Kevin Gorman: Steelers get a playmaker at wide receiver, but AFC North gets Greedy
On the first day of the NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers got greedy and traded up 10 spots to take coveted inside linebacker Devin Bush with the No. 10 pick.
On the second day, the Cleveland Browns got Greedy.
Once regarded as a top-10 pick, LSU cornerback Greedy Williams slipped to the 14th pick of the second round.
And he didn’t disappoint, predicting the Browns are going to the Super Bowl this year.
#Browns No. 46 pick Greedy Williams was fired up on his conference call: "I know one thing — that the Browns are going to the Super Bowl this year.''
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) April 27, 2019
Of the teams in the AFC North, the Browns won the second round.
Not that they had much competition. Only the Browns and Cincinnati Bengals had second-round picks.
Upside: After losing Terrell Suggs to Arizona and Za’Darius Smith to Green Bay in free agency, the Ravens were forced to address a glaring need on the edge. With the 85th pick, they drafted defensive end Jaylon Ferguson of Louisiana Tech, an explosive pass rusher who holds an FBS record with 45 sacks.
Ravens select La. Tech pass rusher Jaylon Ferguson with the No. 85 overall pick. After losing Terrell Suggs, Baltimore gets the player who broke his Division I record with 45 career sacks. Disinvited to combine after a background check turned up an old battery conviction.
— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) April 27, 2019
After taking diminutive but dynamic receiver Marquise Brown in the first round, the Ravens gave Lamar Jackson a big target in the third by selecting 6-foot-4, 220-pounder Miles Boykin of Notre Dame with their second choice in the third.
Downside: The Ravens didn’t have a second-round pick because of the Jackson trade last year, and didn’t swing a deal to move up in the draft.
What’s next?: The Ravens will be involved in making NFL Draft history when 13-year-old Mo Gaba, who lost his eyesight at nine months, will announce their fourth-round draft pick by reading a card in Braille. The Ravens acquired the Nos. 127 and 197 picks by swapping first-rounders with the Philadelphia Eagles, and have three fourth-round picks (Nos. 113, 123 and 127), so they could solidify several positions early.
Upside: The Bengals added a well-rounded tight end in Drew Sample of Washington in the second round and an athletic outside linebacker in Germain Pratt of N.C. State in the third, taking two players at positions of need for the Steelers.
Downside: By trading down in sending their No. 42 to Denver in a deal that allowed the Broncos to select quarterback Drew Lock, the Bengals didn’t get a good return with the 52nd, 125th and 182nd picks. Sample also was considered a major reach who could have been available in the third round or later.
ESPN's status report on Drew Sample: "He is one of the best blocking tight ends in this class. … Sample has value as a backup tight end because of his outstanding blocking and ball skills, but he will never be a good starter in the NFL"
— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) April 27, 2019
What’s next: The Bengals have the eighth and 23rd picks in the fourth round, Nos. 110 and 125, but still need to address inside linebacker after parting ways with Vontaze Burfict.
Upside: The Browns got one of the best players in press coverage in Williams, who had eight interceptions the past two seasons, to pair with 2018 first-rounder Denzel Ward. They added outside linebacker Sione Takitaki of BYU in the third round to help improve their defense against the rush.
Downside: Williams slipped so dramatically that it raises questions over whether it was just because of his aversion to tackling. Takitaki has a checkered past – he was kicked out of school in 2016 – and is a converted defensive end who dropped weight to switch to outside linebacker.
What’s next?: The Browns have the 17th pick of the fourth round (No. 119), two in the fifth and a sixth and seventh. They also could look to trade running back Duke Johnson.
Upside: After turning the pick from the Santonio Holmes into the draft choice of Antonio Brown, the Steelers flipped the first of two picks they received from Oakland for Brown into another playmaking wide receiver, Diontae Johnson of Toledo, in the third round. Johnson should compete to start in the slot and also provide a boost as a return specialist, all areas of need.
— Bruce Gradkowski (@bgradkowski5) April 27, 2019
The Steelers also addressed another position of need in drafting cornerback Justin Layne of Michigan State, who has great size and speed.
Downside: The Steelers sent their second-round pick to Denver in the Bush deal and didn’t trade up to get another, so they could only watch a run on corners. Eight players at the position were drafted before Layne, including Williams.
By prioritizing receiver in Johnson, the Steelers also missed out on outside linebacker Chase Winovich of Michigan, a Thomas Jefferson graduate who could have been a potential replacement for Bud Dupree next year. Winovich was chosen by the Patriots.
What’s next?: The Steelers have needs at tight end, outside linebacker and safety and own the 20th pick of the fourth round (No. 122), the third of the fifth (141), three picks in the sixth (175, 192, 207) and a seventh (219), so don’t be surprised to see them trade up.
Not to get greedy.
Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .