The NFL draft, in my opinion, is the best offseason event in all of sports. Nothing really comes close. The build-up and hype is second to none, and the draft phenomena gets bigger and bigger every season. Hell, for some teams, draft talk starts after just a couple of games into a bad season, i.e. the Suck For Luck campaigns. Only one team could win that race, and that team was the Indianapolis Colts. Ya know what, let’s skip an unnecessarily long intro and just jump right into it with the Colts’ pick...
1. Indianapolis Colts - QB Andrew Luck
Andrew Luck should already be looking for houses in the Indianapolis suburbs. Two years ago, if you had told me the Colts would be drafting a QB #1 overall in 2012 because they cut Peyton Manning, I would have been doubled over in laughter. I could write an entire piece on the events that led to Indy drafting Luck, but you all know the story already. Long story short, Indy cuts Peyton Manning only to draft the best QB prospect since... Peyton Manning.
2. Washington Redskins - QB Robert Griffin III
A lot of people like to compare RGIII to Mike Vick. I don’t think that’s a fair comparison, because RG is more accurate, has better straight line speed, and has a higher ceiling. I think RG’s floor is Vick, and his ceiling is limitless. The Redskins are getting a great player here, and I think he fits well in Shanahan’s offense, where his mobility will be utilized.
3. Minnesota Vikings - OT Matt Kalil
Rumors are starting to spread that the Vikings may not take Kalil here. That’s nonsense. They need their long term answer at left tackle to protect their investment in Christian Ponder. Blackmon would be nice, but this draft is deep with WRs that can be difference makers. The same can be said for Trent Richardson and this year’s RB pool. However, the same can NOT be said about the offensive tackles in the 2012 draft.
4. Cleveland Browns - WR Justin Blackmon
A lot of mock drafts have running back Trent Richardson in this spot. I think it will come down to Richardson or Blackmon, and the Browns will take the player with the longer projected shelf life. Running backs just do not last long in this league, and with the way this league is headed, quality WRs are more valuable than quality RBs.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - CB Morris Claiborne
The most important position in football is the quarterback. The second most important position is anyone who stops the quarterback. Claiborne is the top corner in this draft, and most experts have him as the best overall defensive player. The Bucs finished 2011 with the 21st ranked pass defense, and I don’t see Ronde Barber or Aqib Talib on the Bucs in 2013. Claiborne is a no-brainer here.
6. St Louis Rams - DL Fletcher Cox
The Rams have a number of players that they could take here, but Cox is the best available defensive player at this point. A lot of people think StL will and should take Trent Richardson with this pick, but the Rams are in need of a run-stuffing lineman, and Cox gives them that. Good RBs can be taken in later rounds.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars - OLB/DE Melvin Ingram
The Jaguars ranked 25th in sacks in 2011. They need to get more pressure on the QB, and Ingram can provide that. He is a great edge rusher who has the athleticism to get around most offensive tackles, and his flexibility allows him to fit into any defensive scheme.
8. Miami Dolphins - QB Ryan Tannehill
There is no chance Tannehill gets passed up here. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has made it clear that he wants the Texas A&M quarterback. I keep going back and forth on whether or not I think Tannehill will pan out in the league, and I can understand why Miami wants to take a chance on him.
9. Carolina Panthers - DL Michael Brockers
10. Buffalo Bills - OT/OG Riley Reiff
Some experts have Reiff falling to around pick #18-#22, but I don’t see it. Reiff is a versatile lineman and a hell of an athlete. He is a run-blocking specialist, and that is important on a team that relies on the run.
11. Kansas City Chiefs - OG/C David DeCastro
There has been much debate about what the Chiefs will do in this draft. Will it be Luke Kuechly? Will it be Tannehill? Brockers? Trade up? Trade back? In this mock, Tanny and Brockers are already gone, so forget about them. Kuechly would be a good pick, but he doesn’t exactly fit in a 3-4, and there seems to be plenty of ILB depth on this team (people are forgetting about Brandon Siler). Trading back would seem more likely if KC had a later pick, but I guess I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened. The logical pick is DeCastro. Some scouts call him the best interior line prospect since Steve Hutchinson, others say his floor is two pro bowls... his FLOOR. Can you imagine how dominant our O-line would be with the addition of David DeCastro? There would be no foreseeable weakness on that unit. Now picture how much time Cassel (I shutter every time I say his name) will have in the pocket, and how many yards JamChar and Hillis could rack up. Gives me chills. I know Pioli typically only drafts players in the 1st round that he has met with, but DeCastro will be the exception.
12. Seattle Seahawks - RB Trent Richardson
Seattle has Marshawn Lynch, and no one else. Lynch is only 25, but with the shelf life of RBs in the NFL, you need two of them. Richardson seems to be a good fit here. He can catch balls out of the backfield, so that will help young gun Matt Flynn with his check downs, which he will need to utilize when they play SF twice a year.
13. Arizona Cardinals - ILB Luke Kuechly
The Cardinals play a 3-4 base as well as some 4-3 packages. Kuechly can dominate in a 4-3 as a drag-down run stopper, but fitting into 3-4 packages could be tough at first. Coverage has never been Kuechly’s strong quality, so the learning curve will cause him to appear to be a bust at first. However, once he gets his feet wet, he could be great for many years. Realistically, I see him being James Laurinaitis.
