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AFC North Draft Day Two In Review

Day two of the 2015 NFL Draft was an active and interesting one for the AFC North, with the division greeting 10 new players during the course of the second and third rounds. Because of the load of players, there is no need for a long introduction, so let’s just get right into the breakdown of the festivities.

Baltimore Ravens:

Selections: 55, 90

With the Ravens sitting two picks behind the Steelers in the second round, Baltimore made the move to jump ahead three spots, sending a fifth-round pick to the Cardinals to seize the 23rd spot in the round and selecting tight end Maxx Williams, the near-unanimous top player at his position. Williams fills a need with their tight end losses in free agency and the uncertainty of Dennis Pitta’s future. He figures to be a plug and play starter who will develop into a blocker with time.

Though not a need, the Ravens took value with their third-round pick in adding defensive tackle Carl Davis. The interior defender is an excellent run stuffer as the team continues to stock young talent to replace Haloti Ngata and increase the headaches of the interior offensive linemen of the division.

Cincinnati Bengals:

Selections: 53, 85, 99

Despite having two quality starters at offensive tackle, the Bengals used their first-round pick on one, and then went back there in the second round when Jake Fisher slid all the way to them. With both starters entering contract years—and one nearing retirement—it’s not necessarily a bad move at all, and Fisher fits what the Bengals like to do.

In the third round, they looked to replace Jermaine Gresham by adding tight end Tyler Kroft, an interesting prospect who is a strong blocker with potential as a receiver.

One of three teams with a third-round compensatory pick, the Bengals finished off their day by adding inside linebacker Paul Dawson, an extremely productive player who lacked measurable to make him a top talent. He will provide depth and competition among the linebackers, particularly with Vontaze Burfict’s recovery from injury in question.

Cleveland Browns:

Selections: 51, 77, 96

I have to say, I really like the Browns’ draft, and they continued that into day two. They traded back a few picks in the second round, adding another fourth- and sixth-round pick, and still added outside linebacker Nate Orchard to add to the rotation.

In the third round, they couldn’t pass up the value of running back Duke Johnson to add to their stable of young running backs.

The Browns then traded back up into the third round with the Patriots, trading away fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-round picks to get the 96th overall pick, plus a seventh-rounder. They still have two fourth-round picks, and with the Patriots pick, they added defensive end Xavier Cooper, one of the best 3-4 ends in this class. The Browns have really worked hard in this draft to reshape their front seven.

Pittsburgh Steelers:

Selections: 56, 87

Finally, we wrap up with the Steelers, who tried to trade up in the second round for Williams before failing to trade up for CB-S Eric Rowe. Instead, they settled for cornerback Senquez Golson, whose ball skills were extremely enticing despite being under 5’9”. Regardless of whether or not he lives up to his potential, no doubt many will continue to be disappointed with this selection due to its being regarded as a reach in terms of value relative to where many projected that he would be drafted.

In the third round, the Steelers were content to stay put as one of the wide receivers that they took a look at, Sammie Coates, fell to them. He has size, speed, and the ability to track the deep ball, but he also has to get a handle on his drops. He could still have an immediate impact and provide quality depth behind the Steelers’ top three on the depth chart.

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