Just a few weeks remain in the 2013 NFL season, and even though teams that are still in playoff contention have business to take care of, it’s not too early to look ahead at the coming offseason. With the college bowl games starting up team scouts are already working toward addressing needs for the 2014 season. Even playoff teams have weaknesses that will need to be filled, and here’s a look at where the teams of the NFC might look to improve in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Dallas Cowboys: The biggest need in Dallas might be on the coaching staff, but on the field, safety is a position in need of an upgrade. The Cowboys are last in the league against the pass, and they’d love to see HaHa Clinton-Dix drop to them. Deone Buchanan could be a second round option.
New York Giants: The Giants could go a number of ways in the draft. Linebacker might be the biggest need, as they want a strong front seven. If Khalil Mack falls that far, they’ll take him. Ryan Shazier could be another option.
Philadelphia Eagles: If the Eagles don’t select a cornerback early, there will be a lot of surprised fans. They have had secondary issues all season and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu or Jason Verrett would be a great addition for them.
Washington Redskins: Having lost their first round pick in the trade for Robert Griffin III, they won’t pick until round two. They’ll want to improve the defense, which has been terrible this season. The secondary was particularly weak, and a cornerback/safety like Lamarcus Joyner could be a target.
Chicago Bears: Great defense has always been a calling card for the Bears, but they rank dead last against the run in 2013. It starts up front with beefing up the defensive tackle spot. Louis Nix or RaShede Hageman could be immediate help.
Detroit Lions: As has become usual for the Lions, the secondary is a problem. In a good class for cornerbacks, Jason Verrett early or Kyle Fuller in the second round would be good selections and could move the secondary toward respectability.
Green Bay Packers: Like many teams, in the current pass-happy NFL, the Packers need to strengthen their secondary, especially at safety. HaHa Clinton-Dix is the player fans covet most, but Craig Loston or Tre Boston could be taken later.
Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings need a quarterback. Where they pick might determine whether they take one in the first round or not. Ideally Derek Carr or Blake Bortles falls to them. If not, they may see if Brett Hundley is available in the second round.
Atlanta Falcons: A pass rusher is needed by the Falcons in the 2014 draft. They are likely picking inside the top five, and if Jadeveon Clowney is there, he’s almost certainly the pick. Anthony Barr could be the guy if they miss out on Clowney.
Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton is coming into his own as an NFL quarterback. Now he needs targets, and the Panthers are probably looking to add a receiver early on. Davante Adams, Kelvin Benjamin, and Jordan Matthews would all help make the offense more potent.
New Orleans Saints: The Saints remain one of the best offenses in the NFL. However, on defense, they would love to get better. After switching to the 3-4 this season, adding more linebacker help is important. A rush linebacker like Vic Beasley or Jeremiah Attaochu would be nice selections.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buccaneers have some talent on the roster, but must decide if Mike Glennon is their guy. They need to give him some playmakers on the outside to go with Vincent Jackson. They could use a second round pick on Allen Robinson or Odell Beckham.
Arizona Cardinals: Protecting the quarterback continues to be a need for the Cardinals. It’s a deep tackle class and Cedric Ogbuehi or Cyrus Kouandjio would help solidify the offensive line.
St Louis Rams: The Rams have two first round picks and should use at least one of them to improve the offensive line. Jake Matthews is the best tackle in the draft, and will probably be there for them with their first pick. They could add Greg Robinson, if he declares, with their other first rounder.
San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers are one of the league’s best teams, but could be better with some help at wide receiver. A playmaker like Davante Adams or Marqise Lee would be ideal to give Colin Kaepernick more weapons.
Seattle Seahawks: Like the 49ers, the Seahawks are already a great team. However, adding some beef along the offensive line could only help. Among the guards likely to be available are Cyril Richardson and Zach Martin.