Older AFCE

The AFC North Offseason Draft Buzz

The AFC North Offseason Draft Buzz
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NFL cheerleader combine (tryouts) and draft. The NFL televises everything else. Why would they omit such an obvious moneymaker?




I was distracted. What I started writing had to do with the latest mock draft. Not that I have an affinity for Todd McShay (quite the opposite), but there isn’t much going on in the AFC North other than mock draft discussions. I’ll put up a detailed mock list in the near future, but below is the latest McShay list involving AFC North teams. Sure I’m a few days behind, but this is the offseason…
 
Baltimore Ravens
 
1st round, 6th pick: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon. With the way McShay’s first five picks went (DE Bosa going 4, OLB Jack going 5), the Ravens would have the option of going with Buckner, OT Ronnie Stanley, RB Ezekiel Elliott, CB Vernon Hargreaves, DE Shaq Lawson, or of course QB Jared Goff.
 
2nd round, 36th pick: Noah Spence, OLB, Eastern Kentucky
 
My Take 1: The Ravens certainly need a solid edge rusher, but Buckner is more of a tweener- a power guy who can also play the run. The NFL is a me-too league and speed rushers/DEs will be all the rage this season, but often being big and powerful up front can also disrupt offenses by shutting down the run and collapsing the pocket. Something to watch: With Jared Goff going 7th in this mock draft, the Ravens are in prime position to negotiate with a desperate team looking to trade up for a quarterback. Its just unfortunate that one of those teams is not the Redskins this year.
 
My Take 2: Noah Spence is a great talent but character questions will follow him for some time after he was suspended for drugs and alcohol in 2013 and again in 2014 while at Ohio State. He transferred to a lower school and became the FCS defensive player of the year in 2015 proving he is still immensely talented. In 2014, he was the #2 rated draft eligible OLB, and at 6’2″ 250+ has run the 40 in 4.68 (4.8 at the 2016 combine).
 
Cleveland Browns
 
1st Round, 2nd pick: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State. They have the option of going with QB Jared Goff, or even CB Jalen Ramsey.
 
2nd Round, 32nd pick: Ryan Kelly, OC, Alabama.
 
My Take 1: The Browns haven’t been consistent on their first round QB philosophy as they have taken risks (Manziel), gone conservative (Weeden), gone crazy (Quinn), and gone with a sure thing (Couch). Their choices this year are between “tremendous upside” and “very solid”. Wentz definitely has a higher upside, while Goff is the steady conservative pick. Personally I think McShay has it right in terms of who they should pick.
 
My Take 2: Kelley is McShay’s top ranked interior lineman, smart and technical but not as physically talented as some. The Browns certainly need interior line help, and perhaps tackle help, depending on what their plans are with LT Joe Thomas.
 
Cincinnati Bengals
 
1st Round, 24th pick: Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor. Other players available: DT A’Shawn Robinson, DT Vernon Butler, DT Chris Jones, DT Robert Nkemdiche, OLB Kamalei Correa.
 
2nd Round, 55th pick: Adolphus Washington, DT, OSU.
 
My Take 1: Coleman is definitely dynamic, but seems small for the team’s WR philosophy (5’11”). He would be replacing two 6’2″ WRs lost to free agency, and would be complementing 6’4″ AJ Green. Perhaps change is good and the Bengals need that smaller quick athlete to give the receiving corps another dimension.
 
My Take 2:
The Bengals do need a receiver, but by grabbing a first rounder, they will bypass the better defensive tackles. Adolphus is also in that better DT conversation and would be an excellent pick, but will unlikely fall to his hometown team despite is off-field “solicitation” issues. I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes low 1st round, high 2nd although this draft is full of solid defensive tackles.
 
Pittsburgh Steelers
 
1st Round, 25th pick:
Eli Apple, CB, OSU. Other players available include CB William Jackson, OT Germain Ifedi, and a host of DTs (see the Bengals list)
 
2nd Round, 58th pick: Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA
 
My Take 1: The Steelers major needs are in the defensive backfield, so Eli Apple would likely be the best player to fill the cornerback spot. However, he may not be the best player on the board, which is normally the Steelers philosophy. I would expect the Steelers to at least consider taking either an OT to add a dynamic player to the list of mediocre tackles currently on the roster, or a solid DT to combat the injury issues that thinned out their D-line in 2015.
 
My Take 2: If the Steelers go CB in the first and Kenny Clark drops this low, they should grab him immediately. The improvement he has shown, the work ethic, the story, all lead to a guy who hasn’t reached his full potential but is getting there in warp speed.
 
CAPTION THIS:
 
Write a caption for this image (that began Monday morning) and if you are bright or witty enough (and clean enough), it will be featured in Friday’s Buzz.

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