NFL Draft 2012: Mocking the First Round
1: Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB Stanford
Stop it Irsay. No brainer, Colts take Luck.
2. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III , QB Baylor
After suffering through a season of Rex Grossman and John Beck, head coach Mike Shanahan finally gets his starting quarterback. Griffin's athleticism is a perfect fit for Shanahan's booting offense.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT USC
Minnesota has many holes to fill, but GM Rick Spielman cannot afford to pass up top tackle Matt Kalil. If QB Christian Ponder is to take the next step, he needs to stay upright and healthy.
4. Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson, RB Alabama
Mike Holmgren prefers the safe picks and Richardson appears to be the safest and surest on the board. The Browns desperately need playmakers and Richardson is a spectacular prospect.
5. Tampa Bay Bucs: Morris Claiborne , DB LSU
With troubled Aquib Talib appearing to be on his way out the door and the offense in much better shape after free agent acquisitions, Tampa Bay looks to shore up its defensive backfield in preparation of facing the NFC South.
6. St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon , WR Oklahoma St.
Jeff Fisher has never been one to take WRs early, but the Rams desperately need a true receiving threat to help out Sam Bradford. Fisher steps out of his comfort zone in 2012 and takes the best WR in the draft.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Fletcher Cox , DT Mississippi St.
Jacksonville's needs are many and fans would love a playmaker like Michael Floyd on the outside, but Jacksonville will play it safer in 2012 in selecting Cox out of Miss St. The top defensive tackle in the draft, Cox can dramatically improve the interior of Jacksonville's defensive line.
8. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill , QB Texas A&M
It just makes too much sense. Tannehill does not have a bigger fan than new Dolphin OC Mike Sherman and after losing out on Flynn, Miami cannot afford to pass on the uber-rising prospect.
9. Carolina Panthers: Luke Kuechly, LB Boston College
Our first surprise, probably a bit too late, but Carolina mildly shocks Radio Music City Hall by taking the LB at 9. Having struck gold with their QB on offense, Carolina finds their leader on defense in Kuechly. Kuechly steps right in and makes an immediate impact for the struggling defense.
10. Buffalo Bills: Stephon Gilmore, DB South Carolina
As a Bills fan, I would love to see the Bills fill a major hole at tackle or to give Fitzpatrick another weapon on offense, but recent comments from GM Buddy Nix have me believing Gilmore will be the pick. Buffalo takes the SC DB to further strengthen their defense and help clean up their biggest weakness on defense.
11. Kansas City: David DeCastro, OG Stanford
Guard at 11, a reach? Not for Scott Pioli and the run heavy Kansas City Chiefs. DeCastro is seen as a can't miss, albeit at guard, but a true stud to for an already strong KC offensive line.
12. Seattle Seahawks: Melvin Ingram, DE South Carolina
While the Seahawks defense is stout, their pass rush really struggled in 2011. Ingram brings tremendous versatility to the defensive line with the ability to drop back and help at LB too.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Riley Reiff, OL Iowa
Despite question marks surrounding Reiff's arm length, the tackle from Iowa provides some much needed offensive line help. Levi Brown, having received a contract extension, will continue to be a staple on the line. If Reiff does not push Brown to the right side, he can move over and be a very solid right tackle.
14. Dallas Cowboys: Mark Barron, S Alabama
Much like Tannehill to Miami, Barron to Dallas just makes too much sense. Dallas has not wavered in their interest in the safety and Dallas will not hesitate to take the safety off the board at 14 to help rebuild their struggling defensive backfield.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Brockers, DT LSU
There is no secret where teams looked to attack the Eagles in 2011, right up the middle. Jason Babin was a stud off the edge and the defensive backfield may be the best in NFL, but teams were able to avoid both by attacking the middle. Philadelphia needs a stud in the middle and the Eagles hope Brockers can be that guy.
16. New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw, DE Alabama
Upshaw has Ryan salivating at the potential the DE from Alabama brings to the table. Pass rush being a real struggle for the Jets, Ryan sees a bit of Terrell Suggs in Upshaw and the Jets will be ecstatic to take him at 16.
17. Cincinnati Bengals: Cordy Glenn, OL Georgia
There are certainly questions about Glenn's prospect at tackle, but most don't question his potential as a guard. The Bengals need help at guard and with DeCastro off the board, Cincinnati settles on the potentially multi-dimensional Glenn.
18. San Diego Chargers: Jonathan Martin, OL Stanford
Recently departed depth on the offensive line have San Diego looking to the lineman from Stanford for help. Once considered the 2nd best linemen in the draft, Martin has slipped and the Chargers find themselves the beneficiaries of the fall.
19. Chicago Bears: Michael Floyd, WR Notre Dame
The Bears are seen frantically submitting their pick just fractions of seconds after San Diego announces theirs. The Bears need offensive line help, bad, but after suffering for years to find a top WR, Chicago finds 2 in the off-season.
20. Tennessee Titans: Quinton Coples, DE North Carolina
Once considered a top 10 talent, questions concerning Coples work ethic have him falling Tennessee at 20. Assuming the Titans can get the most out of Coples; this may be the steal of the draft as Tennessee hopes to bolster a weak pass rush.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Dre Kirkpatrick, DB Alabama
Bengals switch to the opposite of the ball with their 2nd pick in 4 spots, hoping to help fill a huge void left by departed Jonathan Joseph. Kirkpatrick is a physical corner that has no reservations about attacking the run is just what the physical Bengal defense is looking for.
22. Cleveland Browns: Brandon Weeden, QB Oklahoma State
Eliciting an angry response from both fans and Mel Kiper Jr., the Browns take the mature Weeden with hopes he can quickly assume the role of starting QB before his 30th birthday. The Browns certainly need help elsewhere, but Colt McCoy has yet to prove worthy of QB1 status and the Browns begin the transition away from McCoy.
23. Detroit Lions: Doug Martin, RB Boise State
The Lions need help at corner and on the offensive line, but they don't feel the value is there at 23. With Best's injury status still shrouded in mystery and Leshoure's own problems on and off the field, Detroit takes the 2nd best RB in the draft, finally finding their workhorse/franchise back.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dontari Poe, DT Memphis
The Steelers get their guy in Poe, finding Casey Hampton's eventual replacement at pick 24. Poe didn't blow anyone away in his time at Memphis production wise, but the Steelers cannot wait to get the athletic freak under the guide of their coaches.
25. Denver Broncos: Jerel Worthy, DT Michigan State
Denver still needs help in the secondary, but the Broncos begin working on the interior of the defensive line in the first round. While not Denver's first choice, Worthy is the best player available at a position of need for the Broncos.
26. Houston Texans: Kendall Wright, WR Baylor
Houston finds their WR opposite Andre Johnson and helps fill a void left by departed Jacoby Jones. After going strong on the defensive side in 2011, Houston kicks off 2012 by taking the 3rd best WR in the draft and immediately upgrades its wide-out group.
27. New England: Shea McClellin, DE/LB Boise State
Concerned about losing the ultra versatile defender to Green Bay, Belicheck and Co take McClellin to help shore up what was a weak defense in 2011. Chances are Belicheck is already scheming defensive game-plans with McClellin in mind.
28. Green Bay Packers: Whitney Mercilus, DE Illinois
Still steaming from missing out on McClellin, Green Bay settles on raw, but talented defensive end from Illinois. Mercilus helps bolster what was at times a struggling pass rush and gives pass rush extraordinaire Clay Matthews more space to work with.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Peter Konz, C Wisconsin
Despite health concerns and their apparent 1st choice Dont'a Hightower still on the board, Baltimore picks up veteran center Matt Birk's eventual replacement in Konz.
30. San Francisco: Coby Fleener, TE Stanford
Another match made in heaven, coach Jim Harbaugh and Fleener are reunited in San Francisco. Having kept their starting 11 intact, the 49ers give more options to QB Alex Smith in the passing game and hope to open up the field for All-Pro TE Vernon Davis.
31. New England Patriots: Dont'a Hightower, LB Alabama
Completely shocked by Baltimore passing up on Hightower, Belicheck scoops the talented LB off the board, further working on that defense for 2012 and sticking it to the Raven fans one last time.
32. New York Giants: Nick Perry, DE/OLB USC
Giants had hoped Martin would fall to them at 32, but instead are forced to take the best player available in Perry. Giants hope Perry can eventually move to LB as the defensive line is already loaded.