2008 NFL Draft Needs: NFC

A look at the top needs by position for each team in the NFC.


The top team needs entering the NFL Draft:
TEAM NEEDS: Cornerback, running back, wide receiver.

CB: The Cowboys need a third corner to achieve the team's ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl. Getting by with guys like Jacques Reeves (since departed) playing behind starters Terence Newman and Anthony Henry just won't cut it. The Cowboys are trying to trade for suspended Titans cornerback Pacman Jones. But that will not stop them from pursuing a cornerback at the top of the draft. South Florida cornerback Mike Jenkins is at the top of their draft board but the team did have individual interviews at the team's training complex with several of the other top cornerbacks including Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Leodis McKelvin and Antoine Cason.

RB: The Cowboys have no running backs under contract -- although they have offered restricted free agent Marion Barber the highest tender of $2.56 million and a long-term deal is on the table. Even with Barber, the Cowboys need to address the running back position in the draft because Julius Jones signed with Seattle. The Cowboys need a speed back to complement the bruising style of Barber. But the draft is loaded with quality backs and the Cowboys could nab one in the first or second round. Possibilities include Felix Jones, Jonathan Stewart, Chris Johnson and Jamaal Charles.

WR: Terrell Owens will be 35 next year and Terry Glenn is the same age and missed 15 games last season with a knee injury. The Cowboys expressed interest in free-agent receiver Javon Walker, but he signed with the Raiders. The Cowboys are in the market for a trade on draft day for possibly Detroit's Roy Williams, Cincinnati's Chad Johnson or Arizona's Anquan Boldin. The Cowboys need a young playmaker at receiver. Vice president Stephen Jones said the Cowboys expect to get better at receiver from within as rookie Isaiah Stanback, a college quarterback, should be better in his second year. But still they need to add a receiver or two in the draft. They are looking at Oklahoma's Malcolm Kelly, Texas' Limas Sweed and Indiana's James Hardy.


The top team needs entering the NFL Draft:
TEAM NEEDS: Cornerback, safety, linebacker, wide receiver.

CB: There is too much age in the team's depth chart at that position, especially if Corey Webster is moved to free safety. R.W. McQuarters is 31, Sam Madison is 34. So if one of the two or three corners the Giants like is available, they might go in that direction.

S: Gibril Wilson trotted off to Oakland during the UFA period, and that didn't leave the team with much in the way of depth, nor an absolute starter at free safety. At the moment, last year's rookie Michael Johnson is the starter while Knight, James Butler and maybe the re-positioned Webster will fight for the other position.

LB: This applies to both inside and outside. Kawika Mitchell, signed as a free agent last year, started all the games and then signed on with Buffalo. In his place will be young Gerris Wilkinson and possibly UFA signee Danny Clark, while at the strong side there is Mathias Kiwanuka (who suffered a fractured fibula and missed the final 10 games of the year), 2007 rookie Zak DeOssie and free agent Tank Daniels.

WR: The two starters are Plaxico Burress (questionable ankle although he did not opt for surgery) and 34-year-old Amani Toomer. Behind them are '07 rookie Steve Smith, '06 rookie Sinorice Moss, free agent Domenik Hixon and Michael Jennings. Moss has been a disappointment and depth there is mandatory.


The top team needs entering the NFL Draft:
TEAM NEEDS: Offensive tackle, safety, cornerback, defensive tackle, wide receiver.

OT: Their two longtime starting tackles -- Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan -- are 33 and 34 respectively. Both are entering the final year of their contracts. Winston Justice, who was drafted two years ago as Thomas's possible replacement at left tackle, has shown little evidence that he can cut it as an NFL starter.

S: Starting free safety Brian Dawkins will be 35 in October. He had trouble staying healthy last year. Maybe he's got one more productive year left in him, but that's probably it. And there's no obvious replacement candidate on the roster.

CB: They signed Asante Samuel in March, but may be trading away Lito Sheppard, which would leave them with just one top-shelf cover guy. Their other starter, Sheldon Brown, is better-suited for the slot. Nickel corner Joselio Hanson has played well, but there's not much after that.

DT: They've got two good young starters in Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson. They're hoping veteran Montae Reagor, who gave them nothing last season, can be the inside pass-rusher he was in Indianapolis. Even if that happens, they still need a fourth defensive tackle for Jim Johnson's four-man rotation.

