Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. shared his thoughts on NFC West team needs earlier in the week.
Quite a few people responded with their own thoughts, some of them contradictory. I singled out a few of the stronger responses and asked Williamson to respond so we could advance the conversation.
First, I'll reproduce the needs chart as it ran Monday. Williamson has made a couple adjustments, as he explains below.
2011 NFC West team needs: Matt Williamson's take
The numbers atop each column reflect where each team need ranked in Williamson's eyes. They were not associated with projected draft rounds. In retrospect, he would move up cornerback to third behind quarterback and offensive line on the 49ers' need list.
Now, on with the conversation.
cdmoney18: I can't see how Williamson has WR as a bigger need for the Seahawks than CB.
Matt Williamson: Seattle will be one of the most difficult teams in the league for me in terms of team needs. That isn’t an excuse, and I certainly see a huge need at cornerback -- and for a cornerback with size and physicality at that. But, to me, Seattle still needs a little of everything.
What the Seahawks really need are impact players like they got in Earl Thomas and Russell Okung. With the exception of quarterback, I would not reach for a specific position. Instead, I would select value in the draft almost regardless of position and look for quality veterans via free agency. But I do think that the Seahawks lack a No. 1 wideout and that Mike Williams is really a No. 2 with great size who can move the chains, but is lacking the explosiveness and deep speed to be the true featured guy.
Helping the quarterback (new or old) has to be a very high priority for Seattle this offseason.
Eeyoouuwee: From the 49ers' perspective, this chart couldn't be more wrong, IMO. The only thing he got right was QB at No. 1. I see it QB, CB, OLB, OL, DL.
Matt Williamson: Nose tackle was second on my list only because if Aubrayo Franklin leaves via free agency, that becomes a massive hole in the middle of this defense. When doing team needs this time of year, I think you cannot count impending free agents as players on your team. The second that San Francisco would re-sign or franchise Franklin, I would eliminate that need and bump the next one up to the No. 2 spot.
After thinking it over, though, I would move cornerback up from No. 6 on my list to No. 3 behind quarterback and offensive line. But unlike Seattle, I don’t see the 49ers as a team with gaping holes. I really like this defense (and feel that you greatly underestimate their stable of outside linebackers). I feel like many defensive problems would lessen if they were greatly improved on offense.
Also, I rarely use such broad positions as "OL" or "DL" like you did here, but I did choose to use "OL" for San Francisco in this instance because they do have some position flexibility up front. But again, I would make a slight change here and designate that as "G/C" in this instance. This line could be exceptional with one more major upgrade on the interior. And then many things could fall into place for this team if they can improve at quarterback.
GiantIrishNiner311: I'd tell the 49ers to wait on a QB later in the draft and try to trade for a Kyle Orton- or Kevin Kolb-type free agent. We need a shut-down corner and outside pass-rusher more than a QB at this point.
Matt Williamson: Doing team needs is not specific to just the draft. I would have no objections at all to adding a veteran quarterback, as it could be argued that San Francisco has the most talent in the NFC West and could be closer to contending than their 2010 record indicates. As for corner and outside pass-rusher, I did address that in a previous question. I certainly would not object to adding a top-notch corner, but I feel like many people underestimate players like Manny Lawson and Ahmad Brooks on the perimeter.
StevenJax84: I don't get how guard is not on the needs list at all for the Rams. We just rushed 28 times for 60 yards against a 49ers team that apparently needs a NT.
Matt Williamson: First off, San Francisco only needs a nose tackle if it loses Aubrayo Franklin via free agency. Otherwise, the 49ers have one of the best nose tackles in the league and are very stout on the interior. But I also will not argue that a guard could certainly be added to this St. Louis offensive line. I feel that adding more to the passing game via a big-time receiver will make everyone’s job much easier on that offense, and then you can get away with average guard play.
Joe_Couch: I'm sorry, but Arizona does not need to draft a QB. John Skelton will be the future for us, and you can't draft a mentor. Arizona will not draft a QB because the Cardinals would have to trade up to get the only NFL-ready QB (Andrew Luck), which the Bidwill family won't do. But I do think they will pick up a veteran QB before the draft. Every other position and round I will agree with. Just move them up one round, and maybe add another CB or OLB instead of a QB.
Matt Williamson: Again, this list is not exclusively draft-related. It is just a compilation of what each respective team needs to improve upon on their current roster. And ignoring quarterback on that list would be ludicrous. Again, I would not object to adding the right veteran and continuing to develop Skelton. That would allow Arizona to use its first-round pick on another position -- offensive line or outside linebacker makes the most sense -- unless of course they had to trade their first-rounder in order to land this veteran quarterback.
I am not saying that Skelton is not the future, but I think at this stage, we have no way of knowing that. And not adding a quarterback to this team this offseason would be insanity.