NFL Draft Weekend Recap

Recapping the Browns and Bengals selections in the 2018 NFL Draft

Baker Mayfield and Denzel Ward are introduced in Cleveland. Photo by Phil Long, AP.

The 2018 NFL Draft has come and gone, with all of that build-up it’s over in a single weekend. The Cleveland Browns made nine selections in the draft while the Cincinnati Bengals made eleven picks, both hoping to add more depth to their rosters and compete for better than third and fourth in the AFC North.

The Cleveland Browns made headlines Thursday night with their two first round picks. They took Oklahoma Quarterback Baker Mayfield with the first overall selection, surprising pretty much everybody in the draft world. Most NFL Draft experts thought the Browns would take USC’s Sam Darnold, or potentially Wyoming’s Josh Allen, but not Mayfield.

With the fourth overall pick, the Browns were expected to select North Carolina State’s Defensive End Bradley Chubb. Instead, they went with the best Cornerback in the draft, Denzel Ward out of the Ohio State University. The Browns have a solid defensive line already, but a very poor secondary. Ward will give the Browns’ pass rushers more time to get to the Quarterback.

The Browns had the first and third selections in the second round, first taking Austin Corbett, an Offensive Lineman out of Nevada. Corbett is 6’4″ and 300+ pounds, he can play any position along the offensive line, which is a major need since Joe Thomas retired. Cleveland took Running back Nick Chubb out of Georgia with the third pick in the second round, their RB of the future as Duke Johnson can play more of a scat-back role, and Carlos Hyde is always injured.

Cleveland again made headlines in the third and fourth rounds of the Draft, taking Defensive End Chad Thomas out of Miami, and Wide Receiver Antonio Callaway out of Florida. Callaway has had a ton of off-field issues, resulting in him suspended for his final year at Florida. Tyreek Hill had a lot of off-field issues in college, but that didn’t stop new Browns GM John Dorsey from drafting him in Kansas City, and you see how that worked out. 

The Browns wrapped up their draft with Genard Avery, a Linebacker out of Memphis in the fifth round, and two picks in the sixth round. In the sixth round they took Damion Ratley, a WR out of Texas A&M, and Simeon Thomas, a Defensive Back from Louisiana-Lafayette.

The Cincinnati Bengals ended up with more picks than the Browns, but six of their eleven picks came in the final three rounds. Their first round selection at #21 was Ohio State Center Billy Price. The Bengals’ offensive line is by far their biggest need, and they get one of the best offensive linemen in the draft.

In the second round the Bengals picked Safety Jessie Bates III out of Wake Forest, a much needed boost to their secondary. They stayed with defense in the third round, first selecting another Buckeye, Defensive End Sam Hubbard, a Cincinnati native. The Bengals selected Outside Linebacker Malik Jefferson out of Texas with the very next pick.

In the fourth round the Bengals picked up RB Mark Walton out of Miami. A likely replacement for Jeremy Hill who’s now with New England. The Bengals went all defense in the fifth round, taking CB Davontae Harris out of Illinois State, Defensive Tackle Andrew Brown out of Virginia, and CB Darius Phillips out of Western Michigan.

In the seventh and final round, the Bengals switched it up and selected all offensive players. Beginning with QB Logan Woodside out of Toledo, the Bengals proceeded to select Guard Rod Taylor out of Ole Miss, and Wide Receiver Auden Tate out of Florida State.

All in all it was a very successful draft for both Ohio franchises in my opinion. Both the Browns and the Bengals selected hard-working, talented players who are driven for success and can change the culture in those locker rooms for the better. We’ll have to wait and see for the results, but both of these teams took steps in the right direction this weekend.