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The Bengals 2014 draft class can't be accurately graded for at least a year or two, but that's not stopping the national media from handing out grades.
Johnson's spot on the roster was already in jeopardy after A.J. McCarron was drafted in the fifth round.
The B/R crew breaks down the Bengals picking West Virginia defensive end Will Clarke in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
The Bengals don't appear ready to cut ties with BenJarvus Green-Ellis after drafting Jeremy Hill.
Lewis has now been a part of 12 NFL Draft classes with the Bengals.
The Bengals introduced Darqueze Dennard to the media soon after spending the 24th-overall pick on him.
The Bengals selected the former Alabama QB with their fifth-round pick.
ESPN's Sports Science compared AJ McCarron and Teddy Bridgewater's results after putting them through a series of tests and gave McCarron the slight edge.
The top-10 metered markets for ESPN’s three days of NFL Draft coverage included Columbus, Ohio (4.1), Cleveland (5.6) and Cincinnati (4.0).
The CBSSports.com NFL Draft crew breaks down the Cinncinati Bengals' fifth round pick for AJ McCarron
The final 2014 draft pick of the Bengals came in the form of Lavelle Westbrooks out of Georgia Southern.
Michael Sam projected to sign a 4 year $2.295M contract with the #Rams, $45,896 to sign.— Spotrac (@spotrac) May 10, 2014
The Rams draft Michael Sam. He was the 2013 SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, leading the SEC in sacks (11.5) and tackles for loss (19.0)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 10, 2014
It's great to finally see Michael Sam get what he deserves, and that's to have an NFL team spend a draft pick on him.
Regardless of any of the media distractions that may come with the first openly gay NFL player, he's earned the right to make a living for himself playing football at the highest level.
|5||3||143||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||OG||Kadeem||Edwards||Tennessee State|
|5||4||144||Jacksonville Jaguars||LB||Telvin||Smith||Florida State|
|5||8||148||Carolina Panthers||CB||Bene||Bewikere||San Jose State|
|5||9||149||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||OT||Kevin||Pamphile||Purdue|
|5||10||150||San Francisco 49ers||EP||Aaron||Lynch||South Florida|
|5||12||152||New York Giants||S||Nat||Berhe||San Diego State|
|5||14||154||New York Jets||LB||Jeremiah||George||Iowa State|
|5||16||156||Denver Broncos||LB||Lamin||Barrow||Louisiana State|
|5||21||161||Green Bay Packers||C||Corey||Linsley||Ohio State|
|5||23||163||Kansas City Chiefs||QB||Aaron||Murray||Georgia|
|5||25||165||San Diego Chargers||NT||Ryan||Carrethers||Arkansas State|
|5||26||166||Indianapolis Colts||EP||Jonathan||Newsome||Ball State|
|5||27||167||New Orleans Saints||S||Vinnie||Sunseri||Alabama|
|5||29||169||New Orleans Saints||EP||Ronald||Powell||Florida|
|5||30||170||San Francisco 49ers||CB||Keith||Reaser||Florida Atlantic|
|5||32||172||Seattle Seahawks||DL||Jimmy||Staten||Middle Tennessee State|
|5||34||174||New York Giants||LB||Devon||Kennard||Southern California|
|5||35||175||Baltimore Ravens||OG||John||Urschel||Penn State|
|5||36||176||Green Bay Packers||WR||Jared||Abbrederis||Wisconsin|
|6||2||178||Tennessee Titans||QB||Zach||Mettenberger||Louisiana State|
|6||3||179||New England Patriots||OG||Jon||Halapio||Florida|
|6||4||180||San Francisco 49ers||CB||Kenneth||Acker||Southern Methodist|
|6||5||181||Houston Texans||RB||Alfred||Blue||Louisiana State|
|6||6||182||Minnesota Vikings||CB||Antone||Exum||Virginia Tech|
|6||7||183||Chicago Bears||QB||David||Fales||San Jose State|
|6||11||187||New York Giants||CB||Bennett||Jackson||Notre Dame|
|6||12||188||St. Louis Rams||CB||E.J.||Gaines||Missouri|
|6||13||189||Detroit Lions||WR||T.J.||Jones||Notre Dame|
|6||14||190||Miami Dolphins||WR||Matt||Hazel||Coastal Carolina|
|6||17||193||Kansas City Chiefs||OG||Zach||Fulton||Tennessee|
|6||18||194||Baltimore Ravens||QB||Keith||Wenning||Ball State|
|6||19||195||New York Jets||CB||Brandon||Dixon||Northwest Missouri State|
|6||20||196||Arizona Cardinals||WR||Walter||Powell||Murray State|
|6||21||197||Green Bay Packers||CB||Demetri||Goodson||Baylor|
|6||22||198||New England Patriots||EP||Zach||Moore||Concordia-St. Paul|
|6||24||200||Kansas City Chiefs||OT||Laurent||Duvernay-Tardif||McGill (CA)|
|6||25||201||San Diego Chargers||RB||Marion||Grice||Arizona State|
|6||26||202||New Orleans Saints||OT||Tavon||Rooks||Kansas State|
|6||27||203||Indianapolis Colts||LB||Andrew||Jackson||Western Kentucky|
|6||30||206||New England Patriots||CB||Jamea||Thomas||Georgia Tech|
|6||31||207||Denver Broncos||OG||Matthew||Paradis||Boise State|
|6||32||208||Seattle Seahawks||S||Eric||Pinkins||San Diego State|
|6||33||209||New York Jets||WR||Quincy||Enunwa||Nebraska|
|6||34||210||New York Jets||EP||I.K.||Enemkpali||Louisiana Tech|
|6||37||213||New York Jets||QB||Tajh||Boyd||Clemson|
|6||38||214||St. Louis Rams||QB||Garrett||Gilbert||Southern Methodist|
The Bengals have taken Arizona linebacker Marquis Flowers, who appears to be in a similar prospect to that of Emmanuel Lamur when he came into the NFL.
The Bengals finally got a QB in Alabama's A.J. McCarron.
|4||3||103||Atlanta Falcons||RB||Devonta||Freeman||Florida State|
|4||4||104||New York Jets||WR||Jalen||Saunders||Oklahoma|
|4||5||105||New England Patriots||C||Bryan||Stork||Florida State|
|4||6||106||San Francisco 49ers||WR||Bruce||Ellington||South Carolina|
|4||7||107||Oakland Raiders||NT||Justin||Ellis||Louisiana Tech|
|4||10||110||St. Louis Rams||S||Mo||Alexander||Utah State|
|4||11||111||Cincinnati Bengals||C||Russell||Bodine||North Carolina|
|4||12||112||Tennessee Titans||NT||DaQuan||Jones||Penn State|
|4||13||113||New York Giants||RB||Andre||Williams||Boston College|
|4||15||115||New York Jets||WR||Shaquelle||Evans||UCLA|
|4||20||120||Arizona Cardinals||QB||Logan||Thomas||Virginia Tech|
|4||21||121||Green Bay Packers||DE||Carl||Bradford||Arizona State|
|4||24||124||Kansas City Chiefs||RB||De'Anthony||Thomas||Oregon|
|4||26||126||New Orleans Saints||LB||Khairi||Fortt||California|
|4||28||128||Carolina Panthers||S||Tre||Boston||North Carolina|
|4||29||129||San Francisco 49ers||CB||Dontae||Johnson||North Carolina State|
|4||30||130||New England Patriots||RB||James||White||Wisconsin|
|4||32||132||Seattle Seahawks||LB||Kevin||Pierre-Louis||Boston College|
|4||33||133||Detroit Lions||CB||Nevin||Lawson||Utah State|
|4||37||137||New York Jets||OG||Dakota||Dozier||Furman|
|4||38||138||Baltimore Ravens||RB||Lorenzo||Taliaferro||Coastal Carolina|
|4||39||139||Atlanta Falcons||LB||Prince||Shembo||Notre Dame|
|4||40||140||New England Patriots||OG||Cameron||Fleming||Stanford|
Eagles have traded Bryce Brown to the Bills, per source. #Eagles get a future pick. More details will come.— Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherCSN) May 10, 2014
The deal is reportedly for a fourth-rounder that can be upgraded to a third round.
