Monday, April 19, 2010
AFC North: Blogger mock analysis
By James Walker
Now that you've seen ESPN.com's 2010 blogger mock draft, I hope everyone is happy with the results. Thanks again for helping put together our NFL draft board, which I think was a smashing success.
Here is how it all broke down:
Cleveland Browns (No. 7)
Pick: Earl Thomas, safety, Texas
Analysis: Ideally, Tennessee safety Eric Berry was the player I wanted at No. 7. But I knew in the back of my mind chances weren't great. So I was already thinking of Plan B. Sure enough, AFC West blogger Bill Williamson took Berry off the board with the No. 5 pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, which could happen again on Thursday. Therefore, I stayed true to our draft board and selected Thomas, who is the next best safety and fills a huge need. His versatility and instincts would add a lot to Cleveland's defense, and you can already plug him in as a Week 1 starter.
Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 18)
Pick: Joe Haden, cornerback, Florida
Analysis: As the picks kept rolling in the first round, I began to get more and more excited about the prospect of landing Haden -- the draft's top cornerback -- for Pittsburgh at No. 18. Once Haden dropped into the teens, I hastily thought to pick up my cell phone to call bloggers Mike Sando and Matt Mosley to ask about trading up. But I temporarily forgot this was a mock draft. Otherwise, I probably would've written their blogs for a week in exchange for Pittsburgh to move up a few spots. But it turns out that wasn't needed. Teams like the New York Giants (thanks Mosley) and Tennessee Titans (thanks Paul Kuharsky) inexplicably passed over Haden and virtually gift-wrapped the steal of the draft to the Steelers. After a rough offseason, Pittsburgh finally catches a break.
Cincinnati Bengals (No. 21)
Pick: Jermaine Gresham, tight end, Oklahoma
Analysis: Both Gresham and safety Taylor Mays were available at No. 21. But in the end, Gresham was simply the best player available. The Bengals need more help scoring points on offense than they do with stopping opponents defensively. Gresham would be an instant starter for the Bengals. He was the second-rated player on our draft board behind receiver Dez Bryant, who went to the Denver Broncos at No. 11 and didn't fall the way some anticipated. But at this point, drafting a receiver was more of a luxury for the Bengals, not a need.
Baltimore Ravens (No. 25)
Pick: Jared Odrick, defensive lineman, Penn State
Analysis: As I was watching the draft board play out, I was getting really nervous for my final pick in the division. Odrick and cornerback Kyle Wilson were available at No. 24, and if the Philadelphia Eagles passed up both players, I would have a tough decision to make. But Mosley made a smart selection in taking Wilson for Philadelphia. It was a good value pick late in the first round after the Eagles traded cornerback Sheldon Brown to Cleveland. The move also made my decision to take Odrick a lot easier, considering he was the best player left on our board and Baltimore needs depth and youth on the defensive line.
So there are our four 2010 AFC North draft picks: Thomas, Haden, Gresham and Odrick.
Feel free to chime in on the results.