ESPN's draft expert Todd McShay held a conference call Wednesday to discuss college prospects before this month's NFL combine.
Here are his thoughts on several draft topics pertaining to the AFC North:
McShay on the Pittsburgh Steelers' draft needs:
"Obviously, the depth on their offensive line is an issue that needs to be addressed. Where they wind up doing it, we'll find out. But they need to continue to bring in players and try to figure out what they're trying to do long-term. I think Flozell Adams played better after he moved to the right side, but he's nearing the end of his career with one more year left on his contract. Willie Colon is probably a better guard than a right tackle. He spent the whole season on [injured reserve] with his Achilles. Jonathan Scott did okay when he was plugged in there, but he's a journeyman-type offensive lineman. So I think that's probably the biggest need area is figuring out what they want to do and what holes they want to address at tackle and guard. Cornerback is another. I think [Bryant] McFadden and [William] Gay are two of the weaker links in that group and need to get better there."
"From everything I know, Robert Quinn is a good, young man who made some mistakes. He's paying for those mistakes. He realized what he did. He's genuinely sorry about it and ready to turn the page, misses the game and is passionate about the game and all the right things. If that's the case and if NFL teams are convinced of that, then it goes back to looking at his 2009 tape, which I've studied all of it and I like what I've seen. There's a lot of potential there. The problem is with Quinn, he really needs another year to continue to develop. He needs to get stronger against the run and to learn how to use his hands better. So he's still a work in progress and maybe a year behind where you'd like to see him."
"For Darius, he has a little bit of durability concerns. Obviously, he had the two-game suspension. But when this guy is going and he's 100 percent, he's as disruptive as any player in this draft. He's strong. I think he's a lot stronger than people think. He has great awareness. He's not as big and as athletic as [Auburn DT] Nick Fairley. But he might be a more complete player when he's 100 percent. I think he can play a 4-3 and a 3-4 for teams going back and forth like Cleveland that want to do different things up front. I think that he's a good fit, and bottom line he can get to the quarterback, he can disrupt and he's a lot stronger than people seem to give him credit for."
McShay on Florida center/guard Mike Pouncey:
"The problem with Mike Pouncey is he's compared to his brother, Maurkice, and his brother is just at a different level. Mike is a good player, he really is. I know he had some struggles at the center position with the snaps early in the season, and they pretty much got that figured out. But he moves well. I like his feet and I like his potential to play guard and/or center in the NFL. I think when it's all said and done, maybe he comes off the board late first [round]. But I think it's more likely early second round. He has a chance in the right system. With his versatility and his quickness, it really gives him a good chance to become one of the upper-echelon starting interior linemen in the NFL three or four years down the road."
McShay on Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert:
"I think Gabbert is more of an Aaron Rodgers-type. He has the understanding of the position. He's going to continue to improve in that area. But Gabbert has a chance to become really technically sound and really shows great football intelligence. And at the end of a play, if his reads don't go well, he can take off and run. That's probably the most underrated part of his game. He's a good athlete with a big body and he can make some really difficult throws on the run."
With Carson Palmer's uncertainty, would the Bengals be wise to pass over an "Aaron Rodgers-type" quarterback, according to McShay?
Can the Steelers land Mike Pouncey to join his twin brother in Pittsburgh?
These are just some of the questions to look into between now and April's NFL draft.