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ESPN ranks rookies of Ravens, Browns ahead of Steelers

The AFC North all graded out positively after the 2014 draft. In terms of rookie success, Baltimore and Cleveland beat out Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, at least in the opinion of ESPN's Mel Kiper.

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Teams getting immediate impact from rookies tend to be unsuccessful teams in terms of wins and losses.

That isn't true of the Baltimore Ravens, the team ESPN's Mel Kiper ranked fourth on his list of the 10 teams that got winning production from their rookies. Viewing it as rookies who contributed the most to their team's wins, Baltimore got a lot from linebacker C.J. Mosley and defensive end Timmy Jernigan.

The Browns, ranked ninth on the list, improved by three games from 2013 to 2014, and while they got nothing (they lost a bit, in fact) from their first round picks, cornerback Justin Gilbert and quarterback Johnny Manziel, offensive guard Joel Bitonio and the running backs tandem of Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell contributed positively all season. What they lost in Gilbert they made up for in undrafted free agent CB K'Waun Williams - a Pitt product - and linebacker Chris Kirksey and Pierre Desir did well in a limited role.

The Steelers didn't even make the list. No surprise there. First round pick Ryan Shazier has an offseason ahead of him where he'll hear constantly how the Steelers should have taken Mosley, not him, with the 15th overall pick. Stephon Tuitt played well but didn't land a starting role until late in the season. Dri Archer was deactivated after failing to secure either a role on the offense or on kick returns.

While Martavis Bryant should be considered one of the best picks of the class, the Steelers got next to nothing from the five picks that followed him. Shaquille Richardson didn't make the team and was released from the practice squad during the year. Wesley Johnson was released and picked up by the New York Jets. Jordam Zumwalt spent the 2014 season on injured reserve and Dan McCullers saw 65 snaps, earning a start and playing both nose tackle and defensive end. Seventh round tight end Rob Blanchflower did not make the team.

Green Bay, San Francisco and the Giants were the top three on Kiper's list, and Carolina, Oakland and St. Louis followed Baltimore. Minnesota came before Cleveland and the Cowboys and Jaguars finished tied for 10th.