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Draft Analysis – AFC North

AFC North

by Dwayne Wilton

Now that the draft process is complete, we will do a series of articles discussing the draft picks of each team by division. Since these players have yet to set foot on an NFL field, we don’t do draft grades. We don’t believe a draft should be graded for at least two years, which gives players some time to develop.

Today we look at the AFC North.

Baltimore Ravens:

Round 1               Matt Elam                          Safety                   Florida

Round 2               Arthur Brown                   Linebacker          Kansas State

Round 3               Brandon Williams           Nose Tackle        Missouri Southern

Round 4               John Simon                      Linebacker          Ohio State

Round 4               Kyle Juszczyk                   Fullback               Harvard

Round 5               Ricky Wagner                   Tackle                   Wisconsin

Round 6               Kapron Lewis-Moore      Defensive End    Notre Dame

Round 6               Ryan Jensen                      Tackle                  Colorado State-Pueblo

Round 7               Aaron Mellette                  Wide Receiver    Elon

Round 7               Marc Anthony                   Cornerback         Cal

After winning Super Bowl XLVII, the Ravens defense was decimated. Their losses included linebackers Ray Lewis, Danelle Ellerbe and Paul Kruger, safety Ed Reed and corner Carey Williams. Raven’s GM Ozzie Newsome is one of the best in the league at drafting players and he produced a good haul of players that really seem to fit their system. First rounder Matt Elam is a hard hitter that should fit right in with what the Ravens like to do on defense. The only knock on him is his height (5’8”), but he is a player that always seems to be in the right spot and arrives in a bad mood. He should team with former Raider Michael Huff to give them a solid presence at safety. Second rounder Arthur Brown should get an opportunity to start right away at one of the inside linebacker positions. He is a tackling machine that finds ways to get to the ball. Brandon Williams is a massive nose tackle that will back up Terrence Cody and probably get some time in a rotation. He is a strong, powerful player that takes on blocks well.  He is raw but he should get a chance to be brought along slowly. I call John Simon the Energizer Bunny. He is a high effort player that is very disruptive. He played through injuries his senior season, but if you look at tape of his junior year, he flashes. For now, he will be a backup player and special teamer, but don’t be surprised if he pushes for more playing time. Ricky Wagner was a left tackle at Wisconsin, but he will probably either play right tackle or guard for the Ravens. Kyle Juszczyk was not well known until the Senior Bow. He really stood out that week. He is an excellent blocker, excels at protecting the passer and is a good outlet receiver. Kapron Lewis-Moore is a lunch pail player that plays with good effort. He holds the Notre Dame school record for tackles for a defensive lineman. He is a good fit as a 3-4 defensive end and he can slide inside on passing downs to pressure the quarterback.  Ryan Jensen is a small school player that will be a developmental player. He was a tackle in college, but will start off backing up Gino Gradkowski at center. Aaron Mellette is another small school player. He has really good size and runs good routes, but doesn’t have a lot of burst. Marc Anthony has good size, speed and balance. He is patient in his reads and breaks well on balls thrown in front of him.

Cincinnati Bengals:

Round 1               Tyler Eifert                          Tight End             Notre Dame

Round 2               Giovani Bernard                Running Back     North Carolina

Round 2               Margus Hunt                      Defensive End    SMU

Round 3               Shawn Williams                 Safety                   Georgia

Round 4               Sean Porter                         Linebacker          Texas A&M

Round 5               Tanner Hawkinson           Tackle                   Kansas

Round 6               Rex Burkhead                    Running Back     Nebraska

Round 6               Cobi Hamilton                   Wide Receiver    Arkansas

Round 7               Reid Fragel                         Tackle                   Ohio State

Round 7               T.J. Johnson                      Center                   South Carolina

Tyler Eifert will team with Jermaine Gresham to give the Dalton Gang two tight ends that can attack a defense. The Patriots have changed the way teams think about tight ends. It’s a copycat league and many teams are trying to duplicate what the Pats do with multiple tight ends. The Bengals should be able to do a lot of that and take some pressure off of A.J. Green. Eifert is a big, physical receiver that can line up in the slot and get downfield. Giovani Bernard is a quick, shifty back with great feet and vision. He should be a good change of pace from The Law Firm. He is also a good receiver that can make things happen in space. Margus Hunt is a physical freak that should be a good addition to the Bengals defense. I like him better as a 3-4 end, but he can also play the left side. If he can block half the kicks that he did in college, then he was worth the pick. Shawn Williams was an aggressive, emotional leader for the Bulldogs. He should provide good depth and special teams play for the Bengals. Sean Porter is a natural pass rusher that led the Big XII in sacks in 2011.  He is a run and chase linebacker that goes sideline to sideline in pursuit of the ball. Porter will start out as the backup to Vontaze Bufict, but will probably see time in passing situations. Now that Andre Smith has signed his contract, Tanner Hawkinson will likely back him up on the right side. Rex Burkhead is an underrated running back. He is tough and willing to take on defenders. Burkhead is a high effort runner that battled injuries in 2012, but if healthy should be a productive back. He was a workhorse for the Cornhuskers and was the #3 rusher in the Big Ten in 2011. Cobi Hamilton was part of a very explosive attack at Arkansas. He was the fourth receiver in 2011, but got his chance to be the main man in 2012. He stepped up by catching 90 balls for over 1,300 yards and 5 touchdowns. Hamilton is explosive off the line of scrimmage and can attack a defense deep. The Bengals have a lot of talent at receiver, so it may take him some time before he is able to contribute. Reid Fragel is a right tackle that has good strength and is able to get to the next level to block linebackers.  T.J. Johnson was a second team All-ACC selection in 2012. He is a high character kid that gives good effort. He will go into training camp as the third center.

