In Baltimore, the Ravens managed to find a starting safety in Matt Elam despite picking late thanks to a Super Bowl win. The Pittsburgh Steelers found a James Harrison replacement at linebacker with Georgia's Jarvis Jones. Finally, the Cleveland Browns found a talented pass-rusher to put across from Paul Kruger in Barkevious Mingo.
That's an amazing crop of talent joining the fray in the AFC North, but which team's high-profile rookies are set to have the biggest impact in their rookies seasons?
Let's rank which high-profile rookies will have the biggest impact in the AFC North next season.
1. Giovani Bernard and Tyler Eifert
It's hard to mention one of these rookies without bringing up the other, so for the purposes of this analysis we will keep them together.
Both Eifert and Bernard were the first players taken at their respective positions. That fact alone puts them at a serious advantage in terms of rookies in the AFC North.
Eifert has a chance to make a serious impact as a rookie in two-tight end sets, especially considering defenses will be focused on receiver A.J. Green and fellow tight end Jermaine Gresham. Putting up touchdowns in the redzone will be Eifert's biggest contribution, which is reason enough to have him at No. 1.
Following Eifert is Bernard, who will have a major impact on the West Coast offense Cincinnati employs. Thanks to his versatility in both the running and passing attack, Bernard could be an Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate.
Eifert and Bernard, bot separately and combined, will have the biggest impact in the AFC North next year.
2. Matt Elam and Arthur Brown
The Baltimore Ravens may have picked late in the draft but the front office sure made the most of the selection with Florida safety Matt Elam.
Elam will help Ravens fans to forget about the departed Ed Reed thanks to his versatility which allows him to be stout in both pass and run support. He's a physical presence who will help to define the next generation of Baltimore defenders.
Speaking of the next generation, linebacker Arthur Brown was a favorite among draftniks leading up to the draft. He's a speedy linebacker who should start right away at one of the inside linebacker spots and hold up fine against the run and pass.
Elam and Brown aren't the biggest names but could give the Ravens just enough to compete for a Super Bowl once more. They aren't the best in terms of impact next year in the division, but they're certainly close.
3. Barkevious Mingo and Leon McFadden
It's hard to hate what the Cleveland Browns did at the top of the draft besides it being the opposite of what most expected.
Mingo is an athletic freak who is poised to make a major impact in his rookie season if the coaching staff puts him in a position to succeed. Across from free-agent acquisition Paul Kruger, Mingo should have plenty of time to get to opposing quarterbacks in the new 3-4 scheme.
On the other hand there's Leon McFadden, who is a bit of a wildcard for the Browns. Cleveland still doesn't have an answer across from Joe Hade at cornerback, but McFadden could be that guy.
It's hard to see how either of these rookies will play out as both are considered to be somewhat projects. As far as immediate impact goes these guys aren't high up the list.
4. Jarvis Jones and Le'Veon Bell
Before Steelers nation erupts with fury, hear this one out. Both Jarvis Jones and Le'Veon Bell are great prospects who figure to have major roles in the future, but their roles won't be major this upcoming season.
Jones is a heck of a talent who will contribute, but the coaching staff is still in love with Jason Worilds. Until Jones can prove he has the all-around game to play every down, Worilds will see the majority of the snaps.
Then there's Bell. He's a bruising runner who fits well with the style of the offense, but it's hard to know exactly how many snaps he will see next year. Jonathan Dwyer figures to see a good amount of snaps unless Bell flashes early and doesn't take his foot off the gas.
In the long term this is an amazing class for Pittsburgh, but we're talking about immediate impact. For that criteria, Pittsburgh comes in last.
Chris Roling is a graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. His work has appeared on Bleacher Report, Fansided, The Cincinnati Enquirer and more. He is the co-host of a Cincinnati Bengals podcast, @BengalsCentral
You can follow Chris on Twitter @Chris_Roling
- American Football
- Sports & Recreation
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Tyler Eifert
- Giovani Bernard
- Jarvis Jones
- Matt Elam
- AFC North
- Cleveland Browns
- Barkevious Mingo
- Paul Kruger