WR: Kevin Curtis caught 77 passes in his first season with the Eagles and Reggie Brown came on strong late after struggling. Slot man Jason Avant is sure-handed and tough, but doesn't have much speed. Another solid pass-catcher would be extremely helpful to quarterback Donovan McNabb.


The top team needs entering the NFL Draft:
TEAM NEEDS: Defensive line, wide receiver and offensive line.

DL: Greg Blache's line overachieved in 2007, but the left side is aged -- DE Phillip Daniels is 35 and DT Cornelius Griffin is beginning to wear down at 30. They need a pass rusher to complement RE Andre Carter. Anthony Montgomery and Kedric Golston have each started at RT with mixed results. Pass-rushing DE Chris Wilson is swift but skinny and DL Demetric Evans isn't considered starter material after four years in the system.

WR: Santana Moss, a 2005 Pro Bowl pick, suffers from recurring muscle pulls. He and fellow 5-10 WR Antwaan Randle El combined for just four touchdowns in 2007. New coach Jim Zorn would like a bigger target for quarterback Jason Campbell to throw to in the West Coast offense. Neither holdover James Thrash nor newcomer Jerome Mathis has size. Anthony Nix does have size, but he also has just three career catches.

OL: Carlos Rogers, one of the top three CBs, won't be ready for the start of the season and the Redskins need a capable backup OLB, but this area is a bigger need. Left guard Pete Kendall will be 35 this year and the other guard, Randy Thomas, 32, finished 2005 and '07 on injured reserve. Kendall is the only backup to center Casey Rabach. Top reserve guard Jason Fabini will be 34 in August and Lorenzo Alexander is fairly untested.


The top team needs entering the NFL Draft:
TEAM NEEDS: Offensive line (tackle and guard), running back, wide receiver, quarterback.

OL: A starting tackle and a starting guard are necessary. Ancient ex-starters right tackle Fred Miller and left guard Ruben Brown are history. Miller was cut, and Brown wasn't offered a new contract. Left tackle John Tait, 33, would benefit from a move to the right side. Six-year veteran Terrence Metcalf was a flop when given a chance to replace Brown. There are no young stars in the pipeline, and center Olin Kreutz is entering his 11th season. Backup OT John St. Clair finished the season starting at left guard. Last year's fourth-round pick, OG Josh Beekman, could get a chance to compete for a starting spot.

RB: There is a lack of speed and big-play potential among the Bears' current backs. It doesn't appear that Cedric Benson, the fourth overall pick in 2005, will ever be special, and he has shown no big-play potential, so a speed back, or at least one who can make tacklers miss, is necessary. Adrian Peterson is an adequate backup and third-down replacement. Garrett Wolfe is too small to be anything but a third-down back and change-of-pace guy.

WR: The addition of veterans Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd help, but Booker will be 32 before the season starts, and Lloyd has failed to live up to expectations. Devin Hester remains a project, though a talented one. After three years, Mark Bradley has proven only that he has potential; the Bears are still waiting for the production.

QB: Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton battle for the starting job, but there is no assurance that either guy is the ultimate answer. There is no third quarterback on the roster going into the draft. An indication of how much faith the Bears have in Grossman and/or Orton will be how high they draft a quarterback.


The top team needs entering the NFL Draft:
TEAM NEEDS: Defensive end, linebacker, running back, offensive tackle, defensive tackle, cornerback.

DE: Coach Rod Marinelli is a longtime defensive line coach. He has said the front four must drive not only his Tampa Two defense, but the franchise. And he doesn't have an elite pass rusher. He cut Kalimba Edwards after failing to develop him. Dewayne White is the starting right end, but he would be better at left end. Ikaika Alama-Francis, a second-round pick last year, is raw and remains a project. Marinelli would love to mold a guy like Florida's Derrick Harvey from the start of his NFL career. If the Lions don't get Harvey at No. 15, they might wait until the second day to find an undersized, speedy end.

LB: The Lions are set on the weak side with Ernie Sims, Marinelli's first draft pick, ninth overall in 2006. But they need to upgrade at the other two spots, especially the middle. They need playmakers. Marinelli would prefer to have a veteran in the middle to lead the defense and tried to land one in the offseason. The Lions could draft a linebacker, start him on the strong side and let him develop into a middle man, though president Matt Millen, a former NFL middle linebacker, has said he would start a rookie in the middle. Southern California's Keith Rivers, Tennessee's Jerod Mayo and Oklahoma's Curtis Lofton are among the candidates.

RB: The Lions plan to run the ball more now that Jim Colletto has replaced Mike Martz as offensive coordinator, and after releasing the injured Kevin Jones, their depth chart looks like this: Tatum Bell, who barely played last season, Brian Calhoun, who has barely played in his career, and Aveion Cason, who has been on and off rosters over the years. They need a back with speed and good vision for their zone-blocking scheme. Oregon's Jonathan Stewart and Illinois' Rashard Mendenhall are first-round possibilities, but the Lions could wait and later snag someone like Central Florida's Kevin Smith.

OT: After he left for San Francisco, Martz said the Lions were short two tackles. Left tackle Jeff Backus isn't going anywhere. But right tackle is wide open. The Lions brought back George Foster, who struggled badly last season, hoping he'll be better in an offense more conducive to his skills. But he's really just an insurance policy. The Lions would love to find an upgrade. Boise State's Ryan Clady would be great, but he might not be there. Pittsburgh's Jeff Otah, Vanderbilt's Chris Williams and Boston College's Gosder Cherilus are other names to watch.

DT: The Lions traded their most talented defensive player, tackle Shaun Rogers, because he didn't get with the program. That leaves a huge hole -- literally and figuratively -- in the line. The Lions love Cory Redding, despite his drastic drop-off in production last year. Shaun Cody plays the run well, but he hasn't shown he can get upfield penetration against the pass. Langston Moore is solid, but a role player. Notre Dame's Trevor Laws would fit.

CB: This was the Lions' greatest need entering the offseason. The Lions have addressed it since, releasing Fernando Bryant; re-signing Travis Fisher, Keith Smith and Stanley Wilson; and adding Leigh Bodden and Brian Kelly. But it would be nice to find a corner in the later rounds to develop.


The top team needs entering the NFL Draft:
TEAM NEEDS -- Cornerback, tight end, quarterback, offensive tackle.

CB: The position is not a high priority for the Packers, but it's incumbent on them to address depth concerns and cover their bases for the future because Pro Bowlers Al Harris, 33, and Charles Woodson, 31, are entering the twilight of their careers. The draft class is deep in the early rounds, but settling for Virginia Tech's Brandon Flowers or Arizona's Antoine Cason when their first-round turn comes at No. 30 would make sense.

TE: The salary-initiated cut of former standout Bubba Franks in February leaves a huge void in one respect. Green Bay has a capable downfield receiver at the position in Donald Lee, but what it needs is someone who can pick up where Franks left off with precise blocking to give the inconsistent running game a fighting chance. Notre Dame's John Carlson fits the bill and is no slouch as a pass catcher, either.

QB: If indeed Brett Favre is staying retired, GM Ted Thompson appears ready to use the draft to get a backup in place for Aaron Rodgers. The all-around upside of Delaware's Joe Flacco is compelling to broker the team's two picks late in the second round into getting higher in the round to take him. However, a serviceable prospect can be had in later rounds.

OT: Like the situation with their starting cornerbacks, the Packers have to start thinking about taking out a couple insurance policies for mainstay bookends Chad Clifton, 31, on the left side and Mark Tauscher, 30, on the right side. Both players have been injury prone the last few years. Prospects galore will be waiting to get snatched up in the second and third rounds.


The top team needs entering the NFL Draft:
TEAM NEEDS: Defensive end, offensive line, quarterback, safety, defensive tackle.

DE: There is no doubt this is the Vikings' top area of need. Starting left end Kenechi Udeze has been diagnosed with a form of leukemia and won't play in 2008 and right end Erasmus James has battled knee injuries for two seasons and his health is a question mark. Right now the starters would be 2007 fourth-round pick Brian Robison at left end and 2006 fourth-rounder Ray Edwards on the right side. But there isn't much depth behind them. Finding a consistent pass-rush threat also would help a pass defense that finished last in the NFL in 2007.

OL: The Vikings appear set with their starting five, but the future is far from certain. Left tackle Bryant McKinnie's offseason legal troubles could result in an NFL suspension and coach Brad Childress didn't exactly give McKinnie a ringing endorsement when asked about the veteran's future with the team. Meanwhile, veteran center Matt Birk is entering the final season of his contract and the Vikings don't appear all that eager to give him a new deal. There also is the issue of Ryan Cook's development at right tackle. Cook played center in college at New Mexico and could return to that spot if Birk departs. Odds are good that if the Vikings add an offensive lineman it will be a tackle.

