AFC North got a whole lot tougher for Browns after NFL Draft
The Cleveland Browns added plenty of talent to the roster during the NFL Draft, but so did the rest of the AFC North— and the rest of the division made some high-quality picks that will spell trouble for the team donning the brown and orange.
All four teams in the division had relatively good drafts which in turn will make it even more of a bloodbath than it was already going to be. Each team addressed key issues and got good value on a lot of picks.
Mel Kiper Jr, one of the most well-renowned draft analysts, gave every team a B+ via ESPN's paid subscription service ESPN+.
The entire AFC is absolutely loaded with talent and good teams, so making the playoffs will be extremely difficult, let alone winning the division. It would not be shocking to see three teams from the AFC North make the postseason dance.
AFC North just got tougher for the Browns
Here is how the other three teams in the AFC North got better and made the division a whole lot tougher for the Browns in 2023 and beyond.
The team that has not finished below the Browns in the division standings since 1989 addressed a lot fo needs with some talented players. The Pittsburgh Steelers had one of the best drafts a couple of weeks ago and a lot have a good chance of contributing right away.
Pittsburgh had three of their seven picks inside the top 50, so of course they got incredible value with those selections. First off the board came a surprise trade with former playoff foe New England moving up from 17 to 14 to draft offensive tackle Broderick Jones out of Georgia.
Jones is a big dude standing at 6-feet-5-inches and weighing north of 300 pounds. He was a guy that the Steelers, Packers, and Jets have had their eye on so naturally the Patriots were happy to swap picks to prevent the Jets (15) to pick Jones. He will be a Day 1 starter at either tackle position, but likely protecting the blindside of Kenny Pickett.
With the first pick on Day 2 of the NFL Draft, Pittsburgh drafted cornerback Joey Porter Jr., son of former Steeler great, out of Penn State. He is a big, physical corner who will also be a Day 1 starter and will get to pick the brain of veteran corner Patrick Peterson, which will help tremendously.
With the 49th pick, the Steelers drafted defensive tackle Keeanu Benton out of Wisconsin. A big and nasty tackle will fit in nicely with this defense especially with T.J. Watt and Cameron Hayward also on that line.
The other notable pick came in the third round when they drafted tight end Darnell Washington, another Georgia offensive lineman. He is also a big body at 6-foot-7 and 264 pounds. He's another weapon for Pickett to utilize in the red zone, but where he will help Pittsburg the most is in the running game as he is an exceptional blocker.
Pete Prisco of CBS Sports was not a fan of the pick and in fact, called it the worst pick the Steelers made due to knee injury concerns.
At the end of the day, the Steelers got tougher and might not win the division or even make the playoffs, but will be a tough game regardless.