Despite being painfully away for so long, my interest in the draft hasn't waned. And from what I can see, ya'lls hasn't either! Not one bit! Like ya'll I can't wait for this draft, and hope that it ends up thoroughly better than last year (besides SuperCam, IMO no one provided an impact or looks like a keeper).
Anywho, here's my idea of how the NFL draft could shake up. I'm sure that there will be a lot of trades, however trying to predict them is nearly impossible. I think you'll find that this draft isn't like most. I don't like to subscribe to the convention. My modus operandi is to think outside the box. So, I've tried to be a little creative here. And let's face it, the real NFL draft typically ends up little like the conventional mock draft that is advertised by elites. After the 4th or 5th pick or so, things just get wacky.
1. Indianapolis (2-14) – Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
99.9% lock. Just like Cam was last year in the few days leading up to the draft.
2. Washington (5-11) – Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Washington traded to #2 because obviously they wanted to be in position to grab one of the two elite QBs that is left after the first pick.
3. Minnesota (3-13) – Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Ponder may well be the guy, but they’ve got to get someone to keep him upright. The rumors are that they are convinced he’s a Pro Bowler or that they want to trade out. I can’t imagine the latter. If they trade out, they better get a hefty sum, because they aren’t getting a better deal than Kalil. They are truly lucky he’s here at 3.
4. Cleveland (4-12) – Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St.
No, they aren’t taking Trent Richardson. Recent draft history has shown that RBs are devalued in the draft. Plus, Cleveland doesn’t HAVE to get Richardson here. They can wait and get Doug Martin in the 2nd. Or trade for Jonathan Stewart with their other 1st round pick. There are many options for them in terms of RB. And getting another elite CB helps them very little. Furthermore, Holmgren has stated that he is comfortable with McCoy as the starter for now. He’s decent, and they can get a QB with a better value later. I don’t think they’ll take Tannehill here.
Recently, Cleveland has stated that they are settled on their pick. They’ve also stated that they desperately need someone to provide some excitement and put up some points. And prior to that, the report out of Cleveland was that they were ‘torn’ between Blackmon and Tannehill. So, I think all signs point to Blackmon. Plus, he already looks good in orange, so its easy for the FO to envision him in a Browns uni.
McCoy really isn’t that bad, Cleveland just desperately needs an X. They’ve got a solid core besides that with Little, Massaquoi, and Cribbs. But they don’t have a primary X deep threat. Blackmon can be that in their system.
5. Tampa Bay (4-12) – Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
Now if I were a GM, I wouldn’t take Kuechly in the top 10. History has shown that you can get a good MLB in the late 1st/2nd round (Jon Beason, Paul Posluzny, Barrett Ruud). I simply don’t value MLB this high. However, Kuechly is the best MLB that we’ve seen in a long long time. And, hey, if Rolando McClain can go in the top 10, I believe Kuechly stands a chance!
Tampa Bay’s biggest need is to stop the run. Last year, they had THE worst defense against the run in the entire NFL. If the Bucs want to win the NFC South, they are going to have to stop Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, Michael Turner, Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams, and Mike Tolbert. That’s a heavy load! Also, like Cleveland they pass on T-Rich because they can get a RB later. After Tampa picks, there are a lot of teams that have a hole at MLB and would love to plug Kuechly in. James beat me to it, but I see Tampa taking Kuechly here.
6. St. Louis (2-14) – Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
Many hype St Louis’ biggest need as OT. However, the team believes that Roger Saffold and Jason Smith are adequate and can do the job when healthy. Their biggest offensive need is truly WR, but they can pick up one later in a relatively deep draft for WR.
7. Jacksonville (5-11) – Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
Jacksonville has shown a lot of interest in Melvin Ingram prior to the draft. Some say it is smokescreen and subterfuge. However, I think Jacksonville has made it obvious over the past few years that they place a high priority on finding a terrorizing edge rusher. So, I have the big cats taking Ingram, who is a rare find, and should go in the top 10 and ahead of Coples when the time comes.
Could it be Gilmore that the Jags scouts have been eyeing at South Carolina practices? Sure. And I realize that they are prone to reaching. But the Jags love those DEs and value them more than anything.
8. Miami (6-10)– David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
Do they like Tannehill? I believe so. Their O-Coordinator, Mike Sherman coached him at Texas A&M. However, Tannehill is not a top ten player. Additionally I don’t think the need for QB in the draft overall is as great as last year, nor do I think it will push Tannehill into the top ten, a la Christian Ponder. Plus, Matt Moore wasn’t terrible last year, and the Dolphins think he might be even better under the WCO.
This is a typical Miami pick. A safe, first round pick spent on a lineman. Ever since Ted Griffin, I think Miami has been a bit reluctant to take chances. Plus, O-line is truly a need. Talk to Miami fans, and they’ll tell you that they need RG and RT badly. Some will even go as far to say that QB hasn’t been the problem, it’s been the O-line. So, they take DeCastro here, who’s actually a decent value.
9. Carolina (6-10) – Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Carolina’s dreams come true when they see Morris Claiborne still available. This is an easy pick for them. Besides guard (where Carolina has next to nothing in terms of starters in its cupboard), cover corner is Carolina’s biggest need by far.
Claiborne drops out of the top 5 because of over-hype. He is good, but Champ Bailey is a bit of an exaggeration. Rather, I’d put him in the same circle as Joe Haden (although not a burner, a very smooth cover corner). I also think Claiborne drops a little because the teams ahead of Carolina have bigger needs than CB. Anywho, a tremendous fit for Caolina.
10. Buffalo (6-10) – Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
The Bills just had Matt Kalil in for a visit. However, unless they plan on giving up a lot to move up, they have little-to-no chance in acquiring him. The fact is that after trading away Jason Peters, they’ve got a HUGE hole at LT. The Kalil visit simply confirms that. Demetrius Bell was terrible. Ryan Fitzpatrick would welcome Riley Reiff with open arms.
11. Kansas City (7-9) – Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Cassel has taken the Chiefs to the playoffs, and the team believes enough in him to give him another go. But they must keep him upright. Martin and his run blocking skills would be a good fit for KC.
Martin, Reiff, and Kalil are the only 3 OTs in this draft that could go in and play LT. Martin and Reiff won’t last long. Guys who can play LT don’t last long in the draft, especially when there is so few of them available.
12. Seattle (7-9)– Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Seattle really doesn’t have many gaping holes on its roster. The Seahawk D is pretty solid throughout. Their O-line, when healthy is very good. And they’ve got some offensive skill players (Marshawn Lynch, Zach Miller, Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin) to work with. The one missing piece that Seattle needs to go to the Super Bowl is a QB.
Yes, I know that they now have Matt Flynn. But the Seahawks have shown a lot of interest in Tannehill regardless. And, let’s be honest, Flynn isn’t a sure fire Pro Bowler. They take Tannehill to develop, partly because they have that luxury. In reality, I believe that it is actually a very good fit, because I believe that Tannehill is a lot alike former Seahawk Matt Hasselbeck.
13. Arizona (8-8) – Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
The Cards would really love Martin or Reiff, however there is a high demand for guys who can play LT in this draft, and they are gone. They could take Mike Adams, who is wonderfully gifted and has the tools to potentially play LT, but is just highly inconsistent. Adams also looks too much like the scuttled Levi Brown for their comfort, so they pass on him.
Sam Acho was a nice surprise and has worked out well at OLB. However, Haggans isn’t doing much across from him. Adding a pass rushing threat like Upshaw could really take their D to another level. I’m sure that they’d take Ingram if he’s here, but that is unlikely. Minus a few unimportant inches in height, Upshaw is a great player.
14. Dallas (8-8) – Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
It is no secret that Dallas desperately needs corner help.
15. Philadelphia (8-8) – Mark Barron, S, Alabama
Iggles need a starting safety, and are apparently pretty high on Barron.
16. New York Jets (8-8) –Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
The Jets D is fine. Their D is managing enough pressure somehow. On the other hand, their offense is doing diddly-squat. They could take Floyd here, but they need a RB more than a WR. Richardson is also an incredible value here.
Shonn Greene has taken major steps backwards and now looks only like a goal line back. LaDanian is just too old now. Rexy would be thrilled to welcome Richardson into their ground n’ pound. Sanchez would be as well because it would mean he would have to throw less and do less overall.
17. Cincinnati - from Oakland (8-8) – Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
Personally, I don’t like Janoris Jenkins in the first round, and I don’t think he’ll go there because he’s just too much of a risk with his background. However, he’s probably the most talented man cover corner in the draft. One scout labeled him as ‘sticky’ and I can’t think of a better way to describe him. Cincy really needs a stud corner after losing Joseph last year.
18. San Diego (8-8) – Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
Although the Bolts have some defensive needs, they need a WR. And who better to replace V-Jax than Michael Floyd, who really resembles him. However, it will get very confusing with both Michael and Maclcolm Floyd on the field.
19. Chicago (8-8) – Cordy Glenn, OT/OG, Georgia
The Bears offensive line is simply a mess. Roberto Garza is decent, however they have little around him. Hopefully, a healthy Chris Williams and Gabe Carimi will improve their line. However, they still need help. Glenn is a very talented guy that can man either G or T, which is perfect for Chicago’s unsettled line.
