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hawaiiansteel
02-17-2011, 03:14 PM
Reviewing Kiper's latest mock draft

February, 17, 2011
By James Walker


ESPN's draft guru Mel Kiper provided his latest mock draft this week with some intriguing picks for the AFC North.

Let's take a look.

Cincinnati Bengals (No. 4)

Kiper's current pick: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

Kiper's previous pick: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson

Analysis: I liked Kiper's previous pick from January because it fills a need. But with early projections, it doesn't appear Bowers will make it this far. Veteran receiver Chad Ochocinco has one year left on his contract. But even if he's traded, I think the Bengals have bigger holes to fill than receiver. Green could be a pick to appease disgruntled quarterback Carson Palmer, and that may have factored into Kiper's thinking. Cincinnati may also want to look at quarterbacks come April if the team still has no answer from Palmer, who has threatened to retire if he's not traded.

Cleveland Browns (No. 6)

Kiper's current pick: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin

Kiper's previous pick: Green, WR, Georgia

Analysis: This is a surprise pick, and Kiper admits as much. Although this may change during the workout and combine process, Watt seems like a reach right now with the No. 6 pick. But the Browns will be looking for defensive ends to help in their new 4-3 defense under defensive coordinator Dick Jauron. Cleveland recently cut two veteran linebackers and two defensive linemen, leaving the team thin at both positions. Receiver also is a major need, hence the Green pick by Kiper last month.

Baltimore Ravens (No. 26)

Kiper's current pick: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas

Kiper's previous pick: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami

Analysis: With Kiper's first two mock drafts, he's convinced the Ravens will go with a cornerback. I'm not so sure, as needs at right tackle and another pass-rusher may be too great to ignore. Kiper likes Williams, who is physical and could fit in well with Baltimore. But with starting cornerback Domonique Foxworth returning from a knee injury, I think he's just as good as adding a high draft pick. Josh Wilson also is a free agent who may be retained, Lardarius Webb is a growing young talent and Chris Carr is a solid backup. The Ravens don't have nearly that kind of depth at offensive tackle or with pass-rushers behind Terrell Suggs and would be better served filling one of those two positions.

Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 31)

Kiper's current pick: Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State

Kiper's previous pick: Tyron Smith, OT, USC

Analysis: Although I like Heyward the player, I don't like this pick for Pittsburgh. Kiper mentions the Steelers need additional 3-4 defensive ends. But with the emergence of Ziggy Hood, Brett Keisel making the Pro Bowl last season and Aaron Smith (triceps) getting healthy, I don't view this as a big need. Coming off a Super Bowl appearance, Pittsburgh does have the luxury to take the best available player. But the Steelers are by no means a perfect team and could use some youth and depth on the offensive line and at cornerback.

http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_ ... mock-draft (http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_/id/24778/reviewing-kipers-latest-mock-draft)

Dee Dub
02-17-2011, 03:27 PM
I like J.J. Watt but I dont know about the 6th overall pick.

Oviedo
02-17-2011, 03:54 PM
I can't see us taking a 3-4 DE this year in Round 1 ahead of OL or CB, but stranger things have happened. If we do take DL, can the 4-3 defense be far behind :stirpot :stirpot

SteelBucks
02-17-2011, 04:33 PM
BPA. If it happens to be Heyward at #31, so be it. (I'd be happy, being a Buckeye and all. :wink: )

SteelCrazy
02-17-2011, 06:43 PM
I like Heyward, but we have no need for a DE right now. He would make a really good DE in our system though, so whatever the front office thinks............ :tt1

Flasteel
02-17-2011, 07:21 PM
BPA. If it happens to be Heyward at #31, so be it. (I'd be happy, being a Buckeye and all. :wink: )

Nobody goes straight-up BPA, unless the player is clearly that much better than any need you have on your team. We have zero need to burn a number one pick at DE...it would be stupid.

If Cam Newton was to drop and was clearly the BPA, would you still pick him?

I'm guessing not.

I have complete faith that this team will make an excellent first-round pick - regardless of what we all think or want. The way we argue strategy on here is kind of funny, because the Pittsburgh Steelers are gonna do what the Pittsburgh Steelers always do. We target areas of need and we have a big board, rating every single player. If the grades are close, you fill the need you have. Never reach; never panic. :tt2

steelerkeylargo
02-17-2011, 08:39 PM
BPA. If it happens to be Heyward at #31, so be it. (I'd be happy, being a Buckeye and all. :wink: )

Nobody goes straight-up BPA, unless the player is clearly that much better than any need you have on your team. We have zero need to burn a number one pick at DE...it would be stupid.

