Used to be, the Steelers could count on their mistakes. Used to be that during the annual NFL Draft, the Steelers’ competition within the division would do foolish things, would make poor decisions in the first round, while they were using their picks in the same round to add starters and/or Pro Bowl players to their roster.
Like the time Cleveland took Kellen Winslow Jr. instead of Ben Roethlisberger, or the time it missed on Tim Couch, or the time it missed on Brady Quinn, or the time it wasted the third overall pick on Braylon Edwards, or that first overall pick it wasted on Courtney Brown. Like the time Cincinnati missed on Akili Smith, or the time it spent a No. 1 pick on Chris Perry, or the time it wasted the third overall pick on Peter Warrick, or the ninth overall pick it wasted on Keith Rivers. Like the time Baltimore, well, the Ravens don’t make mistakes on the first round either, and that’s probably why they always seem to be in the mix come late November.
But the Browns and the Bengals got it right this time. Their selections in Round 1 of the 2013 NFL Draft were good ones, and the players they added will be ones the Steelers — and the Ravens for that matter — will have to deal with soon.
The Browns picked Barkevious Mingo, who figures to be an OLB in the 3-4 defense Ray Horton is putting together up there, and Mingo has a lot of traits that simply cannot be taught. Suffice it to say the Steelers would have been tickled to have a chance to draft him.
The Bengals picked Tyler Eifert, the best tight end talent available in this draft class. He’s going to be a factor in the Bengals’ passing attack, maybe as soon as 2013.
The Ravens, with the last pick of the first round, added Matt Elam, who will be someone who eventually takes the sting away from losing the two veteran safeties off their Super Bowl team. He’s not another Ed Reed, but then again, who is?
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