1. Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck – QB – Stanford - Scouting Report
The Colts still haven’t made their intentions known, but I just can’t see him going any other direction with this pick. Griffin is an elite prospect, but players like him come along every couple years. Luck is in another stratosphere as a prospect, and there are franchise that have waited their entire existence without ever having the opportunity to land a guy like him. The Colts would be making a huge mistake to pass on Luck.
2. Washington Redskins - Robert Griffin III – QB – Baylor - Scouting Report
[from Rams] As much as the Redskins are excited about Griffin, there’s no doubt that they’re secretly crossing their fingers for the Colts to let Andrew Luck slide. But Griffin will be a fine consolation prize, if you can even call it that. He’s a special prospect, but the challenge now will be to surround him with enough talent in order to let him develop.
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
I keep going back and forth on this, because it’s a dilemma between what should happen and what will happen. There’s really no excuse for passing on Richardson, he’s an elite talent and there’s no reason why he couldn’t be a key piece to a Browns playoff run in the relatively near future. But Tom Heckert seems reluctant to spend big money or high draft picks on the position, and may settle for Claiborne instead.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Trent Richardson – RB – Alabama - Scouting Report
The Bucs are in a nice position here. They can sit at wait at No. 5, knowing that either Claiborne or Richardson will be on the board and both players fill obvious holes on the roster. They really can’t go wrong with either guy. The combination of Richardson and Blount would all the Bucs to wear down defenses with their running game.
6. St. Louis Rams - Justin Blackmon – WR – Oklahoma St - Scouting Report
[from Redskins] It’s unlikely that Claiborne gets past the Browns and Bucs, which means the Blackmon is the heavy favorite for this slot. There is no doubt that Blackmon would add a new dimension to the Rams offense, providing Sam Bradford with the type of supporting cast he deserves. I don’t think they’ll trade up for Blackmon, as has been rumored, but I do think they’ll take him if he falls.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars - Michael Floyd – WR – Notre Dame - Scouting Report
I’m going on a limb to a certain extent on this one, but Jaguars GM Gene Smith is definitely an outside-the-box thinker when it comes to the draft. This is a reach for Floyd, but the Jaguars need to give Blaine Gabbert a tall possession receiver. Floyd has the skills to make an immediate impact in Jacksonville.
8. Miami Dolphins - Ryan Tannehill – QB – Texas A&M - Scouting Report
I’m finally giving in and moving Tannehill into the top 10. It’s absolutely ludicrous that a team would even consider him this high, but if the Dolphins are half as dysfunction as they’ve been portrayed this offseason, they just may pull the trigger on a developmental quarterback who struggles with NFL throws.
9. Carolina Panthers – Quinton Coples – DE – North Carolina -Scouting Report
The Panthers seem to be interested in upgrading the defensive end position opposite Charles Johnson, hoping to find a more well-rounded upgrade over Greg Hardy. Coples was incredibly inconsistent in college, but when the effort is there, he’s a dominant force.
10. Buffalo Bills - Riley Reiff – OT – Iowa - Scouting Report
The addition of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson more than adequately addressed their need for a defensive end, which means their attention turns elsewhere with this pick. Cornerback and offensive line are now the most obvious holes that needed to be filled. Considering the money they’ve already spent on defense, I suspect they’ll be leaning towards addressing the offense with this selection. Reiff holds a slight edge over Jonathan Martin.
11. Kansas City Chiefs - Dontari Poe – DT – Memphis - Scouting Report
If the season started today, 2011 6th-round pick Jerrell Powe would be the Chiefs likely starting nose tackle. I can’t imagine Scott Pioli and Romero Crennel feel good about that situation, and they should jump at the chance to bring a guy with Dontari Poe’s size and athleticism into the mix.
12. Seattle Seahawks - Luke Kuechly – LB – Boston College - Scouting Report
The Seahawks should be ecstatic if Kueckly is on the board at No. 12. With David Hawthorne and Leroy Hill gone, the linebacking corps has been depleted. Kuechly has all the physical and mental tools necessary to be an elite inside linebacker for the next decade. He’s a guy you can build around.
13. Arizona Cardinals - Melvin Ingram – LB – South Carolina - Scouting Report
The Cardinals need to address the offensive line, but could also use a pass rusher like Ingram. They’ll have a tough call to make if left to decide between Ingram and Jonathan Martin, but there aren’t many pass rushers in this draft class and if they don’t land Ingram they may not find anyone capable of upgrading the position in 2012.
14. Dallas Cowboys - Courtney Upshaw – LB – Alabama - Scouting Report
The Cowboys have done a nice job filling some holes in free agency, upgrading the secondary and of the offensive line. Their next move will be to add a pass rusher. Either Upshaw or Melvin Ingram should be on the board here, and I suspect the Cowboys would be fine with either. There are also reports that they covet Dontari Poe, but I don’t see him falling this far.
15. Philadelphia Eagles - Stephon Gilmore – CB – S.Carolina - Scouting Report
With Asante Samuel reportedly on the trading block and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie coming off a disappointing season, the Eagles will be looking to add a corner at some point relatively early in the draft. Dre Kirkpatrick and Stephone Gilmore would both be logical choices here.
16. New York Jets - Andre Branch – DE – Clemson - Scouting Report
The Jets would likely jump at the chance to land Ingram or Upshaw, but I suspect the Cowboys and Cardinals will beat them to it. As a result, they’ll have to settle for Branch or maybe Nick Perry. While Upshaw would be preferable, Branch is a nice consolation prize.
17. Cincinnati Bengals - Dre Kirkpatrick – CB – Alabama - Scouting Report
[from Raiders] 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.
18. San Diego Chargers - Cordy Glenn – OG/OT – Georgia - Scouting Report
Some big changes are coming for the Chargers offensive line. Marcus McNeill and Kris Dielman are gone, opening up some glaring holes on the line. Fortunately Jared Gaither is back, which fills the hole at left tackle, but left guard and right tackle are still serious question marks. Glenn would give the Chargers some versatility due to his ability to play either guard position or right tackle.
19. Chicago Bears - Nick Perry – DE – USC - Scouting Report
The Bears seem locked into taking a defensive end here, partly due to a need and partly due to the depth at the position. They could go a number of different directions here, but I’ll give the edge to Perry. Of the players on the board, I believe Perry has the most upside and could be brought along relatively slowly in Chicago as part of a rotation.
20. Tennessee Titans - Peter Konz – C – Wisconsin - Scouting Report
Eugene Amano is a below-average starting center, and there were rumors that the Titans were considering an upgrade through free agency. Since that didn’t work out, they may turn their attention to Konz in the draft. He’s likely to be on the board here, and would be one of the safest available picks.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Doug Martin – RB – Boise State - Scouting Report
In most years, Martin would be the consensus top prospect at his position. But Trent Richardson is in a league of his own, so Martin gets forgotten. He’s a legitimate 1st-rounder, however, and a better prospect than any running back from the 2010 or 2011 classes.
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 the perfect complement to Greg Little and could really open things up for the Browns offense.
23. Detroit Lions - Janoris Jenkins – CB – N.Alabama - Scouting Report
The Lions believe they are on the cusp of serious contention, which makes me think they’ll target a player who can come in and play a significant role from Day One. Due to his character concerns, Jenkins is a definite risk here but there’s also no denying the impact he could have on Detroits secondary.
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 - Fletcher Cox – DT – Mississippi State - Scouting Report
The Broncos must address their defensive line early in this draft, and they should be in position to land a quality tackle here. If Cox is on the board, it’s a no-brainer. He’s an athletic, penetrating three-technique who has the potential to be an poor man’s Ndamukong Suh. If he’s gone, Michael Brockers or Jerel Worthy would also make sense.
26. Houston Texans – Mark Barron – S – Alabama - Scouting Report
Most mock drafts seem to be matching the Texans up with a wide receiver – and I do see the logic in that – but if Barron’s on the board, he will be tough to pass up. Glover Quin is, at best, a mediocre starting strong safety and is easily replaceable. Barron has the skills to be an instant-impact performer on Wade Phillips’ defense.
27. New England Patriots - Michael Brockers – DE/DT – LSU - Scouting Report
From New Orleans - The Patriots have needs all over the defensive side of the ball, so I expect them to take the best available player. A case could be made for a few guys, but Brockers seems to have the most upside in my opinion. Additionally, he has the size and athleticism to fit nicely in Belichick’s hybrid 3-4/4-3 scheme.
28. Green Bay Packers - Whitney Mercilus – LB – Illinois - Scouting Report
I’ve had the Packers matched up with a corner in most of my mock drafts, but in this scenario everyone they may consider is off the board. As a result, they turn to Mercilus, who could could start at outside linebacker opposite Clay Matthews.
29. Baltimore Ravens - Jonathan Martin – OT – Stanford - Scouting Report
The Ravens don’t need to fill any glaring holes, so they can sit back and wait for the best available play to fall into their lap. In this scenario, it’s either Martin or his college teammate, David DeCastro. Given the fact that Bryant McKinnie isn’t the long-term solution at left tackle, Martin seems to make the most sense. David DeCastro may also make sense as a replacement for Ben Grubbs.
30. San Francisco 49ers - David DeCastro – OG – Stanford - Scouting Report
The 49ers don’t have many holes to fill, but if the opportunity presents itself to upgrade the right guard position they should jump at the chance. DeCastro appears in the top 20 in most mock drafts, but due to a lack of need I’m starting to expect a draft-day slide.
31. New England Patriots - Jayron Hosley – CB – Virginia Tech - Scouting Report
Hosley fills a glaring need for the Patriots, and is actually a perfect fit in their secondary. The Patriots secondary needs depth, and not necessarily starters. Hosley, who is a prototypical nickel corner, could fill that role immediately. Janoris Jenkins would also be a great fit if he were on the board.
32. New York Giants - Bobby Wagner – LB – Utah State - Scouting Report
Wagner isn’t a consensus 1st-round prospect, but he’s an intruiging talent who seems to fit the Giants defense well. He could play either inside or weak-side linebacker in New York, which gives the Giants the flexibility to chose between him and Michael Boley at each position.