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Thursday, April 8, 2010
Reviewing the mock drafts

By James Walker
ESPN.com

NFL draft gurus Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay posted their latest mock drafts Insider on ESPN.com. With the 2010 draft exactly two weeks away, let's examine what they have in store for the AFC North.

Cleveland Browns (No. 7 overall)

Kiper's pick: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State

McShay's pick: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee

Analysis: Both Kiper and McShay whiffed on these two picks, in my opinion. Williams would be a significant reach for the Browns at No. 7, and Bryant is a player reportedly falling on most team’s draft boards because of inconsistent workout and character concerns. Teams that draft receivers with a top-10 pick often regret it. The Browns recently did that in 2005 with Braylon Edwards at No. 3, and I don't see new team president Mike Holmgren taking the same risk. Perhaps McShay was overreacting to Shaun Rogers' recent arrest at a Cleveland airport and figured the Browns need to take a big plugger immediately at No. 7 overall. But unless that defensive tackle's last name is "Suh" or "McCoy," I don't see that happening, either. Here are my options for the Browns at No. 7.

Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 18)

Kiper's pick: Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida

McShay's pick: Pouncey

Analysis: I'm having a hard time finding fault with most of the potential targets with Pittsburgh. If the Steelers get help on the interior offensive line by drafting Pouncey -- the top-rated center -- it makes sense. If they get an offensive tackle to help with the team's shaky pass protection and possibly move Willie Colon inside to guard, it makes sense. If Pittsburgh drafts a cornerback in the first round or a nose tackle to be the eventual successor to Casey Hampton, that makes sense, too. In general, I think the Steelers are very fortunate to hold a mid-round pick this year in an extremely deep draft. Ideally, I believe Florida cornerback Joe Haden would be the perfect fit for the Steelers. But he may not be available unless they move up a few spots.

Cincinnati Bengals (No. 21)

Kiper's pick: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma

McShay's pick: Bryant

Analysis: Both Kiper and McShay are precise with these two picks. The Bengals need help in the passing game, and Gresham and Bryant are the two top-rated players at their respective positions. With Cincinnati thin at tight end, Gresham has the potential and ability to start for the Bengals in Week 1. Blocking is his biggest concern. After signing Antonio Bryant in free agency to a $28 million contract, receiver is no longer a desperate need for Cincinnati. But if Bryant falls into the Bengals' lap at No. 21, he would be a great value pick in this spot and perhaps too hard for Cincinnati to pass up.

Baltimore Ravens (No. 25)

Kiper's pick: Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech

McShay's pick: Thomas

Analysis: After the blockbuster deal to land three-time Pro Bowl receiver Anquan Boldin, signing Donte' Stallworth and re-signing Derrick Mason, I just about scratched receiver off my list for Baltimore in the first round. There are several more immediate needs for the Ravens, such as cornerback, an extra pass rusher and tight end. But with that said, Thomas is a decent pick. He's a physical specimen whose stock fell a little because of a recent foot injury. Going to Baltimore would give him time to learn the NFL game and eventually grow with quarterback Joe Flacco.