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2023 NFL Draft Grades: AFC North

2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft
How did the AFC North perform during the 2023 NFL Draft? We have draft grades to hand out for each team in the division. (Kirby Lee / USA Today)

2023 NFL Draft Grades: AFC North

After hitting the AFC East, we now transition to the AFC North. The AFC is stacked and the 2023 NFL Draft could be the determining factor in the end. I normally try to be spicy with these draft grades but I may be a bit boring with this division. Let’s just get to the draft grades and keep it moving.

Baltimore Ravens: B

Round 1: No. 22 overall — Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
Round 3: No. 86 — Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson
Round 4: No. 124 — Tavius Robinson, OLB, Ole Miss
Round 5: No. 157 — Kyu Blu Kelly, CB, Stanford
Round 6: No. 199 — Malaesala Aumave-Laulu, OT, Oregon
Round 7: No. 229 — Andrew Vorhees, OG, USC

I am no longer a Ravens fan after the Ravens extended Lamar Jackson, but I promise I’ll be fair with my analysis. With that being said, it’s a solid draft. There are mistakes in here but I don’t think the fans can be too mad at this one.

I had Zay Flowers as my number one wide receiver so it’s hard to hate this pick. Then again, it totally invalidates the Rashod Bateman pick (who I tried to tell you wasn’t that good). That has to be factored into the grade because they totally botched the 2021 Draft. Something I also tried to warn you of.

I like Trenton Simpson. The third round value is a nice cherry on top. It also sucks because Patrick Queen is going to get his option declined so that’s another first round pick that was wasted.

Are you starting to see a trend? A trend why I can’t stand this team?

Eric DeCosta just isn’t nearly as good at this as Ozzie Newsome was. It’s a B draft. I like Flowers. I like Simpson. There is no real late round value here at all. Andrew Vorhees is a 2024 pick essentially.

Cincinnati Bengals: B

Round 1: No. 28 — Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson
Round 2: No. 60 — DJ Turner, CB, Michigan
Round 3: No. 95 — Jordan Battle, S, Alabama
Round 4: No. 131 — Charlie Jones, WR, Purdue
Round 5: No. 163 — Chase Brown, RB, Illinois
Round 6: No. 206 — Andrei Iosivas, WR, Princeton
Round 7: No. 217 — Brad Robbins, P, Michigan
Round 7: No. 246 — DJ Ivey, DB, Miami

I think we have another B level draft. I talked about this in the Myles Murphy draft profile but I didn’t see him as a top ten pick like he was being mocked in the pre-draft process. He’s certainly going to help them though.

DJ Turner and Jordan Battle provide them much needed secondary help. Jessie Bates is gone and it’s hard to really trust any of their cornerback room. Both are much needed additions and both should make instant impacts.

I also love the Charlie Jones selection. He’s going to eat in that offense.

The only problem is they basically nuked the rest of the draft class. Chase Brown sucks. The Princeton wide receiver stinks too. I’m not going to hate on it too much but it’s preventing them from what could have been a B+ / A- class.

Cleveland Browns: B

Round 3: No. 74 — Cedric Tillman, WR, Tennessee
Round 4: No. 98 — Siaki Ika, DT, Baylor
Round 4: No. 111 — Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State
Round 4: No. 126 (from Vikings) — Isaiah McGuire, EDGE, Missouri
Round 5: No. 140 (from Rams) — Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB, UCLA
Round 5: No. 142 — Cameron Mitchell, CB, Northwestern
Round 6: No. 190 — Luke Wypler, C, Ohio State

We have to remember that trades heavily impacted the outcome of this draft. Deshaun Watson is one we’re well aware of. However, the Browns also snagged Elijah Moore for pennies on the dollar. That has to be factored into the grade.

With the picks the Browns did come away with, Andrew Berry knocked this out of the park. Cedric Tillman wasn’t my favorite receiver in this draft but in the third round? That dude is big and was the best contested catch guy in the draft. Siaki Ika I wasn’t a fan of either but he’s a big nose tackle that should be a rotational piece for that defense.

Three picks here really turn this into a B level draft for me. Getting Dawand Jones in the third round is flat out stealing. I have no idea how he dropped that far. Was there really a four round gap between him and Paris Johnson? I had Jones rated very highly on my tackle list. He’s a right tackle only but his wingspan is record breaking. He’s going to be the long term replacement eventually for Jack Conklin who is aging.

Cameron Mitchell is really good. That’s all I’m going to say. So is Luke Wypler. He was my second rated center in the class and they got him in the 6th round.

Real quick. DTR is the perfect backup for Deshaun Watson. He was the one late round quarterback I was willing to take a shot on.

A job well done for Andrew Berry. Make no mistake about it. This Browns roster is really good and they have a hell of a shot to compete for playoff spot in a loaded AFC.

Pittsburgh Steelers: A+

Round 1: No. 14 (from Patriots): Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
Round 2: No. 32 (from Bears): Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
Round 2: No. 49: Keeanu Benton, DT, Wisconsin
Round 3: No. 93 — Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
Round 4: No. 132 (from 49ers through Panthers) — Nick Herbig, OLB, Wisconsin
Round 7: No. 241 (from Vikings through Broncos)— Cory Trice, CB, Purdue
Round 7: No. 251 (From Rams) — Spencer Anderson, OG, Maryland

Omar Khan deserves a raise because he just did what Kevin Colbert never had the balls to do. It was a masterclass draft and it’s hard to hate the approach. Even I was panicking as Joey Porter slipped down the board. Khan never panicked and found a way to get Porter and his left tackle.

I went back and fourth between Jones and Paris Johnson being the top left tackle. Either way, it was a two horse race and the Steelers found a way to get one. They had to move up to get it done but it only cost them a 4th round pick and we all knew the Jets wanted him bad. The Dan Moore headache is gone.

Joey Porter was also my number one rated corner. I can’t believe they got him in the second round. A pick they otherwise wouldn’t have had. The entire city of Pittsburgh owes Ryan Poles a thank you card for having the IQ of a snail that got salt poured on it. Does Chase Claypool deserve a card too? That trade keeps getting better by the day.

I’m not the highest on Keeanu Benton because I think there is some bust potential there but the ceiling is relatively high. Mike Tomlin should get the most out of him. The same goes for Nick Herbig. He’s kinda just a guy for me but in Pittsburgh being paired with big brother? Talk about a landing spot.

The thing that pushes this to an A+ is the Darnell Washington pick. It’s a joke that guy went that late. Washington is the best tight end in this draft. Do the Steelers have the best tight end room in the NFL now? Can you even argue against it especially from a blocking perspective? That’s two big bodies that never give the play call away.

Home run draft. The Steelers hired a smart guy. Omar Khan gets it.

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