One of my favorite things to do, going into the offseason, is to look at the players on the roster that will, or at least should, be back with the team, and try to figure out how many spots need to be filled and where there is need. Here is how I see the roster shaking out as we approach Free Agency and the Draft:
Offense: I believe we have 20 players that will be back. The usually need is 25.
QBs: Smith, Hill, and Davis will return. No immediate need.
RBs: Gore, Coffee, Robinson, and Norris return. I see One spot available.
WRs: Crabtree, Morgan, Hill, and Jones return. I see One spot available.
TEs: Davis and Walker return. One spot may be available, if not J.J. Finley.
OLs: Staley, Baas, Heitmann, Rachal, Snyder, Pashos, and Wallace return. I think we get younger by parting ways with Sims and retaining Pashos. If Wallace can prove that he can handle the three interior spots then Wragge becomes expendable. I see
Two spots available.
Hopefully we find a guy for the extra WR and RB spots that can return kicks and punts.
Defense: I believe we have 21 players return and a need for 25.
DLs: Sopoaga, Franklin, Smith, Balmer, Evans, McDonald, and Jean-Francois. No Immediate need.
LBs: Haralson, Willis, Spikes, Lawson, Brooks, Mckillop, and Briggs return. I see One - Two Spots available.
DBs: Clements, Spencer, Brown, Bly, Goldson, Lewis, and Smith return. I see Two - Three spots available.
I anticipate Briggs taking a developmental step this offseason lessening the need for a first day pass rusher. We need to add a t least one middle linebacker at some point. Bly's resigning is a must in my mind. I left Hudson off, but he will probably be brought back to compete, I just don't see him as a roster lock.
So, OL and DB should be the first two to three round priorities. If a WR or RB with return capabilities falls to us early, and it would be a good value, we should jump on him, but it can probably wait until the fourth or beyond. I would love it if the first two rounds went this way:
#13: Best OT available: Bulaga or Williams possibly.
#16/17: Best DB available. It would be nice to get a safety, but CB is also a need.
2nd Rounder: Best OG available. I, as are many on here, am enamored with Lupati in the first, but only if we are sure he can move to OT. Baas and Rachal are serviceable or better OGs; Snyder should never start at OT again.
After that we can look for our returner, add DB depth, find a solid tackling MLB, and look for good value at WR and RB since those last two positions aren't an immediate need. That's just how I see it right now.