Dynasty League Football


NFL Draft Aftermath: Winners and Losers from the AFC North


As exciting as it is to drool over incoming rookies each year, it inevitably has an inverse effect on some veteran players. While it’s important to realize a lot of these players were drafted to provide depth on NFL rosters and will potentially never make a single career start, the majority were selected with the intention to replace veterans throughout the league. Here we’ll touch on the IDP “Winners and Losers” in the AFC North.

Baltimore Ravens

Pick #26, Breshad Perriman, WR
Pick #55, Maxx Williams, TE
Pick #90, Carl Davis, DT
Pick #122, Za’Darius Smith, DE
Pick #125, Javorius Allen, RB
Pick #136, Tray Walker, CB
Pick #171, Nick Boyle, TE
Pick #176, Robert Myers, OG
Pick #204, Darren Waller, WR

Draft Overview

The Ravens were arguably the most fantasy-relevant team at the draft, adding talent at running back, wide receiver and tight end. From top to bottom they received high marks for finding good value on the board while addressing their needs, including finding replacements for Torrey Smith and Haloti Ngata in Breshad Perriman and Carl Davis, respectively. Baltimore beat Pittsburgh to Maxx Williams as the top tight-end off the board and snagged Nick Boyle in the fifth round to provide depth at the position. Za’Darius Smith could evolve into an effective role player on the defensive line, while on the other side of the trenches Robert Myers adds depth to the interior of the offensive line. Javorius Allen fits well into Marc Trestman’s backfield and could eventually supplant Justin Forsett as the starter. Tray Walker is raw but has upside at cornerback. To round out the draft, the 6’6” Darren Waller could be a big target on the outside or converted to tight end and is an interesting late-round flier in dynasty leagues.


Adding Perriman and Williams in the first two rounds alone would have excited Joe Flacco. Then the Ravens added a running back who is good at many aspects of the game, a blocking tight end and a big-bodied receiver. The quarterback made out well at the draft and should be able to improve upon his QB13 finish in 2014. Additionally, Baltimore’s rookies at the skill positions are winners in their own right given the excellent landing spot.


I am a fan of Crockett Gillmore, but this draft could not have gone any worse for his long-term value. After picking up the consensus top tight end on the board, Baltimore drafted Boyle and Waller. With the departure of Owen Daniels and all the health concerns around Dennis Pitta, Gillmore’s appeal has primarily been the lack of competition. Though the latter two picks may not amount to more than roster depth, Gillmore no longer enters training camp as the undisputed top tight end on the depth chart. Marlon Brown is also looking over his shoulder, now seeing eye-to-eye with a couple big rookie receivers.

Cincinnati Bengals

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Pick #21, Cedric Ogbuehi, OT
Pick #53, Jake Fisher, OT
Pick #85, Tyler Kroft, TE
Pick #99, Paul Dawson, ILB
Pick #120, Josh Shaw, CB
Pick #135, Marcus Hardison, DE
Pick #157, C.J. Uzomah, TE
Pick #197, Derron Smith, FS
Pick #238, Mario Alford, WR

Draft Overview

Cincinnati largely ignored the offensive side of the ball, at least with respect to skill position players. Offensive tackles were selected with their first two picks, perhaps indicating that Andrew Whitworth (age) and/or Andre Smith (expiring contract) may not return in 2015. With the departure of Jermaine Gresham, as well as the talented but thus far untested Tyler Eifert returning from a dislocated elbow, the Bengals used two of their next five picks on tight ends. Aside from wide receiver Mario Alford, a fast player whose primary value is on special teams, the remaining picks were allocated for help throughout the defense (including potential difference-maker Paul Dawson at linebacker).


Andy Dalton is not synonymous with “winner,” but he made out well in this draft with two highly regarded tackles and a blocking tight end in C.J. Uzomah. If this means Dalton will have more time in the pocket, reducing his sacks and improving upon his inaccurate throws, this will benefit the rest of the offense as well. Additionally, with no wide receivers drafted in the first six rounds, the WR2 spot remains a competition between Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones and Denarius Moore.


