NFL Nation: 2014 NFL Draft AFC North Wrap

NFC wrap-ups: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

BEREA, Ohio -- A wrap-up of the Cleveland Browns draft. Click here for a full list of Browns draftees.

[+] EnlargeJohnny Manziel
AP Photo/Frank Franklin IIThe Browns didn't just opt for Johnny Manziel but the sideshow that comes with him.
Best move: The entire manipulation of the first day. The Browns had Johnny Manziel on their board as an option at 4, but finagled their way to an extra pick that resulted in the team drafting their highest-rated cornerback (Justin Gilbert) and their highest-rated quarterback -- while gaining an extra first-round pick next year. That is a series of events that is hard to top.

Riskiest move: Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones called Manziel an atypical backup who is "a celebrity" and "Elvis Presley." The Browns brought all that goes with Manziel -- the TMZ reports, the celebrity status, the incredible attention -- to a team that might not need that kind of scrutiny. And they brought it right to Brian Hoyer, who has done everything right since he joined the Browns. If Manziel can play, it would be worth it. If not, well then the circus that affected the Jets with Tim Tebow will be repeated in Cleveland.

Most surprising move: It makes no sense at all that a deep receiver class sends no receivers to Cleveland, which in the vernacular is "really in trouble" at the position -- assuming Josh Gordon is indeed banned for a year. Ray Farmer has to have something up his sleeve, because the group the Browns would field right now is hardly scary.

File it away: Farmer's description of running back Terrance West made him sound like an intriguing player. Farmer said West has the physique of a Maurice Jones-Drew but the quick feet of a Jerome Bettis. That's an interesting combination of skills that could make West worth following once training camp arrives.
NFC wrap-ups: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South


PITTSBURGH -- A wrap-up of the Pittsburgh Steelers' draft. Click here for a full list of Steelers draftees.

[+] EnlargeNotre Dame
AP Photo/Frank Franklin IIThe Steelers expect big things from Notre Dame defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt.
Best move: Taking Notre Dame defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt in the second round. The Steelers had no bigger need than at defensive end, and they were smart to pounce on Tuitt, who had been widely projected to go late in the first round. The 6-foot-5, 303-pounder has the ideal build for a five-technique defensive end, and he also has the pass-rushing skills to move inside when the Steelers go to their nickel package. Tuitt had 21 career sacks at Notre Dame, and the Steelers are convinced his play slipped last season because recovery from double-hernia surgery compromised his training and caused him to put on too much weight. Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said Tuitt is back to his 2012 playing weight when he dominated for the Fighting Irish, and they expect him to play significantly as a rookie if not start at some point in 2014.

Riskiest move: The Steelers took just one defensive back in the draft and they didn’t select cornerback Shaquille Richardson of Arizona until the fifth round. That won’t do anything to allay the anxiety of Steelers’ fans about the state of the secondary and specifically cornerback where Ike Taylor isn’t getting younger and where there isn’t much depth. Steelers defensive backs coach Carnell Lake said he is confident free-agent signee Brice McCain and Antwon Blake, who played almost exclusively on special teams last season, can be key contributors this season. They better be since the draft didn’t deliver the reinforcements at cornerback that most thought it would.

Most surprising move: The Steelers bypassed a cornerback and wide receiver in the third round to take speedy but diminutive running back Dri Archer. This looks like a luxury pick since the Steelers had more pressing needs when they selected the 5-8, 173-pounder. Archer ran the fastest 40-yard dash time (4.26 seconds) at the NFL combine, and the Steelers plan to carve out a role for him in the offense. ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has compared Archer to Darren Sproles because of his explosiveness and versatility. Steelers wide receivers coach Richard Mann said Archer reminds him of former Browns scatback/receiver Gerald “Ice Cube” McNeil. “He’s not small,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “He’s short.”

File it away: First-round pick Ryan Shazier will be an immediate difference-maker as a rookie -- and will make multiple Pro Bowls if he stays healthy. His speed is such that defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has said he envisions playing Shazier all over the field. Lake said he will gladly take Shazier as a safety if linebackers coach Keith Butler doesn’t want him. Butler, when told that, smiled and said “I’m not in favor of doing that. Shazier can make mistakes and has make-up speed to get back into position and make plays.” Butler scoffs at the notion that the 6-1, 237-pound Shazier is undersized for an inside linebacker at this level. Butler said former Steelers inside linebacker James Farrior played between 225 and 230 pounds in the latter part of his carer, including 2010 when he made the Pro Bowl. “A lot of times young linebackers get in their head, ‘I have to weigh 250 or I have to weigh 260 [pounds] but can they move? Can they get where they need to be when they need to be there? This guy can do that.”
NFC wrap-ups: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South


OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- A wrap-up of the Baltimore Ravens' draft. Click here for a full list of the Ravens' draftees.

[+] EnlargeC.J. Mosley
AP Photo/Dave MartinCan rookie linebacker C.J. Mosley become the heir apparent to Ray Lewis for the Ravens?
Best move: Sticking with their board. The Ravens' middle of their defense was significantly upgraded because the team took the best player available instead of addressing a more pressing need at offensive tackle and safety. The result: the Ravens landed a top-10 prospect (Alabama inside linebacker C.J. Mosley) at No. 17 overall and a first-round talent (Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan) in the middle of the second round. Mosley and Jernigan are two of the best in this draft in shedding blocks and stopping the run. The Ravens could've taken Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round and Virginia offensive tackle Morgan Moses in the second if they were trying to fill holes. But the Ravens haven't finished in the top 10 in defense since 2011, and Mosley and Jernigan are impact players who can get this defense back to its traditionally strong level.

