Posted: Tuesday April 19, 2005 4:12PM; Updated: Tuesday April 19, 2005 4:46PM
NFC West Draft Needs
Running back, cornerback, defensive tackle
The Cardinals have options in their quest to find a No. 1 rusher capable of carrying 25 times a game, but whether it's by trade or by drafting, they need to come out of this weekend with a replacement for the retired Emmitt Smith. If Arizona fills the backfield vacancy via acquiring Travis Henry or some other veteran runner, replacing the departed Duane Starks at cornerback becomes the top priority. The Cardinals' need would correspond nicely with a cornerback-rich draft. Arizona would also like to find a block-eating defensive tackle in the middle rounds, which would give its young, athletic linebackers more room to work.
St. Louis Rams
Right offensive tackle, guard, safety
This is a recording: The Rams offensive line needs a right tackle. The Rams offensive line needs a right tackle. The Rams ... you get the picture. With the position being problematic the past three years, look for St. Louis to take the lay-up if it gets one and select Oklahoma's Jammal Brown with the No. 19 pick. Guard won't get any first-round love, but with Scott Tercero currently penciled in as the starter on the left side, the Rams need at least one contender for the job. At safety, St. Louis would like to find someone who fits well with Adam Archuleta, who can play either spot.
San Francisco 49ers
Quarterback, safety, receiver
We don't think we're going out on a limb here by saying the 49ers are in the market for a franchise quarterback with the No. 1 pick. They currently have a collection of seventh-round choices at the position -- Tim Rattay, Ken Dorsey and Cody Pickett -- and it's time to spend the big money on a fresh arm and hope you've landed the next Joe Montana or Steve Young. But once that little drama plays itself out, the 49ers still need a speedy safety at the top of the second round, and they need to get lucky and land another quality receiver somewhere after that.
Linebacker, defensive line, cornerback
The Seahawks were crippled at linebacker last year and want to stock up so they're never caught short again. But there aren't many LBs to choose from in the first round, so look for Seattle to address its defensive-line needs early on, which center on the left end position vacated by Chike Okeafor. Cornerback Kelly Herndon was signed during free agency, but he may not be able to replace the departed Ken Lucas all by himself, so it behooves Seattle to find another potential starting option. Rounds three and four should be good for adding the linebacking depth Seattle could have used in 2004.