<
>

NFC West in search of O-Line, WR help

Stats & Information gets you ready for the NFL Draft at the end of the month with a look at the biggest need for each team. Today, we take a look at the NFC West.

Arizona Cardinals

Needs: Offensive line, wide receiver

The Cardinals used only five different offensive line combinations last season, yet allowed a league-high 32 sacks facing four or fewer pass rushers.

Cardinals Receivers, 2011 Season
On Throws of 15+ Air Yards

Larry Fitzgerald had 28 catches on throws traveling at least 15 air yards, while no other Cardinal receiver had more than six.

Kiper’s 1st-Round Prediction: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

McShay’s 1st-Round Prediction: Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina

St. Louis Rams

Needs: Offensive line, defensive tackle, defensive back, quarterback, wide receiver

The St. Louis Rams need to fill multiple positions under first-year head coach Jeff Fisher.

The Rams’ most used offensive line unit played 26 percent of plays together last season (29th in the NFL), and no team allowed more than the Rams’ 55 sacks.

Staying on the line, but this time defensively, the Rams allowed a league-worst 5.7 yards per rush and 3.2 yards before contact up the middle last season. In the backfield, St. Louis cornerbacks only intercepted one pass on throws outside the numbers in 2011.

Rams’ receivers combined for only 39 receptions on throws traveling at least 15 yards downfield last season (27th in NFL), and Brandon Lloyd (who signed a free agent deal with the New England Patriots) led the team with 13.

Getting those receivers the ball is quarterback Sam Bradford, who is the only player to finish in the bottom five in Total QBR rankings each of the last two seasons.

Kiper’s 1st-Round Prediction: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St.

McShay’s 1st-Round Prediction: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Seattle Seahawks

Needs: Tight end, defensive line

The Seahawks had 12 of their 33 sacks last season with four or fewer pass rushers, despite sending such pressure 70 percent of the time.

Seahawks, 2011 Season
Sending 4 or Fewer Pass Rushers

Chris Clemons led the team with 6.5 sacks when Seattle sent four or fewer rushers, but no other defensive lineman contributed more than one.

Seahawks’ tight ends accumulated 453 receiving yards, fourth-fewest in the league, including only six receptions on throws at least 15 yards downfield.

Kiper’s 1st-Round Prediction: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

McShay’s 1st-Round Prediction: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

San Francisco 49ers

Needs: Wide receiver, running back

The 49ers added Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, but lost Josh Morgan to free agency.

Alex Smith Passing, 2011 Season
15+ Air Yards by Target

Vernon Davis caught 60 percent of his targets on throws traveling at least 15 air yards, but other San Francisco receivers hauled in 41 percent of their targets and accounted for just half of Alex Smith's touchdowns on throws of that distance.

The 49ers were one of eight teams without a receiving touchdown by a running back last season, and led the league in drops despite having the second-fewest targets.

Kiper’s 1st-Round Prediction: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech

McShay’s 1st-Round Prediction: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech