AFC North Day 1 Insta-Review


Baltimore Ravens
Picks: OT Michael Oher, DE Paul Kruger
Knee-jerk grade: A

I’m a big Michael Oher fan, so it pains me see him go to a division rival. But he is headed to a good program and I have little doubt he is destined to be a great NFL tackle. His selection may spell the end for former Bengal Willie Anderson in Baltimore, though the Ravens might be wise to look at the example of Cincinnati, who after drafting Levi Jones let him learn behind seven-time Pro Bowler Richmond Webb. Big Willie would be a great mentor to young Michael.

Utah DE Paul Kruger was a steal for the Ravens at 57. He notched 7.5 sacks his senior year, and brings (sigh) yet another pass-rushing threat to the Baltimore club.

Cincinnati Bengals
Picks: OT Andre Smith, LB Rey Maualuga
Knee-jerk grade: B

The Bengals stuck to their board with the sixth overall pick, drafting Alabama OT Andre Smith despite his travails since the end of the college football season. Strictly from a talent perspective, there’s no questioning this pick. Had Smith jumped through the appropriate hoops at the combine, he would likely be a St. Louis Ram tonight. The burning question is whether the Bengals can develop Smith into the perennial Pro Bowler he ought to be. Guys who aren’t self-motivated aren’t traditionally good fits in Cincinnati.

Rey Maualuga being there at at 38 is simply ridiculous. Blah blah blah two-down LB blah blah blah character blah blah blah STFU. The bottom line is that the guy is a football player and the Bengals need every one of those they can get. He and last year’s first-round pick, LB Keith Rivers, already have a rapport from USC, and while I like Dhani Jones, he doesn’t give the Bengals anything like what Odell Thurman did in his brief stay in Cincy. Rey-Rey does.

Cleveland Browns
Picks: C Alex Mack, WRs Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi, DE David Veikune
Knee-jerk grade: B

The Browns were wheelers and dealers in the first round, moving down from No. 5 to allow the Jets to grab QB Mark Sanchez. Despite having a defense desperate for help, Cleveland chose to spend three day 1 picks on offense. They picked the consensus top center in Alex Mack, and a solid, NFL-ready receiver in OSU’s Brian Robiskie. Both will be immediate contributors. Georgia wideout Mohamed Massaquoi was a late bloomer and opinion is mixed on his prospects, but he has all the intangibles to become a top NFL wide receiver.

The Browns finally got some defensive help with Senior Bowl standout David Veikune. The new “ManKok” regime did a nice job today of trading down and getting good value after the prior regime left them high and dry.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Picks: DT Ziggy Hood
Knee-jerk grade: C

In similar vein to Cleveland, the Steelers need help on offense, particularly the offensive line. So what do they do in the first? Take a defensive tackle. Hood is a durable guy who had 170 tackles and 15.5 sacks in his college career. He needs work on his technique, but on the Steelers’ D there’s no need to rush him into the lineup. Give him a year of development and he will likely be among the top defensive tackles in the division — at least. But to pass on a guy like Max Unger here is tough.

The Steelers traded their second-round pick to Denver.