AFC North Draft Grades
Now that the NFL Draft is over, teams can now turn their full attention to the upcoming season. In a Draft that saw a record number of trades (38) in Philadelphia, it’s time to figure out who filled their needs, who got fleeced, and who found a late-round steal. Here are the Draft Grades for the AFC North.
Baltimore Ravens: B-
Marlon Humphrey (1/16) CB, Alabama. Tyus Bowser (2/47) OLB, Houston. Chris Wormley (3/74) DE, Michigan. Tim Williams (3/78) OLB, Alabama. Nico Siragusa (4/122) G, San Diego State. Jermaine Eluemenor (5/159) OL, Texas A&M. Chuck Clark (6/186) DB, Virginia Tech.
Marlon Humphrey is a physical but unpolished corner, but should see plenty of action. Tyus Bowser can rush the passer or cover running backs and slot receivers. Chris Wormley is a solid rusher, while Tim Williams is another exceptional pass rusher. Nico Siragusa can be a starter as an exceptional run blocker, while British-born Jermaine Eluemenor has huge upside. However, there are still glaring holes at receiver and running back after the Ravens went defense on five of their seven picks, so Baltimore will be counting on what better be a top three defense to win games.
Cincinnati Bengals: B+
John Ross (1/9) WR, Washington. Joe Mixon (2/48) RB, Oklahoma. Jordan Willis (3/73) OLB, Kansas State. Carl Lawson (4/116) OLB, Auburn. Josh Malone (4/128) WR, Tennessee. Ryan Glasgow (4/138) DT, Michigan. Jake Elliott (5/153) K, Memphis. J.J. Dielman (5/176) C, Utah. Jordan Evans (6/193) LB, Oklahoma. Brandon Wilson (6/207) RB, Houston. Mason Schreck (7/251) TE, Buffalo.
Once healthy, John Ross can add a speed element as a deep threat opposite A.J. Green. Off-field issues aside, Joe Mixon can be the all-round game changer at running back that Cincinnati thought they had in Jeremy Hill. Josh Malone is another speedster. Ryan Glasgow is a run-stuffer who can replace Domata Peko alongisde Geno Atkins. Jake Elliott should take the starting spot. Jordan Evans is a speedy linebacker with great special teams potential, while the rest of Cincinnati’s picks provide some much needed depth.
Cleveland Browns: A-
Myles Garrett (1/1) DE, Texas A&M. Jabrill Peppers (1/25) S/LB, Michigan. David Njoku (1/29) TE, Miami. DeShone Kizer (2/52) QB, Notre Dame. Larry Ogunjobi (3/65) DT, North Carolina Charlotte. Howard Wilson (4/126) CB, Houston. Roderick Johnson (5/160) OT, Florida State. Caleb Brantley (6/185) DT, Florida. Zane Gonzalez (7/224) K, Arizona State. Matt Dayes (7/252) RB, NC State.
Myles Garrett should be an All-Pro if he lives up to his hype. The Browns traded down for two more first rounders. Jabrill Peppers is a versatile Swiss army knife for Gregg Williams to scheme with, while David Njoku is a freakish athlete with a high ceiling. DeShone Kizer wasn’t a reach and could end up as the best quarterback from this class. Larry Ogunjobi is inconsistent but can be an immediate starter. Caleb Brantley has some significant off-field issues but also significant upside if he keeps his nose clean. Zane Gonzalez should immediately take over as the starting kicker.
Pittsburgh Steelers: A
T.J. Watt (1/30) OLB, Wisconsin. JuJu Smith-Schuster (2/62) WR, USC. Cam Sutton (3/94) CB, Tennessee. James Conner (3/105) RB, Pittsburgh. Joshua Dobbs (4/135) QB, Tennessee. Brian Allen (5/173) CB, Utah. Colin Holba (6/213) LS, Louisville. Kelon Adams (7/248) OLB, Western Michigan.
T.J. Watt has the potential to be a dominant rusher and all-round linebacker, giving the Steelers a dangerous front seven. JuJu Smith-Schuster is a sure-handed possession receiver, while Cam Sutton is a good man-cover corner but struggles with zone and run support. Home-town hero James Conner has grit as a cancer survivor and gives the Steelers a sorely-needed power back to complement Le’Veon Bell. Joshua Dobbs is an athletic passer who can sit and develop behind Ben Roethlisberger.