Team needs updated. Let's see if some of these answers start to reveal themselves tonight:
Current Interests/Needs (in order of importance IMHO) - Rationale
: This is what I had after the FA signings and coming into the draft and this is where we are at after PreSeason Game 2. These were my priorities in order of importance (check post #1 for more details):
Top Tier T
- We needed a "swing T" so we got three: Carter Bykowski, Luke Marquardt (PUP) and we brought back Adam Snyder. That said, Marquardt is hurt, Bykowski is weak and NOBODY wants Snyder to be the backside blocker for CK. Worse off, if there is another injury to Staley, we may have to mess with the chemistry along the entire OL and move Boone from G to T (not easy on the fly) and insert someone else at RG (2 of 5 positions); that would be Looney or Kilgore. This is NOT good.
Top Tier Cover SS
- It's safe to say the FO got their man in Reid. Dahl seems like a viable backup at both SS/FS and will also help on ST. That said, Whitner still can't cover in the RZ (esp.) so scheme will have to be the theme for 2013 here. Spillman? Robinson, like Dahl and Whitner are short and don't add much. We shouldn't have to rely solel on the pass rush esp. in the RZ where passes are typically less than a 3-step drop and right down the middle of the field.
Top Kickoff Coverage Unit/Ace Kick-Punt Returner
- Once again, despite speedsters in Morris, Moore, Osgood, Lockette, Dixon, etc. getting there early, not always do they make the tackle and as a result, we continue to get torched for huge plays, even in pre season. Lockette, our #1 gunner is now gone and neither Morris or Osgood are expected to make it. If Moore makes it as the #2 or #3 he won't be playing gunner on ST anymore. This is an ignored area of concern and it cost us in the Superbowl and is still affecting us greatly in pre season. Cox has looked way better than James but nobody would classify him as "dynamic/electric" and nobody fears him taking it to the house every time he touches the ball (like do against every team we face, it seems). While some teams have 2 dynamic returners, we can't seem to find one.
Top Tier TE
- HaRoman got HIS man in Vance McDonald. Team also brought in MarQueis Gray as a project as well. I originally had VD, McDonald and Gray (H-back) making the team with Celek getting cut. We are on par with that but Celek is not a poor player and we could end up keeping 4 TE's at the expense of the WR group (keeping 5 instead of 6). Let's be real here; the 2-TE sets are going to be dominant this year and expect many looks for these TE's from the Q-formation, slot position and even split out wide as a WR. As a result, that #5 and/or #6 WR won't see the field much as all.
Top or Second Tier DE
- Tomsula had Christmas with getting Cornellius Carradine, Quinton Dial and a major project in Lawrence Okoye. That said, Tank and Dial will most likely be red-shirted this year (PUP) and Okoye still has a long ways to go still and thus far, has gotten limited snaps. Fortunately, Dobbs continues to impress and Dorsey can play DE and NT behind Ian Williams. McDonald and Smith are 100% healthy.
Top or Second Tier CB
- Only picking up Marcus Cooper screams to me, "SCHEME is the THEME for 2013!" Look for bigger, stronger, taller more physical starting CB's this year to play press more and perhaps, all across the DB lineup. Look for our shiftier CB's (esp. Brown) to move into the slot to cover the micro-talented WR's of Harvin (done) and Austin. Darryl Morris has a real shot here! Cooper seems to play very disciplined in the games (smart, mature) and Morris has made some big splashes in practices and has epic speed and great coverage on deep balls. Rogers is still OK (still loses battles) but Nnamdi and Cox have both looked tremendous and Brock has looked good as well. Obviously, the pass rush has allowed them to play with the WR's in front of them and plays much more aggressively.
Top or Second Tier NT
- Well, let's be real here, passing up every single NT in the draft tells me, "SCHEME is the new THEME in 2013!" Look for many more 4-man DL and inside and outside pass rushers. Boy, hasn't THIS become true thus far. Even Okoye has lined up outside DE and inside DT. And with Lemonier, Haralson back to form and new-comer, Skuta, we're golden at OLB. My underrated dark horse thus far is Lamar Divens who has played very well and appears to be the only true 2-gap NT we have. His wide-body could really help in short yardage, goal line situations and against some of the power running teams we'll face this year. Ian thus far, has been tremendous and appears to be a lock for the starting role over Dorsey!
Second Tier WR
- Seriously? AJ is finally history and we wish him well...sort of. Crabtree's injury hurts a lot but thankfully we have an evenr more productive veteran in Boldin to ease that loss. Do not expect Crabtree back at all this year. That said, we can expect Manningham back after week 6 which is why we will probably only start the year with 5 or 6 WR's: X = Marlon Moore/Jon Baldwin --- Y = Kyle Williams/Chad Hall --- Z = Anquan Boldin/Quinton Patton
Second Tier C
- Patrick Omameh and Sherman Carter were added to compete with our red-shirted Looney and Kilgore (but both stink). Do we have a potential cut of Goodwin here? If not he'll most likely have to restructure but make no mistake about it he's in a dog fight to start now with Kilgore playing very well. So far, Kilgore seems to be the man here with Goodwin just now coming back and Looney working at G and backup C.
Second Tier FB
- We have nobody behind our pro bowler Bruce Miller. Dixon may make the team as the short yardage back and backup FB but he's a pretty poor blocker and blows many pass protection assignments. We probably need a pure FB here; someone like Jason Schepler (if he can excel on ST coverage units as well).
Any other concerns fans? Adjustments in this list?
[ Edited by NCommand on Aug 25, 2013 at 8:15 AM ]