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AP Pro32 comments about Steelers

AP Pro32 comments about Steelers

NEW YORK (AP) Comments on the Pittsburgh Steelers by the AP Pro32 panel (ranking in parentheses):

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PITTSBURGH STEELERS (9)

Chris Berman (ESPN, 9) - Need Ben for Baltimore games.

Clifton Brown (Sporting News, 8) - Big Ben's injury is a big concern. They can only go so far without him.

Cris Collinsworth (NBC Sports, 9)

Rich Gannon (CBS Sports/SiriusXM NFL Radio, 9) - May drop quickly if Roethlisberger is out for an extended period of time.

Bob Glauber (Newsday, 10) - Steelers barely hold off 1-8 Chiefs at home, but not before losing Ben Roethlisberger to a shoulder injury. The timing couldn't be worse: Steelers face Ravens twice in next three weeks.

Rick Gosselin (Dallas Morning News, 9) - This was the worst weekend of the NFL season for quarterbacks with four of them knocked from games with injuries: Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers, Jay Cutler of the Bears, Alex Smith of the 49ers and Michael Vick of the Eagles.

Clark Judge (CBSSports.com, 9) - Of all the injuries suffered by quarterbacks last weekend, it's Ben Roethlisberger's shoulder that worries me most.

Ira Kaufman (Tampa Tribune, 5) - Don't let Monday night's lapse against KC fool you - they'll be ready for the Ravens.

Pat Kirwan (SiriusXM NFL Radio/CBSSports.com, 7) - An ugly win over Kansas City is OK, but the loss of Roethlisberger would be a real problem. They overcame his four-game suspension once going 3-1 but I doubt they could do it again.

John Lynch (Fox Sports, 9) - It certainly wasn't pretty beating the Chiefs in OT. What might be even more ugly is the thought of playing without QB Ben Roethlisberger, who was injured and may miss some time.

Alex Marvez (Foxsports.com, 8) - The Steelers are in trouble if Ben Roethlisberger is forced to miss extensive time after injuring his shoulder Monday night against Kansas City.

Dan Pompei (Chicago Tribune, 9) - They beat the Chiefs without Big Ben, but the Steelers need their quarterback healthy to win down the stretch.

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In a draft deep at CB, taking one early could be Ravens' best move

In a draft deep at CB, taking one early could be Ravens' best move

The Ravens may need to rethink their draft strategy regarding cornerbacks. They haven’t drafted a cornerback in the first three rounds since 2011, when they took Jimmy Smith with the 27th overall pick.

Smith is still the Ravens’ best corner. However, he has been plagued by injuries in recent years, and lack of cornerback depth has become a glaring weakness for the Ravens, in a league that features many explosive wide receivers.

Related: NFL Mock Draft 1.0

According to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., this year’s draft is loaded with talented corners. With the 16th overall pick, the Ravens can address their need at cornerback with someone who might be talented enough to start as a rookie.

“There’s a lot of corners in this draft that are going to go in the first round,” Kiper said during a recent conference call.

Many believe Marshon Lattimore of Ohio St. will be the first cornerback off the board, and will likely be gone before the Ravens can grab him. In his first mock draft, Kiper had Lattimore going No. 6 to the Jets.

However, the list of top-rated corners that could be available for the Ravens at No. 16 includes Marlon Humphrey of Alabama, Sidney Jones of Washington, Jourdan Lewis of Michigan, Teez Tabor of Florida, Cordrea Tankersley of Clemson, and Quincy Wilson of Florida.

The Ravens grabbed a promising corner in the fourth round last year in Tavon Young, who had a strong rookie season. But the Ravens may not have the luxury of waiting to take a cornerback this spring. Instead of taking the best player available at No. 16, the Ravens will have to consider taking the best corner available.

Related: Depth at running back reduces need for Ravens to trade up in draft

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Depth at running back in draft reduces need for Ravens to trade up

Depth at running back in draft reduces need for Ravens to trade up

Should the Ravens trade up from No. 16 to get an impact running back in the draft?  Not according to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper.

The Ravens’ need for more playmakers is obvious, and coach John Harbaugh says the offense could use another back to complement Kenneth Dixon and Terrance West.

In his first mock draft, Kiper had Leonard Fournette of LSU (No. 8, Panthers) and Dalvin Cook of Florida St. (No. 12, Browns) as the first two backs off the board, with the Ravens taking Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers with the 16th pick.

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Kiper says the Ravens can get a quality back in the first three rounds, with this year’s draft deep at the position.

“I don’t know that trading up for a running back the grade of Fournette will be high enough to say he’s in that (Ezekiel) Elliott stratosphere,” Kiper said during a recent conference call.

“You have a lot of depth at running back too, with (Christian) McCaffrey, D’Onta Foreman from Texas, and there’s a lot of other backs in this draft that I really like, and of course the Ravens got Kenneth Dixon in the fourth round last year which was a heck of a pick for them. Matthew Dayes from N. C. State, you have Jamaal Williams at BYU, De’Angelo Henderson at Coastal Carolina is an interesting kid. I don’t think there will be a team looking to trade up for the running back this year.”

West led the Ravens with 774 yards rushing in 2016, with Dixon adding 302 yards. However, every other team in the AFC North had a back with more yards than West. Le’Veon Bell (1,268 yards) led the Steelers, Isaiah Crowell (952 yards) led the Browns, and Jeremy Hill (839 yards) led the Bengals.

While the Ravens have other pressing needs like cornerback, wide receiver, and pass rusher, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them take a running back early.

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