Commentary

Summer Audits: AFC North

Taking stock of situations in Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh

Updated: July 20, 2010, 7:32 AM ET
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider
Getty ImagesDarren Sproles outracing Fabian Washington down the field is one sign of trouble with the Ravens' secondary.

The draft is obviously the focal point of the NFL offseason for me, but it certainly doesn't end there. The picks are only half of the equation. How they fit is where the draft is really made. And part of that has to factor in the personnel that teams have added around them.

So with the draft clearly in mind, let's do a quick summer audit on the situations of the teams in the AFC North. So far I've done the AFC West, NFC West, AFC South and NFC South. (You can find all the pieces together in one place by going here.) What I'll do is hit three things:

1. A crucial influx, such as an impact player or position group.
2. A question mark that still lingers.
3. If the team had a chance to pick anyone from the 2011 draft class right now to address a hole, who it would be. (Whether a team has an early pick in next year's draft isn't the issue -- it's just a hypothetical involving top college talent and current needs.)

So call it a checkup and a look-ahead wrapped together -- part deep projection, part current need.


If you want to read Kiper's take on all four AFC North squads, you must be an ESPN Insider. (Take heart, Steeler Nation.)

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst