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AFC North Post-Draft Update

Posted May 2, 2013

Take a look at what the division rivals did in this year's draft to keep pace with the Ravens.


The Ravens received overwhelmingly positive reviews for this year’s draft class.

They added players at safety and linebacker who can likely step in and play right away, helping to rebuild the foundation of the defense.

As the Ravens upgraded their roster, the competition in the AFC North also made moves in the draft to keep pace with the defending world champions.

Here’s a draft overview for the division rivals:   

Pittsburgh Steelers

Round 1 (Pick No. 17): OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
Round 2 (48): RB Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State
Round 3 (79): WR Markus Wheaton, Oregon State
Round 4 (111): SS Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse
Round 4 (115): QB Landry Jones, Oklahoma
Round 5 (150): CB Terry Hawthorne, Illinois
Round 6 (186): WR Justin Brown, Oklahoma
Round 6 (206): LB Vince Williams, Florida State
Round 7 (223):  DT Nick Williams, Samford

Summary: With the pick of Jones in the first round, the Steelers filled an immediate need on an aging defense. Jones can step into the role played by James Harrison, whom the Steelers released this offseason. The Steelers have started the process of rebuilding their defense by parting ways with veteran players like Harrison, James Farrior and Casey Hampton, and Jones will be a big part of that transition.

Picking up Bell and Wheaton with the next two picks should provide a boost to the offense. Bell can be a featured back, which the Steelers lacked last season. Wheaton, a speedy receiver, can help offset the loss of downfield threat Mike Wallace who signed with the Dolphins in free agency.

Mel Kiper’s Take: “The Steelers got a little bit of their bite back. I love the selection of Jarvis Jones in Round 1. We're talking about the most productive pass rusher in college football over the last two seasons, and he did it against the best competition. Jones fits the system, and OLB was the top need on my board. Hard to beat that pick – a guy I had at No. 1 on my Big Board before some really poor workouts still there at No. 17.” Grade: B

Cincinnati Bengals

Round 1 (21): TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
Round 2 (37): RB Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
Round 2 (53): DE Margus Hunt, SMU
Round 3 (84): SS Shawn Williams, Georgia
Round 4 (118): OLB Sean Porter, Texas A&M
Round 5 (156): OT Tanner Hawkinson, Kansas
Round 6 (190): RB Rex Burkhead, Nebraska
Round 6 (197): WR Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas
Round 7 (240):
OT Reid Fragel, Ohio State
Round 7 (251):
C T.J. Johnson, South Carolina

Summary: Tight ends typically don’t go early in the draft, and Eifert slid near the bottom of the first round likely as a function of his position. Despite dropping, Eifert is still considered a top-flight talent who can make an immediate impact on the offense. Pairing him with Jermaine Gresham in double tight end sets gives the Bengals a dangerous combination for teams to defend.

The Bengals also snatched up another pass rusher by adding Hunt in the third round. Hunt is still somewhat raw, but the 6-foot-8 Estonia native has loads of potential, especially as a third-round pick.  Cincinnati already had one of the NFL’s best pass rushes with Geno Atkins, Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap. Putting Hunt in that mix gives the Bengals depth and versatility to an already-strong defensive front.

Kiper’s Take: “Eifert to Cincy is a great case of a team simply pouncing when the value gets too good. Giovani Bernard gives them a new dimension in the run game, ironically because he can actually catch the ball. He was the most versatile RB on my board, and getting the first RB taken at No. 37 overall isn't bad.” Grade: A-minus

Cleveland Browns

Round 1 (6): DE Barkevious Mingo, LSU
Round 3 (68): CB Leon McFadden, San Diego State
Round 6 (175): SS Jamoris Slaughter, Notre Dame
Round 7 (217): DE Armonty Bryant, East Central Oklahoma
Round 7 (227): OT Garrett Gilkey, Chadron State

Summary: This was a thin draft for the Browns, who only added two players in the first 174 picks. LSU’s Mingo is a talented defender who could develop into a premier pass rusher, and he’ll likely get paired with former Raven Paul Kruger as the Browns’ two outside linebackers. As the No. 6 overall pick, Mingo is coming to Cleveland with expectations to become a difference maker.

Beyond Mingo, it was a sparse draft for a team with plenty of holes to fill. McFadden will compete for a starting cornerback job opposite Joe Haden, but he’s likely the only other immediate starter. The Browns already had limited picks in this year’s draft because they used a second-round selection in July’s supplemental draft to take wide receiver Josh Gordon. The Browns then traded their fourth and fifth round selections for picks next year, which further depleted their draft stock.

Kiper’s Take: “That first pick was Barkevious Mingo, a player I'm at once infatuated with as a talent, but skeptical of because of what I considered production that didn't match up with his talent. Now, Mingo adds depth at outside linebacker, but he's going to need some developmental work because he played with his hand on the ground at LSU. After that, there isn't a lot here that you'll see in 2013.” Grade: C-plus

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