Now we are on the roughest division in the NFL, the AFC North. When you hear the name you think of mean defenses, cold weather and die hard fans. The Ravens, Browns, Steelers and Bengals have one of the funniest divisions in football because of their style of play. They are a big back division who wears teams down and usually can be seen at least a few Sundays a year as a game that is 6-3. They do not always have the prettiest games, but when it comes to fundamentals, this division is very good. So find out what impact draft picks from the AFC North, I think will be the quickest to assist their teams.
Baltimore Ravens – Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama, I would have picked my boy Gino Gradkowski who I believe is going to be a starter for many years, but it is hard to pass on this kid. He has a huge chip on his shoulder, and his only real knock was his speed coming out. Upshaw is a gamer, who is not afraid of anyone, anywhere, and his opportunity is in front of him, with Terrell Suggs being injured. I think Upshaw will be penciled in after the preseason and when he is watch out, because Upshaw is going to be a killer on the Ravens defense. They were able to steal him in the draft, and he couldn’t have gone to a better fit. The Ravens will end up back on the top of the AFC North again. I think Joe Flacco shines this year as well.
Cincinnati Bengals – Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers, After receiving a prank call on draft day from someone saying it was the Bengals, the Bengals did end up calling him. It must have been a great feeling to be selected to a young team, where you will be able to come in and contribute. Sanu is a receiver with size, more like an Eric Moulds back in the day. Sanu is going to be a very good target for Andy Dalton and will look great opposite of AJ Green. Imagine this young, explosive offense under a very talented Jay Gruden offensive scheme. The Bengals will be a tough team to stop this year, but I still think they are too young to get over the hump in the Baltimore Ravens.
Cleveland Browns – Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama, This was an easy pick because Trent is going to be a work horse. He will be one rookie that people should be not afraid to draft in fantasy football because he will be getting the rock early and often. He is a strong back, and if he can stay healthy he could carry the Browns in this division. When you play the Steelers and Ravens twice a year, you better have a power running game, Richardson is that. He is a tough kid, who has the ability to reach the fast speed quickly. Be ready for him this year to explode, He is another one of my favorites for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Pittsburgh Steelers – David DeCastro, OG, Stanford, DDC was the best lineman in the entire draft in my opinion. He is the best run and pass blocker, he is very athletic and should have been a top 5 pick. That is just my honest opinion, because people don’t rank OG in the top ten he fell. DeCastro will be a pro bowl guard in this league in a few years and will be a pro bowler for many years consecutively, because of his skills. He is in a nitty gritty football city that is going to cherish that big man, and will feed him well. I can see him becoming a fan favorite in Pittsburgh for years to come. The Steelers had a huge O-line back in the day and it started when they drafted a few O lineman in the first round. That led to a SuperBowl win. So even though I pick the Ravens to win the North this year, in the years to come the Steelers will be back on top.