Updated Team Needs: AFC North


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 at the end of each month.  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.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens have held up quite well for what was considered a weak secondary coming into the season. They may only have 3 INTs, but they are the 3rd ranked passing defense in the league. The offense though, has let them down in their losses this season. In fact, after losing to New England this past weekend, both the Patriots and the Texans would hold the tiebreakers over Baltimore (Pats won heads up and Texans have the better conference record) in the wild card. This would leave the Ravens picking about 20th and there could be some offensive options to potentially make the offense as dangerous as the defense. The offense could beef up the talent on the line and officially replace Jared Gaither with OT Anthony Castonzo. This is also a spot where I think the value for Mark Ingram starts. Ingram could team up with Ray Rice and become a fearsome attack to help out Flacco and the passing game. DE/OLB Ryan Kerrigan seems like a Baltimore kind of player (tough and strong) and has some value here as well.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns are a little better than most would have given them credit before the season, having been competitive in just about every game so far this season. The wins haven’t started coming yet, but if they can get some more play making talent on either side of the ball it would go a long way. Cleveland would have a top 5 pick at this point and that is usually a good place to get a play maker. Matching CB Joe Haden with CB Patrick Peterson seems like a no brainer. Colt McCoy actually looked alright against the Steelers #1 ranked defense. He completed 70% of his passes on 33 attempts. What was a little surprising was how more often Peyton Hillis was targeted than wide receivers in general. Hillis had seven targets, while the wide receiving group combined for 11. 14 went to tight ends and one to the fullback, in case you were wondering, but that is a lot of targets going to a running back and the expense of going down field. WR A.J. Green as might Julio Jones would be huge upgrades to their receiver core. If they are all gone, D-lineman Marcel Darceus could help out a lagging front seven.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh just got Roethlisberger back and they are looking like one of the favorites to rep the AFC deep into the post season. Its generally hard to find the biggest need when a team is playing as well as Pittsburgh even before Ben came back, but the pass defense might need some help. It may just be that they are so good at stopping the run (63.8 yards/gm) that teams are forced to throw and throw a lot, but for now its looks like the weak link. Successful as they are, they would be drafting from the bottom of the draft at this point and they might be lucky to find CBs like Janoris Jenkins or Ras-I Dowling. Sticking with defense adding a pass rushing hybrid defender like Allen Bailey could also help the secondary by getting to the QB. Perhaps if OG Rodney Hudson were still there, he could be the next piece in the revamping of the O-line.

Cincinnati Bengals

What can be said about the Bengals really. As potentially volatile as that offense can be, both on the field and off it, who would have guessed it was Palmer that was the biggest problem.  Not sure what is wrong with that guy, seems more mental than physical almost distracted, but I think he is too talented and still in his productive years to stay this bad for the entire year. I say this because at this point, the Bengals would have the tenth pick and it might be tempting to look at a QB, but I think after going offensive early and often this year, it would behoove them to have the same strategy with a defensive emphasis next year. Linebackers Akeem Ayers and Travis Lewis could both contribute in the Bengals defense or perhaps a lineman like DE Adrian Clayborn because you can never have too many good lineman.