NFL Nation: Ricky Wagner

ESPN's Todd McShay evaluates the NFL draft for each AFC North team , giving his take on the best and most questionable picks. It's an Insider article, so you'll need a subscription to view the entire post. But here are McShay's picks and my take on them:


Best pick: Safety Matt Elam, first round.

Questionable pick: Offensive lineman Ricky Wagner, fifth round.

My comments: I think everyone can agree that the Ravens' first two picks, Elam and inside linebacker Arthur Jones, will be impact rookies. As far as questionable picks, it's tough to criticize any of Baltimore's selections based on value. Wagner was considered a second-round pick last year but he fell after not having a stellar 2012 season.


Best pick: Tight end Tyler Eifert, first round.

Questionable pick: Safety Shawn Williams, third round.

My comments: Eifert should be the best player drafted in the last dozen picks of the first round. The Bengals took the best player available rather than addressing a bigger need. As McShay points out, there are differing opinions on Williams, the eighth safety drafted. If he isn't starting by next season, the pick looks even more questionable.


Best pick: Outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo, first round.

Questionable pick: Trading out of the fourth and fifth rounds.

My comments: McShay compares Mingo's explosive first step to Dwight Freeney, which is quite a compliment. Mingo is still developing as a pass-rusher, but his high ceiling makes him a legitimate top-10 pick. And while the Browns got good value in trading this year's picks for next year, McShay is right that the Browns passed on safeties and guards who could have helped a last-place team this season.


Best pick: Quarterback Landry Jones, fourth round.

Questionable pick: Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, first round.

My comments: I feel that Jarvis Jones was the best, and not most questionable, pick. McShay believes Jones can be a star but he wonders whether he'll last beyond three or four years. Given Jones' talent and the Steelers' need for a pass-rusher, it was a move that the Steelers had to make. Yes, there's a risk. But there's also a big reward if he plays like he did on tape. I didn't expect Landry Jones to be the choice here for best pick. His inability to handle pressure in the pocket will be a problem at this level. McShay thinks Jones could become the surprise quarterback of this class.
Let's take a quick look at what the division teams did in the fourth and fifth rounds:

CINCINNATI BENGALS: The Bengals added much needed speed to their linebacker group with Texas A&M's Sean Porter (fourth round). The outside linebacker is known as a blitzer and will make an immediate impact on special teams. ... Kansas G-T Tanner Hawkinson (fifth round) is a four-year starter who improved his stock in the combine drills. According to Pro Football Weekly, he is nicknamed "Ricky Bobby" because he looks like Will Ferrell.

CLEVELAND BROWNS: The Browns are obviously looking to the future on Day 3 with two trades. They sent their fourth-round pick (No. 111 overall) to the Steelers for a third-rounder in 2014. Cleveland then dealt their fifth-round pick (No. 139) to the Colts for a fourth-rounder in 2014.

BALTIMORE RAVENS: With WR Quinton Patton being selected right before their pick, the Ravens continued to go with defense, taking Ohio State DE-OLB John Simon in the fourth round. He was the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year last season but may not have the athleticism for the next level. ... Harvard FB Kyle Juszczyk (fourth round) was Baltimore's first offensive player taken in this draft. This could lead to the Ravens asking FB Vonta Leach to take a pay cut. He is scheduled to earn $3 million in the final year of his contract. ... Wisconsin OT Ricky Wagner (fifth round) is a gritty right tackle prospect. He could struggle with the speed of NFL pass-rushers.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS: The first pick in the division on Day 3 was a Steelers-type safety. Pittsburgh traded with Cleveland to move up to take Syracuse's Shamarko Thomas, a hard-hitting, high-motor defensive back who will have a shot to start in 2014. How much did the Steelers like Thomas? They sent their 2014 third-round pick to the Browns to get him. ... The Steelers decided to go with Oklahoma's Landry Jones as their developmental quarterback. Pittsburgh took him in the fourth round, the highest the Steelers have used a pick on a quarterback since drafting Ben Roethlisberger in the 2004 first round. ... Like they usually do at this point in the draft, the Steelers took a cornerback in the fifth round. Illinois' Terry Hawthorne can make athletic plays and has experience as a returner. Some questions about mental toughness linger.