Cleveland Browns:

Round 1               Barkevious Mingo            Linebacker          LSU

Round 3               Leon McFadden               Cornerback         San Diego State

Round 6               Jamoris Slaughter           Safety                   Notre Dame

Round 7               Armonty Bryant               Linebacker          East Central Oklahoma

Round 7               Garrett Gilkey                   Tackle                  Chadron State

The Browns had a strange draft. They only ended up with 5 picks and three of those were in the last two rounds. It seems like the Browns bounce back and forth every year from 3-4 to 4-3. With Rod Chudzinski as the new coach, the Browns hired Ray Horton as defensive coordinator. Horton coached under Dick LeBeau at Pittsburgh, so you can expect a similar scheme in Cleveland. The Browns decided to strengthen their pass rush by taking Barkevious Mingo in the 1st round. It looks like Mingo will back up Jabaal Sheard (a Draft Maniacs favorite). There are rumors that the Browns may be looking to move Sheard and if they do, then Mingo will be the starter on the weak side. If not, he will be used on passing downs to use his speed to get after the QB. The Browns did not have a 2nd round pick and selected Leon McFadden in the 3rd round. McFadden is a good press corner with good feet and impressive ball skills. He does a good job jamming receivers off the line of scrimmage. He will get a chance to start right away opposite of Joe Haden. Jamoris Slaughter is a safety that can play in the box or as a free safety. He was a good value in round 6. Armonty Bryant is a 263 lb. defensive end that dominated at the Division II level. However, he was recently arrested for DUI. That will hurt his chances to make the team. Garrett Gilkey is another small school guy that will be looked upon to provide depth in the offensive line. He is an extremely strong player that bench presses 500 lbs. He will start out as a backup right tackle.

Pittsburgh Steelers:

Round 1               Jarvis Jones                        Linebacker                          Georgia

Round 2               Le’Veon Bell                       Running Back                     Michigan State

Round 3               Markus Wheaton              Wide Receiver                     Oregon State

Round 4               Shamarko Thomas           Safety                                    Syracuse

Round 4               Landry Jones                     Quarterback                        Oklahoma

Round 5               Terry Hawthorne              Cornerback                          Illinois

Round 6               Justin Brown                     Wide Receiver                     Oklahoma

Round 6               Vince Williams                  Linebacker                           Florida State

Round 7               Nick Williams                    Defensive End                     Samford

Jarvis Jones was probably the most disruptive player in this year’s draft. At one time, Jones was considered a top 5 talent, but he slid due to medical concerns and poor workouts at his pro day. Jones ran a 4.95 40 at his pro day, but he plays much faster than that. He led the country in sacks and tackles for loss in 2012. Jones is a natural 3-4 outside linebacker and should fit the Pittsburgh scheme extremely well. He should be able to step right in as a starter and make up for the loss of James Harrison. Rashard Mendenhall signed with Arizona in free agency, so the Steelers just go out and draft Le’Veon Bell. Bell has a similar running style to Jerome Bettis and is extremely athletic for his size. Don’t be surprised if he ends up as the starting running back. Markus Wheaton should be able to move the chains for the Steelers passing game. He doesn’t quite have the same speed as Mike Wallace, who left for Miami, but he should be productive.  He will start off as the third receiver behind Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders. Troy Polamalu can’t play forever, so the Steelers drafted Shamarko Thomas as an eventual replacement. He has been called a human missile because he likes to fly to the ball. Landry Jones will be given a chance to develop behind Big Ben and Bruce Gradkowski. Terry Hawthorne has good size and speed. He will give the Steelers depth at the position and should get some time to develop some consistency. Justin Brown transferred to Oklahoma from Penn State. He started off slow, but ended up as the Sooners second leading receiver with 73 catches. He can also return punts. Vince Williams is a fast inside linebacker that turned some heads the Senior Bowl. He doesn’t mind hitting people and was a leader down in Mobile. Nick Williams is a small school guy who will get a chance to be a backup defensive end.


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