Outside of the OSU-UM football game and the Superbowl, today begins my favorite sporting event of the year, the NFL Draft. It's a time when struggling fans can hope again. It's a day when they may get the first glimpse of their teams future Hall-of-Famer. For me it's all of those, plus it's the only thing that combines my two favorite teams (OSU Football and the Bengals) into the same sporting event.
Now I'm not going to waste your time with a mock-draft, you can google em and find a million chumps who've posted em. I will however give you my outlook on some of the area teams' needs in the first few rounds (cause the last few are a crapshoot), and share with you what I think the futures of some of the draft eligible buckeyes will hold.
CLEVELAND BROWNS: I want to make this very clear, so I'm going to make this the first thing I say... The Browns SHOULD NOT draft Geno Smith in the first round. They spent a 1st rounder last year on a qb, and one year is nowhere near enough time for a rookie to assimilate (even though he was 28) to the NFL, not to mention Geno Smith isn’t exactly as sure a thing as some other qb prospects have been. I really like Geno, he’s just not for the Browns right now. There’s nothing wrong with getting a Landry Jones or a Zac Dysert (local kid btw) in the later rounds, but no 1st rounders this year.
The problem with the browns draft this year is that they don’t get to use their 2nd round pick this year, because they spent it on Josh Gordon in last years supplemental draft, so there’s going to be added pressure to make sure the 1st round pick is a good one.
1st: Good: Dion Jordan (DE Oregon), Barkevious Mingo (DE LSU), Demarcus Milliner (CB Bama). Bad: Geno Smith (QB WVU), Tyler Eiffert (TE ND… Love him, just not this high)
3rd: Good: Alex Okafor (DE Texas), Tyler Wilson (QB Arkansas) or a Safety. Bad: RB
4th: Xavier Nixon (OT FSU), Kiko Alonso (LB Oregon), Da’Rick Rodgers (WR Tennessee Tech) would all be great.
CINCINNATI BENGALS: Now to my Bengals, the lone team in the NFL without a designated GM (Mike Brown… sigh…). Despite their best efforst, the Bengals have actually done quite well in the draft as of late. The thing they don’t need at the top is a “project,” a word I usually love cause it implies that the sky may be the limit, but it comes with a lot of risk too. They are a few more good player/personnel moves away from being a legitimate contender, so they can’t be wasting valuable picks on guys that won’t contribute at least in some way.
I’d say the handful of draft needs for the bengals are (in no particular order) safety, running back, #2 wr, guard and linebacker. I put the emphasis on the #2 in wide receiver to make it clear that I do not believe the Bengals should be wasting their high picks on pass catchers when this draft is already lacking in them (outside of Tavon Austin) and we had some young guys emerge opposite AJ Green last year that just need more time.
1st: Good: Kenny Vaccaro (S Texas), Eddie Lacy (RB Bama) or guards Jonathan Cooper (UNC) or Chance Warmack (Bama). Bad: Cordarrelle Patterson (WR Tenn), Manti Te’o (LB ND)
2nd(Two Picks): Good: Matt Elam (S Florida), Terron Armistead (OT Ark Pine-Bluff), Larry Worford (G UK), Arthur Brown (LB Kan State). Bad: CB, QB
3rd: Good: Andre Ellington (RB Clemson), Quinton Patton (WR La Tech), Marcus Lattimore (RB S. Car). Bad: QB, DE
AND NOW FOR THE BUCKEYES: Ohio State is one of the better pipelines to the NFL, ranking amongst the top in total 1st round draft picks and total picks overall, this year though is not their best. They’ll get some guys drafted, some will probably end up being really good players, but there just aren’t the A-list prospects this year.
Jonathan Hankins (DT 2nd/3rd): Huge, athletic DT which for guys like me is the ideal type you’d want on your team. He has some critics citing the fact that he takes plays off and isn’t the strongest guy. If the Bengals needed some DT’s I’d be ecstatic if we got him cause he’s got first round potential.
John Simon (DE/LB 3rd/4th): Almost the exact opposite case as Simon. He’s got strength for days, and plays like he’s never heard the word quit in his life. His detractors though are the fact that he’s not a natural athlete and hasn’t had any experience really playing without his hand on the ground. Urban Meyer though says he’s one of the greatest leaders he’s ever been around and said that if he had another son he’d name it after him, so that’s good I guess.
Reid Fragel (OT 3rd/4th): I swear he could go as high as the second round even cause people are so excited about his upside. A converted tight end who literally has everything you could want in a tackle outside of the experience. Huge 6’8” 300+lbs, athletic (used to play tight end), strong (one of the best bench press performances in this years combine) and he single handedly turned Ohio State’s right tackle situation into a strength from a weakness just one year ago. Tons of upside, not as much risk as many would think in my opinion.
Jake Stoneburner (TE late rounds): His draft review always shocks me when I read it. If you grade him on not being the best blocking tight end in the world, that’s fine, outside of that though I don’t get it. Huge target, used to play receiver even, shown really well in workouts. He wasn’t nearly utilized as much in Columbus, but I think he can be a very valuable asset to a team in need of a pass catching tight end.
Nathan Williams (DE/OLB late/undrafted): HUGE durability concerns. If we’re disregarding those though he’d be picked in the top 3-4 rounds. He’s an athlete who has played everything from DE to all the LB positions. If he stays healthy he can make a career for himself in the NFL.
Travis Howard (CB undrafted): Might squeak into the last round, but I don’t see it. The two things he has going for him are his size and the fact that he just seemed to be in the right place at the right time all year last year in terms of his interceptions. He’s worth a look based on his measurable, but I don’t see him lasting very long.
Well, that’s my take. Enjoy the draft and remember to tweet at me @NHiltbrand or to post on the Afternoon Remix’s facebook page if you wanna talk draft!
Have a good one!