AFC North Team Needs
While the Steelers ran away with the AFC North division last season, the rest of the teams have been busy during the offseason and look to continue building up their rosters. With moves still left to be made, it’ll be interesting to see if any team can creep up to Pittsburgh.
QB, OT, DT, DE, CB
The Cleveland Browns haven’t had a productive starting quarterback in the 21st century. While Tyrod Taylor is a true journeyman at the position, the Browns will almost certainly draft a quarterback in the first-round considering the dire need they’ve had for a franchise signal-caller. Left tackle Joe Thomas has decided to retire, which leaves a huge hole at his position. Looking at the defense, parting ways with Danny Shelton means the defensive tackle spot needs an upgrade. While Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah are both contributors on the edge, Cleveland should still look to add depth at the position to improve its lackluster defense from a season ago. With the safeties looking solid in the secondary, cornerback is still a position that hasn’t been addressed this offseason.
OG, C, QB, DE, S
While trading for Cordy Glenn was a solid move for Cincinnati, the rest of the offensive line needs work. Both the guard and center positions need to be addressed in the draft in order to keep Andy Dalton upright and allow for a solid running game. Speaking of Dalton, the Bengals may draft a quarterback to play behind him as the team let AJ McCarron walk in free agency. Looking at the defense, there are only three defensive ends on the roster. While all three are impact players, there obviously needs to be more on the roster in order to have an effective pass rush. The loss of Reggie Nelson has had a negative impact on the team, and the Bengals haven’t addressed the issue since he signed with the Oakland Raiders in 2016.
WR, OT, TE, DT, Edge
Signing Michael Crabtree gave the Baltimore Ravens a true red zone target, but he appears to be the only threat at the wide receiver position outside of John Brown. The Ravens could use their first-round pick to draft a wide receiver to solidify the position that has been an issue for years. With Ronnie Stanley holding down the left side of the line, Baltimore could still use an upgrade at right tackle. The Maxx Williams’ experiment didn’t pan out for Baltimore, and the team should draft a tight end to take over as the starter after losing Benjamin Watson in free agency. The Ravens’ front seven is solid for now but needs to get younger. Drafting young players to learn under Terrell Suggs and Brandon Williams is the proactive move to make.
QB, RB, TE, LB, CB
While Ben Roethlisberger is still playing well, let’s not deny that he only has a handful of productive years left. The Steelers’ should certainly look to draft a future replacement in this year’s draft. The agonizing contract negotiations with Le’Veon Bell infer that Pittsburgh may be looking to draft another running back as insurance if Bell leaves the team. Although Jesse James and Vance McDonald aren’t bad tight ends, there’s plenty of talent in the draft and Pittsburgh has a chance to upgrade the position in the first-round. Looking at the defense, there’s an immediate hole in the middle of the defense after Ryan Shazier went down with a gruesome back injury. Leighton Vander Esch and Rashaan Evans are two players the Steelers could be targeting early in the draft to replace Shazier’s production. When looking at the cornerback position, the Steelers prefer to play with a platoon of players, which means that the team may look to add a piece or two to complement what they already have.
Hunter Pitcoff is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.