Matt Peterson

Draft Needs: Miami Dophins

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Miami Dolphins [full archive here].

Season Recap –  Bill Parcells took over a team in 2007 that just came off a 1-15 finish. Parcells began bringing his people in and giving the Dolphins a new image. The Dolphins finished the next season ranked 11-5, made the playoffs, and the future began to look as bright as ever, but Miami didn’t live up to the expectations and finished the next two seasons ranked 7-9. Parcells is now gone, and the Dolphins are back to rebuilding. Coach Tony Sparano likely has one season remaining to prove he is capable of the job, so expect the Dolphins to be active this offseason.

Needs:
1. Quarterback
– Chad Henne failed to improve much with two seasons of starting under his belt. Henne’s poor play was a big reason the Dolphins finished the season ranked 31st in points, with just over 17 points a game. Brandon Marshall needs a gunslinger that can get him the ball, and Henne might not be the option. The best option would be to sign a veteran free agent and hope Henne can develop some more under him. Another option would be to bring in a draft pick and create some competition for Henne. Ricky Stanzi, Christian Ponder, Colin Kaepernick, and Ryan Mallet are some names that could be in the Aqua and Coral next season. Read more

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Draft Needs: St. Louis Rams

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the St. Louis Rams [full archive here].

Season Recap – Rookie QB Sam Bradford helped lead the Rams to their best season since 2006, as they finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs by one game. Steve Spagnuolo’s philosophies are beginning to take shape and now that Bradford is under center, expect the Rams to be a contender in the NFC West.

Needs:
1. Defensive Line
– With the Giants, “Spags” had a plethora of D-lineman and would rotate them throughout the game causing many miss matches. The Rams don’t have the same type of personnel, so adding more pieces the D-line will be a priority this offseason. Chris Long is set at one end spot, but the Rams need to get someone across from him. With the strength of the defensive line class, the Rams can grab a starter (or two) in the first two rounds. Read more

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Draft Needs: Detroit Lions

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Detroit Lions. [full archive here].

Season Recap - Since becoming head coach in 2009, Jim Schwartz has made all the right moves in attempts of recovering from the mess left by ex- general manager Matt Millen. Detroit was very competitive this season and ended the season on a four game win streak, all without the play from young star quarterback Matthew Stafford, who still faces doubts over durability issues. With another offseason in the Schwartz era, look for the Lions to make a run at the playoffs in 2011.

Needs:
1. Outside Linebacker
– Detroit has a young star in the middle with Deandre Levy, but lacks talent on the outside. Starter Julian Peterson was recently released and Zach Follett may be forced into retirement due to a serious neck injury. Detroit upgraded the D-line last offseason, but its main focus will be in the back part of the front seven this year. Read more

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Draft Needs: Minnesota Vikings

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Minnesota Vikings. [full archive here].

Season Recap - Minnesota Vikings would agree that 2010 was easily one of the most disappointing seasons in their recent memory. Just a season removed from a near Super bowl appearance, the Vikings were expected to make the trip this time around. The Vikings knew the only shot they had was with Brett Favre in charge, so four teammates flew to Mississippi to convince him back. Ultimately, Brett Favre’s consecutive game streak ended and the Vikings fired Head Coach Brad Childress halfway through the season. New Head Coach Leslie Frazier has to find a new quarterback in attempts of bringing the Vikings back to success.

Needs:
1. Quarterback
– Brett Favre’s age finally caught up with him as he endured a career worst season. Favre promised that was the end and the Vikings attention now turns towards finding a new QB. Coach Frazier has already stated that QB is the team’s top need and they will surely find a new starter by next season. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave comes from Atlanta, where he developed the likes of star QB Matt Ryan. Look for the Vikings to make every attempt to trade into the top 10 in order to grab Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, or Cam Newton. Read more

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Draft Needs: Houston Texans

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Houston Texans. [full archive here].

Season Recap – Houston entered the season expected to finally put it all together and make a run in the playoffs, but failed to do so and finished with a 6-10 record. There were some bright spots with league leading rusher Arian Foster and the third best offense in the game. Offense has never been the problem for Houston; the defense is what holds them back. Finishing the year ranked 30th in the league, the Texans had to make some changes to the defense this offseason, and started off with bringing in 3-4 mastermind Wade Phillips to run the show. Now, Houston needs to add some pieces to the defense if they expect to contend in 2011.

Needs:
1. Outside Linebacker - Outside linebackers are probably the most important position in the 3-4 defenses. Houston needs to add a pass rusher to the line-backing core to complement star ILB’s Brian Cushing and DeMeco Ryans along with the intriguing OLB prospect Connor Barwin. Houston will most likely select an OLB in the first two rounds. Read more

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Draft Needs: Washington Redskins

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Washington Redskins. [full archive here].

Season Recap - 2010 was the year of headlines for the Washington Redskins. Last offseason marked the day team owner Dan Snyder finally realized his mistakes, cleaned house once again, and turned the team over to Mike Shanahan. While players Albert Haynesworth and Donovan McNabb dominated media headlines, Shanahan kept his focus on the future of the team. The defensive change was heavily scrutinized and rankings fell from 10th to 31st in the league, after a switch to the 3-4. This offseason, Washington will sign many scheme fitting, low-cost high-reward free agents as they transition into Shanahan’s team.

