clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

AFC North first-round draft grades

New, comments
NCAA Football: Big Ten Championship-Ohio State vs Wisconsin Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns

1st Overall, QB Baker Mayfield

Grade: A-

With the first overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns selected Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield. Mayfield is a smaller quarterback in stature, standing at 6’1, 215 lbs. His build comes in the mold of recent smaller quarterbacks that the Browns have selected in earlier rounds like Johnny Manziel and Colt McCoy. That’s where the similarities with them stops.

Mayfield can make all of the correct throws, he is loved by his teammates and he’s a winner. That’s important for a team that went 0-16 last season. More importantly, he doesn’t need to start right away for the Browns with Tyrod Taylor in the fold.

4th Overall, CB Denzel Ward

Grade: B

This is quite a curious pick by the Browns. North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb was still on the board at the time and he could’ve been paired with Myles Garrett to form a young and formidable pass rushing duo. It’s not that Ward can’t be a very good corner in the NFL, it’s just that Chubb and Garrett had the potential to wreak havoc on AFC North offenses for years to come.

First Round Grade: B+

The Browns have depth at the quarterback position on paper. That more than they could say for years, nearly ever. Adding Ward at corner isn’t the pick that many expected, but it’s not necessarily a bad pick. The NFL is a passing league and it always helps to add a pass defender in the draft.

Baltimore Ravens

25th Overall, TE Hayden Hurst

Grade: B-

I don’t think that Hurst is a bad tight end at all. However, South Dakota State tight end Dallas Goedert’s ceiling was through the roof and he remains unselected. Hurst is a 25-year old tight end and it’s understood that Dennis Pitta was an older tight end too, but it doesn’t make it necessarily the “value” pick.

Baltimore traded back twice when they could’ve selected wide receiver D.J. Moore, who can be a game-changing talent at the next level. It’s not to say that this is an egregious pick by Baltimore, but it’s not ideal.

32nd Overall, QB Lamar Jackson

Grade: A

Jackson is going to be one heck of a player in the NFL, mark my words. He has the arm talent, he’s elusive within and outside of the pocket and he has played in a pro-style offense before. Everyone talks about the ability to learn as a young quarterback. Jackson will soak in as much knowledge as he can from Joe Flacco and Robert Griffin III in the next few months. Jackson will bring an “it” factor to Baltimore’s offense down the line.

The only issue with him is how much talent will surround him when he does eventually take the reigns from Flacco? Will the Ravens make the same mistake of surrounding Jackson with average weapons or will they give him weapons in the third round or later? Can John Harbaugh and Marty Mornhinweg be trusted to develop Jackson and put him in the right offense? These are all questions that will be answered within the next few years.

First Round Grade: B+

Cincinnati Bengals

21st Overall, C Billy Price

Grade: B

The Cincinnati Bengals needed a center, so this pick makes sense for them at 21. It’s not a sexy pick, but it’ll give them the chance to protect Andy Dalton up the middle.

Pittsburgh Steelers

28th Overall, S Terrell Edmunds

Grade: B

This is a big time value pick for the Steelers. He has a high motor, comes from a football family (his brother is Tremaine Edmunds and his father Ferrell also played in the NFL) and he can slice through gaps like a machete. The Steelers like high-motor players that come from football families, just look at T.J. Watt. Edmunds has the potential to be a fearsome player in the AFC North if things go right for the Steelers.