AFC North Draft Recap

The 2018 NFL Draft is finally in the books. The AFC North saw one GM knock it out of the park in his last ride before disappearing into the sunset, going back to his vintage style of trading back and accumulating tons of draft capital, while another GM has a pretty impressive debut in his first draft with his new team. We also saw three franchise quarterbacks selected within the division. This years draft was a big one for the AFC North division, with tons of intriguing things to discuss. Let’s get right to it.

Baltimore Ravens

In Ozzie Newsomes swan song, he had what many as speculating to possibly be his best draft ever. It was fitting that Baltimore traded back five times throughout the draft. It was vintage Ozzie Newsome. “What happened in that draft room today was a masterpiece. Watching Ozzie lead it, and Eric [DeCosta] and Joe [Horitz], and I’ll tell you what, Steve [Bisciotti] – Steve was a big part of it, too. It was really just phenomenal to be able to move down the way we did, pick up the picks we did and then add the talent that we did so far” said head coach John Harbaugh at the press conference following Thursday’s first round. This draft was about building a foundation offensively for the next decade, with eight of the 12 picks being on that side of the ball. The Ravens did an amazing job of filling needs while not reaching for players.

2018 Draft Class

Round 1, Pick 25Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina

They said it: “He can play outside, use his body, pivot to get away from the safety, catches the ball naturally. He’s an athlete, folks. He is a willing participant in the run game and that’s why the Ravens like him.” – Mike Mayock, NFL Network draft analyst

Round 1, Pick 32Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

They said it: “Lamar Jackson obviously has rare breakaway speed, but he also has a lightning quick release and can flick the ball with underrated velocity. He thrived in Petrino’s demanding pro-style passing game. His college production was spectacular. Congrats, Ravens nation.” – Skip Bayless, Fox Sports’ Undisputed co-host

Round 3, Pick 83Orlando Brown Jr, OT, Oklahoma

They said it: “How cool is this? He’s a massive right tackle only. He had poor testing numbers. His dad had a legacy in Baltimore in Cleveland. He wins with length and bulk. He’s got a nasty torque move, but he tested horribly. The more you watch him, the more you realize he just does the job. It isn’t always pretty, but he gets the job done.” – Mike Mayock

Round 3, Pick 86Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma

They said it: “You’re basically drafting a slot receiver, and that’s how you have to look at it. … He’s just not going to block. You have to deal with that. His effort is not great in that area. It’s just not what he does.” – Todd McShay, ESPN NFL analyst

Round 4, Pick 118Anthony Averett, CB, Alabama

They said it: “Anthony can run sub-4.4 any day of the week and twice on Sunday. And that speed is something that the coaches cannot manufacture. So, I think Anthony’s got a chance to be a potential starter. I looked for him to play on the outside. He’s not really a nickel corner, in my estimation.” – Phil Savage, Senior Bowl executive director

Round 4, Pick 122Kenny Young, ILB, UCLA

They said it: “He’s a guy that does a very good job of playing in space, can cover running backs and tight ends. He has a quality about him when you talk to him that you just feel like he’s a Raven. I think he’ll come in, he’ll compete with ‘Peanut’ [Patrick Onwuasor] and the other guys to see if he can get on the field. – Ozzie Newsome, Baltimore Ravens general manager

Round 4, Pick 132Jaleel Scott, WR, New Mexico St.

They said it: “We felt that Jaleel, … He brought a different dimension to the type of receiver in the group – a 6’5” guy that can make unbelievable catches. I think if the ball is what I would consider ‘thrown in the area code’ he could come away with it. – Ozzie Newsome

Round 5, Pick 162Jordan Lasley, WR, UCLA

They said it: “The UCLA product high-points the ball extremely well and checks all the boxes as a receiver – speed, YAC (yards after catch) and height. Plus, he’s out of my hometown, so I know he’s got that Cali swag. Lasley tends to not be locked in for the full 60 minutes.” – Steve Smith Sr., former Baltimore Ravens WR

