams now a St. Louis Ram, the defensive responsibility switches to newly hired coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. The Saints must add outside linebacker help that can rush the passer with coverage skills. Also needed are interior defensive linemen to boost and provide pressure up the middle.
NEW YORK GIANTS: MLB, OT, TE, RB — The Giants will have holes to fill on both offense and defense. Signing back their free agents will be key. Congratulations to the G-Men on winning Super Bowl XLVI.
NEW YORK JETS: OLB, FS, WR, OG — While everyone gives praise to the Rex Ryan defense, the focus will be on the offense and how to get over the hump. Look for the Jets to add receivers and interior linemen. Also building depth at outside linebacker and safety help as well.
OAKLAND: CB, WR, DE, TE – General manager Reggie McKenzie made a money decision Thursday, releasing cornerback Stanford Routt, freeing up $5 million on the cap. Look for the Raiders to grab a young corner in the draft and some playmakers outside the numbers to help Carson Palmer’s production.
PHILADELPHIA: OLB, MLB, RT, S — The dream team will be extremely focused this offseason. The 2011 season was chalked up as embarrassing to say the least. The Eagles’ defense needs a youth infusion, especially at linebacker and defensive front.
PITTSBURGH: OL, CB, ILB — It was obvious down the stretch the Steelers lacked depth on the offensive line because of injuries.
SAN DIEGO: RT, WR, OLB, ILB — The Chargers’ brain trust is not going to franchise wide receiver Vincent Jackson, but signing a tackle to protect quarterback Philip Rivers is important. Having playmakers at the receiver position is also a major concern.
SAN FRANCISCO: WR, OLB, RB, OG, CB — Adding another playmaker for quarterback Alex Smith will give coach Jim Harbaugh more firepower on offense. The 49ers’ defense is solid; adding depth will help as the team moves to secure the NFC West crown for many years.
SEATTLE: QB, OLB, CB, DE — If coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have a chance to add a big-time quarterback, they will. They also need help on defense at the linebacker position and at cornerback with Marcus Trufant getting long in the tooth and on injured reserve in 2011.
TAMPA BAY: OLB, WR, MLB, OL — Defense was an issue in 2011. This draft is not deep at linebacker, so look for the Bucs to grab a free agent and one in the draft.
TENNESSEE: OG, OLB, DE — The Titans need interior road graders at both guard positions and some speed on defense in the way of outside linebackers.
WASHINGTON: QB, WR, OG, CB — It is not a big secret that the Redskins need to add a quarterback and in a hurry. Santana Moss is getting old, so if coach Mike Shanahan can take a page from Cincinnati’s 2011 draft book and add two young pieces, a quarterback and a top-notch receiver in the draft, that would be huge.