<
>

Final AFC North draft thoughts

4/22/2010

The NFL draft will begin Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. ET, and the AFC North blog will be stationed at Cleveland Browns headquarters to bring you all the latest.

But before we get started, here are some final draft thoughts for each team in the division to get you warmed up for the opening round:

  • The growing sense in Cleveland is that the Browns are impressed with Colt McCoy but may have to trade up to land the former Texas quarterback. In the second round, Cleveland currently stands at No. 38 overall. But there are five teams ahead of the Browns in the second round, which presents five opportunities for teams to snag McCoy or trade up to get him. Watch out for the St. Louis Rams with the first pick in the second round, at No. 33 overall. They are expected to take former Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford with the No. 1 pick. The Rams would love to generate trade interest to acquire more picks for anyone willing to trade up to get McCoy if he makes it to the second round Friday.

  • Sorry to keep beating a dead horse, but as recently as this morning I was again told the Cincinnati Bengals continue to have interest in tight ends. They are checking into medicals, because many of the top tight ends have injury concerns. They’ve had visits at the position and personnel attend various pro days. Will they take a tight end at No. 21? It all depends on who’s there. But I can’t see Cincinnati investing all this energy into the position without drafting a tight end at some point, most likely in the top half of the draft than the bottom. Also don’t rule out Cincinnati acquiring a veteran via trade, which head coach Marvin Lewis hinted was an option last week.

  • I was always skeptical of the Pittsburgh Steelers' chances of trading embattled quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton seconded those thoughts Thursday, saying Roethlisberger will not be moved. The asking price is unusually (deliberately?) high considering all the circumstances surrounding Roethlisberger. If the Philadelphia Eagles could only get a second-round pick for a quality quarterback in Donovan McNabb, who's had no off-field issues, the chances of Pittsburgh getting a top-10 pick seem remote. The Oakland Raiders, with maverick owner Al Davis, could be Pittsburgh's only shot at No. 8.

  • The Baltimore Ravens only have five picks this week, but the best way for them to acquire more would be for a top prospect to have a surprising freefall. Receiver Dez Bryant would be the best example. Bryant is a top-15 talent who some believe could fall late in the first round. If Bryant gets past Denver at No. 11, he could be available to a team like Cincinnati (No. 21) or Baltimore (No. 25). Either club could work out a deal to trade down, perhaps to a team like the Dallas Cowboys, to get more picks if that's the primary goal in this scenario.