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Dissecting the Draft: NFC team strategies
By John McMullen, NFL Editor
There's been speculation that San Francisco may move up for UWV's star Tavon Austin
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - A capsule look of the major needs and a possible course of action for the NFC teams in the 2013 NFL Draft, which will take place at New York's Radio City Music Hall from April 25-27.

NFC EAST

Dallas (8-8)

Top Needs:
OL, DT, S, LB

First Three Picks: No. 18, No. 47, No. 80

Number of Selections: 86 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

The Cowboys are set at most of the skill positions offensively with Tony Romo throwing to Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Miles Austin. The offensive line and running game leave a lot to be desired, however.

Dallas made changes to four of its five offensive line positions a year ago and most of them didn't work, meaning more changes are on the horizon. Tyron Smith, a first-round pick in 2011, is the left tackle and everything else is up for debate or at least it should be.

The Cowboys are very high on athletic North Carolina offensive guard Jonathan Cooper, who some have compared to former Dallas star Larry Allen, but it's unlikely a talent like that will last to the 18th overall pick.

The injury-prone DeMarco Murray simply can't be counted on at running back and although the position is undervalued around the league, it's almost imperative the Cowboys fish for some help there. The organization reportedly loves Michigan State running back Le'Veon Bell as a possible second- or third-round selection.

Over on defense the 'Boys fired coordinator Rob Ryan and replaced him with the 72-year-old Monte Kiffin, who worships at the altar of the antiquated Tampa-2 defensive philosophy. That means the Cowboys will switch to a 4-3 "under" scheme that requires a Brian Urlacher-type middle linebacker and smart, zone- savvy defensive backs.

The Cowboys also will need help on the interior of the defensive line, preferable a three-technique stud like an in his prime Kevin Williams. Missouri's Sheldon Richardson has some baggage but is a big body with a knack for penetrating while playing that style. His ability to slice into the backfield could also keep opposing offensive linemen off linebackers Sean Lee and Bruce Carter.

Safety is also a glaring deficiency in North Texas and keeping University of Texas star Kenny Vaccaro in the Lone Star State would be a popular move.

N.Y. Giants (9-7)

Top Needs: DE, LB, CB, S

First Three Picks: No. 19, No. 49, No. 81

Number of Selections: 8 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7)

What a difference a year makes. The Giants finished the 2011 season 9-7, got hot at the right time and won the Super Bowl. In 2012 that same 9-7 mark wasn't even good enough to get them to the postseason dance and a lot of people now look at New York as a descending club.

The offense certainly needs some tweaks and while it's imperative the Giants work something out with star slot receiver Victor Cruz, the signing of former Oakland tight end Brandon Myers probably takes a Tyler Eifert or Zach Ertz off the table for Big Blue in the first round.

Offensive line is also a concern but the real disappointment in Gotham last season was Perry Fewell's defense, which struggled mightily against the run and saw its once vaunted pass rush evaporate into a non-entity.

So, it should be defense, defense and defense for highly-regarded general manger Jerry Reese. When the Giants were winning Super Bowls, it was usually because of Eli Manning along with their pass rush. New York needs to replenish the rush after a down season. Osi Umenyiora is now in Atlanta, Justin Tuck has seen his better days and Jason Pierre-Paul was closer to ordinary than J.J. Watt a season ago.

Florida State teammates Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine could help at end and be options with the 19th overall pick. The G-Men could also use a thumper inside at linebacker like Notre Dame's Mantei Te'o or a rangy outside 'backer since Chase Blackburn and Michael Boley have been phased out.

The secondary, meanwhile, also seems to be an issue especially after the loss of oft-injured safety Kenny Phillips to NFC- East rival Philadelphia. Don't rule out Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, a player who has the ideal combination of size and athleticism to roam from sideline to sideline in coverage.

Philadelphia (4-12)

Top Needs: DB, QB, OL, TE

First Three Picks: No. 4, No. 35, No. 67

Number of Selections: 9 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 7, 7, 7)

With Andy Reid in Kansas City and Chip Kelly taking over one of the most talent-deficient rosters in the NFL, Philadelphia is in the rather easy position of going best player available throughout the entire draft. Need is not an issue for the Eagles since it exists all over the field on both sides of the ball.

