The Ravens upgraded at running back, getting an in-his-prime McGahee from the Bills, which should provide them with more style (and substance) than the lead-footed Jamal Lewis, who looked like he was running in place last year. They got a solid offensive guard in Ben Grubbs, and also snatched Ohio State QB Troy Smith, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, in the 5th round. The problem may be mental, not physical, for many former Heisman winners who struggle in the NFL. If you’re good enough to win the Hesiman at a Big Ten school, you should have enough talent to be a productive NFL player. Perhaps QB Steve McNair can impart some wisdom on a young Smith, but don’t bet on it: you can’t teach height, and Smith’s only six feet tall.
The Bengals missed the playoffs last year, due mostly to an obscenely difficult schedule. The problem wasn’t their offense, which is as much fun to play in Madden as it was to watch on Sundays. By adding Michigan CB Leon Hall, they’ve taking steps to greatly improve their secondary. He should eventually play opposite Deltha O’Neal, who’s got a knack for making the big play, and provide some balance.
The Browns mercifully put an end to Quinn’s embarrassment and probably had the best draft in the league, even if they may have given up too much to get him. They scored with can’t-miss Wisconsin OT Joe Thomas and a potential franchise QB like Quinn, both top-5 prospects. They also added RB Jamal Lewis, which is ironic. Lewis comes over from the Baltimore Ravens, who moved from Cleveland in the mid-90s. So the Ravens got the best years of Lewis’s career, then allow him return to Cleveland to putter off into the sunset. How sweet.
You can set your clock by the Steelers draft plans - (Almost) always defense, and always aggressive. I’m bigger on Michigan DE LeMarr Woodley than I am on Florida State LB Lawrence Timmons, no matter what the scouts say. Pittsburgh makes linebackers, and Woodley’s got Greg Lloyd written all over him. It’s going to be tough to replace Joey Porter, but the combination of Timmons and Woodley should help some.