Riskiest move: Not taking an offensive tackle. The Ravens showed a lot of faith in Rick Wagner when they didn't draft a tackle with any of their nine picks in this year's draft. Wagner, a fifth-round pick from a year ago, is now penciled in as the starting right tackle. Even though Michael Oher never lived up to expectations, this is a downgrade on the right side of the line. If Wagner struggles, the Ravens could start Ryan Jensen, a sixth-round pick from a year ago, at left guard and move Kelechi Osemele to right tackle. Another option is signing veteran free agent Eric Winston, who played six years under Gary Kubiak in Houston. While it's a risky move not to draft an offensive tackle, it's difficult to argue with their strategy. The top four tackles were gone before the Ravens were on the clock in the first round, and it would've been a reach to take Moses or North Dakota State's Billy Turner in the second round. An offensive tackle just failed to fall to them this year.

Most surprising move: Drafting a blocking tight end in the third round. This was the one head-scratcher of the Ravens' draft. Colorado State's Crockett Gilmore is a blocking tight end who's only played the position for three years. ESPN's Todd McShay rated him as the 165th prospect in this draft, and the Ravens selected him at No. 99. By the time the Ravens picked again, five running backs (Florida State's Devonta Freeman, Boston College's Andre Williams, Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey, Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas and Wisconsin's James White) and two other players previously linked to the Ravens (Clemson wide receiver Martavis Bryant and Utah cornerback Keith McGill) were gone. Tight ends play a major role in Kubiak's offense, and the Ravens underscored their importance by taking Gilmore on Day 2.

File it away: The future starting center of the Ravens may have been drafted in the fifth round. John Urschel started at right guard the past two years at Penn State, but he can play all three spots on the interior of the line. There's no question he's smart enough to handle the center position. Urschel won the William V. Campbell Trophy, also known as the academic Heisman, and he has a master's degree in math. The Ravens don't need a center right now after trading for Jeremy Zuttah, but no one should be surprised if Urschel finds his niche there in a few years.
NFC wrap-ups: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South


CINCINNATI -- A wrap-up of the Cincinnati Bengals' draft. Click here for a full list of Bengals draftees.

[+] EnlargeDarqueze Dennard
AP Photo/Ben LiebenbergDarqueze Dennard was rated near the top of the Bengals' board, and the team ended up pouncing in the first round.
Best move: When the Bengals finalized their big board in the days leading up to the draft, they put cornerback Darqueze Dennard near the top of the list. Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said Dennard was ranked among the team's top 10 overall players. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther felt that rating was accurate and had few reasons to believe the man-press corner would actually fall to No. 24 where the Bengals were waiting for a defensive back. Once Justin Gilbert was scooped up by the Browns at No. 8 and Kyle Fuller came off the board to the Bears at No. 14, it started looking like a real possibility that Dennard -- rated the No. 2 cornerback on most draft boards -- would be available. That was especially the case when the Browns traded with the Eagles to move up to No. 22, taking a team with a cornerback need (Philadelphia) off the board before the Bengals' selection. As arguably the best player available when his pick was made, Dennard's selection was a wise one and deserved to be classified as the best of the Bengals' draft.

Riskiest move: It's never easy for teams to evaluate draft hopefuls who come into the draft process with arrest records, let alone convictions. That was what the Bengals had to do with running back Jeremy Hill, though, as they tried to figure out whether two separate events -- one from when Hill was in high school and another from when he was at LSU -- ought to be enough to deter them from selecting him. After consultations with Hill's coaches and others around him, the Bengals felt Hill had experienced enough of a life transformation the past several months to warrant grabbing him in the second round. Hill's conviction was for a misdemeanor sexual assault charge from his senior year of high school. He didn't play his entire first season at LSU because school officials wanted to wait until the legal process ran its course. Last year, he was arrested after punching a man in a bar fight. The incident was caught on tape. Taking him in the first place was a risky move. Doing so in the second round might have been even riskier. Time will be the judge of that.

Most surprising move: The biggest move of the Bengals draft was also its most surprising one. After four rounds went by without them selecting a quarterback, it started looking like the Bengals might end up not even entertain taking one. After all, based on their pre-draft chatter about having a firm belief in Andy Dalton, it seemed they might end up feeling so comfortable with their starter and the rest of their quarterback room that they might move beyond thinking about signing one. When quarterbacks started going off the board in the fourth and fifth rounds, though, it was time for the Bengals to act if they were going to act at all. What makes AJ McCarron's selection most surprising, though, was the fact that he was the one picked and not another quarterback. Target Aaron Murray could have been a possibility in earlier rounds. Tom Savage, too. It wasn't long after Murray's pick at 163rd overall that the Bengals did end up grabbing McCarron. They took him with the next pick.

File it away: In case you haven't already, something you might want to remember for future drafts under coach Marvin Lewis is this: He likes drafting SEC players. Entering the draft, the Bengals had claimed 26 players from the conference since Lewis' arrival in 2003. The conference that had the next-highest draft representation was the Big Ten, which had 15 selections. This year, the Bengals took three players from the SEC, including two from LSU. Their first-round pick, Dennard, is the lone Big Ten representative in this class.

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