The Combine Report: 2017 NFL Team Needs – AFC North

By: Barry Barnes, Founder

Other than using the vehicle of the NFL Draft to solve an immediate need, teams look to the selection process to build depth. Due to expected injuries and overall development, constructing a solid roster from top to bottom is essential for clubs to succeed. Players must be teachable, hungry and ready, which is why the NFL Regional Combine is significant.

NFL teams should build according to their division. If a squad can amass the right talents to execute the system well enough to dictate outcomes on the field, skies the limits.

Despite taking a dip, the AFC North continues to be a physical division. The AFC North squads are manufactured to run the ball, be physical and get at the quarterback.

Apparently, the North is looking to be explosive in the air with their big arm quarterbacks.

However, in order for this dynamic division to wreak havoc once again, and command respect for their physicality, they must continue to enforce their will, inflict painĀ and stop trying to be fancy.

The North has a differential of -84, as the Cleveland Browns is the only team that finished in the red at -188. Nevertheless, the Baltimore Ravens (22) and Cincinnati Bengals (10) were not far from being outscored themselves.

PITTSBURGH STEELERSĀ (Current RC players – P Jordan Berry, DBs Jordan Dangerfield and Robert Golden, DE Johnny Maxey Jr., WR Marcus Tucker, OT Alejandro Villanueva)

Last Season – 11-5

Steelers ended the regular season on a seven-game winning streak. Due to a lack of firepower and defensive pressure, the Steelers were not able to make the postseason push they desired. Since majority of their weapons are returning, the Steelers will cap their roster with new hungry faces.

Needs – Linebacker, Defensive end, Quarterback, Defensive Back

Linebacker

Feb. 18, 2017 (HOUSTON, TX) - South Florida linebacker Nigel Harris runs drill at the 2017 NFL Regional Combine. Photo By: John Moore - Locker-Report.com

Nigel Harris (South Florida), Balance, hybrid, quick, play well with weight, strong, great hands

Omar Howard (Richmond), Natural tackler, good feet, decent hands

B.J. Bello (Illinois State), Agile, great feet, decent hands, hybrid, plays the pass, quick

Abner Logan (Albany, N.Y.), Powerful, physical, decent hands, moves well

Defensive End

Kyle Kelley (San Diego State), Fiery, play on high motor, good hands

Christopher Casher (Faulkner), Explosive, discipline, good hands

Monte Taylor (Albany State, Ga.), Fluent, decent hands, explosive, quick first step

Defensive Back

Deshawntee Gallon (Georgia Southern), Leadership, strong, agile, physical, pure tackler

Wayne Morgan (Syracuse), Good speed, great hands, great instincts

Kevin Wharry (Angelo State), Great hands, aggressive, physical, good feet

Quarterback

Austin Apodaca (New Mexico), Strong arm, quick release, smart, moves well, great touch

Nick Mullens (Southern Mississippi), Great release, mobile, smart, great vision, strong with a solid touch

Zach Kline (Frenso State), Quick release, strong arm, great touch, moves well, has a good deep ball

BALTIMORE RAVENS – (Current RC players – LB Cavellis Luckett)

Last season, 8-8

Charm City’s finest was once one of the better staples in the league in terms of finding untapped talents. It appears that after winning their second Super Bowl, the Ravens have not been the same in finding the suitable gems.

If the Ravens can get back on board with courting skilled undrafted players, they should return to championship form sooner than anticipated.

Needs – Wide Receiver, Edge-rusher, Free Safety

Wide Receiver

Justice Liggins (Stephen F. Austin), Solid route running, great hands, smooth, runs hard

Montay Crockett (Georgia Southern), Great hands, playmaker, fluent, quick, burner

Twarn Mixson (Hampton), Balance, has control, fast, good hands, discipline

Defensive End

Brian Madunezim (Texas-El Paso), Solid, strong, great first step, uses hands well.

Dajon Montague (Mars Hill), Aggressive, determine, good hand and feet, strong

Brian Khoury (Carnegie Mellon), Moves great, focus, balance, control, strong, quick

Frederick Henry-Ajudua (North Carolina Central), Quick, explosive, good feet, uses hand well

Free Safety

Jason Thompson (Utah), Fluent, explosive, great hands, strong, light on toes

Julius Rucker (Southern Oregon), Great hands, tackler, fundamentally sound, solid tracking skills

Khary Bailey-Smith (UMASS), Complete

Deshawntee Gallon (Georgia Southern), Leadership, strong, agile, physical, pure tackler

CINCINNATI BENGALS – (Current RC players – none)

Last season, 6-9-1

Beside linebackers Vontaze Burfict and Rey Vincent, the Bengals normally look to the draft to build their club, instead of mixing up their roster with the undrafted. Maybe a change will come for the 2017 campaign, as they will realize what they have been missing.

Needs – Linebacker, Wide Receiver, Offensive lineman

Linebacker

Teidrick Smith (Mary Hardin-Baylor), Balance, moves well, decent hands, quick

Dominko Goff (Arizona Christian), Great hands, strong, balance, quick

Abner Logan (Albany, N.Y.), Powerful, physical, decent hands, moves well

Wide Receiver

Justice Liggins (Stephen F. Austin), Solid route running, great hands, smooth, runs hard

Evan Graham (American international), Strong hands, good feet, run good routes, quick

Matrick Belton (South Carolina), Strong hands, big, decent speed

Offensive Lineman

Casey Perry (North Carolina-Pembroke), powerful, strong, moves well, good hands

Shalom Ogbonda (Florida Atlantic), Agile, balance, has control, great feet and hands, strong

John Clark (Southern Nazarene), Moves well, great feet and hands, great run blocker

CLEVELAND BROWNS – (Current RC players – OL Austin Reiter, DB Justin Currie)

Last season, 1-15

Browns general manager Sashi Brown lives by analytics. Thus far, structured paper analysis is causing the Browns to have real-life issues on the field. Clearly, all analytics need is good old fashion scouting and evaluating to help everything make sense.

Needs: Quarterback, Wide Receiver, Offensive Lineman

Quarterback

Zach Kline/Google Images

Nick Mullens (Southern Mississippi), Great release, mobile, smart, great vision, strong with a solid touch

Zach Kline (Frenso State), Quick release, strong arm, great touch, moves well, has a good deep ball

Austin Apodaca (New Mexico), Strong arm, quick release, smart, moves well, great touch

Wide Receiver

Terrance Owens (Averett University), Fast, explosive, good hands, run good routes, discipline

Darrin Willingham (Southern Oregon), Big, great leaping ability, good hands, strong

Ricardo Barnett (Houston Baptist), Huge, thin but strong, great hands, solid route runner

Offensive Lineman

Dustin Stanton (Oregon State), Huge, balance, control, great footwork, quick

Jack Plankers (North Dakota State), Nasty, agile, powerful, quick, great feet, solid pass protector

Elijah Wilkinson (UMASS), Athletic, mobile, strong, great feet and hands

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