Our NFC North reporters take a look at which newcomer could make the biggest impact in the division.
Jeremy Fowler, Pittsburgh Steelers reporter: Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett. The Browns can’t mess this up. He can get a handful of sacks off his first step alone. When he learns how to win with technique at the NFL level, combined with his strength, watch out. There are many candidates here. Second-round pick Joe Mixon could be the feature back in Cincinnati sooner rather than later. Rookie pass-rusher T.J. Watt’s athleticism and football savvy were obvious in offseason workouts. The Ravens added a Pro Bowl-caliber safety in Tony Jefferson. But Garrett’s ceiling is absurdly high, and there was never really a question of whether he’d be the No. 1 pick. Garrett enters a better situation than you’d think. Cleveland’s front seven is pretty good, with Garrett flanked by capable linemen Danny Shelton and Emmanuel Ogbah.
Jamison Hensley, Baltimore Ravens reporter: Ravens wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. There were plenty of wide receiver additions to the division, from Kenny Britt in Cleveland to John Ross in Cincinnati. The biggest one was Maclin, who is expected to be Baltimore’s No. 1 receiver this season. He’s the Ravens’ most complete receiver. He’s a smooth route runner with great hands. Maclin is coming off the worst season of his career after being limited to 12 games because of a groin injury. But in his previous two full seasons (2014-2015), he was one of three NFL receivers to produce more than 170 catches, 1,800 yards and 17 touchdowns. The others were Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. With Steve Smith Sr. retired and Dennis Pitta gone after re-injuring his hip, Maclin will get a chance to be a difference-maker in the AFC North.
Pat McManamon, Cleveland Browns reporter: It had better be Garrett or the Browns blew another pick. Garrett arrives with some glittering credentials as the first overall pick of the draft, and he also arrives with high expectations that go with being said pick. Garrett has the ability, character and approach to live up to them, though. He can be the pass-rusher the Browns have lacked for years. He has the size, speed and ability to be an immediate impact player. He's also a key part of a future that may be coming together for the Browns. If he's not, there's trouble in Cleveland.
Katherine Terrell, Cincinnati Bengals reporter: Browns defensive end Garrett. An AFC North team hasn’t drafted a player No. 1 overall since the Bengals took Carson Palmer in 2003. There’s reason to be intrigued by Garrett, who had 31 sacks in college and is considered one of the best defensive prospects in years. It’s always hard to predict just how much and in what ways a rookie will be used, but if he stays healthy, Garrett should be an immediate upgrade to the Browns' defense.