Pittsburgh Steelers #17 – Jarvis Jones, OLB Like David DeCastro in 2012, the Steelers grab a great college player who fell to them. Once considered a top-5 pick due to his great production against tough SEC competition, Jones fell thanks to a pedestrian 40 time, and medical concerns. Should be an immediate 3-down starter for the Steelers who is great at getting after the QB and who can play the run. A very good value pick if the medical concerns don’t arise. A- .
Cincinnati Bengals #21– Tylert Eifert, TE One of the most surprising picks of Thursday night (in terms of position selected by a team). The Bengals already have a Pro-Bowl TE in Jermaine Gresham, and this pick was clearly a BPA selection instead of a NEED pick. Eifert was the clear top TE in the draft who fell to #21, and seems to be pegged for a 2x TE system in the Queen city. The Bengals have stayed true to their successful draft strategy of waiting to take the guys who fall to you instead of reaching for a position with a perceived higher need. Eifert has great size (6’6", about 250 lbs) and great hands. His blocking has good effort, but should be improved. His speed is not world-class, but is comparable or better than many TE’s and some WR’s. Great receiver who presents a big, reliable red zone target for Dalton, and can stretch the chains. Teamed with Green, Sanu, and Gresham, the Bengals now have 4 very good receiving targets for Dalton. With the loss of Ed Reed in Baltimore, the injuries of Polamalu in Pittsburgh, Eifert could thrive in a division that lacks great safeties. Good value, and improvement to the middle of the pack offense warrant this a solid grade. A- .
Baltimore Ravens #32 – Matt Elam, SS Definitely a different character than the great FS Ed Reed, Elam is a big hitter but marginal pass defender. Elam will get picked on by taller receivers, and can be juked by runners since he always tries to make the highlight reel hit. Elam can look disinterested on the field at times and is best suited to play in the box. Should be an asset against the power running AFC North, but could be a liability in games with a lot of passes. I am looking forward to the matchup between the 5’10" Elam and the 6’6" Eifert twice a year. C+
Looking forward to the 2nd round...
Cleveland has no pick in the 2nd round, having wasted it in the Supplemental draft. Instead of a high pick to target Robert Woods or Justin Hunter or Keenan Allen, they will have to settle for Josh Gordon. Pittsburgh has 1 pick at #48 Baltimore has 1 pick at #62 Cincinnati has 2 picks (37 and 53) with a lot of quality still available on the board. They could really pull away from the division in terms of winning the draft here in the 2nd round. All the RB’s are still available, as are Safeties Cyprien, Swearinger, and Rambo.