Today is Friday, April 29, 2016. Today is Day Two of the 2016 NFL Draft, which means that today will see to the second and third rounds of the draft in the wake of the completion of round one just hours ago, as of the time of this writing.
(Almost) every team managed to get better during the draft yesterday by adding a player, including each team in the AFC North, all of them holding one selection, with their choices seeming to vary between addressing need and acquiring value.
The Baltimore Ravens selected first from the division with the sixth overall pick, adding tackle Ronnie Stanley, who may start immediately, and solves a significant problem along their line. After trading back, the Cleveland Browns managed to add arguably the most talented wide receiver in the draft at 15 in Corey Coleman.
Later in the round, the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers each addressed the cornerback position, with the Bengals unable to pass up the value of William Jackson III, and the Steelers unable to pass up the need of the position as a whole by adding Artie Burns, at 24th and 25th, respectively.
So now we set the table for the division on Day Two, for the second and third rounds, in the order in which they first pick.
Selections: 2 (32), 2 (65), 3 (76), 3 (77)
Needs: QB, DL, LB, OL
Strategy: After addressing a major need at wide receiver, the Browns are primed to reap on Day Two of the draft, holding four of the next 46 picks, including the very next one, the first pick in the second round. While they may or may not be content with their quarterback position, they could simply take Connor Cook here. Another option at 32 could be Myles Jack after Hue Jackson expressed surprise that he slipped out of the first round.
Inside linebacker is a need regardless of whether or not they draft Jack, however, and Reggie Ragland would also be worth the pick there, or if he manages to slide to 65. After losing two offensive line starters, and struggling on the run defense, the trenches are a major target area in this section of the draft.
Selections: 2 (36), 3 (70)
Needs: CB, LB, WR, RB
Strategy: Two value picks that would make sense at 36 on the defensive side of the ball could be cornerback Mackensie Alexander or Ragland—or Jack, if they are comfortable with his knee. The Ravens are never a team to shy away from adding value picks along the defensive line, however. The value at wide receiver might makes more sense at the top of the third round with their second pick of the day.
Selections: 2 (55), 3 (87)
Needs: WR, DL, LB, S
Strategy: The Bengals didn’t address a need in round one, but instead got good value at cornerback and slapped a rival in the face in the process. But that decision could have been fueled by a run of three straight wide receivers ahead of them they wiped out the first-round talent at the position. After losing two of their top four guys there, they will be looking to add a player there on Day Two. The back half of the second round should find quality value at safety as well, and perhaps linebacker.
Selections: 2 (58),3 (89)
Needs: DL, S, WR, OLB
Strategy: The Steelers passed up Andrew Billings and Noah Spence in the first round, but if they somehow slip to 58, you have to think they could be salivating and reminiscing about Stephon Tuitt. Failing that, safety should be of great value late in the second round, but if the right wide receiver is there, don’t be surprised. Of course, Javon Hargrave is likely on most people’s radar should Billings be drafted ahead of their pick as expected.