With the 2017 NFL Draft around the corner, former NFL scout Bucky Brooks and Around The NFL's Conor Orr are breaking down the biggest areas of need for every team in the NFL, division by division. Below is Bucky's look at the AFC North.
Baltimore Ravens (7 total picks)
» Round 1: Pick 16 overall
» Round 2: Pick 47
» Round 3: Picks 74 (from Eagles) and 78
» Round 4: Pick 122
» Round 5: Pick 159
» Round 6: Pick 186 (from 49ers)
Biggest needs: Wide receiver, pass rusher, cornerback.
- 2017 NFL DRAFT
▹ Day 1 winners and losers
▹ QB frenzy shakes up Round 1
▹ How Patriots attack the draft
▹ Tom Brady's DIII Dopplgänger?
▹ Sidelines: How Desmond King made it
▹ Draft Do-overs:
▸ 2008 | 2011 | 2014 | 2015
▹ AFC Draft Needs:
▸ West | North | South | East
▹ NFC Draft Needs:
▸ West | North | South | East
- MARSHAWN LYNCH TRADE
▹ Lynch, Raiders poised for run
▹ Raiders boast NFL's best offense?
The retirement of Steve Smith Sr. leaves the Ravens without a WR1 to feature in the passing game. Clemson's Mike Williams and Western Michigan's Corey Davis could fill the void as traditional big-bodied, physical targets. Or the team could gamble on Washington's John Ross maturing into a T.Y. Hilton-like playmaker on the outside. If the Ravens focus on defense, they could add a dynamic edge rusher like Michigan's Taco Charlton or Tennessee's Derek Barnett on Day 1. Baltimore also could target an underrated Day 2 prospect like Youngstown State's Derek Rivers or Kansas State's Jordan Willis. At cornerback, Ohio State's Gareon Conley, Alabama's Marlon Humphrey and Florida's Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson could be ideal prospects to occupy the CB2 spot opposite Jimmy Smith.
Cincinnati Bengals (11 total picks)
» Round 1: Pick 9 overall
» Round 2: Pick 41
» Round 3: Pick 73
» Round 4: Picks 116 and 138 (compensatory selection)
» Round 5: Picks 153 and 176 (compensatory selection)
» Round 6: Picks 193 and 217 (compensatory selection)
» Round 7: Picks 227 and 251 (compensatory selection)
Biggest needs: Linebacker, defensive end, running back.
The Bengals aren't afraid to take chances on troubled prospects with exceptional talent, which is why their draft board typically features more blue-chip prospects than others. On Day 1, the team could target Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster -- who was sent home early from the NFL Scouting Combine after getting into an argument with a student hospital worker -- to play alongside Vontaze Burfict between the tackles. If the Bengals wait until Day 2 to address the position, Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham or LSU's Duke Riley could be plug-and-play starters. At defensive end, the Bengals could target Tennessee's Derek Barnett or UCLA's Takkarist McKinley on the draft's opening night. Villanova's Tanoh Kpassagnon and Texas A&M's Daeshon Hall are notable Day 2/Day 3 candidates. Running back could get some play, as Jeremy Hill has averaged less than four yards per carry in each of the past two seasons. Florida State's Dalvin Cook is a first-round option. Cincy also could have its eye on Oklahoma's Joe Mixon or South Florida's Marlon Mack on Day 2.
Cleveland Browns (11 total picks)
» Round 1: Picks 1 overall and 12 (from Eagles)
» Round 2: Picks 33 and 52 (from Titans)
» Round 3: Pick 65
» Round 4: Pick 108
» Round 5: Picks 145, 175 (from Patriots) and 181 (compensatory selection)
» Round 6: Picks 185 and 188 (from Texans through Bears)
Biggest needs: Defensive end, quarterback, offensive tackle.
The Browns need to add blue-chip players to the roster on both sides of the ball. While quarterback is frequently cited as the team's biggest need, the 2017 class lacks a sure-fire franchise talent at the position who's worthy of coming off the board as the first overall pick. Thus, Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett is the slam-dunk pick at No. 1. He checks all the boxes as an elite prospect (athleticism, character and production) -- no need to overthink it. The Browns could consider Clemson's Deshaun Watson, North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky, Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer, Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes or Cal's Davis Webb with one of their next three picks (Nos. 12, 33 and 52 overall). If Cleveland doesn't believe Cameron Erving is the right man for the job at right tackle, the team could target Wisconsin's Ryan Ramczyk, Alabama's Cam Robinson or Utah's Garett Bolles early.
Pittsburgh Steelers (8 total picks)
» Round 1: Pick 30 overall
» Round 2: Pick 62
» Round 3: Picks 94 and 105 (compensatory selection)
» Round 4: Pick 135
» Round 5: Pick 173
» Round 6: Pick 213
» Round 7: Pick 248
Biggest needs: Pass rusher, linebacker, tight end.
The Steelers are missing blue-chip performers at the backbone position of their defense -- outside linebacker -- so it is imperative that they find an impact pass rusher in the draft to remain a playoff contender. James Harrison can't play forever. Given the priority of the position, the Steelers could make a run at any of the possible candidates who could be within range near the bottom of the first round. Missouri's Charles Harris, Michigan's Taco Charlton, Temple's Haason Reddick and Alabama's Tim Williams offer some intriguing skills. At inside linebacker, the team needs to replace the departed Lawrence Timmons. Pittsburgh could hone in on a rock-solid tackling machine like Ohio's Blair Brown, LSU's Kendell Beckwith or Illinois' Hardy Nickerson in the later rounds. On offense, the team needs to find a big-time TE1 to occupy the middle of the field in the passing game. Miami's David Njoku would be the ideal candidate, given his size/speed combination, but he might not be around when the Steelers go on the clock. The team could target Ashland's Adam Shaheen or Michigan's Jake Butt as traditional tight end prospects on Day 2.
Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.