QB: Tarvaris Jackson is going to enter training camp as the Vikings' starting quarterback and free-agent acquisition Gus Frerotte will be his backup. However, the Vikings could take a developmental quarterback to challenge veteran Brooks Bollinger for the No. 3 job. The Vikings thought they had a developmental guy last year when they took Tyler Thigpen in the seventh round. But Minnesota tried to get Thigpen through waivers at the end of training camp in order to place him on its practice squad and Kansas City claimed him. One possible late-round choice could be Tulsa's Paul Smith, who has drawn comparisons to Jeff Garcia.

S: The Vikings could stand to add some youth in the deep secondary. Darren Sharper will be entering his 12th NFL season in 2008 and it's uncertain how much longer he will be wearing purple. Newly signed Madieu Williams, who replaces the released Dwight Smith, is entering his fifth season. The Vikings also don't have much depth at this spot. Eric Frampton is the primary backup after spending most of last season playing on special teams. The Vikings like his potential but a second-day pick at this spot wouldn't be surprising.

DT: Yes, the Vikings starting tackle tandem of Kevin and Pat Williams returned to the Pro Bowl last season, but these guys aren't exactly young. Pat Williams will be entering his 12th season and Kevin Williams his sixth. The tackle position certainly isn't a high priority and the Vikings do have some depth at the spot, but Minnesota very well could spend a late-round selection on a young player who could spend a few valuable years learning behind the Williams combination.


The top team needs entering the NFL Draft:
TEAM NEEDS: Offensive line, cornerback, quarterback.

OL: As badly as Atlanta needs a quarterback and defensive tackle, the most gaping holes are along the offensive line and if the Falcons could either trade down to stockpile picks and linemen, they could be better off than finding a singular stud like LSU's Glenn Dorsey.

Despite the shuffling of players in minicamp, the Falcons need to stockpile as many talented players as possible. Besides the need for immediate help, center Todd McClure is deep into his career and right guard Kynan Forney is in a make or break year. At a minimum, three linemen - two tackles - are needed.

CB: Free-agent acquisition Von Hutchins worked as the starting left corner but he ideally is a slot defender. There is some young talent at corner (Brent Grimes, David Irons) but if a stud can be found -- Troy's Leodis McKelvin stands out because of his kick return and coverage skills -- he needs to be brought on board. There are too many concerns in the secondary to be weak at corner.

QB: There is word that Matt Ryan of Boston College is gaining favor among the team's decision makers -- including owner Arthur Blank. Ryan, considered the top quarterback in the draft, thoroughly impressed at workouts and especially interviews. He is viewed as a viable face of the franchise for years as well as someone who could develop into Michael Vick's long-term replacement.

That said, drafting Ryan would venture from the ideology preached by general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith since their hirings early this year. Both have said they believe in building through the interior, with Dimitroff even expressing the need to have an infrastructure of a line in place before putting a young quarterback on the field. He said he has seen enough young quarterbacks ruined - like former No. 3 overall pick and current Falcons' backup quarterback Joey Harrington - by having to start their careers with little protection or reinforcements.

Chris Redman is the clear starter but the backup situation is far from settled. Joey Harrington is there for now but he's hardly a lock. D.J. Shockley should be ready for the May mini-camp while he's recovering from knee surgery and he could leapfrog Harrington is he performs well. With Atlanta set to draft a quarterback at some point, Harrington or Shockley will be the odd man out.


The top team needs entering the NFL Draft:

OT: The Panthers are shifting Jordan Gross from right tackle to left tackle while Travelle Wharton moves from left tackle to left guard to take Mike Wahle's old spot. That leaves a gaping hole at right tackle. Gross and fullback Brad Hoover both said on a local radio station they expect the Panthers to draft an offensive tackle at No. 13. It's conceivable the Panthers could also go defensive end or running back with their first pick and then grab an offensive tackle in Round 2. This draft is pretty deep on offensive tackles.

RB: The one guarantee is the Panthers will draft a running back -- it's just a matter of when. The Panthers parted ways with starter DeShaun Foster last offseason, making DeAngelo Williams the starter. He averaged 5.0 yards per carry in 2007 while Foster averaged just 3.7. Carolina was 14th in the league in rushing last year and it is committed to running the ball more this year. As owner Jerry Richardson said, the Panthers want to be like the Pittsburgh Steelers. Right now LaBrandon Toefield is the No. 2 back, so they will look for depth here.

