Thursday, November 8, 2012
Kiper's early draft preview for AFC North
By Jamison Hensley
I honestly don't get into draft mode until after the regular season. Thankfully we have Mel Kiper Jr. here at ESPN and he never stops thinking about the draft. Now, these are just his thoughts on "good fits" for each team and not necessarily based on value or draft position. Here's the link to Kiper's Midseason draft preview. It's an Insider article, so you'll need a subscription to read everything. Here is Kiper's picks for each team and my thoughts:
Cincinnati Bengals: Florida safety Matt Elam. The Bengals definitely need help at safety, where they just brought back Chris Crocker in a last-ditch effort to fill that spot. But Cincinnati really needs a playmaking running back and some youth at outside linebacker (assuming Vontaze Burfict moves inside). I don't see the Bengals going for a wide receiver early because they like the potential of Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones.
Cleveland Browns: Alabama guard Chance Warmack. Even if Warmack is the top-rated guard in the draft, the Browns obviously won't take him if they're sitting with a top-five pick. Of course, you know how the Browns enjoy trading down. The bigger needs that could be addressed at the top of the draft are outside linebacker and wide receiver.
Baltimore Ravens: Georgia inside linebacker Alec Ogletree. It's become clear that the Ravens need to find an heir apparent to Ray Lewis. Ogletree has some character issues, but he's a freakish athlete who runs sideline to sideline. The Ravens need to upgrade at defensive end and guard. They also have to think about cornerback (Cary Williams is a free agent) and wide receiver (Anquan Boldin enters final year of his contract in 2013).
Pittsburgh Steelers: Georgia defensive tackle John Jenkins. The Steelers could use more depth on the defensive line and Jenkins is a big-bodied lineman (363 pounds) who can rush the passer. The more pressing needs will be at wide receiver (if Mike Wallace isn't tagged or signed to an extension), inside linebacker (Larry Foote will be 33 next season) and safety (Troy Polamalu's injuries continue to be a concern).