Colts select Andrew Luck, Grade: A+

Obviously there’s no surprise here. Andrew Luck has been in the No. 1 slot on every single one of my 2012 mock drafts (and most of the 2011 mocks, before he returned to school). The Indianapolis Colts now have the face of their franchise for the next 10+ years. Even if Luck doesn’t fully live up to the lofty standards set by Peyton Manning, Luck will still lead the Colts to multiple playoff appearances once he’s surrounded by enough talent.

All that said, it’s going to be a rough rookie year for Luck. The Colts have essentially no talent on either side of the ball and realistically could be picking at the top of the draft once again in 2013.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Colts Comments Off

Draft Needs: Indianapolis Colts

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Indianapolis Colts [full archive here].

Season Recap: What a different team this was with Peyton Manning under center. After starting 13 consecutive seasons, Manning was forced to miss 2011 with a neck injury. Kerry Collins, Dan Orlovsky, and Curtis Painter all attempted to replicate Manning’s brilliance, but, much to nobody’s surprise, failed miserably. The Colts wound up with the number one pick at just the right time. Andrew Luck is the greatest quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning (coincidence?) and will be the Colts signal caller for the next 15 seasons.

Team Needs:
1. Offensive Line: Like the Redskins, I left quarterback off the list because of Andrew Luck. The Colts have many needs, but need to start with the group that will be in charge of protecting Mr. Luck. The only capable starter is last year’s first round pick, left tackle Anthony Costonzo. Longtime Colt, Jeff Saturday has left the team, leaving a big hole at center. Both guard positions and right tackle are also needs. The Colts can’t go wrong with any position on the offensive line. Mike Adams, Ben Jones, Kevin Zeitler, Brandon Brooks, and Joe Looney are all players that could fit in rounds two and three.

2. Tight End: The makeover continues. Gone are Dallas Clark and Jacob Tamme, the team’s previous top tight ends. Andrew Luck enjoyed throwing to his tight ends at Stanford, and will need a capable target. Coby Fleener played with Luck at Stanford and would be a great fit at the top of round 2.

3. Cornerback: The Colts have a poor secondary and need a new starter at cornerback. Brandon Boykin will be the top corner available in round two and will be a tempting pick for the Colts.

Posted on by Matt Peterson in Draft Needs - 2012 Comments Off

Draft Needs: Washington Redskins

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Washington Redskins [full archive here].

Season Recap: There’s hope in Washington! The Redskins won the RG3 sweepstakes and have finally, after many long years, acquired a franchise quarterback. Robert Griffin III will be the face of Washington for the next 10 seasons and can lead this team to greatness. With the intelligence of Mike Shanahan and a very solid defense, the Redskins should be a much improved and competitive team in 2012.

Team Needs:
1. Cornerback: I’ve left quarterback off this list because RG3 is all but officially on the roster. The Redskins have DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson, but could use another corner to man the slot. Washington will have to wait until the third round to acquire a corner: Jayron Hosley, Dwight Bentley, and Alfonzo Dennard will likely be available.

2. Running back: Roy Helu and Evan Royster played well during their rookie seasons, but they can’t be expected to carry the load. There is talk that Tim Hightower may be resigned, but the Redskins will have to draft a running back in the middle rounds as assurance. Mike Shanahan has never had trouble finding capable runners in the draft, and this year will be no exception. Chris Polk, Bernard Price, and Robert Turbin are players that should be available.

3. Offensive Line: The Redskins’ starting line appears set, but you can never have enough depth. Center is the most pressing need, and I’m sure Robert Griffin would love having former teammate Phillip Blake join the squad. Blake will be a third or fourth round selection.

Posted on by Matt Peterson in Draft Needs - 2012 Comments Off

Draft Needs: Minnesota Vikings

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Minnesota Vikings [full archive here].

Season Recap: After an offseason trade for Donovan McNabb, there was hope McNabb had enough in the tank to take the team to the playoffs. Well, his year in Washington proved to be no fluke as he led the team to a 1-5 record to start the season. Rookie quarterback Christian Ponder was given the starting job and managed to win only one more game the remainder of the season. Ponder did show some promise though, and it is now up to GM Rick Spielman to surround him with more talent.

Team Needs:
1. Left Tackle: A young quarterback like Christian Ponder needs a good left tackle to protect his blindside. Enter Matt Kalil- the top offensive lineman in the draft, with potential all-pro talent. Kalil starts from day one and serves as Ponder’s personal protector for the next 10 years.

2. Cornerback: The Vikings compete in the NFC North against Aaron Rodgers, Matt Stafford, and Jay Cutler- all elite quarterbacks who LOVE airing the ball out. The Vikings need a number one cornerback to match up against all those weapons. Morris Claiborne could be an option in the first round, but Minnesota will most likely wait until the second round and select Trumaine Johnson, Brandon Boykin, or Josh Robinson.

3. Wide Receiver: There’s been a hole at receiver since the day Sidney Rice left for Seattle. The Vikings need to find another weapon opposite of Percy Harvin, who was one of the only targets Ponder had during his rookie season. This is a deep receiver class, and the Vikings can grab Brian Quick, Alshon Jeffrey, or Mohamed Sanu in the second or third round.

Posted on by Matt Peterson in Draft Needs - 2012 Comments Off

Eagles prepared to trade up

It seems like everyone wants to trade down this year, but the Philadelphia Eagles are one of the few looking to move up in the draft. The Eagles are reportedly very high on both Mark Barron and Fletcher Cox, and neither player figures to be on the board at No. 15.

