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2014 NFL Team Needs

The NFL Scouting Combine is upon us and if you’re anything like me, you’re super excited. Hundreds of the the country’s best prospects all gather in the same place to show off their skills and talents to drive up their stock and make themselves some money. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. In this article, I’m going to focus on what each team needs to address heading into free agency and the draft.

AFC East

New England Patriots – The Pats need to add some depth in the defense. They had a ton of injuries and they’ll welcome everyone back, especially Vince Wilfork and Rob Gronkowski. They’ll need to look to add some depth at tight end, defensive line, offensive line and defensive back. This is one of the years where the Pats need to stop trying to outsmart everyone and take the best available player instead of trading down.
Miami Dolphins – Obviously the Fins will need to bolster the offensive line and wide receiver corps. They should look to add a tight end as well.
Buffalo Bills – The Bills will need more playmakers in the aerial attack. They could lose Jairus Byrd and even if they don’t, they will want to add some depth in their secondary.
New York Jets – The Jets have a solid defense. A defense that you could make the case for being the best defense in the AFC. So they don’t need to do much in that area. Maybe a safety. The offense is where they need to fix. They can stick with Geno Smith for now but he’ll have to make significant strides to improve. They need to address their need at wide receiver. They have to take one in the first round. Maybe even the first two. Adding another running back might be smart and a tight end will be worth looking into.

AFC North

Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals are right there in terms of being a legitimate contender. The difference may be at quarterback. Andy Dalton may not be the answer. The defense is very good and will look to get some help in the secondary. I think they’ll take the best available player in the draft because there really isn’t a significant area of need for them.
Cleveland Browns – The Browns might be in the same position as the Jets in the sense that they can get by at quarterback…if that quarterback is Brian Hoyer. If its not, they should draft a quarterback. They’ll have a chance at one of three really good ones too. They have Josh Gordon but they’ll need some depth. They could also use a safety to help Joe Haden over the top.
Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers have players but they need to step up. They might lose a number of guys like Ryan Clark and Brett Keisel and Troy Polamalu. Running back, wide receiver, offensive and defensive lines and secondary are all areas of need.
Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens really showed how much it hurt them to give Joe Flacco all that money. They needed depth in the wide receiving corps and offensive line. The injuries to Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson hurt Flacco and the secondary wasn’t very good. Ozzie Newsome and his staff usually do a pretty good job.

AFC South

Tennessee Titans – The Titans will probably lose Chris Johnson and would have needed to upgrade their offensive line anyway. The emergence of their young wide receivers makes that area less urgent but with all the depth at that position in the draft, why not take one. Cortland Finnegan is another player who may not return so it may be worth it to look at a cornerback.
Indianapolis Colts – The interior defensive line needs some help as well as the secondary. The receiving corps fell apart without Reggie Wayne so they’ll want to add some depth there.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Don’t let those last few games fool you. This isn’t a good team. They need everything.
Houston Texans – They could be next year’s Kansas City Chiefs. A new coach, a new quarterback and a better offensive line could be the difference between 2-14 and 11-5.

AFC West

Denver Broncos – This is tough. What do they really need other than a reliable replacement for Eric Decker? They’re solid at almost every position and just happened to run into a buzz saw named the Seattle Seahawks.
Oakland Raiders – They’ve got some pieces on this team. Unfortunately its not enough to make them a playoff team. I think they might finally be ready to move on from Darren McFadden so they’ll take a look at a running back. And it wouldn’t be a team run by a Davis if a speedy wide receiver wasn’t in the mix.
Kansas City Chiefs – I think they’ll look for a third wideout to throw out there with Bowe and Avery. Offensive line is always a premium and cornerback could be a position of need for them.
San Diego Chargers – Even though it was due to injuries, they lacked depth at wide receiver. Antonio Gates is getting up there in age and that offensive line is close to being very good. Defense will be the name of the game this offseason.

NFC East

New York Giants – The Giants need help at running back (especially if David Wilson isn’t 100% ready), tight end, offensive line, linebacker, corner and safety. They’ll also look for a wide receiver to replace Hakeem Nicks.
Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys might be looking to move on from Smiles Austin. They’ll want to bolster that offensive line to protect Romo better. Demarcus Ware is getting older and Jason Hatcher is going to get paid.
Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles are in a good position offensively. The defense will be a premium in the offseason for sure.
Washington Redskins – The Skins will almost certainly look to upgrade the offensive and defensive lines. The defense was atrocious this past season and they should be looking to address their needs on that side of the ball.

NFC North

Green Bay Packers – The Packers will likely lose Jermichael Finley and franchise Sam Shields. They could use an impact safety and add some depth at linebacker.
Minnesota Vikings – They need a quarterback and some depth at all three levels in the defense. While they’re at it, they should look at some offensive linemen.
Chicago Bears – They need to protect Jay Cutler better and do something about that secondary.
Detroit Lions – If Matthew Stafford can play well on a consistent level, the offense is fine. Get him some help along the offensive line and get him a reliable defense.
NFC South
Atlanta Falcons – It says a lot that one major injury can tank the season for the Falcons. They need some wide receiver depth. Its a big drop off from Julio Jones and Roddy White to everyone else. They need help in both trenches and both the offensive and defensive backfields.
New Orleans Saints – The Saints are fine at wide receiver, contrary to popular belief. They need to get some defenders that Rob Ryan can tinker with.
Carolina Panthers – The Panthers are going to be the real deal. They need a real threat in the backfield as well as some depth in the wide receiving corps. The secondary wasn’t very good and got bailed out by a good front seven.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Bucs may have their quarterback for now in Mike Glennon but it couldn’t hurt to look at a wide receiver or tight end. The offensive line needs some help and the defense will certainly be a premium with Lovie Smith now taking over.

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks – Nothing. They money they’ll save from cutting Sidney Rice and whoever else, they can use to grab a young wide receiver. This team is built to win again.
San Francisco 49ers – If they lose a guy like Carlos Rogers, they’ll look to add a corner but otherwise, this is another team thats in a good spot. They might look to replace Anquan Boldin if he does leave.
St Louis Rams – The Rams could use some depth at wideout and offensive line. The secondary situation might need some help and when is the last time the Rams had a good tight end? Maybe take a look at a quarterback because if Sam Bradford gets hurt again, Kellen Clemens is not the answer. I wonder if they take Jadeveon Clowney.
Arizona Cardinals – They need a quarterback. As well as Carson Palmer might have played, they need a guy for the future. The running back situation isn’t clear and they need reliable targets not named Larry Fitzgerald.
Questions and comments can be directed to s_talouis@yahoo.com or follow me on twitter @FunnyManStan
The Queens native handles all things football on KeepingItRealSports.com. Stan attended Holy Cross High School in Flushing, Queens and SUNY Old Westbury. He's spent his post graduate career in different parts of the media, as an editorial assistant, a production assistant and a board operator. He can be followed on twitter @FunnyManStan and routinely performs standup comedy all over New York City.

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