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NFL Draft Class Recaps - AFC North

Updated: Jun 16

By Aaron Ussery

Baltimore Ravens

Round 1, Pick 14 - Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Hamilton was widely seen as one of the draft's best overall players, and will slide into the Ravens back seven as a flexible piece who can play anywhere from deep safety to box linebacker to the nickel position - depending on the matchup.

Round 1, Pick 25 - Tyler Linderbaum, IOL, Iowa

With the departure of Bradley Bozeman in free agency, there was a gaping chasm in the very heart of the team's offensive line. That's no longer the case, as Linderbaum projects as someone who can lock down Baltimore's starting center job for the next decade.

Round 2, Pick 45 - David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan

Ojabo's pro day Achilles' tear is the only reason this was even possible. Before that injury, he was a top-20 pick. Now the Ravens will bide their time until he's ready to contribute, and once he is the team may well have the league's most explosive outside pass rushing duo between him and Odafe Oweh.

Round 3, Pick 76 - Travis Jones, IDL, Connecticut

Michael Pierce returned to the team this offseason, but he's about to turn 30 and has only played six games over the last two seasons. The Ravens have a potential out from his contract after the 2022 season, and Travis Jones sure looks like a good long term replacement in the defense's two-gapping nose tackle role.

Round 4, Pick 110 - Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota

One of the most obvious fits in the entire draft. The Ravens love O-Linemen whose games are defined by *power.* Faalele fits the bill, standing at 6'9" and weighing 380 lbs. Similar to Michael Pierce, OT Morgan Moses also has a potential out in his contract after the upcoming season. If the team likes what they see from Faalele this year, Baltimore could cut ties with Moses after one year and let the Minnesota product take over the starting RT job as soon as 2023.

Round 4, Pick 119 - Jalyn Armour-Davis, CB, Alabama

The corner room in Baltimore was besieged by injury last season, highlighting a need to add more depth to the position. And even beyond depth, Marcus Peters is in the final year of his deal with the team - making it a priority to find a replacement for him ahead of time. Armour-Davis can be that replacement. Ideally, the team will groom him for a season and give him a real shot at the starting outside spot opposite Marlon Humphrey in 2023.

Round 4, Pick 128 - Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State

Tight end is crucial to this offense, and it's been at its best when it's boasted multiple legitimate receiving threats at the position. Kolar is that, possessing elite hands and body control as well as a nifty ability to win at the top of routes. He can compete for the TE2 role behind Mark Andrews.

Round 4, Pick 130 - Jordan Stout, P, Penn State

A punter in the fourth round might curl some people's toes, but when you have six fourth-round picks and your current punter turns 40 this offseason... why not add one of the draft's best punters? Stout will more than likely claim the job from longtime staple Sam Koch this offseason.

Round 4, Pick 139 - Isaiah Likely, TE, Coastal Carolina

A different sort of player than Charlie Kolar, Likely adds another weapon to the room. He's more of an "F" or "Joker" type than a true Y, which could earn him reps early on as a TE3, power slot, or even an H-Back.

Round 4, Pick 141 - Damarion Williams, CB, Houston

Williams was projected to kick inside to the nickel corner spot in the NFL, which just so happened to be a role the Ravens need to fill on defense after the departure of Tavon Young. Williams can line up inside and stay step for step with some of the league's quicker and more route-savvy slot receivers such as Hunter Renfrow or Tyler Boyd.

Round 6, Pick 196 - Tyler Badie, RB, Missouri

The running back room faced total decimation last season, so it wasn't a surprise to see Baltimore make another investment here. Badie in particular signals the end of Justice Hill's time with the team, as he enters the final year of his rookie deal. The Missouri product profiles as a similar change of pace back, possessing pass catching upside, excellent twitch, and strong open field vision.


Cincinnati Bengals

Round 1, Pick 31 - Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

Hill is a versatile hybrid safety/nickel type who drew comparisons to Tyrann Mathieu during the draft process. He'll slot into a starting role on the defense alongside Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell, and can flex into different coverage assignments as needed.

Round 2, Pick 60 - Cam Taylor-Britt, CB, Nebrasksa

Taylor-Britt projects as an outside corner in the NFL, with exceptional length and plus-level ball skills. Eli Apple was brought back on a one-year deal to man the outside corner spot opposite Chidobe Awuzie, but Taylor-Britt could potentially beat him out this year - or at least take over long-term come 2023.

Round 3, Pick 95 - Zachary Carter, IDL, Florida

Carter possesses inside-outside flexibility alongside the defensive line. His easiest path to playing time for Cincinnati is likely as an interior 3-tech penetrating type who offers something a little bit different than DJ Reader and BJ Hill.

Round 4, Pick 136 - Cordell Volson, OT, North Dakota State

Volson played right tackle for the Bison, but many anticipate he'll need to make a switch inside to guard in the NFL. With the Bengals in particular, I think he fits well as a good utility backup piece on the right side of the line.

Round 5, Pick 166 - Tycen Anderson, S, Toledo

Anderson adds more depth to the secondary as a safety/nickel piece with a bit more size and length than Dax Hill. DC Lou Anarumo found a solid role in his defense for former Seahawk Tre Flowers as a "tight end eraser." I think Anderson makes sense as a long term player in a similar sort of role, as Flowers is back on just a one-year deal and will turn 29 this season.

Round 7, Pick 252 - Jeffrey Gunter, EDGE, Coastal Carolina

Gunter is the exact type of long, linear base end the Bengals love. The Cincy EDGE room is pretty crowded at the moment, so Gunter will to scratch and claw for a roster spot. But he fits what they like and could at least wind up as a practice squad player for a year.


Cleveland Browns

Round 3, Pick 68 - Martin Emerson, CB, Mississippi State

Emerson adds some solid depth to the Browns CB room. Denzel Ward and Greg Newsome have the starting spots locked down, but after them there isn't much that you feel comfortable with. Emerson is a great fit for DC Joe Woods' Cover-2/Cover-3 Zone scheme, and could offer an upgrade over Greedy Williams as the other outside corner when the team wants to move either Ward or Newsome into the slot in nickel packages.

Round 3, Pick 78 - Alex Wright, EDGE, UAB

The EDGE room beyond Myles Garrett is a huge question mark. Chase Winovich was brought in from New England but he hardly solves the issue. Wright has elite traits and has potential to earn meaningful reps as a rookie while potentially developing into a plus-level starter down the road.

Round 3, Pick 99 - David Bell, WR, Purdue

Bell might have the biggest immediate impact of all the Browns' draft picks. There is an easy path for him to earn starting reps alongside Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones. He isn't a great athlete, but has a high floor thanks to his route-running savvy, body control, and ball-winning ability.

Round 4, Pick 108 - Perrion Winfrey, IDL, Oklahoma

Winfrey's stock was done no favors by his usage at Oklahoma. He was played in a1-tech, gap-plugging nose tackle role despite a profile and skillset that seems more well-suited for interior pass rush. I think Winfrey has the ability to compete for and earn one of the starting defensive tackle spots as a rookie.

Round 4, Pick 124 - Cade York, K, LSU

In close-scoring contests, kickers can ultimately make the difference -- and Cade York was the best one available in this year's draft. He showed the same type of ice in his veins at LSU that the Browns have been on the receiving end of from likes of both Justin Tucker and Evan MacPherson in recent years. He more than likely takes the job from Chase McLaughlin and Chris Blewitt before the end of camp.

Round 5, Pick 156 - Jerome Ford, RB, Cincinnati

It's easy to see where Ford slots in for this team long term. Kareem Hunt is entering the final year of his deal, and with so many big contracts suddenly on the books the team will need to start cutting costs where they can -- sooner rather than later. Ford will be a much cheaper option as RB2 to Nick Chubb come 2023.

Round 6, Pick 202 - Michael Woods II, WR, Oklahoma

Woods adds more depth to the wideout room, but he'll need to fight for a roster spot with other players like Javon Wins, Jakeem Grant, and Anthony Schwartz. He doesn't have Schwartz's speed or Grant's return ability either, so the battle for a roster spot may be an uphill one.

Round 7, Pick 223 - Isaiah Thomas, EDGE, Oklahoma

Thomas will provides some good competition in the EDGE room during training camp, alongside names like Isaac Rochell and Stephen Weatherly. If he shows enough, he may get the nod for a roster spot over them due to his cheaper contract - but it's just as likely he doesn't make the cut or winds up on the practice squad.

Round 7, Pick 246 - Dawson Deaton, IOL, Texas Tech

JT Tretter is gone, so it's an open competition for the starting center job between Nick Harris, Ethan Pocic, and now Deaton. The former two both have NFL starting experience, which may give them a leg up over the rookie when it comes to competition, but neither is a slam dunk solution. The opportunity is certainly there.


Pittsburgh Steelers

Round 1, Pick 20 - Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

The Steelers went with the hometown kid, deeming him to be the most pro-ready option in a subpar QB class. The rest of the league seemed to agree, as another QB didn't go until the third round. Pickett isn't a high-ceiling type, but has a high floor and could easily emerge as a capable starter with a strong enough support system around him.

Round 2, Pick 52 - George Pickens, WR, Georgia

Speaking of support systems. The Steelers held fast in the second round and had, in my opinion, the best receiver in the draft fall right into their lap. Pickens is a dynamic threat with WR1 ability and can earn targets immediately alongside Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool due to his ability to line up either outside or in the slot.

Round 3, Pick 84 - DeMarvin Leal, IDL, Texas A&M

Leal is a player who projects well as a 3-Tech defensive end type of player who could eventually step in longterm for Cam Heyward or Stephon Tuitt as both players continue to get a bit longer in the teeth. Heyward in particular is 33 years old and has a potential out in his current deal following the 2022 season...

Round 4, Pick 138 - Calvin Austin III, WR, Memphis

With Diontae Johnson in the final year of his rookie deal, and Mike Tomlin's documented frustration with Chase Claypool during the 2021 season, it's easy to visualize the plan here. Austin, along with George Pickens, could prove to be the Steelers' long-term1-2 punch at wideout come 2023. He profiles similar to Johnson as an undersized wideout with underrated vertical outside ability due to his slipperiness at the line of scrimmage.

Round 6, Pick 208 - Connor Heyward, FB/TE, Michigan State

The younger brother of Cam Heyward, Connor is a fullback with receiving upside who can eventually take over the starting job from Derek Watt in 2023 while also playing some tight end snaps in 2022.

Round 7, Pick 225 - Mark Robinson, LB, Ole Miss

Robinson was not a name I was familiar with during the process, but based on his position and athletic profile he's a likely special teamer if he's able to crack the roster at all. The Steelers linebacker room is incredibly crowded, so he may have a tough time distinguishing himself.

Round 7, Pick 241 - Chris Oladokun, QB, South Dakota State

The Steelers like to keep the QB room stocked, and Oladokun is a highly poised passer with enticing arm strength and mobility. He likely earns a spot on the practice squad, but there's certainly a scenario where he wrestles the QB3 job away from Mason Rudolph.

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