2012 NFL Draft: AFC North Team Needs
John Tuvey
April 16, 2012

AFC North  |  AFC South  |  AFC East  |  AFC West  |  NFC North  |  NFC South  |  NFC East  |  NFC West

CLEVELAND BROWNS (4th overall pick and 22nd overall pick (from ATL))

Nine picks plus four compensatory picks: 1.4; 1.22 (from ATL); 2.5; 3.4; 4.5; 4.23 (from ATL); 5.4; 6.34 (compensatory pick); 6.35 (compensatory pick); 7.4; 7.38 (compensatory pick); 7.40 (compensatory pick)

With two first-round selections, including the key fourth pick which at this juncture looks to be the most pivotal pick of Day One, the Browns are poised to make some noise. Then again, we thought the same last year and all Cleveland did was trade back with the Falcons. You have to think offensive playmakers will be at the top of the Browns’ shopping list, but again that’s long been the belief and time and time again the Browns have gone another direction. Maybe this is finally the year Cleveland plunges into what looks to be a very deep class at both running back and wide receiver. If the Browns choose not to provide Colt McCoy with weapons, maybe they’ll look for a replacement, or at least another QB to challenge him. Should picking playmakers again prove to be against the Cleveland philosophy, offensive line depth and help for Joe Haden in the secondary stand out as needs.

Possible options: RB Trent Richardson, Alabama; WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State; QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M; OT Riley Reiff, Iowa; QB Brandon Wheedon, Oklahoma State; CB Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska

CINCINNATI BENGALS (17th overall pick (from OAK) and 21st overall pick)

Nine picks: 1.17 (from OAK); 1.21; 2.21; 3.20; 4.21; 5.21; 5.31 (from NEP); 5.32 (from NYG); 6.21

Last year the Bengals hit big in the draft, teaming A.J. Green with Andy Dalton. This time around they have a pair of mid-first picks and could be shopping for a running mate for Green and another target for Dalton. Cincy also needs to replace Cedric Benson’s carries; free agent signee BenJarvus Green-Ellis is part of the solution, but there’s a deep class of backs from which they could pull a complementary back. The Bengals signed free agents to fill holes in the interior of their offensive line and in their secondary, but those positions will also be targeted during the draft.

Possible options: CB Dre’ Kirkpatrick, Alabama; CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina; WR Kendall Wright, Baylor; OT Cordy Glenn, Georgia; CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama; RB Doug Martin, Boise State; RB Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati;

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (24th overall pick)

Seven picks plus three compensatory picks: 1.24; 2.24; 3.23; 4.24; 5.24; 6.23; 7.24; 7.33 (compensatory pick); 7.39 (compensatory pick); 7.41 (compensatory pick)

Seems like every draft the Steelers have needs along the offensive line, and this year is no exception. Pittsburgh could also be looking at running backs if there’s concern about Rashard Mendenhall’s recovery from ACL surgery and wide receivers with Hines Ward retiring and Mike Wallace looking for a payday. The Steelers will also need to eventually find a replacement for nose tackle Casey Hampton and may use a Day Two pick to do so.

Possible options: DT Michael Brockers, LSU; OLB Melvin Ingram, South Carolina; OT Cordy Glenn, Georgia; OT Mike Adams, Ohio State; DT Alameda Ta’amu, Washington; WR Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma

BALTIMORE RAVENS (29th overall pick)

Six picks plus two compensatory picks: 1.29; 2.28; 3.28; 4.35 (compensatory pick); 5.29; 5.34 (compensatory pick); 6.28; 7.29Assuming the Ravens plan to keep Ray Rice long-term, there are no glaring holes in their starting lineup. However, with stalwarts such as Ed Reed and Ray Lewis approaching the twilights of their respective careers Baltimore may be looking for replacements to groom. The interior of the offensive line is also somewhat unsettled, with Ben Grubbs leaving via free agency and veteran Matt Birk nearing the end of his run.

Possible options: LB/DE Whitney Mercilus, Illinois; LB Donte’ Hightower, Alabama; OC Peter Konz, Wisconsin; CB Trumaine Johnson, Montana; OG Amini Silatolu, Midwestern State; LB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State

AFC North  |  AFC South  |  AFC East  |  AFC West  |  NFC North  |  NFC South  |  NFC East  |  NFC West

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