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AFC North Draft Roundup: Day 1

All the action from around the division in Round 1 of the draft

2023 NFL Draft - Round 1 Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

Thursday night saw three new rookies enter the AFC North in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, and Cincinnati Bengals all made one selection each in the second half of Round 1. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns were the lone divisional team without a pick under their belt.

NFL: NFL Draft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers

Pick: No. 14 overall (via trade from New England)

Selection: Georgia OT Broderick Jones

The Steelers were originally slated to pick No. 17 overall. Then, they traded with the New England Patriots to move up three spots, giving up pick No. 17 and a fourth-rounder in the process. They traded up to select offensive tackle Broderick Jones out of Georgia.

Pittsburgh likely knew the New York Jets would take Jones at No. 15 and with three offensive lineman having been drafted prior, Jones was the best remaining one available. Offensive tackle was one of the Steelers’ bigger needs entering this weekend and they wasted little time checking that box off their list.

This marks the first time the Steelers have drafted an offensive lineman in the first round since 2012. Pittsburgh’s starting tackle duo last year was 2022 fourth-round pick Dan Moore Jr. and Chukwuma Okafor.

2023 NFL Draft - Round 1 Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens

Pick: No. 22 overall

Selection: Boston College WR Zay Flowers

Thanks to an early run on offensive lineman and some surprising running back/linebacker picks in the teens, the Ravens had their choice between top remaining wide receiver and cornerback prospects. They stood pat at No. 22 overall and selected Zay Flowers out of Boston College, a player they been linked to for months now in the pre-draft process.

Flowers adds another playmaking element to the Ravens’ new-look receiving core featuring Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor. Baltimore passed on taking a cornerback here and instead double-downed to give Lamar Jackson another pass-catching weapon. New offensive coordinator Todd Monken now has a suddenly-deep wideout room to work with.

This marks the third time in the past five years that the Ravens have drafted a wide receiver in the first round, following Marquise Brown and Rashod Bateman. That’s all come since Eric DeCosta took over as the Ravens general manager.

NFL Combine - Portraits Photo by Todd Rosenberg/Getty Images

Cincinnati Bengals

Pick: No. 28 overall

Selection: Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy

Picking last in the division for the second straight season, the Cincinnati Bengals stood pat at No. 28 and selected edge rusher Myles Murphy out of Clemson. Murphy being available was a little surprising as many had him going as high as Top-10 in the first round. Instead, he slid to the end of the night and the Bengals pounced.

At 6-foot-5, Murphy has a strong physical profile and versatile skill set. He profiles as an instant-impact run defender with upside as a pass-rusher as well. Murphy will add to a deep edge rusher group in Cincinnati featuring Trey Hendrickson, Sam Hubbard, and Joseph Assai.

He doesn’t fill an immediate need but the Bengals were in a position to take the best talent available to them, and Murphy was one of the top remaining prospects on the board at the end of the round.