- Offensive Line – Need here is fairly obvious. We do not have 5 quality starters at the moment and we do not have depth behind them. Spitz still has potential and if he can fill in for Colledge, we may end up being a bit better than the previous couple years overall. But if Tausch, Sitton, Wells, Spitz or Clifton get hurt, we’ll be in trouble. Only Lang seems like someone who could come in and provide positive help. But one real concern I have is whether or not we have the COACHING to draft young linemen and then groom them. For several years our line play has not been that great. That last couple haven’t been horrible, but not great. So I’m unsure if we’re just drafting duds of if we not teaching quality players effectively.
- Tight End – Donald Lee is OK but as his pass-catching role diminishes and in light of the fact that he doesn’t seem like that great of a blocker, I wonder if it’s time for someone else to see more time opposite Finley. I’m not sure if Havner is really developing as a full-fledged TE or if they plan to continue to use him only as a TD machine. Finley is great and will continue to be great. Fantastic draft pick by TT. I can’t pretend to know the first thing about Devin Frischnecht or Tom Crabtree, the other TEs on the roster – but I’m beginning to think right now, we could use an outstanding blocking TE opposite Finley. Maybe Havner, Frischnecht, Lee or Crabtree can develop in that role but I’m not sure. It may be an area to explore in the draft.
- Wide Receiver – We are still solid at WR. Donald Driver seems to continue to defy age. Greg Jennings is now one year removed from the I-just-signed-a-monster-contract-so-I’m-going-to-scare-everyone-by-being-mediocre-right-after-signing-it stage – and my guess is he’ll be a beast again this year. James Jones and Jordy Nelson are two quality guys to have in the #3 and #4 WR positions, though I have to say, I thought Jones would be better than he’s been. Still, we look good here. I still believe we could use either a super quick, slot type WR and model his use after how the Patriots use Wes Welker. This guy could also help our return game. Or, on the flip side, I would mind picking up a brutishly strong dude who could drag defenders down the field like Sterling Sharper used to. I do expect TT to snag some sneaky good guy here as he seems to enjoy drafting WRs.
- Running Back – While I’d still like to take a chance on Westbrook (though Nick is right, waiting until after the draft would probably be advisable), this may be a draft we could nab a quality shifty guy. Yes, I’m somewhat obsessed with shiftiness, but mostly because these kinds of players can be really effective (i.e. Darren Sproles), but also because I think for our team, it would complement Ryan Grant and his running style well. I still like Ahman Green and believe his signing last year was a good one. Brandon Jackson is apparently very good at blocking on passing downs and a decent receiver so cutting him outright could be tough. Lumpkin seems to be sticking around so he must still have some potential and DeShawn Wynn may have the best overall running instincts of any back on the team (though other areas are problematic). IWhile there will be plenty of competition in camp this year if the team only keeps 3 RBs, I do think this is a position we should target in the draft – ideally a super athletic shifty dude.
- Punter – we should bring in a few veterans as well as some promising young guys and make this a big-time competition this summer. Field position has been an issue over the last few years and it’s time that TT place a bit more emphasis on finding a quality punter. I don’t care if he’s a rookie or a 45 year old veteran – I just want someone who is consistent and who will help out our defense by pinning opposing offenses deep in their own territory.
- Kicker – I still like Mason Crosby. He works hard, is decent on kickoffs and overall, he has a nice leg. But I remain concerned about his overall accuracy on FGs, which of course is his primary duty. His career accuracy percentage is 78.4%, which isn’t horrendous but it’s not that good either. In his 3 year career he’s made 100% of his FGs from under 30 yards – which is solid, though most kickers are pretty automatic from that close. Much more concerning though is that his career percentage from 30-39 yards is only 81.8% which is comparatively poor. From 40-49 yards, his career percentage is 66.7% which is also not good. And his +50 yard percentage is just 47.1% which is really weak compared to other kickers. Most concerning to me though, is his overall FG percentage has declined in each of his first 3 years starting at 79.5% and ending at 75% last year. Again, I’m not sure I’m ready to cut him, but I sure would consider bringing in some competition.