After a brief hiatus, our good buddy Greg Cosell of NFL Films, ESPN's NFL Matchup, and Shutdown Corner is back to talk a little football. And with more than a month passed since the draft, we thought it would be interesting to review that selection process by division, now that teams have given a bit of insight into how their new players will be used. We've already covered the NFC West, AFC West, AFC South, NFC South, and NFC North. Now, we'll move to the AFC North to see how the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, and Pittsburgh Steelers did with their selections.
On the Baltimore Ravens' first-round pick, Florida SS Matt Elam: "There's a reckless element to his play -- I love his playing personality, but there were times when he was overly reckless. What I think is overlooked, and it's one reason he was drafted in the first round, is that he's very athletic, and he did play over the slot an awful lot. He was always the slot defender in Florida's sub packages. So, he's a very athletic kid who played a lot of man-to-man coverage. I thought he was an excellent pass defender, and in today's NFL, that's obviously critical. The only concern with Matt Elam is, of course, his height (5-foot-10). Let's say you're dealing with the Bengals. They now have two tight ends in Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert who are 6-foot-5. But I think he's a multi-dimensional safety."
On the Cincinnati Bengals' first-round pick, Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert: "I think you're going to see the Bengals do a bit more no-huddle, and I think they might even get [running back] Giovanni Bernard, their second-round pick involved in that, because he's an excellent receiver out of the backfield. So, you'll see Eifert and Jermaine Gresham on the field, with some no-huddle principles, and they'll try to play faster."
On the Cleveland Browns' first-round pick, LSU OLB/DE Barkevious Mingo: "Mingo is a space player -- that's his game. He played defensive end at LSU, but I don't think that's what he is in the NFL. He's an athletic movement player who will be used as a "Joker." They'll move him around. He's not a power guy -- he's light and quick and fast. There were games I watched in which his pure speed was really remarkable, so you try to get him in a position where he can use that. He flashed explosive traits -- the kind of movement you can't really coach."
On the Pittsburgh Steelers' first-round pick, Georgia OLB Jarvis Jones: "There was a thought that Dion Jordan and Barkevious Mingo were better pure athletes, and that's fair. But Jones is still pretty athletic, and coming out of college, I think he's a more advanced pass rusher than either Jordan or Mingo. He's got some quickness to him -- when he played against Alabama's D.J. Fluker, there were times when he struggled with that, and all of these players have things to learn. He's got good flexibility with natural movement, and he'll get every chance to replace James Harrison starting on the outside."
As with everything involving Greg Cosell, this podcast is a must-listen for those fans of advanced tape analysis. Subscribe to the Shutdown Corner iTunes link. You can also use the link below to either left-click and listen, or right-click to save to your computer.