A lot has been said about the Cleveland Browns ten picks in the 2017 draft. Their AFC North rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals, had ten picks as well. The feeling is that the Browns picked a lot of "can't misses", while the Bengals picked high-talent guys with medical and character question marks. Meet the new faces of an infamous enemy of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
No. 15 WR John Ross
Ross is a highly explosive game-changer that the Bengals need desperately to take the onus off of AJ Green. In 2016, Ross caught 81 balls for 1,150 yards and found the end zone 17 times. Oh yeah, The receiver out of Washington ran the fastest 40 yard dash ever at the combine with a 4.22. With that kind of talent, the Steelers secondary will have to have their heads on a swivel twice a year. The biggest question mark regarding this selection is availability. With meniscus and ACL surgery in 2015 and labrum surgery in 2016, there is a perception that Ross is damaged goods and may not give the Bengals full seasons year after year.
No. 28 RB Joe Mixon
The pick of Mixon so high both enrages me and makes me laugh all at the same time. I didn't want to see him rewarded going in the early rounds despite his transgressions and Cincinnati continues to display no scruples whatsoever.
Mixon has great size (6'1"/226 lbs.) and his play has been compared to Le'Veon Bell. He is a versatile weapon that can move all over the field. Last year he had 1,812 yards from scrimmage and 15 scores. However, he punched a woman in the face and anybody who wants to see video proof can. He also was suspended for harassing a parking attendant. Which means he continues to display total disregard for society. He has the talent that the Steelers will find it difficult to contain him. The Bengals, who have no problem bringing in low-character guys, may have trouble containing him as well.
No. 99 LB Jordan Willis
The Bengals needed speed guys coming off of the edge and they may have found it in the form of this Kansas State Wildcat. Willis recorded 80 QB pressures and had 25.5 sacks in his NCAA career. He has been lauded by scouts as a strong attacker with good hands. The plan is to have him challenge Michael Johnson immediately for playing time, but he is considered a risk. The knock on Willis is that he lacks creativity and is a straight-line pass rusher and withers against higher levels of competition as evidenced by his play in the Senior Bowl.
No. 58 OLB Carl Lawson
Lawson could be a steal, but like Ross, he comes with injury woes. The Steelers were high on the Auburn OLB, but he dropped from a potential first/second round tweener to the fourth round because of his missing all of 2014 with a knee ailment and six contests in 2015 with hip problems. Last year, Lawson played a full slate of games and recorded 9.5 sacks and 14 tackles for a loss. The 261 pounder is said to have a quick burst off the snap and is good at getting to the QB. The big "if" is health and if that stays clean, the Steelers offensive line will need to keep him away from Ben.
No. 80 WR Josh Malone
50 catches for 972 yards and 11 TDs is what the Tennessee receiver brings to Cincinnati. He also brings a 6'3" frame and 4.4 speed. The Bengals doubled-up on WR in this draft and they sorely needed to do so. The Steelers will need to account for Malone along with Green, Ross, Tyler Boyd and Tyler Eifert.
No. 67 DT Ryan Glasgow
The Michigan Wolverine is a blue-collar DT that stuffs the run well. Glasgow gives Cincy rotational depth along the defensive line with the departure of Domata Peko. Lauded for his toughness and versatility, the Bengals third fourth-rounder of 2017 brings 9.5 tackles for loss and four sacks to a defense that ranked 23rd against the run last year.
No. 3 K Jake Elliott
When you have ten draft picks and your franchise needs a consistent kicker, I guess you don't mind spending a fifth-rounder on the best in the nation. But the best was Zane Gonzalez who went to Cleveland later on. The Bengals passed up Gonzalez for the four-year starter and kickoff specialist from Memphis. Elliott is likely to win the job.
The remaining selections included a 6'5"/395 lb. center in J.J. Dielman (No. 64) from Utah, an ultra-athletic ILB in Oklahoma's (No. 50) Jordan Evans, a DB that runs 4.36 and has a 41" vertical jump in the Houston Cougar named Brandon Wilson (No. 40) and a blocking tight end from Buffalo in the form of (No. 86) Mason Schreck.