20. Tennessee (9-7) – Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina The Titans have more needs than they can really fill. They need a G, C, WR, DE, DT, S, CB, MLB. So, they pretty much need an entire team. They can thus take whoever is the best value here, because it will likely fill a need. So, the Titans luck out as Coples takes a tumble. There are a lot of concerns following Coples regarding his play, however few doubt his body and skills. Coples would be very welcome where Derrick Morgan and Jason Jones have done rather little. The best part here is that Coples still gets to wear powder blue!
21. Cincinnati* (9-7) – Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
Now that they have a CB, they really need to add pieces to their offense, and they need to start up front. Peter Konz is also a player that the Bengals are reportedly very high on.
22. Cleveland - from Atlanta* (10-6) – Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
Mercilus recently visited Cleveland, who needs a bookend opposite Sheard.
23. Detroit* (10-6) – Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
The Lions need to reinforce their CB corps to take their D to the next level. Enter the athletic though unpolished Gilmore.
24. Pittsburgh* (12-4) – Mike Adams, OT, Ohio St.
Pittsburgh is prone to taking a combination of the best player available and their needs. Adams is a great value here and a HUGE need at OT. They took Cameron Heyward last year, and I’m sure Heyward gave Adams a glowing recommendation to the Steelers brass as he faced him constantly in practice.
25. Denver* (8-8) – Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
26. Houston* (10-6) – Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama
Although Houston could use someone across from Andre Johnson, their offense needs very little tweaking. They could take someone like Stephen Hill here, but that is a HUGE risk. Hill is very raw, and there is no guarantee that he reaches his enormous potential
A major hole that Houston needs to fill is at LB. They’ve traded away Pro Bowler DeMeco Ryans for pennies, and lost Mario Williams to the spendthrift Bills. The Texans take Hightower to replace those two.
27. New England - from New Orleans* (13-3) – Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis
Vince Wilfork is aging, and Poe is actually quite similar in build and skills.
28. Green Bay* (15-1) – Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Kentwan Balmer,…excuse me, Michael Brockers tumbles far down the list, however Green Bay picks him up because they have sorely missed Cullen Jenkins. This is not only a great value, but the best fit for Brockers that I can imagine.
29. Baltimore* (12-4) – Kevin Zeitler, ,OG, Wisconsin
The Ravens lost Ben Grubbs, however they pick up a very good replacement in Zeitler, who is shooting up draft boards and likely will sneak into the first round. A perfect fit for this power running team.
30. San Francisco* (13-3) – Amini Silatolu, OG, Midwestern State
Chilo Rachal was terrible last season and had to be replaced. The Niners need a guard, and feel comfortable taking one from a non-Division I school.
31. New England* (13-3) – Shea McClellin, LB/DE Boise St.
The Patriots must find a pass rusher, and one that can play both 34 and 43 schemes.
32. New York Giants* (9-7) – Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina
Typical NYG. They simply go BPA. Brown is an incredible athlete and produced last year. A good fit for their D.
1. St. Louis (2-14) – Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson
Again, Jeff Fisher places top priority on the boys in the trenches. Here they take Thompson, who fills a void at NT. Pair him with Fletcher Cox at UT, and Robert Quinn and Chris Long and you’ve suddenly got one of the most potent D-lines.
2. Indianapolis (2-14) - Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
Gotta get Neckbeard some help. Enter the ultimate boom-or-bust prospect of this draft. If Indy hits on Alshon, they’ll have a WR among the likes of Andre or Calvin Johnson. If they miss on him, then they’ll have Dwayne Jarrett. In the case of the latter, Jeffery will literally be pumping gas like Lane Kiffin told him. However, he is a great value here, and has an enormous upside.
3. Minnesota (3-13) – Devon Still, DT, Penn St.
The Viking line is aging and literally falling apart. Still is a wonderful value here and fills that need.
4. Tampa Bay (4-12) – Doug Martin, RB, Boise St.
For Tampa in this draft, its all about the run game. They’ve fixed their run defense by taking Kuechly earlier. However, they are a very weak running team. Legarrette Blount was a nice surprise, but is inconsistent and may not be the answer. They take the best all-around back in the draft not named Richardson.
5. Cleveland (4-12) – Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma St.
Cleveland is following the Bengals strategy of last year. Get the highly touted X-WR first, then add a seasoned and underrated passer in the second. Only for them, they now have a QB and WR who worked together before.
6. Jacksonville’s (5-11) – Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
The big cats need to give Gabbert a real chance to succeed, and this means providing him with weapons. The Jags are also thrilled to have a guy that they would’ve taken with the 7th pick if Ingram wasn’t there. Now, Wright is the very best X-WR in this draft. However, there is too much risk with him in the first. He’s very weak, hasn’t faced much press-man, and will likely struggle against it. However, Jacksonville couldn’t care here, they’ll take the risk.
