Welcome back to our Glaring Team Needs series! Sorry we have been absent the last two weeks (you noticed right?!?), but I had a couple of six day work weeks wrapping my job on "The Dark Knight Rises". Now would be a good time to get any "day job" jokes you have loaded up. With that done, we can be around here more often. Even with the heavy workload, the high volume of football games watched hasn't changed. One thing that is occurring at every level of football is how quick refs are throwing yellow for helmet to helmet hits. I am very much in favor of protecting the players, but throwing the flag just because a hit looks vicious is counter productive. The NFL says the refs need to make something a priority without giving them proper guidelines on how to call the penalty. While good intentioned, more non-helmet to helmet hits are being flagged because of how fast paced the game is played. Now there people calling for hits to be reviewable. Hopefully it doesn't come to that, but had they given out guidelines such as the offensive players head snapping or the defender leaving their feet to initiate contact, a lot of problems with the rule would have been avoided. I am sure they will find something else to be heavy handed about next season. Lets check into the Panthers, Vikings, and Redskins team needs.
1. Carolina Panthers - Biggest Need: DL Cam Newton has turned the Panthers into a top ten offense, but they can't stop anyone on defense. This has the Panthers currently at the #2 overall pick and in a good position to grab the top defensive talent in the draft. They could also grab Matt Kalil. Injuries have hurt the offensive line and they recently made Ryan Kalil, Matt's brother, the highest paid center in the league. 2012 Draft Pick - Quinton Coples, DL UNC Coples has struggled this season, but has been playing a different position on the line. Teams will also look at last years tape and his sure to be great combine numbers which will keep his value high.
2. Minnesota Vikings - Biggest Need: OT The Vikings have a plethora of holes to fill. On offense, they have starting points in Ponder and AP, but a new OL and receiving weapons are needed. On defense, age is catching up at key spots and the entire secondary needs to be overhauled. Offensive line is a great place to start as it helps both of their offensive cornerstones 2012 Draft Pick - Jonathan Martin, OT Stanford A tough and athletic tackle with all the skill and upside to be a franchise left tackle.
3. Washington Redskins - Biggest Need: QB No team as had more QB changes this season than the Redskins. Current coach Mike Shanahan has been in the league long enough that he has shown a pattern in the type of QB he looks for to run his offense. The check list is headlined by a strong arm and athletic moves to handle roll-outs and play action. It is looking like there will be quite a few options in the first few rounds and a trade for Luck, especially if they end up with a top ten pick, is not out of the question. 2012 Draft Pick - Robert Griffin III, QB Baylor Griffin has progressed well down in Waco, TX and his skill set will catch the eye of decision makers in D.C.