CLEVELAND BROWNS

<>Top 3 Needs: CB, S, G

#6 (1) Barkevious Mingo – OLB/LSU

<>-Freakish athlete with the ability to beat blockers off the edge and reach the QB

-Browns get a potential premier speed rusher that can apply needed pressure

#68 (3) Leon McFadden – CB – San Diego State

-Aggressive, quick twitch cover man that can stay on a WRs pocket all over the field

-There wasn’t much behind Joe Haden for Horton to work with

#75 (6) Janoris Slaughter – S/Notre Dame

 <>-Instinctive cover man that has experience at CB and S. Can cover zone and man well

-Will be moved around in Horton’s scheme to take advantage of versatile skill set

#217 (7) Armonty Bryant – DE/East Central

-Tool-rich small school sleeper that plays fast and strong.  High upside off the edge

-Rotational guy that can play standing up or with his hand in the dirt.

#227 (7) – Garrett Gilkey – OT/Chadron State

-Big body that needs to add power to his game.  Best suited for the inside.

-Can factor in as a guy that backs up a few spots down the road.

What They Did:

The main theme of the 2013 NFL Draft for Cleveland was less about current players and more about the future.  They traded down a few times later in the draft to put them in the driver’s seat for the 2014 Draft, which appears to be absolutely stacked with top tier grades.  Mingo and McFadden are both interesting athletes with high upside.  Both will need more than the normal amount of time to develop, however.  Mingo is not ready for the strength of the NFL game and McFadden is coming from a lower level of college football.  This was not a bad draft for the Browns considering they only picked 5 times, but it won’t do much for their 2013 season. 

Top Value Pick: Barkevious Mingo – OLB/LSU (#29 overall player on my board)

UDFA Most Likely to Make Team: Chris Faulk – OT/LSU

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PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Top 3 Needs: WR, DB, OLB

#17 (1) Jarvis Jones – OLB/Georgia

-Playmaker off the edge that can beat blockers one on one with quickness, power

-Steelers need to get back to their pass rushing ways to get the most out of their D

<>#48 (2) Le’Veon Bell – RB/Michigan State

-Power back with good short area quickness and agility.  Great blocker and can catch

-Gives the Steelers a guy that can compete for every down duty right away

<>#79 (3) Markus Wheaton – WR/Oregon State

-Sure handed receiver that can get open with sharp routes and short area explosion

-Can get on the field on 3-4 WR sets and add another multi-dimensional threat

<>#111 (4) Shamarko Thomas – S/Syracuse

-Undersized brick house with elite closing speed.  Physical force over the middle

-Can play both S spots in a backup role & give long term security to their secondary

<>#115 (5) Landry Jones – QB/Oklahoma

-Once considered a top tier prospect.  A lot of production.  Good arm with accuracy.

-Long term backup for Roethlisberger that can work on his presence in the pocket

#150 (5) Terry Hawthorne – CB/Illinois

-Playmaker with good anticipation and reaction skills

-Steelers defense can use him in nickel/dime packages while grooming him to start

#186 (6) Justin Brown – WR/Oklahoma

-Tall and long receiver that can make plays on the ball downfield

-Big Ben needs more targets with size and ball skills that can catch deep balls

#206 (6) Vince Williams – LB/Florida State

-Physical run defender that can make a big difference between the tackles

-Much needed back up that fits the mold of a Steelers inside linebacker

#223 (7) Nick Williams – DT/Samford

-Big body that controls the point of attack and can play with range between tackles

-Will make the move to DE in their scheme.  Has power presence to play early

What They Did:

Pittsburgh stuck with their true identity under Mike Tomlin and added a bunch of pieces that play the physical brand of football.  With the league transforming to a more spread out, less contact, more speed approach, I give the Steelers credit in their attempt at sticking with what has worked.  Their defense was an elite unit for a long time but age has caught up with some of their more important pieces.  The additions of two linebackers, two defensive backs, and a lineman gives them a nice re-fueling of hard nosed, playmaking talent.  Offensively this team has taken a step backward with a lack of talent at the skill positions.  Wheaton and Bell are immediate impact players that could be go-to guys by the end of 2013. 

Top Value Pick: Shamarko Thomas – S/Syracuse (#44 overall player on my board)

UDFA Most Likely to Make Team: Ivory Wade – C/Baylor

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CINCINNATI BENGALS

Top 3 Needs: RB, OT, S

#21 (1) Tyler Eifert – TE/Notre Dame

-Tough as nails over the middle with elite ball skills in traffic

-Doesn’t fill an immediate need but his receiving skills will be utilized from the slot

#37 (2) Giovani Bernard – RB/North Carolina

-Undersized but shifty back that runs low and balanced, tough guy to tackle

-Will compete for a starting job right away in a group of mediocre veteran RBs

#53 (2) Margus Hunt – DE/SMU

-Huge frame that carries a lot of good weight and moves fast straight ahead

-Fits in perfectly with what Cincinnati wants to develop outside

#84 (3) Shawn Williams – S/Georgia

-Smart & quick reacting cover safety that can play downhill and get in on the action

