- Neil Hornsby, NFL
The Carolina Panthers went into the 2013 NFL draft with one glaring need. It was a weakness on defense that dated back to the 2009 season, when Ma'ake Kemoeatu tore his Achilles tendon during training camp. Since that time, we at Pro Football Focus had not graded a single Panthers defensive tackle as anything other than below average or (far more usually) poor. Kemoeatu's 2008 season was the last positively graded year, and the days of him teaming with Kris Jenkins to form an impenetrable inner wall were a long distant memory.
Panthers GM Dave Gettleman and his scouts rectified that in one draft, taking interior defenders with their first two selections. Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short had excellent rookie seasons, turning a severe vulnerability into a significant strength, helping to guide the team to its first division title since, you guessed it, 2008.
Heading into the 2014 draft, which teams have similar positional frailties and could stand a little drafting for need? All of the following could do worse than using a high pick (or two) on certain positions:
Need: Edge rushers
Neil Hornsby identifies five NFL teams that could each fuel a 2014 playoff run by addressing one specific need in the NFL draft.