Monday, April 2, 2012
Blog Network mock: AFC North outlook
By Jamison Hensley
Our network of ESPN.com bloggers got together for the first version of our mock draft. You can click here to see all of the picks, but I will explain the AFC North part of it:
4. CLEVELAND BROWNS
The pick: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
What was I thinking: As expected, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Matt Kalil went 1-2-3. I believe the fourth-best player is between Richardson and LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. Since it was a major struggle for the Browns to break 17 points a game in 2011, I went with the player who can become the centerpiece of Cleveland's offense.
17. CINCINNATI BENGALS
The pick: David DeCastro, G, Stanford
What was I thinking: I was all set to take Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd until AFC East blogger James Walker grabbed him for the Jets just before this pick. But getting the best guard in the draft is a pleasant consolation prize. He would start immediately for the Bengals.
21. CINCINNATI BENGALS
The pick: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
What was I thinking: Honestly, the pick at No. 17 came down to DeCastro or Kirkpatrick. So, having Kirkpatrick fall to the Bengals at No. 21 is a big surprise. Kirkpatrick is the draft's second-best cornerback and will be the eventual replacement for Nate Clements.
22. CLEVELAND BROWNS
The pick: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
What was I thinking: The choices here boiled down to Hill, Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright and Nebraska outside linebacker Lavonte David. While most would go with Wright here, I like Hill because he has the size (6-foot-4) to go with the speed (better 40-yard dash than Wright at the NFL combine).
24. PITTSBURGH STEELERS
The pick: Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
What was I thinking: I've said this pick is a no-brainer for a while now. But I did pause when I saw Georgia guard-tackle Cordy Glenn was still on the board. With his leadership and experience in the 3-4 defense, Hightower remains the best fit for Pittsburgh.
29. BALTIMORE RAVENS
The pick: Cordy Glenn, G-T, Georgia
What was I thinking: This was another scenario where need fits best player available. The Ravens need a left guard after Ben Grubbs signed with New Orleans and Evan Mathis chose to re-sign with the Eagles. Baltimore loves versatile offensive linemen, and Glenn can play everywhere except center.