Friday, April 29, 2011

Round 1 Draft Grades: AFC North

Cincinnati Bengals (4): A.J. Green, WR Georgia Grade: A+
It is time to usher in a new era in Cincinnati, and A.J. Green got them off to a flying start. There were rumors that the Bengals were going to trade with the Falcons and let A.J. Green go to Atlanta, but kudos to Mike Brown for staying put and drafting one of 4 or 5 elite prospects. Maybe the influx of good, young talent will convince Carson Palmer to return to the team.

Cleveland Browns (21 via two trades): Phil Taylor, DT Baylor Grade: D
Cleveland decided to pass on Julio Jones and take their chances on getting skill players later in the draft by trading down from 6 to 27. Then, the Browns decided to trade up and lose some of the picks they just acquired when they traded down to secure a nose tackle when they are going to use a 4-3 defense. Why? I understand that the Ravens, Steelers, and Bengals (who they see six times a year) run the ball, but why get extra picks, then lose extra picks to get a guy who doesn't fit the defensive scheme?

Baltimore Ravens (27): Jimmy Smith, CB Colorado Grade: B
Jimmy Smith, on the field, is a top 15 talent, but he comes with a plethora of off the field issues. To compound this problem, the Ravens (who were slated to draft at #26) let the clock run out on their pick, which allowed Kansas City to draft Jonathan Baldwin ahead of them, for free. The Ravens have since filed a complaint with the NFL that the Bears accepted a trade but did not follow through, which is why the clock ran out. The NFL may give the Ravens extra picks at the expense of the Bears post facto, which would be a very interesting development. Ultimately, the Ravens got the guy they wanted and he fits the scheme perfectly. Just wish he didn't have the character issues.

Pittsburgh Steelers (31): Cameron Heyward, DE/OLB Ohio State Grade: C
I do not think that Heyward has the motor to succeed in the NFL. He is decent against the run, but he is not big enough to shed NFL grade O lineman blocks. If there was a place he was going to succeed, I would've predicted it would have been in Green Bay, Pittsburgh or Baltimore so he has his best chance to succeed. I have my doubts, though.

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