Over the past couple years I’ve gone with the multiple NFL Mock Draft approach. Putting one a week leading up to the draft then a couple the week of. This year I’ve decided to change that. After the season ended, I figured I’ll wait it all out and drop one right before the draft instead of making constant posts that barely change.
Here’s how I think things will play out.
1. Indianapolis Colts – QB Andrew Luck – Stanford
Don’t need to say anything, it’s all been said.
2. Washington Redskins (via St. Louis) – QB Robert Griffin III – Baylor
Same as Luck what’s left to say?
3. Minnesota Vikings – OT Matt Kalil – USC
Personally, I think the Vikings should address their secondary first but not many teams pass up a franchise left tackle when it’s a position of need. Can’t blame the Vikings one bit if they do indeed take Kalil instead of someone like Morris Claiborne who could help them now. This is a pick I could see being traded for additional picks.
4. Cleveland Browns – HB Trent Richardson – Alabama
Many are picking Richardson here even though no one knows what the Browns will do. I’m doing the same and the reason is pretty simple. When you play defenses like the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens you can’t pass the ball all the time, you need an effective running game. That’s something the Browns don’t have and that’s something that Richardson will change instantly.
I could see the Browns trading this pick just for the fact someone will overpay. With the Browns having so many holes why not take the extra picks.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – CB Morris Claiborne – LSU
My draft continues to mirror all the others and it’s because the Bucs main need is in the secondary. I toyed around with the idea of Stephen Gilmore here but I think Claiborne would be a better fit for Tampa. The NFC South is a passing division so I don’t think they need a corner as physical as Gilmore. So Tampa goes with the Claiborne the guy who many have as the best defender in the draft.
6. St. Louis Rams (via Washington) – WR Justin Blackmon – Oklahoma State
This pick is pretty damn simple. Sam Bradford had absolutely no one to throw the ball to in 2011 so it’s time to give him a weapon.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – WR Michael Floyd – Notre Dame
The Jaguars have a ton of receivers on the roster but none of them have that much talent. They signed Laurent Robinson this off season; he was #3 on the Cowboys depth chart with Jacksonville? He’s number one. So obviously there’s need and Floyd has star potential. More then likely though this pick gets traded.
8. Miami Dolphins – QB Ryan Tannehill – Texas A&M
Don’t see how the Dolphins make any other pick here.
9. Carolina Panthers – DT Fletcher Cox – Mississippi State
Little bit of a surprise pick here as the Panthers drafted two defensive tackles in last years third round. Both of those guys sucked so why not take another stab at the position? If I was Carolina I’d be hoping for Floyd to fall here, a trio Floyd/Steve Smith and Cam Newton would be explosive.
10. Buffalo Bills – CB Stephen Gilmore – South Carolina
A lot of people are thinking Riley Reiff will be the selection after losing out on another left tackle to the Eagles but I don’t think it will happen. Reiff isn’t the type of tackle that Chan Gailey likes. With the Bills publicly stating that cornerback is a spot of need time to take one of the best. He’s physical style would be perfect in the AFC East.
11. Kansas City Chiefs – OG David DeCastro – Stanford
The Chiefs had a pretty solid defense in 2011 and the unit is only getting better. Some will want to address that area and make it even better, I disagree. They added Peyton Hillis to the backfield and Kevin Boss at tight tend, so shouldn’t they make the offensive line stronger? Give Hillis some room to run.
12. Seattle Seahawks – DE Melvin Ingram – South Carolina
Another South Carolina defense comes off the board as the ‘Hawks address their biggest area of need, the pass rush. Luckily for them they even land themselves one of the best pass rushers in the draft.
13. Arizona Cardinals – OT Riley Reiff – Iowa
The Cardinals could go in a number of areas with this pick but I think for them it’s best to address the offensive line. It’s always been a weak area for them.
14. Dallas Cowboys – DE Quinton Coples – North Carolina
This is the point where Coples finally stops falling. Many teams are scared off by the rumored lack of effort. For the Cowboys that’s no worry especially when Coples can handle a major area of need, the defensive line. Coples will be able to play inside and outside, wherever the team needs him.
15. Philadelphia Eagles – S Mark Barron – Alabama
Many believe the Eagles will take a defensive tackle here, actually most people believe it. With Andy Reid’s history I can’t blame anyone for thinking that. Personally though I’d go with Barron he can be a huge difference maker in their secondary an area that really struggled in 2011.
16. New York Jets – LB Courtney Upshaw – Alabama
Another Alabama defensive player comes off the board as Courtney addresses one of the few needs on Rex Ryan’s defense. He’s a power rusher who can also get down and play out of the three technique. He’s versatile that could be a major weapon for Ryan and will help give his defense the pressure it needs to make turnovers.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (via Oakland) – CB Dre’ Kirkpatrick – Alabama
The run on ‘Bama players continue as the Bengals address one of their areas of need, secondary. They signed Terrance Newman but could still use some help. Kirkpatrick has some character issues but that’s never an issue for Cincinnati.
18. San Diego Chargers – DE/LB Whitney Mercilus – Illinois
The Chargers defense has been aging fast the past couple years and Mercilus could give the unit a much needed shot in the arm. Whitney can play the line or outside linebacker and will do something that not many on the team can do, rush the quarterback. The team was in the bottom of the third of the league in that department, that’s something Mercilus will change quickly.
19. Chicago Bears – DT Dontari Poe – Memphis
The defensive line is definitely an area of need for the Bears and Poe can help all across it. Poe is one of the bigger guys but yet pretty fast for the position. He’d definitely clog up the middle and open things up for Julius Peppers to do his thing.
20. Tennessee Titans – DE Chandler Jones – Syracuse
The Titans can use more help rushing the quarterback, much like every other team in the league. The unit ranked second worst in the NFL and signed Kamerion Wimbley to help, even then that’s not going to be enough.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – LB Luke Kuechly – Boston College
In a matter of two picks the Bengals have revamped their defense in a major way. Luke will be an instant upgrade over Rey Maualuga .
22. Cleveland Browns (via Atlanta) – OT Cordy Glenn – Georgia
A lot of people are taking a wide receiver for the Browns but I’m not sure they’ll go that route. Yes, taking someone like Stephen Hill or Kendall Wright would make the offense more explosive. With Richardson now running the ball that would be one solid offense but who cares if they can’t block anyone?
Glenn would help bolster the offensive line and they’d be able to get a wide receiver a little later in the draft. A position much deeper then offensive line.
23. Detroit Lions – OT Jonathan Martin – Stanford
Lions will either address the offensive line or the secondary here. In my opinion, the offensive line is the bigger area of need. For how good Matthew Stafford was in 2011 he could be that much better with some protection and a running game. Stafford was sacked 36 times in 2011, which is just way too much. His leading rusher only gained 390 yards. So getting some better hogs up front should change that and make a dangerous offense even more explosive.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – LB Dont’a Hightower – Alabama
Here goes another guy from the Alabama defense and the Steelers couldn’t be happier that Hightower fell to them. Hightower is the best player available (something the Steelers tend to draft) at a position of need. He’d be a great replacement for James Farrior.
25. Denver Broncos – WR Kendall Wright – Baylor
The Broncos need a defensive tackle and in a bad way. I don’t see them addressing that here in the first round regardless of the talent still available and for one reason, Peyton Manning. The Broncos didn’t bring him in to continue being a running team so they’ve got to give him some weapons to throw too. Wright would be John Fox’s new Steve Smith and give Manning a deep threat to throw to.
26. Houston Texans – WR Stephen Hill – Georgia Tech
Popular pick here would be to go with a defensive end / linebacker type, someone who can help replace Mario Williams. Me, I don’t think Houston will go that route. The defense did pretty good last year without Mario as they’ve got plenty of young talent that grew up pretty quick.
What they really need is a wide receiver opposite of Andre Johnson. Sorry Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones aren’t that good and don’t make defenses think of anyone else. Hill will do just that, he’s got size, speed and can even block. He’d also give them their wide receiver of the future as Johnson is on the other side of 30.
27. New England Patriots (via New Orleans) – DE/LB Nick Perry – USC
Perry is the perfect guy for a Bill Belichick defense as he can play in either a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. He can play the defensive end in a 4-3 or a standup linebacker when the Pats switch to a 3-4. He’s got lots of speed 4.5 – 40 yard dash and he’s an athlete, 38.5 inch vertical jump. Perry could be the pass rusher the Pats needed as he had 21.5 sacks over the past three seasons with over 20 tackles for losses.
28. Green Bay Packers – DE/LB Shea McClellin – Boise State
McClellin is an obvious choice here for the Packers as his versatility will be a huge weapon for Dom Capers. Shea is a guy who can play inside or outside linebacker and even line up at defensive end. With his pass rushing skills on one side will finally free Clay Matthews from the constant double teams.
29. Baltimore Ravens – RB Doug Martin – Boise State
The Ravens are one of the few teams that don’t have any real holes, they’re drafting for depth. One of the areas that need depth the post is the running back position. If Ray Rice goes down this team is in trouble. So I’m thinking that’s where they go with the pick.
30. San Francisco 49ers – OG Kevin Zeitler – Wisconsin
Much like the Ravens the Niners don’t need much. I toyed with the idea of Coby Fleener here but the 49ers have Vernon Davis and are happy with his backups. So I believe they’ll go after some depth on the offensive line.
31. New England Patriots – S Harrison Smith – Notre Dame
I think this pick will get traded but as of now it’s not so let’s see. I’ve got the Patriots addressing their pass rush with the 27th pick and because of that I don’t think they’ll go with another defensive lineman. Instead they’ll address their safety situation which is pretty weak. All they’ve got is Patrick Chung and after Mark Barron, Smith is the only safety worth drafting early.
Now after saying that; Belichick could surprise and take another defensive lineman like UCONN’s Kendall Reyes. Someone who is very tough against the run and rush the passer at the same time, which means he can fill in at any position on the line.
32. New York Giants – TE Coby Fleener – Stanford
This is another pick I could see traded the Super Bowl Champs don’t have many needs but they’ve got enough. People like to say that Jerry Reese drafts the best player available but it’s usually BPA at a position of need. When looking at the current board Fleener is exactly that, the best available and a tight end which is a HUGE need.
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