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.  This was completed by staff writer Jon New!

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens have continued to win and look to be on pace to secure a playoff berth either via division win or wild card.  The Ravens will likely be picking late in the 1st round and may be in a position to take the best player available at any position other than quarterback.  The Ravens weakness to this point has been the secondary.  Ed Reed is getting old and was out the first six weeks of the season so look for them to target a safety such as DeAndre McDaniel from Clemson if the value is there.  Cornerback is another area where the Ravens really lack playmakers.  Potential CB targets include Virginia’s Ras I-Dowling or Texas’ Curtis Brown.  Don’t be surprised if the Ravens pull the trigger on a Tackle such as Anthony Castonzo from Boston College.  Despite having Michael Oher as the LT of the future the Ravens have to replace Jared Gaither and are always great at finding top value in the draft.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns seem to have found something with Colt McCoy at Quarterback.  They are much better than their record shows and are likely playing their way out of some of the top players.  After taking Joe Haden last year and with the struggles of Erik Wright and Sheldon Brown at CB the Browns could target another stud CB if they are picking in the top ten.  Someone like Patrick Peterson from LSU (if he is available) or Prince Amukamara of Nebraska could fit the bill.  The Browns seriously lack playmakers on offense and could really use a true receiver for McCoy.  Someone like Georgia’s AJ Green would be a fantastic weapon for the Browns.  Their current offense consists of the Peyton Hillis show, and the more weapons they can get for their young QB the more the offense can open up.  Look for the Browns to get a playmaker with their pick to seriously help this team get back on the winning track.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh has been winning but is seriously banged up on the offensive line.  They addressed the center position last year with the drafting of Florida’s Maurice Pouncey, but have lost two tackles to injury this season and signing Flozell Adams was clearly a stopgap move and not a long term answer.  Look for the Steelers to target a tackle such as LSU’s Joseph Barksdale, but don’t be surprised if they draft a guard in Mike Pouncey and reunite the brothers who used to play together at Florida.  Other areas of need for Pittsburgh are CB and DE.  Someone like Texas’ Aaron Williams or Florida’s Janoris Jenkins could be a good find for Pittsburgh.  The Steelers are no strangers to trading up if necessary and will likely target a few players at positions of need and look to make moves to get them.

Cincinnati Bengals

The question on Cincinnati isn’t what they need in the draft but what they don’t.  Almost no position is shored up and with Cedric Benson, Jonathan Joseph, Dhani Jones, and Terrell Owens all being free agents at the end of the year.  With the coaching staff likely out the door  and the Bengals staring at a top 5 pick a lot of the decisions are going to be made for this team.  One of those decisions revolves around the future of quarterback Carson Palmer.  If Palmer is shown the door in Cincinnati the Bengals might look to take a quarterback early in round one.  Someone like Andrew Luck or Jake Locker would be too good to pass on for a team with so many questions and a new coaching staff.  But drafting a quarterback early can be both expensive and risky for a team who has a above average QB now.  Don’t be surprised if the Bengals look instead to get a solid playmaker on the defensive line where they have been unable to generate any kind of pass rush this season.  Someone like Adrian Clayborn or Da’quan Bowers could make a huge difference at DE.