-Can back up both safety spots right away and compete for starting job soon

#118 (4) Sean Porter – LB/Texas A&M

-Athletic in space and can run with most tight ends, some receivers

-Can rotate in on passing downs and add a presence in from the middle

#156 (5) Tanner Hawkinson – OT/Kansas

-Undersized but athletic edge blocker with good technique

-Needs couple years to physically develop but can eventually back up multiple spots

#190 (6) Rex Burkhead – RB/Nebraska

-Elite short area burst and good enough agility in space to make tacklers miss

-Short yardage back that can get on the field right away and contribute

#197 (6) Cobi Hamilton – WR/Arkansas

-Productive receiver with NFL route running ability and toughness in traffic

-Won’t need a lot of development, has an NFL ready game & will compete for a spot

#240 (7) Reid Fragel – OT/Ohio State

-Former tight end with the ability to bend and anchor at point of attack

-Still new to the OT position but can add bulk & presence to factor as a starter soon

#251 (7) TJ Johnson – C/South Carolina

-Big frame that can move well in space, can play multiple positions

-Provides the needed depth inside for a ball-controlled offense

What They Did:  <>

Cincinnati stayed true to their board and simply brought quality football players that will have success in the NFL.  They are in prime position to take over the AFC North as both the Steelers and Ravens have lost a lot of their personnel that led to years of success.  Eifert and Bernard fit in well to ball controlled, keep-the-chains-moving offense that likes to keep two tight ends on the field and run between the tackles.  The Bengals defense has a deep group up front which allows a physical freak like Hunt to take his time developing his skill set much like how Johnson and Dunlap did after being gambled on.  Beyond round 3, they may not have added guys that will start every week in the NFL, but all have the skill set to provide quality depth.  In this era of football, depth is often the difference between playoffs and no playoffs. 

Top Value Pick: Reid Fragel – OT/Ohio State (#166 overall player on my board)

<>UDFA Most Likely to Make Team: Jayson DiManche – LB/Southern Illinois

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BALTIMORE RAVENS

Top 3 Needs: LB, WR, S

#32 (1) Matt Elam – S/Florida

-Missile type presence that can add a physical presence to the middle of the defense

-Has the ability to step in and start right away and upgrade what they had in 2012

#56 (2) Arthur Brown – LB/Kansas State

-Rangy linebacker that tackles and covers exceptionally well

-Can play right away on the weak side and eventually start in the middle

<>#94 (3) Brandon Williams – DT/Missouri Southern State

-Strong presence inside that can move laterally better than you would think

-Fits in perfectly scheme-wise and will be a rotational run defender

#129 (4) John Simon – DE/Ohio State

-Ferocious, hard working edge rusher that plays both sides standing or in a stance

-Adds a much needed depth presence outside that can play the run and pass

#130 (4) Kyle Juszczyk – FB/Harvard

-Mobile blocker with ability to gain yards with the ball in his hands

-Will fight for a roster spot, could win the FB job because of his versatility

#168 (5) Ricky Wagner – OT/Wisconsin

-Big body that run blocks in tight spaces well with strong hands and sturdy feet

-Will likely make the move to guard and supply multiple backup options

#200 (6) Kapron Lewis-Moore – DE/Notre Dame

-Top tier 3-4 DE that carries and athletic 300+ pounds with ease

-May not contribute until 2014 because of a torn ACL in January

#203 (6) Ryan Jensen – OT/Colorado State-Pueblo

-Strong, nasty, and versatile run blocker that dominated a lower level of competition

-Will back up all three spots inside and be given time to work on his feet and power

#238 (7) Aaron Mellette – WR/Elon

-Efficient route runner that has consistent hands and quickness

-Will fight for a roster spot but gives them more size to work with in the WR group

#247 (7) Marc Anthony – CB/California

-Good size/speed ratio that gets his hands on a lot of passes with good anticipation

-Special teams/backup caliber player that joins a depleted secondary

What They Did:

After an offseason that took a big bite out of their championship caliber defensive personnel, the Ravens sought to re-tool that side of the ball.  The AFC North is still run by the teams that specialize in preventing opponents from putting points up on the scoreboard.  Their first four picks addressed the middle of all three levels, a strategy of building a defense that has worked brilliantly over the years for the Ravens.  Elam, Brown, Williams, and Simon will all play in year one.  They also sought to add some youth to their offensive line that will provide depth and potential long term answers for an group that has been up and down over the past couple of seasons.  A defensive with a lot of talent and big bodies up front to control the point of attack has long been Plan A for Ozzie Newsome and he continued to stick with that template in 2013.

Top Value Pick: Arthur Brown – LB/Kansas State (#43 overall player on my board)

UDFA Most Likely to Make Team: Matt Furstenburg – TE/Maryland