AFC North: Team Needs

Preparing for the NFL Draft: AFC North Team Needs

3/11/09 in NFL   |   joshsanchez   |   57 respect

Continuing my look ahead to the NFL Draft, I am focusing on the AFC North team needs.You can see the AFC East team needs here if you missed them on Monday.

Baltimore Ravens:
 
One of the biggest concerns for the Baltimore Ravens this offseason was that they may lose veteran leaders Ray Lewis and Bart Scott. Fortunately, they were able to retain the heart and soul of their defense, Ray Lewis, but lost Scott and safety Jim Leonhard to the New York Jets. Another big loss for the team was when center Jason Brown bolted for St. Louis, and the cutting of corner Chris McAllister. The Ravens have signed Matt Birk and Domonique Foxworth to help fill those voids, but this team still has some work to do this offseason.
 
Top Needs:
 
Wide Receiver: Rookie quarterback Joe Flacco looked like the real deal last season. If the team wants to assist his development; they are going to need to add more receiving options around him. Derrick Mason looked like a hero at times last year playing despite his shoulder popping out of socket play after play, but outside of Mason, Flacco’s main targets are Mark Clayton, Demetrius Williams, and Yamon Figures.With the Ravens first pick, I would like to see a guy like Maryland’s Darrius Heyward-Bey selected. Heyward-Bey would add an excellent dynamic to the offense. He was the fastest player at the 2009 Scouting Combine (4.30), and I think his speed would be a perfect fit for Flacco’s cannon of an arm.
 
Linebacker: Ray Lewis returned, but there are still some holes in the linebacking corp. The right outside linebacker position is solidified for years with Terrell Suggs, assuming he eventually gets the long-term deal he deserves, but there is absolutely no depth behind that. Baltimore selected Miami linebacker Tavares Gooden last season to be a potential replacement for Ray Lewis, and if they do not address the need at this position he may be forced to start earlier than anticipated. The left outside linebacker position is held down by consistent underachiever Jarrett Johnson. In sixteen games last year he racked up a whopping fifty seven tackles, five sacks, and one forced fumble. Those aren’t terrible numbers, but I would like to see more from him, especially since the linebacking corp has been what makes this team run year after year.
 
Cornerback: Even with the addition of Domonique Foxworth, the Ravens defensive backfield still looks a little sketchy to me. Samari Rolle has requested his release, and the starter opposite of Foxworth would be Oakland castaway, Fabian Washington. Now Fabian isn’t a terrible player, but he is in no way a fit for a starting role. He is best suited working out of the slot. If Rolle gets his release that leaves three corners on the roster outside of Foxworth and Washington: Frank Walker, Evan Oglesby, and Anwar Phillips. With a deep pool of talent in the cornerback class, the Ravens could grab someone in the second or third round who would be able to contribute as a rookie.
 
 
 
Cincinnati Bengals:
 
The Bengals haven’t suffered any real big blows in free agency. TJ Houshmandzadeh was a loss, but they added Laveranues Coles to help fill that void. The problem is, the Bengals really haven’t made any big moves either which leaves their roster exactly where it was last season; a group of mediocre guys in the dreaded and ill fated tiger striped helmet. There is no question that Cincinnati has some talent on the roster. Despite his big mouth, Chad Johnson is a talented receiver. They also have a franchise quarterback in Carson Palmer, and last years first round pick Keith Rivers, who prior to having his face arranged by Hines Ward, has looked pretty good.
 
Top Needs:
 
Offensive Line: This is where the Bengals will likely go with their first round pick. They did lose Stacey Andrews in free agency, and while he wasn’t the biggest star, he had shown promise when he was healthy. The loss of Andrews would mean that Anthony Collins, a rookie out of Kansas a season ago, would be starting at right tackle and the thirty year old Levi Jones at left. The Bengals need to do everything in their power to make that offensive line adequate, so they can protect their guy Carson Palmer. Without Carson Palmer, they would be forced to go to his younger brother Jordan.
 
