Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Readers grade AFC North teams' drafts
By Jamison Hensley
Some loyal readers of the AFC North blog channeled their inner Mel Kiper Jr. and graded their team's drafts. Here are some selected comments that were sent to the AFC North mailbag ...
Gene from San Diego: I'd give the Ravens an 'A.' And I'd send Jerry Jones a bottle of my best champagne. I mean Florida safety Matt Elam was the player they wanted and so was Arthur Brown. The rest is cake. No wide receiver, but who's gonna replace Anquan Boldin late in the draft anyway?
Wilson from Baltimore: I'd give the Ravens an 'A'. Pros: Florida safety Matt Elam and Kansas State inside linebacker Arthur Brown fill the only notable holes on defense, Missouri Southern State's Brandon Williams should take over for underachieving Terrence Cody, and based on Ozzie Newsome's history, at least one of the late round picks will become a good player for them. Cons: Left tackle not addressed and wide receiver wasn't taken until seventh round. Overall, the Ravens filled needs without reaching, and LT and WR are two positions that can be addressed by adding free-agent stopgaps until the next draft.
ZC from Cincinnati: I believe the Bengals exceeded expectations with this years draft even when their "needs" weren't met. Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert and North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard have chances to be instant impact players in an offense that seemed inconsistent at times. Although safety was a need, people tend to forget this defense was rated in the top 10. I give the Bengals an 'A'.
Eric from Cincinnati: My grade for the Bengals is B-plus. They did exactly what you're supposed to do in the draft: top three picks will all make an immediate impact and the back half of their draft added some depth with players that have great developmental potential (Texas A&M linebacker Sean Porter, Arkansas wide receiver Cobi Hamilton and Ohio State offensive tackle Reid Fragel). I don't think I can give them an 'A' because they didn't grab their safety until the third round, which could lead to another year of sub-par play at the position.
Ben from Phoenix: My grade for the Browns is 'B'. LSU linebacker Barkevious Mingo has lots of upside and San Diego State cornerback Leon McFadden should be able to start at corner with improvement. To me, East Central defensive lineman Armonty Bryant will make or break the class. Has tons of potential but just has major character issues to resolve. Browns CEO Joe Banner has a knack for finding small school talents and translating them into NFL success. Lastly, watch out for free-agent safety Kerry Rhodes to the Browns before training camps begin.
Tom from Nicaragua: I think the Browns deserve a 'C.' I would have loved to see them package their last three picks to and maybe a middle rounder from next year to move up into the second like the deal Minnesota Vikings did with the New England Patriots. I don't think those last three picks will make a difference like a second-round one would. Also, I don't like no veteran corner being signed, but there are a couple still. Quentin Jammer is a starter over Buster Skrine. I know it's just a band aid, but for one year, he would work.
Jacob from Philadelphia: I think my Steelers deserve an A-minus for their draft grade, and here's why: The first round doesn't need to be addressed (anytime you can grab the player who led FBS at sacks, forced fumbles and tackles for a loss and he plays at your greatest position of need). I also love the selection of Michigan State running back Le'Veon Bell as he is one of the few three-down backs in the draft and, if coached up to play a bit more physical, he could be a fantastic back. Plus I love the pick of Syracuse safety Shmarko Thomas, and Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones could turn out to be a great backup. My biggest concern is that while we drafted a few wideouts, including a burner, we still don't have a big physical presence who can play the ball outside the numbers. But other than that, I loved the draft.