Mock draft: Last stop before draft day

April 23, 2012

The NFL Draft will officially kick off Thursday night with picks from Indianapolis and then Washington. Colts owner Jim Irsay already has Andrew Luck’s name printed on his draft card and the same goes for the Redskins and Robert Griffin III.

The uncertainty starts after that. Recent reports suggest that teams ranging from picks Nos. 3 to 16 are all potentially interested in trading back, but with so many teams willing to move, the price of playing poker will be cheaper and therefore less attractive for the team that holds the actual pick . . . simple supply and demand. Sure, there will likely be some real-time reshuffling of picks, but I wouldn’t anticipate there to be as much as some are suggesting.

It's also the time of year when disclaimers tend to surface for each pick. Griffin is a perfect example. For the past three months, we have heard nothing but characteristics such as intelligent, articulate, smart, charismatic, charitable, etc. Now, just a week before the draft, we hear how selfish he is.

Don’t buy any of it. This isn’t uncommon: A scout, coach, team executive, analyst or draft guru will throw out a last minute qualifier to cover their butt if that prospect never lives up to the hype. The “See, I told you so,” part of the scouting process.

1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Luck is the most pro-ready quarterback prospect since John Elway and he had similar combine numbers as Cam Newton. I’d call that a pretty sure thing. | Watch highlights

2. Washington Redskins (from STL): Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

He is a pocket passer with the athleticism and speed of a collegiate sprinter. He is the No. 1 pick in any other draft besides this one. | Watch highlights

3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT, USC

Morris Claiborne is a possibility here but he isn’t ideal for the Cover 2 scheme. Kalil is easily the best tackle in the draft and potentially the best overall prospect. He's too attractive an option for the Vikings to trade back. | Watch highlights

4. Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Trent Richardson is better than Justin Blackmon. Period. | Watch highlights

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

The Bucs signed Eric Wright in the offseason but with Ronde Barber’s age and Aqib Talib’s legal issues, Claiborne makes perfect sense. He's a great addition for a team that faces Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton twice each season. | Watch highlights

6. St. Louis Rams (from Wash): Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

Blackmon will give Sam Bradford the elite receiving target he has yet to have in the NFL. While defensive tackle will be a consideration here, the Patriots and Giants proved that having an explosive offense is more important than having a solid defense. | Watch highlights

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

Jacksonville will be intrigued with a pass rushing threat, but the NFL is an offensive league, and the Jaguars need to provide Blaine Gabbert with an elite wide wideout for him to stand a chance in his sophomore season. | Watch highlights

8. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

The Dolphins saw improvement late in the season from Matt Moore and then signed David Garrard this offseason. Adding Tannehill will make for an interesting three-way competition in training camp. | Watch highlights

9. Carolina Panthers: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

Cox’s ability to pressure the quarterback from the inside will free Charles Johnson from the multiple double teams he faced last season while still compiling nine sacks. | Watch highlights

10. Buffalo Bills: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

Left tackle was a rotating door last season, and the loss of Demetress Bell via free agency just increases the need. Reiff is best on the right side, but nonetheless, he's the top available tackle on the board.

11. Kansas City Chiefs: David DeCastro, OL, Stanford

With the addition of Peyton Hillis and the return of Jamaal Charles, this team will be committed to the running game and DeCastro is the best run blocker in the entire draft. | Watch highlights

12. Seattle Seahawks: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

With the loss of David Hawthorne in free agency, the Seahawks will sprint to the podium to turn in their card.

13. Arizona Cardinals: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

The Cardinals traded away Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie last year, then lost defensive MVP Richard Marshall via free agency this offseason. That leaves them very vulnerable at corner, and Gilmore can start right away opposite Patrick Peterson. | Watch highlights

14. Dallas Cowboys: Mark Barron, S, Alabama

Signing Brandon Carr and drafting Mark Barron is an obvious improvement to a defensive secondary that struggled mightily last season. | Watch highlights

15. Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

The Eagles traded for linebacker DeMeco Ryans and will employ him in his more natural 4-3 scheme. They still have an additional need at the position, but Brockers' value is too high here. | Watch highlights

16. New York Jets: Melvin Ingram, LB/DE, South Carolina

Wayne Hunter gave up 11 sacks and accounted for 11 holding penalties last season, so taking a hard look at Cordy Glenn or Jonathan Martin would be justified. Having said that, Ingram is still the pick here if he drops all the way to 16. | Watch highlights

17. Cincinnati Bengals (from OAK): Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

The Bengals will be without Leon Hall for the majority of the season with an ACL tear. Kirkpatrick will fill in at corner while Hall is out and then moves to safety when the veteran returns. | Watch highlights