Needs:
1. Quarterback
- The only person who knows what the Redskins are going to do with Donovan McNabb is Mike Shanahan and although it looks like it’s just a matter of time before he’s shown the door, he is under contract for next season. Quarterback ranks at the top for Washington, but the Skins don’t necessarily need to get anyone new for 2011. Rex Grossman is scheduled to become a free agent, but looked good in his three starts and has a real strong probability of getting resigned. Rex won’t dazzle you in games, but he knows the system very well and the offense looked much improved with him at the helm. I think the Skins take Jake Locker at #10, that is if he last that long… Read more

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Draft Needs: Dallas Cowboys

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Dallas Cowboys. [full archive here].

Season Recap – Like most seasons, the Cowboys were heavily favored to contend for the Super Bowl, but things quickly got out of hand. Tony Romo broke his clavicle in week six and the team slumped to a 0-8 record. Wade Phillips was fired at mid-season and the team was handed over to Jason Garrett. Garrett, who has been a popular coaching candidate the past couple seasons, got more fight out the team and managed to finish the year on a 5-3 record. Owner Jerry Jones saw enough and hired Garrett to become the permanent head coach. Dallas finished the year ranked 7th in total offense, but 31st in points allowed. Dallas needs to improve their defense if they intend on being included in the “preseason favorites” talks again.

Needs:
1. Cornerback – Terrence Newman lost a step last season, and at 32 don’t expect him to gain it back. Mike Jenkins basically took the season off but that attitude won’t fly with new coach Jason Garrett. Jenkins needs to get back to his 2009 form, and the Cowboys need to get an upgrade across from him. Prince Amukamara has been linked to the Cowboys in many mock drafts, but I expect Amukamara to go before the Cowboys. Dallas could make a trade up for Peterson or Amukamara, or they could reach a bit for Jimmy Smith at #9. Read more

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Draft Needs: Tennessee Titans

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Tennessee Titans. [full archive here].

Season Recap – Things will be much different in Tennessee this offseason with Jeff Fisher departing after 16 seasons as the head coach. Along with Fisher’s outing comes the (eventual) release of QB Vince Young, who at times looked to be the next great. Former offensive line coach Mike Munchak takes over for Fisher and will be the man in charge of the rebuilding Titans.

Needs:
1. Quarterback
– Vince Young will not be on the roster next season and Kerry Collins will be 39 years old. QB is a very big need. With stars Chris Johnson and Kenny Tate in the prime of their careers, the smartest move would be to sign a veteran free agent and spend a season or two developing a rookie. Players like Seneca Wallace, Luke McCown, or Bruce Gradkowski could be possible mentors for prospects such as Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, or Andy Dalton. Before the start of the season, there will be two new capable QB’s on the roster. Read more

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Draft Needs: San Francisco 49ers

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the San Francisco 49ers. [full archive here].

Season Recap – The 49ers began the season as favorites to win the NFC West, yet never rebounded from a 0-5 start. Though Mike Singletary had all the intangibles of becoming a successful head coach, he failed to produce many victories during his two seasons on the sidelines. Singletary was fired after a 6-10 finish and San Francisco was able to reel in the hottest coaching candidate on the market: Jim Harbaugh. With Harbaugh comes most of his staff of the 2011 Orange Bowl champion Stanford Cardinals. Harbaugh made a pledge to get San Francisco back to the days of the Walsh Era and will have a full plate in front of him this offseason.

Needs:
1. Quarterback – Harbaugh had the luxury of working with star Quarterback Andrew Luck at Stanford and will need to find a similar talent to duplicate the success with San Francisco. Currently only 2002 number one overall pick David Carr is on the roster, and everyone knows he is not the answer. There has been speculation that Harbaugh is interested in resigning Alex Smith, but that remains to be seen. San Francisco could also attempt to make a run for Philadelphia Eagle Kevin Kolb, who supposedly is on the trade block, but would come at a high cost. If San Francisco makes no moves in free agency or through a trade, look for them to select either a QB in the first or second round. Personally, I believe Jake Locker fits the bill at #7 overall. Read more

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Draft Needs: Cleveland Browns

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Cleveland Browns. [full archive here].

Season Recap - When new President Mike Holmgren was hired last offseason, he made a promise not to dismantle the organization. Rather, he retained the entire coaching staff and used 2010 as a year to analyze and begin planning for the future. The Browns didn’t improve in 2010 and finished the season 5-11. Eric Mangini and the coaching staff were shown the door, and Holmgren’s coaching philosophies began to take shape. New head coach, Pat Shurmur is from the West Coast offense coaching tree and spent 10 seasons under Andy Reid, who was once an assistant under Holmgren. Along with the new style of offense comes a switch back to a 4-3, which will be led by ex-Buffalo Bills head coach Dick Jauron. Shurmur’s first task will be developing second-year QB Colt McCoy and will spend this offseason surrounding him with capable talent.

Needs:
1. Defensive End – As of now, there is no player to fill this position in the new 4-3 defense. Matt Roth could possibly be re-signed to anchor one of the spots, but he has spent most of his career as a 3-4 OLB and there is no guarantee he would want to play in the new defense. As many as nine defensive ends could go in the first round, so the Browns should be able to find someone to fill their needs. Robert Quinn and Da’Quan Bowers are the top prospects this year. Read more

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