2018 NFL DRAFT IN REVIEW, AFC North

Baltimore Ravens

Draft picks: South Carolina TE Hayden Hurst (No. 25 overall), Louisville QB Lamar Jackson (No. 32 overall), Oklahoma OT Orlando Brown (No. 83 overall), Oklahoma TE Mark Andrews (No. 86 overall), Alabama CB Anthony Averett (No. 118 overall), UCLA LB Kenny Young (No. 122 overall), New Mexico State WR Jaleel Scott (No. 132 overall), UCLA WR Jordan Lasley (No. 162 overall), Texas S DeShon Elliot (No. 190 overall), Wagner OT Greg Senat (No. 212 overall), Alabama C Bradley Bozeman (No. 215 overall), Ferris State DE Zach Sieler (No. 238 overall).

The Ravens had a busy draft weekend partnering up in multiple trades. Hurst adds toughness and maturity to the TE position. Hayden has very soft hands and will be a reliable target from day one. Baltimore doubled down on the position by drafting Andrews later on who will be a mismatch for defenders in the passing game. It will be fun to see if Jackson finds game action in a similar fashion that the 49ers introduced Kaepernick in SF. Nobody’s draft stock fell more during the offseason than Orlando Brown. Brown is a big man with big potential who will have a chance to compete right away for the starting RT spot. Averett is a competitive CB that can provide depth. The Ravens added a couple of wideouts to their roster in Scott and Lasley. One of the biggest upsets in the draft was that Calvin Ridley was available for Baltimore’s first selection even after trading down. What was even less likely is that Baltimore passed on him leaving a huge question mark at WR. Bozeman is a player that will compete for time early on at the pivot.

Cincinnati Bengals

Draft picks: Ohio State C/OG Billy Price (No. 21 overall), Wake Forest S Jessie Bates (No. 54 overall), Ohio State DE Sam Hubbard (No. 77 overall), Texas LB Malik Jefferson (No. 78 overall), Miami RB Mark Walton (No. 112 overall), Illinois State DB Davontae Harris (No. 151 overall), Virginia DT Andrew Brown (No. 158 overall), Western Michigan CB Darius Phillips (No. 170 overall), Toledo QB Logan Woodside (No. 249 overall), Mississippi OG Rod Taylor (No. 252 overall), Florida State WR Auden Tate (No. 253 overall).
After trading for LT Cordy Glenn, the Bengals continued their focus on their offensive line with the goal of giving Andy Dalton more time to throw in the pocket. While Price wasn’t expected to go this high, his ability to play any of the interior positions on the line makes him valuable. Reports seem positive that he will be ready to go for training camp following his injury at the combine. Jesse Bates is a rangy safety who should see time as a rookie. The Bengals had back to back picks at 77 and 78 and used them on two front seven players that should find immediate roles. Hubbard is a blue collar edge player where Jefferson is an athletic linebacker who is still getting a feel for the game. Harris and Phillips were added for competition in the secondary. Andrew Brown has nice potential inside and should win a spot in Cincinnati’s rotation. Auden Tate needed another year of college to develop but has a lot of upside as a big WR. Walton is a home-run hitter at RB who is coming off an injury.

Cleveland Browns

Draft picks: Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield (No. 1 overall), Ohio State CB Denzel Ward (No. 4 overall), Nevada OG Austin Corbett (No. 33 overall), Georgia RB Nick Chubb (No. 35 overall), Miami DE Chad Thomas (No. 67 overall), Florida WR Antonio Callaway (No. 105 overall), Memphis LB Genard Avery (No. 150 overall), Texas A&M WR Damion Ratley (No. 175 overall), Louisiana-Lafayette CB Simeon Thomas (No. 188 overall).

Don’t look now but there is a lot of talent throughout the Cleveland Browns roster. John Dorsey inherited a slew of picks from the previous regime this year. Which pick was more surprising? Mayfield or Ward? It doesn’t matter at the end of the day as the Browns stayed put and picked the best players off their board. Ward is a good player who can play inside or outside although the Browns spent other resources at CB this offseason. Baker is a polarizing player but will play with the hustle and chip on his shoulder that will represent Cleveland proudly. Mayfield could do worse than redshirting a year behind Tyrod Taylor and taking some notes. Corbett was a fast rising prospect that probably projects better as a guard although Cleveland might try to plug him in at tackle where they have a bigger hole. Chubb is a professional runner who won’t leave free yards on the field. Chad Thomas is a project at DE but has huge upside for Greg Williams to develop. Callaway is a top 50 talent that just can’t seem to stay out of trouble. The Browns brought in a lot of nice players to the organization but there are still questions at DT and at LT. The Browns stuck to their board early but didn’t take the QB or the defensive player that most other teams might have in their situation which puts the picks under a microscope.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Draft picks: Virginia Tech S Terrell Edmunds (No. 28 overall), Oklahoma State WR James Washington (No. 60 overall), Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph (No. 76 overall), Western Michigan OT Chukwuma Okorafor (No. 92 overall), Penn State S Marcus Allen (No. 148 overall), N.C. State FB Jaylen Samuels (No. 165 overall), Alabama DT Joshua Frazier (No. 246 overall).

Selecting Edmunds at 28 overall might have been the biggest reach of this year’s draft. It is one thing to trust your board, and Edmunds may very well end up surprising everyone and becoming the third best safety in this class, but it is very likely Pittsburgh could have landed him in the second round if not the third. James Washington doesn’t have the off-the-charts athleticism to replace the troubled Martavus Bryant but was a good value at number 60 and should be a factor right away. Rudolph was also a good value in the third down and will prove to be a better long-term answer than last year’s selection Josh Dobbs. Okorafor has good potential as a tackle prospect but is going to have to toughen up to appease the blue collar fans in Pittsburgh. Marcus Allen won’t have to travel far from Penn State and should find a role as a rookie in sub-packages. Save a roster spot for Samuels as he has the ability to play FB, TE, H-B, and even RB in a pinch. Frazier was coached well at Alabama and could win a roster spot lining up over the center.

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