Apr 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; Dre Kirkpatrick (Alabama) reacts after being introduced as the number seventeen overall pick to the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

NFL Draft 2012: AFC North First-Round Draft Grades

Baltimore Ravens – B+

The Ravens chose to trade out of the first round having had the lowly 29th pick. They managed to obtain an extra 4th round pick while trading down seven spots. However, there were some quality players available at 29 including Courtney Upshaw which lowers their grade a little.

Cincinnati Bengals – D

The Bengals came into the draft in prime position with their two first round picks. With the first they chose to take the upside of Dre Kirkpatrick and this pick was reasonable but they could have let him drop. When it came to 21, they chose to trade down to 27 and picked up a late third. What really drags their grade down is choosing Kevin Zeitler with the 27th pick. Zeitler has numerous question marks with his athleticism being most noteworthy at all. Cordy Glenn and Peter Konz were both still available and are much better prospects so overall the Bengals get a bad grade despite having two picks.

Cleveland Browns – B+

The Browns did what they had to do in trading up to the 3rd overall pick to get star running back Trent Richardson who was the safest player they could have gotten this draft. It could be said they should have given away three picks to do so but when you consider both St Louis and Tampa bay were threatening to trade up the trade was well done. They also had a pick at 22 and chose to reach for quarterback Brandon Weeden. However, the Browns were apparently strong in their conviction that Weeden was the guy they wanted and chose to take him at 22 as they were convinced he would be gone when they picked again at 37. However, it has been revealed the Browns really wanted Kendall Wright and were miffed that he went before they picked at 22 and this admission brings down their draft grade for me.

Pittsburgh Steelers – A+

Pittsburgh got my favorite pick of the night and likely my favorite pick of the whole draft. The Steelers have been desperate for offensive line help and were able to just sit and watch as the draft came to them. David DeCastro is easily the best guard prospect in many many years and is practically guaranteed to be a multiple time Pro Bowler (if the Pro Bowl exists in the future). For taking the best player they could have hoped for and for sheer luck the Steelers get a top grade.

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Tags: AFC North Baltimore Ravens Cincinnati Bengals Cleveland Browns NFL NFL Draft NFL News Pittsburgh Steelers

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