- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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In the latest mock draft by Mel Kiper Jr., the ESPN draft analyst goes three rounds. It's an Insider piece, but I can give you a glimpse of the AFC North part of it along with my commentary:
Rd 1 (17) CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
Rd 1 (21) G David DeCastro, Stanford
Rd 2 (53) CB Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech
Rd 3 (83) G Tony Bergstrom, Utah
Hensley's comment: Not sure if the Bengals will pass on DeCastro with the 17th pick because there's no guarantee he'll be there at No. 21. DeCastro is one of the best guard prospects in a long time, and Cincinnati has more of a need at that position than cornerback. I agree the Bengals will address cornerback in the first three rounds, but I'm not sold on them taking two with their first three picks. I can see the Bengals taking a wide receiver like Baylor's Kendall Wright early, too.
Rd 1 (4) RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
Rd 1 (22) T/G Cordy Glenn, Georgia
Rd 2 (37) QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma St.
Rd 3 (67) CB Dwight Bentley, Louisiana-Lafayette
Hensley's comment: The Browns should be ecstatic if they can get Richardson and Glenn. Richardson is the top running back in the draft, and Glenn is the most versatile offensive lineman. The selection of Weeden in the second round has become a popular one for the Browns, although I think it's a mistake to take a 28-year-old rookie. Wait, where's the wide receiver? If the Browns can't upgrade at wide receiver with four picks in the first three rounds, that would be a major disappointment.
Rd 1 (29) C Peter Konz, Wisconsin (or trade down)
Rd 2 (60) OLB Terrell Manning, N.C. State
Rd 3 (91) WR Joe Adams, Arkansas
Hensley's slant: I could be way off on this, but I haven't gotten the impression that the Ravens are enamored by Konz. Picking him makes sense, though. He could start at guard and eventually replace Matt Birk at center. Manning can immediately help as a pass rusher and on special teams. But he projects more as a 4-3 outside linebacker. Adams would make an immediate impact as a returner.
Rd 1 (24) ILB Dont'a Hightower, Alabama
Rd 2 (56) G/T Jeff Allen, Illinois
Rd 3 (86) DT Brandon Thompson, Clemson
Hensley's slant: Everyone expects the Steelers to take Hightower, so you know Pittsburgh is going to surprise and go elsewhere. I can see the Steelers taking a guard or outside linebacker in the first round. Allen would be a smart pick in the second round because he can play guard or tackle. Thompson would be a steal because he's a top-50 prospect.