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Draft grades don't really mean much as you won't know how good a draft haul from a team is until at least three years down the road. However, with how much attention the draft gets and news starting to slow down in the NFL offseason, it's only natural that many outlets will give their draft grades for teams. On Thursday, Dan Parr of NFL.com released his draft grades for the AFC North and he gave the Steelers a solid B for their 2021 draft class.
"Sensing that the contending window is nearly shut with Ben Roethlisberger entering his age-39 season, the Steelers clearly were on a mission to upgrade the QB's supporting cast on draft weekend," Parr wrote. "We're not going to see a repeat of the worst rushing attack in the league now that they have Harris running through defenders. He's the do-it-all back this team so badly needed. Now, with the twilight creeping in on Big Ben, we would have been a little more aggressive in Round 2 to land an offensive tackle, but it's hard to argue with the value or fit for Freiermuth, who's been compared to Tyler Eifert. GM Kevin Colbert did find help for the offensive line in the middle rounds. Green has some developing to do when it comes to pass protection, but he could be up to the challenge of filling the void left by Maurkice Pouncey's retirement. The Steelers didn't address the need for an edge rusher until Round 6, but landing Roche at Pick 216 was one of the best values of the draft. The merits of drafting a punter will be debated. If you're going to pick one, make sure he's built like a tank and can throw a touchdown pass."
For the rest of the AFC North, Parr gave the Browns an A-, the Bengals a B and the Ravens a B, as well. Parr isn't the only analyst to praise the Browns' draft class, as many have said they had one of the best drafts since they addressed some key defensive needs.
Out of all the selections made by the AFC North teams last week, Parr believes that the Steelers selecting Najee Harris at 24th overall was the best pick.
"I know it's become very popular to scoff at the notion of drafting a running back early," Parr wrote. "You could argue that Kevin Colbert should have honed in on a different position -- one that doesn't produce late-round and undrafted gems as consistently as the running back spot -- but I believe the team's situation at RB cried out for something greater. Pittsburgh ranked dead last in rushing last season and entered last weekend without a single back who rushed for more than 3.4 yards per carry on the roster. Enter Harris, a do-it-all back who has drawn comps to Matt Forte and Steven Jackson. Give this man the rock 20-25 times per game and never look back."