NFL Team Needs: NFC West


The newest segment for NFLMocks is the NFL Team Needs focus.  We are going to bring you division by division team needs and these needs will be updated throughout the offseason and during the actual season.  And after the season is said and done and free agency has settled we will have the areas your team should address when entering the 2011 NFL Draft.  We encourage you to check out our 2011 NFL Draft Player Scouting Reports, 2011 NFL Draft Prospect Big Board, our 2011 NFL Mock Draft, and our 2011 NFL Draft Prospect Position Rankings.

NFC WEST

Arizona Cardinals

  1. Corner
  2. Linebacker
  3. Tight End

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Thoughts:

The Cardinals have done a good job of turning their image from a perennial cellar dweller into a dangerous match-up. They’ve won the NFC West and at least one playoff game in each of the last two seasons. Sadly, a few of the players responsible for that success were lost this offseason including QB Kurt Warner, WR Anquan Boldin, OLB Karlos Dansby, and OLB Bertrand Berry. Arizona will be relying heavily on younger players to help fill in at these positions. Even with these losses, the Cardinals have bigger depth problems at corner. Second year pro Greg Tolar will be expected to lock down opposite Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and I am sure most Cardinal fans remember Michael Adams getting burned often in the playoffs last year. Better overall talent at the position will be needed as the linebacking core will be getting a new look over the next few seasons. By October, every expected starter at linebacker will be over the age of 30 and everyone behind them are inexperienced. Drafting linebackers Daryl Washington and O’Brien Schofield is a start, but you can never have too many good linebackers in a 3-4 defense. O’Brien Schofield and 2009 2nd round pick Cody Brown are coming off of knee and wrist injuries. Tight end has been a tough position to fit into the spread offense the Cardinals have run the past few season as no one player has really locked down the spot as a consistent starter. Due to the scheme, an H-Back is more of a fit than a tight end. Ben Patrick fits the mold physically, but doesn’t have the speed to take attention away from the wide receivers.


San Francisco 49ers

  1. Cornerback
  2. Defensive Line
  3. Quarterback

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Thoughts:

The 49ers back up cornerbacks got a lot of action last year as both Walt Harris and Nate Clements were lost to injury. Shawntae Spencer had some impressive games, but the secondary got beat a lot. Clements is coming back, but he is going to be 31 this year and a needed talent upgrade for the group is inevitable. San Fransisco has a very good group of starting defensive lineman, but DE Justin Smith and NT Aubrayo Franklin are both over 30 and Franklin is currently only with the 49ers because of the franchise tag. He will be looking for a multi-year contract. 2008 1st round pick Kentwan Balmer has yet to make an impact and every other backup is pretty green in the experience department. The Niners are going to give QB Alex Smith every chance possible this season to be their long term starter, but if they still can’t make the playoffs with the team they have around him, then they will still be looking for their guy.

Seattle Seahawks

  1. Defensive End
  2. Cornerback
  3. Quarterback

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Thoughts:

The Seahawks are going to be looking a little different this season with an all new coaching staff, but one thing that looks to remain the same is their lack of a pass rush. The expected starting defensive line totaled nine combined sacks last season. Seattle has had only three players register double digit sacks this decade: newly Hall of Famed DT John Randle (11 sacks, 2001), LB Julian Peterson (10, 2006), and DE Patrick Kerney (14.5, 2007). We’ll see how the current group plays in the new scheme, but Seattle is going to have to find ways to pressure the quarterback. On defense, they have struggled to find a consistent presence opposite CB Marcus Trufant, who had a hard time recovering from a back injury last season. Josh Wilson and Kelly Jennings would be better as back ups and 2010 4th round pick Walter Thurmond is coming back from ACL, MCL, and PCL tears in his knee. He should be ready in time for training camp, but that will be one tough injury to fully heal from. QB Matt Hasselbeck has had a tough couple of year due to injury and he isn’t getting any younger. The big difference this year is that none of the depth behind him has ever played. Makes it tough to get a true read on what they can do and if the Hawks have another high draft pick in 2011, a local talent could be the gem of new coach Pete Carroll’s eye.

St. Louis Rams

  1. Wide Reciever
  2. Offensive Line
  3. Cornerback

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Thoughts:

You can’t turn a franchise that has won six games over the last three seasons in one draft, but the Rams got a start. Now that they have identified their QB, its time to upgrade his weapons and defense.  Because of injuries and lack of production, just about every wide receiver on the roster got experience which should be helpful to this young group, but none are a clear number one receiver. With so much top tier talent at the position expected next year, the Rams would do well to grab one of them. St. Louis already has a pair of young tackles in 2009 first round pick Jason Smith and 2010 second round pick Roger Saffold (when healthy) and could use similar upgrades at guard. Protecting their #1 investment and improving their run game at the same time. An upgrade is needed on the defensive line, but there is also a lot of young talent that will get a chance to play more before they start replacing players. Corner is a more desperate situation. The Rams ranked 25th in pass defense, tied for last in interceptions, and will be starting players that are better suited for backup roles. The NFC West has some great receiver match-ups and St. Louis doesn’t have the talent to match back.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: 1st Round Pick 49ers 4th Round Pick ACL Alex Smith Anquan Boldin Arizona Arizona Cardinals Aubrayo Franklin Ben Patrick Bertrand Berry Cardinals Cody Brown Corner Cornerback Daryl Washington Defensive End Defensive Line Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie First Round Pick Franchise Tag Greg Tolar H-Back Jason Smith John Randle Josh Wilson Julian Peterson Justin Smith Karlos Dansby Kelly Jennings Kentwan Balmer Kurt Warner Linebacker Marcus Trufant Matt Hasselbeck MCL Michael Adams Nate Clements NFC West Niners O'Brien Schofield Patrick Kerney PCL Pete Carroll Quarterback Rams Roger Saffold San Francisco 49ers San Fransisco Seahawks Seattle Seattle Seahawks Second Round Pick Shawntae Spencer St. Louis St. Louis Rams Tight End Walt Harris Walter Thurmond Wide Reciever

  • http://www.talkprofootball.com TalkProFootball

    The 49er want to run the ball and that is what they will do. Look for them to win this division on 2010

  • aviva

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