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Draft Decisions

Press Conference: AFC North

by Josh Norris
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

How does a draft writer spend the first weeks after the big event? I’m not sure, but I have decided to watch ever press conference for every team after each day of the draft, so you don’t have to. The goal is to pick up tendencies, tells and specific reasoning for selections. Sometimes the coaches and general managers have a role in mind, and as I’ve learned, too often they do not.


As you can see, the notes are very rough. This is not transcribing, more so noting the important points involved in an entire thought.


AFC East



Cincinnati Bengals (Mainly Marvin Lewis, Jacob Burney on Billings)


1 (24). Houston CB William Jackson III - Can come in right away and be a part of the 46 man roster on Sundays… Excellent athletic skills. Speed and length… Develop into a fine corner. Play the ball in the air. Play around receivers and not be cumbersome around receivers… On first round corners: they are needed and they play… Certain traits at corner they look for… Highest upside of all the corners in the draft… Houston didn’t give him a lot of help. Man to man… Tried to stump him on visit with “complex” coverages… Made impression with 4.35 at the Combine… “We have to have big long corners”


2 (55). Pittsburgh WR Tyler Boyd - Some similarities, but more like Mo Sanu in the NFL than Sanu in college… Uses body to create separation. “Great” with the ball in his hands.  Should improve in return game thanks to “his ability to run with the ball”... Has a chance to come in and compete for playing time… Has the opportunity to make a play with the ball in his hands. He’s got to compliment the other guys in the offense… Standout traits: Football instincts, lateral separation skills… Certainly not a finished product… Can play slot early, and learn outside spot “as we go”. He’s played a lot of slot, “knows where the bodies are coming from in there”


3 (87). Utah State LB Nick Vigil - Offers versatility. Played in a downhill, inside linebacker role, scraping, playing over top of blocks… Smart kid, understands the passing game… Speed on special teams… Feels and sees the angles of blockers coming at him… Has opportunity to be a three down linebacker… Good in the passing game, which is “intriguing”... Obviously he will have a big role on special teams… Utah State runs the “same type of defense” as the Bengals… Want to have a variety of abilities at LB (Vontaze and Rey are thumpers, that is not Vigil’s role)... Alluded to similarities between Vigil and Luke Kuechly

  

4 (122). Baylor DT Andrew Billings - “Don’t know” why he fell to the fourth round, but feel fortunate he did… He can do what we want… Tremendously physical in the middle of the defense. Athletic. Goes to the football. Tough minded… “He’ll fit like a glove”... “I think our football team is represented by big, strong men… Added players with 30-plus category in bench press “which is huge for us and really important”


5 (161). Arizona State C/G Christian Westerman - Has a chance “to uplift us” and offer another young face along the interior… Pre-draft visit was “incredible” thanks to his intensity... Guard and possible center, although he did not play center in college. “All of our interior guys need to learn both things”... Tremendous upside as an interior player… Can sink his hips and play with separation…


6 (199). Ole Miss WR Cody Core - Has physical tools. Goes up and catches the football. Tenacious as a blocker… Not raw… Has an opportunity to “take off and go,” compared his opportunity to Marvin Jones.

 

7 (245). Illinois S Clayton Fejedelem - Has a great story. Productive. Great athletic scores. Special teams will be important. Productive football players “play big in the NFL”


Cleveland Browns (Hue Jackson, Shashi Brown)


1 (15). Baylor WR Corey Coleman - Identified him very early… Tremendously productive. Dynamic playmaker… “Executed our plan coming into the draft”... Team’s top rated receiver… Team lacked dynamic player on offense. Coleman can turn small plays into big plays… Younger player, still has to develop as a player… Plays bigger than his size. Attacks the ball… Knew they wanted to add speed to passing game to generate respect… Talked to the Titans a week away from the draft… Great personality. “Lit up the building” on visit… “We plan on being very dynamic on offense, and this guy allows us to do that”... “Knows how to score touchdowns”... “Made a lot of uncommon plays”