Brown has had some memorable games in his first two NFL seasons. including a 2-game stretch as a rookie in which he rushed for 178 yards rushing on 19 carries, 2 touchdowns against the Panthers and 169 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Cowboys they very next week.
Patriots selected FSU C Bryan Stork at No. 105
49ers selected South Carolina WR Bruce Ellington at No. 106
Raiders selected Louisiana Tech DT Justin Ellis at No. 107
Seahawks selected UCLA DE Cassius Marsh at No. 108
Bills selected Duke CB Ross Cockrell at No. 109
Cockrell was a technically-sound corner who thrived at breaking up passes thanks to his quick hands and ball skills. He finished his college career with 12 interceptions and 53 pass breakups and was First-Team All-ACC in 2013.
Perhaps the highlight of his career came in Duke’s last game of this past season, the Chick-fil-A Bowl, where Cockrell was matched up with highly touted Mike Evans and held him to 72 yards and zero touchdowns on four receptions, the same Evans who went No. 7 overall to the Buccaneers.
The Bengals need to draft a center at some point, and North Carolina's Russell Bodine may be a player to watch for.
Asked Dave Lapham for a guy on his Day 3 wish list...went with Russell Bodine, a center from North Carolina #Bengals— Dan Hoard (@Dan_Hoard) May 10, 2014
Bodine started the past two seasons for the Tar Heels, earning honorable mention All-ACC accolades in 2013. Primarily a center, he also started one game at guard in 2013.
Eagles selected Florida DB Jaylen Watkins with the No. 101 pick.
Redskins selected Clemson DB Bashaud Breeland with the No. 102 pick.
Falcons selected Florida State RB Devonta Freeman with the No. 103 pick.
Sanders weighs in at a mere 5'8" and 164 pounds, but caught 61 balls for 729 yards (12.0) and 8 scores in 2013. He also returned was an electric returner with 31 career punts for 465 yards (15.0), including three scores.
Give him a 1-2 years in an NFL weight-room and time to develop and he could become a quality player, and he could make an immediate impact with the Jets.
|2||2||34||Dallas Cowboys||DE||DeMarcus||Lawrence||Boise State|
|2||4||36||Oakland Raiders||QB||Derek||Carr||Fresno State|
|2||6||38||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||TE||Austin||Seferian-Jenkins||Washington|
|2||7||39||Jacksonville Jaguars||WR||Marqise||Lee||Southern California|
|2||8||40||Detroit Lions||EP||Kyle||Van Noy||BYU|
|2||9||41||St. Louis Rams||CB||Lamarcus||Joyner||Florida State|
|2||11||43||New York Giants||C||Weston||Richburg||Colorado State|
|2||14||46||Pittsburgh Steelers||DL||Stephon||Tuitt||Notre Dame|
|2||16||48||Baltimore Ravens||DL||Timmy||Jernigan||Florida State|
|2||17||49||New York Jets||TE||Jace||Amaro||Texas Tech|
|2||18||50||San Diego Chargers||DE||Jeremiah||Attaochu||Georgia Tech|
|2||19||51||Chicago Bears||DL||Ego||Ferguson||Lousiana State|
|2||20||52||Arizona Cardinals||TE||Troy||Niklas||Notre Dame|
|2||21||53||Green Bay Packers||WR||Davante||Adams||Fresno State|
|2||23||55||Cincinnati Bengals||RB||Jeremy||Hill||Louisiana State|
|2||25||57||San Francisco 49ers||RB||Carlos||Hyde||Ohio State|
|2||26||58||New Orleans Saints||CB||Stanley||Jean-Baptiste||Nebraska|
|2||27||59||Indianapolis Colts||OT||Jack||Mewhort||Ohio State|
|2||29||61||Jacksonville Jaguars||WR||Allen||Robinson||Penn State|
|2||30||62||New England Patriots||QB||Jimmy||Garoppolo||Eastern Illinois|
|2||31||63||Miami Dolphins||WR||Jarvis||Landry||Louisiana State|
|3||3||67||Miami Dolphins||OT||Billy||Turner||North Dakota State|
|3||5||69||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||RB||Charles||Sims||West Virginia|
|3||6||70||San Francisco 49ers||C||Marcus||Martin||Southern California|
|3||8||72||Minnesota Vikings||DE||Scott||Crichton||Oregon State|
|3||10||74||New York Giants||DL||Jay||Bromley||Syracuse|
|3||11||75||St. Louis Rams||RB||Tre'||Mason||Auburn|
