Monday, April 22, 2013
What numbers say about 2013 draft needs
By Mike Sando
The term "draft needs" usually carries a qualitative component. Teams with weak offensive lines obviously have needs at the position, for example.
Sometimes it's helpful to consider quantitative elements as well.
For example, the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams each have only five wide receivers on their rosters at present. They might take twice as many wideouts to training camp. So, even though wide receiver is a bigger need for the Rams than for the Cardinals based on talent, both teams need numbers at the position.
Arizona, though set at wide receiver near the top of the depth chart, could probably use a vertical threat for coach Bruce Arians' offense. The Rams also need numbers at cornerback, where Cortland Finnegan, Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson are the only players under contract.
The Rams have eight picks in the draft. That includes two first-round choices. Moving back from one of those first-round spots could make sense for St. Louis. Adding picks would help the team fill out its roster with young players. The team had only 52 players on its roster entering this week, 18 fewer players than Seattle has under contract.
The chart breaks down roster counts by position for NFC West teams heading into draft week. The numbers at defensive line and linebacker vary based on whether teams run 3-4 or 4-3 defenses in their base alignments. Combining those positions into a single "front seven" total can sometimes help make cleaner comparisons.