AFC North-

Bengals- (LB or DE) In 2012 the Bengals were one of the 10th youngest teams in the NFL, now they are one of the 10 oldest teams in the league. Players like Adam “Pacman” Jones, Vontaze Burfict and Geno Atkins have all passed their primes and now is the time for a rebuild. Three of their five top tacklers on defense were cornerbacks and shockingly of those three, two were the top tacklers on the team. A defense that is known for its grit and toughness can’t have its defensive backs delivering the majority of the blows. Vontaze Burfict has proven to be more of a distraction as of late and has lacked production on the field. With him having to miss the first four games of the season due to PED use, it would be a good opportunity to give another young guy a shot. It seems that it is not the direction they want to go in free agency due to the fact that they didn’t attempt to get some key guys like Trent Murphy or Ezekiel Ansah. The draft can serve as a path to getting that impact player this team needs to begin the resurgence of this team.  With the number 21 pick in the draft, their is a good chance that they would have a pick at whatever speedy linebacker they want, Rashaan Evans or Malik Jefferson would fit this teams identity well.

Browns- (OL) The Browns have completely turned everything around this offseason and it is crazy to think this team will not only win a game next year but possibly six or seven. With acquiring all the pieces on offense like Jarvis Landry, Carlos Hyde, and a more than serviceable QB in Tyrod Taylor this team is finally on a good trajectory. One negative for the Browns, however, is that their HOF left tackle Joe Thomas hung up the pads after an amazing 11 year career and his absence will leave this offensive line without their anchor. Giving Chris Hubbard a 5 year $37.5 million dollar contract after only starting 14 games in his 5 year career is questionable at best. That’s especially due to the fact that it seems he is under the impression he will be playing right tackle and not left. This is a position they should get a veteran at to start the season and then have a young player they draft take over mid season. Their depth at this position is extremely thin and if my predictions are correct, Sam Darnold is going to need protection on that blind side.

Ravens- (S, CB) This is a team that can put some pieces together this offseason and actually make it to the postseason. They added Michael Crabtree as well as the speedy deep threat wide receiver John Brown making this offense more of a threat then it has been since the 2012 season. The difference is, that year the Ravens possessed one of the best defenses the league has seen and since then it has deteriorated a bit. Their are good pieces though, Jimmy Smith is a very good corner and one of the tallest in the league at 6’2’’, on the other side sits Brandon Carr and even though his pro bowl seasons have long gone, he is still a starting corner and a valuable one at that. Eric Weddle is similar to Carr in that his prime has passed but his presence is one that opposing teams still dread. Those three players are all at least 30 years old and are in need of reinforcements to help reduce the pressure and minutes on them. Marlon Humphrey, 1st round pick out of Alabama two years ago should be ready to take the next step for this team and serve as a starting corner if needed, but that still would not be enough. With this corner and safety market the way it is now, this team would be missing out on a bargain for players like Eric Reid, Kenny Vaccaro, or Trumaine Johnson. To be a successful team in this league, general managers have to be able to read the market well and know when to pounce, and that time is now for the Ravens.

Steelers- (QB) This is another team that could definitely benefit from Eric Reid or Kenny Vaccaro but have already taken advantage of the market by stealing Morgan Burnett for cheaper than five million dollars a year. Because of that and going out to get John Bostic to replace the injured Ryan Shazier for next season there is only one move I am shocked that the Steelers have not made and that is going out to get a serviceable second string QB. Landry Jones and Joshua Dobbs are not players that can keep this team a contender for a few weeks if they had to, which is becoming more and more of a possibility each passing year with Big Ben under center. This is one of the best offenses in the league, but Ben Roethlisberger is 36 and has missed 7 games in the past two seasons. That, along with his production steadily falling off, screams that they should look for a younger guy with some experience to possibly step in if Ben gets hurt or struggles with confidence early on like he did last season.
Written by: Mac Morey
Edited by: Colin Castleberry