With the conclusion of the 2013 NFL Draft, it’s time for the speculation and second-guessing to begin. Some interesting drafts were conducted by teams from the AFC North. The Baltimore Ravens re-tooled on defense. The Cincinnati Bengals had another very solid draft. The Cleveland Browns appear to be focusing on 2014 while the Pittsburgh Steelers hope they’ve landed their feature running back.
Baltimore Ravens- The reigning Super Bowl champions took quite a hit in free agency. Their focus in the draft was to start rebuilding their defense and they did just that. FS Matt Elam will start in week one, filling a need at the safety position. I loved the selection of Arthur Brown at the end of the second. Baltimore stocked up on the defensive line with the addition of DT Brandon Williams, DE John Simon and DE Kapron Lewis-Moore. FB Kyle Juszczyk is a hard hitting prospect.
Cincinnati Bengals-The Bengals have quietly been putting together very strong drafts in recent years and this year is no different. TE Tyler Eifert will provide the Bengals with some serious mismatches in two tight end sets this season. Popular belief was that he would be off the board before the 21st selection. Giovani Bernard provides the Bengals with an interesting change of pace back. DE Margus Hunt was a beast at the Combine. Sean Porter provides versatility at the position.
Cleveland Browns- The selection of Barkevious Mingo was a curious one by the Browns at number 6. A gifted pass rusher, but not a serious need by the Browns. Only one offensive player was selected, OT Garrett Gilkey in the seventh round. The Browns made two moves which nets them an additional third and fourth round selection in 2014. No quarterback was selected. The Browns have been very active in free agency and perhaps the team is set to roll with what they have this year and then make the major adjustments next season.
Pittsburgh Steelers- The Steelers needed to find a way to jumpstart their sagging rushing attack. In the second round they selected Michigan State product Le’Veon Bell, a player some have compared to Eddie George in his style of play. In their attempt to rebuild an aging defense, the Steelers selected LB Jarvis Jones in the first. Pittsburgh selected QB Landry Jones in the fourth. Not a bad move seeing how the Steelers have done nothing to improve their backup quarterback situation. Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch can’t be counted on any longer.