|3||13||77||San Francisco 49ers||LB||Chris||Borland||Wisconsin|
|3||15||79||Baltimore Ravens||S||Terrance||Brooks||Florida State|
|3||16||80||New York Jets||CB||Dexter||McDougle||Maryland|
|3||17||81||Oakland Raiders||OG||Gabe||Jackson||Mississippi State|
|3||18||82||Chicago Bears||DL||Will||Sutton||Arizona State|
|3||19||83||Houston Texans||NT||Louis||Nix III||Notre Dame|
|3||20||84||Arizona Cardinals||DE||Kareem||Martin||North Carolina|
|3||21||85||Green Bay Packers||DL||Khyri||Thornton||Southern Miss|
|3||23||87||Kansas City Chiefs||CB||Phillip||Gaines||Rice|
|3||24||88||Cincinnati Bengals||DL||Will||Clarke||West Virginia|
|3||25||89||San Diego Chargers||OG||Chris||Watt||Notre Dame|
|3||27||91||Arizona Cardinals||WR||John||Brown||Pittsburg State|
|3||28||92||Carolina Panthers||OG||Trai||Turner||Louisiana State|
|3||29||93||New England Patriots||OG||Brandon||Linder||Miami|
|3||32||96||Minnesota Vikings||RB||Jerick||McKinnon||Georgia Southern|
|3||33||97||Pittsburgh Steelers||WR||Dri||Archer||Kent State|
|3||34||98||Green Bay Packers||TE||Richard||Rodgers||California|
|3||35||99||Baltimore Ravens||TE||Crockett||Gillmore||Colorado State|
|3||36||100||San Francisco 49ers||OL||Brandon||Thomas||Clemson|
We take one final crack at projecting who the Bengals will draft on the final day of the 2014 NFL Draft.
All you need to know for watching or listening to the final day of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Garrett Baker of Bleacher Report breaks down LSU running back Jeremy Hill, whom the Bengals drafted with the 55th-overall pick.
The Bengals nabbed Jeremy Hill in the second round.
The Baltimore Ravens grabbed Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan at No. 48. Jernigan once considered a first-round prospect fell in draft projections due to a "diluted sample" drug test at the NFL Combine. He joins linebacker C.J. Mosley for Ravens picks in the 2014 NFL draft. Per NFL.com:
STRENGTHS Strong for his size and clogs the middle. Has disruptive ability. Bends his knees and plays with leverage. Able to stack, locate and shed. Wraps and rips down ball carriers. Coordinated hands and feet. Is difficult to engage -- has quick, active paws. Can slap, rip and swim to beat blockers and turns up the heat on passing downs. Good foot athlete for his size -- changes direction well, gives effort in pursuit and ranges outside the box. Will be a 21-year-old rookie.
WEAKNESSES Has a fleshy midsection. Lacks ideal height and overall body length. Average get-off. Can be overpowered at the point or neutralized when bigger, longer blockers get into his frame. Limited two-gap ability. Average playing range. Stiff-legged and does not change direction easily, as confirmed by 4.84-second 20-yard shuttle time at the combine (tied for slowest among DTs). Could stand to improve his stamina. Was a rotational player prior to junior season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are determined in rebuilding their defense, selecting the Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier on Thursday -- he is projected to play the weakside inside linebacker. In the second round of the 2014 NFL draft, the Steelers snagged Stephon Tuitt at No. 46. Tuitt is versatile enough to play defensive tackle and defensive end in a base 4-3 defense. Per NFL.com.
STRENGTHS Looks the part -- has prototypical dimensions for a five-technique. Long-armed to play off blocks. Holds his ground at the point of attack. Can stack and shed. Has excellent movement skill for a man his size. Plays on his feet. Coordinated and in control of his body. Knee bender able to flatten or redirect efficiently. Strong wrap tackler. Scheme and position versatile -- played end and tackle in even and odd fronts. Notched 20.5 sacks in 28 career starts. Disrupts passing lanes. Did 31 bench-press reps at the combine.
