Post-Super Bowl mock draft
February, 10, 2011
By James Walker
With the final game of the season officially in the books, it's time to look ahead to the 2011 offseason.
That means the NFL draft and NFL mock drafts will be in full force, and ESPN's Todd McShay is getting the post-Super Bowl party started this week with his third installment. Insider
Here is how McShay views the AFC North draft as of early February:
Cincinnati Bengals (No. 4)
McShay's pick: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Analysis: Excluding the situation with franchise quarterback Carson Palmer, I still contend a pass-rushing defensive end is Cincinnati's biggest need. Carlos Dunlap came on late but the rookie can't do it alone. Robert Geathers and Antwan Odom were non-factors this season and, because of their large contracts, may be on the chopping block. But McShay likes Green at No. 4. Perhaps appeasing Palmer has weighed into this pick. But with Chad Ochocinco still under contract and the emergence of young receivers Jordan Shipley, Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell, I don't see the Bengals drafting a receiver this high.
Cleveland Browns (No. 6)
McShay's pick: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
Analysis: The Browns are very thin on defensive line, especially after Wednesday's release of veterans Shaun Rogers and Kenyon Coleman. I think this increases the chance of Cleveland drafting a defensive lineman. But switching to a 4-3 defense, defensive end may be a bigger need than defensive tackle. Ahtyba Rubin is an up-and-coming defensive tackle who could fill one spot, but Cleveland doesn't have any dynamic defensive ends on the roster. Also, don't completely rule out Green. Browns president Mike Holmgren and new head coach Pat Shurmur both specialize on offense and want to get rookie quarterback Colt McCoy some much-needed help next season.
Baltimore Ravens (No. 26)
McShay's pick: Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky
Analysis: Baltimore has the tendency to take the best available player when it drafts late in the first round, and that could be the case again. But I think the Ravens should consider addressing some needs this year in the first round, such as the big hole at right tackle opposite Michael Oher. That was something that hurt Baltimore's offense late in the year. Another pass-rusher opposite defensive end/linebacker Terrell Suggs also would be a boost to the defense. Yes, a speedy receiver would help the Ravens. But I think Baltimore can find a burner in the later rounds.
Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 31)
McShay's pick: Benjamin Ijalana, OT, Villanova
Analysis: I don't think the Steelers can go wrong by using a first-round pick on the offensive line for the second straight season. Pittsburgh needs help at guard and tackle, and Ijalana has some good measurables. Everyone in Pittsburgh wants Florida guard Mike Pouncey to join his twin brother, Maurkice. But barring a trade to move up in the first round, that's probably not going to happen. Cornerback is another position the Steelers could address in the first two rounds.