1. Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck – QB – Stanford - Scouting Report
The Colts rebuilding process is fully underway, and it’s hard not to feel sorry for Andrew Luck. While I fully believe Luck be the centerpiece of this franchise for the next 10-15 years, it’s going to take some time before they can be considered legitimate contenders. With so few weapons around him, Luck is in for a very long and potentially painful rookie years.
2. Washington Redskins - Robert Griffin III – QB – Baylor - Scouting Report
[from Rams] As much as I like Robert Griffin, I do think the Redskins gave up too much. What makes Griffin special is his athleticism, his potential and his work ethic – which leads us to believe he will eventually develop into an elite pro quarterback. But he isn’t there yet, and isn’t even all that close. I expect Griffin to be among the game’s best in three to five years, but with so little talent around him and no meaningful picks with which to add talent, he’s going to struggle early on.
3. Minnesota Vikings - Matt Kalil – OT – USC - Scouting Report
The Vikings may entertain the possibility of trading this pick but if they stay put Kalil is too valuable to pass up. Their offensive line has been depleted by the release of Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera, and if they want to keep Christian Ponder on his feet in 2012, then adding a star at left tackle is a must.
4. Cleveland Browns - Morris Claiborne – CB – LSU - Scouting Report
Now that they missed out on the Griffin, the Browns are the most difficult team to predict. The have holes at receiver and running back, but I don’t believe Tom Heckert wants to spend a high draft pick on either position. As a result, the only move that makes sense (other than a trade down) would be to select Claiborne. Cornerback is actually one of the stronger positions on the Browns roster, but pairing Claiborne with Joe Haden would give the Browns an elite tandem.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Trent Richardson – RB – Alabama - Scouting Report
I believe the Bucs have narrowed their board to Claiborne and Richardson, and at least one of the two will be available. Claiborne would probably be the safer pick, but there’s no shame in settling for Richardson. LeGarrette Blount has proven to be a serviceable starter, but Richardson is a special talent. Adding a playmaker like Richardson to the backfield would take a considerable amount of pressure off Josh Freeman.
6. St. Louis Rams - Riley Reiff – OT – Iowa - Scouting Report
[from Redskins] If Richardson or Claiborne were on the board the Rams would rush to the podium. But there is a strong possibility that both will be gone, putting the Rams in a difficult position. If they love Justin Blackmon there will be no issue, but I suspect they would prefer not to gamble on a receiver in the top 10. Ultimately, I believe the Rams will trade down again, at which point they’ll eventually target an offensive lineman such as Reiff or David DeCastro.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars- Justin Blackmon – WR – Oklahoma St - Scouting Report
The Jaguars may entertain the idea of trading up for Blackmon, but ultimately I don’t believe that will be necessary. The Browns and Rams front offices are expected to be relatively conservative in their approach to the draft this year, which likely means they won’t be reaching for a receiver – arguably the most volatile position in the draft in terms of the difficulty in projecting long-term value. But the Jaguars are in a position to gamble, and would probably roll the dice on Blackmon if he’s on the board.
8. Miami Dolphins - Quinton Coples – DE – North Carolina - Scouting Report
There is an assumption that the Dolphins covet Ryan Tannehill due to the connection between him and their new offensive coordinator, Mike Sherman. However, it should be noted that Tannehill wasn’t exactly Sherman’s hand-picked quarterback at Texas A&M. It was Sherman who initially moved Tannehill to receiver, and didn’t name him the starter until mid-way through the 2010 season. If they pass on Tannehill, I suspect they’ll target a defensive lineman to help ease the transition to their new 4-3 scheme.
9. Carolina Panthers - Dontari Poe – DT – Memphis - Scouting Report
This is a reach for Poe, but after his impressive combine I believe some teams are going to have him higher on their draft board than we initially expected. The Panthers drafted Sione Fua in the 3rd round last year to play nose tackle, but the addition of Poe could be good for both players. No 350-pounder can effectively play 60+ snaps per game, and Poe is no exception. A rotation of Poe and Fua could dramatically improve the Panthers interior line.
10. Buffalo Bills - Melvin Ingram – LB – South Carolina - Scouting Report
The Bills have officially announced that they will be transitioning to a 4-3 base defense under new coordinator Dave Wannstedt, which means some personnel changes are coming. There are a few options for them to consider here, and right now it’s tough to know what type of player they’re looking to add. Courtney Upshaw, Nick Perry and Melvin Ingram are all strong possibilities, but don’t rule out them reaching for a guy like Whitney Mercilus.
11. Kansas City Chiefs - Luke Kuechly – LB – Boston College - Scouting Report
The Chiefs are a candidate to trade up into the top 10, potentially for Dontari Poe or maybe even Trent Richardson. But if they stay put, Luke Kuechly will be very tempting. Linebacker isn’t their primary need, but Scott Pioli values depth in the defensive front seven and Kuechly would be a perfect fit next to Derrick Johnson in their 3-4 defense.
12. Seattle Seahawks - Ryan Tannehill – QB – Texas A&M - Scouting Report
I suspect the overall interest in Tannehill has been greatly overstated, and I will be surprised if he goes in the top 10. However, he does make some sense for the Seahawks here. The Seahawks are in the process of a slow, but smart, rebuilding process and won’t rush into anything. This may mean they’ll be content to wait until next year to find their franchise quarterback, but it could also mean drafting Tannehill here and allowing him to sit for an entire year behind Tarvaris Jackson.
13. Arizona Cardinals - Jonathan Martin – OT – Stanford - Scouting Report
For a team that went 8-8, Arizona sure has a lot of holes to fill. The first priority, however, needs to be fixing the offensive line. With Beanie Wells in the backfield, the Cardinals have the potential to feature a dangerous power running game to compliment their down-field passing attack, but have never supported Wells with the physical offensive line he needs to succeed. Martin isn’t your prototypical left tackle, and this may be a reach, but Levi Brown is likely to be released and the Cardinals will be desperate.
14. Dallas Cowboys - David DeCastro – OG – Stanford - Scouting Report
The Cowboys need to fix the secondary, but they’re likely to address that need with a free agent signing or two. That means the draft will be about continuing to rebuild the offensive line. Tyron Smith proved to be an excellent addition last year, and DeCastro could be the next piece to the puzzle.
15. Philadelphia Eagles - Fletcher Cox – DT – Mississippi State - Scouting Report
The Eagles would love for Luke Kuechly to fall, but at best there’s a 50/50 shot of him being on the board at No. 15. Their next option may be to simply take the best available player which, in this case, is Fletcher Cox. This scenario also jives with Andy Reid’s tendency to address the defensive line when all other options fail.
16. New York Jets - Courtney Upshaw – LB – Alabama - Scouting Report
The Jets have to chose between addressing the defensive front seven and providing Mark Sanchez with another weapon. I tend to think adding a weapon should be the priority, but Upshaw would be tough to pass up. They need a pass rusher who can be a difference maker and Upshaw is one of the few with that potential in this draft class.
17. Cincinnati Bengals - Doug Martin – RB – Boise State - Scouting Report
[from Raiders] Once Trent Richardson is off the board, it’s anyone’s guess who or when the next running back will be selected. But one of the fastest risers right now is Doug Martin, who may have played his way into the late 1st-round consideration at the Senior Bowl. This would definitely be viewed as a reach, but if the Bengals identify Martin as their guy – and I think he’d be a perfect replacement for Cedric Benson – there’s no guarantee he’ll still be on the board when they’re up in the 2nd round.
18. San Diego Chargers - Cordy Glenn – OG/OT – Georgia - Scouting Report
Some big changes are coming for the Chargers offensive line. Marcus McNeill could be a cap casualty, Kris Dielman recently retired and Nick Hardwick and Jared Gaither are unrestricted free agents. Glenn would give the Chargers some versatility due to his ability to play either guard position or right tackle.
19. Chicago Bears - Mark Barron – S – Alabama - Scouting Report
Now that Brandon Marshall is on board the Bears can turn their attention away from receiver. But what position will they target? Their other needs don’t necessarily match up with the talent on board. Strong safety may not be a high priority, but Barron is among the best available and is a clear upgrade over the revolving door the Bears had at the position in 2011.
20. Tennessee Titans – Nick Perry – DE – USC - Scouting Report
The Titans are just two years removed from selecting Derrick Morgan in the 1st round, but their front seven has been a bit of a disappointment recently. Perry is a very similar player to Morgan, and won’t be an elite pass rusher, but he’s well rounded and the two should give them a solid duo at end.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Dre Kirkpatrick – CB – Alabama - Scouting Report
The Bengals don’t have a glaring need for a cornerback, but in recent years they’ve shown a tendency to jump at the chance to land a player who’s falling. The addition of Kirkpatrick would give them a deep secondary, and potentially make Nate Clements expendable.
22. Cleveland Browns - Kendall Wright – WR – Baylor - Scouting Report
[from Falcons] I don’t think the Browns have a strong interest in Justin Blackmon, and one reason for that is due to the fact that they’ll have an opportunity to land a receiver at No. 22. Wright would be a nice complement to Greg Little and could really open things up for the Browns offense.
23. Detroit Lions - Janoris Jenkins – CB – N.Alabama - Scouting Report
This would be a risky move for the Lions, but they’re close to being Super Bowl contenders and may feel the need to roll the dice on Jenkins’ character. If he stays focused and out of trouble, he could be their No. 1 cornerback from day one, which would dramatically change the makeup of their defense.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Dont’a Hightower – LB – Alabama - Scouting Report
The Steelers have more glaring needs (cornerback, offensive line) but they also value depth in the defensive front seven. Additionally, GM Kevin Colbert loves to fill needs before they open up. Adding Hightower would provide them with impressive depth at linebacker before he eventually took over for Larry Foote as the starter (which could happen sooner rather than later).
25. Denver Broncos – Michael Brockers – DT – LSU - Scouting Report
Brockers is one of the more difficult prospects to project. He is extremely talented, but is still young and inconsistent. He legitimately has top-10 potential, but due to the fact that he failed to consistently play at the level despite being surrounded by elite talent, he could experience a draft-day fall. I don’t see Denver passing him up, however. Brockers is an athletic penetrating three-technique who could excel in John Fox’s system.
26. Houston Texans - Michael Floyd – WR – Notre Dame - Scouting Report
The Texans are in a position to make a luxury pick here, especially if a guy receiver such as Floyd or Wright falls. The combination of Floyd and Andre Johnson would give the Texans a truly dangerous duo at receiver, and could propel their offense to an elite level.
27. New England Patriots - Jayron Hosley – CB – Virginia Tech - Scouting Report
From New Orleans - This is a slight reach for Hosley, but I really like how he fits in New England’s secondary. The Patriots have a two decent starting corners (Arrington and McCourty), but don’t have a great option for nickel packages to match up with some of the smaller slot receivers in the league. Hosley may not be this high on every board, but he would seem to fill that hole for New England perfectly.
28. Green Bay Packers – Stephon Gilmore – CB – S.Carolina - Scouting Report
The Packers have stated that Charles Woodson will remain at cornerback, but there are still concerns at the position. Gilmore should be of particular interest because his skill set close resembles Woodson and he could learn a lot from the future Hall of Famer.
29. Baltimore Ravens – Peter Konz – C – Wisconsin - Scouting Report
35-year-old Matt Birk is a free agent, and his departure would create a gaping hole in the middle of the Ravens offensive line. Konz is clearly the cream of the crop at his position in this year’s class, and possibly the only one ready to step into a starting role from day one.
30. San Francisco 49ers – Stephen Hill – WR – Georgia Tech - Scouting Report
The 49ers offense was better than expected, but far too many drives ended in field goals. They need to do something to jump start the offense, and adding a playmaker like hill could be exactly what they need. Hill is raw and will take time to develop, but he has the speed to stretch the field and the size and leaping ability to immediately contribute in the red zone.
31. New England Patriots - Chandler Jones – LB – Syracuse - Scouting Report
Jones is very raw, and he definitely won’t be a 1st-rounder on every draft board. But Belichick likes to think outside the box and considers how a player fits his system more than anything. Jones may never be a three-down player, but he has the ability to provide the Patriots with the pass rush threat which they’ve been missing.
32. New York Giants – Dwayne Allen – TE – Clemson - Scouting Report
There are definitely more flashy tight ends in this year’s class, but it’s Allen’s blocking ability which should catch the Giants attention. The Giants offensive scheme requires their tight ends to be able to block – Jake Ballard was used as a blocker on 33% of the pass plays on which he was in the field in 2011 [for the sake of comparison, Gronkowski blocked on 12%]. That fact should all but eliminate Coby Fleener and Orson Charles from the conversation.