Philadelphia has been a bargain-conscious, high-volume buyer on the free agent market, especially on defense since they are moving to a 3- 4. They are rebooting the entire secondary and need competent edge players.

Offensively Kelly, the former head coach at the University of Oregon, will bring his fastbreak approach across the country, something which requires speed and exceptional conditioning both at the skill positions and on the offensive line. The Eagles will also need a developmental Kelly-type QB at some point and must fortify an offensive line ravaged by injuries in 2012.

Basically general manager Howie Roseman could be blindfolded, throw at the dart board and still get help for his team.

Forget about West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith for the Eagles, however. That's likely nothing more than a smokescreen but edge rusher Dion Jordan, an old Kelly acolyte from Nike University, would be a nice fit with the fourth overall pick as would Central Michigan left tackle Eric Fisher. Oklahoma left tackle Lane Johnson could be a surprise since he has the type of athleticism Kelly covets.

The team is also reportedly high on Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib as well as Florida State signal-caller E.J. Manuel. One or both could be there at the Birds' 35th selection in the second round.

Philadelphia came away from the Senior Bowl impressed with Rice tight end Vance McDonald, and Illinois hybrid Michael Buchanan has gone public with the Eagles interest in him as a 3-4 option on the edge. Both of those players could be in play as Saturday picks.

Washington (10-6)

Top Needs: S, WR, RT

First Three Picks: No. 51, No. 85, No. 119

Number of Selections: 7 (2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 6, 7)

The health of Robert Griffin III is the main storyline inside the Beltway these days but helping the franchise player by augmenting the offensive line with a right tackle and giving him some additional options at wide receiver could help the Washington Redskins take the next step in 2013.

Jeremy Trueblood was brought in from Tampa Bay to fill in at right tackle but he's hardly the answer. Meanwhile, Josh Morgan is serviceable as a starter at wide receiver opposite Pierre Garcon but picking up a top-tier vertical threat could really open up some running lanes in the read-option for RG3.

Defensively the 'Skins need to add speed and athleticism to the backside of their defense where Madieu Williams is a liability and Brandon Meriweather is coming off knee surgery.

Washington doesn't have a pick in the first round but receiver and tackle are both deep positions in the draft so getting a contributor at No. 51 overall is possible.

NFC NORTH

Chicago (10-6)

Top Needs: OL, MLB, WR

First Three Picks: No. 20, No. 50, No. 117

Number of Selections: 5 (1, 2, 4, 5, 6)

The Bears have rebooted things by firing veteran defensive- minded head coach Lovie Smith and bringing in an offensive guy, Marc Trestman, to hopefully build a 21st century offense around talented but enigmatic signal-caller Jay Cutler.

First and foremost Chicago needed to upgrade its porous offensive line in front of Cutler and was able to bring in a new left tackle during free agency, ex-Saint Jermon Bushrod. More needs to be done, however, since Lance Louis, who is a pedestrian player and has now moved on to Miami in free agency, was the Bears' best offensive lineman in 2012 before he went down with a torn ACL.

Depth at receiver, specifically a vertical threat, behind All-Pro Brandon Marshall and emerging possession receiver Alshon Jeffery is also a concern.

Defensively, linebacker is the key issue since the Bears have decided to move on from long-time middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, and lost Nick Roach in free agency to the Raiders.

Tight end, however, has become a little less concerning because the team signed Martellus Bennett, an inconsistent player who is coming off a solid year with the New York Giants.

Chicago currently has only five picks in the draft and doesn't have a third- rounder so hitting on its early picks is a necessity. Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree and Notre Dame mike Manti Te'o are possible options for the Bears with the 20th overall selection.

Detroit (4-12)

Top Needs: OT, DE, CB

First Three Picks: No. 5, No. 36, No. 65

Number of Selections: 8 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7)

A dismal 4-12 season has the Detroit Lions in all too familiar territory, mulling a top 10 pick in the NFL Draft.

The Lions thought they put this kind of thing behind them after a 2011 playoff appearance but things went off the rails pretty quickly last year and it's imperative head coach Jim Schwartz turns things around quickly.

Cleaning up the mental mistakes and all the pre-snap penalties would go a long way in curing the woes of Detroit's talented offense, led by quarterback Matthew Stafford, the No. 1 overall pick in 2009, and All-World receiver Calvin Johnson, the second selection in the '07 draft.

Add in defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, the second pick in the 2010 draft, from the other side of the ball and you see Detroit has far too much experience picking in the top 10 and way too much talent to be doing so again.

This time around the Lions are in the fifth slot and looking at some familiar needs, specifically the offensive line and the secondary.

The team badly needs to solve its tackle situation since right tackle Gosder Cherilus left for Indianapolis in free agency and veteran left tackle Jeff Backus called it quits after a solid 12-year career.

With 2012 first-rounder Riley Reiff better suited for the right side it's more than likely the Lions would jump on Central Michigan's Eric Fisher if he lasted to the fifth overall selection. Oklahoma's Lane Johnson, although probably not worthy of being picked at No. 5, has also been moving up most draft boards and could be in play. Also don't rule out Alabama guard Chance Warmack, who some consider the best overall player in this draft.

The secondary, even with the return of corner Chris Houston and oft-injured safety Louis Delmas, needs plenty of help and general manager Martin Mayhew is reportedly enamored with Warmack's teammate at Alabama, corner Dee Milliner.

Other needs for Detroit include running back despite ex-Dolphins playmaker Reggie Bush relocating to the Motor City, and wide receiver behind Johnson because Titus Young burned his bridge out of town and both Ryan Broyles and Nate Burleson are coming off injuries.

Defensive end is yet another need after left end Cliff Avril relocated to Seattle and veteran Kyle Vanden Bosch was released in February.

Green Bay (11-5)

Top Needs: OL, DL, RB

First Three Picks: No. 26, No. 55, No. 88

Number of Selections: 8 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 6, 7)

Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson doesn't believe in free agency and builds through the draft. That philosophy generally works for Thompson but this version of the Packers is showing more than a few holes, ones that are often masked by the best player in football, quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

A pedestrian offensive line is in need of multiple reinforcements while it seems like Green Bay hasn't had a legitimate running back since John Brockington called Lambeau Field home.

Even receiver is a question mark these days in Titletown. Jordy Nelson was a great No. 2 receiver when Greg Jennings was headlining the marquee, while Randall Cobb merged as a dangerous slot option and James Jones had a career year in 2013. That said, Jennings is now in Minneapolis and if you bump each of those receivers up a spot on the depth chart, they aren't quite as imposing.

The defensive holes are even vaster. The Packers are still looking for a 3-4 end who can hold the edge consistently and nose tackle B.J. Raji is often hit and miss thanks to a lack of conditioning.

Veteran defensive back Charles Woodson, a true leader, is also gone and both M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian are very weak in run support.

SMU defensive end Margus Hunt is the kind of off the radar prospect Thompson likes and is the type of raw talent you gamble with late in the first round. At 6-foot-8 and 280 pounds Hunt projects as a 3-4 end who can own the edge with some sound and patient coaching.

Green Bay is also taking a hard look at San Jose State offensive lineman David Quessenberry as a second- or third-round pick. The 6-foot-5 Quessenberry is a versatile player who can handle multiple positions and fits the Pack's blocking schemes.

Minnesota (10-6)

Top Needs: MLB, CB, WR, DT

First Three Picks: No. 23, No. 25, No. 52

Number of Selections: 10 (1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7)

Since the Minnesota Vikings brain trust has seemingly married itself to a limited quarterback in Christian Ponder, it's imperative the team has all the pieces around the Florida State product to succeed.

Possessing MVP running back Adrian Peterson, ascending tight end Kyle Rudolph and a solid offensive line is a good start but the Vikings need help outside, especially after trading the dynamic Percy Harvin to Seattle.

Minnesota did bring in veteran Greg Jennings, who was once a legitimate No. 1 receiver and will certainly be a better citizen and more of a leader than the enigmatic Harvin ever was. That said, Jennings has been injury prone in recent years and will be turning 30.

The Vikings also need a middle linebacker after losing Jasper Brinkley in free agency to Arizona and could use depth at the cornerback position after dropping veteran slot man Antoine Winfield, who ended up in Seattle with Harvin.

It's also time to start reinforcing the defensive line, traditionally a strength in Minneapolis. Fewer reps would serve veteran All-Pro Jared Allen as well as the undersized Brian Robison well, and the Vikings need to find the heir-apparent to the declining Kevin Williams at defensive tackle.

Minnesota has two first round picks, Nos. 23 and 25, and 10 selections overall. Jennings' presence makes receiver less of an immediate issue but Winfield's release labels cornerback a priority and the Vikings reportedly have fallen for Mississippi State's Johnathan Banks, a player they project as a starter early on. Banks could team with Chris Cook and Josh Robinson to give the Vikings three solid young corners, something you need in a division in which Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler play quarterback.

Meanwhile, Minny general manager Rick Spielman has already hit big on Notre Dame prospects in back-to-back years (Rudolph and safety Harrison Smith) and would love Fighting Irish middle linebacker Manti Te'o but Georgia's Alec Ogletree is a far more athletic player who is better-suited for the Vikings' somewhat antiquated Tampa-2 base scheme.

NFC SOUTH

Atlanta (13-3)

Top Needs: OL, DE, LB

First Three Picks: No. 30, No. 60, No. 92

Number of Selections: 11 (1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7, 7, 7)

One of the NFL's most dynamic offenses is not only back in tact in Dixie, it has actually been upgraded.

Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan and the best receiving duo in the game, Roddy White and Julio Jones, were always a given but by convincing future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez to put off retirement for another year and replacing the descending Michael Turner with ex-Rams running back Steven Jackson, Atlanta looks poised for another big season in 2013.

Offensive tackle could be an issue, however, since Sam Baker has a history of back problems on the left side and veteran Tyson Clabo, a solid, if unspectacular player, was released. Meanwhile, Lamar Holmes, a third-round pick in 2012, is no sure thing.

Defensively things are much murkier. The aging but always productive John Abraham is gone, replaced by former New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora, a talented but far less consistent player. Meanwhile Troy Biermann is a high-motor player on the other side who is probably best-suited for fewer repetitions.

At linebacker the Falcons needs an upgrade over Akeem Dent inside and Sam 'backer Stephen Nicholas is just a guy. Meanwhile corner Asante Samuel is now 32 and his former running mate Brent Grimes has relocated to Miami.

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has said the only way Atlanta will take a defensive end in the first round is if they can trade or if an elite one somehow falls to them, making the offensive line and the back seven on defense more likely for the ATL with the 30th overall pick.

Carolina (7-9)

Top Needs: OL, DT, DB, WR

First Three Picks: No. 14, No. 44, No. 108

Number of Selections: 5 (1, 2, 4, 5, 6)

Carolina is probably a little better off than most people think after an uneven 2012 season.

Obviously getting more consistency from ultra-talented quarterback Cam Newton would go a long way in curing many of the Panthers' woes so maximizing his efficiency has to be paramount.

One way Carolina could help Newton is clearing up the question marks on the offensive line. The Panthers had big troubles at right tackle for most of 2012 and also need an heir apparent at left tackle for Jordan Gross, who enters his 11th season in 2013 under a restructured contract which is essentially a one- year deal.

Newton could also use more weapons outside. Veteran Steve Smith is still plenty productive but on the downside and Brandon LaFell is entering a contract year.

On the other side of the ball the Carolina defense has been really weak up the middle for a number of years and has moved on from veteran nose tackle Ron Edwards. Also, three-technique tackle Dwan Edwards was just re-signed but the team would like an upgrade.

The secondary is also an issue for the Panthers, although its been supplemented somewhat by the signing of ex-Raiders safety Mike Mitchell as well as corners D.J. Moore and Drayton Florence in free agency.

Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson and Florida State corner Xavier Rhodes are the current favorites to go No. 14 to Carolina, but West Virgina playmaker Tavon Austin and Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro have also been mentioned prominently in Charlotte.

New Orleans (7-9)

Top Needs: DL, LB, OT

First Three Picks: No. 15, No. 75, No. 109

Number of Selections:
5 (1, 3, 4, 5, 6)

With Sean Payton back in 2013, expect the New Orleans offense to be back to its high-powered self with a few tweaks.

