2024 NFL Draft Review: One pivotal rookie for each team in the AFC North

These 2024 NFL Draft selections could be the difference in a competitive AFC North.
Michigan's Roman Wilson
Michigan's Roman Wilson / Ryan Kang/GettyImages
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If you think the AFC North was tough in 2023, just wait to see what’s on tap in 2024.

All four teams, the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns have all made offseason moves to solidify their teams both offensively and defensively.  While some of the teams have suffered some key losses, there are some key additions including what each team was able to do the 2024 NFL Draft.

NFL Mocks selected a rookie from each team who could play a pivotal role for their team.  Let’s start with one big question.

Did the Ravens do enough to secure their status as top team in the AFC North?

Well, the Ravens took some hits on defense via free agency, but did keep a key piece in Justin Madubuike and drafted a difference maker in the secondary with the No. 30 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Baltimore Ravens – CB Nate Wiggins (Round 1– Pick 30)

The Ravens first-round pick will not only be the youngest player on the team as he enters his rookie season at the age of 20, but he will also be the team’s most pivotal draft selection in 2024.

Baltimore Ravens first round pick Nate Wiggins will be a pivotal rookie in the AFC North.
NFL Combine - Portraits / Todd Rosenberg/GettyImages

Ranked by ESPN as the fourth-best cornerback entering the draft, Wiggins’ stock fell a little due to a groin injury suffered at the NFL Combine.  But the former Clemson star still ran a 4.28 40-yard dash.  That combination of speed and versatility in playing in multiple coverages will make Wiggins a big addition to a Ravens’ defense that did take some losses in the offseason, but still a very good defense.

In all, Wiggins has a lot to learn, but the talent that led to him earning First-team All-ACC honors during his final season at Clemson will come through Year 1 in the NFL.  Impressively, the rookie already recognizes what will make him a more impactful player in the NFL noting he needs to work on his physicality.

“I’m working on getting my hands up early, not just relying on my speed,” Wiggins said following an OTA session on May 30.  “I’ve been trying to stay in front of the receiver.”

Wiggins won’t have a problem learning how to be more physical playing in a Ravens’ defense known for physicality.  Where he will be most successful is his football IQ and that ability to play different coverage.  He can play man or Cover 3.  If he emerges as a rookie, watch out AFC North.