Wednesday, January 18, 2012
AFC North version: Kiper's debut mock draft
By Jamison Hensley
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. offered his first 2012 mock draft Wednesday, with a draft order that has the Cleveland Browns at No. 4 and 22 (from Atlanta), the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 17 (from Oakland) and 21, the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 24 and the Baltimore Ravens at No. 30.
You'll need an Insider subscription to view the entire draft, but here's a look at the AFC North part of it:
4. Cleveland Browns
Kiper's pick: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Hensley's comment: This has become the popular pick for the Browns at this spot. Still not sure if the Browns are sold on him or whether they would use him to get more picks and trade down.
17. Cincinnati Bengals
Kiper's pick: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
Hensley's comment: The Bengals would love to see Alabama running back Trent Richardson fall, but Kiper doesn't have him making it out of the top 5. The best value here would be cornerback. Cincinnati needs to groom someone to eventually replace veteran Nate Clements.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Kiper's pick: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami (Fla.)
Hensley's comment: It's assumed that the Bengals won't re-sign Cedric Benson, so running back will be a priority in this draft. Miller is more of a breakaway threat than Benson. Could Cincinnati have its own version of triplets?
22. Cleveland Browns
Kiper's pick: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Hensley's comment: The Browns desperately need a playmaker to jumpstart their plodding offense. Wright definitely has the speed to stretch the field. Not sold on his lack of height (5-foot-10), though.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
Kiper's pick: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
Hensley's comment: The Steelers put a premium on defensive linemen, taking Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward in the first round over the past three years. With the uncertainty surrounding nose tackle Casey Hampton, Poe is the type of space-eater who would round out an impressive young front.
30. Baltimore Ravens
Kiper's pick: Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona St.
Hensley's comment: It seems like for the past five drafts, this question comes up: Is this the year that the Ravens find the heir to Ray Lewis? Burfict has a Lewis-type attitude and would benefit from learning under the 13-time Pro Bowl linebacker.