- Gary Horton, Scouts Inc.
In early February, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper released his team needs by conference, first the NFC version and then the AFC version. With the 2009-10 season in the books -- congrats, New Orleans Saints -- Gary Horton of Scouts Inc. is doing the same. Although Kiper's articles focus on college players who may be good fits in Rounds 1-3 of the 2010 NFL draft, Horton focuses on the three key needs for each squad. This is the AFC version. To access the NFC version, click below. Keep checking back throughout the busy offseason and NFL draft season for more information from a variety of Insider voices on team needs, draft buzz and more.
AFC | NFC
1. Outside linebacker: This team was gashed by good run games all season, and its outside linebackers produced only one sack in 2009. Normal starters Kawika Mitchell and Keith Ellison are coming off season-ending injuries. Who's the impact guy upfield, especially if the Bills switch to a 3-4 front?
2. Left tackle: This front five was a disaster and allowed a league-high 46 sacks in 2009. The Bills never replaced Pro Bowler Jason Peters at left tackle after trading him to the Philadelphia Eagles, and poor play combined with numerous injuries made them very susceptible off the edge. The Bills' line may be the worst offensive unit in the NFL.
3. Quarterback: Trent Edwards' career may be over in Buffalo, and Ryan Fitzpatrick does not scare any defense. That leaves Brian Brohm, but nobody thinks he is a starter. However, because the Bills have so many other needs, they may try to live with this trio for one more season.
Other needs: WR, TE, NT (if they switch to a 3-4 defensive scheme)
You can think of this as the ultimate primer for the NFL offseason, or at least the AFC offseason: Gary Horton of Scouts Inc. breaks down all the squads in the AFC and tells you their top three needs to address, be it via the draft or free agency.