AFC North off-season changes

Cincinnati Bengals:

The Bengals were solid enough on offense and defense that they didn’t have too many areas of focus other than injuries and quarterback Andy Dalton’s playoff performance. They chose to look to their future and keep their running game intact and Dalton upright by drafting a pair of offensive linemen with their first 2 picks. Texas A&M OT Cedric Ogbuehi will be a cornerstone for years to come, though he will be worked slowly later this season as he is coming off a torn ACL. OT Jake Fisher of Oregon will have a more immediate impact this season.

This team recruits tight ends like the Raiders do wide receivers. This year’s draft further cemented that trait with Rutgers’ TE Tyler Kroft in the third round and Auburn’s CJ Uzomah in the fifth round. They still have first-round pick TE Tyler Eifert on the roster, but he had a poor 2014 season plagued by injuries and they need some production from this position in 2015. Kroft will get the first shot at that spot.

Fantasy starters: RB Jeremy Hill, WR AJ Green, Cincy D

Fantasy Bench: QB Andy Dalton, RB Giovani Bernard, WR Mohamed Sanu

Fantasy Sleeper: T. E. Tyler Kroft

pittsburgh steelmen:

The Steelers have focused more on offense in recent years instead of shoring up their aging defense and it caught up with them. Going by the adage “better late than never,” they focused on that unit in this year’s draft. They picked up LB Bud Dupree in the first round out of Kentucky. Projected to go much higher, Dupree looks like a steal at the 22nd pick. He runs a 4.56 40-yard dash and has a 42-inch vertical and will make an immediate impact on the outside. With the second pick from him, they addressed an obvious need in the corner with fellow SEC graduate CB Senquez Golson from Ole Miss and added Ohio St CB Doran Grant in the fourth round.

The offense didn’t need much help, but they did add some depth by adding RB DeAngelo Williams in free agency from Carolina and drafting WR Sammie Coates from Auburn. Coates is an intriguing prospect, but he joins several WRs who have similar skills, which is a bit strange unless they plan to move one of them via trade.

Fantasy starters: QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB La’Veon Bell, WR Antonio Brown

Fantasy Bench: WR Martavis Bryant, WR Markus Wheaton, TE Heath Miller, Pitt D

The Fantasy Sleeper: WR Sammie Coates

The Baltimore Ravens:

The Ravens surprised defensively last season, but were inconsistent offensively. They beefed up their offense in hopes of providing some consistency and added a bit of defense to replace some defections. After losing Torrey Smith in free agency, the Ravens Dyed to get a higher WR somehow. They want to do it in the draft. In another deep draft of wide receivers, they took Breshad Perriman from Central Florida. He fell into the Ravens’ lap as the 26th pick in the first round and they were kicking their heels when they handed over his name as his pick. He’s big and has amazing speed (4.29 for the 40-yard dash). He’s the kind of receiver that quarterback Joe Flacco NEEDS and the Ravens need to help open up the middle of the field. In that middle of the field, Steve Smith Jr should have another productive year. The Ravens are normally solid at TE, but all they had at that position going into the draft was TE Dennis Pitta, who is coming off back-to-back injury-plagued years. They solved this problem by selecting top-ranked TE Max Williams from Minnesota in the second round.

To patch the holes in the defensive line, the Ravens were able to get DT Carl Davis from Iowa in the third round and DE Za’Darius Smith from Kentucky in the fourth round. One item for the fantasy community to note is that the Ravens added RB Buck Allen from USC in the fourth round. They caught lightning in a bottle last season with Justin Forsett, but he’s not a true pass-catching rusher and Allen could easily see running and catching action right away this season.

Fantasy starters: QB Joe Flacco, RB Justin Forsett, WR Breshad Perriman

Fantasy Bench: WR Steve Smith Jr, Baltimore D

Fantasy sleeper: TE Max Williams, RB Javorius “Buck” Allen

cleveland browns:

Somehow, the Browns excelled in the first half of the 2014 season before returning to play at their level of talent. His offense was too inept to live for a playoff spot and was definitely his focus in the offseason. Too bad they have a clueless front office. They replaced a mediocre QB with another mediocre QB in Josh McCown. I look forward to seeing him fail this season, like he did in Tampa last season, followed by Johnny Manziel proving himself to be a complete NFL flop and finding out that Connor Shaw is his best quarterback on the team and possibly his quarterback of the future. . . I still think RB Terrance West is their best RB, but they drafted Duke Johnson from Miami in the third round to add to the mix with Isiah Crowell and repeat the top RB mix-up from 2014.

The Browns built the worst receiving corps since the strikebreakers played during the NFL strike in 1987. While it’s virtually impossible not to improve that unit, they didn’t do it convincingly with the free-agent signings of Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline. . With back-to-back crops of amazing wide receivers available in the NFL draft, it’s inconceivable that an NFL team could have such a poor unit. It’s so bad that fourth-round pick Vince Mayle could easily break up the starting lineup in no time.

The defense is by far the better of the Browns’ two units and actually improved a bit with the addition of DT Danny Shelton from Washington. However, if the defense doesn’t outplay the offense, I’m not sure how many games they’ll win this year.

Fantasy starters: not a soul

Fantasy Bench: WR Dwayne Bowe, RB Isaiah Crowell, RB Terrance West

Fantasy sleeper: RB Duke Johnson

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