Today we’ll be checking on the teams in the AFC North. This division has been considered one of the best in the league over the past few years until last year. This is the time when these teams need to re-tool and fill the gaps. All the teams, including the Browns, have a chance to quickly turn their teams around and make them competitive fast. Just like in the other Team Need articles, these are team needs for starting players, not upgrades or depth. So, with that said, let’s get to the AFC North Team Needs.
Baltimore Ravens (picks in the 1st 3 rounds) – 16th, 47th, 78th, 99th.
- Linebacker – The only pass rusher the Ravens have on their current roster is 34-year-old Terrell Suggs. That’s not going to cut it. What was once fear as 1 of the most ferocious defenses in the league, is now a shell of itself? They must re-tool and do it immediately.
- Running Back – The Ravens will likely give Terrence West and Kenneth Dixon another shot. However, in all reality, they need a RB. But no matter who they get at RB, they will need to address the next 2 needs on this list.
- Right Tackle – Ronnie Stanley is a good tackle, but there is nothing on the other side. Currently, James Hurst is projected to start there and he fits more as a backup. They should use a 2nd-day pick on this huge need.
- Center – Other than RT, they also need to get a C. Previous starting C Jeremy Zuttah was traded and they are holding open competitions at both C and RT. Baltimore may be able to turn a 3rd or 4th round pick into a new competent starter.
- Wide Receiver – Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman are slated to start at WR, but neither really scares you. This is a position that could be looked at in round 1. Steve Smith was their #1 WR last year and Baltimore has ignored this need for way too long.
- Defensive End – No one stands out on the DL except for NT Brandon Williams, who they re-signed this offseason. Carl Davis should get more snaps this year as a 2nd-year pro, but this is another position that needs to be addressed.
16th – Malik McDowell, DE, Michigan State
47th – Pat Elflein, C, Ohio State
78th – Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy
99th – Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M
Cincinnati Bengals (picks in the 1st 3 rounds) – 9th, 41st, 73rd.
- Defensive End – Carlos Dunlap is still good, but Michael Johnson regressed last year. They need some infusion of youth and talent at the end position. You can’t have enough pass rushers and the Bengals can use an early pick to fill what I think is really their only big hole.
9th – Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
41st – Josh Jones, S, NC State
73rd – Montravius Adams, DT, Auburn
Cleveland Browns (picks in the 1st 3 rounds) – 1st, 12th, 33rd, 52nd, 65th.
- Quarterback – All offseason there have been rumors of the Browns and Jimmy Garoppolo. When everything is, all said, and done I think they end up with Mitchell Trubisky. Whether they trade up to get him or have him fall to 12th, I think he’s the guy they get in the end.
- Defensive End – There isn’t too much to be said here. They have a couple people who can play DE currently, but everyone knows they will select Myles Garrett #1 overall. They will have that cornerstone franchise pass rusher that all teams crave for.
- 2 Safeties – I think the CBs for the Browns are actually pretty good, but the Safeties are horrid. They need 2 guys to start. With 5 of the 1st 65 picks, they will have more than enough opportunities to get 1, if not 2.
- Wide Receiver – Kenny Britt and Corey Coleman are good enough to be top 3 WRs, but one more is needed. They could take a WR to play in the slot or they can move Coleman into the slot and draft someone to play on the outside. Either way, more weapons for their QB is needed.
1st – Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
12th – Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
33rd – Budda Baker, S, Washington
52nd – ArDarius Stewart, WR, Alabama
65th – Desmond King, CB/S, Iowa
Pittsburgh Steelers (picks in the 1st 3 rounds) – 30th, 62nd 94th, 105th.
- Defensive Back – The wildcard on this team is Sean Davis. He can play both S and CB. Last year he played S, but the CBs were so bad, they considered moving him to CB full time. I think they pull the trigger and draft a S, or they can leave him there and draft a CB. Best of both worlds.
- Linebacker – Just like their division-mates, the Ravens, the Steelers have a pass rusher that is getting up there in age. James Harrison is about to turn 39, but he was their best pass rusher. This is a spot where they need to start thinking about life after Harrison.
- Nose Tackle – Javon Hargrove did not cut it at NT last year. He was only a rookie, so he’s still young, but I don’t think he has the size to play NT. He fits better as a DE. This isn’t a huge need, but if it were me, I’d use a day 2 pick on one.
30th – Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
62nd – Nathan Peterman, QB, Pittsburgh
94th – Jaleel Johnson, NT, Iowa
105th – Duke Riley, LB, LSU
We’re now 75% done with the Team Needs for every team in the NFL. The NFL draft is just about a week away and hopefully, your favorite team can use the draft to not only fill their needs, but the propel them to the next level. Enjoy the draft.