DE: The Panthers have not brought back Mike Rucker, which means they could draft a defensive end. They need to get younger here, although they like Stanley McClover and Charles Johnson, a third-round pick in 2007. Regardless, they need to find someone who can take the pressure off left end Julius Peppers. Peppers had just 2.5 sacks last year.

DT: The Panthers really haven't filled the role of Kris Jenkins, whom they traded to the Jets. Look for them to address this need in the third round. Right now, they plan on Damione Lewis taking Jenkins' spot. He got a three-year, $14 million contract last offseason.

S: The Panthers are still looking for a young safety who can step in and start. They have not re-signed Deke Cooper. They will address this need at some point, possibly in Round 4.


The top team needs entering the NFL Draft:
TEAM NEEDS -- Linebacker, cornerback, defensive tackle, running back, tight end.

LB: The Saints made a move to get more athletic in the middle with the acquisition of Jonathan Vilma, but getting a young player to pair with Scott Fujita on the outside is a possibility. Dan Morgan will likely move to the weak side, but they may not be able to pass on a versatile player like Keith Rivers.

CB: With the acquisition of veterans Randall Gay and Aaron Glenn in free agency, the Saints will have experience in the event Mike McKenzie, who is coming off ACL surgery in December, is slowed early in the season. But they could still use a young cover corner to develop for the future.

DT: Both starters return, but Brian Young will turn 31 this summer and Hollis Thomas is already 33. The primary backups are Kendrick Clancy and Antwan Lake, who are also closing in on 30, so getting a young player who can stop the run would be a valuable addition to the rotation.

RB: The Saints have four backs on the depth chart, but three are coming off injuries. Deuce McAllister, who will turn 30 at the end of the year, had surgery on both knees, while Reggie Bush missed the final four games with a knee injury. Aaron Stecker has had ankle/turf toe problems, so it wouldn't be a shock if the Saints looked at that position in the second round.

TE: This is a spot the Saints have tried to upgrade for the past three years. Eric Johnson and Billy Miller will be back and Mark Campbell is returning from back surgery, but reports the team tried to trade for Jeremy Shockey would indicate they're trying hard to get something done at this position.


The top team needs entering the NFL Draft:
TEAM NEEDS: Wide receiver, cornerback, defensive line.

WR: The Bucs entered the offseason saying they needed more playmakers on offense. So far, the only big offseason acquisition at wide receiver has been Antonio Bryant. The Bucs could take a receiver with their first-round pick.

CB: With Brian Kelly opting out of the final year of his contract and signing a new deal with the Detroit Lions, the Bucs are thin at cornerback. Ronde Barber is 32 and Phillip Buchanon is in the final year of his contract. The Bucs have Torrie Cox and Sammy Davis to play reserve roles. The Bucs signed Patriots S Eugene Wilson and have converted him to corner, a position he played in college.

DL: Getting more pressure on the passer will be a big emphasis for the Bucs. DT Jovan Haye has done a good job against the run, but doesn't excel as a pass rusher. Same with NT Chris Hovan. The Bucs have lots of depth at defensive end, especially after Kevin Carter re-signed with the team.


The top team needs entering the NFL Draft:

CB: The No. 3 corner right now is Ralph Brown, a solid veteran but not a guy who is going to push starters Eric Green and Rod Hood. The Cardinals need a couple of corners in this draft.

DE/OLB: The Cardinals added some depth in free agency at these spots, but they need some young players. The team's front seven is average and it could use another playmaker, or at least someone who could develop into one.

RB: Starter Edgerrin James is great at turning a three-yard gain into seven or eight. But he's not going to break many long runs. The club needs a big-play threat. Backups J.J. Arrington and Marcel Shipp aren't the answers.

WR: The starters, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, are elite. But there is no solid No. 3 now that Bryant Johnson has left for the 49ers. Steve Breaston, Jerheme Urban, Ahmad Merritt and Sean Morey are the backups now.

ILB: The starters, Karlos Dansby and Gerald Hayes, are good players, but there isn't much depth. The Cardinals tried to address it last year by taking Buster Davis in the third round, but he didn't make the team.

OG: There isn't much depth now that veteran Keydrick Vincent signed with Carolina. Elton Brown has turned into a decent player, but the club needs more.

OT: Not a desperate need, but the team could really use a tackle who might develop into a starter in a few years. Left tackle Mike Gandy is in the last year of his contract.


The top team needs entering the NFL Draft:
TEAM NEEDS: Defensive end, offensive tackle, wide receiver, cornerback, quarterback.

