Best fits for each team in the 2020 NFL Draft: AFC North edition

  • 2020 NFL Draft
  • Andrew Thomas
  • baltimore ravens
  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Cleveland Browns
  • Joe Burrow
  • Kenneth Murray
  • Matthew Peart
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
By Jordan Katz March 31, 2020 0 Comment

The 2020 NFL Draft is just around the corner. Here are the best selections for each team in the AFC North can make next month.

Part two of our eight-part mini-series here takes a look at the best fits in the 2020 NFL Draft from the perspective of the AFC North. With the mock draft season in full swing, NFL draft writers are drawing up their scenarios for how the NFL draft could play out.

Throughout the draft season, many have written about “the right fit.” There is a multitude of reasons why you could see this. It could be because the player is the best available at a position of need for the team that is selecting. Another reason could be from a schematic standpoint. For example, if a cornerback that excels in cover three goes to a team that primarily runs a cover three defense, a mock draft aficionado is going to love that fit.

Every team has primary draft needs, and every team has multiple players on their boards that can fill said needs. Each team has that one specific player they are keeping their eyes on. That player might be a guy the team wants to trade up for. He could be an early selection in round one, or a day three sleeper.

Each player also has that one team where they stand the best chance to succeed. The team that can make them a quality starter, or even a breakout star.

So which player makes the most sense for the teams in the AFC North? Here are the players each team should look to target in the NFL Draft.

Baltimore Ravens

Best Fit: Kenneth Murray, Inside Linebacker Oklahoma

To land Murray, the Ravens will likely have to trade up in round one. While that may deter some, the Ravens are in a position to do this.

Their needs are limited. Most of their roster is returning from their fabulous season in 2019. What’s missing is chess pieces in their linebacking core. Baltimore needs a three-down linebacker to captain the middle of their defense.

Murray is the exact chess piece they are looking for. He shows good range sideline to sideline, and he can stick opposing ball carriers. His tackles often bring power to them that NFL teams will likely gawk over. Murray often takes good angles to the ball and has the athleticism to close on opponents.

While he’s not as good in coverage as a guy like Patrick Queen, the Ravens also do not need him to be. Their secondary is so good that their front seven can be more concerned with playing aggressively down near the line of scrimmage.

With that in mind, Murray makes the most sense for Baltimore in round one. He is also a very realistic target for the Ravens.

Cincinnati Bengals

Best Fit: Joe Burrow, Quarterback LSU

The goal with the Bengals was to get creative here. Burrow is the obvious selection at one, so where’s the fun in saying he’s the best fit? Why not argue a day two selection, like Lucas Niang, to play right tackle? Or Jeremy Chinn as a chess piece in the back seven?

When you think about losing franchises, they’re often labeled as such because they lack the franchise quarterback necessary to compete in the modern NFL. Sometimes they draft the quarterback but do not have the roster to help him from the start. Occasionally, they even reach on a quarterback that does not have the skillset to make it into the NFL.

Every once in awhile, you come across the quarterback that can change your franchise. He does not need a perfect situation. This player can make your offense better just by stepping onto the field.

That player is Joe Burrow. Burrow anticipates exceptionally well for a collegiate quarterback, and he knows how to give his playmakers an opportunity when they have one-on-one matchups.

Cincinnati has not had the “franchise quarterback” in quite some time. Even though their roster is suspect, Joe Burrow changes the direction of the franchise. He changes the competitive nature of the Bengals from day one. Hence why he is the only player that can be mentioned in a “best fit” article.

Cleveland Browns

Best Fit: Andrew Thomas, Offensive Tackle Georgia

Cleveland made the big splash of the offseason in terms of offensive line play. They were able to land Jack Conklin on a team-friendly contract, making him their starting right tackle for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, the Browns still need a franchise left tackle. That’s where Thomas comes in.

The best pass blocker in the 2020 NFL Draft at the tackle position is Andrew Thomas. The tackle with the cleanest kick slide is Andrew Thomas. Do you know which player among the four top tackles is the most underrated athlete, a mauler in the run game, and can counter opposing edge rushers because of his grip strength? It’s Andrew Thomas.

The best part? Thomas is still viewed as “OT4,” according to the draft media. He is a realistic target at the 10th overall selection. More importantly, he’s the best option for the Browns.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Best Fit: Matthew Peart, Offensive Tackle UCONN

Somewhere in this draft, the Steelers have to select a right tackle. Simply put, they currently do not have a starting right tackle on their roster.

Matthew Peart is one of the most intriguing day two prospects. He has elite length for the offensive tackle position. Peart brings power to the running game, often knocking defenders backward when he gets himself squared up. Peart has experience at the guard and tackle position, which is a valuable trait at the next level. It shows that he possesses the necessary intelligence to succeed in the NFL.

What makes Peart the most attractive option for the Steelers is the success that Pittsburgh has with large, lengthy tackles. Alejandro Villanueva developed into an extremely good left tackle. Marcus Gilbert became a quality right tackle under the Steelers watch as well.

Peart could be next in line for Pittsburgh. He has good athleticism for the position, but his technique needs to be cleaned up. His hands tend to sag at times, and his pad level can get high. If Pittsburgh can refine the areas of concern in his technique, Peart can be a quality starter for a long time in the NFL.

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