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Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Ranking the needs: Defensive line

By Pat Yasinskas

We continue our pre-draft rankings of position-group needs with the defensive line.

Remember, the earlier the ranking, the greater the need.

Carolina Panthers: They’re in good shape with Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson as the starting defensive ends and Dwan Edwards as one of the defensive tackles. But the Panthers could use another starting defensive tackle. Plus, Edwards’ age makes it even more imperative that the Panthers address the middle of the defensive line.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: As it stands right now, either Derek Landri or Gary Gibson would start next to Gerald McCoy at defensive tackle. The Bucs might want an upgrade at that spot. Tampa Bay also could use a little more depth at defensive end.

Atlanta Falcons: Osi Umenyiora was brought in to replace John Abraham. But the Falcons still might want to add another pass-rusher to complement Umenyiora. For too long Atlanta has relied too much on only one strong pass-rusher. The Falcons also could use some depth at defensive tackle after Vance Walker departed through free agency.

New Orleans Saints: Don’t be fooled by the ranking. The Saints don’t have a great defensive line. But ends Will Smith and Cameron Jordan and Brodrick Bunkley could fit nicely in the new 3-4 scheme. The Saints are likely to look for linebackers to rush from the edge. The Saints could use someone to rotate with Bunkley.