Draft Decisions: AFC North – Draft Decisions


How does a draft writer spend the first weeks after the big event? I’m not sure, but I have decided to watch every press conference for every team after each day of the draft, so you don’t have to. The goal is to pick up tendencies, tells and specific reasoning for selections. Sometimes the coaches and general managers have a role in mind, and as I’ve learned, too often they do not.

 

NFL franchises are honest in two ways: with their wallets and with their draft picks.

 

As you can see, the notes are very rough. This is not transcribing, more so noting the important points involved in an entire thought.

 

NFC South

NFC North

NFC West

NFC East

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Baltimore Ravens

Speaking: Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh, Eric DeCosta and Joe Hortiz on all three days

Received:

2018 first round pick (22)

2018 third round pick (65)

Traded:

2018 first round pick (16)

2018 fifth round pick (154)

Received:

2018 first round pick (25)

2018 fourth round pick (125)

Traded:

2018 first round pick (22)

2018 sixth round pick (215)

1 (25). TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina – It was masterful how the draft room played out. The trades came to us. Adding picks in third or fourth round, then moving back up for the quarterback… We added three wide receivers this offseason. Now we added a young tight end to the mix, give Joe more targets… Wanted to add playmakers who can make plays in critical situations… In order for us to win this year we need Joe Flacco. That’s why we got him some help… We think the third and fourth rounds are loaded with quality players. Had 7 players in mind at 16… Versatility stood out. Flexed out, used him on the wing. Productive, a good blocker. Athleticism as a receiver and he doesn’t drop the ball… Age was never an issue. Dennis Pitta was a couple months older when we drafted him. Didn’t faze us.   

Received:

2018 first round pick (32)

2018 fourth round pick (132)

Traded:

2018 second round pick (52)

2018 fourth round pick (125)

2019 second round pick

1 (32). QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville – Anytime you can add a QB to build for the future. Was among a clump of players we considered at 16, along with 4 or 5 other players… That same clump was there again at 22 minus one name… He’s a quarterback through and through. Analytics say when the ball is in his hands, there is no better playmaker. Joe is our quarterback, it’s time to start thinking about a quarterback. Look at New England. This is about developing… Started thinking about a trade up after selecting Hurst… The person stood out on his visit. Every player we take needs development. We saw value with the player, he’s a unique talent… Can’t make assumptions that Joe is out of the building after 2018. Patriots drafted one them traded him.

Received:

2018 third round pick (75)

2018 fifth round pick (152)

2018 sixth round pick (212)

Traded:

2018 third round pick (65)

Received:

2018 third round pick (86)

2018 fourth round pick (122)

Traded:

2018 third round pick (75)

3 (83). T Orlando Brown, Oklahoma – Lil Zeus. Brought him in for a visit. Remember him when he was 10 or 11 years old. Will compete for right tackle spot… One of the first players DeCosta looked at this year. Very good player. Physical, tough, mean, nasty, didn’t get beat. Type of player we have had success with in the past… On the phone asked “You’re not kidding me right, this is for real?” Brought a light to the building when he visited, left Ozzie Newsome a note at the end of the visit… Tape is important for offensive linemen. That shows how they play. “When you see a guy consistently control his man, knock his man down, block to the whistle and protect the quarterback, what else do you have to see?” He’s going to give us everything he has. No player we picked this year will be more invested in the Ravens in 2018. Many of the top offensive linemen elected not to run, give him credit for running…. Were hoping we didn’t have to trade out of 65, but no players fell to us. Traded back into the next tier.

3 (86). TE Mark Andrews, Oklahoma – Another target for Joe. Don’t want to be in the position to be forced to sign a street free agent pass-catching tight end if injuries come up… Reminded DeCosta of Dennis Pitta. Linear body. Runs well. Very very good hands. Makes the tough catch and a very smart player… Hayden lined up on the line of scrimmage. Mark played more in the slot. With that said they have similar skills… First position Ozzie looks at is tight ends when watching offense… Received an overwhelming amount of phone calls about picks this year…

4 (118). CB Anthony Averett, Alabama – Highest rated player on the board. You don’t ever have too many corners. Started 25 games.

4 (122). LB Kenny Young, UCLA – Very good job of playing in space. Covers running backs and tight ends. Has a quality about him that says he is a Raven.

4 (132). WR Jaleel Scott, New Mexico – Brings a different dimension than the free agent receivers. If a ball is thrown in the area code, he can come away with it.

Received:

2018 fifth round pick (162)

2018 sixth round pick (215)

Traded:

2018 fifth round pick (152)

5 (162). WR Jordan Lasley, UCLA – All four decision-makers believe he has an explosive trait. Issues early in senior year but he bounced back…

6 (190). S DeShon Elliott, Texas

6 (212). T Greg Senat, Wagner – These are all prospects that can develop into players. You’ll like him walking into the building.

6 (215). C Bradley Bozeman, Alabama – Played multiple positions. Big physical center

7 (238). EDGE Zach Sieler, Ferris State – Harbaugh thinks this is the best draft they’ve had since he took over as head coach… Rare for a junior to declare out of a small school… Tested extremely well. One inch away from being a 30-30-30 guy (bench, Wonderlic and vertical). Games where he is triple teamed. Prototype 5-technique.