7. St. Louis (2-14) via Washington (5-11) – Kelechi Osemele, OG, Iowa State
Again, Jeff Fisher likes to have dominant lines. Success for him starts upfront The Rams have a help wanted sign at LG. They take Osemele, who is very talented, but can’t work on the outside at the next level.
8. Carolina (6-10) – Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan St.
Carolina gets pretty darn lucky AGAIN. Jerel Worthy is worthy of a first round selection. He is very explosive and strong. His ceiling is also very high. However, he is very inconsistent. He also can lose control of his gap at times. And he is very raw. He also gets lost in the mix of the deeeep DT class of this year.
Carolina has had a lot of contact with Worthy before the draft, and would be thrilled to see him here. It is possible that he could start immediately at the UT/3 Tech being that Terrell McClain was a bust. If he works out, Carolina could be looking at the next Albert Haynesworth (in terms of ability).
They could look at Stephen Hill here, but he is too much of a project, and won’t have the immediate impact that the Panthers have made clear that they want. Additionally, Ron Rivera is very adamant about improving his defense. With this pick, Claiborne, and some guys returning from injury, Ronnie is going to have an entirely different look to his defense.
9. Buffalo (6-10) – Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska
In switching to the 43, the Bills are short on LBs. I personally do not rank him this high. His size is an issue, as is his softer play. Like Mychal Kendricks, he might have to convert to Safety. The Bills however need an OLB, and David could be a good WLB.
10. Miami (6-10) – Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona St.
Miami takes Osweiler here, an emormously talented and emormous QB. He has very little experience, but a huge upside. The Dolphins have had him in for a visit earlier this month, and he could be target if the Dolphins miss on Tannehill.
11. Seattle (7-9) – Ronnell Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma
The Hawks want an OLB that is a pass rushing threat. Lewis is a good fit and a stud.
12. Kansas City (7-9) – Alameda Ta’amu, NT, Washington
Kelly Gregg is aging and declining. Ta’amu, who I have rated very highly would be a nice fit.
13. Dallas (8-8) – Jared Crick, DT/DE, Nebraska
Crick, who should’ve been a 1st rounder if not for a pec injury, is a great value to Dallas who needs to upgrade their 34 front and their pass rush.
14. Philadelphia (8-8) – Zebrie Sanders, OT, FSU
The Iggles lost Peters to injury and now have a giant hole at OT. Enter Sanders.
15. New York Jets (8-8) – Vinny Curry, OLB, Marshall
The Jets are ecstatic that they’ve landed a premier outside rusher. They already know that he looks good in green. They select Curry.
16. New England - from Oakland (8-8) – Reuben Randle, WR, LSU
Besides Wright, Randle is the second best pure X WR. He is very talented, but raw and risky. Would be a nice fit in NE, who is desperately looking for someone else other than Welker.
17. San Diego (8-8) – Nick Perry, DE, USC
Perry isn’t going in the first round. Maybe not to the same extent, but he’ll fall like Everson Griffen did.
18. Chicago (8-8) – Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech
Da Bears need a lot of things on defense. CB is one. Besides the aging Tillman, there is little. Hello Hosley.
19. Philadelphia - from Arizona (8-8)- Mychal Kendricks, LB, California
The Iggles have traded for DeMeco Ryans, however they could use some help on the outside. Kendricks may be small, but packs a big punch.
20. Tennessee (9-7) – Brandon Washington, OT/OG, Miami
Chris Johnson has no holes to run through, and that is partly because the pool at OG is thin.
21. Cincinnati* (9-7) – David Wilson, RB Virginia Tech
Without Cedric Benson, they’ve got to take Wilson here.
22. Detroit* (10-6) – Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
Who knows if Mikel Leshoure will make it back from injury—or from jail.
23. Atlanta* (10-6) – Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
Dirty Birds need DEs, and Branch is just too good of a value to pass up.
24. Pittsburgh* (12-4) – Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona St.
I don’t think he’ll get taken this high, but who knows, someone may be willing to take him on.
25. Denver* (8-8) – Kendall Reyes, DT, Conneticut
John Fox loves his D-lines.
26. Houston* (10-6) Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Very fortunate here, Hill is well worth the risk.
27. New Orleans* (13-3) - FORFEITED
28. Green Bay* (15-1) – Trumaine Johnson, CB/S, Montana
GB needs help in the secondary, and they like taking promising guys from smaller schools.
29. Baltimore* (12-4) – Markelle Martin, FS, Oklahoma St.
Ravens need to start addressing their S post Ed Reed.
30. San Francisco* (13-3) – Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
Alex Smith needs some targets. Enter Sanu, a less athletic Brandon LaFell.
31. New England* (13-3) – Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia
Patriots still need depth at CB. A punt return threat would hurt things either.
32. New York Giants* (9-7) – Bobby Massie, OT, Ole Miss
NYG need O-line depth, and Massie is a good value.