Updated AFC North Team Needs – 1/13/2011

One of the most important factors when preparing for the NFL Draft is knowing each and every NFL team. NFL Mocks keeps a very close eye on each team and will bring you an updated needs assessment as the playoffs wind down and the draft season begins. These needs will help as we prepare to make predictions for the 2011 NFL Draft. Continue to check out our team needs page to find the most recent assessments. Also after looking at the team needs move on over to the Big Board and see what prospects might fit your teams need. This was completed by staff writer Jon New!

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens have reached the playoffs and have a big matchup looming with Pittsburgh in round two. The outcome of this game may very well decide what the Ravens will need to address in the draft. Their secondary has been their greatest weakness all season, but between a dominant front seven and Ed Reed this weakness has been masked for the most part. I would be shocked if the Ravens don’t address their secondary early in the draft, but remember that Ozzie Newsome has more often than not taken the best available player on his board. As a clearer picture of the underclassmen entering the draft appears the Ravens should be in a great spot to secure a very talented player. If they decide to go the defensive back route they may find little value late in round one since Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara will be long gone by the time Baltimore is on the clock. The offensive line is an area that Baltimore may focus on. Much of the offensive line talent is rated mid to late round one and Baltimore could end up with a tackle like such as Anthony Castonzo from Boston College or Nate Solder from Colorado. Another potential match could be Mike Pouncey from Florida. The Pouncey brothers playing against each other twice a year could add a whole new dimension to the already fierce rivalry between Baltimore and Pittsburgh. The key to Baltimore’s draft process is value and they will no doubt find great value wherever they end up picking.

Cleveland Browns

While the Browns have yet to name a new coach it makes it hard to predict where they will go with the sixth pick in the draft. The good news for Cleveland is they will only have five players they will not be able to take since they are picking so high. I am sure that Mike Holmgren is hoping that his new coach, likely as a caveat to being hired, will be enamored with Colt McCoy at QB and that will allow Cleveland to look elsewhere when the draft rolls around. While the Browns have bigger needs they would likely love to secure the top wide receiver in the draft in AJ Green, but it is unlikely he makes it past division rival Cincinnati at pick four. After taking Joe Haden last year it wouldn’t be a total surprise if the Browns went for Prince Amukamara from Nebraska as their other corner and solidified their cornerback tandem for years to come. It is more likely the Browns will address their defensive line which lacks any sort of playmaking ability. Someone like Marcel Dareus from Alabama orRobert Quinn from North Carolina are potential picks along the defensive front.

Pittsburgh Steelers

With a big matchup with the physical front seven of Baltimore this week, the Steelers have to be concerned about their offensive line. It has been banged up all year and just generally is not that talented. Ben Roethlisberger is able to make a lot of plays despite his porous line, but the Steelers front office would be off base not to address the offensive line early on draft day. I am sure that after the success of Maurice Pouncey this year the Steelers would love nothing more than to draft his brotherMike Pouncey from Florida and pair the two to anchor the line for the next ten years. The Steelers may also look towards their secondary, but with little talent at that position late in the first round would likely not reach and draft the best player available at a position of need. While Pouncey would be nice left tackle is probably their biggest position of need. Someone like Derek Sherrod from Mississippi State would be a welcome addition in Pittsburgh.

Cincinnati Bengals

With Marvin Lewis returning to Cincinnati for a ninth season the Bengals have answered a few questions regarding their future. Lewis has publicly stated that Carson Palmer will be his quarterback going forward which would seemingly rule out any talk of Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert at pick four. Given the needs of this team at both wide receiver along the defensive front the Bengals should have a fun time scouting some of the drafts best talent. Someone like Da’quan Bowers at DE would give the Bengals another solid pass rusher alongside breakout rookie Carlos Dunlap. The Bengals could also go with a defensive tackle like Nick Fairley or Marcel Dareus to shore up their line. However, given the departure of Terrell Owens and the age of Chad Ochocinco the Bengals may very well take possibly the most talented player in the draft in Georgia WR AJ Green. Green paired with last years rookies Jordan Shipley and Jermaine Gresham would give Carson Palmer some solid weapons to use as he tries to regain his Pro Bowl Form. Don’t be surprised to see Cincinnati spend a pick in the early rounds on a talented quarterback to develop given Carson Palmers’ recent struggles. Someone like Christian Ponder from Florida State might fit the bill in the second or third round.

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