clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Analyzing the draft performance and rookie classes of every AFC North team

New, comments

The dust has settled after a long weekend, here’s what came out of it in the division.

NFL: NFL Draft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After months of rumors, mock drafts, and anticipation, the NFL draft officially concluded yesterday after three long days. This draft was more entertaining and capitvating than any in recent memory, especially for the AFC North teams.

The Bengals, Steelers, Browns, and Ravens all added an influx of talent and fresh faces to the mix, many of which figure to play a big factor in the division race next season. Here’s a run-down of the pick totals for each team and a breakdown of their incoming rookie classes.

  • Cincinnati (10)
  • Cleveland (6)
  • Pittsburgh (9)
  • Baltimore (8)

Cincinnati Bengals

Round 1, Pick #11: Jonah Williams, OT (Alabama)

Round 2, Pick #52: Drew Sample, TE (Washington)

Round 3, Pick #72: Germaine Pratt, LB (North Carolina St.)

Round 4, Pick #104: Ryan Finley, QB (North Carolina St.)

Round 4, Pick #125: Rennel Wren, DT (Arizona St.)

Round 5, Pick #136: Michael Jordan, G (Ohio St.)

Round 6, Pick #182: Trayveon Williams, RB (Texas A&M)

Round 6, Pick #210: Deshaun Davis, LB (Auburn)

Round 6, Pick #211: Rodney Anderson, RB (Oklahoma)

Round 7, Pick #223: Jordan Brown, CB (South Dakota St.)

The Bengals entered the weekend with a plethora of picks under their belt and several roster needs, particularly on defense. They drafted five defensive players and five offensive players. A lot of their selections are developmental projects who may not contribute much right away but have the potential to make an impact in due time. Outside of Jonah Williams, it’s hard to say exactly what role their rookies will play next year. Nevertheless, the Bengals added some talent and landed a potential successor to Andy Dalton.

Best selection: Jonah Williams

Worst selection: Drew Sample

Best value: Rodney Anderson

Sleeper pick: Ryan Finley

Overall grade: B

Cleveland Browns

Round 2, Pick #46: Greedy Williams, CB (LSU)

Round 4, Pick #119: Sheldrick Redwine, CB (Miami)

Round 5, Pick #155: Mack Wilson, LB (Alabama)

Round 5, Pick #170: Austin Seibert, K (Oklahoma)

Round 6, Pick #189: Drew Forbes, OT (Southeast Missouri St.)

Round 7, Pick #221: Donnie Lewis Jr, CB (Tulane)

The football gods seem to be blessing the Browns after years of suffering, as everything continues to go their way. Greedy Williams falling to them in the second round was good enough but they also managed to land Mack Wilson on day three, another borderline first-round talent. Not too many flashy picks outside of these two, although getting Drew Forves in the sixth round was a sneaky pickup. Using their fifth-round selection on a kicker was a bit of a head-scratcher, even when considering Cleveland’s struggles in that department.

Best selection: Greedy WIilliams

Worst selection: Austin Seibert

Best value: Mack Wilson

Sleeper pick: Drew Forbes

Overall grade: B+

Pittsburgh Steelers

Round 1, Pick #10: Devin Bush Jr, LB (Michigan)

Round 3, Pick #66: Diontae Johnson, WR (Toledo)

Round 3, Pick #83: Justin Layne, CB (Michigan St.)

Round 4, Pick #122: Benny Snell Jr, RB (Kentucky)

Round 5, Pick #141: Zach Gentry, TE (Michigan)

Round 6, Pick #175: Sutton Smith, OLB (Northern Illinois)

Round 6, Pick #192: Isaiah Buggs, DL (Alabama)

Round 6, Pick #207: Ulysees Gilbert III, LB (Akron)

Round 7, Pick #219: Derwin Gray, G (Maryland)

Pittsburgh did a nice job minimizing the “sky is falling” narrative by picking up solid talent across the board throughout the draft. They had to give up a decent amount to trade up to take Devin Bush Jr, but he’s a good player and exactly what they need on defense. Diontae Johnson may have been a bit of a reach at #66 but his route-running and hands will help minimize the loss of Antonio Brown. The Steelers also took some fliers on defensive guys in the later rounds who could prove to have a significant impact.

Best selection: Devin Bush Jr.

Worst selection: Ulysees Gilbert III

Best value: Justin Layne

Sleeper pick: Zach Gentry

Overall grade: A-

Baltimore Ravens

Round 1, Pick #25: Marquise Brown, WR (Oklahoma)

Round 3, Pick #85: Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE (Louisiana Tech)

Round 3, Pick #93: Miles Boykin, WR (Notre Dame)

Round 4, Pick #113: Justice Hill, RB (Oklahoma St.)

Round 4, Pick #123: Ben Powers, G (Oklahoma)

Round 4, Pick #127: Iman Marshall, CB (USC)

Round 5, Pick #160: Daylon Mack, DT (Texas A&M)

Round 6, Pick #197: Trace McSorley, QB (Penn St.)

Baltimore had three definitive needs to address during the draft: offensive line, wide receiver, and edge rusher. They checked off one of the boxes by drafting Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin in the first three rounds, and shored up the remaining areas by landing Jaylon Ferguson and Ben Powers. The Ravens rookie class is a nice mix of guys who are ready to contribute now and guys with high upside. Adding Justice Hill only further solidified the vision they’re moving towards on offense: speed. Getting Ben Powers in the fourth round was big, too, as he could potentially challenge for a starting role right away.

Best selection: Marquise Brown

Worst selection: Iman Marshall

Best value: Justice Hill

Sleeper pick: Daylon Mack

Overall grade: B+