As the NFL turns the page on another season, attention now turns to the 2010 season as teams around the league prepare to improve their rosters in the off-season. With that in mind, Gary Horton of ESPN's Scouts Inc. provided a snapshot of the areas that every team in the NFL most needs to improve before next season.
In his overview of the Eagles roster, Horton listed the team's three biggest needs as safety, defensive end and outside linebacker, in that order.
At safety, the Eagles relied on rookie Macho Harris and veteran Sean Jones in 2009. Horton believes the team needs better production alongside Quintin Mikell, writing, "The Eagles have never replaced the production and leadership of Brian Dawkins (now in Denver) and in this defense safeties have a lot of responsibilities. This secondary gave up 27 touchdown passes in 2009 and made very few impact plays in the middle of the field."
At defensive end, the Eagles already have a Pro Bowler at right end in Trent Cole, but they could use more consistency on the opposite side to free Cole up from double teams. Juqua Parker did a commendable job in 2009, notching 8.5 sacks, but the Eagles' defense can always use more pressure. Horton wrote, "The Eagles need an everyday LDE who can play on all three downs and give them an outside rush to go along with Cole."
Then, Horton focused on outside linebacker. The Eagles had a variety of players play outside linebacker in 2009, thanks in large part to the injuries across the unit. Will Witherspoon, who was imported from St. Louis, Akeem Jordan Tracy White and Omar Gaither all saw time on the weak side, while Chris Gocong and Moise Fokou shared time at the strong side.
"Starters Will Witherspoon (short-term veteran fix) and Moise Fokou (OK versus pass, but better run defender) played late in 2009, but neither is a difference-maker and there is a real need here for a young athletic guy who can rush, cover and create more big plays," wrote Horton.
In addition to the three aforementioned positions, Horton believes the other areas of need for the Eagles are running back, middle linebacker, cornerback and offensive tackle/guard.
Elsewhere in the NFC East, according to Horton, the Cowboys' three biggest needs are offensive tackle, safety and wide receiver. The Cowboys' two starting tackles (Flozell Adams and Marc Colombo) are both over 31-years-old, and the Cowboys' season ended with quarterback Tony Romo getting sacked six times by the Vikings defense.
The New York Giants will have to upgrade a lot on defense after their 8-8 2009 season. Horton pegs the Giants' three biggest needs as safety, where Kenny Phillips missed most of the season because of injury, inside linebacker and defensive tackle.
Finally, new Washington Redskins' coach Mike Shanahan's biggest holes to fill will be offensive tackle, quarterback and running back, according to Horton. The Redskins own the rights to the fourth overall pick in the upcoming draft, and they are believed to be focusing on either a tackle or quarterback at that spot.
To read Horton's rundown of the three biggest needs for every team in the league, click here.
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 12:28 p.m., February 10