AFC North

AFC North

Speaking of Which: Pre-Draft Edition

Speaking of Which: Pre-Draft Edition
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It’s almost that time.

 

By now, you’ve laid out your spread, selected your (presumably adult) beverage of choice, told your significant other that you are not to be disturbed, pinpointed the hours in which your social media presence will be zero, and read over your 76th mock draft…this week.  Speaking of which…

 

Perhaps it’s just me, but there seem to be fewer mock drafts posted than in previous years.  They seem to have been replaced by “big boards”, or rankings of players by position, which feeds directly into the average fan’s yearning to personally direct fixes to their team’s needs.  Or, of course, find a way to criticize front offices for not doing so.  Speaking of which…

 

Browns GM John Dorsey claims that no decent trade offers have surfaced regarding the draft’s first pick.  Given the draft capital required to move there, it’s no surprise, as teams seem more inclined to trade down than up these days.  It’s possible the Browns will be overwhelmed by an offer tomorrow night, but they could do worse than staying where they are, which should net them two potential stars.  Speaking of which…

 

The consensus top two players in this draft, running back Saquon Barkey and defensive end Bradley Chubb, aren’t quarterbacks, and it’s conceivable that the Browns will wind up with at least one of them.  It’s also conceivable, given their acquisition of competent journeyman quarterback Tyrod Taylor, that the Browns will ignore the quarterback position completely in this draft.  Given the vast talents of Barkley and Chubb, it’d be hard to fault them.  Speaking of which…

 

The Bengals are widely expected to draft offensive linemen.  Lots of them.  Areas of need are at center and left tackle, although this line needs help at almost every spot.  Also mentioned as a possible draft focus: wide receiver, which would almost certainly be an indictment of last year’s first pick, seldom-seen wideout John Ross.  Speaking of which…

 

The Ravens are perpetually searching for wideouts, and according to many draftniks, their recent acquisitions don’t preclude the possibility of them taking another one in the first round, where lame duck GM Ozzie Newsome’s track record is…ahem…a bit less than exemplary.  A better strategy would be to select a tight end early, as embattled quarterback Joe Flacco has always connected much more with them than his revolving stable of second-tier wideouts.  Speaking of which…

 

While well stocked at receiver, the Steelers will most likely attempt to patch the large hole left by last season’s injury to ILB Ryan Shazier, perhaps in the first round, although the prospects at the end of the first round aren’t very enticing.  The team might be better served by going after a safety instead, which this draft seems to be more stocked with.  Some mocks have had them selecting a running back, which would be a clear indication that the team intends to move on from multi-talented diva Le’Veon Bell after 2018.

 

Don’t eat or drink too much, fellas.  It’s a Thursday, after all…

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