Needs and outlooks of the 32 teams heading into the NFL draft, which begins Thursday night:
- ARIZONA CARDINALS (8-8)
LAST SEASON: After 1-6 start, Arizona won seven of last nine thanks largely to improved defense that needed time to pick up new coordinator Ray Horton's system. QB Kevin Kolb, acquired with heavy investment by Cardinals, struggled to grasp coach Ken Whisenhunt's offense while battling turf toe, then what turned out to be season-ending concussion. Second-year QB John Skelton stepped in, made multitude of mistakes, but engineered several late comebacks and finished 5-2 as starter.
THEY NEED: OT, WR, OLB, DE.
THEY DON'T NEED: QB, RB, TE.
OUTLOOK: Cardinals believe strong 7-2 finish, led by defense that improved as year went on, creates optimism. Still unsettled, though, is quarterback situation. Whisenhunt says there will be open competition in training camp between Kolb and Skelton. Offensive line has been inconsistent, and that's putting it charitably. Arizona still is looking for reliable No. 2 WR behind Larry Fitzgerald. That could lead to selection of Floyd if he's around. Addressing OT spot seems better bet, though.
- DALLAS COWBOYS (8-8)
LAST SEASON: Cowboys lost four of last five games and missed playoffs in coach Jason Garrett's first full season. They lost at eventual Super Bowl champion Giants in regular-season finale for NFC East title and conference's last playoff spot. New defensive coordinator Rob Ryan installed scheme without benefit of offseason workouts. While Dallas gave up 347 points after allowing franchise-worst 436 before he got there, there were too many blown fourth-quarter leads.
THEY NEED: CB, S, DL, WR depth.
THEY DON'T NEED: QB, PK.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: A defensive player from Alabama.
OUTLOOK: Only campus pro day Garrett attended was at Alabama, which has several defenders likely to go in first round. Safety Mark Barron, Kirkpatrick or DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw would all fit into Dallas' needs, and all visited Valley Ranch after that pro day. Cowboys signed record seven free agents last month, including two likely starting OL, CB Brandon Carr and backup QB Kyle Orton. That will allow more flexibility in subsequent rounds after getting defender in first round.
- PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (8-8)
LAST SEASON: Failed miserably to live up to hype and enormous expectations. Strong finish couldn't make up for poor start and missed playoffs by one game. Michael Vick regressed after signing long-term deal and several big-name acquisitions struggled to play up to their contracts. Defense was awful and first-year coordinator Juan Castillo was heavily criticized after making switch from offensive side. Coach Andy Reid came under intense scrutiny and enters critical year.
THEY NEED: DL, S, LB, OL.
THEY DON'T NEED: WR, RB, K.
OUTLOOK: Eagles' biggest needs are defense where they struggled mightily last season. Addition of LB DeMeco Ryans is major upgrade, but they could use more help. They're set at skill positions, though Reid could be tempted to take Tannehill if he drops past No. 7. Vick didn't play up to 2010 season and Eagles could opt out of contract after this year, so it wouldn't be complete surprise if they selected potential successor.
- NEW YORK JETS (8-8)
LAST SEASON: Coming off two straight trips to AFC title game, coach Rex Ryan's bunch had even bigger plans, but season unraveled early, marked by locker room tension - particularly between Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes. Discord remained hot topic several weeks into offseason. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is gone after failing to get Sanchez to next level, replaced by former Dolphins coach Tony Sparano. Running game, behind shaky offensive line, never got going consistently after Jets first mistakenly focused on passing game. Despite Darrelle Revis having another impressive season and unit finishing fifth overall, Ryan's defense was far from dominant.
THEY NEED: S, LB, DE, WR, RB.
THEY DON'T NEED: QB, CB, C, LT.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Upshaw, Ingram, Floyd, Barron, Richardson.
OUTLOOK: Ryan and Jets enter draft with 10 picks after a total of 13 over past three years. But GM Mike Tannenbaum always likes to make noise on draft day, so he might wheel and deal to move up. While focus this offseason is on how quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and recently acquired Tim Tebow will coexist, Jets made a few key moves - signing safety LaRon Landry and wide receiver Chaz Schilens - but have to make several more. Upshaw or Ingram could take care of pass rusher they sorely need. Barron would be instant starter at safety, a position of weakness. Richardson would form formidable 1-2 punch with Shonn Greene. Floyd, like Richardson unlikely to still be on board at No. 16, would effectively replace Plaxico Burress.
17, 21. CINCINNATI BENGALS (9-8)
LAST SEASON: Rookie QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green helped Bengals turn favorable schedule into only their third winning record during coach Marvin Lewis' nine seasons. Lost to Houston in playoffs, leaving them 0-3 in postseason since 1990. Emergence of Dalton and Green gave them hope of better days ahead, but there's lots of work left to get to a level where they can be contender every season. Cincinnati hasn't made back-to-back playoff appearances since 1981-82 seasons.
THEY NEED: G, CB, WR, RB, S.
THEY DON'T NEED: QB, PK, P.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: DeCastro, Kirkpatrick, Gilmore.
OUTLOOK: Bengals need guard to shore up middle of line and help running game, which struggled on short-yardage downs. Also in market for cornerback with Leon Hall returning from torn Achilles tendon. CBs Nate Clements (age 32) and Terence Newman (33) are temporary fixes. Cincinnati has failed to address its biggest problem on offense in offseason: a receiver to complement Green, who made Pro Bowl as rookie. Slot receiver Jordan Shipley recovering from torn ACL, Andre Caldwell left as free agent, and Jerome Simpson is unrestricted free agent completing jail sentence on drug-related charge. They got 17th overall pick from Oakland as part of Carson Palmer trade.
- SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (8-8)
LAST SEASON: After missing playoffs for second straight season, team president Dean Spanos decided to keep coach Norv Turner and GM A.J. Smith, much to chagrin of many Chargers faithful tired of slide. Smith says he's not feeling pressure in draft, but recent picks haven't panned out. Lack of impact players on defense was particularly glaring last season, and four-time Pro Bowl left guard Kris Dielman retired due to effects of concussion.
THEY NEED: SS, OLB, NT, OL.
THEY DON'T NEED: QB, PK, P.
OUTLOOK: Chargers loaded up in free agency, particularly on offense and especially at wide receiver, where they lost Vincent Jackson before adding Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal. Still need impact players on defense, particularly pass rusher and strong safety. Smith has been living off fumes of the 2004-05 drafts, which yielded Philip Rivers and handful of picks. Smith was able to take K Nate Kaeding in the `04 draft and LB Shawne Merriman the next year, although Merriman later flamed out. But former first-round picks Antonio Cromartie and Craig Davis are gone, CB Antoine Cason has struggled, OLB Larry English hasn't lived up to his billing, RB Ryan Mathews went to Pro Bowl as an injury replacement and DE Corey Liuget had a quiet rookie season. Plus, QB they dealt for Rivers was Eli Manning.
- CHICAGO BEARS (8-8)
LAST SEASON: Coming off NFC championship game loss, Bears were 7-3. Then, everything unraveled. QB Jay Cutler broke his right thumb trying to make tackle following late interception against San Diego, and RB Matt Forte sprained right MCL in loss to Kansas City on Dec. 4. By then Bears were on five-game losing streak that ultimately cost GM Jerry Angelo his job. Bears also parted with offensive coordinator Mike Martz.
THEY NEED: DL, OL, LB, WR.
THEY DON'T NEED: QB, RB, PK, P, KR.
OUTLOOK: Bears have been busy bunch under new GM Phil Emery, addressing biggest need by acquiring Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall from Miami. Also signed RB Michael Bush to team with disgruntled Forte, added Jason Campbell to back up Cutler, brought in special teams star Eric Weems, and signed CBs Kelvin Hayden and Jonathan Wilhite for depth. Pro Bowl LB Lance Briggs got extension through 2014, but Forte hasn't signed $7.74 million franchise tag tender.
- TENNESSEE TITANS (9-7)
LAST SEASON: Mike Munchak showed knack for pulling team together quickly as new coach with no offseason because of lockout. He also persuaded veteran Matt Hasselbeck to sign, and QB made up for RB Chris Johnson having worst season as pro after signing big new contract. Titans lost WR Kenny Britt to knee injury in September. Defense wound up starting three rookies with a fourth playing heavily and ranked eighth in points allowed despite one of league's worst pass rushes.
THEY NEED: DE, S, CB, OL, WR.
THEY DON'T NEED: QB, PK, P.
OUTLOOK: Signing Kamerion Wimbley and planning to play him at end helps pass rush, but Titans need more help on defense after letting CB Cortland Finnegan leave and tagging S Michael Griffin as franchise player. They also visited with four veteran centers after signing G Steve Hutchison to help boost run game. With Britt coming off torn ACL, another receiver for either Hasselbeck or Jake Locker also is possibility.
- DETROIT LIONS (10-6)
LAST SEASON: Made playoffs for first time since 1999 season three years after being NFL's first 0-16 team. QB Matthew Stafford stayed healthy for first time in his third year and Calvin Johnson took advantage, becoming All-Pro with one of best seasons by receiver in league history. Defense fell apart late, failing to get pass rush or cover receivers and New Orleans exposed problems with NFL postseason-record 626 yards in wild-card win.
THEY NEED: CB, S, OL.
THEY DON'T NEED: QB, WR, DT.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Gilmore, Kirkpatrick.
OUTLOOK: After first 10-win season since 1995, Lions kept every player they wanted other than CB Eric Wright, who signed with Tampa Bay. To take another step, DT Ndamukong Suh needs to produce like he did two years ago as rookie and secondary must improve. It would also help to strike balance on offense with RB Jahvid Best and RB Mikel LeShoure coming off injury-shortened seasons.
- PITTSBURGH STEELERS (12-4)
LAST SEASON: Steelers made one last run with group that led franchise to three Super Bowl appearances in six seasons, only to be undone by Tim Tebow in wild-card loss to Broncos. Defense was first in league in yards allowed but last in takeaways and lacked nasty streak that defined unit for most of last decade. Offense became reliant on QB Ben Roethlisberger, who was exposed behind makeshift offensive line that had trouble protecting him. Late-season ankle injury to Roethlisberger likely cost Steelers division title and perhaps a much different postseason fate.
THEY NEED: WR, NT, RB, OT.
THEY DON'T NEED: QB, C, LB.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Still, Glenn, Brockers.
OUTLOOK: Roster overhaul already well under way. Veteran WR Hines Ward was released then retired, as did defensive linemen Aaron Smith and Chris Hoke, with LB James Farrior almost certain to follow. Future at nose tackle cloudy with veteran Casey Hampton rehabbing knee injury and youngster Steve McClendon largely unproven. Running game also needs depth with starter Rashard Mendenhall on shelf with torn ACL. Offensive line is also in need of bodies, though Willie Colon is expected to return at right tackle after missing all but one game with triceps injury, freeing up talented second-year man Marcus Gilbert to play left tackle.