Biggest remaining needs for each AFC North team
Switching conferences, we are going to look at the biggest areas of need for every team in the AFC, starting up North.
Now that we've wrapped up the NFC, we're switching to the opposite conference and identify the areas each team still could improve at. Once again, this could be a need for a starter, backup or one case even a schematic change. We are starting North and will move along clockwise throughout the week.
Baltimore Ravens – Center
The Ravens are building another dominant defense, with several key veterans and some young players, who are only getting better at this point. I think they have quality depth at pretty much every position on that side of the ball. Offensively, they are about to make a schematic overhaul once 32nd overall pick Lamar Jackson is waiting to become the dynamic new leader of this team.
However, as of now this still is Joe Flacco’s job to lose and he has a completely new set of weapons. They brought over John Brown from Arizona to once again give them a serious deep threat, Willie Snead will take over in the slot for them and they drafted two excellent tight-ends in South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst and Oklahoma’s Mark Andrews.
Alex Collins emerged as their featured back last season and they have some young talents behind him. Nevertheless, the offensive line hasn’t experienced continuity in recent years. They get their most important asset back in All-Pro guard Marshal Yanda and Ronnie Stanley is on the brink of becoming a top-tier left tackle in this league. I think you can pencil in two of these three at left guard and right tackle – James Hurst, Alex Lewis and Orlando Brown.
I’m not totally sold on what they have at center though. Baltimore picked up Matt Skura as an undrafted free agent two years ago and he started 12 games last season with Yanda on IR. They were forced to give up Ryan Jensen in free agency since they knew they wouldn’t be able to afford him.
He ended up proving them right on that thought, by signing a four-year, 42-million dollar contract with the Buccaneers. I have yet to see Skura at center, but he didn’t look too good at guard last season and I have some doubts. I think Bradley Bozeman, who they picked up late in the draft out of Alabama, is a rock-solid backup, but a sixth-round pick rarely cracks the starting lineup.