WEAKNESSES Monotone edge rusher -- not a quick-twitch athlete (average get-off quickness). Can play with more consistent leverage. Hip and shoulder stiffness shows when he attempts to bend the corner. Can do a better job shooting his hands with authority to jolt blockers. Needs to become a better hands fighter and develop pass-rush moves. Can play with more violence. Average intensity and relentlessness.
With the 43rd-overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected Colorado State center Weston Richburg. Regarded by many as the draft's best center prospect, Richburg was someone thought to be on the Bengals' radar, but they'll have to look elsewhere if they want to find a center to challenge Mike Pollak for the starting job.
Another player the Bengals probably were considering was Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, but he went off the board to the Buffalo Bills with the 44th-overall pick.
At one point, Kouandjio was a lock to go in the first round, possibly in the Top 15, but medical red flags surrounding his arthritic knee arose at the NFL Scouting Combine, and his stock has been dropping ever since.
If the Bengals want to add depth at offensive tackle, they'll have to look elsewhere now.
The Atlanta Falcons got one of the biggest steals of the second round when they selected Minnesota defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman with the 37th-overall pick.
As a pass rusher, Hageman was at his best when Minnesota split him out wide against an offensive tackle. That allowed him to take advantage of his power/quickness combination much more so than when he lines up inside. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Hageman said his favorite position was playing a loose five technique to go one-on-one against offensive tackles.
On the outside, Hageman is a bull rusher. On the inside, Hageman has a solid swim move that allows him to slip past blockers.
With the 38th-overall pick, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
Seferian-Jenkins is a huge target with excellent body control, an oft-overlooked aspect to athleticism. He might not have breakaway speed or explosive acceleration, but he has the tools that every NFL coach looks for. Washington believed in his athleticism in space enough to feature him on screens. Past the ability as a move tight end though, his potential as a complete Y tight end who can line up and block in-line, but still get down the field to catch passes, is enticing.
The Oakland Raiders have selected quarterback Derek Carr out of Fresno State with the 36th-overall pick.
Carr threw for 12,842 yards and 113 touchdowns at Fresno, including more than 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns with just eight interceptions as a senior. He's been a very productive player his entire career, and though he may be a little overrated heading into the draft, he certainly is an upgrade over Matt McGloin and possibly even Matt Schaub.
Carr has the best arm talent of any quarterback in this 2014 NFL Draft. That may seem like a strong statement, but he proved it time and time again throughout the last two seasons. Even when his mechanics fail him, Carr can put the ball in any spot on the field with velocity, timing and accuracy. Additionally, Carr has exceptional touch and accuracy on his deep passes.
Comparing Carr to Matthew Stafford or Jay Cutler is not a stretch in this department. Regardless of his arm slot, footwork or the spot on the field he's throwing to, Carr can put the appropriate velocity on the ball. He's also an accurate passer in most areas of the field.
The Cleveland Browns seemed like they'd be a lock to take a wide receiver at this spot, but with the 35th-overall pick, they instead took Nevada offensive tackle Joel Bitonio.
Viewed as one of the most versatile lineman in this draft, Bitonio could play tackle, guard or center in the NFL. With the Browns though, he's likely going to start at right tackle.
Plays with vinegar and seeks to bury defenders -- nasty finisher who runs his feet on contact and consistently blocks defenders off the screen. Extremely tough and durable. Highly versatile -- can play any position on the line. Outstanding personal character and football character -- work ethic, leadership and responsibility are all exemplary. Produced the best 10-yard split (1.69 seconds) and 20-yard split (2.80) of any offensive lineman at the combine.
The Washington Redskins traded the 34th pick to the Dallas Cowboys for the 47th and 78th picks. With this pick, the Cowboys took Boise State defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence.
Lawrence moves like an undersized defensive end prospect but plays with the physicality of a much bigger player. The long-armed, meat-hook-handed former Bronco is best rushing the passer -- he still has a little work to do in the run defense department -- but what I like most about him is his style of play: violent and aggressive, mean-spirited.
Lawrence does a good job of mixing speed moves to the outside with inside pressure and a bull rush.
Su'a-Filo's movement skills set him apart from other guards in this class. Not only did he have the athleticism to hold the edge at left tackle, but when he played guard, Su'a-Filo got to the next level with smooth, controlled movement. He has a lot of balance to his game and that helps him move efficiently across the line of scrimmage and within the second level of the defense. He has really quick feet and is able to move off his block in a hurry.
The Browns needed John Amos to talk to Josh Gordon pic.twitter.com/EM1OmwlzYL— Michael Smith (@michaelsmith) May 9, 2014
Just to recap, here all of the Thursday trades:
Darqueze Dennard believes he is NFL-ready and can help the Bengals in his rookie season.
Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon could face a season-long suspension after a second failed drug test.
The Ravens took C.J. Mosley with their first-round pick, but how does he fit with them?
The Bengals have nine more picks in this year's NFL Draft. Who will they take?
The Bills are shipping Stevie Johnson to the 49ers in exchange for a conditional draft pick.
The Bengals may or may not be sold on Andy Dalton being their franchise QB. We'll have a better idea of how they feel about him after Day 2 of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Did the Steelers miss big time with their first pick?
Essentially an extra first-round pick, the Texans have their choice of several players with first-round grades, including Missouri DE Kony Ealy, Virginia OT Morgan Moses and Fresno State QB Derek Carr.
All you need to know for watching or listening to the 2014 NFL Draft.
The Browns added a pair of impact players in Round 1. Did they make the grade?
The San Diego Chargers got some much-needed help at cornerback with the selection of TCU's Jason Verrett. The 5'9" ball of fire is ranked as the No. 18 player on SB Nation's top 200 big board, making him the top cornerback appearing on the list.
The man ranked No. 2 on that list is Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard, whom the Bengals selected with the 24th pick.Their careers will certainly be reflected upon each other. Hopefully, the Bengals actually got the better of the Chargers in this instance.
The Philadelphia Eagles shocked everyone with the 26th by taking Louisville defensive end/linebacker Marcus Smith, whom many had graded as a 2nd-3rd rounder.
Smith came in at No. 74 among prospects ranked on SB Nation's top 200 big board, which placed him at No. 7 among all defensive ends, notably behind lower-ranked guys such as Scott Chrichton and Demarcus Lawrence, but above Ed Stinson and Kareem Martin.
Smith was named the AAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, and a first-team All-AAC selection that season as well. In addition, he was named a third-team AP All-American. He recorded 42 tackles, 18.5 of which for a loss, and had 14.5 sacks, good second in the nation.
The Cincinnati Bengals have selected MSU cornerback Darqueze Dennard with the No. 24 pick of the 2014 NFL draft.
The Arizona Cardinals tabbed Auburn defensive end/outside linebacker Dee Ford as their first-round pick.
Ford was a terror off the edge for a resurgent Tigers team that won 12 games after winning just 3 in 2012. That was the same year Ford was on his was to having a great season. He started 7 of 11 games at DE, totaling 34 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and six sacks with a batted pass and forced fumble and blocked a field goal, but suffered an abdominal injury that hindered him the second-half of the season.
Ford exploded in 2013 with 10.5 sacks to go with 14.5 tackles-for-loss.
The Cleveland Browns moved up from pick No. 26 to 22 to select Texas A&M's quarterback Johnny Manziel, who went 300-of-429 for 4,114 yards (70.0) with 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while rushing 144 times for 759 yards (5.3) and nine TDs in 13 games in 2013.
The Green Bay Packers needed safety help in the worst way, and they may have gotten the best one in this year;s NFL Draft in the form of Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
In 11 games last year as a junior, Clinton-Dix finished fourth on the team in tackles with 46 and recorded two interceptions. He was a second-team All-American and first-team All-SEC pick. As a sophomore in 2012, Clinton-Dix played in every game and led the SEC with five interceptions.
