Finally having a draft pick in the bottom half leaves us in a precarious position. Do we draft O-line, where we are aging and have never been elite? Or do we continue to shore-up a defense that has shown flashes of brilliance and flashes of embarrassment?
I feel like we are in a position to do one of two things: We either continue to bolster the defense as we have attempted to do in the last couple of off-seasons, or we go all-in on offense and see how far this side of the ball can take us.
Let me attack this under the assumption that we do three things: Re-sign Tulloch at MLB, re-structure CJ's contract to free up some cap space, and (my personal opinion here) let Avril walk for wayyyy more money than he is worth. I know Avril is great, and a home-grown talent, but I honestly don't believe he is going to be worth the money he will command this off-season. He is going to get Charles Johnson money somewhere and I don't believe that has to be here. With Suh, Fairley, Fluellen and Sammie Hill at DT I truly believe guys like Willie Young and Lo-Jack will be more than adequate at the D-end position, no need to give huge money to Avril IMO.
With the money freed up by CJ's restructured deal (again, total assumption) we could go after Finnegan and let Wright hit the road. This gives us Houston and Finnegan, with Berry and company as reserves. I feel that is a solid CB tandem going into next season. Spievey made strides at safety last season, so you roll with that core on the defensive side and add to it through the draft with 3rd rounders and beyond.
Spend the first pick on Konz or whoever is the best available O-lineman at 23. Spend our 2nd rounder on another overlooked OL with huge upside or at LB to challenge. This puts pressure on Raiola and Backus, and more importantly guys like Peterman and Cherilus to step up the performance of the running game. The argument could certainly be made that they played well the last half of the season, but I believe that is more a product of knowing they were going to be pass protecting 90% of the time as opposed to ever having to worry about run blocking. If we found ourselves a running game with Best and Leshoure (admittedly subject to injury) we would be on par with GB and NO offensively.
I guess my point is that I feel we are on a teter-totter in terms of whether we want to be a defensive or offensive beast. Schwartz is a defensive coach and outside of the last couple of games when we had guys banged up, we had a very solid defensive unit. So how does everybody feel? Do we need to continue to try and bolster the D, or do we start shoring up the offensive line and build an absolute juggernaut on offense? The bottom line is that we can't have both, the salary cap and many other variable shove you in one direction or the other. I'm personally of the opinion that we go all out with our offense and stay on par with the rest of the NFC offensively, while using in-house talent and free agency to piece together a servicable defense.
I'm sure there are plenty of holes in my argument and I hope you guys will point those out so I can educate myself and discuss.
All this being said, if Jenkins falls to us at 23, I would be all over that pick in a heartbeat, I think he is a world-class talent with some baggage that I would bet most 20 year old kids can relate to.