Cincinnati Bengals

Speaking: Frank Pollock, Marvin Lewis and Bill Lazor on day one, Marvin Lewis on Day 2, Assistant Coaches Teryl Austin, Jim Haslett, Robert Livingston and Jacob Burney on Day 2.

1 (21). C Billy Price, Ohio State – You would like to have 53 guys like him on your football team. Football intellect and approach to the game… Had to jump through the medical hoops, which he did with flying colors. Feel good about him being ready to go late this summer. For sure when we get to training camp he will be ready. Will be able to hit the ground running right then… He has all the intangibles. Feel good about him being one of the pillars of the team… Really good with his hands… Get him in the classroom to be able to speak our language and system… You have to identify what you are looking for before deciding if someone fits your system. A lot of players would’ve fit the system. Everything single exposure to Price solidified he was the guy for the Bengals… Has similar traits to Travis (Frederick?). Plays with balance, hands and feet. Can solidify that pocket… Mentally tough players from Ohio State. A good trend from the Big Ten… “When he walked out of our meeting room at the Combine, there wasn’t one person in disagreement that we want that guy in the building.”… He’s all business. Center is his best position, but offers position flex. He can pull. Makes all the calls at center… Veteran centers are not just about their play but also about their presence. He gave that off during the meeting. He got pissed when he got something wrong when quizzing him… Marvin Lewis left the press conference after a few minutes (did they want to trade back into round one?)

Received:

2018 second round pick (54)

2018 third round pick (78)

Traded:

2018 second round pick (48)

2018 third round pick (100)

2 (54). S Jessie Bates, Wake Forest – Gives us a safety we feel great about. Range. Upside. Translates well for what we will ask him to do… Talked about this kind of possible trade on Wednesday and Thursday. Moving back 8 spots allowed us to pick from the same group of players… Targeting defense on day 2 was a plan… Understand the defense and puts himself in a position to make plays. Anticipation and understanding leads to production… I played a safety at Dime linebacker in the 90s and 200s with Baltimore… Can play free or strong, most likely a free safety candidate. Brings a different skill set than we have. Can move down and play in the slot as well… Guys with baseball backgrounds are used to tracking the ball over either shoulder… Played in a system where he was asked to cover the slot a lot. Faced two way goes. Watch the Louisville and FSU games. When they play their biggest games and he shows up, that tells you something.

3 (77). EDGE Sam Hubbard, Ohio State – Lets us to put more people up front. Continue with rotation. Fills spot. Athleticism and plays hard all the time… Discussed with him the pressure of playing at home… Marvin Lewis visited Meyer and OSU four years ago. Hubbard was on the phone when meeting with Meyer. “You’re going to come and play for the Buckeyes then you’re going to go and play for the hometown Bengals”… Buckeyes used a great rotation… Believe all three day 2 picks offer depth immediately and eventually can be starters… Can rush inside or outside… Rotation needs a specific mindset. Passion when you enter the game… Guards aren’t used to blocking defensive ends… Reminds me of Grant Wistrom. Kind of like “who is that?” Not sure you’ll find a guy who plays harder than that…

3 (78). LB Malik Jefferson, Texas – Inline linebacker. Great athleticism. Quick off the mark. Will continue to grow and develop as a man, we can’t teach that speed… Can play all three spots. Was one of the first guys I was asked to look at, watched him prior to the Combine. Could see an evolution in how he played vs USC to vs Oklahoma. He has started to get it, he’s always had the athleticism…. Haslett didn’t believe he’d be on the board. League is heading in the direction of needing more speed at the position… Some of the linebackers that are drafted are 228, he’s already 230 something… Thought about trading back into round three again but the player went off the board. Had some concerns anyways. Was discussed to also take a quarterback on day two. “Was that why the Steelers moved ahead of you for Rudolph? I don’t know! Might have our room bugged”

4 (112). RB Mark Walton, Miami – Missed half of the season with an ankle injury. Fine open field runner. Complete player, running and catching. Contributor on special teams. Coaches spoke highly of the character… Target we had in round four… Has been a cover guy on special teams… When you think about your third running back, there’s a time when your first or second will miss a game. You want that third guy to be a good runner… When we evaluated Kaaya, they couldn’t say enough good things about Walton that season. Became a target on the morning of day 3… He’s a real threat in space… Talent and potential standout when looking at third day prospects.

5 (151). CB Davontae Harris, Illinois State – Has raw talent. Runs, competitive, tough. We see him more as an outside corner… Brings physicality with length and size. Raw but has huge upside… We thought there were plenty of good football players on day two and three. Not a top heavy draft.

5 (158). DL Andrew Brown, Virginia – Solid as a rock. Disruptive. Flies to the ball. We like him at 3-technique, can also do other things. Worked through the coaching change. Can’t say enough about his character.

5 (170). CB Darius Phillips, Western Michigan – Has a knack for going after the ball. Returner and scary with the ball in his hands… Each defensive player drafted can impact the game turnover wise… We expect him to contribute on special teams… We were looking for return ability

7 (249). QB Logan Woodside, Toledo – Good young prospect. Has a lot of upside… Gradkowski worked with Woodside… There was talk about moving up for Woodside but we stood strong… If three quarterbacks warrant rostering, we will roster three.

7 (252). OL Rod Taylor, Ole Miss – We list him as a guard, but also a very successful tackle.

7 (253). WR Auden Tate, FSU – Big. Great hands. Coach Bignell thought highly of him. Wide receiver, not a tight end… We filled needs and stayed true to our grades



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