ESPN draft guru Todd McShay provided a special treat for NFL draftniks Wednesday. McShay projected a two-round mock draft for each team.
Here is how McShay views the AFC North:
Analysis: McShay remains consistent from his previous mock draft in picking Green for Cincinnati, but I don't agree with this selection. It's very risky drafting a receiver No. 4 overall when you have a variety of needs. This also is assuming quarterback Carson Palmer will return to throw to Green, which is not a slam dunk. The Bengals would be wise to get a pass-rushing defensive end in the first round and look for a quarterback in the second or third round as insurance. A combination of a receiver and defensive tackle doesn't help Cincinnati all that much.
Analysis: This would be a solid tandem to help Cleveland's new 4-3 defense under Dick Jauron. The Browns need defensive linemen, and Bowers could be plugged in right away as a starting defensive end. Bowers has top-five ability, but recent knee surgery may allow Cleveland to get him at No. 6. With cornerback Sheldon Brown slowing down, Smith's youth and athleticism would make him a good pupil. Smith is talented but comes with character concerns, which is why he may be available in the second round.
Analysis: I like McShay's train of thought for Baltimore. I believe Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan would be a more versatile fit for the Ravens, but Heyward also is talented. The Ravens need help getting to the quarterback and taking pressure off their secondary. Baltimore has expressed a lot of interest in Smith and likely would be pleased if he's still available at the bottom of the second round. Smith has good speed and could complement Baltimore's possession receivers Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason.
Analysis: This combination would fill Pittsburgh's two biggest needs, which are offensive line and cornerback. But in McShay's mock draft Texas corner Aaron Williams and Smith are both on the board at No. 31. If that's the case, I think Pittsburgh takes a cornerback in the first round. The Steelers are very thin at the position, and it's unknown if pending free agent Ike Taylor will return. This draft is stocked with offensive and defensive linemen, and Pittsburgh could probably find good prospects in the second round and beyond.