NFL DRAFT PREVIEW: AFC NORTH

April 26, 2016

 

BALTIMORE RAVENS

TEAM NEEDS:

LG, RT, LILB, LDE, CB, SS, LOLB, RB

 

PROSPECT TRACKER

Connor CookKevin Hogan, Kenyan Drake, Darius JacksonBraxton Miller, Leonte Carroo, Jay LeeLaremy Tunsil, Ronnie Stanley, Cody Whitehair, Robert Nkemdiche, Myles Jack, Reggie Ragland, Deion Jones, Tyler Matakevich, Joey BosaNoah SpenceLeonard Floyd, Emmanuel OgbahYannick NgakoueJalen Ramsey, Vernon Hargreaves, Mackensie Alexander, William Jackson III, Cyrus Jones, Tavon YoungSean Davis, James Bradberry, Ryan SmithBlake CountessKarl Joseph

 

VISIT

PRIVATE WORKOUT

 

PROJECTED DRAFT:

(6)     OT RONNIE STANLEY

(36)   LOLB LEONARD FLOYD

(70)   LG NICK MARTIN

(104) CB CYRUS JONES

(130) LILB TYLER MATAKEVICH

(132) WR JAY LEE

(134) LDE RONALD BLAIR

(182) CB RYAN SMITH

(209) RB DARIUS JACKSON

 


I've had a gut feeling that Ozzie Newsome is going to go with Ronnie Stanley with the sixth pick from the day the draft order was set, and unless Jalen Ramsey falls to them somehow, I am sticking with it. Stanley starts at RT week 1 and eventually challenges Eugene Monroe for the starting LT spot. I realize Leonard Floyd is being talked about going as high as 5 to the Jaguars right now, but I just don't see what all the hype is about to take him that high. If still around when the Ravens select at 36, Floyd would be a perfect edge rusher in Baltimore to eventually replace Elvis Dumervil. Nick Martin is one of my favorite players in this draft and immediately fills the void at LG left by Kelechi Osemele, who signed with Oakland this offseason. The nice thing about Martin is if Jeremy Zuttah starts to decline, he can kick inside to center, which keeps John Urschel from playing out of position. Ozzie loves Alabama guys and Cyrus Jones not only fills the need at nickel corner but also would be the early favorite to win kick returner duties on special teams. Tyler Matakevich is not a rare athletic specimen, but his high football IQ could help him step into Daryl Smith's vacancy at ILB, and worst case, he will be an immediate thumper on special teams. The Ravens have been closely monitoring Jay Lee since the Senior Bowl, and their WR depth chart is not as barren as you may think if Breshad Perriman can return to health. Ronald Blair is a pass rushing defensive end who would start out on 3rd and long situations and gradually earn more playing time in the Ravens defensive line rotation. Small school CB Ryan Smith put scouts on notice with his Combine performance and he was one of Baltimore's official pre-draft visits. RB Darius Jackson is a lesser-known name, but he is on the Ravens radar and would challenge Trent Richardson for the final RB spot on the 53 man roster (I like his odds).

 

CLEVELAND BROWNS

TEAM NEEDS:

RT, WR, SS, QB, RDE, OLB, FS, FB

 

PROSPECT TRACKER:

Carson Wentz Jared GoffPaxton Lynch, Connor Cook, Kevin Hogan, Tyler Ervin, Glenn Gronkowski, Derek Watt, Laquon Treadwell, Corey ColemanWill Fuller, Jay Lee, Mike Thomas, Robby Anderson, Sebastian Tretola, Josh Garnett, Germain Ifedi, Alex Lewis, Darrell Greene, Vincent Valentine, Kevin Dodd, Chris Jones, Matt Ioannidis, Joey Bosa, Shaq Lawson, Aaron WallaceMyles Jack, Mackensie Alexander, Maurice Canady, Kevin Byard, Will Parks

 

VISIT

PRIVATE WORKOUT

 

PROJECTED DRAFT:

(8)     OLB JOEY BOSA

(32)   QB CONNOR COOK

(65)   WR TYLER BOYD

(77)   FS TJ GREEN

(99)   SS KEVIN BYARD

(100) K ROBERTO AGUAYO

(138) CB MAURICE CANADY

(141) RT BRANDON SHELL

(172) RDE MATT IOANNIDIS

(173) FB GLENN GRONKOWSKI

(176) RB/KR TYLER ERVIN

(223) SS WILL PARKS

 

 

It is really, really difficult to try to anticipate what the Cleveland Browns are going to do. New coach, new general manager, new coordinators, new analytics, and they basically released every veteran leader they had on the team. Luckily for them, they have a ton of draft capital to play with by moving down with the Philadelphia Eagles to #8. I can certainly see the Browns coveting local Ohio State hero Joey Bosa and him being the pick if he makes it past Dallas, Jacksonville and Baltimore. Hue Jackson is rumored to be enamored with Memphis QB Paxton Lynch, but with him likely gone by 32, Connor Cook would probably be the next victim to end up on the infamous Browns QB jersey. If Tyler Boyd is still around by the third round, the value would be too hard to pass up for Cleveland at that point. With Tashaun Gipson bolting for Jacksonville, Clemson FS TJ Green could be a candidate to replace the former Pro Bowler, and then pairing him up with SS Kevin Byard to replace Donte Whitner would be a good idea with the 99th pick. I realize that kicker is the least of the Browns' problems, but with so many draft picks, they might as while take a player that many pundits deem a once-in-a-decade type of talent at the position in Roberto Aguayo. The Browns spent a lot of time in Mobile speaking with Maurice Canady, and he could be pegged as insurance if Justin Gilbert does not get his act together this season. The departure of Mitchell Schwartz leaves a huge hole at RT, and Brandon Shell would be a player who has the talent to push to start week 1. Temple defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis is another player that the Browns were high on in the Senior Bowl who fills a need and adds grit to the defensive line rotation. Hue Jackson values the fullback in his offensive system, so the Browns snag the best one in the draft at 173 in Glenn Gronkowski, following it up by taking explosive running back and kick returner Tyler Ervin. Lastly, SS Will Parks adds depth behind Byard and gives them a willing tackler on special teams. 

