- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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The AFC North blog continues to look at the different positions and rank each team in terms of draft need. For Friday, the blog is addressing the offensive line.
Here are the rankings:
1. Cincinnati Bengals: This won't be a need if the Bengals can reach an agreement with Andre Smith, one of the NFL's top right tackles. He hasn't received any interest in free agency and he hasn't received the desired dollar amount from the Bengals. A couple of weeks ago, coach Marvin Lewis seemed optimistic about the team getting something done with Smith. Many have linked the Bengals to Fluker, which would replace one Alabama right tackle with another. But the Bengals aren't desperate for a right tackle. The coaching staff has confidence in backup Anthony Collins.
2. Baltimore Ravens: Baltimore needs a franchise left tackle, but the team isn't going to find one this year when picking at the bottom of every round. The Ravens can still re-sign Bryant McKinnie after the draft or move left guard-right tackle Kelechi Osemele to left tackle. The Ravens could look to the future on the right side, where tackle Michael Oher is entering the final year of his contract. As far as offensive tackles, the Ravens could take someone like Colorado's David Bakhtiari or Arkansas-Pine Bluff's Terron Armstead in the second or third rounds. Baltimore is also banking on Gino Gradkowski, a fourth-round pick from a year ago, to replace Matt Birk. Depth is an issue for the Ravens. The only experienced backups are Jah Reid and Ramon Harewood.
3. Cleveland Browns: Cleveland is set at tackle with Joe Thomas and Mitchell Schwartz, and at center with Alex Mack. The Browns, though, could upgrade at guard where Jason Pinkston starts on the left side and Shawn Lauvao is on the right. Pinkston has started 22 games for the Browns over the past two seasons, but his 2012 season was cut short by a blood clot in his lung. Even though he said he's been medically cleared, he didn't participate in the Browns' first minicamp this week. Lauvao was rated the 63rd-best guard in the NFL last season. Kiper has speculated the Browns could be interested in Cooper or Warmack in the first round.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers: Over the past three drafts, the Steelers have addressed the offensive line with two first-round picks (center Maurkice Pouncey and guard David DeCastro) and two second-rounders (tackles Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams). Pittsburgh re-signed Ramon Foster to be the starting left guard. The problem here isn't a lack of young talent. It's keeping them healthy. With all of these early round investments, it would be a surprise to see the Steelers taking an offensive lineman in the first three rounds.