AFC North: Alfonzo Dennard

ESPN's Todd McShay offered the fourth version of his 2012 mock draftInsider this week. Here's a look at the AFC North part of it:

4. Cleveland Browns

Version 1.0: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Version 2.0: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

Version 3.0: Richardson

Version 4.0: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

Hensley's comment: I agree with version 3.0 more than 4.0. Blackmon doesn't have the speed that the Browns really need at wide receiver. That's why the Browns should go with Richardson at this spot.

17. Cincinnati Bengals

Version 1.0: David DeCastro, G, Stanford

Version 2.0: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

Version 3.0: Kirkpatrick

Version 4.0: DeCastro

Hensley's comment: It will be a tough decision for the Bengals if DeCastro and Kirkpatrick are still available at this spot. DeCastro would make more of an immediate impact for the Bengals, who have done a nice job of adding veteran cornerbacks this offseason.

21. Cincinnati Bengals

Version 1.0: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

Version 2.0: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

Version 3.0: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

Version 4.0: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

Hensley's comment: If the Bengals want to take a cornerback here, the choice is between Gilmore or Janoris Jenkins. While Jenkins has better coverage skills, Gilmore doesn't have the same character issues as Jenkins. Don't rule out a wide receiver at this spot either.

22. Cleveland Browns

Version 1.0: Kevin Reddick, OLB, North Carolina

Version 2.0: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

Version 3.0: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

Version 4.0: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

Hensley's comment: Version 4.0 is a better prediction than Brockers, because the Browns have a big need at right tackle. But there are concerns, because Adams lacks a mean streak, which is a must-have in the AFC North. The Browns might wait until the second round to take a right tackle.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers

Version 1.0: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia

Version 2.0: Adams

Version 3.0: Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama

Version 4.0: Hightower

Hensley's comment: This still seems like a no-brainer to me. Hightower would step into the void left by James Farrior. Pittsburgh could also take an offensive lineman or cornerback in the first round.

29. Baltimore Ravens

Version 1.0: Adams

Version 2.0: Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State

Version 3.0: Peter Konz, C-G, Wisconsin

Version 4.0: Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame

Hensley's comment: There is a definite need at safety. Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard are entering the final years of their contact, and longtime backups Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura signed elsewhere this offseason. Smith, who had been pegged as a second-round pick, has been rising up boards recently. I'm just not completely sold on his playmaking ability.
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. offered his third 2012 mock draft, updated over the weekend. 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 first mock draft: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

Kiper's second mock: Robert Griffin III

Current mock: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

Hensley's comment: I would take Alabama's Trent Richardson
over Blackmon, even though I don't typically endorse taking a running back this high. Blackmon isn't better than Julio Jones, the wide receiver that the Browns passed on last year. So taking Blackmon, who doesn't have the elite speed that the Browns need, would be a bad move.

17. Cincinnati Bengals

Kiper's first mock draft: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

Kiper's second mock: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

Current mock: Dre Kirkpatrick

Hensley's comment: Deciding between Kirkpatrick and Stanford guard David DeCastro would be tough. DeCastro provides a more immediate impact. Kirkpatrick would be groomed to eventually replace veteran Nate Clements.

21. Cincinnati Bengals

Kiper's first mock draft: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami (Fla.)

Kiper's second mock: David DeCastro, G, Stanford

Current mock: Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia

Hensley's comment: Getting DeCastro here would be preferred, but I like taking the next-best guard in Glenn over a running back like Miller. Glenn would be an immediate starter at Cincinnati's weakest position last season.

22. Cleveland Browns

Kiper's first mock draft: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

Kiper's second mock: Kendall Wright

Current mock: Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska

Hensley's comment: Since I don't like the Browns taking Blackmon with the No. 4 pick, I would have them selecting a speedy wide receiver like Baylor's Wright. But drafting the athletic David would solidify an outside linebacker spot as well as boost a struggling run defense.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers

Kiper's first mock draft: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

Kiper's second mock: Dontari Poe

Current mock: Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama

Hensley's comment: Remember when Poe was supposed to be available here? Now, he's risen to the top 10 in Kiper's latest mock. Grabbing a talent like Hightower would fill the void left by the release of James Farrior.

29. Baltimore Ravens

Kiper's first mock draft: Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State

Kiper's second mock: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

Current mock: Peter Konz

Hensley's comment: The Ravens don't start rookies at center, and they won't throw Konz in there at center immediately. Konz is also considered one of the top guards in the draft and could learn for a season beside veteran center Matt Birk, who is expected to be re-signed, before taking over that spot.
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.

McShay mock: AFC North version

December, 22, 2011
12/22/11
1:30
PM ET
As the regular season begins to wind down, it's time for the playoffs -- as well as draft talk -- to begin to heat up.

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay offered his first 2012 mock draft Insider Wednesday, with a draft order that projected the Cleveland Browns at No. 4 and 24 (from Atlanta), the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 18 (from Oakland) and 21, the Baltimore Ravens at No. 27 and the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 28.

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

Player: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Hensley's comment: The Browns are taking someone on the offensive side of the ball. That's obvious. The drafting of Richardson means a quick exit for Peyton Hillis.

18. Cincinnati Bengals

Player: David DeCastro, G, Stanford

Hensley's comment: This makes a lot of sense because the Bengals are expected to part ways with longtime guard Bobbie Williams. If you believe Andy Dalton is your franchise quarterback, you need to start investing in offensive linemen.

21. Cincinnati Bengals

Player: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

Hensley's comment: Safety is a bigger need in the secondary, but coach Marvin Lewis knows the importance of having talented young cornerbacks. He used first-rounders on Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph.

24. Cleveland Browns
Player: Kevin Reddick, OLB, North Carolina


Hensley's comment: There's such a need for playmakers that it wouldn't be surprising to see the Browns use another first-rounder on offense. A downfield presence like South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery would be a solid pickup if he's still available.

27. Baltimore Ravens

Player: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

Hensley's comment: The Ravens need a guard to replace free agent Ben Grubbs more than a tackle. Remember, left tackle Bryant McKinnie was signed to a two-year contract. This could be the year when the Ravens have to look at inside linebacker in the first round.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers

Player: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Hensley's comment: The more pressing needs seem to be the left side of the offensive line. The Steelers might want to think about adding a pass-catching tight end (which have good value at the bottom of the first round) because Heath Miller will be a free agent in 2013.

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