As mentioned in previous articles, I have a tendancy to go against the popular picks and opinions. Mock Drafts are never right and the real drama in this draft starts at pick three. Draft day trades are more abundant then usual due to the new rookie wage scale and picks 3, 6, 13, 18, 19, 23, 27, 31, and 32 are all possible spots for trades. I have Coby Fleener, Kendall Wright, and Shea McClellin falling out of the first round. All three of them are overrated. I have former top ten predictions falling to 13, 19, and 26 and the Lions and Dolphins reaching, yet again. Let the draft begin!
1. Colts: Andrew Luck, QB-
This pick has already been announced, but there was never any real question about it.
2. Redskins: Robert Griffin, QB-
Mike Shanahan didn’t trade up to get Matt Kalil.
3. Vikings: Matt Kalil, T-
Leslie Frazier is putting up a smokescreen and this pick may be shopped, but Kalil is a franchise tackle and Ponder needs a secure blanket.
4. Browns: Trent Richardson, RB-
Justin Blackmon is not an option here. Richardson is an Adrian Peterson-type prospect and there will be a receiver available at 22.
5. Buccanears: Moris Claiborne, CB- I
f Trent were to somehow fall, then maybe he gets taken here. However, Claiborne is as sure a bet as Patrick Peterson was last year.
6. Rams: Justin Blackmon, WR-
This seems like a sure thing to take the only “blue chip” player left, but Blackmon is not a certainty and Michael Floyd might be better. I said it before the free agency period even started and I’ll say it again; the Rams may double down and get more picks.
7. Jaguars: Melvin Ingram, OLB-
I originally had the Jags taking Riley Reiff to help with Gabberts development, but you have to take the best player available and Ingram is cut from the same mold as Von Miller.
8. Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB-
I go on record saying the Dolphins will make a mistake in this pick. Tannehill is not ready to start and needs at least a year on the bench. Taking Tannehill means you’re comfortable enough with Matt Moore for the next two years and Jeff Ireland is comfortable with the fans sending him death threats while they’re not winning in a division that is going to smoke check them.
9. Panthers: Fletcher Cox, DT-
The Panthers need to bolster their defensive line and Quinon Coples and Dontari Poe are the popular picks. However, Cox may be the best pure defensive lineman in the draft and could help bolster the pass rush significantly.
10. Bills: Riley Reiff, T-
Ralph Wilson came out and said “we need tackles”. Second best prospect at tackle in the draft with a significant dropoff after him means that they won’t wait until the second round to address that need.
11. Chiefs: David DeCastro, G-
The Chiefs are trying to get back to what they did in 2010 and create a 2-headed monster running game, with Charles and Hillis. To do that you have to have blockers and DeCastro is an animal on the inside and may move to center.
12. Seahwaks: Luke Keuchly, MLB-
Letting David Hawthorne was a calculated risk, but Keuchly is the best inside backer in the draft and should get past the Chiefs for Pete Carroll’s D.
13. Cardinals: Dontari Poe, DT-
Jonathan Martin is the other possible choice here, since the only starting caliber tackle on the roster is Levi Brown. Don’t be surprised if the Eagles or Jets trade up with the Cardinals in an attempt to pick in front of the cowboys.
14. Cowboys: Mark Barron, S-
They signed Brodney Pool, but would they pass up on this field general? Absolutely not. Word is that they’re pretty hot on Michael Brockers, but I think that is a smokescreen to bug the Eagles and keep the Jets from trading up.
15. Eagles: Michael Brockers, DT-
This incredibly talented sophomore out of LSU is just what the Eagles need to create a pass rush and keep bodies off newly acquired Demeco Ryans.
16. Jets: Courtney Upshaw, OLB-
Pass rush and run defense were an issue for the Jets last year. Upshaw is a force off the edge, both in the running game and pass rush. As I mentioned, Upshaw is just the type of physically violent player Rex Ryan loves.
