- Gary Horton, Scouts Inc.
Amid the NFL labor situation, with no free agency yet, one thing is certain: There will be an NFL draft starting Thursday. With that come mock drafts (from Mel Kiper and Todd McShay) and team needs that must be met. Gary Horton examines the top six needs for every team in the NFL. Here is the file for the AFC North.
1. Cornerback: Injuries have really hurt this position in recent years, and now three of the Ravens' four best cover guys -- Josh Wilson, Chris Carr and Fabian Washington -- are free agents. Baltimore likely will lose two of these three, and on a defense that loves to blitz and play man schemes behind it, the corner position is very important.
2. Wide receiver: This position looked loaded at the beginning of the 2010 season, but the need for a vertical threat to spread out this offense is apparent. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Donte' Stallworth and Derrick Mason are all replaceable, and Anquan Boldin is excellent but is an underneath receiver.
3. Offensive tackle: Michael Oher made the switch from right to left tackle, but he struggles against athletic edge rushers and could be more suited to move back to the right side. RT Jared Gaither missed the entire 2010 season with a back injury and is a free agent who likely won't return. Baltimore needs a starter here.
4. Outside linebacker: Terrell Suggs is the Ravens' only real pass-rushing threat, and last year's top draft pick, Sergio Kindle, didn't play a snap a year ago because of a skull fracture. Jarret Johnson is decent on the other side, but he is not an explosive player and this defense depends on outside pressure from both OLBs.
2dEric D. Williams
2dMel Kiper Jr.