2019 NFL Draft AFC North Recap
- Michigan LB Devin Bush (No. 10 overall)
- Toledo WR Diontae Johnson (No. 66)
- Michigan State CB Justin Layne (No. 83)
- Kentucky RB Benny Snell (No. 122)
- Michigan TE Zach Gentry (No. 141)
- Northern Illinois Edge Sutton Smith (No. 175)
- Alabama DT Isaiah Buggs (No. 192)
- Akron LB Ulysees Gilbert (No. 207)
- Maryland OT Derwin Gray (No. 219)
My Take: The Pittsburgh Steelers traded their 2019 second round pick (No. 52) and 2020 third rounder to move up 10 spots to snag their guy in Devin Bush. I love this pick for them as Bush will take on the role Ryan Shazier held before his horrific spinal injury on December 4, 2017. Bush is a hot pursuer who will wreak havoc on the Ravens for years to come. What makes this pick even worse for the rest of the AFC North is that both Baltimore and Cincinnati had him high on their board and the Bengals would have presumably taken him with the 11th pick if the Steelers didn’t jump in front of them.
I don’t know much about Johnson, but I trust the Steelers coaching staff on this one. He wasn’t the highest graded receiver on most teams draft boards at 66 overall, but whose to tell the Steelers anything about receiver scouting. They have a freaky long track record of identifying wide receiver talent where all 31 other teams couldn’t. I expect Johnson to be the second receiver behind JuJu Smith-Schuster. Justin Layne is a nice pickup for a team desperately needing help in the secondary. If the Steelers didn’t trade up for Bush, it was widely known they would have gone corner in the first round. Layne is a good consolation prize.
The pick that hurt me the most for this team was the Benny Snell selection. Snell was a player I kept my eye on all season and was hopeful he’d end up in Baltimore, now we get to play him twice a year. The Gentry pick caused a bit of a pause for me because he wasn’t the highest graded tight end available… or the fifth best. Smith, Buggs, and Gilbert all add defensive depth in the first two levels and are nice value picks. I’m sure the Ravens are familiar with Gray as he spent his college career in their backyard, hopefully he can develop into a nice tackle for the black and yellow.
Overall: The AFC North as a whole had a nice draft with each team filling major holes on their roster with capable draft picks. I do feel like the Browns selection of Greedy Williams was in reaction to the Ravens taking speed demon Marquise Brown in the first round. Williams could have been their best available player, but he could also have been a response. Unbiased, the Ravens did the most to improve their roster, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Lamar Jackson is a huge winner. It will be exciting to see how these draft classes unfold on the filed, so make sure you stay tuned in on Ebony Bird for all things Baltimore Ravens.