AFC North 2022 draft impact greatest for Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens

Apr 29, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; A Cleveland Browns fan poses with No. 1 jersey at the Draft Stage exhibit at the NFL Draft Experience at First Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 29, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; A Cleveland Browns fan poses with No. 1 jersey at the Draft Stage exhibit at the NFL Draft Experience at First Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cleveland Browns
Cincinnati Bengals safety Daxton Hill (23) is introduced as the teamÕs 2022 NFL Draft first-round pick, Friday, April 29, 2022, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. /

Super Bowl Bengals are still the Bungles at times

Although owner Mike Brown still calls the shots for the team, and that’s bad, director of player personnel Duke Tobin deserves credit for making sound personnel moves that got the Bengals to the Super Bowl. The best move, of course, was drafting Joe Burrow — although you or I could have made that call. Still, the AFC North was the tightest division in football, and there is little margin for error.

The Bengals drafted Dax Hill, a safety with 4.38 speed as the 31st pick in the first round. The consensus view of the sporting press was that this guy was a great pick. He might be a slot corner ahead of Mike Hilton, who wasn’t terrible last season and will probably still get playing time.

However, things got a little loopy in the second round because there was a run on cornerbacks and the Bengals wanted a cornerback. They were evidently drafting on need, rather than the best player available.

They used the patented Ray Farmer “trade-up-and-reach” technique, in which they panicked and gave up an additional 6th-round draft pick to choose cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt. He was rated as a third-round pick, but the Bengals drafted him in the late second round. Ugh. No offense to the young man, but the buzz on Taylor-Britt is that he has great speed, but the rest of his game is not elite.

Maybe he can be taught to improve his technique and become a better tactician in terms of his tracking the path of football in space and that sort of thing. Nevertheless, while agreeing with the Bengals that he has starter potential, there were reasons why the other teams were willing to let him slide into the third round.

The Bengals probably didn’t need to use two draft picks to take him in the second round. They found a sub-four safety, Tycen Anderson from Toledo, in Round 5, giving them three defensive backs. That is 50% of their draft.

The only offensive pick was offensive lineman Cordell Volson in Round 3, a three-time FCS All-American from North Dakota State. The Bengals had signed three major free agent offensive linemen in Alex Cappa, La’el Collins, and Ted Karras after nearly getting the Franchise, Joe Burrow, killed last season.

The Jungle was happy with the selection of defensive lineman Zachary Carter in Round 3 from the Florida Gators, and they doubled down on the defensive line in Round 7 with Jeffrey Gunter from Coastal Carolina.

The Bengals weren’t horrible, but they probably outsmarted themselves by giving away a draft pick and they drafted defensive backs who are not going to be major contributors this season. It might be a different story next season when some of the veteran defensive backs turn free agent, but for 2022, the impact is not huge.

Who dey tink gonna out draft dem Bengals? Well, the other three teams in the AFC North, that’s who.

Round 1, Pick No. 31: Daxton Hill, Safety, Michigan
Round 2, Pick No. 60: Cam Taylor-Britt, Cornerback, Nebraska
Round 3, Pick No. 95: Zachary Carter, Defensive Tackle, Florida
Round 4, Pick No. 136: Cordell Volson, Offensive Lineman, North Dakota State
Round 5, Pick No. 166: Tycen Anderson, Safety, Toledo
Round 7, Pick No. 252: Jeffrey Gunter, Defensive End, Coastal Carolina

To sum up, if we look at the talent added for 2022, the Browns added mega-talent by trading draft picks for Deshaun Watson and Amari Cooper. That’s by far the dominant impact on the division this year.

The players they actually selected on draft day were not exciting and did not plug major holes. The Ravens drafted quite a number of talented players but also gave up a 1,000-yard receiver to acquire some of that draft capital.

They didn’t add quite as much talent as people think. The Steelers have a lot of observers convinced that every time they draft a rookie quarterback they win 15 games, but they probably did not help themselves as much as they think.

Next. Why drafting Cade York will pay off big time. dark

As for the Bengals, their weak draft position and overly cautious approach probably only gained them one starter.