NFL Draft: AFC North

After a bit of a break, we are back with our divisional breakdowns of the NFL Draft. Today we are going to take a look at the AFC North. Although the draft was already 2 weeks ago today, outside of Ravens Safety Earl Thomas marital issues, Jameis Winston taking basically a redshirt year in New Orleans, and Roger Goodell doing the “Toosie Slide” not much has taken place in the NFL or professional sports for that matter. So, sit back and enjoy this divisonal breakdown and leave your thoughts in the comments!

Reminder: The Rules of these breakdowns the teams are ranked from top to bottom as who had the best draft of the division and who had the worst.

Cleveland Browns Picks:

  • Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama
  • Grant Delpit, S, LSU
  • Jordan Elliott, DL, Missouri
  • Jacob Phillips, LB, LSU
  • Harrison Bryant, TE, Florida Atlantic
  • Nick Harris, C, Washington
  • Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan

An excellent draft here top to bottom by the Browns, perhaps the best draft of the league. Wills is an absolute stud and has hall of fame potential on that O-Line protecting Mayfield. Delpit is a day-1 difference maker and could be an immediate starter in Cleveland. Bryant gives great depth at Tight End especially with David Njoku’s injury history and gives Mayfield another weapn. The steal of the draft could very well be Donovan Peoples-Jones. He has an excellent combination of size and speed, with a better offensive system he could have had similar numbers to receivers draft 4 rounds before him. He is an excellent kick and punt returner and gives them a spark that they need.

Cincinnati Bengals Picks:

  • Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
  • Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
  • Logan Wilson, LB, Wyoming
  • Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian State
  • Khalid Kareem, DE, Notre Dame
  • Hakeem Adeniji, OT, Kansas
  • Markus Bailey, LB, Purdue

Cincinnati is known for not being prone to make trades and they held firm with that stance in this draft. They are the only team in the whole league to pick at each slot they were originally assigned to draft at with no additional picks. They certainly made the most of those picks. Although the Browns had such an excellent draft, the Bengals are not far behind. They found their franchise quarterback bringing Joe Burrow back to his Ohio home. Mixing Tee Higgins with AJ Green and Tyler Boyd will just give corners fits on jump balls all season. Defensively, they found not 1, not 2, but 3 potential starters in Logan Wilson, Akeem Davis-Gairther, and Markus Bailey. That linebacking core can grow and blossom together and turn this defense into one of the worst in the NFL to one of the best.

Baltimore Ravens Picks:

  • Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
  • JK Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
  • Justin Madubiuke, DT, Texas A&M
  • Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
  • Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State
  • Tyre Phillips, OT, Mississippi State
  • Ben Bredeson, OG, Michigan
  • Broderick Washington, DT, Texas Tech
  • James Proche, WR, SMU
  • Geno Stone, S, Iowa

Although Baltimore had an excellent year overall and a great year defensively, they seemed to make a vow to themselves to never let a team run the ball on them the way Derrick Henry and the Titans did in the playoffs. Queen, Madubiuke, Stone, and Washington will all have opportunities to step up and make an impact on this defense and sniff out the run from their opponents. Phillips and Bredeson provide good depth for the O-Line and Dobbins and Ingram will be a dangerous tandem in the backfield. However, Lamar needed weapons desperately on the outside and when they had the opportunity to go get a Denzel Mims or a Tee Higgins, they waited for Duvernay and Proche who it is unsure what kind of impact they can have.

Pittsburgh Steelers Picks:

  • Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
  • Alex Highsmith, LB, Charlotte
  • Anthony McFarland, RB, Maryland
  • Kevin Dotson, G, Louisiana
  • Antoine Brooks, S, Maryland
  • Carlos Davis, DT, Nebraska

Pittsburgh had the least amount of picks and perhaps did the least with those picks than the rest of the teams in this division. Claypool had an amazing combine and can be a big physical target in partnership with JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington. However, Big Ben Roethlisberger has showed an inability to remain healthy and stay in playing safe and Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges could not even take the league’s best defense to the playoffs, therefore Jalen Hurts would have made a ton of sense there. McFarland is known for his legendary game against Ohio State two years back, but since then has been a bit inconsistent in his production, Maryland was flat out terrible last year so that may have a lot to do with it, but there were certainly other RBs on the board with more consistent production. Overall, just simply not an impressive draft from a team that is on the brink of playoff contention and on paper not sure if it gets them over the hump.

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