Pro Football Focus certainly draws a variety of opinions regarding their work, and certain aspects more than others, such as their grading, draws a fair amount of ire. At times, their understanding of the nuances of certain teams, their roster formulations, and how they generally operate, can come across as lacking.
I do believe in general, however, that they are a useful resource when interpreted and employed with due discretion, and they do provide some salient analysis. They published an article yesterday detailing the 20 new team additions that they believe have the chance to make the most impact, and the AFC North was particularly well-represented.
Of the 20 players listed, the AFC North and the NFC East were the only two divisions on which each team was represented on the list, with the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, and Cincinnati Bengals all projected to get significant impact from one of their draft picks, while the Pittsburgh Steelers were represented by one of their free agent signings.
The Bengals were the first division team represented on the list, with first-round draft pick William Jackson III representing their impactful player. This may be the most dubious addition on the list given the Bengals’ depth at cornerback and whether or not Jackson is polished enough to contribute immediately, but it certainly should not be ruled out. He would have been a Steeler had he lasted one more spot in the draft.
The Ravens are the second team in the AFC North represented in the ninth spot on the list with the drafting of tackle Ronnie Stanley, who is likely to be a day one starter, whether that is at left or right tackle, or potentially even at left guard. PFF writes that he should be a “perfect fit” for the Ravens’ preferred zone-blocking scheme.
Two slots later, the Steelers are represented by the free agent acquisition of tight end Ladarius Green, whom the team signed after Heath Miller retired as one of their bigger free agent expenditures in recent memory, adjusted for the salary cap.
PFF believes that Green’s “development was slowed somewhat by being forced to sit on the bench”, but that is what tends to happen when a player is lining up behind a future Hall of Famer. He will no doubt have a much bigger role in the Steelers offense—and a more diverse one—than he had in his four years with the Chargers.
Finally, the Browns are the last AFC North team on the list, just one spot behind the Steelers at 12, with their first-round draft pick, wide receiver Corey Coleman. Considering that Cleveland gutted their wide receiver unit from last season and spent four draft picks on the position, with Coleman being by far the premiere player of the group, it is more than a reasonable assertion to suggest that he will make an impact.
There has certainly been a lot of turnover on the rosters around the division this year, perhaps a bit more than usual, with all four teams losing significant players in free agency, and some more than others using free agency to supplement the roster, while the Browns and Ravens accumulated a wealth of new players through the draft. according to PFF, at least, these additions will be among the more impactful movements around the league this past offseason.