NFL Draft

Draft Roundup: AFC North Day One Recap

The Pittsburgh Steelers made the biggest splash on Day 1 of the 2019 NFL draft, trading up for Michigan linebacker Devin Bush, but what else did the AFC North do on the first day of the draft?

Cleveland didn’t have a first round pick after trading the 17th overall pick, a 2019 third round pick, and safety Jabrill Peppers to the New York Giants for superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. With that No. 17 pick, the Giants selected Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence.

The Browns will take that draft day haul six days a week and twice on Sundays.

Baltimore, in its first draft under new General Manager Eric DeCosta, initially traded down from 22 to 25 with Philadelphia, picking up No. 125 and No. 197 in the 2019 NFL Draft. With the trade down, the Ravens set their sights on Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown, giving second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson a real playmaker to work with.

I have major concerns with Brown’s ability to beat press coverage and hold up physically over a 16-game schedule, but the Ravens drafted a guy with elite playmaking skills with the football in his hands after the catch.

Rounding out the AFC North, the Cincinnati Bengals came into the day with the highest pick in the division and were promptly jumped by the Steelers to swipe Devin Bush right from under the Bengals’ noses.

That stunning trade caused the Bengals to shift gears and select the best offensive lineman in the draft in Alabama left tackle Jonah Williams. There were concerns with Williams’ perceived lack of arm length coming into the draft, but the tape doesn’t lie: Williams is the best lineman in the class and upgrades a major weakness for the Bengals, whether he plays either tackle position or slides inside to guard.

On Day 2, the Bengals have picks 42 (10th pick in second round) and 73 (ninth pick in third round). Cleveland will make its first pick of the 2019 NFL Draft with the No. 49 overall pick (17th pick in the second round), and will also pick at No. 80 overall in the third round.

Baltimore gets back on the clock in the third round at No. 85 overall, and also holds the final pick of the third round at No. 102 overall, which is a compensatory pick. The Ravens don’t have a second-round pick on Friday after trading away that pick in the 2018 NFL Draft to trade back into the first round at No. 32 overall, where they grabbed Lamar Jackson.

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