The Saints really need to improve the edges entrusted to protect Drew Brees. Right tackle Zach Strief wasn't all that impressive in 2012 and left tackle Jermon Bushrod, who is overrated anyway, left in free agency to Chicago.

Payton has said that the team's left tackle spot keeps him up at night, which makes the position a possible first-round target.

New Orleans also needs to add depth at receiver behind Marques Colston and Lance Moore, and find a new backup for Brees after Chase Daniel signed with Kansas City.

The Saints defense was a mess in '12, finishing at the bottom of the league in a number of defensive categories. When Payton returned he fired coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and hired Rob Ryan to make the switch to 3-4 scheme, meaning the team must fine fits for that philosophy whether it means a true nose tackle, a five-technique end or edge pass rushers.

The top three left tackles figure to be off the board when New Orleans selects at No. 15 and the fourth, whether you believe it's D.J. Fluker from Alabama or Menelik Watson from Florida State, probably isn't worthy of being selected that high.

Instead keep an eye on a pair of edge pass rushers, the raw Ezekiel Ansah from BYU and perhaps Georgia tweener Jarvis Jones, a player whose poor 40-yard dash times have sent crashing out of the top 10 but could be a Terrell Suggs-like steal.

Tampa Bay (7-9)

Top Needs: CB, DL, TE, WR

First Three Picks: No. 13, No. 43, No. 73

Number of Selections: 8 (1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 6)

So much of Tampa Bay's draft day will be tied up in the Darrelle Revis sweepstakes.

The Bucs are the leader in the clubhouse and perhaps the only horse in the race to acquire Revis, unquestionably the best cover cornerback in football when healthy, from the New York Jets.

Revis, though, is coming off an ACL injury and the Jets would like at least the 13th overall pick from the Bucs and perhaps more.

Corner is clearly a need in Central Florida and Revis is the type of lockdown defender who could enable Greg Schiano to get exotic on defense.

The Buccaneers also need plenty of help in other areas. Defensive end Michael Bennett fled to Seattle in free agency while fellow 2012 starter, defensive tackle Roy Miller, moved upstate to Jacksonville.

Meanwhile, Mike Sullivan's offense remains inconsistent and the jury remains out on strong-armed quarterback Josh Freeman. The offense line was shaky at times in 2012 but that could have been due to a litany of injuries and players like Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph should be back. Tight end, though, needs help since the 33-year-old Dallas Clark is a free agent and on the downside while Luke Stocker is just a blocker.

If Tampa Bay can't snare Revis, expect Florida State corner Xavier Rhodes to be in play with the 13th pick. The Bucs are also reportedly enamored with West Virginia slot receiver Tavon Austin and BYU pass-rushing specialist Ezekiel Ansah.

NFC WEST

Arizona (5-11)

Top Needs: OL, S, QB, RB

First Three Picks: No. 7, No. 38, No. 69

Number of Selections: 7 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

Arizona's draft prospects changed markedly earlier this month when the team acquired veteran quarterback Carson Palmer from the Oakland Raiders.

Palmer may be on the downside on his career and is certainly not the Pro Bowl player he once was in Cincinnati but he is a massive upgrade on the terrible triumvirate of Kevin Kolb, John Skelton and Ryan Lindley which eventually cost Ken Whisenhunt his job in the desert.

Palmer may not be the long-term answer in Glendale but he's a nice stop-gap and one which enabled the Cards to look past reaching for a signal-caller with the seventh overall pick if they are really enamored with one.

New head coach Bruce Arians is known for developing young quarterbacks and will certainly get a developmental one at some point but rebuilding perhaps the worst offensive line in football trumps that as a priority, as does fixing a running game which is currently relying on the oft-injured Ryan Williams since Beanie Wells was released and LaRod Stephens-Howling remains a free agent.

The defense is pretty solid although the team needs to get younger on the defensive line and wants depth in the defensive backfield even after signing free agent safety Yeremiah Bell from the Jets and cornerback Antoine Cason from San Diego.

Almost every mock draft has the Cards going offensive line with the seventh overall pick but it's unlikely the two top tackles, Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel and Central Michigan's Eric Fisher, will be there. If Arizona believes in Oklahoma LT Lane Johnson, he could be the selection or the Cards could look inside an guard and Alabama stud Chance Warmack.

