AFC North

This is the second part of our series, looking at how each team stacks up headed into next week’s draft. In case you missed it, you can find part one covering the AFC East here.

As always, feel free to let us know what you think via the comment section.

Baltimore Ravens (9-7)

Analysis: The Ravens have done an excellent job over the years of identifying talent, regardless of position or need, and finding ways to get those players on their roster. This off-season has been no exception thus far, with Baltimore adding several quality playmakers on offense to help their young quarterback, Joe Flacco, next season. That said, they still have some work to do next week in the draft, especially on defense, where the majority of their stars are getting up there in age.

  • Players added: WR Dante Stallworth, WR Anquan Boldin, DE Cory Redding
  • Players lost: DE Justin Bannan, DT Dwan Edwards, TE L.J. Smith, CB Frank Walker

Major Needs:

  • Inside Linebacker – Ray Lewis won’t be around forever, and as of right now, the Ravens really don’t have much behind him. Finding a solid tackler with the ability to lead the defense in the future will be a priority for Baltimore in this draft, and they should be able to do just that in round two.
  • Safety – Much like Lewis, superstar playmaker Ed Reed isn’t getting any younger, and while Tom Zbikowski has shown promise in backing him up, the Ravens would be wise to see if they can find a suitable player to step in as they get deeper into the draft.
  • Wide Receiver – Even with Stallworth and Boldin in the lineup, Baltimore still needs to look for a receiver with some talent and potential to fill out their depth chart. Having four solid players to catch the ball will open up their offense and give Flacco plenty of weapons to work with.

2010 Draft Picks:

  • 1st (25)
  • 2nd (57)
  • 5th (156, 157)
  • 6th (194)

Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)

Analysis: Much like the Patriots, the Bengals are not feeling overly celebratory about their season last year, after losing consecutive games to the Jets to end the regular season and the playoffs. This team has enough talent on both sides of the ball to compete for the division crown once again this season, but they need to use their draft picks wisely to address a few key spots that are in need of upgrades.

  • Players added: WR Matt Jones, WR Antonio Bryant, K Dave Rayner, WR Chris Davis
  • Players lost: WR Laveranues Coles, K Shayne Graham, FB Jeremi Johnson, RB Larry Johnson, TE Reggie Kelly, DT Shaun Smith

Major Needs:

  • Tight End – It’s not a hugely important position in the Bengals offense, but if they could add a solid pass catcher at this spot, their receivers would likely find the going a bit easier with defenses having to keep track of someone other than their receivers.
  • Defensive End – The Bengals have some nice players here, but adding a top notch pass rusher would be a big help in keeping their defense healthy and productive throughout the entirety of the season, and they should be able to find a player to fill that role fairly easy in the first round.
  • Safety – Finding quality depth at the safety position will be a priority next week, although Cincinnati can afford to wait a bit if need be to find someone later on in the draft. Lucky for them, this is a pretty deep draft for safeties, and they should be able to grab one in the middle rounds.

2010 Draft Picks:

  • 1st (21)
  • 2nd (54)
  • 3rd (84, 96)
  • 4th (120, 131)
  • 5th (152)
  • 6th (191)
  • 7th (228)

Cleveland Browns (5-11)

Analysis: Now that Mike Holmgren is running the show, the Browns have high expectations for their club, and believe they can contend in their division very soon. They definitely have work to do to get there, but overall, there is enough talent on the roster to play well if they can avoid the mental mistakes that plagued them early on last year.

  • Players added: LB Scott Fujita, OT Tony Pashos, QB Seneca Wallace, QB Jake Delhomme, TE Ben Watson, RB Peyton Hillis, CB Sheldon Brown, LB Chris Gocong, C Eric Ghiaciuc
  • Players lost: QB Derek Anderson, QB Brady Quinn, S Brodney Pool, WR Donte Stallworth, RB Jamal Lewis, OG Hank Fraley, DT Corey Williams, OG Ryan Tucker, S Hank Poteat, C Rex Hadnot, LB Kamerion Wimbley

Major Needs:

  • Outside Linebacker – The Browns have to find a solid pass rusher to play the outside in their 3-4 defense next week, and it’s doubtful that they’ll wait too long to address that need, given the struggles they had last year in finding someone capable of consistently generating pressure.
  • Wide Receiver – Cleveland literally has no one outside of Josh Cribbs at wide receiver, that inspires any sort of fear in opposing defenses, and as such they’re going to need to use a top pick on a playmaker early on in the draft.
  • Quarterback – Adding Wallace and Delhomme will be okay for the time being, but there is no way the Browns will sit tight with those two at quarterback for more than a single season. They may not make a move in round one to find their future franchise QB, but at some point in the draft, Cleveland will address their need at the position.

2010 Draft Picks:

  • 1st (7)
  • 2nd (38)
  • 3rd (71, 85, 95)
  • 5th (134, 146, 160)
  • 6th (177)
  • 7th (186)

Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7)

Analysis: This off-season has been one to forget for the Steelers, with their best wide receiver and franchise quarterback both having significant legal troubles off the field. Pittsburgh addressed their issues with Santonio Holmes in a rapid and drastic way, trading him to the Jets for just a fifth round selection, but the problems posed by Ben Roethlisberger’s alleged sexual assault on a college coed in Georgia are still playing out, forcing the club to go so far as to consider a trade of the Pro Bowl QB. Luckily, the Steelers do have plenty of draft picks to work with next week, so they’ll be able to find talent as needed early on.

  • Players added: WR Arnaz Battle, WR Antwaan Randle-El, OT Jonathan Scott, S Will Allen, LB Larry Foote
  • Players lost: WR Santonio Holmes, DE Travis Kirschke, S Tyrone Carter, CB Deshea Townsend, LB Rocky Boiman

Major Needs:

  • Wide Receiver – Now that their leading receiver is playing elsewhere, the Steelers are going to need to find someone that can take up the slack from day one. They still have Mike Wallace and Hines Ward leading the way, but without another contributor, they’re going to struggle early on with their passing game. Expect Pittsburgh to use a high round pick to address this need.
  • Quarterback – Even if the Steelers keep Roethlisberger in the fold, they’re going to need to look for his eventual replacement sooner or later in this draft, as their fanbase isn’t likely to be excited about having Big Ben run the offense for much longer. They should be able to find a player with potential in the middle rounds next week.
  • Cornerback – Pittsburgh struggled a bit with their pass defense last season, and a big part of that was the poor play on the outside by their corners. Having a solid pass rush helps, but finding a talented player or two to fill in the depth chart would go a long way towards improving things on that front.

2010 Draft Picks:

  • 1st (18)
  • 2nd (52)
  • 3rd (82)
  • 4th (116)
  • 5th (151, 155, 164, 166)
  • 6th (188)
  • 7th (225, 242)

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  • mark a johnson

    i think that the browns need help in the secondary first then get a pass rusher,

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