NFC West: D-linemen, anyone?

Cris Carter
Yahoo! Sports

Cris Carter's draft analysis:
Overview | AFC: East - North - South - West | NFC: East - North - South - West

Craig James' draft analysis:
Overview - QBs - WRs - More offense - Defense

Editor's note: As part of Yahoo! Sports' coverage of the NFL draft, Cris Carter will break down the needs of each NFL team leading up to draft day.

St. Louis Rams
It seems like half the teams in the NFL need help on the defensive line. Any kids out there who are reading this and dream of playing in the NFL, go out, get big and become a defensive lineman, and maybe you'll make a lot of money playing on Sundays.

There's a definite shortage of quality defensive linemen, and the Rams lost a good one, Grant Wistrom, to a division rival (Seattle). That's a big hole for them to fill. If a great defensive lineman is around at No. 26, maybe Jason Babin of Western Michigan, they could draft him. Babin is the Mid-American Conference's all-time career sack leader.

Later, they need to get a backup for Marshall Faulk. It's been a long time since he had a complete season without any injuries, and it's time to find somebody who can spell Faulk and keep him fresh throughout the season.

They might address the defensive backfield on the second day, but the more pressing needs are on the D-line and in the offensive backfield.

Seattle Seahawks
With Chad Eaton, John Randle and Norman Hand no longer around, Seattle has huge holes on the defensive line. The Seahawks have no experience at defensive tackle. Will they find a player they fall in love with at No. 23?

Do the Seahawks draft a Donnell Washington out of Clemson if he's available, or if a higher-rated linebacker (say Jonathan Vilma) slips to No. 23, do they pick him instead? They might just have to draft a defensive tackle based on need.

I don't expect Seattle to address the offense much. The Seahawks have a lot of confidence in Darrell Jackson and Koren Robinson, and despite a lot of drops last season the Seahawks are happy with their receiving corps.

San Francisco 49ers
The Niners pick 16th, and for the first time in a long time, they are looking at beginning the season without an elite receiver. This is a good draft to find one, but they are in a tough position.

If Reggie Williams were around, he would seem to fit the bill. He's a West Coast guy, and he's big like Terrell Owens, even if he lacks great speed.

San Francisco also needs cornerbacks. The 49ers have four games per season against Seattle and St. Louis – they need a better pass defense to handle those.

Bryant Young isn't getting any younger on the defensive line, and the 49ers need a backup quarterback, too.

Arizona Cardinals
As usual, the Cardinals will be one of the first teams to make a selection in this year's draft. This year, Arizona is at No. 3, and with Dennis Green in charge, expect the Cardinals to select the best athlete available. No drafting by need – at least not right away.

Green has known Larry Fitzgerald since he was 12. Even though the Cards have a nice young group of wide receivers, including last year's top rookie Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgeralds don't come out every year. Throw Fitzgerald in Green's receiver-friendly system, and I wouldn't be surprised if he caught 80 to 90 balls opposite Boldin.

Of course, Arizona has a lot of pressing needs. The Cardinals drafted defensive tackle Wendell Bryant last season, but they need someone to push him. Bryant hasn't lived up to his potential yet, and he hasn't worked hard enough to get better.

You might think the Cardinals are looking to upgrade at quarterback, but Green told me he's happy with Josh McCown. He thinks McCown is a great athlete who will become more accurate in Green's system. Brad Johnson, Jeff George, Randall Cunningham all put up some great numbers when people thought they wouldn't do much, and Green thinks McCown has the chance to follow in their footsteps.

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