With the 2016 draft in the books, guest Joe Sparshatt takes a look at the players selected by the teams in the AFC North:
1 (6) Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
2 (42) Kamalei Correa, DE, Boise St
3 (70) Bronson Kaufusi, DE, BYU
4 (104) Tavon Young, CB, Temple
4 (107) Chris Moore, WR, Cincinnati
4 (130) Alex Lewis, OT, Nebraska
4 (132) Willy Henry, DT, Michigan
4 (134) Kenneth Dixon, RB, Louisiana Tech
5 (146) Matt Judon, DE, Grand Valley St
6 (182) Keenan Reynolds, RB, Navy
6 (209) Maurice Canady, CB, Virginia
The Stanley vs Tunsil argument will live on for years to come, many draft analysts had the Ravens taking Tunsil at 6 before the infamous gas mask video leaked. As Tunsil fell, the Ravens in truth tried to trade up to #4 with Dallas, to reportedly take Jalen Ramsey. A deal couldn’t be struck, and they decided to solidify their O-line for years to come with Ronnie Stanley.
Two future starters on the D-line were drafted in Correa and Kaufusi, and the Ravens then drafted a record 5 players in round 4. Pick of the lot for me would be Kenneth Dixon, an RB who fits the mould of a Marc Trestman running back perfectly. Facing minimal competition in an ageing Forsett, Buck Allen, Lorenzo Taliaferro and ahem, Trent Richardson, Dixon could find himself climbing the depth chart quickly and producing in both the passing and rushing attack for Trestman’s offense. Matt Judon could have gone in the 3rd round but his small school background saw him fall, and they have another speedster to stretch the opposition on the outside in Chris Moore. Coach Harbaugh will be confident in DT Willy Henry contributing given that he came from Brother Jim’s Michigan Wolverines.
1 (24) William Jackson III, CB, Houston
2 (55) Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh
3 (87) Nick Vigil, ILB, Utah St
4 (122) Andrew Billings, NT, Baylor
5 (161) Christian Westerman, OG, Arizona State
6 (199) Cody Core, WR, Mississippi
7 (245) Clayton Fejedelem, S, Illinois
The Bengals once again chose a CB in the first round in William Jackson III. A talented corner, it no doubt addresses the fact that 2012 draft selection Dre Kirkpatrick could be off next year. However, focusing on CB’s has left the roster with some deficiencies. 2nd round pick Tyler Boyd was a need following free agency departures of Mohammed Sanu and Marvin Jones, Boyd primarily filling the role opposite AJ Green while Core in the 6th round should find snaps in the slot. Westerman could be a steal having been projected to be a 3rd round draft pick, similarly Andrew Billings in the fourth who should start right away.
1 (15) Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
2 (32) Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma St
3 (65) Carl Nassib, DE, Penn St
3 (76) Shon Coleman, OT, Auburn
3 (93) Cody Kessler, QB, USC
4 (99) Joe Schobert, OLB, Wisconsin
4 (114) Ricardo Louis, WR, Auburn
4 (129) Derrick Kindred, FS, TCU
4 (138) Seth Devalve, TE, Princeton
5 (154) Jordan Payton, WR, UCLA
5 (168) Spencer Drango, OG, Baylor
5 (172) Rashard Higgins, WR, Colorado St
5 (173) Trey Caldwell, DB, Louisiana-Monroe
7 (250) Scooby Wright III, ILB, Arizona
The Browns are clearly a team in need of major overhaul, and they started it here with a huge 14 picks in the 2016 draft. First pick Corey Coleman makes a lot of sense, especially when you consider they moved down 8 spots to make the pick – presuming of course the players gained from moving down help fill other holes. Coleman is a dynamic playmaker, pre-draft he was seen by many as the number 1 receiver in the draft class. Hugely athletic mixed with fierce competiveness, Coleman will automatically be the Brown’s top receiving option, for whichever QB happens to start week 1 (the fact Coleman came from Baylor has lead some to believe we’ll see the Browns running a spread offense to help RG3 succeed). Day 2 saw Cleveland address both lines. Ogbah and Nassib should help the Browns front 7 get after the QB, and Coleman provides a mean presence at Right Tackle as Hue Jackson looks to establish a bit more of a consistent running game.
Elsewhere, only time can tell whether the amount of draft picks accrued from moving down will be looked on favourably. Jordan Payton will be a possession safety blanket while also providing some good run blocking presence, and “Hollywood” Higgins has great upside having been greatly productive in his 3 years with Colorado State, but will need to work on his lack of strength and physicality. It does of course, hinge on what QB is starting under centre for the Browns come week 1. Cody Kessler was a surprise pick in round 3, given he was projected to be a round 5 or 6 pick. He’s smaller than teams like at 6-foot-1, and possesses below average arm strength for deeper throws. However, his baseline accuracy is pro level, in college he never had completion percentage lower than 65% as a three year starter. Kessler gets through progressions quickly and given he’ll be working with Hue Jackson, noted QB guru, he’ll be part of the QB battle along with RG3 and Josh McCown.
1 (25) Artie Burns, CB, Miami
2 (58) Sean Davis, CB, Maryland
3 (89) Javon Hargrave, DT, South Carolina St
4 (123) Jerald Hawkins, OT, LSU
6 (220) Travis Feeney, OLB, Washington
7 (229) DeMarcus Ayers, WR, Houston
7 (246) Tyler Matakevich, OLB, Temple
The Steelers addressed needs in the secondary by drafting Artie Burns and Sean Davis in the first two rounds. Artie Burns comes with a reputation for getting penalties, but if you’ve heard his story you can’t help but want him to succeed. Burns grew up without a father, last October he lost his Mother to a heart attack, and he cares for his younger two brothers and his own 19-month old baby. Sean Davis was a great day two pick, who will see starting snaps at safety and work as a backup at CB most likely. Javon Hargrave was called “one of the most disrupting interior defenders in the draft” by NFL media’s Daniel Jeremiah, some much needed strength to stop the run.
Hawkins addresses a need in the o-line, fans of the Steelers will be all too familiar with the constant wincing they endure as Big Ben takes hit after hit. The success of this team depends on keeping Ben Roethlisberger on his feet, and Hawkins will help to do that. Both Feeney and Matakevich will need to win a place on special teams before they see the field on D.