Well after three days and seven rounds the NFL Draft is finally over. There were some surprises and head scratchers among the picks. The Jets still have no offense, the Rams took a big step forward and last year’s Super Bowl teams got even better. Here’s my take on the Browns and Bengals Draft…
BROWNS: My first thought on the Browns’ draft is to wait til next year to really make up my mind on how they did. I say this because they traded away a lot of their mid-round picks to stock up on picks for the 2014 draft. It’s a great move in the mindset that this was one of the weaker talent pools according to some and they’ll have more/higher picks for next year’s class, but some may scoff at it wanting to see improvement now. The Browns had only two picks in the first five rounds, and I think they hit on both of them, especially so with their first pick in Barkevious Mingo out of LSU. He’s a long, gifted pass rusher, who unlike Kameron Wimbley will have another good rusher in Paul Kruger to take the pressure off of him as he gets situated in the NFL.
1st Round: Barkevious Mingo (DE, LSU): His lacking stats from this past year were pretty much the only thing keeping him from being drafted even higher. Great size and a freak athlete. He and Paul Kruger will soon become one of the better pass-rushing duos in the league, and will greatly help a lacking secondary by constantly making opposing qbs get rid of the ball faster than they’d like.
3rd Round: Leon McFadden (CB, SDSU): Solid CB, can compete right away. Won’t wow you with much right away, but won’t make many mistakes either. Joe Haden needs some help in the secondary and McFadden should help in the Nickel/Dime packages immediately and grow into a solid starter.
6th Round: Jamoris Slaughter (S, ND): If he can shed the injury bug, he’ll add depth to a safety group in desperate need.
7th Round: Armonty Bryant (DE, E Cent. Oklahoma): Predicted to go earlier, but character concerns dropped him here. If all that is behind him, he’s an athletic guy who could be a situational rusher to spell Kruger/Mingo.
7th Round: Garret Gilkey (G, Chadron St): Small school guy who is said to have more than enough power in the running game. Shoring up the interior O-line late in the draft is never a bad idea.
BENGALS: The Bengals were one of the more interesting teams to follow in the Draft because of the number of picks they had (10) and their position of being able to take the best player available over the biggest need in a lot of cases. They surprised everyone when they took Tyler Eifert with their first pick despite already having invested a first-round pick in Jermaine Gresham. I would’ve liked to have seen them take a safety in round one, because it was their biggest need, but the two best prospects were already off the board and so they pulled the trigger on a guy who no one thought would fall that far and will immediately contribute in one of the best tight end tandems in the NFL. They had two second-rounders and hope they’ll get their running back and defensive end of the future out of them, as well as their starter at strong safety in the third.
1st Round: Tyler Eifert (TE, Notre Dame): One of the best prospects in years at the position, not a need, but immediately makes the Bengals’ passing attack much more potent and helps take the focus off of AJ Green, especially in the Red Zone.
2nd Round: Giovanni Bernard (RB, UNC): For years the Bengals haven’t had a game breaker in the backfield, and settled for slower, more power-oriented runners. Bernard is smaller, faster and way more explosive (6.7 ypc his last season in college) than anything the Bengals have had in a while. He was also probably the most accomplished pass-catcher among any of the running backs available.
2nd Round: Margus Hunt (DE, SMU): One of the best athletes in the draft. At 6’8” he posted one of the better 40 yard dash times and bench press performances at this year’s combine. From Estonia, he’s the first person ever to win the discus and the shot put at the world junior championships. He’ll be an older rookie, but the sky is the limit with his potential.
3rd Round: Shawn Williams (S, UGA): Captain of one of the better defensive units in the nation last year. He’s superb against the run, and can hopefully learn the passing game a little better though it wasn’t necessarily a weakness. Will be given every opportunity to start at SS next year.
4th Round: Sean Porter (LB. Tex. A&M): Smaller LB with range for days. Ideal in the 4-3 as an OLB. Immediately adds depth to one of the weaker units for Cinci, and if he progresses will likely become a starter when either James Harrison or Rey Maualuga leaves.
5th Round: Tanner Hawkinson (OT, Kansas): Solid Lineman, his best quality is that he’s rumored to be able to play all five spots on the line. A long shot to be a starter.
6th Round: Rex Burkhead (RB, Neb): Very productive player in college, probably will try and make the team at either fullback or special teams to start off with there being so much depth at running back already.
6th Round: Cobi Hamilton (WR, Arkansas): Was stuck behind some other NFL prospects for most of his career until last year where he had 90 catches and was the go-to guy for a disappointing Razorbacks squad. Was projected to go significantly higher, so if he makes the team this could be a steal.
7th Round: Reid Fragel (OT, OSU): A guy I talked about in my pre-draft post. Amazing value for the 7th round in that it’s very low risk and potentially really high reward. A fabulous athlete for the position, and the only thing that’s hard not to like is that having been a converted tight end he’s only spent a year playing the position. If he continues to progress as fast as he has in the past year, we could look back on this as being one of the biggest steals in this draft.
7th Round: TJ Johnson (C, S. Carolina): 4-year starter for a big time program. A long shot to make the team, but if he does he could be the heir apparent to Kyle Cook.
Oh and a final note. Congrats to the former Fostoria Redmen Micah Hyde on being drafted in the fifth round to the Green Bay Packers!