Welcome back to the second edition of Spy Games, where we look around to identify what our not-so-friendly northern neighbors might be up to this off-season. Sunday we snuck into some bases and looked at the division offenses, so cue up your spy music and follow us past the jump as we look at the defensive side of the ball.
Key Departures: DE Cullen Jenkins
Needs: DE, CB, LB
Obviously, we know the Packers' shift to the 3-4 under Dom Capers has been a key factor in becoming one of the better defenses in the league, and with the sheer number of injuries last year, the Packers had no choice but to throw young players like Frank Zombo (linebacker), Charlie Peprah (safety) and Sam Shields (CB) into huge roles. Cullen Jenkins' departure leaves an opening on the defensive line, but that's the only gaping hole needing to be filled. Charles Woodson has been great, but he's getting older, so it wouldn't surprise me to see the Pack add another CB behind Woodson and Tramon Williams. And I can also see additional linebacker depth added with a mid to late pick.
Key Departures: DT Tommie Harris, DT Anthony Adams, LB Hunter Hillenmeyer, LB Pisa Tinoisamoa
Needs: DT, CB, LB
The Bears have a very solid set of ends, but not a lot in the middle. Defensive tackle play on the whole was not very good, and the release of Tommie Harris makes the need for a pass rusher up the middle much more prevalent. Anthony Adams will likely re-sign with the team unless he gets a massive offer, but he's a solid block, not a rusher. Elsewhere, Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings had decent years, and DJ Moore had a fine year at nickel, but the questions still mount about this unit - possibly enough to justify a higher-round pick to bring in a #1 or #2 CB. We saw what happened to Zackary Bowman last year; would Tim Jennings be immune to that? Does Tillman have enough left for another couple years? I see LB as the other need because, let's face it, Urlacher and Briggs won't be here forever, and after losing Hunter Hillenmeyer and Pisa Tinoisamoa from arguably the league's deepest LB corps, an additional depth pick here would help.
Key Departures: CB Chris Houston
Needs: CB, LB, DE
The Lions addressed two huge needs last year on the defensive side of the ball - signing Kyle Vanden Bosch and drafting Ndamukong Suh. However, the Lions' back seven is still the unit that needs addressing most. First-year starter Alphonso Smith had a rough second half and four-year man Chris Houston, while offered a tender, could test free agency after the CBA is done, leaving Nathan Vasher starting opposite Smith. Joy. LB Zack Follett may well have played his last game after suffering a neck injury which doctors have said can only get worse, though he intends to show up at camp anyway. Louis Delmas and Amari Spievey had solid seasons at safety, and with Delmas a third-year player and Spievey a second-year, it's a promising young duo. Thus, we turn to the defensive ends, where Vanden Bosch is in his tenth year coming off neck surgery, so the Lions may look to add a young end behind Vanden Bosch as insurance.
Key Departures: DT Pat Williams
Needs: DT, CB, S
The Minnesota Williams Wall having finally been broken up, an opening exists for a defensive tackle in what was an average defense. 38 year old Pat may not see his four-game suspension, but 30 year old Kevin will, so the Vikings will not have their massive interior tackles for the start of the 2011 season. This would be a good time to look for a tackle. CB Cedric Griffin might be moved to safety following a second ACL tear; if that happens, Asher Allen would stay opposite Antoine Winfield. Griffin might make an acceptable safety, but I could see a safety being taken to back him up just like I can see a corner being taken for depth behind Allen and Winfield, if not starting outright at #2.