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2023 NFL Draft: Grading the AFC North after one month has passed

After a month to analyze the AFC North draft classes, the results are in...

NFL: NFL Draft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 NFL Draft is officially one month in the past, and after several weeks of analyzing and grading each division on our FFSN draft-grading series, it is time to hone in on the AFC North and determine where the Steelers rank compared to their division rivals.

The Browns were not busy early in the draft, as their draft capital was limited due to the Deshaun Watson trade. They got the ball rolling in the third round with the selections of wide receiver Cedric Tillman and nose tackle Siaki Ika. The other three teams in the division were slated to pick in the second half of Round 1, although the Steelers moved up from Pick 17 to Pick 14 to select offensive tackle Broderick Jones.

Today’s format will go team-by-team and include the following information:

  • Best selection
  • Worst selection
  • Best value pick
  • Overall Grade
  • Author’s analysis

With all the formalities out of the way, let’s dive in!

Baltimore Ravens

Best Selection: Andrew Vorhees (Round 7, Pick 229)
Worst Selection: Tavius Robinson (Round 4, Pick 124)
Best Value Pick: Trenton Simpson (Round 3, Pick 86)
Overall Grade: B+

The Ravens are consistent in sticking to their board and drafting the best player available, regardless of need, and it was no different this season. While I do not consider Zay Flowers a great fit for a passing game led by Lamar Jackson, he was my WR2 in this draft and one of the top remaining players on board. What made this draft a success, however, was seventh-round selection Andrew Vorhees, a guard from USC who suffered an ACL tear during the pre-draft process. Before the injury, Vorhees was a consensus Day 2 pick and a plug-and-play starter at left guard. I still believe Vorhees is a starting-caliber guard, and even though he may not be available until Year 2, I consider him to be one of the best value picks in this draft.

Cincinnati Bengals

Best Pick: DJ Turner (Round 2, Pick 60)
Worst Pick: Myles Murphy (Round 1 Pick 28)
Best Value Pick: Chase Brown (Round 5, Pick 163)
Overall Grade: B

I did not necessarily hate the Myles Murphy selection, but they had an opportunity to cash in at tight end with a Sam LaPorta or Michael Mayer, but they failed to do so. It never hurts to have an abundance of pass rushers, but EDGE was not considered to be a top team need. Perhaps my personal favorite selection, however, was Chase Brown in Round 5. This guy can do it all, from running in space, to running in between the tackles, to catching the ball, to assisting in pass protection. If Mixon ends up missing any time with an injury, I do not see Brown looking back. He deserves a shot to be Mixon’s heir as the workhorse back in Cincy.

Cleveland Browns

Best Pick: Dorian Thompson-Robinson (Round 5, Pick 140)
Worst Pick: Cameron Mitchell (Round 5, Pick 142)
Best Value Pick: Luke Wypler (Round 6, Pick 190)
Overall Grade: B+

I did not necessarily love any one selection for the Browns, but I think they got some good football players nonetheless. I chose Thompson-Robinson as my favorite pick for the Browns because of the schematic fit and similar play style to Deshaun Watson. Watson is the perfect quarterback for DTR to learn under, and Cleveland’s current offensive structure is the perfect system for him to succeed. If healthy, I could also see sixth-round pick Luke Wypler fighting for a starting spot in the near future.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Best Selection: Joey Porter, Jr.
Worst Selection: Spencer Anderson
Best Value Pick: Cory Trice
Overall Grade: A

As a Steelers fan, this is the first time I have loved almost every aspect of a draft. The team drafted my highest-rated left tackle, a top-five player on my board at the top of Round 2, and my second-ranked tight end at the back end of Round 3. I was really wanting Mazi Smith to fall further than he did, as he would have been a much better fit in Pittsburgh than Benton. However, I trust Karl Dunbar to get the most out of the talented Benton, and it still fills a major need along the defensive line. Cory Trice was also an incredible selection, as he provides starter potential as either a boundary corner or high safety.

How do the AFC North draft classes stack up in your eyes? Be sure to share your thoughts by voting on the poll and commenting down below!


Which team had the best draft in the AFC North?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Baltimore Ravens
    (10 votes)
  • 2%
    Cincinnati Bengals
    (23 votes)
  • 0%
    Cleveland Browns
    (6 votes)
  • 95%
    Pittsburgh Steelers
    (903 votes)
942 votes total Vote Now