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!
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!
If your favorite sport is football, and you've pledged your allegiance to the Scarlet and Gray, then you're pretty much in the same boat as me… Counting down the days til we get to August 31st, when we can once again watch our buckeyes take to the gridiron. In the 210 days between the Super Bowl and OSU's season opener we are awarded with one game however, the Spring Game.
Some of you I'm sure won't watch because you don't think it's genuine or that it's boring because it doesn't count for anything, which I won't exactly disagree with, I on the other hand love the spring game. I get to watch the incoming recruits/upcoming players in action, position battles, new wrinkles in the playbook… and hey, if nothing else it's an excuse to see a contact football game involving THE Ohio State University (If you can't already tell, I'm a pretty big homer). Anyways, here's what I'll be monitoring on Saturday.
1. Braxton's Throwing Motion: Braxton Miller, maybe outside of Johnny Manziel, was probably the most exciting playmaker in the country last year, certainly at the quarterback position at least. He accomplished this largely due to his ability to make plays with his legs. Urban and other coaches ended the season with borderline criticism of Braxton from a passing standpoint, and that stuck with Braxton. He spent part of his summer California working out with a renown qb guru who specializes in throwing mechanics. Sounds like he's going above and beyond what's expected, and he's getting (some) rave reviews, Saturday will be his first chance to silence the critics and prove that he's truly dynamic as both a runner and a passer.
2. Noah Spence: The former five-star recruit, just entering his second year at the defensive end position is already being deemed "unblock able" by coaches and members of a veteran offensive line expected to be one of the nation's best groups. While very exciting, practice is practice, I'll need to see it in game situations before I start calling him a freak.
3. The running back depth chart. There's no position that has the talent/depth anywhere near that of the running backs. The only certainty is that Carlos hyde will be the starter, he's my ideal style of back with size and speed and had a breakout year last year when Jordan Hall went out with an injury. Behind him are redhsirt-junior Rod Smith, sophomore Brionte Dunn and redshirt freshman Warren Ball. Three months ago I would've said that 2nd/3rd/4th spots would be going to Dunn, Smith and Ball respectively with Ball really not seeing any time, but all I'm reading about is Dunn this and Dunn that to the point in which I think it might be an even three horse race with maybe even a slight edge given to Dunn because of his less bruising and more blazing style being a great compliment to Ball. Urban is a big believer in taking advantage of big opportunities, so if one of these backs outplays the other two significantly, it could go a long way towards establishing them as Carlos Hydes running mate.
4. Linebackers: Yes, I'm worried about linebackers when this is the first time Ohio State has lost their entire starting D-line since I've been alive pretty much. The Defensive line will plug those holes with 4/5 star guys who had proven themselves with a lot of action last year, the linebackers didn't show nearly as much. Ryan Shazier is the lone returning starter, no worries about him. Curtis Grant though will be taking over a role at middle linebacker that he backed up for most of last year, yet still wasn't thought of as good enough to take it when the starter went out and lost out on it to the fullback Zack Boren. Josh Perry and/or Jamal Marcus have drawn rave reviews in practice, but really haven't logged any sort of experience to date. The position is also stretched kind of thin, so this situation is more of a "hope they show vast improvement from last year, because we have no where else to go if they haven't" type of thing.
5. Offensive playmaking in the passing game: Philly Brown surprised us last year, but we need more than him. A couple recruits that won't be playing in the game will help some in Dontre Wilson and some other receivers, but I'm looking to Michael Thomas (WR) and Nick Vannet (TE) to have much bigger roles and it'll show on saturday.
6. Recruits: Lastly, it's always fun for a recruiting nerd like myself to get to see the young pups get their first game action in the shoe to see how they stack up against the big boys in college ball. With such a big/talented class, there's surprisingly not too many guys at all that I see playing in the spring game that will have an impact at all this year. Three names do come to mind though, Eli Apple and Cameron Burrows are both db's that could see some limited role in dime packages or if injuries arise, and JT Barrett will get redshirted this year, but he could very well be the starter down the road, especially if we don't sign another qb in this upcoming recruiting class.
Well that's all I've got. If you're watching the game, hit me up on twitter @NHiltbrand.
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Winner #1- Andrew Williams
Winner #2- Jonna Lewis
It's a WFOB Day/Night Double Header! The Reds on the radio today at 12:35 and the Tribe is in action tonight with Indians warm up at 6:37!
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