AFC North: Stephon Gilmore

We're into our third day in gauging what you think the teams in the AFC North should do in the first round.

Once we get through all six first-round selections by early next week, I will compile an AFC North fans' mock for the Bengals, Browns, Ravens and Steelers.


Who should the Bengals take with the 21st overall pick?


Discuss (Total votes: 320)

Today's pick is the Cincinnati Bengals and the 21st overall pick. Here are the choices:

CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina: He's got all the traits to be an excellent cover cornerback -- height, speed and a reputation for being a hard worker. There are concerns about if he's physical enough to play in-your-face man coverage.

G-OT Cordy Glenn, Georgia: Agile for his size, Glenn has played every position on the offensive line besides center. His questionable work habits and soft temperament hurts his value.

CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama: Instinctive and tough, he's an aggressive cover corner who plays with confidence. His three career interceptions indicate a lack of playmaking ability.

WR Kendall Wright, Baylor: A big playmaker, Wright has the speed to beat defenders deep and the sudden stop-and-go movement to elude tacklers after the catch. At 5-10, he lacks ideal height and strength.
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. offered his fourth 2012 mock draft this week. 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

Kiper's third mock: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

Current mock: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Hensley's comment: As everyone knows by now from my Wednesday blog, I'm behind the Browns taking Richardson. He will instantly become the centerpiece of that offense.

17. Cincinnati Bengals

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

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

Kiper's third mock: Dre Kirkpatrick

Current mock: David DeCastro, G, Stanford

Hensley's comment: If the choice is between Kirkpatrick and DeCastro, I believe the Bengals will go with DeCastro. The draft's best guard will make an immediate impact as a starter.

21. Cincinnati Bengals

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

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

Kiper's third mock: Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia

Current mock: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

Hensley's comment: Not sure I'm sold on this pick, even though the Bengals need an eventual replacement for Nate Clements. Gilmore is fast and aggressive, but there are questions whether he has the strength to play man coverage in the NFL.

22. Cleveland Browns

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

Kiper's second mock: Kendall Wright

Kiper's third mock: Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska

Current mock: Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia

Hensley's comment: I think it's going to be hard for the Browns to resist taking a wide receiver at this spot. Glenn is an intriguing choice because he can play anywhere on the line, and the Browns need help on their right side.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers

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

Kiper's second mock: Dontari Poe

Kiper's third mock: Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama

Current mock: Dont'a Hightower

Hensley's comment: This spot makes a lot of sense which is why most mock drafts are linking Hightower to the Steelers. His leadership and experience in the 3-4 defense makes him the best candidate to 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

Kiper's third mock: Peter Konz

Current mock: Peter Konz

Hensley's comment: I understand putting Konz here for the Ravens. He could immediately start at left guard and be groomed to replace veteran center Matt Birk. But the Ravens can't have any medical red flags with Konz, who has dealt with ankle injuries during his college career, for them to take him in the first round.
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.