Despite his inability to block effectively, Tyler Kroft was selected in the third round. With a strong catch radius and ability to create yards after the catch, he could push Tyler Eifert for targets at the tight end position. The Bengals, and the fantasy community, are high on Eifert but with only 42 career receptions for 483 yards and two touchdowns he has done little more than Kroft has in the NFL.

Cleveland Browns

Pick #12, Danny Shelton, NT
Pick #19, Cameron Irving, C
Pick #51, Nate Orchard, DE
Pick #77, Duke Johnson, RB
Pick #96, Xavier Cooper, DT
Pick #115, Ibraheim Campbell, SS
Pick #123, Vince Mayle, WR
Pick #189, Charles Gaines, CB
Pick #195, Malcolm Johnson, TE
Pick #198, Randall Telfert, TE
Pick #219, Hayes Pullard, ILB
Pick #241, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB

Draft Overview

After weeks of rumors surrounding trades for Marcus Mariota or Sam Bradford, the Browns held tight and used their 12 selections to improve at nearly every position other than quarterback. They addressed the trenches on their first three picks with two defensive lineman and a versatile interior offensive lineman before swinging for the fences with Duke Johnson in the third round. After taking their second defensive tackle and a strong safety, Cleveland picked Vince Mayle in the fourth round as their only wide receiver. Two cover cornerbacks, two blocking tight ends and an inside linebacker rounded out their big draft class.


Although the position was addressed in the fourth round, Cleveland’s wide receivers including Dwayne Bowe, Brian Hartline, Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel emerged from the draft without a big-name rookie competitor. Mayle has good size and hands, but needs to show he’s healthy and expand his route tree. Additionally, another offseason addition in Rob Housler finds himself safely atop the depth chart at tight end following the draft.


An already unsettled situation became downright confusing with the addition of Duke Johnson to the Browns’ backfield. Isaiah Crowell loses a tick in value, though his first- and second-down snaps may be a good complement to Johnson’s third-down opportunities. The largest plummet in value goes to Terrance West, who finds himself firmly in third place on the depth chart after being selected in the third round last year.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Pick #22, Bud Dupree, OLB
Pick #56, Senquez Golson, CB
Pick #87, Sammie Coates, WR
Pick #121, Doran Grant, CB
Pick #160, Jesse James, TE
Pick #199, Leterrius Walton, DT
Pick #212, Anthony Chickillo, DE
Pick #239, Gerod Holliman, FS

Draft Overview

Aside from their secondary, the Steelers’ draft focus was size and athleticism. Outside linebacker Bud Dupree and wide receiver Sammie Coates are prime examples given their size/speed combinations, though both show a lack of consistency on the field that needs to be addressed. To round out the top four, Pittsburgh selected two cornerbacks with good instincts and finished the draft with a safety who possesses similar traits. 6’7” tight end Jesse James was selected in the fifth round to develop under aging (but DLF Podcast favorite) Heath Miller, and the Steelers picked two defensive linemen that fit into their 5-technique in the sixth round.


Big Ben loves big receivers, so he likely approved of the additions of Coates and James. Though Coates has had a lot of issues with drops, he can get downfield quickly and adds another option to an already talented group of wide receivers. James has been compared to a more athletic version of Troy Niklas, who was selected in the second round last year by Arizona, and will provide a physical presence to join 6’4” Martavis Bryant and 6’5” Miller as red zone targets. In the backfield, DeAngelo Williams and Josh Harris remain the uninspiring favorites to back up Le’Veon Bell after no running backs were selected by the Steelers.


Markus Wheaton quietly caught 53 passes for 644 yards with two touchdowns in 2014, but the third-round addition of Coates likely hurts him the most. Antonio Brown is the unquestioned top target in the passing game, while Bryant has passed Wheaton on the depth chart and is the favorite to start opposite the All-Pro in Brown.


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