Marino's Report Card: AFC North

Former pro scout Tom Marino continues his evaluation of the NFL Draft with his grades for the AFC North. Check it out...

Baltimore Ravens                               A- 

Rnd Overall Name Pos School
1 29 Ben Grubbs OG Auburn
3 74 Yamon Figurs WR Kansas St.
3 86 Marshal Yanda OT Iowa
4 134 Antwan Barnes OB Florida International
4 137 Le'Ron McClain FB Alabama
5 174 Troy Smith QB Ohio State
6 207 Prescott Burgess OB Michigan

I really like many of the things the Ravens both attempted and accomplished in this year's draft. At the 29th spot of the first round, they were still able to draft a player who most scouts believed to be the number one rated offensive guard prospect in the country in Ben Grubbs. 

Without a second pick, the Ravens used their two third-round selections to draft Kansas State's explosive returner and undersized wideout Yamon Figurs and tough Iowa offensive tackle Marshal Yanda. 

With double picks in round four, the Ravens again made two excellent choices in Antwan Barnes and Le'Ron McClain. Barnes is very talented, and if this undersized outside pass rusher can hold up physically, I believe he could pay quick dividends and lessen the loss of Adalius Thomas to the Patriots through free agency. McClain, is just a flat-out football player with game toughness and tenacity. He doesn't have a lot of speed, but he's going to show up and play his butt off on every down. 

Troy Smith, the 2006 Heisman Trophy winner, has a very strong arm and accomplished many things over his star-studded career for the Buckeyes, but disappointed many of the scouts in both the national championship game and the subsequent Senior Bowl game and practice week. 

Burgess simply has been a steady contributor in a major program for the past two seasons. 

Ravens national scout Lionel Vital was an outstanding college running back, is a very adept talent evaluator, but most importantly a great person and family man.

Cleveland Browns                               B

Rnd Overall Name Pos School
1 3 Joe Thomas OT Wisconsin
1 22 Brady Quinn QB Notre Dame
2 53 Eric Wright CB UNLV
5 140 Brandon McDonald CB Memphis
6 200 Melila Purcell DE Hawaii
7 213 Chase Pittman DE LSU
7 234 Syndric Steptoe WR Arizona

Joe Thomas (AP Photo)
In the triangle for success in the National Football League, the quarterback position is paramount and is obviously at the top of the triangle. The second row of positions includes left offensive tackle, cornerback and the right defensive end position. During this year's draft the Browns did their very best to satisfy needs at all of these critical positions. 

Joe Thomas, the Browns' first-round selection--if all goes according to Hoyle--should be the Brown's left tackle for the next decade and beyond. 

Later in the round the Browns gave up their number one choice in the 2008 draft to move up to the 22 spot and selected Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn. Is he the answer to the Brown's recent woes? Only time will tell. 

In round two, Cleveland selected UNLV's Eric Wright, a talented player with a very suspect off-the-field background. 

On the second day, I didn't see anyone that got me too excited, but I'm sure the Browns took people that they hope will step up quickly and who will add support to this ailing franchise.

Cincinnati Bengals                                    B

Rnd Overall Name Pos School
1 18 Leon Hall CB Michigan
2 49 Kenny Irons RB Auburn
4 114 Marvin White DS TCU
4 151 Jeff Rowe QB Nevada (Reno)
6 187 Matt Toeaina DT Oregon
7 230 Dan Santucci OG Notre Dame
7 253 Nedu Ndukwe DS Notre Dame

Leon Hall (Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Few teams in the National Football League have made better personnel decisions based on pure athletic talent than the Cincinnati Bengals! Their staff is led by director of player personnel Pete Brown, the son of Paul Brown--the greatest visionary in professional football history--and is supported in part by veteran scout Bill Tobin and son, Duke.

I believe the Bengals' first two selections in this year's draft, Leon Hall and Kenny Irons should provide immediate help to both the offense and defense respectively. 

I liked fourth-round selection Marvin White's size and his willingness to fill the alley inside, but it remains to be seen if he can be effective defending the pass. 

Jeff Rowe put up some incredible numbers at Nevada (Reno) over the past two seasons, but in spite of his size and stats I felt he was slow-footed and lacked a quick arm. 

Notre Dame's Santucci and Ndukwe along with Oregon's Mataifale Toeaina will all be counted upon to lend a hand in a supporting role.

Pittsburgh Steelers                                C

Rnd Overall Name Pos School
1 15 Lawrence Timmons OB Florida St.
2 46 LaMarr Woodley DE Michigan
3 77 Matt Spaeth TE Minnesota
4 112 Daniel Sepulveda PT Baylor
4 132 Ryan McBean DT Oklahoma St.
5 156 Cameron Stephenson OG Rutgers
5 170 William Gay CB Louisville
7 227 Dallas Baker WR Florida

LaMarr Woodley (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
The Steelers attempted to retool their aging defense with the selection of Lawrence Timmons of Florida State and Michigan's LaMarr Woodley in the first and second round respectively. I very much like Timmons' athletic potential and believe he should become a solid performer and a suitable replacement for the departed Joey Porter, but was somewhat disappointed in Woodley's play during the '06 season (is that all there is?).

Matt Spaeth should quickly factor in the role of a second tight end and short-yardage specialist.

Daniel Sepulveda is a strong-legged left-footed punter of renown and has a real chance to take over the punting duties for the Steelers in '07.

Ryan McBean was impressive at times over the past two years and will need to keep that motor running on high to be successful pro player.

Fifth-round selection, Cameron Stephenson, is a California JUCO transfer who showed great promise during his first year on offense and could well develop into a very pleasant late-round surprise.

Seventh round selection Dallas Baker is a big, athletic, fast-improving receiver prospect who I see factoring as both an inside and red zone receiver.

Tom Marino is a veteran of 35 years in the player personnel field, most recently with the St. Louis Rams. He has worked in three professional leagues (NFL, USFL, and WFL), and among his many accomplishments, is credited with the discovery of Eric Swann, the first non-collegiate player since 1946 to be selected in the 1st round of the NFL college draft.

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