Draft Needs – 2011

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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Draft Needs: Arizona Cardinals

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

Season Recap - Just one season removed from a divisional playoff loss, the Kurt Warner-less Arizona Cardinals struggled throughout the 2010 season. Expected Warner replacement, 2006 first round draft pick and former Heisman Trophy winning QB Matt Leinart was released one week before the start of the season. The unexpected move placed the offense in the hands of Quarterbacks Derek Anderson, Max Hall, and John Skelton. No player seized the job, and as a result Arizona finished the season 5-11. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt has a long to-do list in attempts of putting Arizona back into the winning column.

1. Quarterback – Besides Skelton’s successful drive to beat Dallas in week 16, there were few positives from the position. Arizona finished the season ranked 31st in passing yards and will need to find an upgrade at QB to improve. There have been talks of possibly trading for Kevin Kolb or Donovan McNabb, but the Cardinals could also decide to see if prospects Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton fall to #5 in the draft. A veteran QB is probably the best option due to Fitzgerald entering the final season under contract. Read more

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Draft Needs: Cincinnati Bengals

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

Season Recap – The Cincinnati Bengals entered the 2010 season with very high expectations after finishing 10-6 and sweeping the AFC North in 2009, but failed to live up to the hype and ended with a 4-12 record. With the likes of Chad Ochocinco, Carson Palmer, Terrell Owens, and Cedric Benson, the Bengals were supposed to have a potent offense but it never came together. Cincinnati faces many question marks with players on the current roster: Terrell Owens will not return, Chad Ochocinco could be traded, and Cedric Benson will become a free agent. Carson Palmer publicly demanded a “trade or retire” request, and figures to be the main issue for the Bengals this offseason. Newly hired offensive coordinator Jay Gruden brings in a West Coast offense and will look to improve the offense, especially the running game, which finished the season ranked 27th.

1. Running back – Cedric Benson is scheduled to become a free agent, and the Bengals are most likely going to go in another direction. With Jay Gruden now set to run the offense, the Bengals must find a starting running back to help keep pressure off of Carson Palmer. Read more

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Draft Needs: Buffalo Bills

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

Season Recap – The Buffalo Bills began the 2010 season 0-8, and there were many people who believed they would end up winless. Right around mid-season is when the Harvard grad Ryan Fitzpatrick began to look the part for the Bills and Chan Gailey’s new look offense. Although Buffalo finished the season 4-12, Fitzpatrick, along with 1,000 yard wide out Steve Johnson, showed no signs of quit and stayed competitive in many games: especially the OT thrillers with Pittsburgh and Baltimore. With a year of experience under Gailey look for Buffalo to improve in 2011.

1. Right Tackle – In Gailey’s offense, which consists of multiple shotgun formations using four and five receiver sets and a zone blocking scheme on running plays, offensive lineman are very important. Seventh round LT Demetrius Bell performed well, but Buffalo had no answer across from him. Cornell Green, Erik Pears, and Mansfield Wrotto all took their shots at RT, yet none performed worthy enough for a spot next season. Upgrading the position would pay huge dividends for the entire offensive unit. Read more

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