NFL Nation: University of North Carolina

Posted by's James Walker

Team needs: Receiver, inside linebacker, cornerback

  G Fiume/Getty Images
  Maryland receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey would be a good fit for the Ravens.
Dream scenario: Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey is a player the Ravens are very familiar with, as he made his name at the University of Maryland in nearby College Park. Heyward-Bey also opened a lot of eyes when he did extremely well at the NFL combine, running a lightning-fast 4.3 in the 40-yard dash. The Ravens could use Heyward-Bey to stretch the field to complement second-year quarterback Joe Flacco's strong arm and the team's power running game. Heyward-Bey entered the offseason as somewhat of a sleeper who was considered a late first- or early second-round prospect. But his performance at the combine may have moved him up the draft board a little too much for Baltimore to snag Heyward-Bey at No. 26 overall.

Plan B: Baltimore's secondary plan sort of falls in line with the team's ideal scenario, and that is taking the best receiver available. That player could be Hakeem Nicks from the University of North Carolina. The Ravens also could look for more talent at cornerback or an extra linebacker to compete for the vacant spot left by the departure of Bart Scott. This week's signing of L.J. Smith likely rules out Baltimore taking a tight end high in the draft. But a developmental project could be had there on the second day.

Scouts Inc.'s take: "For a young quarterback you need to find a pass catcher -- that's their No. 1 need. I've mentioned Nicks for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but I think he would also be a terrific Raven. One thing when they're looking at receivers, they cannot afford to get a small guy. Percy Harvin is not someone they should go after. They need to get big-bodied receivers." -- Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc.

Who has final say: Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has made his claim as one of the best talent evaluators in the NFL. With draft picks such as Ray Lewis, Jonathan Ogden, Ed Reed, and most recently Flacco on his resume, the Ravens have the utmost confidence in Newsome calling the shots on draft day.

Now On the Clock: Miami Dolphins, March 22.

Previous On the Clock: Indianapolis Colts. The team-by-team series.

Posted by's James Walker

Here are the most interesting stories Tuesday in the AFC North:

  • It turns out the Pittsburgh Steelers will keep their coaching staff intact for next year coming off a victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII.

Morning take: This is a rarity for a championship team and should not be overlooked in its quest to repeat.

Morning take: Browns head coach Eric Mangini continues to look to the college ranks to fill out his staff of assistants. Hagen does have some pro experience with a prior stint with the Browns.

  • The Cincinnati Bengals used the franchise tag on kicker Shayne Graham, opening the door for receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh to test free agency.

Morning take: Once other teams get in a high-stakes bidding war for "Housh," the Bengals will probably back off and let the former Pro Bowler play elsewhere next season. It should be a good opportunity for Houshmandzadeh to start anew.

Morning take: This is not shocking considering McAlister was due $8 million next season. Baltimore needs salary cap room to make a serious run at in-house free agents such as linebackers Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs.