Monday mailbag: Feeling a draft

Just a reminder that the ESPN Blogger Mock Draft will start at 1 p.m. ET today. Until then, we have some time to open up some mail.


Kory, from Foster City, Calif., writes: I know you've been steadfast on the Browns taking Trent Richardson at No. 4. My question is, if you had the choice in a hypothetical scenario between Richardson and last year's No. 4 pick, A.J. Green, would you still stick with Richardson or would you be harping for the Browns to take Green?

Jamison Hensley, from AFC North headquarters, responds: I would go with Green because you knew he was going to be a special wide receiver. Green and Julio Jones were both rated higher than Justin Blackmon is right now. That's the difference. So, the choice is to go with a playmaker like Green, who immediately upgrades the passing game and can catch big touchdown passes for 10 years. Of course, knowing a receiver like Green would be available, the Browns would have to address running back in free agency or consider using an early pick on a running back like Virginia Tech's David Wilson or Boise State's Doug Martin. Now, returning to reality, the Browns should draft Richardson with the fourth overall pick and be very happy about it.

Brian from Georgetown, Ky., writes: Do you think it is possible that, if both are available, the Bengals might take Stephen Hill over Kendall Wright given their history of taking big, fast wide receivers early (Jerome Simpson in the second round for example) in the past?

Jamison Hensley: You make a good point on why the Bengals would select Hill because their history suggests that. I just see Hill as a raw version of A.J. Green. Hill has the potential to be really good, although it's going to take some time. The team that drafts him is going to need patience. The Bengals need a No. 2 wide receiver and someone who can make an immediate impact for team looking to return to the playoffs. Wright is more NFL ready. He is elusive after the catch and can make the tough grab over the middle. Taking Hill wouldn't be an awful move. Selecting Wright would just be the better one for the Bengals.

Gene from San Diego writes: Are you buying ino Peter King's report that the Ravens aren't too hot about Peter Konz and that they are going to trade up to No. 23 in order to obtain Dont'a Hightower? Hard to imagine Ozzie Newsome trading up since their theme of this draft is deep depth.

Jamison Hensley: I think there's a better chance of the Ravens trading down than up. As you pointed out, the Ravens believe they can address a lot of areas of depth in this draft. And, with a division-low eight picks (only one selection in the first 59), Baltimore is more motivated to add more picks than trade them. Still, it comes down to who is available at No. 23. If the Ravens' board is getting wiped clean and Hightower is one of their top prospects remaining, they will consider jumping up to get him. Baltimore doesn't want to be left taking its 29th-rated prospect with the 29th pick. So, I wouldn't totally rule out a move up.

Carl from Erie, Pa., writes: I know the Steelers need to replace James Farrior, and Dont'a Hightower seems like the perfect fit. But wouldn't it be better for the Steelers to get a good lineman like Cordy Glenn to give Ben Roethlisberger more time and who ever our running back is more holes to run through? We all know how good Ben is when he gets time to throw.

Jamison Hensley: Hightower is the popular pick because he would fill a need, but he's not the slam-dunk pick. Assuming a player like Memphis nose tackle Dontari Poe is long gone, the Steelers' decision will come down to linebacker or offensive line. Glenn would be a solid choice, especially because of his versatility. But the Steelers will have other options like Wisconsin's Kevin Zeitler and Midwestern State's Amini Silatolu. Even if the Steelers take Hightower, they likely will address the offensive line with another early-round pick.

Here are some comments left in the mailbag ...

Jim Bigwood from Towson, Md., writes: Biggest laugh at lunch today, "Looks like they let a Ravens fan choose the Steelers throwback unis."

James Abernathy from Cincinnati writes: Regarding your comment on the Bengals' schedule: "If the Bengals can't pack the stadium for those games, there's a major problem in Cincinnati." Yeah, that problem's name is Mike Brown.

Logz from Pittsburgh writes: Steelers-Ravens the week before and after Thanksgiving? That's like getting in a bar fight, going to the hospital, and then back to a bar fight while the wounds are still fresh. Who says the NFL doesn't care about player safety.