Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Kiper's final mock: AFC North version
By Jamison Hensley
ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. produced his final mock for the 2012 draft. You'll need a subscription to view the entire Insider piece , but here's the AFC North part of it:
4. Cleveland Browns
Pick: RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
Hensley's comment: This should be a no-brainer for the Browns. Cleveland can instantly improve its offense by giving the ball 20 to 25 times to Richardson. There are options that would address need at quarterback (Ryan Tannehill) and wide receiver (Justin Blackmon). But Richardson fills a need and is the best player available.
17. Cincinnati Bengals
Pick: G-T Cordy Glenn, Georgia
Hensley's comment: The Bengals want Stanford guard David DeCastro to fall to them, but it's looking like that won't happen. Glenn is a very solid fallback pick who will start immediately at guard and provide a punch in the running game. He is a physically dominating lineman.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Pick: WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech
Hensley's comment: The pairing of Hill to the Bengals is becoming very popular now. Hill has tremendous potential, but I'm not sure how much the Bengals will get out of him right away. He is an unpolished route runner. Still, the Bengals need a No. 2 wide receiver after losing Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell this offseason.
22. Cleveland Browns
Pick: QB Brandon Weeden
Hensley's comment: Weeden is one of the few quarterbacks in this draft class who can start right away. But taking Weeden here is a reach. The Browns would be better served by using this first-round pick on an offensive tackle like Stanford's Jonathan Martin or wide receiver like Rueben Randle.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
Pick: NT Dontari Poe, Memphis
Hensley's comment: The buzz has apparently died down on Poe, who could slide down to the Steelers. In Kiper's mock, Alabama linebackers Dont'a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw are still available at this spot. Under this scenario, I agree with Kiper the Steelers take Poe.
29. Baltimore Ravens
Pick: ILB Dont'a Hightower, Alabama
Hensley's comment: There are more pressing needs at guard and outside linebacker, but the Ravens couldn't pass on Hightower. Baltimore has to think about the future and the eventual replacement for Ray Lewis. The Ravens would be thrilled to land the two-time captain at Alabama.