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2023 NFL Draft Grades: Mel Kiper gives Steelers, and rest of the AFC North, superior grades

Time to check on everyone’s favorite NFL Draft analyst’s thoughts on the AFC North teams draft grades.

NFL Combine Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The 2023 NFL Draft is in the books, and it is time to take a retrospective look at the haul all 32 NFL teams brought in during the 3-day selection process. Grading any draft class immediately after is an exercise in futility, but people also want to what the analysts think about the draft class.

When it comes to those analysts, there is no one fans love to hate more than ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. Say what you want, but Kiper moves the needle, and has been doing it longer than anyone. When Kiper puts out his draft grades, people take notice. As for the teams who call the AFC North home, he saw the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens, it’s time to take a look at which team won the draft, in Kiper’s eyes.

Let’s start with the team everyone here cares about...the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Pittsburgh Steelers: B+

Top needs entering the draft: CB, OT, ILB, WR, DT

With three picks in the top 50, the Steelers entered the draft with a real chance to come away with multiple new rookie starters. They need help on both sides of the ball. And I’m a fan of what they did on the first two days of the draft. They traded a fourth-round pick to move up three spots in Round 1 to grab Broderick Jones (14), who will start at one of the tackle spots. He had an elite 2022 season.

On Day 2, they added cornerback Joey Porter Jr. (32), defensive tackle Keeanu Benton (49) and tight end Darnell Washington (93), all of whom could play significant roles this season. Porter is 6-foot-2 with long arms, and he can flip his hips in coverage. This is a great spot for him, being able to be mentored by Patrick Peterson. Benton’s traits didn’t match his college production, but if he keeps developing some pass-rush moves, he could be a three-down player. He was a slight reach on my board. Washington dropped because of some medical concerns, but he’ll step into the NFL as one of the league’s best blocking tight ends; and if he can up his game as a pass-catcher, he could be a steal.

Pittsburgh had just three picks in the last four rounds, with Nick Herbig (132) the most notable. He is my No. 7 inside linebacker. The light Day 3 keeps this class under an A — teams that have more picks obviously have greater chances to find those diamonds in the rough — but there are some instant-impact players here.

The rivalries in the AFC North are real, and everyone wanted to see how the Steelers ranked among the rest of the division. Shockingly, Kiper saw all four teams the exact same, grading them all the same.

Take a look:

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens: B+
Cincinnati Bengals: B+
Cleveland Browns: B+
Pittsburgh Steelers: B+

When you look at the above grades, do you agree? Would you grade some higher than others? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the 2023 NFL offseason.