AFC North, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Uncategorized

2022 NFL Post Draft Who Got Better In the AFC North

Now that the 2022 NFL draft is firmly in the rearview mirror and although there is still a bit of free agency to go most rosters are shaping up. Given this, it’s time to give it some thought to who improved in the draft and have a look at some of the more interesting picks. Starting with the AFC North which was the closest division of them all in 2021.

2021 Finishing Positions

Cincinnati Bengals 10-7
Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7-1
Cleveland Browns 8-9
Baltimore Ravens 8-9

 

Baltimore Ravens

Draft picks

Notre Dame S Kyle Hamilton (No. 14 overall)

Iowa C Tyler Linderbaum (No. 25 overall)

Michigan Edge David Ojabo (No. 45 overall)

UConn DT Travis Jones (No. 76 overall)

Minnesota OT Daniel Faalele (No. 110 overall)

Alabama CB Jalyn Armour-Davis (No. 119 overall)

Iowa State TE Charlie Kolar (No. 128 overall)

Penn State P Jordan Stout (No. 130 overall)

Coastal Carolina TE Isaiah Likely (No. 139 overall)

Houston CB Damarion Williams (No. 141 overall)

Missouri RB Tyler Badie (No. 196 overall)

Thoughts

The Ravens ended up picking 11 times this year and overall look to have a decent haul. Their two 1st round picks both look like bargains. Kyle Hamilton who was arguably a top 5 talent slipped to them at 14 and then they got one of the best Centre prospects in years at 25 in Tyler Linderbaum. Ok, they had to give up Marquise “Hollywood” Brown to get these two picks but hey it’s still a great deal. Have a look at what Kyle Hamilton can do!

They followed this up with a decent haul on days two & three too adding some depth to the D-Line on the second day and addressing offensive depth later on.  Even 4th round pick Punter Jordan Stout looks inspired given he is a pretty good field goal kicker too, offering cover at that position. Given the Ravens had an end of season collapse last year (lost their last six) thanks mainly to injuries adding this depth was important.

Overall Grade A+

The Ravens were well-positioned to take the division last season but that lack of depth led to 5 close losses (by three points or less). They look to be much improved with this haul.

Cincinnati Bengals

Draft picks

Michigan S Daxton Hill (No. 31 overall)

Nebraska CB Cam Taylor-Britt (No. 60 overall)

Florida DT Zachary Carter (No. 95 overall)

North Dakota State OL Cordell Volson (No. 136 overall)

Toledo S Tycen Anderson (No. 166 overall)

Coastal Carolina Edge Jeffrey Gunter (No. 252 overall)

Thoughts

Cincinnati came close to pulling off a shock in the Super Bowl last year, however poor play in their secondary put a stop to that. So this year they have ended up using half of their picks on versatile DBs in an attempt to sort this. Both Hill and Taylor-Britt could play either safety or CB at a push and Tycen Anderson should find a place in nickel coverage.

They pretty much revamped their OL in free agency but adding Volson made sense as he shifted between guard and tackle at NDSU and offers valuable roster flexibility.

Overall Grade A

It’s hard to find fault with the Bengals draft. They got better where they needed to, placing their focus on the defensive side of the ball.

 

Cleveland Browns

Draft picks

Mississippi State CB Martin Emerson (No. 68 overall)

UAB DE Alex Wright (No. 78 overall)

Purdue WR David Bell (No. 99 overall)

Oklahoma DT Perrion Winfrey (No. 108 overall)

LSU K Cade York (No. 124 overall)

Cincinnati RB Jerome Ford (No. 156 overall)

Oklahoma WR Mike Woods (No. 202 overall)

Oklahoma Edge Isaiah Thomas (No. 223 overall)

Texas Tech C Dawson Deaton (No. 246 overall)

 

Thoughts

The Browns were once renowned for hoarding draft picks, but thanks to the Deshaun Watson trade they won’t be picking on day one any time soon. There is a good chance that Watson misses time in 2022 which is why Baker Mayfield is still in the house. Anyway that aside the roster is still pretty stacked which allowed them to draft for depth.

Their first pick came early in round three and looks like a solid one as Martin Emerson should prove to be a decent cover corner. Similarly, Alex Wright might not figure early but could look like a bargain in a couple of years when the conditioning coaches have finished with him.

The rest of their draft went on drafting future potential and we don’t see any having an immediate impact.

Overall Grade C+

The Browns were on the playoff fringes last season but nothing in their draft will push them over the edge in what looks like being a strong AFC North. Their season pretty much hinges on whether Deshaun Watson gets to start day one.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Draft picks

Pitt QB Kenny Pickett (No. 20 overall)

Georgia WR George Pickens (No. 52 overall)

Texas A&M DL DeMarvin Leal (No. 84 overall)

Memphis WR Calvin Austin III (No. 138 overall)

Michigan State TE Connor Heyward (No. 208 overall)

Mississippi LB Mark Robinson (No. 225 overall)

South Dakota State QB Chris Oladokun (No. 241 overall)

 

Thoughts

The Steelers made the playoffs last year in what was Big Ben Rothelsbergers swan song season and they drafted what they hope will be his equally successful replacement in Kenny Pickett. He will most likely start the season as the backup to Mitchell Trubisky, but he looked NFL ready in 2021 and if Mitch doesn’t meet expectations then he could be starting by November. We had the Steelers going QB here in our mock but expected Kenny Pickett to have gone to the Panthers.


Whoever is under centre will need someone to throw to and they look to have got a good deal in grabbing George Pickens late in the second round. His draft stock was affected by an ACL tear, however, he has shown a lot of resilience to recover from this and he played his part in Georgia’s National Championship.

Connor Hayward joins his All-Pro brother Cam on the Steelers roster, and although he is on the opposite side of the ball if he turns out to be anywhere near as good then getting him near the end of the sixth round could look like an inspired pick.

Overall Grade A

The Steelers may have found their future franchise QB without having to either tank or give up the farm to move up the board. They won’t need to rush him in either as contrary to popular belief Mitch Trubisky is a decent QB, especially when he has talent around him.

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