In 2010, the NFL moved to a three-day draft with the final day concluding with the last four rounds. These rounds are the real test to see who can create depth and build a contender. With the 2019 NFL Draft a week away, I got curious: which AFC North team knows what they are doing when it comes to finding those later round, day three picks?

When teams prepare for the NFL Draft, they spend millions of dollars in the scouting of every player. They want to find out everything and anything about them, from what motivates each player to play football to what their favorite nighttime snack is. In essence, it is a very extended interview process.

If you are an NFL geek like me, you follow and want to know all of the players that are going to be drafted. During the NFL Draft, you are waiting in anticipation for your favorite team(s) to select and want them to take your favorite player(s). The excitement of the NFL Draft got me thinking about which teams in the AFC North succeed in choosing the best player available or best fit for their respective team in day three of the NFL Draft, which consists of the last four rounds.

I analyzed the information and came up with four players from each of the four AFC North teams that were their best choices after the fourth round, since 2010.

Baltimore Ravens

Dennis Pitta, Tight End, Brigham Young, 2010 Fourth Round Pick

Pitta never made the Pro Bowl but was a reliable player and instrumental in helping the Ravens win the Super Bowl during the 2012 season. The pass-catching tight end missed 41 games from 2013-2015 due to hip injuries. He bounced back in 2016 to play in all 16 games and led all tight ends in the NFL with 86 receptions.

Pitta suffered another hip injury during OTA’s in June 2017 which wound up ending his career. Pitta is not officially retired from the NFL. We likely will not see Dennis Pitta back on the football field, but his play in 2012 was an important cog to their offense.

Draft Pick Grade: B

Arthur Jones, Defensive Tackle, Syracuse, 2010 Sixth Round Pick

Jones spent four seasons with the Ravens from 2010 to 2013. He was a crucial element in the Baltimore Ravens winning Super Bowl XLVII. He was dominant in the postseason, contributing nine tackles, a sack and a team-leading two fumble recoveries in four playoff games.

After a successful 2013 season, Jones cashed in and signed a 5-year, $30 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts during that offseason. Jones only played in just 17 games throughout three seasons and was released in March 2017. After trying out for several other NFL teams, Jones decided to retire in January 2018.

Draft Pick Grade: C

Tyrod Taylor, Quarterback, Virginia Tech, 2011 Sixth Round Pick

Tyrod Taylor served as Joe Flacco‘s backup until signing with the Buffalo Bills in 2015. He never got an opportunity to start in Baltimore but became the Bills starter for three seasons.  In 2017, Taylor led the Bills to their first playoff appearance since 1999.

The Cleveland Browns traded for Taylor to be their starting quarterback and he failed miserably. His poor play eventually paved the way for rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield to take over the quarterback job. Taylor ended up signing with the Los Angeles Chargers this offseason to back up veteran Philip Rivers. For a sixth-round selection, he’s paved a great career.

Draft Pick Grade: C

Za’Darius Smith, Defensive End, Kentucky, 2015 Fourth Round Pick

Smith reached career highs with 45 tackles, 8.5 sacks, ten tackles for loss and 25 quarterback hits in helping the Baltimore Ravens become the NFL’s top defense in 2018. He played in every regular season game for this first time in his career. His eight starts equaled his total of the previous three seasons.

The former Wildcat cashed in on his breakout season by signing one of the wealthiest deals of NFL free agency this season. He inked a four-year $66 million contract with the Green Bay Packers, with $20 million guaranteed.

Draft Pick Grade: B

See the PFN 2019 NFL mock draft for the Ravens here.

Cincinnati Bengals

Geno Atkins, Defensive Tackle, Georgia, 2010 Fourth Round Pick

Geno Atkins went from relative unknown to having made six Pro Bowls, twice named All-Pro and leading NFL defensive tackles in sacks five of his eight years. He is tied for the fourth-most sacks in the first eight years of a career by any defensive tackle in history.

Atkins is one of the best interior pass rushers in the NFL and garners the attention of every opposing offense.

The future Hall-of-Famer is almost unblockable and has a tireless motor.

Draft Pick Grade: A+

Marvin Jones, Wide Receiver, California, 2012 Fifth Round Pick

Marvin Jones started his career in Cincinnati as a back-up wide receiver but climbed up the depth chart to be the No.2 receiver behind Pro Bowler A.J. Green. In 2015, he set career-highs in receptions (65) and receiving yards (816) and added four touchdowns that season.