2 (32). Oklahoma State DE/OLB Emmanuel Ogbah - Will play outside linebacker… Exceptional combination of power, speed and athleticism


3 (65). Penn State DE Carl Nassib - Unique story. Self-made college player… Love his length, love his motor, love his production… Interior push and pass rush… No concerns with him being a one year wonder… Plays the game like it should be played… He has the goods


3 (76). Auburn OT Shon Coleman - Love his length, feet and athleticism… Can play either tackle spot… One of the leaders of that program. Great off and on field character… Power, agility and great length… Likely to compete on the right side… Has overcome adversity… Hope he has a lot of room for development… Surprised he was available in the third round.


3 (93). USC QB Cody Kessler - Plays a pro style game… One of the more accurate passers in college football… “Pinpoint accuracy” according to Hue… Poise, pocket presence, works at the game… “Cody Kessler was the guy for us”... Accuracy is the number one thing Hue looks for… Singled out coaching change as reason for drop in production


4 (99). Wisconsin LB Joe Schobert - Versatility to play outside linebacker and inside linebacker… Special player on special teams… Tough


4 (114). Auburn WR Ricardo Louis - Big, tall athlete who can really run. Vertical ability. Created big plays. Speed.


4 (129). TCU S Derrick Kindred - Well rounded. Rangy enough to play in coverage. Aggressive enough to fill the alley…. “Incredibly tough” after playing with broken collarbone… Healthy


4 (138). Princeton TE Seth DeValve - Has mismatch ability… Played inline and detached at Princeton… Healthy


5 (154). UCLA WR Jordan Payton - Well rounded. Catches everything. Size and catch radius.


5 (168). Baylor T/G Spencer Drango - Will play right tackle… “If we need to move him inside, we always can”... One of the better pass protectors in the draft… Depth


5 (172). Colorado State WR Rashard Higgins - Good size and fantastic hands. Can make any catch within his frame and the spectacular grabs. Size and catch radius.


5 (173). Louisiana-Monroe CB Trey Caldwell - Athletic. Can play outside or inside.


7 (250). Arizona LB Scooby Wright - Consummate football player… Drop was function of injury


Baltimore Ravens (John Harbaugh, Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta)


1 (6). Notre Dame LT Ronnie Stanley - First tape Ozzie watched this year was Notre Dame’s offense, specifically Ronnie Stanley… Opportunity to compete, but eventually will be a starter, and a starter for a long time… “When your best players are also your best guys, you really have something”... Harbaugh spoke with Notre Dame’s OL coach one night “for a long time” only about Stanley… Character, intelligence, toughness… “Highest rated player on the board and just so happened to be someone” who could also fill a need… Ozzie raves about scouts’ information when asked about Tunsil, “a lot of the time when things happen, we aren’t surprised”... Phone did not ring when on the clock… Notre Dame plays a lot of “pro style” techniques… “Most put a premium on the left tackle, but there are a lot of good pass rushers from the other side now”


2 (42). Boise State OLB Kamalei Correa - Trade back twice, after trying to trade into first round… “KC,” I’m not going to butcher the name… Big time motor… Fits their new defense, doesn’t have to move from strong or weak side… Hardest working guy on his team… All but one player they targeted was still on the board at the time of the trade… Can play both outside linebacker positions, or line up on the edge and rush, or line up inside at “X” position (Upshaw, McPhee)… Run to the ball, 100 miles an hour… Graded Correa higher than Noah Spence… Clean prospect, so they did not need to communicate with KC very much


3 (70). BYU DE Bronson Kaufusi - Attempted to get back into second round… Big time motor… “We don’t know how much bigger he is going to get”... Can play two or three different spots… Targeted big, tough, smart, versatile prospects… Hardest working guy on his team… 5-tech in base, can rush from the edge, even has drop ability… Run to the ball, 100 miles an hour


4 (104). Temple CB Tavon Young - The NFL is starting to value corners, and the come over the board earlier than you think… Can come in and help the team in 2016… Tried to trade up for Jalen Ramsey


