Regrading the 2012 draft in the AFC North

February, 19, 2013
2/19/13
4:00
PM ET
Lost in my Super Bowl coverage was the re-grading of the 2012 draft Insider by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. With the NFL combine beginning this week, I thought it would be a good time to look back at last year's draft for the teams in the AFC North:

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Key picks: G Kevin Zeitler, WR Mohamed Sanu, WR Marvin Jones.

Kiper's post-draft grade: A-minus.

Kiper's new grade: B.

Hensley's comment: While Zeitler played at a Pro Bowl level, it's understandable that Kiper lowered the grade after the top three picks on defense (all in the first three rounds) were nonfactors this year: cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and defensive tackles Devon Still and Brandon Thompson. I believe this will look better a couple of years down the road when five starters could come from this draft. Plus, Kiper noted that he couldn't include undrafted linebacker Vontaze Burfict, which would have immediately boosted this latest grade.

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Key picks: RB Trent Richardson, QB Brandon Weeden, OT Mitchell Schwartz.

Kiper's post-draft grade: B-minus.

Kiper's new grade: B.

Hensley's comment: Richardson, Weeden and Schwartz were all three immediate starters. Richardson is a Pro Bowl talent, and Schwartz will be a starter for a long time. What keeps the Browns from getting a higher grade was Weeden's disappointing rookie season. There's also promise on the defensive side of the ball with picks like linebacker James-Michael Johnson and defensive linemen Billy Winn and John Hughes. Winn, in particular, was a great value. Travis Benjamin likely will make an impact as a returner. Let's see how the Browns fare in this year's draft without Tom Heckert.

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Key picks: LB Courtney Upshaw, OL Kelechi Osemele, RB Bernard Pierce.

Kiper's post-draft grade: B.

Kiper's new grade: B-plus.

Hensley's comment: It was a solid draft but I probably wouldn't have boosted this group to a B-plus. Osemele and Pierce exceeded expectations, and Pierce was the Ravens' best runner in the postseason. Upshaw forced a big fumble in the Super Bowl, but he didn't come through as a pass-rusher. Outside of those picks, the Ravens didn't get any production from the other five selections. Gino Gradkowski has the chance to be the starting center next season. You can make the argument that the Browns got more out of their draft class in 2012 than the Ravens.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Key picks: G David DeCastro, OT Mike Adams, RB Chris Rainey.

Kiper's post-draft grade: B.

Kiper's new grade: C.

Hensley's comment: Kiper was kind to only drop the Steelers' grade this much. I was among those who thought the Steelers got great value on draft day. But injuries (DeCastro, Adams, linebacker Sean Spence) and off-the-field incidents (Rainey and nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu) made this a disastrous season for this rookie class. The silver lining was the unexpected depth provided by tight end David Paulson and offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum. This draft will look better at the end of next season if three starting offensive linemen (DeCastro, Adams and Beachum) come from this group.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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