Not only are the Eagles interested in moving up, but they also have more than enough ammunition to make it happen. With two 2nd round picks, the Eagles could easily climb into the top 10. They may view the Jaguars as a desirable trade partner in an effort to jump ahead of the Panthers.

The Eagles clearly believe they are a player or two away from being legitimate contenders, which could force them to part with a nice package of picks in order to move up to get their guy.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft 1 Comment

Draft Needs: Cleveland Browns

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Cleveland Browns [full archive here].

Season Recap: Poor Browns. Nothing has seemed to go right for this team. They missed out on the Robert Griffin sweepstakes and are now left with the question of what to do with Colt McCoy. I say you give the kid another year. Hell, if it doesn’t work out, there’s Matt Barkley next year. He’s a winner, but is going to need some weapons around him. With three picks in the top 37 selections, Cleveland should be well equipped to improve McCoy’s supporting cast.

Team Needs:
1. Wide Receiver: Greg Little showed potential, but in this day and age you need multiple weapons at the receiver position. Justin Blackmon has been linked as a potential selection at #4, but I say pass on him and grab a Stephen Hill or Kendall Wright at pick #22.

2. Running Back: The “Madden Curse” must be real. Peyton Hillis had an unbelievable 2010 season, but managed to fall completely off the earth in 2011. Hillis left for Kansas City, leaving oft-injured Montario Hardesty as the lone-back. Luckily for Cleveland, there happens to be an elite back in this year’s draft. The Browns should waste no time making Trent Richardson the selection. Richardson possesses elite and rare talent that doesn’t come around often. Bringing in Richardson, along with a receiver at pick #22 would instantly improve the offense and allow Colt McCoy to show his true colors.

3. Right Tackle: Yes, I know QB is a big need for most Browns fans, but I went with the approach that Colt McCoy is sticking around for another year. The Browns missed out on RG3 and shouldn’t pass on future all-pro RB Trent Richardson in order to reach for Ryan Tannehill. The Browns grab Richardson and a Kendall Wright in round one, and then add a right tackle in round two. Colt McCoy needs to be protected and the Browns current right tackle is Oniel Cousins, who has managed to start only five games in four seasons. Grabbing Mike Adams in round 2 would be an excellent first three picks for the Browns.

Posted on by Matt Peterson in Draft Needs - 2012 Comments Off

Draft Needs: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers [full archive here].

Season Recap: The Bucs were expected to be a very competitive team in 2011, but failed to meet expectations. Head Coach Raheem Morris was fired after a 4-12 finish, and former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano was brought in to take over the underachieving team. Tampa Bay spent big in free agency bringing in Carl Nicks and Vincent Jackson. The “offseason winner” doesn’t translate to wins, but the Bucs will be improved and should finish with more victories in 2012.

Team Needs:
1. Linebacker: Mason Foster played well during his rookie year and has one of the positions locked down. Questions remain at the outside positions. Luke Kuechly is one of the best defensive players in this draft and could be a surprise selection for the Buccaneers at pick #5.

2. Safety: Talented, but often troubled, free safety Tanard Jackson was released this offseason, leaving Cody Grimm and Larry Asante as the starting safeties. Preferably, both are better served as backups. There isn’t much depth after safety Mark Barron, who will be drafted early in the first round. George Iloka and Brandon Taylor are possible picks in round two and three.

3. Cornerback: The Buccaneers have some talent at cornerback but with many questions. Aquib Talib has been rumored to be on the trade block and Ronder Barber is 37 years old. If the Bucs decide to move Talib, they will need another cornerback. Morris Claiborne, the best defensive player in this years draft, will likely be available at pick #5 and would be a great addition to the Buccaneers secondary.

Posted on by Matt Peterson in Buccaneers, Draft Needs - 2012 Comments Off

Mike Band’s Draft Guide

DraftAce contributor and 2009 Mock Draft Champion Mike Band has just released his final draft guide. Download your copy here. You can also find Mike’s work on his newly launched site, The Draft Podium.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off

Jets prepared to trade up, possibly into top 10

It  has been widely reported that the New York Jets have Trent Richardson at the top of their draft board. It has also been reported that the top pass rusher on their board in Melvin Ingram.

Neither player is going to be on the board at No.16, which means the Jets will need to trade up to land one of their primary targets, and they’re prepared to do just that.

The Jaguars, who own the 7th pick, are a likely trade partner. If they move up to No. 7, the Jets would target Ingram with that selection.

In order to move up into the top 10, the Jets will need to part with their 1st and 2nd round picks this year, and likely another mid-round pick (3rd or 4th round) in 2013.

At this point it sounds as though it’s only a matter of “when” rather than “if” the Jets move up.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Jets Comments Off

Mike Band’s Final 2012 Mock Draft

Updated April 26, 2012

ABOUT MIKE: Mike was the 2009 NFL Mock Draft Champion according to TheHuddleReport.com, predicting 11 of the top 15 picks. The annual competition includes the mock drafts of ALL of the most highly regarded and high profile NFL draft experts in the country, including Mel Kiper Jr, Todd McShay, Charlie Casserly and Rich Gosselin, among others. Mike finished 4th in 2008, 42nd in 2010 and 26th in 2011 (out of 120 experts). Mike can be contacted at MBand30@gmail.com

MIKE BAND’S FINAL 2012 MOCK DRAFT

Posted on by Mike Band in 2012 NFL Draft, Mock Draft Comments Off