What NFC teams need at NFL trade dead­line

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS -

The NFL trade dead­line never quite stirs up the in­ter­est seen at that time of year in other pro­fes­sional sports. “I never even know when the trade dead­line is. You’re never go­ing to see those block­buster trades like you would see in the NBA or base­ball. That’s just not the na­ture of foot­ball,” Washington Red­skins left tackle Trent Wil­liams said. Why’s that? “In the NFL, it’s al­most like a coach gets his guy, and that’s who he wants to grow and ma­ture . ... ‘I drafted this guy; I know what I drafted him for.’ Guys get brought in based on pure style, as op­posed to pure tal­ent, in some cases,” Wil­liams said. “That has a lot to do with why there are fewer trades in this sport.”

Even if moves are few and far be­tween, ev­ery NFL team — some more than oth­ers — could use some help ahead of Tuesday’s dead­line for mak­ing deals. So AP re­porters took on the role of gen­eral man­ager to of­fer thoughts on what each club’s most press­ing need is.

Here’s a look at the NFC:


DE — The Cow­boys will need pass rush­ers un­til sec­ond-round picks DeMar­cus Lawrence and Randy Gre­gory show the abil­ity to be cor­ner­stones. In Gre­gory’s case, it may not hap­pen.


WR — The Ea­gles need to get Car­son Wentz some help on the out­side: They don’t have any­one that ranks in the NFL’s top 40 in re­ceiv­ing yards.


RB — The Red­skins didn’t do much in the off­sea­son to boost their run­ning game after let­ting Al­fred Mor­ris head to Dal­las as a free agent, fig­ur­ing they could count on 2015 draft pick Matt Jones. But Jones’ fum­bling is­sues from his rookie year have resur­faced.


OL — The right side of the line is weak, so a RT or RG would be a boost to a run game that’s been a real weak­ness, av­er­ag­ing an NFL-worst 70.3 yards per game.

RT Mar­shall Ne­w­house, never dom­i­nant to be­gin with, has missed time with a calf in­jury, and re­place­ment Bobby Hart is av­er­age.


RB — Tevin Cole­man’s re­cent ham­string in­jury re­vealed a lack of depth at RB. Starter Devonta Free­man was the only other true RB on ac­tive ros­ter, though FB Patrick DiMarco could take emer­gency car­ries. Out of des­per­a­tion, the Fal­cons brought up Ter­ron Ward from the prac­tice squad and signed free agent Ste­van Ri­d­ley. If Free­man were to miss time, they’d be in real trou­ble.


TE — The Bucs could use an­other play­maker for young QB Jameis Win­ston, and the team hasn’t had a tight end it could count on as a re­ceiver since Kellen Winslow from 2009-11. Austin Se­fe­rian-Jenk­ins, a sec­ond-round draft pick in 2014, ar­rived with big ex­pec­ta­tions but strug­gled to re­main healthy in two-plus sea­sons and was re­leased after a DUI ar­rest in Septem­ber.


CB — While the Saints hope to get top CB Delvin Breaux back soon from a bro­ken fibula, they could use an­other good cover cor­ner­back. P.J. Wil­liams is out for the year (con­cus­sion), while un­drafted rookie Ken Craw­ley has shown prom­ise, but his in­ex­pe­ri­ence has been ex­posed. The Saints, who tried to bol­ster the po­si­tion by sign­ing street free agents Ster­ling Moore and B.W. Webb, rank 30th in pass­ing yards al­lowed per game.


DE — The de­fend­ing NFC cham­pi­ons have strug­gled get­ting pres­sure on the QB from their front four all sea­son. Start­ing DEs Charles Johnson and Kony Ealy have com­bined for just half a sack this sea­son. Carolina could use a pass-rush­ing spe­cial­ist to take some of the pres­sure off their young sec­ondary, which fea­tures two rookie CBs.


OL — The Vikings have been in patchwork mode up front since LT Matt Kalil went on IR after the sec­ond game. RT An­dre Smith joined him soon after. And RG Mike Har­ris is out in­def­i­nitely with an un­spec­i­fied ill­ness.


RB — Yes, GM Ted Thomp­son al­ready pulled off a trade with Kansas City for Knile Davis, who was buried on the Chiefs’ depth chart. But with Ed­die Lacy out at least an­other seven weeks with an an­kle in­jury, and backup James Starks nurs­ing a knee in­jury, it might be nice for the of­fense to have an­other ex­pe­ri­enced RB.


RB — The Lions have had their back­field de­pleted by in­juries, los­ing Ameer Ab­dul­lah, Theo Rid­dick and Dwayne Washington for ex­tended stretches. Matthew Stafford’s chances of con­sis­tently mov­ing the ball through the air will get a boost if de­fenses need to worry about a solid run­ning game.


A bit of ev­ery­thing — As their 1-6 record makes clear, the Bears could use a lot of help in a lot of ar­eas with an eye to next sea­son, from ei­ther a backup quar­ter­back or a young quar­ter­back, to a topflight re­ceiver, to a proven run­ning back, to help in the sec­ondary.


OL — The of­fen­sive line con­tin­ues to be a glar­ing weak­ness. It took an­other hit when LT Bradley Sow­ell was lost for at least a few weeks with a sprained lig­a­ment in his right knee. While Seat­tle has been ad­e­quate in pass block­ing, the run game has re­ally strug­gled: The team is 27th in the NFL, av­er­ag­ing 82.7 yards per game rush­ing.


OL — They’re thin along the of­fen­sive line after Evan Mathis went on IR, and QB Car­son Palmer could use bet­ter pro­tec­tion. Oth­er­wise, Ari­zona seems pretty set — un­less it de­cides to go get a PK to re­place Chan­dler Catanzaro.


DB — The big­gest need is prob­a­bly in the sec­ondary, where top CB Tru­maine Johnson has been out for sev­eral weeks. A solid DB would boost an area lack­ing depth in a pass-first sport.


Draft picks — Mired in a six-game los­ing streak that’s the team’s long­est in eight years, it’s time for the Nin­ers to start look­ing to the fu­ture. They should look to trade vet­er­ans with value, such as WR Tor­rey Smith or LT Joe Sta­ley, in hopes of bring­ing back ex­tra draft picks or an un­proven young player who could de­velop into a starter.

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