The New Orleans Saints, picking No. 27 in the 2014 NFL draft, decided to get involved earlier by reaching an agreement with the Arizona Cardinals in a trade. Both teams swapped first-round picks -- the Cardinals getting No. 27 and the Saints grabbing No. 20 -- with Arizona acquiring New Orleans third-round pick.
There was a feeling that the Green Bay Packers, who lost James Jones, and the Philadelphia Eagles were looking at Brandin Cooks. So the Saints leapfrogged 'em all and snagged Cooks for themselves. Cooks, despite just shy of 5-foot-10, is a burner who ran a Combine-best (among receivers) 40-time at 4.33.
Another target, gone.
Louisville safety Calvin Pryor, who the Bengals showed decent interest in during the predraft process, is heading to New York after the Jets used their No. 18 selection on him.
Pryor is viewed as the top safety prospect in the 2014 NFL draft and first taken off the board. A good player to fit in the Rex Ryan atmosphere, Pryor plays physical against the run but plays a bit reckless -- especially in cuts.
Will be an interesting addition in Ryan's attempt to add talent on a third-ranked defense against the run but 22nd against the pass.
Three of the four AFC North teams have made picks in the 2014 NFL draft, with the Baltimore Ravens selecting Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley at No. 17. According to ESPN, Mosley is graded as the top inside linebacker heading into the draft, strong in run coverage and a three-down linebacker that can cover.
Like the Steelers selecting Shazier, the Bengals will find it tougher to run the ball in the division even though offensive coordinator Hue Jackson is determined to pound the football.
All three selections in the AFC North have been on defense, with the Cleveland Browns grabbing Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert earlier.
The Cincinnati Bengals lost one of the two expected Ohio State players that were favored when the Pittsburgh Steelers selected linebacker Ryan Shazier -- perhaps the best three-down backer in the 2014 NFL Draft. Shazier is expected to be an inside linebacker, per Mike Mayock on the NFL Network broadcast. On the other hand, Pittsburgh needs to replace the departed Lamarr Woodley.
Cincinnati was reportedly showing heavy interest in Shazier, but will now stare down the former Buckeyes in the form of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard. Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham will have their opportunities but Shazier is quick and agile.
If the Bengals employ bigger bodies at left guard and center, it might neutralize the speedy and somewhat undersized backer if he plays inside; Andre Smith and Andrew Whitworth tend to struggle with speedy rushers.
Still. Strong pick for the Steelers.
The St. Louis Rams have gotten arguably the best interior defensive lineman in this class in Pitt's Aaron Donald with their second first-round pick, this one being 13th-overall.
In 2013, Donald became a major force. The lineman led the league in tackles for loss, became a winner of the Bronko Nagurski and Outland Trophies and was named a unanimous All-American.
One prospect who the Bengals hoped to have still on the board at pick No. 24 was Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller, but he went 10 spots higher to the Chicago Bears at No. 14.
Fuller was rated by some as the top-overall cornerback prospect.
The Tennessee Titans got some much-needed offensive line help by selecting offensive tackle Taylow Lewan with the 11th-overall pick.
Stephen White took the Wolverines to task in his breakdown of Lewan's game tape:
I didn't see much of that in the five games that I watched. Furthermore, why in the HELL did Michigan keep a tight end to Lewan's side so damn much? He obviously didn't need the help. The quarterback was right-handed anyway (with bootlegs you like for the tight end to be lined up to the side of the quarterback's throwing hand), and they could have potentially had a wide receiver there instead of a tight end. It would've increased the chances of success on passing downs as well as run downs if you get the opposing defenses to spread themselves out. But is that what Michigan did?
As for the New York Giants at No. 12, they grabbed Odell Beckham out of LSU, arguably the most dynamic receiver/returner in this draft.
Beckham was the Paul Hornung Award winner as the nation's most versatile player in 2013 when he broke the LSU single-season all-purpose yards record (2,315) and snagged 59-1,152-8 (19.5) in 13 starts.
He offers versatility to go between "X," "Z" and the slot given his ability to stretch the field and run after the catch. .
He also returned 68 career punts for 557 yards (8.2), including two scores, and 42 kickoffs for 1,044 yards (24.9).
Mike Zimmer's first draft pick as an NFL head coach came in the form of UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr. Regarded as one of the top defensive prospects, Barr came in at No. 22 on SB Nation's top 200 big board, second among all outside linebackers behind only Khalil Mack.
In 2013, Barr recorded 20 tackles for loss and 10 sacks en route to being named a 2013 All-American
The Detroit Lions added another pass-catcher in the form of of North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron, who was No. 2 in the nation among tight ends with 62 receptions for 973 yards last year. For his efforts, he was named a second-team AP All-American and a first-team All-ACC performer.
As for the Titans who are picking at No. 11, they 'almost' traded that pick:
Cleveland made a strong effort to trade up again to No. 11 just now. But ultimately, Browns just bailed. Titans picking.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 9, 2014
The Cleveland Browns swapped first-round picks with the Minnesota Vikings, improving one spot while handing the Vikings a fifth-round pick, grabbing Oklahoma State cornerstone Justin Gilbert at No. 8 overall.
Chris Pokorny with Dawgs by Nature writes:
On the surface, I really don't know why you trade up one spot to get him...were we really worried about somebody else getting Gilbert? Going defense first will not make some fans happy, but we knew that cornerback was a real possibility in the first round for Cleveland, just not this early.
Cleveland does a nice job solidifying their cornerback position, putting Gilbert and Joe Haden together against Cincinnati's wide receivers. However, Gilbert, the first cornerback selected in the 2014 NFL draft, was viewed as the third-best corner behind Darqueze Dennard and Kyle Fuller, according to ESPN.
As a Bengals fan, this makes our intra-divisional games interesting. A.J. Green and Joe Haden remains one match that transforms battles into all-out warfare.
The Browns were projected to select Johnny Manziel, but the poor kid just watches. Cleveland will pick again at No. 26.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers now have one of the most intimidating 1-2 combos at wide receivers after they drafted Mike Evans out of Texas A&M to pair him with Vincent Jackson.
As SB Nation's Matthew Fairburn writes in his scouting report, size is Evans' biggest weapon on the football field.
For a player his size, Evans displays excellent body control along the sideline. He's very aware of where he is on the field. More importantly, he does a fine job coming back to the football and getting proper body position on cornerbacks and presents a big target for his quarterback. Evans doesn't have any issues tracking the ball and adjusting his body to make catches over either shoulder.
The Atlanta got arguably the best offensive tackle in the draft in Texas A&M's Jake Matthews with the sixth-overall pick. Matthews was in contention with Auburn's Greg Robinson to be the first offensive lineman selected, but he fell into the Falcons' lap at #6.
One of the top traits looked for in offensive line prospects is consistency, and former NFL defensive end Stephen White, who has plenty of experience trying to get past them,thinks Matthews has all the consistency you could ask for.
Every kick step (initial movement off the snap for an offensive lineman to get depth and width) for a wide rusher was the same. Almost every kick step to an inside rusher was also the same. He was so good that I only saw one pressure he gave up in [the five games I watched] ...
Think about what I'm saying here. Matthews only lost on a pass-blocking assignment one time in the five games. Now look at the teams I watched him play against -- you don't think LSU, Alabama, Ole Miss or Missouri have good pass rushers?
The Bills made a shocking trade to move up and nab Sammy Watkins.
The Jacksonville Jaguars dropped the first bombshell (if you can call it that), selecting Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles at No. 3 overall. Bortles was considered the top quarterback in the 2014 NFL draft, but higher profile quarterbacks like Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater sipped their ice cold beverage waiting for their respective names to be called.
As for Jacksonville, they get a quarterback with good size that might be viewed as a reach.
After a season with Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert (now with the San Francisco 49ers) as your quarterbacks in 2013, the Jaguars needed a future at quarterback. Alfie Crow at Big Cat Country writes:
Picking a quarterback is a surprise to most, but it's a move that makes a ton of sense if you consider where the Jaguars would be picking in the second round of the draft.
Most expected the Jaguars to pass on a quarterback in the first round, but it's clear the Jaguars had their guy at the position and didn't think he would fall to them in the second round
Texans nab Jedeveon Clowney while Rams snag Greg Robinson.
The Cincinnati Bengals appear favored to snag a cornerback in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.
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