Updated Mock Draft
With the Super Bowl in the books, it was time to Updated 2012 Mock Draft with a third round added!!
1. Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford – This is the easiest pick of the draft. Andrew Luck is the best QB prospect since Peyton Manning. With a complete regime change in Indianapolis, look for Luck to come in and start the next chapter in the Colts’ history.
2. St. Louis Rams – Matt Kalil, OT, USC – Reports surfacing that Jason Smith may be on his way out of town unless he takes a major pay cut. Provided he doesn’t, the Rams could get Kalil to protect Bradford’s blindside and move Saffold over to RT, where many thought he was better suited coming out. Look for the Rams to listen for offers on teams looking to move up for RGIII.
3. Minnesota Vikings – Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa – The Vikings biggest need in undoubtedly on the offensive line, where Christian Ponder was running for his life the entire time he got a chance to play. Reiff is the clear-cut number two OT and is undoubtedly a top ten player in this class. I believe there isn’t a whole lot that separates him and Kalil and Reiff would be a major upgrade over everything the Vikings tried out at left tackle this year. The Vikings could also be in the market of trading down for a team that may be looking to get RGIII.
4. Cleveland Browns – Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor – I’m not sold that the Browns will be actively looking to replace Colt McCoy however I do think it would be tough for them to pass up on RGIII should he fall into their laps. Griffin is the clear-cut number two QB in this class and while Cleveland likes Colt McCoy, it’s tough to argue that he’s a franchise QB so the old adage of “if you don’t have a franchise QB, you take one” comes into play here.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU – Tampa’s top need is definitely at CB, where Aqib Talib can’t seem to stay out of trouble and Ronde Barber is a free agent at the end of his career. Even if Barber decides to play another year, he’s not a starting caliber corner anymore and he will need to be upgraded. Morris Claiborne is a better cover corner than former teammate, 5th overall selection Patrick Peterson last year. Claiborne doesn’t have the freakish size and athleticism or the return skills but he’s
6. Washington Redskins – Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M – I don’t expect Washington to get Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn in free agency this year which means they absolutely have to take a QB with this pick. I think Brandon Weeden is the third best QB in this class but I don’t see any team willing to pull the trigger on him in the first round, much less the top 10. As such, Tannehill jumps up as the next QB to come off the board. Tannehill is raw but athletic. He possesses a similar physical skillset to Jake Locker, who is someone that Shanahan’s were VERY interested in. The Redskins need to get at least two QBs this offseason, drafting Tannehill would give them one with franchise QB upside.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State – General Manager Gene Smith loves Blaine Gabbert. One of the prerequisites for the head coaching job was finding someone that could work with Gabbert and turn him into a star. Getting him someone to throw the ball to has to be high on Smith’s to-do list. Blackmon is the clear-cut top WR in this class and I don’t think Smith would wait long before pulling the trigger on him.
8. Carolina Panthers – Devon Still, DT, Penn State – Carolina’s biggest issue last year was stopping the run and that all starts up front with your defensive tackles. Carolina started a number of guys at DT last year and none of them seemed to be the answer. They plucked 7th round pick Frank Kearse from Miami’s practice squad and between him and 3rd round pick Sione Fua, they think they’ve solved the NT position but the UT position is barren. Devon Still has all the talent in the world but struggled with injuries early in his career. Finally staying healthy as a junior, Still started to show a lot of promise late in the season and then blew up this year as a senior, winning B1G defensive player of the year.
9. Miami Dolphins – Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina – Miami is looking to move to a hybrid look but defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle has always run a 4-3 look in the past and Miami is in need of another DE for that look at Cameron Wake is the only player on the current roster that projects well to that spot.
10. Buffalo Bills – Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois – Many people are sticking Courtney Upshaw in this spot and while he’s arguably the top pass rusher in this class, he’s a pretty poor fit for the 4-3 defense that new defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt likes to run. Mercilus, however is the prototype DE for the Wannstache 43. Mercilus led the nation in sacks and forced fumbles this year and is looking to cash in off a big season.
11. Kansas City Chiefs – Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State – The Chiefs missed out on the top three QBs and this is too early for Weeden. As such, they take BPA at one of their next two needs which happens to be RT. Mike Adams was a disappointment early in his career at Ohio State but he started turning it on as a junior and put together solid back-to-back seasons. Adams was also impressive at the Senior Bowl, owning his teammates on the north team in practice and stonewalling Melvin Ingram and Quinton Coples during the game.
12. Seattle Seahawks – Michael Brockers, DT, LSU – Seattle is another team with QB questions but with Tannehill off the board, there isn’t another QB worth looking at in the first round. Seattle decides to bolster the defensive tackle position, where they don’t have much beyond Brandon Mebane. Brockers was only a redshirt sophomore but he has decent production and has shown immense upside. Based on pure talent, he is probably the top DT in this class but he’s still very raw. Probably a bit of a reach but Carroll will like this kid.
13. Arizona Cardinals – Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford – Arizona’s biggest need is far and away LT. Arizona left tackle Levi Brown gave up 40 QB pressures and 11 sacks this year. That was good enough to be fourth most in pressures and third most in sacks. That being said, he’s had successful seasons in the past on the right side so getting a true left tackle to bump him over to RT or even inside to OG has to be Arizona’s number one priority. Whether its Kolb or Skelton, they will need to be able to stay upright to show anyone if they can be a franchise QB. Martin is coming off a bit of an up and down year. He started off the season as the number two OL in this class but struggled against speed rushers and has fallen down some boards. That being said, he’s still got tons of raw athletic ability and upside and would be an upgrade over Levi.
14. Dallas Cowboys – Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama – Dallas’ secondary got consistently torched all season. Terrence Newman has gotten old and lost a step and Mike Jenkins simply hasn’t lived up to his first round billing. The safeties aren’t anything to write home about either. Dallas should be looking to overhaul their secondary this offseason and Kirkpatrick is a great start. Kirkpatrick was considered a top ten player before getting arrested recently for possession of marijuana. Off-field concerns like that have never scared Jerry Jones off in the past so there’s no reason to think they’d pass on him should he fall to them.
15. Philadelphia Eagles – Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College – The Eagles had major issues stopping the run this year and it was largely because of the poor LB play. They started all different combinations of linebackers this year and none of them seemed to do the trick. Kuechly in a smart, instinctive football player that is a tackling machine. Putting him in the middle of the defense would upgrade the run defense immediately as he can diagnose plays and get his fellow linebackers in the right positions.
16. New York Jets – Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama – The Jets’ biggest need is probably pass rusher. Aaron Maybin led the team in sacks this year with a whopping six. Upshaw is the top pass rusher in this class on many people’s boards and would be a steal at this point in the draft.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland) – Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama – The STEAL of the draft. Richardson is a top 5 player in this class and it is criminal that he could potentially fall this far. Still, with the RB position being de-valued across the league and there being an overabundance of good RB play right now, the Bengals might be the first team with a legitimate need at the position. There’s no way they could pass should he fall.
18. San Diego Chargers – Melvin Ingram, OLB, South Carolina – Antwan Barnes had a breakout season with 11 sacks but Shaun Phillips’ production fell off before his injury. Barnes and Phillips only have one year left on their deals and Larry English has been a major bust. Ingram could come in and compete for a starting position instantly and presents the best value at any of the Chargers’ main positions of need.
19. Chicago Bears – David DeCastro, OG, Stanford – DeCastro is arguably the best offensive lineman in this draft but playing the OG position, it would be tough to justify taking him in the top 10. At 19, he’s gone from positional “reaching” to steal. The Bears’ Jay Cutler has been one of the most hit QBs in the league since he’s arrived in Chicago and they need all the help they can get up front.
20. Tennessee Titans – Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin – Tennesee’s running game took a MAJOR step backwards this year. While there is plenty of blame to go around, from CJ2K missing time for his contract dispute to a dropoff in play from the interior line. Konz is the best center prospect since Nick Mangold and was the key cog in the machine that paved the way for Montee Ball’s record breaking season. Konz is a big, physical lineman that would be a major upgrade of incumbent Eugene Amano.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia – After nabbing Trent Richardson with their first pick, the Bengals turn around and grab someone to help pave running lanes for him. Glenn isn’t a LT prospect but he looks like a top-tier RT/OG prospect. In Cincinnati, he could slide in at either guard spot and be an immediate upgrade over their current cast of guards.
22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta) – Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor – After getting the QB with the first pick, the Browns come back and add a weapon for him to throw to. The Browns have a lot of possession receivers on the roster, with underutilized Carlton Mitchell the only WR that can get deep. With Wright in the mix, they’d have a dynamic deep threat that would help blow the top off defenses and open up the underneath stuff for their possession guys. It also wouldn’t hurt that Wright and RGIII come with built-in chemistry.
23. Detroit Lions – Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina – Matt Stafford was finally healthy and the offense took off this season and the Lions rode that straight into the playoffs. Unfortunately, the defense still leaves much to be desired as they have holes on all three levels. If Avril leaves in free agency, they will need a DE, the OLBs still leave something to be desired, Stephen Tulloch was great at MLB but he’s also a free agent, and the secondary needs at least one starter. In this scenario, they take BPA on defense and that happens to be the top 4-3 OLB in the draft in Zach Brown. They could slide Brown in at WLB and move DeAndre Levy over to his more natural MLB position as Tulloch is likely on his way out of town.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis – Casey Hampton and Chris Hoke have been the Steelers two NTs for years and they haven’t had much to worry about when teams tried to run up the middle. Both players spent a lot of time on the injury report this past year, which seems to be becoming a trend as they age. Hoke already announced his retirement so getting some youth at the position is a must for the Steelers and Poe has experience in the 34, although he primarily played DE at Memphis. Poe is massive, anchors well, and would allow them to limit the amount of snaps the Hampton is getting, keeping him fresher and healthier.
25. Denver Broncos – Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State – Both of Denver’s starting DTs are entering free agency this year. Marcus Thomas was nothing special and should be allowed to walk, while Brodrick Bunkley was integral to the team’s success. He will be coveted in free agency but even if they retain him, they will need a starter to pair with him. Cox is an athletic DT that projects well to the UT role that he’d play next to Bunk.
26. Houston Texans – Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame – Houston’s defense has finally caught up to the offense. As such, they can finally add that final piece to the offensive puzzle and grab a WR to compliment Andre Johnson. Floyd had a great senior season and talent-wise is on par with any WR in this class but his off-field history and alcohol abuse will likely see him fall on draft day. At this point, he’s well worth the gamble though.
27. New England Patriots (from New Orleans) – Mark Barron, SS, Alabama – New England’s secondary consistently got torched this season and they need to find some upgrades sooner than later. Barron is the top safety in this class and is the top DB on my board at this point. Belichick has been tapping into the SEC talent pool a lot lately and with Urban Meyer no longer at Florida, look for him to go back to collecting Saban’s recruits.
28. Green Bay Packers – Nick Perry, OLB, USC – Green Bay couldn’t generate any pass rush this season as Matthews was consistently getting double and even triple teamed. Finding some pass rushers from either DE or OLB has to be priority number one this offseason. In this scenario, Nick Perry presents the best fit of the available players. Perry is coming off a promising junior season in which he showed some good pass rushing skills.
29. Baltimore Ravens – Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama – Baltimore’s legendary ILB Ray Lewis is nearing the end of his career. While he said he’ll be back next year, he missed time due to injury for the first time in a long time and they need to start looking for a potential long-term replacement. Hightower is a thumping MLB that has experience in a 34. Hightower has solid overall athleticism and is a great blitzer that could step in and get some playing time next to Lewis to start out and be the long-term replacement.
30. San Francisco 49ers – Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina – The 49ers were starting Ted Ginn Jr. for much of the end of the season last year. In addition, Crabtree hasn’t become the number one receiver that many thought he would. As such, WR is one of the top needs for the 49ers and Jeffery presents good value at this point. Coming off a disappointing season plagued by awful QB play, Jeffery’s stock has fallen from top 10 status but his talent is undeniable and he is well worth the risk at this point.
31. New England Patriots – Andre Branch, DE, Clemson – Despite Mark Anderson and Andre Carter having good years statistically, both are free agents and neither were the impact pass rusher their stats suggest. Finding an upgrade at pass rusher has to be at the top of the Patriots wish-list. Branch possesses the natural size and length that Bill Belichick loves in his DE/OLBs. Branch has the size and athleticism to excel in either the 43 or the 34 depending on which scheme the Patriots decide to run next year as he’s got experience playing down and standing up at LB.
32. New York Giants – Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State – The Giants lost a lot of players to injury this season but the one position they really need help at is MLB. Since Antonio Pierce left, they’ve had mediocre play from the position. Burfict is a nasty player with great size and athleticism. If he can be taught to control his temper, he could be a stud in the NFL as he’s got all-world talent.
Click here to see Rounds 2 and 3.