When you think of the AFC North what comes to mind??? For me the AFC North means great rivalries, hard hits and old school football. With the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburg Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, and the Cleveland Browns. All of these teams definitely have needs and must get better in the draft. Last year the division took somewhat of a flip when the Cincinnati Bengals took the divison title with the Browns being their usual selves and the Ravens and Steelers both having down year’s in the 09-10 season. We will start with the Dog Pound in Cleveland,Ohio. The Brownies are on the Clock!!
Cleveland Browns The Cleveland Browns made some pretty bold moves this season. With getting rid of QB’s Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson while adding veteran QB Jake Delhome and career backup Seneca Wallace. The Browns also have Mike Holmgren running things upstairs and as we all know Holmgren always needs a good QB. Last season the Browns had another disappointing season finishing 5-11 but did win their last 4 games in an effort to keep Head Coach Eric Mangini in Cleveland. What the Browns do have however is another top 10 pick (7th overall to be exact) and have a young team that includes Wide outs Joshua Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi. The targets for the Browns are definitely QB’s Jimmy Clausen and I wouldn’t rule out a trade up to 1st overall and the pick of Sam Bradford. If not a QB trade out and grab a ILB such as Alabama’s Rolando McClain. My Final Pick: Jimmy Clausen; Holmgren wants a QB and likes Clausen
Baltimore Ravens The Baltimore Ravens had an okay year last season with 9-7. The Ravens saw great improvements in first round picks of the last few years like: Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and last years selection OT Michael Oher. The Ravens had some major acquisitions to the receiving core with veterans Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth . The Ravens have some major needs at the Corner with an aging Fabian Washington and Tight End with an older Todd Heap fading away. Targets with the 25th pick in the draft will be at those two positions with guys like Florida CB Joe Haden and Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham who was an impact player in the NCAA the last few seasons. Don’t rule out Florida TE Aaron Hernandez or Boise State corner Kyle Wilson. My Final Pick: Joe Haden; Quick,agile and aggressive Haden will learn a lot from the veteran secondary in Baltimore
Pittsburgh Steelers-The Steelers have had a very tough offseason to say the least. Everything from the Big Ben sex scandals to the bad decisions of former Super Bowl XXXXIII MVP Santonio Holmes which forced him out of the steel city. The Steelers are coming off of a tough 9-7 season that included a 5 week winning streak from weeks 4- 9. The Steelers saw the beginning of something great with the takeover of the RB position by Mewelde Moore and Rashard Mendenhall. The Steelers have an aging MLB in James Farrior and saw an injury to icon Troy Polamalu which suggests that the Rooney’s will go with either a ILB or Safety with their 18th overall 1st round pick in this years draft. Some targets include names like Florida’s Brandon Spikes and Missouri’s Sean Witherspoon if they go the line backer route. If they decide to go D-Back after Texas’ Earl Thomas is most likely the answer. My Final Pick: Brandon Spikes; fits in well with 3-4 defense and has aggressiveness to add with Jerome Harrison.
Cincianati Bengals- The AFC North champions of the 09-10 season the Bengals have a very similar team to last years 10-6 record team. With the season that Carson Palmer had last season I wouldn’t expect anything different with the offense. One key need the they have in Cincy is another weapon for Palmer’s arsenal to go along with veterans Chad Ochocinco and Lavernius Coles and young speedster Andre Caldwell.Another need the Bengals have is a complent corner for Leon Hall to work with .With this in mind likely candiates with the 21st overall pick are Bosie State’s Kyle Wilson and local kid Mardy Gilyard out of Cincinati University would make for a speedy deep threat. My Final Pick: Mardy Gilyard; speedy player who will become an instant crowd favorite
My next divison will be the AFC South. From my PC to yours so long.