Round 6, Pick 190DeShon Elliott, S, Texas

They said it: “I like this pick, coming out of Texas. When you’re down here (round 6), you’re looking for the good players. Made enough plays on tape. Can control the middle of the field. Wasn’t necessarily consistent, and doesn’t necessarily have the mobility skills to always be in coverage.” – Bucky Brooks, NFL Network analyst

Round 6, Pick 212Greg Senat, OT, Wagner

They said it: “Big, long… project is what we’re dealing with right here from Wagner. He is not ready. He’s a physical specimen, there’s some things you like about him from a physical traits standpoint, but he’s gotta get stronger and he’s gotta continue to work on fundamentals.” – Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network analyst

Round 6, Pick 215Bradley Bozeman, C, Alabama

They said it: “[Bradley] Bozeman, man, this guys an Alabama [player]. He’s a physical center; we like those kinds of guys at center, so I think he fits what we’re trying to do offensively.” – John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens head coach

Round 7, Pick 238Zach Sieler, DE, Ferris St.

They said it: “We were able to be at his pro day, and the guy tested extremely well. He’s 6-5, 283 pounds, I think, ran sub- 5 flat, was an inch away from being a 30-30-30 guy – which is the 30 Wonderlic score or above, 30 bench press [reps] and 30 inch vertical. He’s a really explosive athlete. I think he had 33 career sacks and 17.5 last year. He just plays hard.” – Joe Hortiz, Baltimore Ravens director of college scouting

Cincinnati Bengals

The Baltimore Ravens weren’t the only AFC North team to come away from the 2018 draft with 12 selections. The Cincinnati Bengals has a pretty impressive haul when you take a look at some of the players they were able to add to their roster. I love the additions of C Billy Price, who fills a huge hole on the roster, and LB Malik Jefferson, who was one of my draft crushes. Add to Jefferson second round S Jessie Bates III, who is a top prospect at his position, and DE Sam Hubbard, Prices teammate at Ohio State, and it looks as though they really improved defensively. I also like some of the value they were able to find on day three, including round five CB Davontae Harris and round seven WR Auden Tate.

2018 Draft Class

Round 1, Pick 21Billy Price, C, Ohio State

They said it: “The Bengals got an iron man. Congrats to Billy Price. Only great things coming for you in the Queen City!!” – Urban Meyer, Ohio State football head coach

Round 2, Pick 54Jessie Bates III, S, Wake Forest

They said it: “I think everyone knows I can play the middle of the field and make an impact wherever the coach wants me to… I take a lot of pride in being a film junkie. I think my football IQ is one of my best attributes.” – Jessie Bates III

Round 3, Pick 77Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State

They said it: “Hubbard will pass the eyeball test with his height, weight, and build, but he’s missing the plus athleticism to take him over the top as a pass rusher. His tape is solid, but nothing jumps off the screen.” – Lance Zierlein, analyst

Round 3, Pick 78Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas

They said it: “Jefferson has the desired combination of height, weight, speed that teams covet and draft, but his career production never matched his athletic traits. He lacks instincts and play demeanor to be a middle linebacker and could move to a weak-side linebacker spot in a 4-3 to take advantage of his athletic gifts.” – Lance Zierlein

Round 4, Pick 112Mark Walton, RB, Miami

They said it: “He’s a real complete player, running and catching. He’s been a big contributor for them on special teams. The coaches (at Miami) spoke very highly of him – his character as a person and how he fit on their football team, along with what he meant to their team, day-in and day-out. We feel blessed, as he was our target this round. We were able to pick him, so we feel really good about that.” – Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals head coach

Round 5, Pick 151Davontae Harris, CB, Illinois State

They said it: “We are looking at him right now as a corner. We think he’s got a little bit, in terms of raw talent, but he has a really good skill set. He runs, he’s competitive, he’s tough. So he’s got all the base things you look for when you’re looking for a corner in this league.” – Teryl Austin, Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator

Round 5, Pick 158Andrew Brown, DE, Virginia

They said it: “The guy is solid as a rock – that’s what he is. He’s a disruptive guy, flies to the ball, strong. And they do play 3–4 (at Virginia), but he moved out and played the three-technique, which is why we like him. He’s just a solid, solid player all the way through.” – Jacob Burney, Cincinnati Bengals defensive line coach

Round 5, Pick 170Darius Phillips, CB, Western Michigan

They said it: “Phillips is a natural cover guy. He has a knack for going after the ball, using his hands, and ball disruption. We like his ability after he has the interception and what he can do after, in terms of return ability. He provides that impact that you like.”- Daronte Jones, Cincinnati Bengals secondary coach

Round 7, Pick 249Logan Woodside, QB, Toledo

They said it: “With the drafting of Logan Woodside, we really feel he’s a good young prospect. He has an opportunity to come in here and compete as one of the backups. We feel like he’s got a lot of upside in his ability to play quarterback. We are excited to be able to add him to the football team.” – Marvin Lewis

Round 7, Pick 252Rod Taylor, OT, Mississippi

They said it: “One thing on Taylor if I could – he was a very successful tackle in the SEC at Ole Miss, but we think he has the flexibility to play both (guard and tackle).” – Bill Lazor, Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator

Round 7, Pick 253Auden Tate, WR, Florida State

They said it: “Big body. Big, big body. Does a great job of winning down in the red zone. Doesn’t run fast. Auden Tate is more talented than Kelvin Benjamin in my estimation of terms of athleticism. He’s just been inconsistent. I’m surprised to see him down here in the seventh round.” – Bucky Brooks

Cleveland Browns

John Dorsey had a really nice draft debut for the Cleveland Browns. He and made this years Heisman trophy winning QB Baker Mayfield the first overall pick in the draft, hoping to finally put an end to the revolving door at the position. The Browns were also able to add some other nice offensive pieces to pair with Mayfield. RB Nick Chubb made up one half of the most talented backfield in college football last season, and the team jumped on the opportunity to draft him. Troubled but highly talented WR Antonio Gallaway was added to a wide receiver group that is starting to look pretty imposing. He will have to get his head on straight unless he wants his career to mirror that of new teammate Josh Gordon, but the talent is there to be the best wide receiver in this draft class.

2018 Draft Class

Round 1, Pick 1Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

They said it: “Baker Mayfield is, from a football IQ standpoint, is as good as I’ve been around. He has a tremendous arm talent, more so than I think anybody knows. Obviously he’s proven he is very accurate with the football and I think he’s a tremendous leader, so he really has a lot of qualities that we look for and I think it’s now somewhat coming out that a lot of people had him as their best quarterback so we are very excited to have him and very glad he’s going to be here in this organization.” – Hue Jackson, Cleveland Browns head coach

Round 1, Pick 4Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

They said it: “Denzel Ward is the best pure cover corner in this years draft. Tremendous lower body fluidity with the same arm length as well as better 40 and vertical than Marshon Lattimore.” – Brent Sobleski, Bleacher Report NFL analyst

Round 2, Pick 33Austin Corbett, OT, Nevada

They said it: “Corbett won’t blow you away with any of his measurables or play traits, but he’s solid in most areas. He is definitely sharp enough to move inside to guard or even center and has good technique, but his average to below average play strength and lack of length may be a concern.” – Lance Zierlein

Round 2, Pick 35Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia

They said it: “Chubb has terrific lateral agility and just crushed the combine (4.52 40, 38-inch vertical, 10’8″ broad jump). My third-ranked RB was available here only because he tore three ligaments in his knee in 2015. Hell he a nice rotational back with free-agent signing Carlos Hyde.” – Todd McShay

Round 2, Pick 67Chad Thomas, DE, Miami

They said it: “We thought Chad, at 6-5, 275 pounds was one of the most physical defense of lineman in the draft. We think he’ll play immediately, his run defense will play immediately in the NFL as a left end in our system. He can kick down and rush the passer from the inside as well.” – Andrew Berry, Cleveland Browns Vice President of player personnel