Defensive Tackle: Cincinnati has two decent defensive ends in Antwan Odom and Robert Geathers; they just need some help in the middle of that line to allow them a better opportunity to rush the passer.The Bengals spent multiple draft picks last season on Jason Shirley out of Fresno State and Pat Sims from Auburn, but they still need some help. Domata Peko is a pretty solid player, but the same can’t be said for his backup Orien Harris. If the Bengals could add a starting caliber defensive tackle, not only would Odom and Geathers rejoice, but it would also benefit the linebacking corp.
 
Tight End: Reggie Kelly, Nate Lawrie, and Matt Sherry; those are the tight ends on the roster for Cincinnati. With Chad Johnson and Laveranues Coles on the outside, Carson Palmer could definitely benefit from having a tough receiving tight end that wouldn’t be afraid to sit down in the middle of the field.Last season they had acquired Ben Utecht from Indianapolis hoping that he would be able to help, but that experiment failed miserably and Reggie Kelly with his thirty one catches for two hundred and seven yards with no touchdowns, was the “stud” tight end.
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3/14/09   |   shox13191

kelski1974 wrote:
Lets not forget Flacco became the starter out of necessity. Had Troy Smith (Yes that Troy Smith from Ohio State) not had some sort of injury. I forgot if it was some sort of virus or what? We would have never heard of Joe Flacco.

it was the flu.. but yes the job was troy's.

3/14/09   |   joshsanchez   |   57 respect

kelski1974 wrote:
Lets not forget Flacco became the starter out of necessity. Had Troy Smith (Yes that Troy Smith from Ohio State) not had some sort of injury. I forgot if it was some sort of virus or what? We would have never heard of Joe Flacco.

and if Drew Bledsoe didn't get injured we wouldn't know who Tom Brady is... I'm not sure what you are getting at.

3/14/09   |   kelski1974

Lets not forget Flacco became the starter out of necessity. Had Troy Smith (Yes that Troy Smith from Ohio State) not had some sort of injury. I forgot if it was some sort of virus or what? We would have never heard of Joe Flacco.

3/13/09   |   kramer   |   11003 respect

Just for the record, I know another QB in this division who showed brilliant flashes in the regular season as a rookie and then looked like a rookie come playoff time...I'll give you 3 guesses who that is.

3/13/09   |   soupz6

joshsanchez wrote:
Flacco is definintely a serviceable QB. He showed some brilliant flashes throughout the playoffs. I was very impressed with him especially considering he was a rookie.

brilliant flashes in the playoffs??  we must have been watching different playoffs.  he showed brilliant flashes in the regular season, and he will definitely be a very solid QB for them for years to come, but in the playoffs he was shown to be a rookie.

3/13/09   |   keebs8   |   1701 respect

Joe Flu-co and Ben Worthlisberger can both suck on my ba%ls !!!   D.A, worst turnaround ive ever seen from season to season, another Scott Mitchell wanna be, yes im a Browns fan but I dont like either D.A or Quinn, but to say to Qb's that rely solely on defense are anything but people who say hut, hut are even close to clutch ?  Never, let them play for the Lions, or the Browns for that matter and we would see if you would say the same things about them and on that note, you wouldnt and im out...

3/12/09   |   derms33   |   17642 respect

joshsanchez wrote:
You actually did.

All I did was say that a QB doesn't have to throw 5000 yards or 30 TDs to be a good QB

I agree with that, but Flacco was NOT winning games for the Ravens.  Kinda like Kerry Collins was NOT winning all the games for the Titans.  I am done with the Flacco bashing.  He will fall flat on his unibrow and I will laugh to myself, and then post insults every chance I get.

3/12/09   |   derms33   |   17642 respect

kramer wrote:
Fair enough, everyone has a right to their own opinion, but try to look at the whole picture.  Ben was definitely much better in the playoffs this year than in 2005.

yeah yeah, he was better against a Cardinals secondary...Maybe he was just nervous in XL.  Don't make this about Ben and how good he is, this is more about Flacco and how he sucks

3/12/09   |   joshsanchez   |   57 respect

kramer wrote:
Fair enough, everyone has a right to their own opinion, but try to look at the whole picture.  Ben was definitely much better in the playoffs this year than in 2005.

