AFC North draft grades are in

May, 1, 2011
5/01/11
12:00
PM ET
ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. has turned in his draft report cards, and it's clear Kiper is impressed with the AFC North.

Here is a recap:

Cincinnati Bengals

Kiper's grade: A-

Analysis: Kiper likes the fact the Bengals got good values while filling big needs. Everyone knew entering the draft that receiver Chad Ochocinco and quarterback Carson Palmer were on their way out in Cincinnati. But the Bengals were still able to land their targets in Georgia receiver A.J. Green and TCU quarterback Andy Dalton without losing picks in the process. Reportedly, the Atlanta Falcons offered Cincinnati a similar deal to the one they eventually gave Cleveland and the Bengals turned it down. Whether that was the right move or a mistake will depend on how the Green pick pans out.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Kiper's grade: B+

Analysis: Kiper is correct in saying Pittsburgh had a "typical unflashy" draft. But solid prospects like Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward and Florida offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert have a chance to be solid contributors for a long time. The only criticism I would have for Pittsburgh is it didn't draft a cornerback in the first two rounds. Third-round pick Curtis Brown of Texas and fourth-round pick Cortez Allen from the Citadel could be steals. But usually middle-round picks at cornerback are developmental players who need time to adjust to the NFL, and the Steelers need an immediate impact at this position this upcoming season.

Cleveland Browns

Kiper's grade: B+

Analysis: The Browns have been getting praise nationally for their shrewd deal with Atlanta to trade the No. 6 overall pick for five draft choices -- and rightfully so. With Cleveland's roster very thin at many positions, this was a good time to stockpile draft picks and build for the future. Similar to Pittsburgh, the Browns didn't get any flashy, home-run picks in this draft. But Cleveland added solid talent. Baylor defensive tackle Phil Taylor and Pittsburgh defensive end Jabaal Sheard are expected to be Week 1 starters for the Browns.

Baltimore Ravens

Kiper's grade: B+

Analysis: How this draft will be remembered for Baltimore will hinge on first-round cornerback Jimmy Smith, who I think is the biggest boom-or-bust candidate in the AFC North. Smith's talent is undeniable, but his rap sheet is lengthy as well. The Ravens know they are taking a risk, but they're comfortable with their decision. If Smith stays out of trouble, this class could be very solid. I also like the pick of Maryland receiver Torrey Smith, who could be a nice addition to stretch the field for veteran starters Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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