AFC North: Taylor Lewan

PITTSBURGH – It's hard to imagine a scenario in which the Pittsburgh Steelers don't use their first-round pick on a cornerback.

But it's not impossible.

One of the left tackles could slip to No. 15 and tempt the Steelers. Anthony Barr fell to the Steelers in the ESPN NFL Nation mock draft held earlier this week, and I grabbed the UCLA outside linebacker after also considering Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller and LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

Barr had 23 sacks in two season while learning to play outside linebacker on the fly. He is a playmaker who has a tremendous upside, and the Steelers need to bolster their pass rush.

The problem is I don't think Barr will be available at No. 15. I think Beckham is gone before then too with a team likely trading up to draft him.

That leads me back to cornerback and I think the Steelers will be thrilled if they have their choice of Fuller and Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard.

Both are good fits for the Steelers and I think they would be happy with either one. If they have a choice I think the Steelers take Fuller. He is a little bigger and probably has better ball skills than Dennard.

But really it could be a coin flip between the two and the Steelers would love nothing more than if they have to choose between Dennard and Fuller.

I say they do and that they opt for Fuller.
On our weekly Baltimore Ravens chat, I was asked to address the team's different scenarios in the first round: dream, great, good, most realistic and awful. I thought I would share my thoughts in more detail on each throughout today.

Here is the Ravens' dream scenario ... The Ravens draft Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan with the No. 17 overall pick.

Let's be up front about this. The odds of this happening are 100 to 1. This is like the Cleveland Browns winning the Super Bowl. That's what makes it a "dream" scenario.

Lewan is the third-best offensive tackle in this draft behind Auburn's Greg Robinson and Texas A&M's Jake Matthews. He represents the biggest upgrade the Ravens could make at right tackle, the biggest hole on the team. Lewan also has the ability to eventually play left tackle.

So, why would the Ravens have any shot at Lewan? He is dealing with a couple off-the-field issues. His arraignment on one charge of aggravated assault and two charges of assault and battery is currently set for nine days after the draft. Lewan has also denied allegations that he intimidated a woman in 2009 who said she was sexually assaulted by one of his former teammates. These red flags could scare some teams.

Still, it's difficult to put together a mock where Lewan falls out of the first round. Mel Kiper Jr. believes there's a chance he could go as high as No. 2 to the St. Louis Rams. Even if Lewan doesn't go there, he would still need to make it past the Oakland Raiders (No. 5), Atlanta Falcons (No. 6), Buffalo Bills (No. 9), New York Giants (No. 12) and Rams again at No. 13.

The Ravens aren't banking on this happening. Assistant general manager Eric DeCosta believes the top four tackles (Robinson, Matthews, Lewan and Notre Dame's Zack Martin) will all be gone before the Ravens are on the clock. If somehow Lewan does slide, it would certainly be a dream come true for the Ravens.
PITTSBURGH -- Given a chance to lobby for a tall wide receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger took a pass.

Roethlisberger
"Anything to help this team," Roethlisberger said on 93.7 The Fan when asked who he thinks the Steelers should draft in the first round. "That’s the mindset we all need to be in because 8-8 is not good enough and we need to get back to the playoffs and the Super Bowl. Whatever the higher powers decide can help this team that’s what I’m going for."

General manager Kevin Colbert has said the Steelers plan to maximize Roethlisberger’s remaining years with the team -- Big Ben said earlier this week that he feels like he can play five to seven more seasons -- by surrounding him with talent.

One former Steelers great said the best way to do that is to bolster the unit that protects the Steelers’ franchise quarterback.

"I think in order for Ben to be successful we have to solidify the offensive line," said Pro Football Hall of Famer Dermontti Dawson. "We have to get a big-threat receiver and we have to get a running game back."

The Steelers won’t take a running back until the third day of the draft since Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount are poised to get the bulk of the carries in 2014. They could take a wide receiver in the first round, though the position is so deep I think the Steelers wait a little later in the draft before addressing it.

Would the Steelers take an offensive tackle with their first-round pick?

The top three tackles in the class -- Auburn’s Greg Robinson, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews and Michigan’s Taylor Lewan -- are unlikely to slip to No. 15 in the draft. But Notre Dame’s Zack Martin could be available there, and he may be one of the safer picks in the draft as teams love his temperament and versatility.

ESPN analyst Todd McShay ranks Martin as the ninth-best player in the draft. He also has five tackles among his 16 highest-rated players in the draft (Virginia’s Morgan Moses is the other one).

It’s hard to see the Steelers using the first-round pick on a tackle given how many other needs they have.

But players they weren’t expecting to be available in past drafts have slipped to them so nothing can be ruled out here.
The most-asked question I have received since the Baltimore Ravens' season ended is: Who are the Ravens drafting in May?

Kevin Weidl, one of the draft experts at ESPN.com, has a few names for you. His breakdown of all of the draft needs for AFC North teams is an Insider post, Insider which means you'll need a subscription to read the entire piece.

But here are some potential draft targets mentioned by Weidl (along with comment from me):

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan: He isn't at the same level of former Michigan tackle Jake Long, but his size, athleticism and mentality makes him a first-round pick.

OT Zack Martin, Notre Dame: He possesses great strength but his lack of ideal length could make him better suited for guard.

OT Morgan Moses, Virginia: He's a superb pass-protector who allowed two sacks in 506 pass attempts.

G David Yankey, Stanford: His athleticism and footwork allows him to pull and open up holes in the running game.

TIGHT ENDS

Eric Ebron, North Carolina: He led all ACC tight ends in catches and built a reputation for making impressive catches on the outside and down the seam.

Jace Amaro, Texas Tech: The 6-foot-5, 260-pound target set the FBS record with 1,352 receiving yards, the most ever for a tight end.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington: A former college basketball player, he won the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end this season.

C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa: A solid three-year starter who has reliable hands and is a fine route-runner.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Mike Evans, Texas A&M: A mismatch nightmare at 6-5, 225 pounds, he posted personal highs in receiving yards (1,394) and receiving touchdowns (12).

Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State: Raw and athletic, he caught everyone's attention by heading into the BCS National Championship Game with nine touchdowns in his past five games.

Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt: Other than his strength and ability, what stands out is he became the SEC all-time leading receiver without consistent quarterbacking in his career.

Brandin Cooks, Oregon State: A smaller playmaker (5-10), he broke Pac-12 records with 128 receptions for 1,730 yards this season.

Jarvis Landry, LSU: He recorded 15 touchdown catches and had six games with at least 100 yards receiving over the last two seasons.

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