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Team needs: NFC West

Arizona
1. LB: 33-year-old outside linebackers Joey Porter and Clark Haggans are admittedly stopgap solutions, but the Cards’ most pressing need is inside.  The team lost play-making Ted linebacker Karlos Dansby in free agency, and lackluster veteran Paris Lenon is next in line for snaps adjacent to Mike ‘backer Gerald Hayes.  
2. OT: The Cardinals are moving inconsistent former No. 5 overall pick Levi Brown to left tackle, leaving a hole on southpaw quarterback Matt Leinart’s blind side.  Incumbent Mike Gandy has not been re-signed in free agency, leaving journeyman Jeremy Bridges and 2008 seventh-round pick Brandon Keith as Arizona’s top options to date.
3. CB: Ken Whisenhunt’s team avoided disaster when Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie’s postseason knee injury proved minor, but Arizona still lacks a quality No. 2 corner.  Bryant McFadden is better suited to play nickel back, and 2009 small-school project Greg Toler couldn’t even beat out special teamer Michael Adams last year.
4. TE: The Cardinals will be more balanced on offense with Leinart under center, so they could use an every-down tight end capable of contributing in both the passing and running games.  The tight ends currently on Arizona’s roster are all one-dimensional and/or injury prone.
San Francisco
1. OT: The Niners got surprisingly potent play from Barry Sims when left tackle Joe Staley went down last year, but can’t count on the 35-year-old keeping it up.  With Adam Snyder better cutout to play guard, a mauling right tackle is needed for Mike Singletary to execute his ball-control offense.
2. CB: The Niners were unsatisfied with Nate Clements’ play in coverage last year, and Tarell Brown didn’t prove an upgrade when given the chance to start down the stretch.  A Kyle Wilson or Joe Haden type to book end Shawntae Spencer could go a long way toward solving the Niners’ pass defense woes.
3. LB: The team’s sack total was good, but San Francisco didn’t have a single player top 6.5 quarterback takedowns last season.  High-motor rushers in the Singletary mold like Sergio Kindle of Texas and Brandon Graham of Michigan should be on the radar if available at No. 17. 
4. S: Thumping strong safety Michael Lewis remains an efficient tackler, but recurring concussions may threaten his career, and he’s never excelled against the pass.  Moving Clements to safety is a possibility, though he may just as easily be released with a $6 million salary pending.
Seattle
1. OT: Old G.M. Tim Ruskell played with fire (and got burned) by picking a linebacker ahead of Walter Jones’ replacement in last year’s top five.  Musical chairs ensued at left tackle, followed by inevitable injuries to Seattle’s quarterbacks.  Pete Carroll mustn’t wait to solidify the position.
2. DB: The Seahawks’ lone bona fide starting defensive back is corner Marcus Trufant, who was lit up in his 2009 return from back surgery.  With a gaping hole at strong safety, Eric Berry of Tennessee is sure to be appealing with the No. 6 overall pick.
3. DE: Patrick Kerney’s retirement leaves disappointing former first-rounder Lawrence Jackson as the Seahawks’ top end.  After him, the depth chart is rounded out by Nick Reed, Chris Clemons, Robert Henderson, and perhaps former CFL linebacker/special teams prospect Ricky Foley.
4. RB: New Seahawks line coach Alex Gibbs has a history of turning garbage into gold at the tailback spot, but no one on the current roster resembles a long-term solution.  Seattle has been heavily linked to Clemson’s C.J. Spiller, while Ryan Mathews is a sleeper to be Carroll’s pick at No. 14. 
St. Louis
1. QB: A.J. Feeley, Keith Null, and Mike Reilly are the Rams’ only quarterbacks signed for 2010.  Feeley knows the offense but has never been consistently effective, and Null was thoroughly overmatched in four 2009 spot starts.  Sam Bradford will be St. Louis’ quarterback of the future.
2. OG: With Richie Incognito gone, Mark Setterstrom always injured, Jacob Bell no better than “just a guy,” and 2008 third-round pick John Greco not panning out, the Rams need reinforcements at both guard positions.
3. DE: Chris Long should come into his own any time now, but 33-year-old James Hall would be the starter opposite him if the Rams’ season began today.  In order for coach Steve Spagnuolo’s blitz-heavy scheme to work, he needs more than just a few pass rushers.
4. RB: It’s about time the Rams got serious about finding a reliable backup and/or complement for Steven Jackson.  The workhorse is hard to take off the field because he’s so productive in all facets, but Jackson has played just one 16-game season in his career while battling numerous nagging injuries over the past three years.
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7 Responses to “Team needs: NFC West”
  1. Jack Acid says: Apr 13, 2010 9:45 PM

    Tarell Brown is better than some might think. I would be thrilled if the Niners took a RT and either a CB, S or 3-4 DL to bookend Justin Smith.

  2. HE from NJ says: Apr 14, 2010 10:55 AM

    I believe you forgot to mention one of the 49ers biggest needs… KICK-RETURNER.
    I still believe the niners will be looking to address this position thru the draft (my choice: CJ Spiller). After two direct losses directly due to our return game, there is no way the 49ers will overlook this position once the 49ers are on the clock.

  3. HE from NJ says: Apr 14, 2010 10:56 AM

    I believe you forgot to mention one of the 49ers biggest needs… KICK-RETURNER.
    I still believe the niners will be looking to address this position thru the draft (my choice: CJ Spiller). After two direct losses directly due to our return game, there is no way the 49ers will overlook this position once they are on the clock.

  4. qawagstaff2009 says: Apr 14, 2010 1:10 PM

    The 49ers need above all
    1) Better QB Play
    2) Better O Line Play
    Hopefully Smith will finally come into his own, but that O Line continues to be the weak link of the team and in the bottom 1/4 of the NFL.
    As for the defense who couldn’t use a better DB & Pass Rusher? What is essence the 49ers need is an upgrade at the 4 key positions in the NFL. Just like every other team that continues to miss the playoffs.

  5. irish4life says: Apr 14, 2010 11:47 PM

    Can the Seahawks draft a whole new team? Have a Franchise draft? I think they would be better off because I have no idea how Ruskell did such a horrible job at putting this roster together, but he did.

  6. tre_fizzle says: Apr 16, 2010 12:24 PM

    OLB isn’t a need in the draft for the 49ers. Better OLB play from the 3 young guys they have is needed. I see no point in drafting an early DE (since there are no college 3-4 OLB’s rated highly out of the what, 3 total in the country?!?) who will only be a rotational player with Lawson, Haralson, and Brooks (who looks to expand his half-season totals into a nice 10 sack season).
    Strong Safety and depth at CB for when (not if) Clements is cut are relative needs, but they shouldn’t reach for either. 2nd round will be fine to start thinking seriously unless a player falls in their lap.
    RT and Returner are the biggest needs. Neither needs to be a 1st round pick though.
    All in all they can take BPA in the 1st round, but best bet would be trading down and stockpiling 2nd and 3rd round picks. This is a deep draft as we all should know by now.

  7. Beer Cheese Soup says: Apr 19, 2010 2:29 PM

    irish4life says:
    Can the Seahawks draft a whole new team? Have a Franchise draft? I think they would be better off because I have no idea how Ruskell did such a horrible job at putting this roster together, but he did.
    ___________________________________
    You need a new coach first, but you’ll learn that soon enough.
    I also don’t know how much of this you can blame on Ruskell. He made a lot of mistakes, but he also got you to your only Super Bowl.
    Would you rather have kept Ted Thompson? If so, we’re more than happy to give him back to you for a couple of geoducks..

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