Mock Draft V. 2.0
(Originally posted at Mocking The Draft)
With the college football season in the books, it’s time for another mock draft. While things are still very fluid, an early picture of the 1st round is starting to form. At this point, it looks like the 1st round will be heavy on offensive talent with perhaps as few as 12 defensive players being selected. Here’s how I see things playing out as things stand right now:
*Note that I am not projecting trades
1.– , QB, Stanford
This is a no-brainer at this point. Unless some team offers the Colts an absolutely staggering package of picks/players, Luck will be Peyton Manning’s heir apparent
2.– , WR, Oklahoma State
The Rams could go in a number of different directions here. If Brandon Lloyd is to be believed, he will be following Josh McDaniels to New England. Sam Bradford desperately needs a high caliber weapon to throw to. Blackmon might not be the 2nd best player in the draft, but he’s a top talent at a position of glaring need. In reality, the Rams will probably be fielding offers for this pick from teams who want to grab.
3.– , OT, USC
The Vikings have needed a long term solution at LT for a couple of years and Kalil is an elite prospect at the position. He’s probably not in the/ class but he’s close. He can start from day 1 and protect young QB Christian Ponder’s blindside for the foreseeable future
4.– Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
It’s doubtful that Griffin is still around for the Browns, but if he is, they cannot pass on him.has looked pedestrian (on his best days) and while McCoy doesn’t have much to work with, he hardly elevates the game of those around him. The presence of McCoy allows the Browns to develop Griffin slowly as opposed to other teams who might need to rush the raw QB into action early
5.– , CB, LSU
is a great talent at CB, but he has obvious and significant character issues. It remains to be seen if their new coach will want to deal with Talib’s problems. is near retirement. Claiborne can be the cornerstone on an otherwise awful defense.
6.– , QB, Texas A&M
This will strike a lot of people as being a reach but the Redskins simply cannot go another offseason without securing a long-term solution at QB. If they can’t go up to get Griffin, Tannehill makes sense. While he might not have Top 10 talent, he is a guy who is slowly creeping his way into mid-late 1st round consideration and a good combine could get him selected a lot earlier than some are expecting. Tannehill is raw, but clearly a step ahead of most of the 2nd tier options.
7.– , OT, Iowa
Despite spending some recent high picks on OL, the Jaguars are shaky up front. As their fans found out last year,doesn’t handle pressure all that well. To build up his confidence and let him mature as a passer, the Jags need to build a better wall in front of their young signalcaller. Reiff isn’t the most athletic OT you’ll find, but he has terrific strength and a high football IQ. He will test well at the Combine and solidify himself as a surefire Top 10 pick
8.– , DL, UNC
The Panthers have struggled with mediocre (at best) DT play for awhile now. Coples is a local guy who can step in and provide them with some push in the middle. Ron Rivera has the type of personality which should motive the enigmatic and inconsistent defensive lineman.
9.– Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
While a QB is probably atop the Dolphins’ draft day wishlist, both of the top options and the backup plan are off the board. Shifting gears, they grab an immediate upgrade to their RT spot in Martin. The Dolphins were stuck with Marc Columbo at RT last year and needless to say, it didn’t produce the desired results. Martin, who plays with a mean streak, is as solid of a run-blocker as you’ll find in this draft. He will help pave the way for 2011 2nd round RB Daniel Thomas
10.– , CB, Alabama
The Bills have a few holes they need to fill but CB is amongst the most pressing.has battled injuries the last 2 years and neither nor inspire a lot of confidence. Kirkpatrick is a big CB (6’2,190) who should be able to match up well with division rival receivers such as .
11.– , G, Stanford
DeCastro is possibly the best offensive guard prospect in 15 years and has a shot to be the first guard drafted in the top 10 sincein 1997. While the Chiefs really need an upgrade at QB, there is nobody left who makes sense at #11. Instead, they take the imposing road grader from Stanford. He will help keep the pocket clean for whichever QB the Chiefs settle on and should be able to create running lanes for and company.
12.– , DT, Penn State
The Seahawks find themselves in no-man’s land here. The QB’s are gone and it’s probably too early to consider any of the remaining DE’s (to play the LEO position). If Marshawn Lynch departs, a RB would be a possibility. However, their pass rush is lacking, especially from the interior DL. Devon Still gives them a big guy who can push the pocket and should take some pressure off.
13.– , WR, Baylor
The Cardinals have been looking for a #2 WR since trading Anquan Boldin. Early Doucet is a free agent and might not return andprobably isn’t the answer. The fleet of foot Wright has been rising up draft boards in the wake of an excellent 2011 season and would make an excellent option opposite .
14.– , CB, Nebraska
is overpaid and declining and the Cowboys pass defense ended up being their undoing this season. Dennard is a physical CB who plays the style of football that defensive coordinator Rob Ryan likes. Dennard can play outside or inside and could even help out at safety, if needed. While he isn’t as hyped as his former teammate was last year, he’s pretty close in ability.
15.– , LB, Boston College
The Eagles’ LB corps is amongst the worst in the league and Kuechly is the best 4-3 LB on the board by a wide margin . He’s a natural fit for their defense and should be a highly productive, if unspectacular, LB for Philadelphia for a long time.
16.– , DE/LB, Alabama
The Jets have needed a pass-rusher for awhile, and whileprovided a surprising amount of pressure last year, he’s not a 3-down player. Upshaw’s ability to contribute in both the run and pass game, as well as play as either a DE or LB gives him the versatility that Rex Ryan covets.
17.(from Oakland)- , RB, Alabama
It would be surprising to see Richardson slide this far, and the Jets might be very interested at #16. However, as enticing as Richardson’s potential is, there aren’t a lot of teams who are both in the market for and willing to spend a top pick on a running back. The Bengals need an upgrade from “3 yards and a cloud of dust”and Richardson should be able to immediately come in and take some pressure off young .
18.– , NT, Memphis
The Chargers could be hoping that David DeCastro slides this far, as they need a replacement forbut that scenario seems unlikely at this point. wasn’t as effective in 2011 as in 2010 and is unsigned. Poe is an impressive physical specimen with a rare combination of size and athleticism. In the run-heavy AFC West, a monster NT will come in very handy.
19.– , WR, South Carolina
It’s no secret that the Bears need a WR. They haven’t had a franchise receiver in forever andneeds a reliable target. Jeffery is a guy who has a lot of questions surrounding his work ethic and athleticism. If he runs well and shines in the interview process, he will be long gone by #19. However, there is a good chance he slides a bit on draft day. The Bears would be remiss to pass on him at this spot. If Jeffery can stay motivated and productive, he should add an element to the Bears offense which has been missing for awhile.
20.– , DE, Illinois
A late bloomer with only one year of top collegiate production, Mercilus flashed a lot of pass rush ability this year at Illinois. The Titans have a glaring hole at DE as former 1st rounderhas been a disappointment and neither nor seem like quality starters. At this point, he’s the best option at DE for a 4-3 scheme and a good fit for the Tennessee defense
21. Cincinnati Bengals –, S, Alabama
After their playoff loss to the Texans, current safetyis likely to be run out of town. Even if Crocker returns, the Bengals need an upgrade in their secondary. Barron is the best of a pretty bad safety class, combining good size with solid instincts. He’s not an elite playmaker but has deceptively good hands and should be a sturdy defender in the Bengals’ defensive backfield. A CB could make some sense here too, with coming off an Achilles tendon injury and on the wrong side of 30.
22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta)-, RB, Miami
Having already snagged Robert Griffin III earlier, Tom Heckert and Mike Holmgren decide to give him some help in the backfield. Incumbent Peyton Hillis is coming off a very disappointing season and is a free agent.can’t stay healthy and no one else is a possible starter. Miller gives the Browns a quality back who adds some speed and athleticism to an underwhelming stable of RB’s.
23.– Zach Brown, OLB, UNC
The Lions got some surprising production from 2011 free agent acquisitionsand but is upgradeable and Tulloch is unsigned for 2012. As a group, the 3 LB’s combined for only 5 sacks (2 from the OLB spots). While the Lions need some help along the OL and in the secondary, it would be tough to pass on Brown. The UNC ‘backer has excellent athleticism and plenty of upside. He would immediately add some pass rush to a LB group which has under-produced in that department for a long time.
24.– Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama
is old and in rapid decline and the Steelers need an infusion of young talent in their LB corps. Hightower plays with the hard-hitting, downhill style that Pittsburgh fans have grown accustomed to seeing from their LB’s. He projects as a top run defender with some ability in the pass game and would be a great complement to the smaller, more athletic, .
25.– , CB, South Carolina
is old, though still productive. The rest of Denver’s CB’s aren’t starter material. has been targeted frequently and effectively by opposing QB’s. Cassius Vaughn, and Chris Harris are spare parts and not suited for a starting role. Gilmore is a smart, athletic CB with good size who would be an excellent fit in Dennis Allen’s scheme.
26.– , G/T, Georgia
The Giants OL proved to be shaky in protectingat times and unreliable at opening running lanes for and Brandon Jacobs. Glenn is a big, athletic OL who can help out at RT but is probably best suited inside. His pass blocking needs some work and he could use some coaching to improve his technique, but he has elite upside and is an attractive option at this spot in the draft.
27.– , WR, Notre Dame
As if the Texans offense (with a healthy Schaub) wasn’t dangerous enough? Gary Kubiak’s passing attack needs a better option oppositeand Floyd could create some real match-up problems for opposing defenses. At #27, the tall Notre Dame WR is simply too good of a value to pass up.
28.– , WR, Rutgers
San Francisco has been searching for a top WR for a long time.didn’t work out as expected and the veterans they have brought in haven’t fared much better. Sanu isn’t the downfield threat some 49er fans covet, but he’s got a great skill set and a knack for finding holes in the opponent’s defense. He’d be a perfect fit in Jim Harbaugh’s West Coast Offense and will give Alex Smith a quality receiver other than TE Vernon Davis.
29.– , OT, Florida State
The Ravens don’t have a ton of needs, and their biggest need (ILB) isn’t really a fit value-wise for the #29 pick unless they want to roll the dice on the mercurial Vontaze Burfict. However,is getting up in years, hasn’t fulfilled his potential and is a free agent who might not return. Sanders’ ability to play on either side of the line and his athleticism make him a good project for Baltimore who can let him sit and learn for a year if needed.
30.– Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
Green Bay needs some help up front, especially someone who can get to the QB. They could look at a 5-technique to slide in next tobut grabbing a guy like Perry to play opposite is irresistible. Matthews saw a decline in his production this year as he faced more double teams than ever before, partly due to the ineffectiveness of Erik Walden. Perry was one of the top pass rushers in the nation in 2011 and should be able to make the conversion to OLB.
31.– , DT, Mississippi State
Regardless of which scheme Bill Belichick employs in 2012, one thing is for sure: he needs more talent up front. If he runs a 3-4 base, he needs a 5-technique to play next to Vince Wilfork. If he’s running a 4-3, Belichick could use a DT to upgrade from 2009 undrafted free agent Kyle Love. Fletcher Cox can fit either scheme and has the ability to disrupt the QB which the Pats’ big guys are missing. Cox also has a sturdier base than some other 1st round DT/DE types and should hold up in the run game.
32. New England Patriots (From New Orleans) –, C, Wisconsin
Anyone who follows the draft knows that it’s unlikely Bill Belichick keeps both of his 1st round picks. One of them is almost certain to be traded for a few of 2011 picks or a 2012 first rounder. However, if he does keep both, he needs to replace veteran center Dan Koppen. While Koppen has been a reliable fixture inside for the Patriots, he’s old, declining and coming off a broken leg. Fill-in’s Ryan Wendell andhave held up surprisingly well but the Pats need a long term answer. Konz is the best center in the draft and solidifies the position for the Patriots for the next 5+ years