4 (107). Cincinnati WR Chris Moore


4 (130). Nebraska OT Alex Lewis - Competes for tackle and guard spots… Has played on both sides of the line… Was drafted while buying groceries…


4 (132). Michigan DT Willie Henry - Was not expected to declare… “Other” Harbaugh vouched for him…


4 (134). Louisiana Tech RB Kenneth Dixon - “Ravens value touchdowns”... Creative. Excellent in space. Versatile. Playmaker… Inside and outside runner. Very good instincts. Vision… Runs very hard


5 (146). Grand Valley State DE Matt Judon - Area scouts loved him as a player in the fall… DeCosta texted Harbaugh during Judon’s Combine workout… Explosive pass rusher… Intrigued position coach Joe Kullen…


6 (182). Navy ATH Keenan Reynolds - Will play receiver and returner… “What a great story”… Caught eye at East West Shrine and attended local pro day… Called him on speaker phone, which is uncommon… “We appreciate what he has done.” A special kid… Shifty ability. Stop and start. Speed in bursts. Caught punts at local pro day… Player of interest throughout the process… Owner and others had tears in their eyes… Surprising he was not at the Combine


6 (209). Virginia CB Maurice Canady


Pittsburgh Steelers (Tomlin & Colbert on Burns, DB coach on Davis, DL coach on Hargrave)


1 (25). Miami CB Artie Burns - Solid young man. Went through tragedy this season with his mother passing away. Despite that he put together a solid year on the field… Corner draft class came together in November… Has a lot of growth potential… Natural bump corner. Good at the ball and down the field. Elite speed, was a track guy… Player to mold… “Special kid”... As natural in bump and run as anyone in the draft… Colbert said the CB class, as a whole, is the best he has seen… When asked versus Mackensie Alexander, Burns’ height, length, interceptions and speed to match up versus big receivers was noted… Will need work on his off and zone coverage… “We’ll get him for his senior year”


2 (58). Maryland DB Sean Davis - Plan is to play him at safety. Strong safety at first, but will need to learn both spots… Has experience covering slots and tight ends… “Game will slow down quite a bit for him inside”...  Good eye for playing the ball in the passing game… “Needs right now require us to play him at safety”... Good tackler… No. 2 in 3-cone, No. 3 in short shuttle, No. 2 for bench press among NFL Combine corners… Very intelligent individual. Made calls and checks at safety. Speaks three languages, so not worried about learning the playbook… Mentioned needing size and athleticism to cover TEs like Gronkowski… ranked as DB coach’s No. 1 safety


3 (89). South Carolina State DT Javon Hargrave - Self made man… “I think a lot of people passed on this guy because of the competition he played… This kid got better, better, better each week” … Great first step. Plays with power. Will have to learn to play with his hands and needs to run to the ball. “I can teach him those”... “One of the few big men you can leave on the field on 3rd down"... After watching his tape, the DL coach wanted to work him out personally… “Will give us an added dimension in our nickel package”... 1st, 2nd and 3rd down player… Will help rotation. Big part of sub-package… “Guards are going to have a tough time with him”... “I thought we got him where he should go”


4 (123). LSU OT Jerald Hawkins - Left tackle or right tackle. Hard to find players on the outside, especially later in the draft… Only question is how early he can contribute… Allow him to practice where he is most comfortable, then over time let him learn both sides… LSU’s offense includes a lot of “pro style” concepts. Run the ball quite a bit… Work in progress


6 (220). Washington LB Travis Feeney - Adds depth to the position. Smaller but fast. “Strikes you” when he hits you… Special teams and pass rush… “You can never have enough athletes on defense”... “I just look at body movement on the field. What demeanor he plays with”... “He runs too well to not be a good special teams player. Special teams is all ‘want to’”


7 (229). Houston WR/PR DeMarcus Ayers - Dynamic. No. 1 punt returner in the class… “You can never have enough of these guys”... Went on a tangent about timing prospects in underwear and track shoes…


7 (246). Temple ILB Tyler Matakevich

Josh Norris

Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for NBC Sports Edge and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .