The only team with a winning record in the AFC North last season was the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Bengals, Ravens, and Browns will need to amp up the talent on their roster considerably, to compete against Pittsburgh this upcoming season. The Ravens are transitioning into a younger team, the Bengals are working towards consistency and the Browns need a quarterback as always.
Each AFC North squad is only one piece away from conquering or staying atop their division. Below are the positions they will need to fulfill in the draft to become serious playoff contenders.
2016 season: 1-15 record
Draft order: 1st overall and 12th overall
Glaring need: Quarterback
The Cleveland Browns have the perfect recipe for losing. They’ve only had one winning record since 2003 and the last time they won a playoff game was when Bill Belichick was the head coach way back in 1994. Considering the abundance of young talent they have on their roster, the Browns are one solid quarterback away from making the playoffs in these next couple of years.
2016 season: 6-9-1 record
Draft order: 9th overall
Glaring need: Offensive Lineman
After losing two solid starters at the tackle and guard positions, the Bengals will be seeking replacements. There is not a lineman worth a top ten pick, but it’s also a possibility that they can trade down, fulfill a position need, and acquire more picks to add depth to their roster, simultaneously.
2016 season: 8-8 record
Draft order: 16th overall
Glaring need: Wide receiver
Baltimore’s franchise quarterback, Joe Flacco, has no go-to receiver to throw the ball to. With all the talent in the world at the receiver position, this is the perfect spot to address that need.
2016 season: 11-5 record
Draft order: 30th overall
Glaring need: Edge rusher
Bud Dupree is a promising young talent, but opposite of him is 38-year-old, James Harrison. Harrison can’t play forever so it will be ideal for Pittsburgh to get a future replacement that can shadow the Kent State alumnus.