If Cam Newton was to drop and was clearly the BPA, would you still pick him?

I'm guessing not.

I have complete faith that this team will make an excellent first-round pick - regardless of what we all think or want. The way we argue strategy on here is kind of funny, because the Pittsburgh Steelers are gonna do what the Pittsburgh Steelers always do. We target areas of need and we have a big board, rating every single player. If the grades are close, you fill the need you have. Never reach; never panic. :tt2


:Agree :Agree :Agree :Agree

Oviedo
02-18-2011, 08:59 AM
BPA. If it happens to be Heyward at #31, so be it. (I'd be happy, being a Buckeye and all. :wink: )

Nobody goes straight-up BPA, unless the player is clearly that much better than any need you have on your team. We have zero need to burn a number one pick at DE...it would be stupid.

If Cam Newton was to drop and was clearly the BPA, would you still pick him?

I'm guessing not.

I have complete faith that this team will make an excellent first-round pick - regardless of what we all think or want. The way we argue strategy on here is kind of funny, because the Pittsburgh Steelers are gonna do what the Pittsburgh Steelers always do. We target areas of need and we have a big board, rating every single player. If the grades are close, you fill the need you have. Never reach; never panic. :tt2

:Agree And they won't have to trade up to do it :stirpot

frankthetank1
02-18-2011, 10:59 AM
BPA. If it happens to be Heyward at #31, so be it. (I'd be happy, being a Buckeye and all. :wink: )

Nobody goes straight-up BPA, unless the player is clearly that much better than any need you have on your team. We have zero need to burn a number one pick at DE...it would be stupid.

If Cam Newton was to drop and was clearly the BPA, would you still pick him?

I'm guessing not.

I have complete faith that this team will make an excellent first-round pick - regardless of what we all think or want. The way we argue strategy on here is kind of funny, because the Pittsburgh Steelers are gonna do what the Pittsburgh Steelers always do. We target areas of need and we have a big board, rating every single player. If the grades are close, you fill the need you have. Never reach; never panic. :tt2

there is no reason to think other wise. i cant even remember the last first round bust the steelers have had. i would bet anything that the steelers first round pick will be a gem

Shawn
02-18-2011, 01:31 PM
Heyward is a beast no doubt about it. When motivated he is an unstoppable force one on one. I am concerned about him fading once signed to a fat contract. And I agree, DE is not our greatest need. But, if the Steelers draft him, I know they did their homework and I'm ok with the pick.

hawaiiansteel
02-19-2011, 09:47 PM
By James Walker

Let's see what's in the weekend mailbag.


Dan from Aruba writes: Do you think the Pittsburgh Steelers will go out and get a free agent cornerback to help bolster their secondary instead of risking an early draft pick?

James Walker: No, Dan, the Steelers are more likely to use an early draft pick. That is in line with their long history during the offseason. Every year we get e-mails from Steeler Nation asking will Pittsburgh go out and sign this Pro Bowler or that Pro Bowler in free agency and I just shake my head. Most Steelers fans know (or should know) that's not how they operate. Maybe one day the Steelers will surprise everyone, but until then I'm anticipating another quiet offseason until the NFL draft.

Mister K from Ankeny, Iowa, writes: Do you think there is any chance that the Steelers would try to sign Champ Bailey?

Walker: Mister K, Bailey is in negotiations with the Denver Broncos, who appear interested in keeping the veteran cornerback. So it's too early to speculate if Bailey will even hit the open market. But as I said before, the Steelers are not major players in free agency. I think retaining Ike Taylor and using a high draft pick on a corner are more likely.

Steve from Wash., D.C., writes: Any chance the Cincinnati Bengals give Dan LeFevour a shot at the starting QB position if we lose Carson Palmer after the draft?

Walker: I would really be surprised if the Bengals start the season with LeFevour at quarterback, Steve. But I have been surprised by Cincinnati's personnel decisions plenty of times before. For now, the team is counting on Palmer to have a change of heart. The more time that goes by, the more this becomes a dangerous assumption.

Will from Nashville, Tenn., writes: So what's the general opinion about offensive coordinator Jay Gruden to the Bengals?

Walker: It was a surprise Gruden got the job, Will, and even Gruden admits as much. Not a lot of people know about his style of offense, because he was only a position coach under his brother, Jon Gruden, in the NFL. Running the show in the UFL doesn't really translate accurately. But Cincinnati will have a West Coast-style offense, and Gruden says he wants to build a power running team next season. I think Palmer's future will heavily impact the offense's identity as well.

Brandon from Anna, Ohio, writes: Is free-agent safety Bob Sanders a possibility in Cleveland?

Walker: Not likely, Brandon. Sanders' style is very similar to T.J. Ward's, who is in many ways a younger version of Sanders. It wouldn't serve Cleveland's defense well to have two big hitters at safety, because the Browns would really struggle in pass coverage next season.

DP from Van Nuys, Calif., writes: Any word on whether or not the Browns will be switching back to a 4-3 as speculated?

Walker: The Browns are definitely going to a 4-3 defense. New Cleveland defensive coordinator Dick Jauron is a 4-3 coach. If the Browns wanted to stay in a 3-4, they would have kept Rob Ryan, who left for the Dallas Cowboys.

Henley from Richmond, Va., writes: What do you think the chances are that the Baltimore Ravens take Mike Pouncey with the 26th pick?

Walker: Veteran center Matt Birk says he's coming back for at least one more season. So Baltimore's biggest need on the offensive line is at tackle. Marshal Yanda can be a solid guard if he stays at one position. But switching him back and forth between guard and tackle hasn't worked out. I think if Mike Pouncey lands anywhere in the AFC North, it will be with his twin brother Maurkice in Pittsburgh.

Jason Cooper from Boise, Idaho, wants to know if Baltimore is in the market for free-agent receiver Santanio Holmes.

Walker: There are not a lot of former Steelers who play for the Ravens, and I don't see that happening in this case, Jason. It's no secret Holmes has given the Ravens headaches in the past, and sometimes that encourages teams to go after those players when they become free agents. But I see Holmes staying in New York as a member of the Jets. He was a good fit there last season, and I think they have the inside track.

Dan from Minneapolis, Minn., writes: I keep hearing analysts say that Palmer does not want to be around the dysfunctional Bengals. I find it hypocritical. Memo to Carson: the Bengals have been dysfunctional since before you arrived. You signed a contract to play for this dysfunctional organization. So be a man and play.

Shari from Norfolk, Va., writes: I say let Carson go. It's all about what has he done lately and in his case what has he done ever! I've said for the last three years he's whiny, overrated and has never come back to full potential since he was injured. He wants to threaten/hold a team hostage -- whatever. Get a new quarterback and a new offensive line.

Walker: Dan, I've never been a fan of the "honor your contract" debate in the NFL, because teams never do the same. When teams cut an underachieving player because he makes too much money, fans say "Good riddance" and applaud the move. Without guaranteed contracts, why should players be held to a different standard? Shari, in my experience Palmer has never been known to be "whiny." If anything, Palmer was criticized for not voicing his complaints enough, which is why so many Bengals fans are surprised by his recent actions now that he wants out. I thought longtime Bengals fan and celebrity Nick Lachey summed it up very well this week.

Will B. from Tampa, Fla., writes: I'm not sure I understand all of the hand-wringing over what the Browns should do with their first-round pick. The team is converting to a 4-3 defense and just cut about half of their D-line: that's where the pick has to be focused. How many teams have been turned around by an early first-round WR in the last 10 years?

Walker: All valid points that I agree with, Will. Longtime readers of the AFC North blog know that I am strongly against taking receivers in the top 10, no matter how talented they are. Teams picking that high usually have a bevy of needs, and the receiver position is pretty low on the NFL's hierarchy. I've pointed out several examples like receivers Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, who are arguably top five at their position and all play for losing teams. But the Browns have a young quarterback in Colt McCoy and an offensive-minded head coach in Pat Shurmur. In a West Coast offense, Cleveland is going to pass the football a lot more, and going into next season with the same group of receivers is a disaster waiting to happen. McCoy's development and the progress of the West Coast offense are paramount for the Browns in 2011. If neither pan out over the next couple of years the Browns have no shot of catching the Steelers and Ravens. So this year might be the exception for my theory on drafting receivers in the top 10. I'm still torn on this.

http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_ ... mailbag-39 (http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_/id/24837/walkers-weekend-mailbag-39)

flippy
02-20-2011, 01:14 PM
I'm all for improving the DLine in the first round and think there will be a couple guys there to consider.

To beat the Pats, Saints, Packers, etc, we need a 4 man line that can get to the QB.