Arizona is also reportedly very interested in strong-armed North Carolina State quarterback Mike Glennon, who would be a great fit in Arians' vertical offense, in the second round.

San Francisco (11-4-1)

Top Needs: DT, S, CB, TE

First Three Picks: No. 31, No. 34, No. 61

Number of Selections: 13 (1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7)

Jim Harbaugh's move to quarterback Colin Kaepernick from Alex Smith midway through 2012 added a big play dimension to the San Francisco offense and helped lift the 49ers to the NFC Championship before ultimately coming up a little short against the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl.

The Niners look ready for another run at the Lombardi Trophy and sport one of the most talented rosters in football.

The 49ers can run the ball with Frank Gore, stretch a defense with Michael Crabtree along with athletic tight end Vernon Davis, and possess of the game's best offensive lines.

San Francisco also replaced the enigmatic and descending Randy Moss with a far more dependable player in ex-Raven Anquan Boldin, who dominated the 49ers in the second half of the Super Bowl. Colt McCoy was also acquired from the Browns to replace Smith as the backup to Kaepernick, a solid if unspectacular move.

A pure burner on the outside would help as would a second tight end to replace the versatile Delanie Walker, who signed with the Titans.

The defense, though, should be in the forefront at least early for the 49ers come draft time.

The team lost defensive tackles Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean-Francois as well as Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson in free agency while cornerback depth was the team's biggest weakness a year ago.

With 13 picks and only three of them compensatory the 49ers are in a great position to target players and move up or down as needed. There's been some speculation that San Francisco may use some of its extra picks to move up for West Virginia slot star Tavon Austin, but focusing on defensive backs in the early rounds is the far more likely scenario in Northern California.

Seattle (11-5)

Top Needs: RT, DT, LB

First Three Picks: No. 56, No. 87, No. 123

Number of Selections: 10 (2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 6, 7, 7, 7, 7)

If there truly is an arms race going on between San Francisco and Seattle in the NFC West, it's currently at the height of Cold War levels because both the 49ers and Seahawks have amassed enough power to obliterate just about everyone else.

After trading for star slot receiver Percy Harvin, signing a pair of pass rushers in Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, and inking perhaps the game's best nickel corner in Antoine Winfield, the Seahawks appear headed to the draft without a major weakness.

Generating some competition for right tackle Breno Giacomini and adding some depth at both defensive tackle and linebacker are about the only tweaks Seattle needs to make and they have 10 picks to do it. The Seahawks first- rounder, however, was surrendered to Minnesota in the Harvin deal.

Offensive tackles like Oregon's Kyle Long, Tennessee's Dallas Thomas, and Colorado's David Bakhtiari could be fits at No. 56 overall, which will be Seattle's first choice in the draft.

St. Louis (7-8-1)

Top Needs: WR, OL, S, LB

First Three Picks: No. 16, No. 22, No. 46

Number of Selections: 8 (1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 7)

The Rams need more playmakers for quarterback Sam Bradford, but they also need to sure up the offensive line in front of him.

St. Louis made some strides in protecting Bradford, allowing 20 fewer sacks in 2012 than they did in '11 but there is still plenty of room for improvement, particularly on the left side. The club made a significant commitment to ex-Dolphins tackle Jake Long, signing the former No. 1 overall pick to a four-year, $36 million dollar deal, in hopes of fixing that problem.

The Rams also got Bradford a new toy by inking former Tennessee tight end Jared Cook to a five-year contract worth a million less than what Long got.

St. Louis still need receivers, however, especially with Danny Amendola fleeing to New England. The Rams also need to replace running back Steven Jackson, who signed with Atlanta.

Defensively the Rams really need help in the back seven especially at safety where 2012 starters Quintin Mikell and Craig Dahl were just pedestrian and are now both gone. The club could really use a rangy center fielder who can actually cover.

St, Louis seems to be focusing in on Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree at No. 16 overall. Wide receiver, perhaps Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson or Justin Hunter, could be play with the team's second first-round pick, No. 22 overall.

The Rams are also reportedly high on Alabama running back Eddie Lacy, who would be a perfect fit at No. 46 overall if he is still on the board.