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Tuesday, April 30, 2013
NFL Power Rankings: AFC North reaction

By Jamison Hensley

Free agency has winded down, the schedule is out and the draft is over. Sounds like it's time to see where all of the teams measure up against one another. Here's an AFC North recap of the April edition of the NFL post-draft Power Rankings, where the Seahawks remain at No. 1:

BALTIMORE RAVENS

ESPN Power Ranking: No. 8

My ranking: No. 5

2012 record: 10-6

Comment: In my rankings right after the first wave of free agency, I had the Ravens at No. 11 because they had lost seven starters from their Super Bowl team. Since that time, the Ravens added pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil, Michael Huff as well as two potential starters in the draft (safety Matt Elam and inside linebacker Arthur Brown). There's still a major question mark at the No. 2 wide receiver spot, but the Ravens have been impressive in rebuilding their defense. That's why I moved them to No. 5, which is higher than any other voter. NFC East blogger Dan Graziano has the Ravens at No. 10, their lowest ranking.

CINCINNATI BENGALS

ESPN Power Ranking: No. 9

My ranking: No. 9

2012 record: 10-6

Comment: The Bengals really solidified themselves as a top-10 team this month. Cincinnati added linebacker James Harrison, re-signed offensive tackle Andre Smith and put together one of the best drafts in the league. Tight end Tyler Eifert and running back Giovani Bernard bring big-play ability to the offense. Everyone has the Bengals in the top 10 except for the NFC West's Mike Sando (No. 11) and NFL columnist Ashley Fox (No. 12).

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

ESPN Power Ranking: No. 16

My ranking: No. 15

2012 record: 8-8

Comment: The Steelers couldn't do much in free agency because of their salary-cap limitations. Pittsburgh was able to retain restricted free-agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and extend RFA nose tackle Steve McLendon's contract. The Steelers also addressed needs with their first four picks in the draft with outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, running back Le'Veon Bell, wide receiver Markus Wheaton and safety Shamarko Thomas. Fox had the Steelers ranked the lowest at No. 18, while John Clayton had them the highest at No. 10.

CLEVELAND BROWNS

ESPN Power Ranking: No. 28

My ranking: No. 29

2012 record: 5-11

Comment: The Browns had the biggest fall in the rankings, dropping three spots since the one last month. This is what happens when a last-place team like the Browns only draft two players in the first five rounds of the draft. The perception of the Browns would be different if they had used their fourth-round pick on a wide receiver and their fifth-rounder on a free safety. The only teams ranked lower than the Browns are the Raiders, Bills, Jaguars and Jets.