Four Big Ten players were taken in round one of the NFL Draft Thursday night. One was taken sooner than most expected, while two were taken lower and one wasn’t a real surprise.
Let’s take a look at the players and how they fit in with the teams that drafted them.
Pick 11, Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan — The Titans got a minor steal in my opinion, as many had Lewan going in the top ten. Lewan solidifies what was already shaping up to be one of the more young and talented offensive lines in the NFL. His has a mean streak, and some analysts described him last night as a “bull in a China shop.” He has perennial Pro Bowl potential. Now the Titans just need to draft a quarterback and running back for him to block for.
Pick 15, Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State — This was a big surprise in my opinion. Shazier was a first round talent all along, but I never thought he’d go this early and to the Steelers no less. He brings an element of speed to the Pittsburgh linebacking corps that they haven’t had in a while. His versatility and ability to play several positions on defense will make him a solid contributor for years to come.
Pick 24, Darqueze Dennard, CB, Bengals — For me, this was the shocker of the night. Arguably the top corner in the draft, I counted at least five teams desperately in need of a cornerback who passed on him before Cincy swooped in. Something about him turned those teams off, but I can promise you it wasn’t anything he did on the field. The guy is a stud and makes what was already a scary Bengal defense even scarier.
Pick 31, Bradley Roby, CB, Denver Broncos — Denver needed another solid corner and got one in Roby. His world-class speed and blue collar toughness are going to be huge assets to a Denver defensive backfield lacking both as of late. With games against Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson and Tom Brady on the schedule, Roby should stay busy in the film room.
Look for many more Big Ten players to go off the boards tonight in the 2nd and 3rd rounds.
BY J.P. SCOTT ON MAY 9, 2014
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