Who would have thought a Dallas Cowboys fan would come to the defense of Big Ben haha

3/12/09   |   kramer   |   11003 respect

derms33 wrote:
Sorry Kramer, all of Pat's post are brainwashing me.  I will never discredit Ben's toughness but I just wouldn't pick him in a top 5. 

Fair enough, everyone has a right to their own opinion, but try to look at the whole picture.  Ben was definitely much better in the playoffs this year than in 2005.

3/12/09   |   joshsanchez   |   57 respect

derms33 wrote:
Why include Peytons?  26 tds is pretty good.  Flacco isn't good.  and I am not the one that wanted to use stats as a measuring stick.

You actually did.

All I did was say that a QB doesn't have to throw 5000 yards or 30 TDs to be a good QB

3/12/09   |   derms33   |   17642 respect

kramer wrote:
You're starting to sound like Pat.  Yeah, let's base our opinions of a QB on 1 game.  Why don't you take a look at what he just did in Super Bowl XLIII, MUCH better!  Of course that completely defeats the purpose of your argument, so you won't dare look at that.

Sorry Kramer, all of Pat's post are brainwashing me.  I will never discredit Ben's toughness but I just wouldn't pick him in a top 5. 

3/12/09   |   joshsanchez   |   57 respect

yes I did, but the NFL is also a what have you done for me lately league... and lately Ben has been clutch.  He's definately a top 5 QB in the league, and in my mind a top 3

3/12/09   |   derms33   |   17642 respect

Derrich wrote:
Worst. Argument. Ever.

Troy Aikman rookie season: 9 TD/18 INT (11 TD, 18 INT, Year 2)
Peyton Manning rookie season: 26 TD/28 INT
Dan Marino rookie season: 12 TD/17 INT
...I could go on.

I'm not ready to breathe Joe Flacco's name in the same sentence with these guys, but obviously no one expected those guys to flourish into the greats they became with those numbers. Think what you want about him. But regardless of whether or not you use stats, Flacco is obviously poised and very smart.

and if you think thats the WORST ARGUMENT EVER, you haven't been around enough polls.

3/12/09   |   derms33   |   17642 respect

Derrich wrote:
Worst. Argument. Ever.

Troy Aikman rookie season: 9 TD/18 INT (11 TD, 18 INT, Year 2)
Peyton Manning rookie season: 26 TD/28 INT
Dan Marino rookie season: 12 TD/17 INT
...I could go on.

I'm not ready to breathe Joe Flacco's name in the same sentence with these guys, but obviously no one expected those guys to flourish into the greats they became with those numbers. Think what you want about him. But regardless of whether or not you use stats, Flacco is obviously poised and very smart.

Why include Peytons?  26 tds is pretty good.  Flacco isn't good.  and I am not the one that wanted to use stats as a measuring stick.

3/12/09   |   kramer   |   11003 respect

derms33 wrote:
did you see Super Bowl XL?

You're starting to sound like Pat.  Yeah, let's base our opinions of a QB on 1 game.  Why don't you take a look at what he just did in Super Bowl XLIII, MUCH better!  Of course that completely defeats the purpose of your argument, so you won't dare look at that.

3/12/09   |   derms33   |   17642 respect

joshsanchez wrote:
If you need a win you aren't turning to Big Ben... did you see the Super Bowl? How about the countless games that Ben engineered a late come from behind victory?

If I had to pick a QB to win me a game there are only two guys I'd take before Ben, and we all know who they are.

did you see Super Bowl XL?

3/12/09   |   joshsanchez   |   57 respect

derms33 wrote:
Flacco isn't better than DA,   If you go by stats, which you apparently do.  DA is a former Pro Bowler.  Flacco sucks.  Bottom Line.  And his stats prove it.  COntrol the huddle?  Nobody want to pi$$ off Ray Lewis, thats the control.  An don't get me started on Big Ben.  Toughest QB, but if I needed a Win, I certainly am not turning to him.

If you need a win you aren't turning to Big Ben... did you see the Super Bowl? How about the countless games that Ben engineered a late come from behind victory?

If I had to pick a QB to win me a game there are only two guys I'd take before Ben, and we all know who they are.