 

CINCINNATI BENGALS

TEAM NEEDS:

WR, NT, C, FS, CB, DE, WR, SLB

 

PROSPECT TRACKER:

Cardale JonesTyler ErvinLaquon TreadwellCorey Coleman, Josh Doctson, Jay Lee, Daniel Braverman, Devin Lucien, Robby Anderson, George Fant, Stephane Nembot, John Weidenaar, Connor McGovern, Alex RedmondEvan BoehmEmmanuel Ogbah, Vernon ButlerAdolphus Washington, David Onyemata, Mackensie Alexander, William Jackson III, Sean Davis, Karl Joseph, Kavon Frazier, Kevin Byard, Miles Killebrew

 

VISIT

PRIVATE WORKOUT

 

PROJECTED DRAFT:

(28)   WR COREY COLEMAN

(59)   DT MALIEK COLLINS

(126) FS SEAN DAVIS

(162) C EVAN BOEHM

(165) CB KEIVARAE RUSSELL

(203) OG ALEX REDMOND

(233) WR DEVIN LUCIEN

 

 

Every arrow is pointing toward the Bengals taking a wide receiver in the first round to help replenish a position group that was depleted this offseason. With Pro Bowler AJ Green on the roster, Corey Coleman would be the perfect compliment for him in my opinion. Although his route tree is not extensive, Coleman can use his speed, agility, and knack for getting into the end zone to give Andy Dalton that extra weapon he needs to maybe win a playoff game. With this draft being so deep at defensive tackle, snagging a player like Maliek Collins in the second round would be great news for Geno Atkins, who is starving for an upgrade over the ineffective Domata Peko. Maryland CB/FS Sean Davis is a player the Bengals seem to like, and he boasts a skill set similar to that of Reggie Nelson, who recently signed with Oakland. On the offensive line, Russell Bodine has done nothing of note to show that he can be the long term anchor there, and Missouri C Evan Boehm could win the starting spot in training camp. CB Keivarae Russell is an intriguing option at CB for the Bengals, who have the flexibility to take their time and ease him back onto the field after his knee injury. OG Alex Redmond came to Cincinnati on one of their official pre-draft visits and would provide solid depth behind Kevin Zeitler and Clint Boling. If either of the two went down right now, the Bengals would be in trouble. Lastly, the Bengals could look in the direction of WR Devin Lucien, who may have the most underrated hands in the draft and give them a solid option in the slot. 

 

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

TEAM NEEDS:

LT, SS, CB, NT, FS, RB/KR, CB, DEVELOPMENTAL QB

 

PROSPECT TRACKER:

Dak Prescott, Vernon Adams, Cody Kessler, Tyler Boyd, Pharoh Cooper, Charone Peake, Jerald Hawkins, Caleb Benenoch, Robert Nkemdiche, Quinton Jefferson, A'Shawn Robinson, Jatavis Brown, Elandon RobertsBronson Kaufusi, Dadi Nicolas, Mackensie Alexander, William Jackson III, Sean Davis, Jonathan Jones, Tavon Young, Harlan Miller, Ken Crawley, Ryan Smith, Sean Davis, Darian Thompson, Justin Simmons, Karl Joseph, TJ Green, Vonn Bell, Jeremy Cash, Keanu Neal

 

VISIT

PRIVATE WORKOUT

 

PROJECTED DRAFT:

(25)   CB WILLIAM JACKSON III

(58)   SS JEREMY CASH

(89)   LT JERALD HAWKINS

(123) LDE QUINTON JEFFERSON

(220) QB CODY KESSLER

(229) WR/KR JALIN MARSHALL

(246) CB KEN CRAWLEY

 

 

I know, I know. Steelers fan snobs are saying that there is no way that they take a CB in the first round because that's just not their M.O. I don't care, because if you asked God to create a Pittsburgh Steelers CB, William Jackson III would be the end product. If he didn't play his ball in Houston, Jackson would be in the conversation in the Top 10, and putting him in a system like Pittsburgh's could net him 5 INTs his rookie year. In the second round, a good safety should be available for Pittsburgh, and Jeremy Cash is a big hitting SS who could stick his nose into the box and help in the run game. Alejandro Villanueva did a decent job when asked to step in after Kelvin Beachum went down, but Jerald Hawkins could push him for the job as a rookie and he did take a pre-draft visit to Pittsburgh. Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt seemed to be coming into their own last season, but Heyward played way too many snaps and adding a player liked Quinton Jefferson into the mix could keep Heyward fresher, especially late into the season. Ben Roethlisberger just turned 34 years old and is having more and more difficulty finishing a season without getting injured, so it is crucial for the Steelers to draft and develop a QB in this draft. Cody Kessler is a player who could grow into an NFL starter at some point. On special teams, the Steelers need an incendiary return guy, and Jalin Marshall could fit the bill in that role, as well as provide some run-after-catch ability on offense. Lastly, Ken Crawley is a feisty CB who may actually be an upgrade over recently-released Cortez Allen.

 

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