Horton: NFC North offseason needs
Breaking down the top six areas to address for every squad
Amid the NFL labor situation, with no free agency yet, one thing is certain: There will be an NFL draft starting Thursday. With that come mock drafts (from Mel Kiper and Todd McShay) and team needs that must be met. Gary Horton examines the top six needs for every team in the NFL. Here is the file for the NFC North.
1. Offensive tackle/guard: A lot of help up front is needed, especially on the left side. This offensive line gave up a league-high 56 sacks in 2010 and couldn't establish a consistent run game. Left tackle Frank Omiyale can get by in the run game, but his pass-protection skills are not good enough to protect Jay Cutler's blind side, and aging center Olin Kreutz eventually will need to be replaced.
2. Defensive tackle: Anthony Adams is a free agent, and Tommie Harris and his big contract are gone. There is no help and depth behind them, and in this Cover 2 defense, a physical three-technique defensive tackle who can hold up versus the run and penetrate is really important. The Bears need a starter here.
3. Wide receiver: This group improved in 2010 but consisted mostly of complementary players, and it would be nice to add a No. 1 guy to the mix. The Bears could use a physical wide receiver who could give them a third-down chain mover and help improve Cutler's 75.1 QB rating on third down. Too many times Cutler threw passes believing his guy could go get it, and that was rarely the case.
4. Outside linebacker: Brian Urlacher is set in the middle and Lance Briggs is solid at one outside spot, but the other LB spot is a problem area. Veteran Pisa Tinoisamoa can't stay healthy and is a free agent. There is no depth at the position, and for a defense that is so LB-oriented, a lot of help is needed.
To read more about the top six needs for every NFC North team, you must be an ESPN Insider.
MORE NFL HEADLINES
- Seahawks rout Cards behind big-play offense
- Romo-led Cowboys smack Colts, win NFC East
- Romo as MVP? Unquestionably, Cowboys say
- Newton: 'Classless' to cheer Manziel injury
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
SCOUTS INC. ON ESPN INSIDER
Scouts Inc. examines the philosophies and team needs of every NFL franchise before the NFL draft.
April 19: AFC East
April 20: AFC West
April 21: AFC North
April 22: AFC South
April 23: NFC South
April 24: NFC West
April 25: NFC East
April 26: NFC North