April 19, 2012

NFL Mock Draft 2.0

    The draft is just a couple weeks away and here is my second mock draft. Since the first one, the Redskins were able to move up to #2 and sent the Rams to #6. Round two also is included in this mock.

1. Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

    Everyone knows this pick is a lock. Luck is the best QB prospect since the man he is replacing, Peyton Manning, and I expect he will be just as good. But as I said in my last mock, and with higher expectations than we have ever seen a player have before, if Luck does not perform better then Manning, he will be seen as a failure. Still, Luck is going to be very, very good.

Andrew Luck

2. Washington Redskins - Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
(From Rams)

Robert Griffin III
    This pick is as sure a lock as Luck going number one. RG3 is a special player who has amazing speed and a strong arm. Will he be as good as Luck? Probably not. He will be a franchise QB though, but not one who can take home a Super Bowl unless the team's other players are top-tier talent. Comparing him to Luck, for the next year or two, RG3 will be the better QB. But in the long run, Luck will be a star and RG3 just a play maker who takes teams to the wild card.
    Luck should end up a Tom Brady, RG3 a Michael Vick. Still, if the Redskins can build a good team around him, RG3 still could end up better then I think he will. However, trading away the team's first round picks for the next two years won't help much.

3. Minnesota Vikings - Matt Kalil, OT, USC

   Helping QB Christian Ponder is what the Vikings will look for, and either taking receiver Justin Blackmon or tackle Matt Kalil would help. However, Blackmon has some question marks. Kalil on the other hand, is one of the most sure-thing players in this draft, and is he supposed to be the best tackle since Jake Long. No brainier if the Vikings stay at this spot.

4. Cleveland Browns - Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

  The Browns really have a lot of needs at this spot, and multiple players could be taken - Justin Blackmon to help weak passing game, Morris Claiborne to fill the diminishing pass defense, or Ryan Tannehill to push and replace Colt McCoy. But now that Peyton Hillis has gone to Kansas City, the team's top running back is often injured Montario Hardesty, followed by Brandon Jackson.
    Richardson will be available here - no question, and he is the best option for the Browns. If they pass on him, they still should get a future star, but Richardson is just too good to overlook in this spot.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

  Assuming Richardson goes to Cleveland at four, then Claiborne will no question be suiting up for the Bucs next season. Claiborne is the best cover corner in this draft and can replace Ronde Barber when he finally retires. Claiborne also is a very high character guy, and Tampa already has Aqib Talib to worry about in that department. Talib may or may not be headed to jail, but he also could face league suspension and could miss a long time. Claiborne can start when Talib is not available and take over for Barber in the near future. Then the Buccaneers will have two very good starters in Claiborne and Talib.

6. St. Louis Rams - Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
(From Redskins)

   The first six picks of this draft are almost set in stone, assuming no trades will occur. Luck will clearly go to the Colts, followed by RG3, and Kalil. The next three picks have a good chance to be in any order, but those three players will be taken in the 4-6 slots. The most logical order ends with Blackmon heading to St. Louis.
   The Rams picked up Cortland Finnegan in free agency, so if Claiborne is not here, they don't have to worry much. But Justin Blackmon should be available and if he is, the Rams finally have a solid #1 receiver for Sam Bradford. Blackmon isn't overly fast, but he is very smart and plays much bigger than his listed 6'1 size. He has a strong work ethic and will contribute immediately, especially now that the only decent WR left, Brandon Lloyd, bolted for New England. Great selection here.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars - Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
Melvin Ingram

    If Blackmon does make it here to #7, then the Jags will take him. The other WR possibilities can wait until round two, and Ingram would be a great selection here. The Jags need lots of help on the d-line, and Ingram is best option here. He also has a much better character then Quinton Coples, who also is a possibility too. But Ingram is much more likely.

8. Miami Dolphins - Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas     AM

   I really do not like this pick, but I understand how desperate the Dolphins are and I honestly would take him here too. No quarterbacks signed with them until they were forced to land David Garrard, and Alex Smith even admitted he only visited Miami to see South Beach. On top of that, they traded only solid starting receiver Brandon Marshall to the Bears. So now the only option left aside from staying with Garrard or Matt Moore is Tannehill.
    Other options are still here, including a DE. The only solid pass rusher on the team, Cameron Wake, is on a holdout and Phillip Mering was recently cut. Quinton Coples is the best 4-3 DE in the draft, and if they Dolphins don't go with the Aggie's QB, then Coples should be the pick. But I say Miami sticks with a QB.
    Tannehill still does have great potential and good tools, but I never see him being a star. A veteran to teach him and keep him on the sidelines for awhile would be nice, but Matt Moore will probably loose the job by week 4 despite a favorable schedule. Still, the Dolphins will go for a reach here, being very desperate.

9. Carolina Panthers - Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

    In my first mock draft, I had Poe going much later to the Steelers at #24. But he blew up at the combine and is now getting comparisons to Haloti Ngata. He is very fast and very athletic and can help the Panthers run a defense which struggled last season.

10. Buffalo Bills - Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

  Now that the Bills gave Ryan Fitzpatrick a huge contract, and Demetress Bell signed with the Eagles, the Bills need a new starting tackle. Reiff is a solid player who can help from the start, but he can play guard too. Linebacker, defensive tackle, or corner could be addressed here but Reiff seems most likely pick. However, Buffalo does not seem too sold on the Iowa tackle.

11. Kansas City Chiefs -  Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

   Kuechly is one of the most safe picks in this draft, as he has the skills to rack up over 100 tackles every season and start right away. Clay Mathews is who he plays like and will upgrade almost any defense from the start. The Chiefs have needs across the board, but Kuechly is too good to pass up. If he falls past the Bills, the Chiefs don't let him slide by.

12. Seattle Seahawks - Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Quinton Coples

   Chris Clemons is getting older, and Coples is one of the best players in the draft. He can pour on the sacks and pressure, and is the best 4-3 defensive end in this draft. But if Kuechly is available, then the Seahawks will take him here. If not, Coples is just as good.
    The big issue that could even let Coples slide past here is character, which apparently has been turning many teams off. Coples was quoted as to saying he gave "C" effort in his senior year at UNC. Ingram would be strong possibility too if he falls this far, but Coples is best fit for Seattle as far as skills go.

13. Arizona Cardinals - Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

  Offensive line is a bigger need here, but when Arizona made a Super Bowl run in 2009, they had two Pro-Bowl WR's with Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Now that Boldin is on the Ravens, the Cardinals lack a number two receiver and Floyd can be that guy, much like the Falcons taking Julio Jones in last years draft.
   Larry Fitzgerald said in an interview with Sports Illustrated's Peter King that he wants his team to draft Floyd "Badly" if available. Fitzgerald is certainly a player who's opinion could affect the front office.

14. Dallas Cowboys - Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

  The Cowboys can use help at corner, saftey, and defensive line. If Dontari Poe drops here, then he shouldn't go any farther then this spot. Fletcher Cox also could be an option here. But even with the Brandon Carr signing, Kirkpatrick has great potential and can be a big help to the struggling secondary. Makes the most sense in this position.

15. Philadelphia Eagles - Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

   Many don't think Cox will fall this far, and he is a top 10 talent. But if he does, the Eagles will snatch him up and Cox could be a steal. A very strong inside force, he could help this defense that struggled last season, and be a huge upgrade over below-average Mike Patterson. Great selection here if available.

Fletcher Cox

16. New York Jets - Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse

   I originally had Jones at this spot in my first mock, but I also had Coutrney Upshaw going to the Chiefs at eleven. He still is available in this mock, but Jones still will be the pick. He has climbed many boards and is in many first rounds now. He can get sacks, and with Muhammad Wilkerson, be a threat on defensive line. Upshaw still is a strong possibility here.

17. Cincinnati Bengals - Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
(From Raiders)

    The Bengals have needs at offensive line and at corner. Gilmore is a top 15 talent, but aside from Cowboys taking him over Kirkpatrick, Gilmore should fall here. The Bengals could hope he falls to pick #22 but they should snatch him up here. Gilmore was a starter his entire career at South Carolina and really is a complete player. Great pick here for Bengals.

18. San Diego Chargers - Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

    The Chargers really need help on the D-line and Brockers is one of best DT's in the draft. A DE also is very likely, here but Brockers is just too much talent to pass up. The Chargers take chance here and select him.

19. Chicago Bears - Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

  Chicago was able to trade for Brandon Marshall, and gave Jay Cutler more receivers to throw to. Jeffery is a good receiver who has been falling off boards for character issues, but he still is worth the risk. He has put up huge numbers in college against top tier opponents.
    Against corner Dre Kirkpatrick (taken 14th overall by Cowboys in this mock), Jeffery was able to grab seven balls for 127 yards and two touchdowns. He also picked up six receptions against Janoris Jenkins, who is a likely first-second round pick.
    A good pick here for the Bears, who also hosted Jeffery this week. Despite recent WR signings, watch for the Bears should take Jeffery here.

20. Tennessee Titans - David DeCastro, G, Stanford
David DeCastro

   The Titans really do not have any glaring needs here, so taking the best player available is most likely, and if DeCastro falls here, it will be great for Tennessee. A guard to help the line protect Jake Locker at quarterback, and because DeCastro is a run blocker, he can clear holes for Chris Johnson so he can get back to his former self. Great pick here if DeCastro is still available. A DE is an option as well.

21. Cincinnati Bengals - Courtney Upshaw, DE, Alabama

   At pick 17 the Bengals took a corner, and at this spot will look for a pass rusher. Marvin Lewis has said how much he likes Upshaw, and if he falls to them, he will be the pick. But they will probably pass on him at pick seventeen in favor of a corner. Upshaw can play OLB and DE and get to the quarterback, all which are needs for the Bengals to address.

22. Cleveland Browns - Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
(From Falcons)

    The key here is to help the #4 pick Trent Richardson. If DeCastro falls to the Browns, then he would be perfect. But if not, then the best lineman available is Marin. Cordy Glenn or Mike Adams are also strong possibilites here. Glenn can be a guard or tackle, but the Browns could be hesitant to go with a reach for a guard here. Martin is a safer pick, which we have seen Mike Holmgren prefer.

23. Detroit Lions - Mark Barron, S, Alabama

   Barron is by far the best safety in this draft, but he still has a good chance to fall. The Lions need some help in the secondary, and Barron is the best option here. Makes a lot of sense. Don'ta Hightower would be a sure selection if Stephen Tulloch didn't re-sign, but Tulloch did, so Barron is the best pick here.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama

    The Steelers are growing old on defense, and the whole defense revolves around the linebackers. Hightower is the perfect player for the Steelers, and there's no chance Pittsburgh passes on him. With James Farrior being cut, Hightower will be a Steeler and has a great chance to be a star.

25. Denver Broncos - Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State

  The Denver Broncos have absolutely no one at DT, and Worthy is best option here. Getting a wide receiver would be nice, with players such as Stephen Hill and Kendall Wright still on the board. But Worthy is a run stopper who can grow into a force on the line. Makes more sense then a WR.

Jerel Worthy

26. Houston Texans - Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

   Teams always need a great WR, and the Texans have one in Andre Johnson. But most teams have depth after that, and players that can step up and perform when the star is injured. But the Texans don't have any, and when Johnson was injured last season, the passing game struggled and Arian Foster led the offense.
    A new WR is key here and in this mock, two great WR's are still available. Wright is incredibly fast and can be a Devin Hester-type of player, but Wright will be better at receiver.

27. New England Patriots - Shea McClellin, LB, Boise State
(From Saints)
     The Patriots showed in the Super Bowl the defense needs help all over, and McClellin is the best prospect available. A solid tackler, McClellin can be used much like Tedy Bruschi was. Janoris Jenkins at corner would be a dark horse pick here.

28. Green Bay Packers - Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

  Green Bay never could get to the QB and was dead last at the end of the season in sacks. Getting a pass rusher is a must, and taking Mercilus is best option. Nick Perry also could be the pick. Either one is a no brainier.

29. Baltimore Ravens - Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

   Baltimore has no big needs, but getting younger anywhere or getting depth would be nice in many areas. A number two running back is something to look into, as is a number two quarterback. Right now the only QB behind Flacco is Tyrod Taylor. Nick Perry also could be taken here, but Jenkins could be a steal.
     Jenkins was originally at Florida before being kicked off the team and going to North Alabama. Despite character issues, his talents are top 15 worthy. The Ravens should take the risk here and he can be a future star.

30. San Francisco 49ers - Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech

   The 49ers have already signed Randy Moss and Mario Manningham to help Alex Smith on offense, and adding Stephen Hill would be a huge upgrade. Hill is very fast and could be the top receiver in San Francisco in the coming years.

31. New England Patriots - Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame

   The Patriots most likely will trade this pick, as they always trade first rounders for future ones to then trade again. But if they stay, then taking a S to help the secondary will be the selection. No corners after Jenkins are worth the pick, so Smith is the best player left. He is a physical player who can be a solid starter for any team. Patriots most likely won't stay here, but if they do, then except Smith to be the pick - assuming Jenkins doesn't fall here.

32. New York Giants - Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

   The Giants will look for depth here, and most likely on the offensive line. Cordy Glenn is more of a guard,  so they will probably pass on him and take the best tackle left, Mike Adams. Adams has a lot of work to do, but if he can learn, then he can develop into a solid player. Luckily, the Giants have a lot of depth, so Adams can gain experience before stepping into the starting role.

Round 2:

33. St. Louis Rams - Devon Still, DT, Penn State

34. Indianapolis Colts - Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia

35. Minnesota Vikings - Rueben Randle, WR, LSU

36. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Doug Martin, RB, Boise State

37. Cleveland Browns - AJ Jenkins, WR, Illinois

38. Jacksonville Jaguars - Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers

39. St. Louis Rams - Lamichael James, RB, Oregon

40. Carolina Panthers - Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

41. Buffalo Bills - Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska

42. Miami Dolphins - Nick Perry, DE, USC

43. Seattle Seahawks - Mychal Kendricks, LB, Cal

44. Kansas City Chiefs - Bobby Massie, OT, Ole Miss

45. Dallas Cowboys - Andre Branch, DE, Clemson

46. Philadelphia Eagles - Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina

47. New York Jets - Mitchell Schwartz, OT, Cal

48. New England Patriots - Josh Robinson, CB, Central Florida

49. San Diego Chargers - Jeff Allen, G, Illinois

50. Chicago Bears - Brian Quick, WR, Appalachian State

51. Philadelphia Eagles - Ronnell Lewis, LB, Oklahoma

52. Tennessee Titans - Kendall Reyes, DT, Uconn

53. Cincinnati Bengals - David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech

54. Detroit Lions - Amini Silatolu, G, Midwestern State

55. Atlanta Falcons - Kelechi Osemele, G, Iowa State

56. Pittsburgh Steelers - Lamar Miller, RB, Miami (FL)

57. Denver Broncos - Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State

58. Houston Texans - Alameda Ta'amu, DT, Washington

59. New Orleans Saints - ***Pick Forfeited***

60. Green Bay Packers - Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State

61. Baltimore Ravens - Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson

62. San Francisco 49ers - Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford

63. New England Patriots - Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana

64. New York Giants - Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma

Lamar Miller (#6)

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