17. Bengals: Michael Floyd, WR-
I’m getting sick of NFL analysts saying that Michael Floyd is a top ten talent and then saying the Bengals will pass on him for a corner here. They lost Caldwell to free agency and don’t want Jerome Simpson back, so what do you really think they are going to do here if Floyd is available?
18. Chargers: Cordy Glenn, T-
This has been my pick from day one for the Chargers. Kris Dielman’s retirement really hurt and they haven’t done anything to address it yet. They signed Jarrett Johnson to address the pass rush and will draft Glenn in order to move him inside to guard.
19. Bears: Quinton Coples, DE-
Someone falls every year and this year it is Coples. Originally slated to go to the Panthers, he’ll fall to the Bears where he will compliment a former Panther and fellow Tar Heel by the name of Julius Peppers. Scary thought. His pick could be traded to a corner hungry team like the Lions in order to leap frog the Titans and Bengals.
20. Titans: Stephon Gilmore, CB-
The second cornerback comes off the board to replace Cortland Finnegan who left for St. Louis and his old coach Jeff Fisher.
21. Bengals: Dre Kirkpatirck, CB-
This is why they can afford to take Floyd at 17. The corners on staff are aging and Dre can learn from them to become the long term replacement. You have to wonder what they would be able to do here had they not let Jonathan Joseph go last year?
22. Browns: Stephen Hill, WR-
A bit of a project, but a freak athlete with size and speed. Kendall Wright is an option, but is viewed as a slot receiver and the Browns need another legitimate outside threat.
23. Lions: Janoris Jenkins, CB-
The Lions have a history of taking chances on character issue players and Jim Schwartz would love to get a top ten talent regardless of the baggage. The Lions need help with Rodgers and Cutler being 25% of their schedule every year and Jenkins is all that is left. Do not count out a trade to the Giants or Ravens, who might want to take Hightower before the Steelers get to him.
24. Steelers: Donta Hightower, ILB-
Rebuild through your strength. Larry Foote will start in James Farrior’s vacant spot in the middle, but Hightower is the one they will be grooming as the permanent replacement alongside Lawrence Timmons.
25. Broncos: Jerel Worthy, DT-
They tried to keep Broderick Bunkley, but the pursuit of Peyton sidetracked them. This kid is a worthy replacement and could be a steal because of the lack of attention he’s getting due to the depth of the position this year.
26. Texans: Jonathan Martin, T-
A boom or bust pick if taken in the top 15, but a quality pick if not a steal in the 20′s. Eric Winston left in free agency. Martin is savvy enough to step in and start day one on Matt Schaub’s blindside.
27. Patriots: Whitney Mercilus, OLB-
Knowing that the Packers are in the market for an OLB, it is my belief that the Patriots will make this pick if Mercilus is indeed available. He can play the multiple front D that Bill loves and reminds me of Andre Carter.
28. Packers: Nick Perry, OLB-
It’s hard to believe that Perry might fall this far, but let’s not forget he was considered a fourth round option at one point. The popular pick here is Shea McClellin, but he’s overrated. Perry would pair nicely with another former Trojan in Clay Matthews.
29. Ravens: Peter Konz, C-
With Andre Gurode still not under contract, Peter Konz is the natural pick to move to guard and study under Matt Birk. This is a no-brainer.
30. 49ers: Devon Still, DT-
In most years, Still would be a top 2 D-lineman, but the depth at the position pushes him down the board. The 49ers would gladly take someone who is ready to start immediately and be the future behind Justin Smith.
31. Patriots: Harrison Smith, S-
This pick will get traded to someone looking to get back into the first round and take Kendall Wright, Shea McClellin, Doug Martin, Brandon Wheeden or someone else who may have fallen in the draft. The only way the Patriots make this pick is if they trade out of 27.
32. Giants: Rueben Randle, WR-
Randle is a big, freakish athlete who can play the outside when Cruz moves to the slot. Wright is an option here if he does indeed remain, but is projected as a slot receiver and the G-men do not need two. This is another pick that may be traded to someone looking to jump back into the action, and the Giants may figure that no one is available who is worth a first round pick for them at this point.