Three rounds down, four rounds to go! The NFL Draft is flying by and the Bengals traded down, exchanging second round picks with the Vikings, and still got their man eight picks later. The trade also gave the Bengals the 128th pick in the draft, yet another fourth round pick for Saturday. Controversial Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon was picked by Cincinnati with the 48th selection and all of the sudden the offense is loaded with youth, talent and versatility. The former Sooner stud was for some pundits the best back in the class, but his draft stock plummeted due to a 2014 assault charge for which Mixon reached an Alford plea for a misdemeanor assault.
It’s hard to forget what Mixon did, and you shouldn’t, but overall he makes the Bengals offense better. With Giovani Bernard coming off injury and Rex Burkhead now in New England, Cincinnati needed somebody who could split carries with Jeremy Hill or eventually take over as the primary back. The feeling heading into the draft was they would take him if available in the second round, as it was.
Marvin Lewis is drafting like a man who wants to win now and gives zero...— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) April 29, 2017
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis was adamant in that the team did its due diligence regarding Mixon and the team believes he can being a new chapter in his young life in Cincinnati. The team truly thinks he’s a changed man and they’re ready to move forward.
Personally I don’t like the move, but if they are comfortable with Adam Jones in their locker room it shouldn’t shock anyone that they are thrilled to add Mixon.
Cincinnati addressed their dearth of talent at defensive end by adding Kansas State standout Jordan Willis in the third round with 73th overall selection. Willis was another one of those tier-2 edge rushers who could have been picked late in the first round, or early in the second round, but eventually found a home with the Bengals and most pundits liked the move.
Willis tested very well. He passed the threshold you want. That's key.— Joe Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) April 29, 2017
He's also smaller than their old mold. Also great to see. pic.twitter.com/VKPAd6x4zh
First-round graded players got finally picked
Just like Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster slipped until the 31th pick on Thursday, players like Florida State running back Dalvin Cook and Crimson Tide offensive lineman Cam Robinson had to wait until Friday to hear their names called. The Vikings surrendered a fourth rounder in order to grab the Seminole, and the Jaguars gave up a sixth-round pick to move up one spot and add their tackle of the future.
Other notable names to fall were Connecticut safety Obi Melifonwu, who went to the Raiders with the 56th pick, Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham, taken by the Texans one spot later and Youngstown State edge rusher Derek Rivers, who will play for Bill Belichick and the Patriots after being selected in the third round.
The Chargers are building a scary offense
With Philip Rivers’ championship window closing, the Los Angeles Chargers felt like they needed to put all of their chips on the table and after adding Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams in the first round, the team went with Western Kentucky offensive lineman Forrest Lamp.
Lamp was a late riser in most big boards, and many pundits had him going to the Falcons on Thursday. He joins a revamped line that also added Russell Okung in free agency.
Tight ends are still on the rise
Three tight ends were chosen in the first round from what many called the best generation ever at the position. The trend continued on Day 2, with the Rams adding Gerald Everett from South Alabama with the 44th pick, and the Bears going with Ashland star Adam Shaheen right after. Chicago traded down from the 36th spot recouping some of the draft capital invested in Mitchell Trubisky to make the move. The Titans got Jonnu Smith from Florida International with the 100th pick in the third.
Patriots trade their way into a pair of draft steals
New England didn’t own a pick on Thursday after trading for New Orleans wide receiver Brandin Cooks in the winter, and they didn’t have a second-round selection either due to the Kony Ealy trade. But, they still made an impact on Friday. The Patriots were able to snatch Rivers and Troy offensive lineman Antonio García, whom pundits really like.
The Browns get their quarterback of the future
Cleveland didn’t get Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes II or Deshaun Watson, and also couldn’t finalize a deal for A.J. McCarron or Jimmy Garoppolo. The message was clear, they wouldn’t force it, but with a ton of picks they had to grab someone. DeShone Kizer, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish play caller was the chosen one with the 52th pick.
Baltimore revamps its defense
The Ravens were another team in need of a pass rusher and though they didn’t take one in the first round, they added a lot of talent to their front seven on Friday night. Tyus Bowser from Houston, Chris Wormley from Michigan and Tim Williams out of Alabama were picks for the Ravens on Day 2. Williams is a very intriguing player as many thought he benefited a lot from playing on a star-studded defense for Nick Saban, but was still ranked as high as No. 42 on Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network’s list of prospects.
Did Martavis Bryant just become available?
One of the most interesting selections of Day 2 was USC receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster by the Steelers, given that Bryant was just reinstated from his suspension. Pittsburgh lost Markus Wheaton to the Bears, but they drafted Sammie Coates in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft and still have Eli Rogers and former Bengals draftee Cobi Hamilton.
On a side note, the Steelers took a local hero with their compensatory pick at the end of the third round, grabbing Pitt running back James Conner. Even if you hate the Steelers, you can still feel good for the kid.
James Conner staying in Pitt. That's really cool.— Scott Kacsmar (@FO_ScottKacsmar) April 29, 2017
Giants prepare for life after Eli
"The New York Football World Champions", per the team’s pick announcer, took California quarterback Davis Webb with the 87th pick, the fifth of six play callers who have been picked thus far. Manning is 36 and the Giants are wise to start planning for a future without the two-time Super Bowl champion, although NFL.com compared Webb to Brock Osweiler in his draft profile.
Drew Pearson has no chill
Listen and enjoy. Everybody hates the Cowboys.
After collecting an extra fourth-round pick in their trade with the Vikings, the Bengals will have nine selections on Day 3. Hopefully they’ll package some of those to try and move up, given how hard it will be for them to have 12 rookie draft picks make the roster.
Anything can happen, folks.