Team Needs: AFC North

Baltimore Ravens:

Baltimore had one of the most explosive offenses in the league last year, so there are relatively few needs on that side of the ball for them in 2020. They have a franchise quarterback in Lamar Jackson and quality starters at running back (Mark Ingram), wide receiver (Marquise Brown), and tight end (Mark Andrews). However, the rest of their supporting cast at receiver leaves a lot to be desired; Willie Snead faded into the background last year, and Seth Robins and Miles Boykin are replacement-level. They’re set at the tackle positions, but their interior linemen – Patrick Mekari, Matt Skura, and Bradley Bozeman – are just adequate and could be upgraded.

The Ravens have a very good defensie line in place even though the signing of Michael Brockers was derailed, as they were able to sign Derek Wolfe to a cheap deal and are considering bringing in Mike Daniels as well. Matt Judon is a good primary pass-rusher off the edge, and Tyus Bowser has flashed as well, although 2019 third-rounder Jaylon Ferguson was a disappointment in the outside linebacker rotation. Inside linebacker is a major need, with none of their returning guys having played as much as 300 snaps last year. The team is deep at cornerback and has a pair of good coverage safeties in Earl Thomas and Chuck Clark, although they could consider bringing in a box enforcer type given that Tony Jefferson didn’t work out.

Top Needs: WR, OG, LB, DB

Expiring Contracts: WR Willie Snead, OT Ronnie Stanley, LB Tyus Bowser, CB Brandon Carr, CB Marlon Humphrey, DB Chuck Clark

Cincinnati Bengals:

Although the Bengals are claiming they’re not opposed to keeping Andy Dalton on roster in 2020, it’s hard to imagine him being on the team; the Bengals will in all likelihood draft Joe Burrow first overall to become their franchise quarterback. Things didn’t go well for the team last year, but they still have a lot of talent at the skill positions. Joe Mixon is a nice starting running back, and the receiver duo of A.J. Green, finally set to return, and Tyler Boyd is good as well. They could stand to upgrade over the likes of Auden Tate and John Ross opposite those two, but that’s not guaranteed to be a priority. Having lost Tyler Eifert, they now need a new starting tight end. 2019 first-rounder Jonah Williams missed his entire rookie season with an injury, but will man the blindside. The rest of the line is interesting: no one played well last year, with the possible exception of center Trey Hopkins, but they have invested pretty heavily in guard with Billy Price (first round, 2018) and Michael Jordan (fourth round, 2019). Bobby Hart is a dirty starter at best at right tackle.

Geno Atkins and D.J. Reader should form one of the best interior line duos in the league next year, and they have a couple of guys behind them as well. Carlos Dunlap is still playing at a high level at the end position, although Carl Lawson fell off and Sam Hubbard isn’t a great pass-rusher yet either; they’ll probably give those guys another year at the least. Josh Bynes looked like a good linebacker last year over 428 snaps, but they need more off-ball options alongside him; 2019 third-rounder Jermaine Pratt struggled. The Bengals have invested so much in the cornerback position, with four first-rounders and one second-rounder on roster, but only Darqueze Dennard played well last year, and he’s a free agent; having signed Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander this offseason, they’re likely banking on one or both rebounding and solidifying the position. They’ve signed Vonn Bell at safety but could use a starter opposite him, as both Jessie Bates and Shawn Williams played poorly; maybe someone like Dre Kirkpatrick could slide to safety.

Top Needs: QB, TE, OL, LB, DB

Expiring Contracts: QB Andy Dalton, RB Joe Mixon, WR John Ross, DE Carl Lawson, CB William Jackson, DB Shawn Williams

Cleveland Browns:

Baker Mayfield’s leash is getting shorter but the Browns will give him another shot next year. The Browns are set at running back with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, and although Odell Beckham’s first season in Cleveland was disappointing he and Jarvis Landry are one of the highest-upside receiver duos in the league, albeit without a great third option. The Browns signed Austin Hooper to a massive deal to play tight end, so they’re set there. Although 2019 blindside protector Greg Robinson hasn’t re-signed yet and may be facing league discipline, they landed Jack Conklin to play right tackle, and have two other solid linemen in Joel Bitonio and J.C. Tretter, reliable pass-protectors, although another guard would be nice.

The duo of Sheldon Richardson and Andrew Billings is at least adequate on the interior of the defensive line, and the Myles Garrett/Olivier Vernon combination at defensive end is excellent. The linebackers on the team leave a lot to be desired, with none of the players currently on roster having played well last year; that’s probably their biggest need as a team. Greedy Williams didn’t play well as a rookie, but he joins a solid duo in Kevin Johnson and Denzel Ward, so it’s unlikely they’ll invest much more at cornerback, and they have a couple of adequate safeties in Andrew Sendejo and Karl Joseph, even if Damarious Randall ends up signing somewhere else.

Top Needs: OT OG, LB, DB

Expiring Contracts: DE Myles Garrett, DE Olivier Vernon

Pittsburgh Steelers:

With Ben Roethlisberger returning, the Steelers should be set at quarterback this year, but neither Mason Rudolph nor Devlin Hodges looked like a future starting option in 2019. They have a good if injury-prone running back in James Conner, and a #1 receiver in JuJu Smith-Schuster, although his production fell off without Ben throwing him the ball. James Washington and Diontae Johnson showed enough last year to make another receiver more of a luxury than a pressing need. They’ll be counting on Eric Ebron to man the tight end position, and after signing Stefen Wisniewski, they look pretty solid along the offensive line too, although center Maurkice Pouncey really struggled in 2019.

The team’s defensive front is loaded, with Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, and Tyson Alualu on the defensive line and first-round picks T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree rushing off the edge. Vince Williams is a good off-ball linebacker, and although Devin Bush was more of a replacement-level player as a rookie, they’re obviously expecting him to develop into a starter there. It might be worth bringing in a boundary cornerback; Joe Haden is still playing well and Steven Nelson is one of the top slot cornerbacks in the league, but Cameron Sutton played just 268 snaps last year and Mike Hilton is more adequate than he is a high-end starter. Minkah Fitzpatrick was a great trade acquistion at safety, but next to him, Terrell Edmunds is looking like the major reach most people thought he was when the Steelers chose him in the first round back in 2018.

Top Needs: QB, OC, CB, DB

Expiring Contracts: RB James Conner, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, OT Alejandro Villaneuva, DL Cameron Heyward, DL Tyson Alualu, LB T.J. Watt, CB Cameron Sutton

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