18. San Diego Chargers: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

Coples has the frame and length to be a dominant 4-3 defensive end, but his skills project better as a 5 technique in a 3-4 defense. His value is better in the middle of the round rather than the top 10 as some project. | Watch highlights

19. Chicago Bears: Cordy Glenn, OT, Georgia

Getting a pass rusher opposite Julius Peppers could be an option, but Glenn’s versatility to play on the edge or inside gives the Bears' offensive line an instant upgrade. | Watch highlights

20. Tennessee Titans: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

The Titans lost Jason Babin and Jason Jones in back-to-back offseasons, which makes room for Mercilus to be a long-term fixture at defensive end in Tennessee. | Watch highlights

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

Wright is a perfect complement opposite A.J. Green and with the loss of Andre Caldwell and probable loss of Jerome Simpson, the Bengals are thin at the position. | Watch highlights

22. Cleveland Browns (from ATL): Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

The popular choice here is wide receiver, but the depth of the position allows them to address that in later rounds. Mike Adams will bookend with Joe Thomas to provide the physical run blocking that will pave the way for Trent Richardson.

23. Detroit Lions: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

Jenkins is a risk for character concerns, but his man-to-man coverage skills might balance that risk for the Lions. | Watch highlights

24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama

Pittsburgh could address a number of positions here, but Hightower will fill the void left by James Farrior, who was released as a cap casualty. Other considerations would be offensive line, nose tackle and cornerback. | Watch highlights

25. Denver Broncos: Jonathan Martin, OT, Mississippi State

The Broncos made a major investment in Peyton Manning this offseason and now must protect his blindside. Defensive tackle is a need here, but Manning’s health outweighs any defensive need. | Watch highlights

26. Houston Texans: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

Poe has the size and strength to anchor Wade Phillips’ 3-4 defense but needs to compete on every snap, which was absent from his college tape. | Watch highlights

27. New England Patriots (from NO): Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama

Upshaw gives Bill Belichick the versatility to play in both the 4-3 and 3-4 fronts and will provide a much-needed pass rush in either scheme. | Watch highlights

28. Green Bay Packers: Nick Perry, DE, USC

Green Bay could address its offensive line here, but the signing of Jeff Saturday buys them some time. Perry could replace Cullen Jenkins as a 5 technique or even play outside opposite Clay Matthews as a rush specialist. | Watch highlights

29. Baltimore Ravens: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

Upshaw was almost so close they could taste it, but they will be happy with Konz who can take over when Matt Birk retires. In the meantime, he can fill in at guard. | Watch highlights

30. San Francisco 49ers: Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin

With the additions of Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, the 49ers don’t have a ton of holes to fill in the draft, but they could upgrade the offensive line with a Big Ten mauler in Zeitler.

31. New England Patriots: Josh Robinson, CB, Central Florida

The Patriots could still add another defensive lineman with this pick, but the cornerback market isn’t very deep, and they will need to scoop up Robinson while they can.

32. New York Giants: Amini Silatolu, OL, Midwestern State

Coby Fleener will be attractive here, but they need to upgrade an offensive line that produced the league’s worst rushing attack.


1. St. Louis: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State | Watch highlights
2. Indianapolis: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford | Watch highlights
3. Minnesota: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech | Watch highlights
4. Tampa Bay: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
5. Cleveland: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina | Watch highlights
6. Jacksonville: Andre Branch, DE, Clemson | Watch highlights
7. St. Louis (from WASH): Bobby Massie, OT, Mississippi
8. Carolina: Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
9. Buffalo: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers | Watch highlights
10. Miami: Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall | Watch highlights
11. Seattle: Kendall Reyes, DT, Michigan State
12. Kansas City: Devon Still, DT, Penn State
13. Dallas: Philip Blake, C, Baylor | Watch highlights
14. Philadelphia: Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska | Watch highlights
15. New York Jets: Doug Martin, RB, Boise State | Watch highlights
16. New England (from OAK): Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson | Watch highlights
17. San Diego: Shea McClellin, LB, Boise State | Watch highlights
18. Chicago: Orson Charles, TE, Georgia | Watch highlights
19. Philadelphia (from AZ): Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame
20. Tennessee: Kelechi Osemele, OL, Iowa State
21. Cincinnati: Mychal Kendricks, LB, Cal | Watch highlights
22. Detroit: Zach Brown, LB, UNC
23. Atlanta: Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State
24. Pittsburgh: Brandon Washington, G, Miami
25. Denver: Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana
26. Houston: Rueben Randle, WR, LSU | Watch highlights
27. New Orleans: Forfeited
28. Green Bay: David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
29. Baltimore: Ronnell Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma
30. San Francisco: Jared Crick, DL, Nebraska | Watch highlights
31. New England: Ben Jones, OC/OG, Georgia | Watch highlights
32. New York Giants: Chris Polk, RB, Washington | Watch highlights