Dallas Cowboys: FS, OT, ILB, CB depth, OG, WR depth
The Cowboys learned two things from the 34-3 playoff loss to the Vikings. On offense, they need to be able to protect Tony Romo and on defense they must stop the pass. Given the strength of the defensive front 7, the weaknesses lie in the back end where the team must find a playmaker. Last year, free safety Ken Hamlin was unreliable and quite frankly, dismal. A new starter, capable of preventing the big plays and forcing turnovers, would revitalize the whole unit. Solidifying the depth at cornerback would also help shore up the secondary. Jason Williams is a good prospect at ILB, but they could force him to compete to be the successor to Keith Brooking. Offensively, the Cowboys rid themselves of Flozell Adams who would now draw handkerchief going up against even a high school end. The team seems confident in Doug Free’s ability to slide into the LT spot, but even so, Marc Colombo on the right side is 31 and coming off what was perhaps the worst game of his career. Offensive tackle is a concern. Another wide receiver to work the slots would also help open up the field horizontally and make 3rd downs an easier task.
New York Giants: MLB, DT, OL, CB depth, DE
The Giants’ fall from grace following a 5-0 start opened up a lot of eyes, including those inside the organization. Their biggest depreciation came from the defensive line where the Giants struggled to plug gaps in the middle. Even after signing Chris Canty last offseason, the Giants need to find a good run stopper in the middle. With Osi Umenyiora threatening retirement, a secondary need at defensive end has opened up as well. The strength of the Super Bowl team has turned into a relative weakness in just a couple years. Their more pressing need is replacing Antonio Pierce at middle linebacker with someone with enough fluidity to play coverage and enough physicality to play the run. In the secondary, the Giants could also add more depth to the secondary, which also struggled late in the year. On offense, the Giants just need to continue adding more depth to the interior offensive line and a right tackle to replace Kareem McKenzie as he wears down.
Philadelphia Eagles: FS, DE, OLB, CB, OG, QB depth
The Eagles are definitely transitioning to the decade ahead and have cut ties with last decade’s stars Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, and Brian Dawkins over the past 2 offseasons. As they look to the future, they need make sure they have good players at each of those positions. They like Kolb as their quarterback, but I’m not sold on Michael Vick as a legitimate back-up. At running back, they could use depth, even though they signed Mike Bell. Bell will however help to improve the short yardage conversions, where the Eagles have historically struggled. After cutting Shawn Andrews, they’ve finally let go of their annual glimmer of hope and might be ready to find a big upgrade. Defensively, it’s obvious they didn’t have a free safety last year to replace Dawkins which prompted the organization to bring in Marlin Jackson, who has battled injuries for some time now. Up front, they need to find another pass rusher to complement Cole and a difference maker at outside linebacker to improve their mediocre linebacking corps.
Washington Redskins: OT, FS, 3-4 NT, OL depth, LB depth
By adding Donovan McNabb, a pair of veteran running backs, and moving to a 3-4 defense, the Redskins seemingly erased needs at each of those two positions, as well as strongside linebacker. However, they’ll need to now address the nose tackle position, where they’re hoping Maake Kemoeatu can return from a season-long injury and anchor the front 7. They still need to continue addressing the problems in the secondary, which primarily all stem back to the lack of a free safety. LaRon Landry has been disappointing, but is much better suited for a strong safety role. If they can find a true free safety, perhaps they can also turn around Landry’s career in the process. At all linebacker positions, they need depth. However, their biggest voids, bar none, are along the offensive line. They have no tackle on either side. Maybe they can count on Stephon Heyer to play right if they can find a left tackle, but he doesn’t seem capable of playing on the blind side where he’s currently projected to play. On the interior, Casey Rabach is aging and Artis Hicks could stand to be upgraded. Derrick Dockery at left guard is the only stable position up front, which may forebode bad things to come on offense even with the addition of a top 10 quarterback.
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