Round 4, Pick 105Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida

They said it: “Florida WR Antonio Callaway is a dynamite talent. Shades of Browns GM John Dorsey rolling the dice on Tyreek Hill in Kansas City. – Albert Breer, MMQB senior NFL reporter

Round 5, Pick 150Genard Avery, LB, Memphis

They said it: “They know that I am versatile.They know that I can play outside or inside linebacker. It really does not matter, I am comfortable with wherever they want to put me. I am just ready to start.” – Genard Avery

Round 6, Pick 175Damion Ratley, WR, Texas A&M

They said it: “Ratley’s combination of size, athleticism, and pure speed makes him an intriguing prospect despite the fact that he managed just 47 catches over his three seasons at Texas A&M. While he has bonafide field-stretching speed, he also has the athletic ability and foot quickness to handle underneath routes as well. Ratley is raw and will need to improve his press release and routes.” – Lance Zierlein

Round 6, Pick 188Simeon Thomas, DB, Louisiana-Lafayette

They said it: “CB Simeon Thomas is the definition of a “traits” pick: 6-3 1/2, 190 pounds, 35 1/4 arms, 4.46 40-yd dash, 39″ vert, 11’03” broad, 7.00 3-cone” – Dane Brugler, NFL Draft Scout senior NFL draft analyst

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers draft was my least favorite within the division. I feel they reached for a safety in round one with the pick of Terrell Edmunds, who was pegged by many as a second to third round prospect. There were other safeties still on the board that would have made more sense at that spot, Justin Reid being my favorite. The rich got richer when the Steelers added second round WR James Washington to arguably the best one-two punch in the league in AB and JuJu Smith-Schuster. His college teammate QB Mason Rudolph, was drafted with the next pick to possibly take over for Big Ben when he’s ready to call it a career. Rudolph and Washington connected 74 times for 1549 yards and 15 touchdowns last year at Oklahoma State, as Washington won the Biletnikoff Award for the nations most outstanding receiver.

2018 Draft Class

Round 1, Pick 28Terrell Edmunds, S, Virginia Tech

Why they said: “Honestly, I was surprised to be taken in the first round. I’m just ready, though. I’m telling you, I’m ready. I was praying and hoping. Now, it’s time to work.” – Terrell Edmunds

Round 2, Pick 60James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State

What they said: “Washington is a top-heavy receiver with dangerous build-up speed who has a three year history of hitting chunk plays thanks to his speed and ball tracking. Washington is more gradual than sudden with check marks in the vertical categories but minuses in categories like route running and hands.” – Lance Zierlein

Round 3, Pick 76Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

What they said: “I did it accurately, I did it efficiently, for four years. And I think I do that the best out of those guys in this class.” – Mason Rudolph

Round 3, Pick 92Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan

What they said: “While he has plus physical traits, inconsistencies with balance and instincts could be a challenge to correct. He has the feet to handle speed rushers, but multi-move rushers could eat his lunch early on. Okorafor will need to play with much better consistency and toughness on the next level to become an average NFL starter.” – Lance Zierlein

Round 5, Pick 148Marcus Allen, S, Penn State

What they said: “He’s really a big time tackler,” Bradley continued. “He will strike you. He’s a real physical person around the ball. I think that may be the best part of his game, his physicality. When you watch him strike people at different times, he gets after you pretty good.” – Tom Bradley, Pittsburgh Steelers secondary coach

Round 5, Pick 165Jaylen Samuels, RB, N.C. State

What they said: “Samuels was one of college football’s most fascinating players. He lined up as a tailback, a blocking back, an H-back, a tight end, a wideout … he played basically the JAYLEN position.” – Bill Connelly, SB Nation contributor

Round 7, Pick 246Joshua Frazier , DL, Alabama

What they said: “Man, I’m coming home, I’m coming home. That’s why I’m happy. I’m with my father right now. Tears of joy. This is a perfect situation. This is my home, my hometown, my grandmother’s from there, my father.” – Joshua Frazier

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