2010 NFL Mock Draft: AFC North Mock, Derrick Morgan to Cleveland Browns

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2010 NFL Mock Draft: AFC North Mock, Derrick Morgan to Cleveland Browns
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The AFC North is all over the place in the first round.

The Cleveland Browns have the seventh overall pick, and with all the trades and signings teams in the Top 10 of the draft have made, speculation has run rampant over what Cleveland is going to do with that pick.

Next up in the division are the Pittsburgh Steelers. One year removed from their Super Bowl victory, the Steelers offensive line is a mess, their defense looked lost without Troy Polamalu last year and the front office is ready to beat starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger within an inch of his life.

Next to pick in the first round are the Cincinnati Bengals, and they should enjoy picking this late because they'll probably be picking a lot higher next year. The Bengals enjoyed an easy schedule in 2009 and looked weaker as the season wound down.

The Baltimore Ravens are last, and they truly are one or two pieces away from being a legitimate favorite to not only reach, but win the Super Bowl.

So here are the April 9 first round picks for the AFC North.

 

Cleveland Browns

The Browns have lots of needs, with their defensive secondary being the top priority. However, picking seventh means there's an outside chance one of the top defensive lineman in the draft, Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy, could fall to the seventh pick for whatever reason.

Since that is unlikely, safety Eric Berry or cornerback Joe Haden become possibilities.

Team President Mike Holmgren indicated on Friday the Browns would take whomever gave them the greatest value at that position, not necessarily fill the greatest need.

With that in mind, the Browns take Derrick Morgan, the defensive end out of Georgia. Morgan is perfect for Head Coach Eric Mangini's 3-4 defense that will bring a lot of pressure on the quarterback, something the Browns had a tough time doing last year.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers haven't drafted a good offensive lineman in so long, historians have lost track of the records. Given the beating Roethlisberger has taken over the last two years and the EIGHT sacks recorded by the Cleveland Browns last December, if the Steelers don't draft an offensive lineman, the Rooney family better start firing people.

Maurkice Pouncey would be the best pick at this position, as Russell Okung and Brian Bulaga are definitely gone and it's doubtful Mike Iupati still will be on the board.

But Pouncey should still be available and he can play multiple positions on the line, meaning head coach Mike Tomlin can pick a hole and plug it with Pouncey.

I can't stress this enough, any pick other than an offensive lineman here better be justified afterward because Roethlisberger can't keep taking the kind of hits he has the last few years and expect to last a whole season.

 

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals tragically lost wide receiver Chris Henry last year, and that leaves Chad Ochocinco as their only star wide receiver for Carson Palmer to throw to.

Another option for the Bengals to consider would be a pass-rushing defensive end, or the Bengals might look just get the most value out of the pick, taking the best player available.

However, my feeling is the Bengals want another wide receiver, and if Golden Tate is available, he just might be the best value on the board at that point.

With the double-threat of Ochocinco and Tate streaking down the field, it would give opposing head coaches and defensive coordinators nightmares trying to draw up schemes to cover them.

 

Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome has proven he's one of the best GMs in the NFL. Newsome's high-round draft picks rarely miss, and he's shown a remarkable ability to keep the Ravens competitive every year. You just can't count that team out.

Tight end Jermaine Gresham seems like the kind of guy Newsome would want with this pick. Gresham is a tall, well-built tight end who can have success with all aspects of the tight end position.

He is 6'5", meaning he's a great target, which his college stats back up, and he's 259 lbs, meaning this guy is big enough to make the blocks a tight end often is called on to make.

Quarterback Joe Flacco would be salivating at this pick because it gives him a great target and another guy to protect him when the tight end's number isn't being called.

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