That's what kills our coverage.

Ike, Bmac, and Gay are good enough if we get to the QB consistently. Remember the beast that Keisel was on 3rd downs coming off the bench behind Kimo? We could have that rotation again with a stud Dlineman.

And I'd like to see Worldis' speed on the field on 3rd downs. If we lined him and Timmons really wide, it would open up so much for the Dline. And if you kept 2 guys fresh for 3rd downs, this defense could be sick.

Our biggest problem is getting to the QB. And addressing that will fix the secondary.

A FS with ball skills could really help as well.

Flasteel
02-20-2011, 02:09 PM
I'm all for improving the DLine in the first round and think there will be a couple guys there to consider.

To beat the Pats, Saints, Packers, etc, we need a 4 man line that can get to the QB.

That's what kills our coverage.

Ike, Bmac, and Gay are good enough if we get to the QB consistently. Remember the beast that Keisel was on 3rd downs coming off the bench behind Kimo? We could have that rotation again with a stud Dlineman.

And I'd like to see Worldis' speed on the field on 3rd downs. If we lined him and Timmons really wide, it would open up so much for the Dline. And if you kept 2 guys fresh for 3rd downs, this defense could be sick.

Our biggest problem is getting to the QB. And addressing that will fix the secondary.

A FS with ball skills could really help as well.

Flip, we run a 3-4 and that's not about to change. I'm not sure if you slipped when you said 4-man line and meant 4 pass rushers or if you were advocating a 4-3 defense. Despite losing Aaron Smith, the d-line was the bedrock of our defensive dominance. Keisel was voted to the Pro Bowl, Ziggy Hood played lights-out all year and the tandem of Big Snack and Hokey had perhaps their best year in the middle. The role of 3-4 linemen in the passing game is to eat up blocks and free the LBs to pressure the quarterback. It's great when your ends have pass rush ability (and alll of ours do), but it's not their primary function.

I too hope that Worlids develops into a legitimate 3rd down pass rusher to keep both Harrison and Woodley fresh. With the return of Aaron Smith (who I think we'll see come off the bench from now on, to extend his career), we have a great 3-man rotation at DE already. Having an equally strong 3-man rotation at OLB would indeed be a huge bonus for our defense. We already have our chips on Worlids to be that guy, so there is no need to draft that position high.

We led the league in sacks, so I don't know how you can say getting to the quarterback is our biggest issue. I will agree that the key is getting to the quarterback, but against those teams and quarterbacks you mentioned, they are able to consistently spread us out, get the ball out quickly, and find an open receiver. We lack a legitimate starter opposite of Ike, and we have problems matching up with our nickel and dime corners as well.

I wonder if we don't have safety depth already on the roster in the form of B-Mac and K. Lewis. I don't see safety nearly as big of an issue as corner, so I hope we can get a guy we really like at some point in the first 2 rounds.

RuthlessBurgher
02-20-2011, 09:20 PM
I'm all for improving the DLine in the first round and think there will be a couple guys there to consider.

To beat the Pats, Saints, Packers, etc, we need a 4 man line that can get to the QB.

That's what kills our coverage.

Ike, Bmac, and Gay are good enough if we get to the QB consistently. Remember the beast that Keisel was on 3rd downs coming off the bench behind Kimo? We could have that rotation again with a stud Dlineman.

And I'd like to see Worldis' speed on the field on 3rd downs. If we lined him and Timmons really wide, it would open up so much for the Dline. And if you kept 2 guys fresh for 3rd downs, this defense could be sick.

Our biggest problem is getting to the QB. And addressing that will fix the secondary.

A FS with ball skills could really help as well.

Flip, we run a 3-4 and that's not about to change. I'm not sure if you slipped when you said 4-man line and meant 4 pass rushers or if you were advocating a 4-3 defense. Despite losing Aaron Smith, the d-line was the bedrock of our defensive dominance. Keisel was voted to the Pro Bowl, Ziggy Hood played lights-out all year and the tandem of Big Snack and Hokey had perhaps their best year in the middle. The role of 3-4 linemen in the passing game is to eat up blocks and free the LBs to pressure the quarterback. It's great when your ends have pass rush ability (and alll of ours do), but it's not their primary function.

I too hope that Worlids develops into a legitimate 3rd down pass rusher to keep both Harrison and Woodley fresh. With the return of Aaron Smith (who I think we'll see come off the bench from now on, to extend his career), we have a great 3-man rotation at DE already. Having an equally strong 3-man rotation at OLB would indeed be a huge bonus for our defense. We already have our chips on Worlids to be that guy, so there is no need to draft that position high.

