Commentary

Horton: AFC North offseason needs

Breaking down the top six areas to address for every squad

Originally Published: April 21, 2011
By Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.
Chad Ochocinco and Carson PalmerJeff Zelevansky/Getty ImagesThe Bengals likely will have some fairly big holes to fill at WR and QB this year.

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.

Baltimore Ravens

Top needs:
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.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.