Pat Kirwan breaks down each team's positional needs, listed in order of importance, entering the draft.
Defensive end:Calais Campbell is a rising player who can be an end in 4-3 or 3-4 defensive alignments, but Bertrand Berry and Travis LaBoy have missed extensive time because of injury in recent seasons. The Cardinals need another young player who can be a two-way end but has a knack for rushing the passer.
Running back: Edgerrin James is expected to be released, and J.J. Arrington signed a free-agent deal with the Denver Broncos, leaving Tim Hightower as the only starting-caliber running back on the Cardinals' roster. The team signed Jason Wright to provide depth and special-teams play, but it needs an inside-outside runner who also can serve as a receiver out of the backfield.
Outside linebacker: Strong-side linebackers Chike Okeafor (33) and Clark Haggans (32) are aging veterans who don't provide the consistent pass-rush pressure the Cardinals need from their hybrid scheme. Expect the team to find a young, aggressive pass rusher to fill another need.
Left tackle: Mike Gandy played way above his head in 2008, and that's a tribute to Russ Grimm and the Cardinals' coaching staff. But given Gandy's history, the team can't expect that level of play to continue and should look for a new starter.
Draft choices: Nos. 31, 63, 95, 131, 167, 204, 240, 254
San Francisco 49ers
Quarterback:Shaun Hill and Alex Smith can battle all they want in training camp. Neither of them should be the starter for this team. Though the 49ers haven't shown any public interest in Denver Broncos QB Jay Cutler, they did host then-free agent Kurt Warner, which tells us that they are looking for an upgrade. Could USC's Mark Sanchez or Kansas State's Josh Freeman be in the 49ers' future?
Right tackle: The release of Jonas Jennings left a big hole on the right side of the offensive line, which the 49ers filled by signing former Pittsburgh Steelers starter Marvel Smith to a two-year deal. Smith is 30 and coming off recovery from a back injury, so the 49ers should be in the market for an elite tackle prospect early in the draft.
Safety: Free safety Mark Roman has been told he is no longer in the team's plans, and Michael Lewis is only an adequate starter at strong safety. Though there aren't a lot of top flight safeties in this draft, the 49ers still will look to upgrade.
Running back: Word out of San Francisco is that the team is looking to move more toward a two-back system. Frank Gore is tough inside the tackles, but his speed in the open field as a runner and a receiver is his greatest strength. The 49ers would like to limit the beating Gore takes week in and week out, so look for the team to draft a bigger back who can handle some of the heavy lifting.
Guard: The 49ers are thin on the inside of the offensive line. They would like to find an interior swingman who can play the right and left sides.
Draft choices: Nos. 10, 43, 74, 111, 146, 171, 184, 219, 244
Left tackle: Walter Jones is 35 years old and coming off microfracture surgery. He's still one of the best in the game, but he's beginning to show some signs of decline, and the Seahawks' next cornerstone tackle isn't currently on their roster.
Quarterback:Matt Hasselbeck is 10 years into his career and has taken a beating in recent seasons. Seneca Wallace is athletic but has shown a limited ability to carry the team when asked to step into a starting role. If the Lions don't take Matthew Stafford, the Seahawks would be hard-pressed to pass on him at No. 4.
Free safety: Free safety Brian Russell is 31, and strong safety Deon Grant is 30, so the Seahawks need to get younger at those two spots. They also need players who will be more of a physical presence across the middle.
Guard: Mike Wahle and Rob Sims are adequate starters who could be upgraded, and there is very little depth behind them.
Running back: Julius Jones is expected to carry the load, with T.J. Duckett handling the short-yardage and goal-line situations. However, Jones has yet to prove that he's an every-down back. If the Seahawks are going to focus on the run more under new coach Jim Mora, they need a back who has the speed to gain the edge and can line up as a receiver.
Draft choices: Nos. 4, 37, 68, 105, 178, 213, 245, 247, 248
St. Louis Rams
Left tackle:Alex Barron has been moved to the left side while the Rams figure out how to replace seven-time Pro Bowl selection Orlando Pace, whom they released to save salary-cap space. Barron is more ideally suited to play the right side, where he can focus more on his strengths as a run blocker. With two of the first 35 picks, St. Louis should take a shot at one of the talented left tackles in this draft.
Quarterback: Marc Bulger has taken a beating in recent years, and entering the season with Brock Berlin as the backup would seem irresponsible of the Rams. Certainly, they could look for their next franchise signal-caller in the draft, but they also might need to add a veteran in free agency.
Defensive tackle: Spagnuolo has said his team needs to get bigger up front, particularly on the interior, where Adam Carriker is listed at 308 pounds. Look for a run stuffer who can protect the linebackers in the middle and let them run to the ball.
Running back: Jackson has been dinged up in recent seasons, and for the run game to be the backbone of the Rams' new offense, they need to make sure a solid No. 2 running back is in place.
Cornerback: Former first-round draft pick Tye Hill is an adequate starter, and the Rams think highly enough of Ron Bartell to have re-signed him to a four-year, $28 million contract this offseason. But in a division that features the Arizona Cardinals' spread offense, teams better have a strong nickel package. The Rams don't.
Draft choices: Nos. 2, 35, 66, 103, 138, 176, 211