April 24, 2012
ESPN Mock Draft
1. Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
2. Washington Redskins – Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
3. Minnesota Vikings – Matt Kalil, OT. USC
4. Cleveland Browns – Trent Richardson, RB. Alabama
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
6. St. Louis Rams – Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
8. Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill, QB Texas A&M
9. Carolina Panthers – Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
10. Buffalo Bills – Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
11. Kansas City Chiefs – David DeCastro, G, Stanford
12. Seattle Seahawks – Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
13. Arizona Cardinals – Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
14. Dallas Cowboys – Mark Barron, S, Alabama
15. Philadelphia Eagles – Dontario Poe, DT, Memphis
16. New York Jets – Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama
17. Cinncinati Bengals – Stephen Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
18. San Diego Chargers – Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois
19. Chicago Bears – Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
20. Tennessee Titans – Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Cordy Glenn, OT/G, Georgia
22. Cleveland Browns – Johnathon Martin, OT, Stanford
23. Detroit Lions – Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
25. Denver Broncos – Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
26. Houston Texans – Kendall Wright, WR Baylor
27. New England Patriots – Nick Perry, DE USC
28. Green Bay Packers – Shea McClellin, OLB Boise State
29. Baltimore Ravens – Peter Konz, C Wisconsin
30. San Francisco 49′ers – Stephen Hill, WR Georgia Tech
31. New England Patriots – Kendall Reyes, DE/DT UConn
32. New York Giants – Doug Martin, RB Boise State
The Way the Teams Should Draft
1. Indianapolis Colts – Robert Griffin III – Andrew Luck is the best pure passer in the draft. He has the highest rating since Peyton Manning, the man that he will probably replace, however he is stepping into a situation where his offensive line will be terrible and where he will have fewer weapons than Peyton did. Robert Griffin III is a pass first quarterback with Olympic speed who was proven to be more accurate on certain passes than Luck. Griffin needs work in a real pro style offense to reach his full potential, but his upside may be higher than Luck’s. Griffin escapes the pass rush with the same subtle shifts of veteran pocket passers, but can be as electric as Michael Vick in the open field. The only concern for Griffin III is his size and ability to stay healthy at the next level.
2. Washington Redskins – Andrew Luck – Andrew Luck is probably a better fit for the Redskins than RGIII. Whereas there is no set standard for optimizing Griffin’s specific set of tools, Luck could easily follow the path of John Elway, Coach Shanahan’s most successful former starting quarterback.
3. Minnesota Vikings – Trade down to 5th pick – Trent Richardson taken by Buccaneers – Trent Richardson is the best running back to hit the draft since Adrian Peterson. He is probably the only backup running back that was better than his Heisman trophy winning predecessor other than Barry Sanders who backed up Thurman Thomas. Richardson is big, physical, and fast. He is quick and powerful in between the tackles and deadly on the sidelines. He even runs precise routes and has soft hands. Richardson should be the only back taken in the first round.
4. Cleveland Browns – David DeCastro – The Cleveland Browns need help at numerous different positions. With Richardson off the board, they might address some of the bigger needs. Cleveland has some talented parts on offense and defense, but they are losing the battles in the trenches. DeCastro helps protect Colt McCoy in the interior of the line. McCoy is accurate when the pass rush is not getting to him from the middle of the offensive line. The Browns are solid if unspectacular at wide receiver and running back; they just need to allow their quarterback enough time to get them the football.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Trade up to 3rd pick – Matt Kalil taken by Vikings – Matt Barkley, the quarterback for USC has not been touched all year. Rumor has it that Barkley has not changed his jersey since game 3 of the college football season because it just has not been dirty enough to wash. Kalil is the reason why.
6. St. Louis Rams – Justin Blackmon – Blackmon is the obvious pick for the Rams because Sam Bradford needs options on offense. Blackmon is a two-time Biletnikoff award winner and a Heisman hopeful. His catch radius is insane and he ran a 4.4 at his pro day, so he is fast too. Blackmon runs clean routes and is explosive out of his breaks. If Stephen Jackson and Sam Bradford are healthy, the Rams could have a strong scoring punch this year with this talented wide receiver.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – Melvin Ingram – Ingram is the most versatile lineman in the draft. He has played all positions on the line and has even dropped into coverage on a few occasions. The Jaguars need help on offense, but all of the elite offensive guys will be off of the board by the seventh pick, so establishing the defensive line should help the team.
8. Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill is a reach here at 8 because he is at least a year away from starting in the NFL unless he makes some miraculous progress as a signal caller and decision maker, but Sherman was his coach at Texas A&M and his familiarity with the playbook should give him an advantage over other rookie QB’s.
9. Carolina Panthers – Michael Floyd – Floyd probably has the best hands in the draft. Though he reportedly ran a 4.4 at his draft day, he does not look fast on film, but he literally catches everything that is close to him. Floyd makes a couple of impossible catches every few games, and the Panthers could be special on the offensive side of the ball with a big receiver to complement Cam Newton, Steve Smith, and their running game.
10. Buffalo Bills – Morris Claiborne – Morris Claiborne is a steal at the tenth pick, and the Bills need help on the defensive side of the ball. They traded for an elite pass rushing defensive end, Mario Williams. Now, they need help in coverage. Claiborne can cover and help against the run. He could stabilize the Buffalo defense.
11. Kansas City Chiefs – Luke Kuechly – Kuechly is a very instinctive linebacker. He is rarely fooled and could finish what is one of the best young linebacking crews in the NFL in Kansas City. Romeo Crenel is a defensive genius and he probably should draft a defensive player since his offense is a work in progress.
