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2015 AFC North Draft Roundup


The Ravens weren't the only AFC North team to receive high draft grades.

The Steelers, Bengals and Browns also addressed needs while finding good value.

The two chief rivals in the division – the Ravens and Steelers – also may have poached each other’s targets.

The Steelers grabbed pass rusher Bud Dupree in the first round, causing Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome to "cringe." Dupree was one player Baltimore had its eye on as he moved down the board. In the second round, the Ravens traded up three spots, right ahead of the Steelers, to grab tight end Maxx Williams.

Here's a round-up of the AFC North's 2015 draft:

Baltimore Ravens

1st Round: WR Breshad Perriman, Central Florida
2nd Round: TE Maxx Williams, Minnesota
3rd Round: DT Carl Davis, Iowa
4th Round: OLB Za'Darius Smith, Kentucky
4th Round: RB Javorius Allen, USC
4th Round: CB Tray Walker, Texas Southern
5th Round: TE Nick Boyle, Delaware
5th Round: G Robert Myers, Tennessee State
6th Round: WR Darren Waller, Georgia Tech

The Ravens' draft skewed more towards offensive playmakers than usual. Baltimore added big-time weapons for quarterback Joe Flacco in the first two rounds, and more in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds. Baltimore replaced a lot of holes created this year in free agency, replacing Torrey Smith with Perriman, Owen Daniels with Williams, Haloti Ngata with Davis, Pernell McPhee with Smith and Bernard Pierce with Allen. Walker, Myers and Waller are more developmental players with high ceilings.
ESPN Mel Kiper's Grade: A-minus

Pittsburgh Steelers

1st Round: OLB Bud Dupree, Kentucky
2nd Round: CB Senquez Golson, Ole Miss
3rd Round: WR Sammie Coates, Auburn
4th Round: CB Doran Grant, Ohio State
5th Round: TE Jesse James, Penn State
6th Round: DT Leterrius Walton, Central Michigan
6th Round: DE Anthony Chickillo, Miami
7th Round: FS Gerod Holliman, Louisville

Pittsburgh got a very talented linebacker in Dupree, who will likely immediately be a handful for the Ravens' offensive tackles. Pittsburgh had a gaping hole at cornerback and hit it twice with its first four picks. Both Golson and Grant are undersized at 5-foot-9 and 5-foot-10, respectively, but react and react quickly in zone coverage. Already loaded with talented receivers, the Steelers added yet another big-bodied speedster in Coates. They have one of the youngest and most talented receiver corps in the NFL.
Kiper's Grade: A-minus

Cincinnati Bengals

1st Round: OT Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M
2nd Round: OT Jake Fisher, Oregon
3rd Round: TE Tyler Kroft, Rutgers
3rd Round: ILB Paul Dawson, TCU
4th Round: CB Josh Shaw, USC
4th Round: DE Marcus Hardison, Arizona State
5th Round: TE C.J. Uzomah, Auburn
6th Round: FS Derron Smith, Fresno State
7th Round: WR Mario Alford, West Virginia

Don't expect to see a lot out of the Bengals' draft class immediately on the field, but they got some good developmental talent. With tackles Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith set for free agency next offseason, the Bengals took a first-round prospect that may not play this year. Ogbuehi tore his ACL in Texas A&M's bowl game. They followed that up with another tackle in Fisher. Inside linebacker Paul Dawson was a bargain in the third round.
Kiper's Grade: B-plus

Cleveland Browns

1st Round: NT Danny Shelton, Washington
1st Round: C Cameron Erving, Florida State
2nd Round: DE Nate Orchard, Utah
3rd Round: RB Duke Johnson, Miami
3rd Round: DT Xavier Cooper, Washington State
4th Round: SS Ibraheim Campbell, Northwestern
4th Round: WR Vince Mayle, Washington State
6th Round: CB Charles Gaines, Louisville
6th Round: TE Malcolm Johnson, Mississippi State
6th Round: TE Randall Telfer, USC
7th Round: ILB Hayes Pullard, USC
7th Round: CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon

Known for their flashy picks, especially with quarterbacks (see Johnny Manziel last year), Cleveland went with a blue-collar draft this year. They made it clear they want to better compete in the AFC North by stopping the run and pounding the rock. Missing playmakers in the passing game, the Browns still didn't take a receiver until their seventh pick. Shelton is a human boulder who will plug up the middle, while Erving is a position flexible offensive lineman. Orchard adds another pass rusher and tough guy. Johnson is an explosive all-around talent with the ball in his hands.
Kiper's Grade: B

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