We led the league in sacks, so I don't know how you can say getting to the quarterback is our biggest issue. I will agree that the key is getting to the quarterback, but against those teams and quarterbacks you mentioned, they are able to consistently spread us out, get the ball out quickly, and find an open receiver. We lack a legitimate starter opposite of Ike, and we have problems matching up with our nickel and dime corners as well.

I wonder if we don't have safety depth already on the roster in the form of B-Mac and K. Lewis. I don't see safety nearly as big of an issue as corner, so I hope we can get a guy we really like at some point in the first 2 rounds.

I think Flip was noting how teams like New England, New Orleans, and Green Bay spread us out, so we were in nickel and dime packages much more often than our standard 3-4. In nickel or dime, our 3-4 OLB's become DE's with their hands on the ground and our 3-4 DE's become pass rushing DT's in a 4 man front (with 2 LB's and 5 DB's or 1 LB and 6 DB's behind them depending on whether or not we are in nickel or dime).

hawaiiansteel
02-21-2011, 01:18 AM
I think Flip was noting how teams like New England, New Orleans, and Green Bay spread us out, so we were in nickel and dime packages much more often than our standard 3-4.


Flip is onto something here, notice what all 3 teams listed above have in common?

they beat us...

Flasteel
02-21-2011, 10:34 PM
I'm all for improving the DLine in the first round and think there will be a couple guys there to consider.

To beat the Pats, Saints, Packers, etc, we need a 4 man line that can get to the QB.

That's what kills our coverage.

Ike, Bmac, and Gay are good enough if we get to the QB consistently. Remember the beast that Keisel was on 3rd downs coming off the bench behind Kimo? We could have that rotation again with a stud Dlineman.

And I'd like to see Worldis' speed on the field on 3rd downs. If we lined him and Timmons really wide, it would open up so much for the Dline. And if you kept 2 guys fresh for 3rd downs, this defense could be sick.

Our biggest problem is getting to the QB. And addressing that will fix the secondary.

A FS with ball skills could really help as well.

Flip, we run a 3-4 and that's not about to change. I'm not sure if you slipped when you said 4-man line and meant 4 pass rushers or if you were advocating a 4-3 defense. Despite losing Aaron Smith, the d-line was the bedrock of our defensive dominance. Keisel was voted to the Pro Bowl, Ziggy Hood played lights-out all year and the tandem of Big Snack and Hokey had perhaps their best year in the middle. The role of 3-4 linemen in the passing game is to eat up blocks and free the LBs to pressure the quarterback. It's great when your ends have pass rush ability (and alll of ours do), but it's not their primary function.

I too hope that Worlids develops into a legitimate 3rd down pass rusher to keep both Harrison and Woodley fresh. With the return of Aaron Smith (who I think we'll see come off the bench from now on, to extend his career), we have a great 3-man rotation at DE already. Having an equally strong 3-man rotation at OLB would indeed be a huge bonus for our defense. We already have our chips on Worlids to be that guy, so there is no need to draft that position high.

We led the league in sacks, so I don't know how you can say getting to the quarterback is our biggest issue. I will agree that the key is getting to the quarterback, but against those teams and quarterbacks you mentioned, they are able to consistently spread us out, get the ball out quickly, and find an open receiver. We lack a legitimate starter opposite of Ike, and we have problems matching up with our nickel and dime corners as well.

I wonder if we don't have safety depth already on the roster in the form of B-Mac and K. Lewis. I don't see safety nearly as big of an issue as corner, so I hope we can get a guy we really like at some point in the first 2 rounds.

I think Flip was noting how teams like New England, New Orleans, and Green Bay spread us out, so we were in nickel and dime packages much more often than our standard 3-4. In nickel or dime, our 3-4 OLB's become DE's with their hands on the ground and our 3-4 DE's become pass rushing DT's in a 4 man front (with 2 LB's and 5 DB's or 1 LB and 6 DB's behind them depending on whether or not we are in nickel or dime).

Those guys with their hand on the ground are still OLBs. They are also named Lamarr Woodley and James Harrison. Good luck upgrading there. Our DEs all have pass rush ability, whether they're lined up in a 3, 5, or 1 technique. When he's advocating drafting a D-lineman with our first pick and follows it up with a conversation on pass rushers, I just don't see where he's coming from.