Behind Enemy Lines: AFC North Draft


With rookie minicamps taking place across the nation, the NFL Draft is now long gone. We now know who the Pittsburgh Steelers have selected to move on with to improve their team from the 8-8 record that they finished with in 2012.

What did the other three teams in the AFC North do in the draft? Did they possibly draft some better players that fit their needs? Have they drafted players that can step in and make an impact? We will be stepping Behind Enemy Lines to show you how the other three teams in the north did in the draft. Be careful.

The Baltimore Ravens – Consensus Grade: B

The Ravens have found a way to replenish the defense that they have held on for over a decade with linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed, or maybe that is just how it seems. Right now we do not know how this new defense will play out, but it has the looks of a more talented one than the Super Bowl winning defense they had just in February.

In rounds one and two it seems the Ravens have found two starters in Florida safety Matt Elam and Kansas State inside linebacker, Arthur Brown. Brown considered to be the biggest steal taken in the AFC North by’s Bucky Brooks. Brown was the 56th overall pick in the draft whose rank dropped seeing how he was viewed as a first round pick in several mock drafts.

Elam known for his passionate play and his hard-hitting ability at the University of Florida. A perfect replacement for Bernard Pollard at strong safety and also taking Pollard’s number, #31. Elam shows good ball skills and knows the point of attack.

In the middle-to-late rounds, the Ravens pulled away with some good role talent in players like defensive tackle Brandon Williams, outside linebacker John Simon, center Ryan Jensen, and wide receiver Aaron Mellette. For the Ravens complete draft and their numbers click the link.

The Cincinnati Bengals – Consensus Grade: A

The Bengals have put together some very good drafts in the past few seasons. The best being when they came away with quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green in 2011. In 2013, draft experts believe they have struck gold again. Starting with round one when the Bengals selected Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert from Notre Dame.

Eifert will join a pass happy offense as the team’s second receiving tight end next to Jermaine Gresham who the team also selected in the first round, 21st overall pick, in the 2010 draft. With Eifert, the Bengals will look to run more two tight end packages. Eifert is a more accomplished blocker than scouts give him credit for and of course with excellent hands.

In rounds two and three, the Bengals had three sections being North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard, SMU defensive end Margus Hunt, and strong safety Shawn Williams. Bernard was a speed back who was very elusive at North Carolina. He ran for over 1,200 yards in both of his past two seasons. He is able to catch the ball out of the backfield and return punts as well. Hunt will be depth they added to a good defensive line already. He fits in with the 4-3 scheme that they run in Cincinnati. Draft expert Mike Mayock believes Williams can be a big help on special teams in his first year as he is also capable of covering the back-end of defenses.

The Cleveland Browns – Consensus Grade: C

The Browns had a more quiet draft than the other teams did in the north with just five total selections. The Browns signed some key players in free agency on top of these selections, which will help this team significantly.

They started with taking LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo with the sixth pick. Mingo is a quick edge rusher who can hunt down the quarterback. Scouts believe Mingo could be better if he bulks up but Mingo feels he is fine where he is at. Arguably the best pass rusher in this class.

The only other pick the Browns made before the last two rounds was cornerback Leon McFadden from San Diego State in round three. A smaller corner at 5’10” and 193 lbs. Possesses quick feet and speed with good fluid hips. Good tackler with 61 tackles in his senior season and 3 interceptions. A quiet draft for Cleveland, but they added to a young, talented team.

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