Paragraph breaks added by Richard.
Well, I have seen a few lists of team needs for the upcoming 2011 draft. I saw where the team needs for SD were LB, DE and WR. I am a little surprised that nobody mentioned DB or OG. I really feel that in order, our needs are: LB, OG, S/DB, and TE.
I was really disappointed a few years ago when we passed on Rey Maualuga for Larry English. I felt then that we needed to get younger at LB. English hasn't developed for his draft position and our LB corps has gotten old and unathletic. A pass rushing OLB like Clay Matthews or Brian Cushing would be nice. We really need an impact player on D.
Now that we seem to have 3 complementary RB with Sproles, Mathews and Tolbert, we need to really get a mauler at OG. Someone with a physical nasty streak to open up lanes between the tackles. The run game has to be better and more consistent to help Rivers and the passing game. Look at what LT did in NY? Why didn't he do that here the last 2 years? The O LINE was the difference. The pass blocking was OK but Rivers was still under siege a little to much, probably because he had to throw more. The run game was not consistent, and not physical enough at the point of attack.
The third point of need is DB/S. Weddle is excellent, but SS has been a revolving door the last few years and needs an athletic multipurpose presence. We don't need Polamalu but a Kenny Phillips type would be great. More athleticism from the position would create more defensive blitz and coverage packages,without compromising the run defense. Another top corner would also help, but can wait 1 more year before really being an issue especially if SS is addressed. Cason is emerging, but Jammer, while still good, is slowing down and cannot cover at an elite level anymore.
The last area that I haven't seen brought up is TE. Gates is still elite, but is having a harder time staying on the field for 16 games. His backups proved to be to old and unathletic to fit into our offensive schemes of stretching the interior of the field. I would love to see the addition of a young pass catching TE in the Martellus Bennett, Rob Gronkowski mold. Someone who can stretch the field and exploit the matchups on D, while still being effective as a blocker. 2 TE sets could become a nightmare for a defense to defend. If we add that mauler at OG, the run game out of that formation would have to be respected with base/heavy personnel. A nightmare. Also WHEN Gates goes down for at least 4 games next year we can plug in a TE without losing the ability to run the same offensive schemes.
Getting younger and more athletic at LB,TE, and DB would also help the Special Teams units from being another disgrace, and forcing starters to play on them. That unit cost us 3 games last year (KC,Sea, and Oak).
This is all just speculation pending the FA period (Asomugha available). I haven't mentioned WR with the blind faith that AJ will franchise Jackson and negotiate a long term deal. If that happens then the WR corps is in great shape with Floyd and the return of Crayton (who really came on after getting accustomed to the O). It will be helped with the previously mentioned TE addition.
I feel that with Rivers having 5 more years in his prime, we need to take our shot. The division is not particularly strong, and should yield AT LEAST 10 wins a season. This team is VERY close. The right tweak on both sides of the ball could get us a top 2 seed in the AFC. To accomplish this it is imperative to not start 2-5 AGAIN. It would be refreshing to be 6-2 at midseason so the team doesn't have to play unblemished from week 9 on just to have a playoff chance.This is on Norv. He will not survive another non playoff year, nor should he.
I just hope that AJ addresses these needs and not get to cute with the pick (See Larry English). At least we are not in an obvious desperation for any 1position like last year when we got bent over for Mathews. It is really time to strengthen the core of the team, not the flash. Lets go BOLTS.