DE: Even with James Hall re-signed, the Rams are looking closely at Vernon Gholston and Chris Long because they got only 5.5 sacks from their defensive ends last season. Leonard Little is returning from toe surgery and will be 34 in October. Even with Little healthy, the need for another end is strong.

OT: Left tackle Orlando Pace has played in just 11 games the last two seasons, and is coming back from a torn labrum in his shoulder. Right tackle Alex Barron, who played mostly on the left side last year after Pace's injury, is solid, but gets too many penalties and there are questions whether the team will commit to him after his current contract expires. This is a draft deep in tackles, so one could be added after the first round if they don't end up with Jake Long.

WR: Drew Bennett was very disappointing as the No. 3 receiver last year, and for now, he is a starter after the departure of Isaac Bruce. The Rams hope Bennett's struggles last season were more due to injuries than declining skills. Still, there is a need for youth at the position, especially considering Torry Holt will be 32 in June and has continuing knee issues.

CB: Starter Fakhir Brown is one slip away from a one-year suspension, and depth is always needed. Tye Hill suffered a serious wrist injury last season, and it is unknown how much progress Jonathan Wade will make from his rookie season. Ron Bartell is solid.

QB: Yes, the Rams expect Marc Bulger to return to the form that got him to the Pro Bowl in 2006 and they like Trent Green as the backup. But it could be time to bring in a rookie quarterback to develop behind the two veterans. The first three rounds might be too early, but getting a prospect in the fourth or fifth round might not be out of the question.


The top team needs entering the NFL Draft:
TEAM NEEDS Offensive line, linebacker, defensive line, wide receiver.

OL: The 49ers have five linemen who are penciled in to start, but they are woefully thin. The draft sets up well for them because the 49ers figure there will be offensive linemen available who can help them in the first four rounds of the draft. They might take as many as two offensive linemen with their first four selections, including with the No. 29 overall selection.

LB: There are two linebacker spots that have some uncertainty. The 49ers might look to find another pass rusher from the outside linebacker spot to compete with Tully Banta-Cain and Parys Haralson. The 49ers were unable to generate much of a pass rush last season. Also, the strong inside linebacker position is up in the air with free-agent pickup Dontarrious Thomas and returners Brandon Moore and Jeff Ulbrich in the mix.

DL: The 49ers need more strength on the defensive line. In their 3-4 scheme, they spend a lot of time looking for defensive tackles in college who might be good fits at defensive end at this level. The 49ers will look hard at defensive line early in this draft, as they look to replace 16-game starters Bryant Young and Marques Douglas, who are no longer with the team.

WR: The 49ers added Isaac Bruce and Bryant Johnson through free agency, but they are still on the lookout for a playmaker with home-run speed. The 49ers figure to have a lot of options early in the draft. New offensive coordinator Mike Martz has had success uncovering receivers who fit his scheme in the middle rounds, too.


The top team needs entering the NFL Draft:
TEAM NEEDS -- Tight end, running back, offensive line, linebacker, kicker

TE: Mike Holmgren expected Marcus Pollard to catch 50 or 60 passes last season. He caught only 28, dropped two in the team's playoff loss to Green Bay and was allowed to leave. Now, the team needs to find a productive player who can fill the role for a long time, either in Holmgren's West Coast offense or whichever system coach-in-waiting Jim Mora will use.

RB: The Seahawks averaged only 103 yards a game last season and were stopped multiple times in short-yardage situations. They attempted to rectify that by signing Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett in free agency. Still, they are not thought to be the long-term answer at the position.

OL: Though Shaun Alexander was blamed for much of the team's running woes, the offensive line was at times dreadful, prompting the team to sign Mike Wahle when he was released by Carolina. Still, they need depth along the line and an eventual replacement for anchor Walter Jones, and Tim Ruskell said he believes in always drafting at least one offensive lineman.

LB: The Seahawks have one of the best starting units in the NFL, but their depth took a hit when Niko Koutouvides and Kevin Bentley both left in free agency. They were key backups and talented special teams players. Also, Ruskell may need insurance in case Leroy Hill leaves in free agency next offseason.

K: Josh Brown left in free agency, prompting the Seahawks to sign Olindo Mare. However, he did not get a guarantee that he would make the team, and his accuracy has gone down each of the last three years. Ruskell wants competition in training camp.
ings; $1.5M/1 yr, $500,000 SB.

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