Thursday, February 17, 2011
Reviewing Kiper's latest mock draft
By James Walker
ESPN's draft guru Mel Kiper provided his latest mock draft this week with some intriguing picks for the AFC North.
Let's take a look.
Cincinnati Bengals (No. 4)
Kiper's current pick: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Kiper's previous pick: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
Analysis: I liked Kiper's previous pick from January because it fills a need. But with early projections, it doesn't appear Bowers will make it this far. Veteran receiver Chad Ochocinco has one year left on his contract. But even if he's traded, I think the Bengals have bigger holes to fill than receiver. Green could be a pick to appease disgruntled quarterback Carson Palmer, and that may have factored into Kiper's thinking. Cincinnati may also want to look at quarterbacks come April if the team still has no answer from Palmer, who has threatened to retire if he's not traded.
Cleveland Browns (No. 6)
Kiper's current pick: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
Kiper's previous pick: Green, WR, Georgia
Analysis: This is a surprise pick, and Kiper admits as much. Although this may change during the workout and combine process, Watt seems like a reach right now with the No. 6 pick. But the Browns will be looking for defensive ends to help in their new 4-3 defense under defensive coordinator Dick Jauron. Cleveland recently cut two veteran linebackers and two defensive linemen, leaving the team thin at both positions. Receiver also is a major need, hence the Green pick by Kiper last month.
Baltimore Ravens (No. 26)
Kiper's current pick: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
Kiper's previous pick: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
Analysis: With Kiper's first two mock drafts, he's convinced the Ravens will go with a cornerback. I'm not so sure, as needs at right tackle and another pass-rusher may be too great to ignore. Kiper likes Williams, who is physical and could fit in well with Baltimore. But with starting cornerback Domonique Foxworth returning from a knee injury, I think he's just as good as adding a high draft pick. Josh Wilson also is a free agent who may be retained, Lardarius Webb is a growing young talent and Chris Carr is a solid backup. The Ravens don't have nearly that kind of depth at offensive tackle or with pass-rushers behind Terrell Suggs and would be better served filling one of those two positions.
Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 31)
Kiper's current pick: Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
Kiper's previous pick: Tyron Smith, OT, USC
Analysis: Although I like Heyward the player, I don't like this pick for Pittsburgh. Kiper mentions the Steelers need additional 3-4 defensive ends. But with the emergence of Ziggy Hood, Brett Keisel making the Pro Bowl last season and Aaron Smith (triceps) getting healthy, I don't view this as a big need. Coming off a Super Bowl appearance, Pittsburgh does have the luxury to take the best available player. But the Steelers are by no means a perfect team and could use some youth and depth on the offensive line and at cornerback.