NFL draft reaction: Browns, Ravens make bold moves while Bengals play it safe


Baker Mayfield was certainly a bold pick by the Cleveland Browns. 

Of all the quarterbacks available, I would have liked to have Mayfield or Lamar Jackson the most because the flaws of the other three scare me more

Josh Allen is not an accurate passer. 

Sam Darnold turns the ball over too much. 

Josh Rosen brings injury concerns. 

There are no perfect prospects, but those are three things that are hard to fix. 

RELATED: Who are the best Ohio State QBs of all time? 

I’m curious how low Cleveland could have gotten Mayfield (maybe he wouldn’t have been there at four), but I guess we’ll never know. 

As I wrote yesterday, teams usually want to max out physical ability with those high picks, but the Browns didn’t necessarily do that with either Mayfield or Denzel Ward, the Ohio State cornerback they chose with the No. 4 pick. 

Of course I like the NFL potential of both of them, and if they are part of the Browns’ rebirth no one will care who else they could have had on draft night. 

Ward can fly, but he’s not the biggest guy so there are some concerns about his durability. 

Mayfield is accurate with plenty of arm strength and the ability to break the pocket and make plays, but life outside the pocket can be dangerous in the NFL. And if you can’t win in the pocket, you’re done. 

Obviously Mayfield’s swagger is going to be a turn off for some. I feel like it will be an asset for him to help the Browns put years of losing behind them...  

As for the Cincinnati Bengals, picking Billy Price looks like a home run.

On the field, Price can turn a weakness into strength in the middle of the line. 

He should also be a strong presence in a locker room that lost offensive line leader Andrew Whitworth a year ago. 

That’s even more important for a team that doesn’t appear to get much leadership from its head coach or the quarterback position. 

Offensive line can be a tough area to fix in just one year, but the Bengals just might have pulled it off by acquiring Cordy Glenn from the Bills and drafting Price. They essentially got two likely starters for the No. 12 pick, which is an amazing turnaround considering how quickly the line fell apart a year ago. 

Now they are in position to freely go with the best players on the board with their last 10 picks, and since they don’t really need 10 picks, they can package some to move up if the opportunity arises. 

Speaking of moving up: 

While I love the Bengals’ pick of Price, it’s hard to ignore what the Baltimore Ravens did to cap round one. 

GM Ozzie Newsome filled a need at No. 25 with a tight end then traded back into the first round to get a potential franchise quarterback of the future in Lamar Jackson. 

They had to pay a price, but it will be minuscule if it pays off. 

The Ravens are a little like the Bengals in that they have a veteran starter who is both entrenched and embattled. 

Andy Dalton and Joe Flacco should both be around for at least a little while, but they won’t be there forever. 

Dalton had a better year for the Bengals statistically than Flacco did for the Ravens last year, but of course the narrative around the two is skewed heavily by Flacco having a bigger arm and a Super Bowl ring. 

(Pro Football Focus rated Dalton higher than Flacco, too). 

The question with Flacco has always been consistency, but he’s gotten it done one more time than Dalton has when it matters most. 

I’m not sure either of them is a true franchise quarterback because neither of them have shown they can lead a team that is down like an Aaron Rodgers or Ben Roethlisberger. 

Regardless of who has the higher ceiling moving forward, Dalton and Flacco are both at worst average NFL quarterbacks who have flexible contract situations. That means their teams are better off with them than without them, and Baltimore and Cincinnati can also be proactive in finding their eventual replacements. 

The Ravens did that last night. 

Will the Bengals any time soon? 

They won’t get a guy like Jackson now because he’s off the board and prospects like him only come along every 20 years or so, but there are some good developmental options still on the board. 

If they didn’t take Jackson, I wouldn’t expect them to get one in the second or third rounds, either, but Toledo’s Logan Woodside or even Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett are intriguing long-term options on day three. 

They got to see Barrett up close a week ago, and Woodside is a Kentucky native who said at the NFL Scouting Combine getting to learn behind a guy like Dalton would be “an ideal situation.” 


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

NBA star Russell Westbrook, wife Nina expecting twin girls
NBA star Russell Westbrook, wife Nina expecting twin girls

NBA star Russell Westbrook and his wife, Nina, announced Tuesday they are expecting twin girls in a YouTube video produced by the Oklahoma City Thunder. >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  The video is called "The Westbrook Family." Nina lets out the news they're having twins 2:12 into...
HS Results 9/18: Alter and Fenwick boys soccer tie 0-0

Boys Soccer Tuesday’s Results Alter 0, Fenwick 0 Beavercreek 3, Northmont 0 Bellbrook 1, Eaton 1 Butler 8, Greenville 1 Centerville 2, Springboro 0 Colerain 1, Oak Hills 1 Fairfield 1, Middletown 0 Fairmont 3, Miami Valley School 0 McNicholas 3, Badin 0 Miamisburg 3, Wayne 0 Middletown Madison 2, Carlisle 1 Milton-Union 4, Preble Shawnee 0 Monroe...
Buckeyes on the return of Urban Meyer to sideline: ‘He drives our culture’
Buckeyes on the return of Urban Meyer to sideline: ‘He drives our culture’

Life has returned to normal for the Ohio State Buckeyes in that they will play the remaining nine regular-season games with their head coach, Urban Meyer, on the sideline. His three-game suspension ended Saturday when Ohio State beat Texas Christian 40-28. The Buckeyes went 3-0 with Ryan Day serving as acting head coach and will run out of the tunnel...
Three area teams top regions in first OHSAA computer ratings
Three area teams top regions in first OHSAA computer ratings

Top-ranked Chaminade Julienne and Coldwater joined Bellbrook as the No. 1 teams in their respective regions of the first Ohio High School Athletic Association computer football ratings released on Tuesday. The ratings made their debut after Week 4 games. The Associated Press announced its first high school state football polls last week. CJ and Coldwater...
Cincinnati Bengals sign kicker Bullock to contract extension
Cincinnati Bengals sign kicker Bullock to contract extension

The Bengals on Tuesday rewarded kicker Randy Bullock for his reliability. The Bengals signed Bullock to two-year contract extension through the 2020 season. Bullock was in the final season of a two-year deal. »RELATED: Panthers’ offensive style presents challenges for Bengals Since joining the Bengals during the 2016 season, Bullock has...
More Stories