clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2015 NFL Draft Results: A breakdown at the AFC North's 2015 Draft picks

A look at how the Steelers AFC North rivals did in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

After letting the dust settle on Sunday, it's time to review what the other AFC North teams did in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Cleveland Browns

With an AFC North high 12 picks, the Browns looked to address their offense and defensive lines first, using their first three picks on the lines of scrimmage. Cleveland later focused their attention on defensive picks while only drafting two skilled position players.

Looking to address their dreadful rush defense-the Browns were 30th against the run in 2014-Cleveland selected Washington nose tackle Danny Shelton with their first pick, Utah defensive end Nate Orchard in the second round and Washington State defensive tackle Xavier Cooper in the third round. And with center Alex Mack returning following a broken leg suffered last season against the Steelers, Cleveland added depth on their O-line with the addition of Florida State Center Cameron Erving in the first round.

Cleveland selected three late-round defensive backs in Northwestern defensive back Ibraheim Campbell in the fourth round, Louisville cornerback Charles Gaines in the sixth round and Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu in the seventh round. The Browns lone linebacker chosen was USC inside linebacker Hayes Pullard in the sixth round.

Despite losing former Pro-Bowl receiver Josh Gordon for the entirety of the 2015 season, Cleveland drafted just one wide receiver, Washington State's Vince Mayle in the fourth round. Perhaps in a foreshadow of the type of offense they want to employ in 2015, the Browns spent both of their sixth round picks on Ole Miss tight end Malcolm Johnson and USC tight end Randall Telfer.

One of the mains reasons for the Browns 7-4 start last season was due to their rushing attack, which before Mack's injury was one of the most efficient attacks in the NFL behind rookie running backs Terrance West and Isiah Crowell. In the third round, Cleveland selected Miami's Duke Johnson, who in three seasons with the Hurricanes rushed for 3,519 yards and 26 touchdowns with an average of 6.7 yards per carry. While there were questions about whether or not the 5'9'', 207-pound Johnson can be an every-down back, Browns head coach Mike Pettine said on ESPN Saturday that he believes that Johnson can not only be an every down back, but that he could be an immediate impact player.

Cincinnati Bengals

Like the Browns, the Bengals drafted linemen in their initial picks before filling needs at other positions. In all, the Bengals used five of their nine selections on offense, selecting two offensive linemen, two tight ends and a wide receiver.

With tackles Andre Whitworth and Eric Winston ages 33 and 31 respectively, Cincinnati added youth to their line by selecting Texas A&M tackle Cedric Ogbuehi in the first round and Oregon tackle Jake Fisher in the second round. Both Ogbuehi and Fisher are massive men, standing at 6'5'' and 6'6'' respectively and both tipping the scales at 306 pounds.

Expecting to lose tight end Jermaine Gresham to free agency, the Bengals picked up 6'5'', 247-pound tight end Tyler Kroft out of Rutgers with their third pick. Like the Browns and Steelers, Cincinnati selected one receiver, West Virgina's Mario Alford, with their last pick. Despite his small stature-he's listed at 5'8'' and 180 pounds- Alford led all Big 12 receivers with 11 touchdown catches last year.

Cincinnati selected one defensive player for each position, starting with USC cornerback Josh Shaw and Arizona State defensive tackle Marcus Hardison in the fourth round. The Bengals drafted a second defensive back, Fresno State strong safety Derron Smith, in the sixth round.

One of the Bengals more intriguing picks was TCU linebacker Paul Dawson, who was selected in the third round. The 2014 Defensive Player of the Year, Dawson racked up 136 tackles (20 for loss) to go with four interceptions last season for the Horned Frogs. While many draft analysts raved about his athletic ability, there are serious questions about Dawson's character, which could play a factor in whether or not he is a success at the NFL level.

Baltimore Ravens

Unlike the Steelers, who drafted two offensive players and six defensive players, the Ravens used six of their nine picks on offensive players. Including their first two picks of the draft, Baltimore selected five skill position players, the most of any team in the AFC North.

With the departure of Torrey Smith to the 49ers and No.1 receiver Steve Smith turning 36 later this month, the Ravens predictably selected a wide receiver in the first round, acquiring 6'2'', 212 pound wideout Breshad Perriman out of Central Florida. A home-run threat, Perriman averaged nearly 21 yards a catch last season and 19.5 yards per reception during his three years in college. Baltimore added more depth to their receiving unit with the addition of 6'6'' 238-pound receiver Darren Waller out of Georgia Tech in the sixth round.

The Ravens were consistent with the rest of the AFC North with the trend of drafting tight ends with the selections of Minnesota's Maxx Williams in the second round and Delaware's Nick Boyle in the fifth round. Williams, a player the Ravens moved up three spots to draft, caught 13 touchdowns in two seasons with the Gophers.

USC's Javorius Allen, only the second running back to be drafted by an AFC North team, was selected by the Ravens in the fourth round. A junior, the 6'1'', 220-pound Allen enjoyed a breakout season for the Trojans in 2014, amassing 1,489 yards for a 5.4 yards per carry average to go with 11 touchdowns on the ground. Blocking for Allen will be Tennessee State guard Robert Meyers, who was picked up in the fifth round.

To help replace now-Lions defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, Baltimore drafted Iowa defensive tackle Carl Davis. While he doesn't posses the girth of Ngata, the 6'5'', 320-pound Davis is an athletic force that is known for his run-stopping prowess. The Ravens added more youth on their defensive line with the selection of Kentucky defensive end Za'Darius Smith, who was picked in the fourth round. Playing alongside Steelers first round pick Bud Dupree, Smith totaled 120 tackles and 10.5 sacks in his two seasons with the Wildcats.

The Ravens lone defensive back drafted was Texas Southern's Tray Walker in the fourth round. A tall cornerback at 6'2'', Walker recorded nine interceptions in his career with the Panthers and was said to have the longest wing span of any cornerback in the draft.

The Bottom Line

With seven defensive selections, only the Browns had more defensive picks than the Steelers, but it's worth noting that Cleveland had four more picks than Pittsburgh. While the Browns and Steelers drafted 13 total defensive players against seven offensive players, Cincinnati and Baltimore drafted more offensive than defensive players. The Bengals drafted four linemen, the most of any AFC North team, while the Steelers drafted just one linemen in fifth round pick Leterrius Walton.

The Ravens were the only team in the division to draft more than one wide receiver, with the other three AFC North teams spending just one draft pick on a wideout, with Pittsburgh selecting Penn State tight end Jesse James in the fifth round. At least one tight end was drafted by each AFC North team as were six total tight ends drafted by AFC North teams. The Browns matched the Steeles by drafting three defensive backs, while the Steelers were the only team in the division to draft multiple players that will line up at linebacker for the Black and Gold in Dupree and Anthony Chickillo.

While it's impossible to say which AFC North team "won" the 2015 NFL Draft, Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert and Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin said they liked how this draft played out for the Steelers, most notably with the selection of Dupree and drafting three defensive backs that totaled 29 interceptions in 2014. If Colbert and Tomlin's optimism with Pittsburgh's draft class reaches fruition this season and beyond, there's no reason not to believe that the 2015 Steelers draft class has a good chance to become the best draft out of the AFC North teams.