Ravens G.M. Ozzie Newsome reaffirmed his status as one of the game's best personnel men, using his first four picks on defensive players who will immediately challenge for starting jobs or contribute as backups: Florida safety Matt Elam, Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown, Missouri Southern State nosetackle Brandon Williams and John Simon, a projected outside linebacker from Ohio State. Couple their arrivals with the free-agent signings of Elvis Dumervil, Chris Canty and Marcus Spears, and Baltimore should be better on defense despite losing six Super Bowl starters.
San Diego is the perfect spot for Manti Te'o. Shortly after the Chargers traded up in the second round, the phone at Te'o's home in Hawaii rang, but when the Notre Dame linebacker (right) saw a California area code he thought it was friends calling. (A prank, perhaps?) Instead it was the Chargers, ending his draft slide. The fact is, the landing spot is ideal, not only because Te'o is expected to start immediately in the middle, opposite Donald Butler, but also because San Diego boasts a particularly friendly media corps that will most likely let him bury his past.
The Bengals had a fifth straight strong draft, using three of their top four picks on Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert, a pass catching tight end; UNC's Giovani Bernard, a change-of-pace runner; and Georgia's Shawn Williams, a safety who should compete to start. All of which raises the question, Will owner Mike Brown tolerate anything less than a playoff win with that kind of talent coming in? Marvin Lewis is 0--4 in the postseason during 10 years with the club, the second-longest drought in NFL history for a coach with one team.
The Patriots reaffirmed their infatuation with receivers, taking two among their seven selections. Yes, Wes Welker needs replacing, but the Pats have drafted seven wideouts over their last nine drafts, and each has been a flameout, with the minor exception of Julian Edelman, who's the only Belichick-drafted receiver since 2002 to catch even 25 passes for New England. The Pats' latest attempts: Aaron Dobson, a second-rounder out of Marshall, and TCU's Josh Boyce, a fourth-rounder who caught passes from RG3 in high school and Andy Dalton in college. The last time the Patriots took a receiver as high as Dobson was 2006—and Chad Jackson was cut after two seasons.
May 6, 2013
It would hardly be surprising to see a major bounce-back year from running back Chris Johnson after the Titans selected Alabama guard Chance Warmack(left) 10th overall and used a fourth-round pick on Cal's Brian Schwenke, one of the draft's top centers. Add free-agent guard Andy Levitre to that lineman haul, and Tennessee could have one of the NFL's better interior lines, which means more running room for Johnson.