The 2009 NFL Draft is in the books, here is a look at the AFC North's Draft Summaries, by team.
The Ravens used one early pick on the focus of Michael Lewis’ “Blind Side” book, OT Michael Oher. The rest of the early draft choices were spent on the defensive side of the ball.
Summary: Oher is a potential franchise left tackle, who if he lives up to his ability, will be a road grader for Willis McGahee, Ray Rice & LeRon McClain respectively, and give Joe Flacco time to throw. Net net, if Oher is a great tackle it will translate into more production from this emerging offense.
The Browns have changed the complexion of their team in the past few months. The Mark Sanchez deal brought them a developmental QB, Brett Ratliff, and this draft netted them a new C (Alex Mack w/ the 21st overall pick) & two new WR’s (Brian Robiskie at #36 overall & Mohamed Massaquoi @50). They didn’t add a RB as many expected but the team’s skill position talent is being overhauled.
Summary: With Braylon Edwards still in the fold, the Browns enter ’09 with an upgraded offensive line, depth at WR and a new look offense that will be part spread and part run focused, north & south running. Brady Quinn & Derek Anderson will battle it out for the starting QB job, the winner won’t be anything more than a fantasy QB2 while Jamel Lewis looks like an underrated fantasy RB2 on a squad that will rely heavily on running the ball.
The Bengals are being applauded for having a great draft, though I don’t completely see it. Andre Smith at 6 could be a great pick but he seems less interested in football and could be a weight/motivation problem. They picked up a potential starting C in the 4th and a good receiving TE option in the 3rd in Chase Coffman.
Summary: The improved o-line will not only help keep Carson Palmer upright but open up running lanes to give their offense balance in ’09. If their lineman additions are good, Chad Johnson & Laverneous Coles could be up for big years.
The reigning world champion Steelers had their typical draft picking up BCS school productive college players with focus on the lines. They added an OT & WR in the 3rd round (Kraig Urbik/OT & Mike Wallace/WR), both of which are more developmental type guys who will serve as backups in ’09.
Summary: The Steelers skill position contributors in ’09 will look the same as ’08 with the exception that ’08 first round choice, Rashard Mendenhall, will be a bigger factor this year. That means Willie Parker will be the starter but probably won’t see more than 65% of the carries, with Mendenhall getting 30% and Mewelde Moore the remaining carries and much of the 3rd down work.