Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Breshad Perriman (Central Florida) is selected as the number twenty-six overall pick to the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
The AFC North was the most competitive division in the NFL just a season ago. With things finally calming down after the 2015 NFL Draft came to a close on Saturday, it’s time to take a look at how each of the AFC North teams fared overall in the draft.
The Ravens kicked things off by selecting UCF wide receiver Breshad Perriman in the latter portion of the first round. There are some concerns regarding Perriman’s hands, but if he can prove that he can catch the football consistently, the Ravens may have found their Torrey Smith replacement.
In the second round, they traded up to select Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams, who was widely regarded as the top tight end in the draft. This was probably Baltimore’s best pick of the draft. With Dennis Pitta‘s injury woes and the loss of Owen Daniels, the Ravens needed to acquire a go-to-guy at the position and Williams can be that guy.
The Ravens surprised a few people by selecting defensive tackle Carl Davis in Round 3, but it actually seems like a pretty good pick. With the departure of Haloti Ngata, Davis should play a key role in the Ravens’ efforts to stop the run. They further addressed the defense by drafting outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith and cornerback Tray Walker. Smith gives them more depth at an already talented position and they hope Walker can step into the fold in the secondary and make some things happen.
One of the more underrated picks for Baltimore was the fourth-round selection of USC running back Javorius “Buck” Allen. He is another big-bodied back to add to the arsenal.
Overall Grade: B+
The Bengals hit it right on the nose by drafting Texas A&M offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi with their first round pick. He figures to start somewhere on the line next season. They then, followed it up by selecting Jake Fisher to further bolster the depth of their offensive line.
One player on the other side of the ball who is expected to make big contributions as a rookie is TCU linebacker Paul Dawson, whom they chose in the third round.
The Bengals also exercised a great deal of faith by selecting USC defensive back Josh Shaw. Shaw has had some off-the-field issues, but clearly Cincinnati isn’t too concerned with that moving forward. Shaw is versatile and could play either corner or safety for the Bengals.
Overall Grade: B+
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The Browns appeared to hit and miss in the first round of this year’s draft. They started off by selecting Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton, which makes sense. The Browns were 32nd against the run last season. What did not make much sense was taking offensive lineman Cameron Erving, who usually plays center. Maybe they have something special planned for him. Who knows?
They got another big boost on defense in the second, selecting linebacker Nate Orchard. They also surprised a lot of people when they drafted Miami running back Duke Johnson in the third round. They don’t really need anymore backs, but Johnson is a rare talent.
The biggest steal of the draft for them could be cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. He has battled some tough injuries, but when he’s healthy he can be a solid corner at the next level.
Overall Grade: B-
The Steelers really struck gold when Kentucky linebacker Bud Dupree fell into their lap at No. 22 in the first round. Dupree fits in perfectly with the defensive scheme and he has the ability to make an immediate impact for this defense. He should be terrorizing quarterbacks for years to come.
They made another great defensive grab in the second round, selecting Ole Miss cornerback Senquez Golson. While undersized, he plays a very physical style of football and always seems to be around the ball.
The Steelers selected wide receiver Sammie Coates in the third round. He is a gifted athlete, but he hasn’t quite reached his potential as a receiver just yet. He also does not fill a particular need, with similar players already on the roster.
There is a big question mark surrounding safety Gerod Holliman, who wasn’t drafted until the seventh round. Holliman is certainly a ballhawk and possesses great agility and awareness, but he lacks in the technique department. With the retirement of Troy Polamalu, they have a hole at safety, so they are hoping he can give them some production.
Overall Grade: A-