NFL Nation: University of North Carolina
Posted by ESPN.com'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.|
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.
Posted by ESPN.com'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.
- Speaking of coaching staffs, the Cleveland Browns have hired new tight ends coach Steve Hagen from the University of North Carolina.
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.
- The Baltimore Ravens also made a cost-cutting move in releasing veteran cornerback Chris McAlister.
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.
1:00 PM ET San Diego Buffalo 1:00 PM ET Dallas St. Louis 1:00 PM ET Washington Philadelphia 1:00 PM ET Houston New York 1:00 PM ET Minnesota New Orleans 1:00 PM ET Tennessee Cincinnati 1:00 PM ET Baltimore Cleveland 1:00 PM ET Green Bay Detroit 1:00 PM ET Indianapolis Jacksonville 1:00 PM ET Oakland New England 4:05 PM ET San Francisco Arizona 4:25 PM ET Denver Seattle 4:25 PM ET Kansas City Miami 8:30 PM ET Pittsburgh Carolina