12. Seattle Seahawks – Johnathon Martin – Martin protected Andrew Luck’s blindside last college season and he will protect Matt Flynn’s blindside this NFL year. Pete Carroll has had access to Stanford games on the West Coast and is probably watching the talent there closely. Seattle quarterbacks have been under duress, so Martin is a good pick.
13. Arizona Cardinals – Riley Reiff – Kolb needs a little protection on his left side, and Reiff could make the transition to left tackle well. He played a little of everything on the offensive line in college and played well in any position.
14. Dallas Cowboys – Mark Barron – A quality safety could make the Cowboys defense great again. They have a solid pass rush, but were beat over the top by the elite teams. Barron can come down and cover in the slot or stop the run. In college, he excelled against TE’s, so he should be invaluable for a Dallas team that is expected to compete for a Super Bowl every year.
15. Philadelphia Eagles – Dontari Poe – The Eagles need size and strength on their defensive line. The acquisition of Asomugha was worthless because offenses could run the ball right at their undersized front seven and force him out of coverage. Poe gives Philly some push inside which could free their speedy linebackers to make plays on the ball.
16. New York Jets – Fletcher Cox – Cox is probably the best overall lineman in the draft. He can play multiple positions and he is athletic enough to become a good pass rusher in the league. To get back to their reputation as the dominant defense of the AFC, the Jets need to be better at the point of attack.
17. Cinncinati Bengals – Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse – The Bengals were stout on defense last year with one pass rusher. Chandler Jones could make their defense special. He is extremely quick and long. He is also surprisingly strong against blockers. Off the edge, he could excel.
18. San Diego Chargers – Cordy Glenn – Rivers seemed to be hit on every play last season. If the Chargers are to return to Super Bowl contenders, then they will need someone that can help keep him upright. Glenn has played nasty on the offensive line on occasion and could start immediately.
19. Chicago Bears – Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama - Jenkins is the best cover corner in the draft and the Bears were surprisingly bad against the pass. A good cover guy could push the Bears back among the elite defenses.
20. Tennessee Titans – Dre Kirkpatrick – The Titans need help in coverage. They have an All-Pro safety to help over the top, but they were beaten soundly on defense with the pass. Kirkpatrick is one of the best run stopping DB’s in the SEC, and he was solid in coverage.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Nick Perry, DE, USC – Perry is strong, productive in college, and got to the ball, but he took some plays off occasionally. The Bengals could use his size on their line.
22. Cleveland Browns – Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin – Cleveland needs help everywhere on the offensive line. McCoy spent as much time on the sidelines as he did under center due to hard hits right up the middle of his line.
23. Detroit Lions – Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan St. – Worthy has the natural ability and the Lions can not pass him up this low in the draft. Worthy, Fairley, and Suh could make up most of the most physically imposing line in the NFL.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Dont’a Hightower – The Steelers need some depth at the interior linebacker spot. Harrison has been hurt and all of their linebackers are getting older. Hightower is a good pass rusher who can cover and hits hard. He is smaller than listed, but he is a football player and the Steelers love those those guys.
25. Denver Broncos – Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford – Fleener is a former basketball player. He is athletic and sure-handed. With the addition of Peyton Manning, the Broncos need to make sure that his favorite target is up to par. Manning does not need a prototypical wide receiver to be effective, but he does need someone that catches everything. The Denver receivers are mediocre at best. Fleener could flourish with his size, athleticism, hands, and with Manning. And, the Broncos could challenge anyone in the AFC with a formidable passing attack.
26. Houston Texans – Stephen Hill – The Texans are stout on defense fielding the number two defense in the league last year. They also boasted the number five offense in the league for most of last season, but Houston can improve by getting another receiver. Andre Johnson has proven to be one the best wide outs in the league (maybe the best), but his style of receiving is a number two. He runs different routes including fly routes, but he excels in traffic because of his physicality and explosiveness. Stephen Hill is a prototypical number one. He is long and lean; he is made for fly routes and jump balls. With Hill, the Texans offense will be set.
27. New England Patriots – Reuben Randle, WR, LSU – Randle is big and athletic. The Patriots have tried their best to make a roster full of receivers under 5’10″. This is where they should take a guy that Brady can throw a jumpball to other than the tight ends. Randle can stretch the field with Wellker trekking underneath.
28. Green Bay Packers – Michael Brockers, DE/DT, LSU – The Packers were equally as porous on defense as they were explosive on offense last year. Raji had a quiet year and the defense was vulnerable to both the run and the pass. Bad defense always starts at the line of scrimmage. Brockers is raw, but extremely talented with long arms and he could give Raji help in the trenches.
29. Baltimore Ravens – Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois – The window is almost closed on Baltimore’s chances of winning a championship. They have to look to the future of their squad, particularly their defense. Mercilus limited as a pass rusher, but is athletic with a good motor. He could find a spot with the Ravens.
30. San Francisco 49′ers – Kendall Wright – Wright is a talented receiver and San Francisco needs targets to whom Alex Smith can throw the football. Right now, Vernon Davis is their best deep threat and though he is a rare and special talent, they need a wide receiver that can get open and catch the ball. Wright is fast and can catch.
31. New England Patriots – Andre Branch, DE, Clemson – The Patriots have to play better on the defensive line. Offenses ran the ball against them at will and then summarily passed the ball too. Branch could break the rotation for any player short of Vince Wilfork immediately.
32. New York Giants – Doug Martin – Martin is an all-purpose back. He can catch, he is strong out of the backfield, and he has good moves in open field. The Giants need a running back with the departure of Brandon Jacobs, and Martin could be an upgrade.