Jones was entering the prime of his career and wanted to be a No.1 receiver but could not be that in Cincinnati. When Jones became a free agent after the 2015 season, several teams were hoping to add Jones.  He finally settled on the Detroit Lions, instead of staying with the Bengals. A portion of his decision was financially based but more importantly, Jones wanted to be the go-to receiver, and he thought he found that with the Lions. Jones led the NFL in yards/reception with 18.0 in 2017.

Draft Pick Grade: A

C.J. Uzomah, Tight End, Auburn, 2015 Fifth Round Pick

Uzomah set new career highs in catches (43), yards (439), and touchdowns (3) in 2018. He filled in last season for the oft-injured Tyler Eifert. In addition to setting career-highs in the passing game, Uzomah proved to be an essential blocker.

He resigned with the Cincinnati Bengals, getting a three-year deal worth $18 million. Uzomah is projected to be the Bengals starting tight end in 2019 even with Eifert resigning with the team. Eifert has problems staying healthy as evident by him missing 52 games over the last five seasons.

Draft Pick Grade: C+

Carl Lawson, Linebacker, Auburn, 2017 Fifth Round Pick

Carl Lawson had an outstanding rookie season in 2017, where he had 8.5 sacks and 59 pressures in his first year with the Cincinnati Bengals. He was utilized primarily as a pass-rushing specialist on third down and in nickel situations.

Unfortunately, his sophomore season was cut short due to a torn ACL, and he was out for the season after seven games in 2018. He is expected to recover in time to return for Week 1 of the 2019 season.

Draft Pick Grade: B

See the PFN 2019 NFL mock draft for the Bengals here.

Cleveland Browns

Jordan Cameron, Tight End, USC, 2011 Fourth Round Pick

Jordan Cameron did virtually zero in his first two seasons. However, in his third season, he emerged as one of the better tight ends in the game. He collected 917 yards and seven touchdowns on 80 receptions. Cameron was named to the Pro Bowl for his outstanding 2013 season.

Unfortunately, his stay in Cleveland ended after a forgetful 2014 season. Cameron signed a lucrative $15 million deal over two seasons with the Miami Dolphins in 2015. After playing just 19 games in Miami, the former Trojan had to retire to concussion-related symptoms.

Draft Pick Grade: B

Buster Skrine, Defensive Back, Tennessee-Chattanooga, 2011 Sixth Round Pick

Buster Skrine ended up playing cornerback alongside Joe Haden for two seasons. Skrine showed a lot of promise and the young player was improving. He improved so much that once his rookie contract was up, the New York Jets came in and signed him to an extreme contract (four-year, $25 million, $13 million guaranteed). There was no way the Browns were going to pay Skrine that kind of money.

Skrine has regressed since his days in Cleveland. In 2018 Pro Football Focus gave Skrine a poor 57.3 rating, grading out as the 103rd best cornerback in the NFL.

Over his 8-year career, Skrine has picked off a total of nine passes while forcing three fumbles, recovering four fumbles and totaling 3.5 sacks. The Chicago Bears must have liked those numbers because they signed Skrine to a three-year, $16.5 million deal this past offseason.

Draft Pick Grade: C

Travis Benjamin, Wide Receiver, Miami (FL), 2012 Fourth Round Pick

At 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, Benjamin was called upon for explosive plays in the Browns offense. In 54 career games with the Browns, Benjamin turned 109 receptions into 1,683 yards and ten touchdowns. Furthermore, he averaged 15.4 yards per reception. Benjamin converted 70 first downs and returned 68 punts for 857 yards with three special-teams touchdowns.

In 2015, Benjamin emerged as the number one receiver for the Cleveland Browns after Josh Gordon became unavailable again. Benjamin made the most of his opportunity by catching 68 passes for 966 yards and five touchdowns, all of which were career highs. He parlayed that into a road to get out of the instability in Cleveland.

Benjamin signed a four-year deal with the San Diego Chargers on the first day of  2016 free agency worth $24 million, including $13 million guaranteed. He just signed a one-year extension to remain a crucial part in the Chargers offense.

Draft Pick Grade: B

Joe Schobert, Linebacker, Wisconsin, 2016 Fourth Round Pick

Schobert started four games as a rookie and finished with just 16 tackles. He became the starting inside linebacker for the Browns and tied for the NFL lead in tackles with 144. The former Badger won the Pro Bowl nod for his efforts in 2017.

In 2018, he topped triple digits in tackles again, despite missing three games. Pro Football Focus graded Schobert as the best linebacker in snaps per reception, snaps per target, and yards per coverage snap.

Joe Schobert is a valuable piece to the success of the Cleveland Browns defense.

Draft Pick Grade: A

See the PFN 2019 NFL mock draft for the Browns here.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Antonio Brown, Wide Receiver, Central Michigan, 2010 Sixth Round Pick

Antonio Brown was not highly- touted coming out of Central Michigan. Brown always played with a chip on his shoulder and was the hardest working player on the Steelers. He made himself arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL.

He had at least 101 catches and 154 targets in each of the past six seasons in Pittsburgh. Brown had six straight seasons with over 1,200 yards receiving and eight or more receiving touchdowns, including a career-high 15 touchdown passes last season.

Everyone knows about the soap opera in Pittsburgh. Brown had a tumultuous relationship with teammates, especially quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. No one could play nice, and the Steelers eventually traded Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders for a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft.

Draft Pick Grade: A+

Kelvin Beachum, Offensive Tackle, Southern Methodist, 2012 Seventh Round Pick

Beachum didn’t grade well coming out of SMU, and there was even some discussion that Beachum would not also get drafted. However, the Steelers have to be happy with their selection. He finished his rookie season with a total of five starts in seven games. Beachum continued to work on his craft and eventually became the Steelers’ starting left tackle in 2014. He graded out as a top-five left tackle according to Pro Football Focus.

Beachum appeared in 44 games with the Steelers, 39 of which were starts. After the completion of his rookie contract, Beachum signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars to a one-year contract. In 2017, he signed a three-year deal with the New York Jets and is currently their starting left tackle.

Draft Pick Grade: B+

Martavis Bryant, Wide Receiver, Clemson, 2014 Fourth Round Pick

Martavis Bryant had a turbulent time in Pittsburgh. He showed flashes of game-breaking ability early on, including a rookie season where he caught eight touchdowns. Unfortunately, the warning signs of a troubled player were undoubtedly evident. The Steelers had enough of his turmoil and traded Bryant during the 2018 NFL draft to the Oakland Raiders for a third-round draft pick.

Bryant didn’t produce much with Oakland, and the Raiders cut him before the 2018 NFL season. Inexplicably, the Raiders brought him back during the year, and after Bryant suffered an injury, he received a suspension by the league. Bryant appealed and lost his appeal, and he was suspended indefinitely by the NFL. It’s highly doubtful that we ever see Martavis Bryant in the NFL ever again.

Draft Pick Grade: D-

Jesse James, Tight End, Penn State, 2015 Fifth Round Pick

The Steelers often employed two starters at the tight end position. James took on the number two tight end role after the emergence of Vance McDonald a year ago. James compiled 120 catches for 1,189 yards and nine touchdowns in his first four seasons, and most impressively, he never missed a game.

Despite just starting seven games last season, James had his best season in terms of receiving yards with 423. The former Nittany Lion decided he wanted to be a lion again and joined the Detroit Lions this offseason. He inked a deal worth a reported $25 million over four years. It will not be surprising if the Steelers look to draft another tight end to work with McDonald, especially with the loss of their elite playmakers in Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown.

Draft Pick Grade: B+

See the PFN 2019 NFL mock draft for the Steelers here.


The best day three team has to be the Pittsburgh Steelers, especially with their selection of Antonio Brown in the sixth round in 2010. Next is possibly the Cincinnati Bengals, highlighted by their selection of Geno Atkins in the fourth round of the 2010 draft.

NFL teams and scouts make their money with these selections. It is imperative that teams select players in these rounds that make significant impacts. This group of players, while their respective career successes varied, showed enough to push beyond being afterthoughts of their respective drafts so they could contribute. If there’s another player who was overlooked, leave a comment or contact us on Twitter.

Stay tuned next week for my projections for each team on the best day three selections for the 2019 NFL Draft.