3/12/09   |   shox13191

I actually with nearly all of this.  I think the Bengals need to bring in a second quarterback though.  Carson seems to be a combination of unlucky and fragile.  You're thinking of improving the o-line to help protect Carson is good but there is not a thing in the universe that is 100% effecient, o-lines included.  I'd say the third or fourth round they should look to add depth at quarterback.
Great article though.

3/12/09   |   Derrich

derms33 wrote:
TD-INT     14-12

Worst. Argument. Ever.

Troy Aikman rookie season: 9 TD/18 INT (11 TD, 18 INT, Year 2)
Peyton Manning rookie season: 26 TD/28 INT
Dan Marino rookie season: 12 TD/17 INT
...I could go on.

I'm not ready to breathe Joe Flacco's name in the same sentence with these guys, but obviously no one expected those guys to flourish into the greats they became with those numbers. Think what you want about him. But regardless of whether or not you use stats, Flacco is obviously poised and very smart.

3/12/09   |   kramer   |   11003 respect

Casey Hampton at center?  You can't be serious.  I wouldn't mind seeing Joey Galloway in a Steelers uniform.  As for that anemic O-line, cutting Kendall Simmons immediately improves that line, the fat tub of goo!

3/12/09   |   freckled_wonder

Well the Steelers seem to be agreeing with you after talks with Carr and Galloway. The center position? I know it sounds like a bad idea, but I would like to see what Casey Hampton has in him.

3/12/09   |   fred77008   |   17 respect

About the Browns. Joe Jurevicius was cut today.

3/11/09   |   WhoDey   |   6 respect

This is a very well written article, but with the Bengals, although a defensive tackle and tight end would be great, I don't think it's a necessity right now.  Like you mentioned, Peko is solid, but doesn't have anyone to help.  Maybe someone in the 2nd or 3rd round, but obviously offensive tackle is the biggest priority.  And I hope they use their first two (or three) picks on the line.  I also think a linebacker would end up being better in the long run than getting a defensive tackle right now.  That's just a matter of opinion though, but anyway, great article.

3/11/09   |   derms33   |   17642 respect

joshsanchez wrote:
Do you not remember he was a rookie

I don't really base my like or dislike on a player due to the team I root for. I recognize that players on divisional teams are also good. Flacco was a cool, calm, and collected guy in the huddle. Sure he didn't throw for 5000 yards and 30 TDs, but neither does Big Ben, does that make him a bad quarterback? Flacco played very well as a rookie, his team went to the AFC Championship game. Yes they were led by defense, but you still need a capable QB who can control the huddle. Like it or not Flacco is a good quarterback, and he is in your division so get used to seeing him win.

Afterall, Flacco is better than Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn... but I really didn't want to go there.

Flacco isn't better than DA,   If you go by stats, which you apparently do.  DA is a former Pro Bowler.  Flacco sucks.  Bottom Line.  And his stats prove it.  COntrol the huddle?  Nobody want to pi$$ off Ray Lewis, thats the control.  An don't get me started on Big Ben.  Toughest QB, but if I needed a Win, I certainly am not turning to him.

3/11/09   |   joshsanchez   |   57 respect

derms33 wrote:
TD-INT     14-12

Do you not remember he was a rookie

I don't really base my like or dislike on a player due to the team I root for. I recognize that players on divisional teams are also good. Flacco was a cool, calm, and collected guy in the huddle. Sure he didn't throw for 5000 yards and 30 TDs, but neither does Big Ben, does that make him a bad quarterback? Flacco played very well as a rookie, his team went to the AFC Championship game. Yes they were led by defense, but you still need a capable QB who can control the huddle. Like it or not Flacco is a good quarterback, and he is in your division so get used to seeing him win.

Afterall, Flacco is better than Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn... but I really didn't want to go there.

3/11/09   |   derms33   |   17642 respect


3/11/09   |   derms33   |   17642 respect

Playoffs:  1 TD and 3 Ints.   YES!!!!!! 

3/11/09   |   derms33   |   17642 respect

Derrich wrote:
I don't get it...Joe Flacco did look like the real deal.

TD-INT     14-12

3/11/09   |   derms33   |   17642 respect

joshsanchez wrote:
Flacco is definintely a serviceable QB. He showed some brilliant flashes throughout the playoffs. I was very impressed with him especially considering he was a rookie.

LOL...wow, you are serious.  Ok.  When he loses the unibrow I will take him seriously.  The Ravens offense is a joke.  They are all defense.  I can't possibly be the only one that thinks Flacco was just the ESPN darling of the playoffs.  They spent so much time on his jock that people started to believe he was good.  Not a fan of Flacco.  But the Ravens should probably get some WR's to help the guy, along with some O-Line help.

3/11/09   |   Derrich

derms33 wrote:
Rookie quarterback Joe Flacco looked like the real deal last season... Your credibility is slippin

I don't get it...Joe Flacco did look like the real deal.

3/11/09   |   derms33   |   17642 respect

joshsanchez wrote:
It was hard for me to narrow it down to three categories. I actually like Brandon McDonald a lot and Eric Wright isn't too bad. They definately need depth in the secondary to help out a lot. Cribbs is definately a guy who gets moved around and used best, but I was pointing out that if Braylon leaves, he would be one of their top receiving options which is scary.

talk the cowboys into a trade for those damn corners

3/11/09   |   joshsanchez   |   57 respect

derms33 wrote:
Couple of things about the Browns...since they are obviously NOT your team:  Royal will be on the field in Blocking situations only.  Martin Rucker will eventually be the starter with Heiden.  The secondary is horrid.  The corners are not promising.  Losing Sean Jones and not signina a top FA will kill them.  Mike Adams is serviceable but I would prefer Elam.  The D-Line could be in for a world of hurt as well if  Rogers leaves.  The WR's need help catching the ball and Stallworth is the biggest wuss East of the Mississippi.  Cribbs is going to be used at a variety of Positions including possibly defensive back.  The Browns must retain Braylon Edwards and Joe Jurevicius.  They should definitely trade DA for some draft help, but I said that last season and they ignored my pleas.  (BTW I was right)  The Offensive Line should be solid but they need G help.  A New Punter would be nice and hmmm, lets see, a new coaching staff (yes, I hate Mangini).  If the Browns win 5 games in the upcoming season I will be pretty happy.  But, with their lackluster moves thus far, it looks like another long season on the Shores of Lake Erie.

It was hard for me to narrow it down to three categories. I actually like Brandon McDonald a lot and Eric Wright isn't too bad. They definately need depth in the secondary to help out a lot. Cribbs is definately a guy who gets moved around and used best, but I was pointing out that if Braylon leaves, he would be one of their top receiving options which is scary.

3/11/09   |   joshsanchez   |   57 respect

derms33 wrote:
Rookie quarterback Joe Flacco looked like the real deal last season... Your credibility is slippin

Flacco is definintely a serviceable QB. He showed some brilliant flashes throughout the playoffs. I was very impressed with him especially considering he was a rookie.

3/11/09   |   derms33   |   17642 respect

Couple of things about the Browns...since they are obviously NOT your team:  Royal will be on the field in Blocking situations only.  Martin Rucker will eventually be the starter with Heiden.  The secondary is horrid.  The corners are not promising.  Losing Sean Jones and not signina a top FA will kill them.  Mike Adams is serviceable but I would prefer Elam.  The D-Line could be in for a world of hurt as well if  Rogers leaves.  The WR's need help catching the ball and Stallworth is the biggest wuss East of the Mississippi.  Cribbs is going to be used at a variety of Positions including possibly defensive back.  The Browns must retain Braylon Edwards and Joe Jurevicius.  They should definitely trade DA for some draft help, but I said that last season and they ignored my pleas.  (BTW I was right)  The Offensive Line should be solid but they need G help.  A New Punter would be nice and hmmm, lets see, a new coaching staff (yes, I hate Mangini).  If the Browns win 5 games in the upcoming season I will be pretty happy.  But, with their lackluster moves thus far, it looks like another long season on the Shores of Lake Erie.

3/11/09   |   derms33   |   17642 respect

Rookie quarterback Joe Flacco looked like the real deal last season... Your credibility is slippin

3/11/09   |   kramer   |   11003 respect

Yeah, the offensive line has been the weakest link for the Steelers for a few years now, and while it did improve, it's still lousy for the most part.