Sports Today: NFL draft reaction, Ohio State still DBU, college recruiting update

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 27:  (L-R) John Ross of Washington shakes hands with Commissioner of the National Football League Roger Goodell after being picked #9 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals during the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on April 27, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 27: (L-R) John Ross of Washington shakes hands with Commissioner of the National Football League Roger Goodell after being picked #9 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals during the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on April 27, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

How’s your NFL draft hangover?

Probably worse if you’re a Chicago Bears fan, but we’ll get to that later.

My immediate take on the Cincinnati Bengals taking Washington receiver John Ross in the first round was they could have used that pick more smartly.

That doesn’t mean I believe it was a bad pick. Ross brings the potential for great excitement and production to an offense that had its ups and downs last year based in no small part on who was available on a given Sunday.

There is merit to the idea building an offensive juggernaut is as good or maybe even better than being balanced-but-not-outstanding on either side of the ball.

MORRISON: Bengals fulfill need for speed with Ross

If he can thrive while the field is tilted toward A.J. Green, then the Bengals could really have something. Ditto if it means they have to play Green more straight up (unlikely), or if this means two deep safeties and room for Jeremy Hill to run.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Bengals excired to land speedster John Ross

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

As far as maximizing the pick, I’d argue there was more raw ability available in Malik Hooker, Jonathan Allen or Reuben Foster, but perhaps the Bengals brass disagrees because they have generally adhered to the principle of taking the best player available.

Not sure they would not have been better served looking for a Curtis Samuel or Chris Godwin in the second round after bolstering the defense in the first.

The standard set by Green is going to be hard for anyone to match, but hopefully Ross turns out to be more Isaac Curtis or Eddie Brown than Peter Warrick…

When all was said and done, Ohio State ended up with three defensive backs taken in the first round. 

Marshon Lattimore (No. 11, Saints) and Malik Hooker (No. 15, Colts) both slipped compared to early projections while Gareon Conley (24th, Raiders) still ended up in the first round despite a sexual assault investigation clouding his status.

Ohio State says the three DBs taken in the first round ties the University of Miami (2002) for the most in one year. (Yes, that was the year Ed Reed became a Baltimore Raven.)

According to my research, 2016 was the fifth time Ohio State had two first-round corners starting together. That was also the case in 2015 (Conley and Eli Apple), 1997 and ‘98 (Antoine Winfield and Ahmed Plummer both seasons) and ’99 (Plummer and Nate Clements).

Since 1994, 19 of Ohio State’s 24 full-time starting corners have been drafted, including 10 first-rounders.

Not too shabby…

What about the Browns? 

Cleveland did the right thing by taking Myles Garrett with the No. 1 overall pick.

If they would have eventually over-drafted Mitch Trubisky will never be known because the Bears inexplicably traded up one spot to take a second-round talent with the No. 2 overall pick.

I know Browns fans hate all the trading down, but they still ended up with two more guys in the first round (Jabrill Peppers and David Njoku) who could help them score points down the line.

Jabrill Peppers is an elite return man. Whether he can help them on defense will depend on if he learns to tackle and/or cover, but he is terrifying with the ball in his hands.

He was productive at times on defense for Michigan, but I was surprised at his disappearing act in November.

I like to needle Michigan fans on social media about him being Devin Hester or Josh Cribbs, but the fact is those guys were incredible return men who could change a game. That’s nice to have...

Finally we finish this all football version of the morning column with a reminder two of the area’s top football prospects named their top 10 schools last night. 

L'Christian "Blue" Smith, a four-star receiver from Wayne, went first by dropping a list that includes Ohio State, Alabama, Notre Dame and Cincinnati.

Next came Tavion Thomas, a four-star running back from Dunbar, who also has Ohio State in his top 10.

Can the Buckeyes beat the likes of Texas, USC and LSU for his services?

Time will tell, but both of them have great options.

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