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Saturday, 28 March 2015

First Round Prospects By Division: AFC North

Baltimore Ravens:

The Ravens came surprisingly close to making a run for the Super Bowl, narrowly losing in the divisional round to the eventual Super Bowl champs. Despite their deep run though, they had some glaring flaws on their team, both on offense and on defense. On offense they lack receivers that can threaten defenses outside the hashes. Sitting at the 26th spot they will likely miss out on the top three guys but should be able to get someone like Dorial Green-Beckham or Jaelen Strong. They can also wait until later rounds as it is a deep position in this draft. With the loss of Haloti Ngata, among others, they have a hole up front, and while Brandon Williams stepped up last year and second-year player Timmy Jernigan is expected to, they need another guy to play beside them. They have a bigger hole on defense though, with their cornerback corps seen as possibly their weakest link last year. Jimmy Smith is returning from injury and Lardarius Webb should rebound from an off year, but there is nothing beyond them.

Top Three Prospects:

1.) Dorial Green-Beckham - WR   Okahoma

2.) Kevin Johnson - CB   Wake Forest

3.) Jalen Collins - CB   LSU

Cincinnati Bengals:

Despite the team's lack of playoff success, they are among the league's most complete teams. They signed their former player Michael Johnson, an adequate starter in Clint Boling, and two inside backers, and have quality players at just about every position. One of the few positions they lack a reliable starter in is defensive tackle. They need a more consistent contributer to play beside Geno Atkins, and a guy like Jordan Phillips would make a lot of sense for them. Outside of that, they lack depth at the receiver and cornerback positions and could use a future replacement for the 33-year-old Andrew Whitworth.

Top Three Prospects:

1.) Jordan Phillips - NT   Oklahoma

2.) D.J. Humphries - OT   Florida

3.) Arik Armstead - DT   Oregon

Cleveland Browns:

The Browns are in a lucky position, holding two first-round picks with solid value. However, they seemingly have more holes than any other team in the league, with the skill positions on offense unsettled, their run defense in shambles, and their two first-round picks from last year already looking like busts. To shore up their run defense they signed Randy Starks, who is often a force to be reckoned with, but they need guys to play beside him. Two potential selections for them would be Malcom Brown and Arik Armstead, but it all depends on how they view their current lineup, which is expected to be mixed around by signings and multiple players returning from injury. With their first pick they should get DeVante Parker, trade up for Kevin White or Amari Cooper, or one of the edge rushers if they have lost faith in their former first-round pick Barkevious Mingo, while they should address their run defense with their second.

Top Three Prospects:

1.) Kevin White - WR   WVU

2.) Malcom Brown - DT   Texas

3.) Arik Armstead - DT   Oregon

Pittsburgh Steelers:

The winners of the division last year, the Steelers have a very strong roster, but they still have some notable holes. With Jason Worilds out of the league, James Harrison not getting any younger, and Jarvis Jones having yet to show up, they may opt to pick a linebacker for the third year in a row, but Harrison is still under contract and Jones has only been in the league for two years. A bigger hole and more reasonable pick would be corner, with Cortez Allen failing to take the next step and Ike Taylor now gone. The Steelers sit fairly low at 22, but first-round talents like Jalen Collins and Kevin Johnson should be available at that spot. The big 6-foot-2 Jalen Collins is a perfect fit for the Steelers' physical defense, but Johnson is a bit undersized, so if the LSU product is gone by the time they are on the clock, they may go with the best edge rusher available.

Top Three Prospects:

1.) Jalen Collins - CB   LSU

2.) Bud Dupree - OLB   Kentucky

3.) Kevin Johnson - CB   Wake Forest


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