2017 NFL Draft Grades: AFC North

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The AFC North has been all about the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens in recent seasons, and for good reason.  Led by top-tier quarterback play, the Steelers and Ravens have become perennial Super Bowl contenders in a division that also features the hot and cold Cincinnati Bengals and league doormat Cleveland Browns.

The 2017 NFL Draft could be the first step toward changing the culture of the North, especially after the haul the Browns are bringing back to Cleveland.  Here’s a look at how all four teams performed.

1Cleveland Browns:  A-

Draft class:

Myles Garret | DE | Texas A&M (1.01)
Jabrill Peppers | SAF | Michigan (1.25)
David Njoku | TE | Miami (1.29)
DeShone Kizer | QB | Notre Dame (2.52)
Larry Ogunjobi | DT | Charlotte (3.65)
Howard Wilson | CB | Houston (4.126)
Roderick Johnson | OT | Florida State (5.160)
Caleb Brantley | DT | Florida (6.185)
Zane Gonzalez | K | Arizona State (7.224)
Matthew Dayes | RB | NC State (7.252)

Analysis: The Browns could hardly do any wrong with the first pick, despite some rumors prior to the draft that they were considering UNC quarterback Mitchell Trubisky at No. 1 overall.  They pumped the brakes on that one and selected the best player, by far, in the entire class. Myles Garrett is an instant game changer on defense. Anything less than a double-digit sack total would be a disappointment.  Cleveland added two addition first-rounders this year in Michigan’s defensive athlete Jabrill Peppers and Miami tight end David Njoku.  Peppers concerns me a bit because I’m not sure where he’s going to play in the NFL.  If I’m spending a first-round pick on a guy, I better have a plan for him.  Maybe Cleveland does.  Njoku will help the intermediate passing game immediately in his rookie year.  He still has room for development, which is a scary proposition considering just how naturally talented he is.  Quarterback DeShone Kizer will be a fun player to watch evolve over the next season or two. He’s already the most gifted passer on the roster and it shouldn’t be long before he’s taking starter’s reps.  Larry Ogunjobi has upside, but he may end up being more of a rotational defensive lineman in the pros.  Roderick Johnson has had his critics in draft season, but he possesses starting traits.  He needs to become more consistent.  Matthew Dayes was nice value at the end of the draft.  He will challenge for a roster spot.

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