Monday, April 23, 2012
Blogger mock draft: AFC North picks
By Jamison Hensley
The live ESPN Blogger Mock Draft just wrapped up, and I'll give you my picks and my thoughts behind them:
4. Browns: RB Trent Richardson, Alabama. Not buying into the Browns' interest in wide receiver Justin Blackmon or quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Richardson is clearly the best offensive player in the draft outside of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. The Browns' struggling offense needs an identity, and Richardson can instantly give it a tough one.
17. Bengals: DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina. Things didn't go as planned in the first half of the draft for the Bengals, who watched guard David DeCastro, safety Mark Barron and cornerback Stephon Gilmore all get taken in the top 15. Defensive end is a major need for the Bengals, but it would be hard to resist taking a talent like Coples. Even though Coples has boom-or-bust potential, this is a pick based on best player available.
21. Bengals: G-T Cordy Glenn, Georgia. The decision here came down to Glenn, wide receiver Kendall Wright or cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. You could argue wide receiver is the bigger need, but Glenn is the better prospect. After failing to get DeCastro at No. 17, the Bengals turn to Glenn to make an immediate impact at right or left guard.
22. Browns: OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford. This was a tough call because the Browns need speed at wide receiver, and Wright and Stephen Hill are sitting there. But that's the reason the pick is Martin. There are so many more wide receiver prospects available than offensive tackles, so the Browns have a better chance of a wide receiver falling to them early in the second round (perhaps South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery).
24. Steelers: NT Dontari Poe, Memphis. Could the Steelers have envisioned a better draft unfolding than this? Pittsburgh would've been happy with Dont'a Hightower, Courtney Upshaw or even Amini Silatolu. Instead, Poe falls into their laps. He becomes the heir apparent to Casey Hampton.
29. Ravens: OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama. The Ravens are always looking for pass rushers, and Upshaw gives them another tone-setter on defense. He replaces Jarret Johnson in Baltimore's base defense and plays opposite Terrell Suggs as an edge rusher in passing situations. Upshaw has drawn comparisons to LaMarr Woodley, so you know he's an AFC North-type of player.