2024 NFL Draft: Bet your top dollar on these 4 rookies in the AFC North

4 rookies who will make an impact in the AFC North.
Penn State's Adisa Isaac
Penn State's Adisa Isaac / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

The AFC North was one of the more competitive divisions in the NFL in 2023.  With a healthy Joe Burrow returning for Cincinnati Bengals, Deshaun Watson returning for the Cleveland Browns, Russell Wilson joining the Pittsburgh Steelers and reigning league MVP Lamar Jackson leading the Baltimore Ravens, it will be a battle in 2024.

Along with 4 of the more recognized quarterbacks in the NFL in the same division, each team has taken measures to improve their squads in free agency and through the 2024 NFL Draft, where there were some interesting prospects selected on both sides of the ball.  With top picks like Nate Wiggins (Ravens), Amarius Mims (Bengals) and Troy Fautanu (Steelers) primed to step in right away and make impacts, each team will be looking for other drafted players to step up in positions of need.

2024 NFL Draft selections who will earn roles immediately in the AFC North

Which rookies are sure bets to step into roles and make that impact for each AFC North team?  NFL Mocks looks at the players drafted for need who will come through for the teams that drafted them.

Baltimore Ravens – OLB Adisa Isaac (Round 3– Pick 93)

When it comes to value in the draft, the Ravens always seem to find player who come in and contribute right way.  When it comes to need, the Ravens got their top need with the selection of Nate Wiggins.  But the name fans will get to know and grow to love is Penn State’s Adisa Isaac.

In earning Second-team All-Big Ten Conference honors with 7.5 sacks during his final season at Penn State, Isaac stands at 6-foot-4, 247 pounds with quickness and a motor that will fit right in with that Ravens defense.  As a third-round pick, he won’t have too much pressure on him to step in right away, but he’ll earn snaps as the season moves forward and will stand out as yet another value player the Ravens picked up in the draft. 

Cincinnati Bengals– DT Kris Jenkins (Round 2– Pick 49)

The Bengals took care of a major need in the first round with the selection of Mims with the No. 18 overall pick in the NFL Draft, but the player who will make the most noise in Year 1 is Michigan’s Kris Jenkins.

Cincinnati Bengals second-round pick Kris Jenkins
Michigan's Kris Jenkins / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

Selected with the No. 49 overall pick, Jenkins will go from anchoring the middle of the defensive line for the national champions to a young defender for a team primed to make a run at another Super Bowl with Burrow back and healthy.  In helping anchor the anterior defensive line, Jenkins will start off as a rotational player, but you can bet on him taking over as a starter and becoming the future of the Bengals' defensive line.

As a run stopper and a anterior defensive lineman with the versatility to rush the passer, Jenkins will make a name for himself in the AFC North right off the bat.

Cleveland Browns – DT Mike Hall Jr. (Round 2 – Pick 54)

The Browns didn’t have a first round pick in the draft, but the selection of Ohio State’s Mike Hall Jr. will seem like one.

Led by Myles Garrett, the Browns defense was stout in 2023, but the team needed to add some depth along that defensive line and did just that with the selection of Hall with the No. 54 overall pick in the draft.

Projected to play behind Dalvin Tomlinson and Shelby Harris, Hall is a little undersized for the position, but his strength and quickness will earn him more snaps along the defensive line.  If he adds more mass to his 6-foot-3, 290-pround frame, he could be even more of a force in the middle.  In all, his explosiveness and ability to get past blockers could earn him some snaps as an edge rusher.  That’s where learning from a player like Garrett will make Hall a sure bet contributor as a rookie for the Browns.

Pittsburgh Steelers – C Zach Frazier (Round 2 – Pick 51)

The Steelers needed offensive line help and they got it with their first two selections in the 2024 NFL Draft.  After taking Fautanu in the first found, the Steelers took center Zack Frazier with the No. 51 overall pick in the draft.

Steelers second-round pick Zach Frazier
West Virginia's Zach Frazier / G Fiume/GettyImages

At 6-foot-3, 313 pounds, Frazier is a powerhouse in the middle of the offensive line.  As a blue nose player who works hard, this rookie will look very good in a Steelers’ uniform and with improvement with his inside hands as a run blocker could see himself gaining snaps as the season moves forward.  In all, his lower body strength and balance will showcase his power while his toughness will make him a favorite amongst the coaches and teammates.

In all, a solid pick for the Steelers and a selection that will pay off right away in 2024 either as a backup center or transitional to guard where he could earn snaps as a starter.