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Old 03-27-2009, 12:41 PM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Updated AFC North mock draft

Updated AFC North mock draft
http://myespn.go.com/blogs/afcnorth
March 27, 2009 11:00 AM

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

The draft board has been altered since we last looked at prospects before last month's NFL combine.

So with a month left before the NFL draft, let's check in once again with ESPN draft experts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay to get their latest picks for AFC North teams.

Cleveland Browns

Pick: No. 5

Mel Kiper Jr.: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College

Todd McShay: Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB, Texas

Analysis: Both of these picks would bring toughness and a mean streak to the Browns. But in a 3-4 defense, the versatile Orakpo may be the more valuable of the two players. New Cleveland coach Eric Mangini likes defenders who can rush the passer from both the outside linebacker spot and in a three-point stance at defensive end. It doesn't mean Orakpo will be the better pro, but he gives the coaching staff more options, which could be the deciding factor if choosing between these two players.

Cincinnati Bengals

Pick: No. 6

Kiper: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech

McShay: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia

Analysis: The Bengals would be elated if Monroe fell into their lap at No. 6. Cincinnati needs protection for quarterback Carson Palmer from the tackle position and Monroe looks NFL ready. The Crabtree pick by Kiper is surprising considering the signing of receiver Laveranues Coles to replace T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Perhaps the Bengals will look to trade No. 1 receiver Chad Ocho Cinco in the next month, which Kiper may be anticipating with this pick.

Baltimore Ravens

Pick: No. 26

Kiper: Rey Maualuga, ILB, USC

McShay: Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois

Analysis: Kiper presents an interesting pick with Maualuga. If the USC linebacker falls to the end of the first round, he could be the best player on Baltimore's board, while also having the potential to fill a void left by linebacker Bart Scott's departure to the New York Jets in free agency. With the signings of Domonique Foxworth and Chris Carr, cornerbacks such as Davis are no longer a pressing need. A big-play receiver could be a better option.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Pick: No. 32

Kiper: Darius Butler, CB, Connecticut


McShay: Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest

Analysis: Both experts agree that cornerback is the way to go for Pittsburgh. Kiper likes the small-school prospect in Butler, while McShay feels Smith from Wake Forest and the ACC is the better pick. I tend to like Cal center Alex Mack in this spot. He could play guard or center for the Steelers and may project to be a leader of the team's weakest unit for years to come. But cornerback insurance wouldn't be a bad option either, considering the departure of starter Bryant McFadden to the Arizona Cardinals.

(Given how pass happy the NFL is going to be with the new rules I could understand taking a CB. It also fits in with our defense first, super bowl winning philosophy. - mesa)
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:50 PM   #2
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Default Re: Updated AFC North mock draft

I hope they are both wrong with our pick!!!
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:52 PM   #3
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Default Re: Updated AFC North mock draft

I'm still trying to figure exactly WHO these guys all think Cleveland is going to throw the ball to next year. Kick returner Josh Cribbs? Prisoner # 347555 Donte Stallworth? Braylon "Scissorhands" Edwards? David "AARP" Patten?

If Crabtree is there at 5, they take him.

As for the Steelers, I'm getting the feeling they will go OL early. There will be value corners available mid-round, and I think they are taking a serious look at Donald Washington.
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Old 03-27-2009, 04:19 PM   #4
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Default Re: Updated AFC North mock draft

It's possible we take a corner early . . . I'm not sure how much sense it makes--none of the corners are slam-dunks and there will be quality linemen available--but it's certainly possible.

I also agree with them on the Browns pick . . . never spend that high a pick on a receiver . . .
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Old 03-27-2009, 06:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: Updated AFC North mock draft

Barring a steal being available at a position of need if Mack is available he is the way to go
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Old 03-27-2009, 07:33 PM   #6
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Default Re: Updated AFC North mock draft

I would love to have Butler or Smith
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Old 03-28-2009, 08:01 AM   #7
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Default Re: Updated AFC North mock draft

I will just trust Colbert and company to make the right decision.
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:53 AM   #8
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Default Re: Updated AFC North mock draft

Quote:
Originally Posted by SunshineMan21 View Post
It's possible we take a corner early . . . I'm not sure how much sense it makes--none of the corners are slam-dunks and there will be quality linemen available--but it's certainly possible.

I also agree with them on the Browns pick . . . never spend that high a pick on a receiver . . .
A) Crabtree was the best player in college football last year. Period.
B) He's polished and NFL ready
C) They are woefully short of receivers.
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Old 03-29-2009, 03:56 AM   #9
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Default Re: Updated AFC North mock draft

Doesn't matter. And no, he wasn't necessarily the best player in college football last year--I think he has as good a claim as anyone, but Sam Bradford, Jason Smith, Tim Tebow, and Aaron Curry would all beg to differ.

As far as positional value goes, WR is way, way, down on the list of priorities for a rebuilding team--especially if one of the stud OTs (Smith or Monroe) falls to them. In any case, if I'm Cleveland I take Orakpo over Crabtree. It's a debatable pick, but the track record of drafting "can't miss" WRs high in the first round is really, really awful.
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Old 03-29-2009, 09:57 AM   #10
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Default Re: Updated AFC North mock draft

I think the browns would be foolish to pass Raji for Orakpo.

Orakpo won't be the complete package at OLB for a year or two. Sure he can rush the passer.

A quick check of team stats shows that the brownies give up a lot of rush yards per game while being mid pack for pass defense. BJ Raji would fix this up nicely. They could perhaps dangle the underperforming Rodgers as trade bait to one of the newer 3-4 teams such as GB. Maybe even toss him to the bungles for a 2nd or 3rd round pick.
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