Last season the AFC North sent three teams to the playoffs. That is a heck of a run considering there are only six spots per conference. This was pretty impressive. While only one of the teams (Baltimore) made it past the wild card round, having three teams in the playoffs does not happen very often.
Best Pick: Round 2 Pick 53, Devon Still, DT, Penn St: On Day 1 of the Draft, Still was on a downward slide.
Many projected Still would go to Denver at pick 25, that is until Denver traded out of that pick. At the end of Round 1, Still’s future remained unknown. Lucky for him, his wait was over in Round 2 with Cincinnati’s second round pick. This pick was easy for them since they had Still staring them right in the face.
The Bengals will start Still at the nose tackle position, while Geno Atkins will be the entrenched three technique tackle. Still was a great value pick for the Bengals, and will shore up a defense that is already stout. Playing twice a year against the Steelers, Ravens, and now the Browns, this pick should transpire as one of the great steals of the draft for the Bengals.
Worst Pick: Surprisingly enough, I can’t seem to define any bad picks that the Bengals made this year. They had one of the best drafts I have seen from ANY team, let alone the Bengals, in a long time. The pick-up of Brandon Thompson in the third round, and Orson Charles in the fourth round were great picks. The rest of the Bengals’ draft was solid as well, with picks addressing many of their needs. I applaud the Bengals for a great draft this year.
Best Pick: Round 1 Pick 3, Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama: This is a no-brainer. Richardson is a beast among men. He brings a new toughness to the Browns that they had when Peyton Hillis had a career-year two years ago. Richardson is going to take the NFL by storm this year. He’s a carbon copy of Maurice Jones-Drew (MJD) and might even surpass MJD as an impactful runner this year. Richardson possesses elite size, strength, burst, and catching ability out of the backfield that makes him by far the best running back to come out of college since Adrian Peterson. Richardson just made the Browns a legit team again.
Worst Pick: Round 1 Pick 22, Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State: I was (and still am) a big fan of Brandon Weeden’s ability in the pocket. He has a strong arm, and reminds me a lot of Brady from a stature stand point. The reason I am classifying him as the Browns’ worst pick is because they could have picked him up in the second round. Instead, it seems as though they went with their knee-jerk reaction and picked him up way too soon. With guys like David DeCastro, Stephen Hill, or Peter Konz still on the board, they would have been better suited to hold off on the Weeden experiment. The fact that Weeden will be 29 at season start is nothing to be shy about either.
Best Pick: Round 2 Pick 35, Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama: Upshaw is from Alabama, enough said. Alabama is notorious for generating an abundance of first-rate players into the NFL. Therefore, it would make sense that the Baltimore Ravens chose Upshaw, as they are one of the best teams (if not the best) at acquiring great players in the draft. This is due to the fact that Ozzie Newsome is one hell of a player evaluator. When Baltimore traded out of the first round, they knew who they wanted, and that he would most likely be there when they picked at 35. However, it was somewhat of a gamble with the Colts picking one spot before them and switching to a 34 base defense. Fortunately, they got their man and I’m sure they are elated to have him, especially considering the injury Suggs suffered shortly after the draft.
Worst Pick: Round 6 Pick 198, Tommy Streeter, WR, The U: Picking a ‘worst pick’ for the Ravens was a tough one for me because, as I said before, I really think the Baltimore Ravens’ draft selections are among the best in the league. However, because I have to pick one, I analyzed each of Baltimore’s draft picks this year. At first, I considered Gino Gradkowski, mostly because the Ravens had already taken Kelechi Osemele in the second round. However, I think it’s a great idea in terms of stacking up their line of scrimmage for the two times per year they play against the Steelers’ and the Bengals’ defense. Therefore, I decided to go with Streeter for Baltimore’s ‘worst pick’ and not because he’s bad player, but because he should have stayed in school for another year. In terms of value, Streeter is too raw to be worth this draft pick for the Ravens when it could have been used on many other crucial needs for the team. Hopefully, Ozzie has a plan for him, but watch, he will probably end up being the next Brandon Marshall. Who knows?
Best Pick: Round 1 Pick 24, David DeCastro, OG, Stanford: As I mentioned in my “Exceptional Rookies” article, DeCastro might be my favorite pick in the entire draft. Just as I predict Andrew Luck will end up being the “slam dunk stud” at QB, I also predict DeCastro has the potential to be the “career-long stud” at guard. It is not often a MAULER MAN BEAST of a human being emerges from the draft, and just so happens to play guard. DeCastro is a manimal (half man / half animal). If offensive linemen had their stats analyzed, DeCastro would excel in each area. While his main strength is run blocking (which should bode well for the Steelers offensive style), he also excels at protecting the QB. I am pretty sure that Ben Roethlisberger baked a cake for Kevin Colbert when Roger Goodell read ‘David DeCastro’ and ‘The Steelers’ in the same sentence on April 26th.
Worst Pick: Round 5 Pick 159, Chris Rainey, RB/WR/KR, Florida: Rainey might be nimble and quick, but his clear disadvantage is his size at 5’9″ 175lbs. These are not ideal measurables for a back in the Steelers offensive systems. For example, in terms of running backs in the Steelers’ offense, Jerome Bettis and Rashard Mendenhall both had something Rainey doesn’t… SIZE. Playing in the AFC North puts Rainey at risk for getting demolished, if not hurt, on one of his first offensive plays. I don’t envision him thriving in that kind of system, especially when having to face Haloti Ngata twice a year. Rainey’s 175lbs running into Ngata’s 330lb wall, seems like a death sentence. Good thing they have paramedics on site.
As always, please feel free to comment on your thoughts and opinions. Thank you for reading.
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