14. Dallas Cowboys - DL Quinton Coples
For some reason, Coples doesn’t receive the hype that he should be getting. Dallas runs a 3-4, and Coples fits the bill as a great 5-tech prospect.
15. Philadelphia Eagles - OLB/DE Courtney Upshaw
Upshaw’s flexibility is very valuable to a team like the Eagles, whose defense just didn’t gel as well as they wanted it to last year. The Eagles really don’t have a glaring weakness, so taking the best player available should be their goal in this draft. Upshaw is the best available defensive player.
16. New York Jets - WR Michael Floyd
There is no way Michael Floyd should be drafted this high. Personally, I think Kendall Wright is a better prospect, but people are comparing Floyd to Dwayne Bowe, who would certainly be worth taking at #16 overall. If the comparison is legit (which I don’t think it is), then the Jets will need this guy to give them some offensive firepower. I think Floyd will be a bust, which is why it makes sense that the Jets would take him.
17. Cincinnati Bengals - CB Janoris Jenkins
Cincy made a mistake when they cut ties with shutdown CB Jonathan Joseph. Janoris Jenkins can make up for that mistake. In my opinion, Jenkins is a shutdown corner in the making. His drug history could make him slip a little further than #17, but if I were Cincy, I’d pull the trigger on him.
18. San Diego Chargers - OLB Andre Branch
San Diego needs some help in the pass rush department. Branch is the logical pick here, because it is never a bad idea to draft the best available pass rusher. Branch can start right away in the Chargers 3-4 base.
19. Chicago Bears - OT/OG Cordy Glenn
The Bears addressed their offensive line problems in the first round of last year’s draft by getting Gabe Carimi, but they need to continue that trend until Cutler stops getting sacked 50 million times a season. Cordy Glenn is versatile enough to play anywhere on the line, and will give Cutler a little more time when he drops back to throw TDs to Brandon Marshall once again.
20. Tennessee Titans - CB Stephon Gilmore
Gilmore kind of worries me. Sure, he’s a physical freak. Sure, he has been climbing draft boards very fast. However... Players that climb draft boards all of a sudden tend to worry me. No games have been played since Gilmore was a 3rd or 4th round prospect, yet all of a sudden he is a 1st round guy? He’s a low floor / high ceiling prospect, and when you’re trying to rebuild a defense, you should look elsewhere. I don’t think the Titans will be able to resist Gilmore’s flash though.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - WR Kendall Wright
Last year’s draft was pivotal for the Bengals. They got their long term answer at QB, and their long term answer at WR1. Now it’s time to sure up the WR2 position for years to come. Adding Wright’s speed to that arsenal could make for quite the exciting offense. They addressed the defense earlier in this round, and now it’s time to hit another home run on the offensive side of the ball. Wright reminds me a lot of (the real) Steve Smith.
22. Cleveland Browns - DL Devon Still
Cleveland absolutely has to go defensive front seven here. Their pass defense got high marks last season, but it’s mainly because teams would run all over them, and didn’t need to throw very often. They need help stopping the run. Still is versatile and disruptive.
23. Detriot Lions - OT Jonathan Martin
Martin has right tackle written all over him. He’s not athletic enough to get drafted in the top half of this round, but he shouldn’t slip an further than this. I’m sure the Texans want him to slip, but I think the Lions need him too. The level of OT talent falls off a cliff after Martin. He is the last OT that deserves to be drafted in the 1st round. Keep in mind: “deserves to be” and “will be” are two different things.
24. Pittsburg Steelers - OT Mike Adams
I think the Steelers will take Adams, but I think they’ll trade back to do it. I’m not about to predict who trades with them and for what, but it seems like the right move. Adams is a very raw player with a decently high ceiling, but a very low floor, and Big Ben always needs help in protection. Even if they can’t trade the pick, they might overdraft Adams here at #24.
25. Denver Broncos - NT Dontari Poe
Denver will win the AFC West. Write it down. As much as it pains me to say it, when you pair Peyton Manning’s offense with Denver’s defense... Ugh. Bad news for me and my fellow Chiefs fans. That being said, I don’t see any glaring holes that need to be addressed on offense. They have a pretty solid defense too, but they do need a long term answer at NT. I actually think Poe will be a bust, but he won’t have much pressure to succeed right away, so he will have a chance to develop.
26. Houston Texans - OLB/DE Whitney Mercilus
Cap issues made them part ways with Mario Williams, but they can get a bargain here by selecting edge passer rusher Whitney Mercilus.
27. New England Patriots - CB Dre Kirkpatrick
Bill Belichick is known for two things in the draft: Trading back his late round picks, and drafting DBs in the late 1st / early 2nd. This year will be no different, and MY GOD they need help defensively.
28. Green Bay Packers - DL Jerel Worthy
Green Bay might have one of the best linebacking corps in the NFL, but they still need help defensively. Jerel Worthy is a big-bodied 5-tech who could even see some time at NT. This is a player I would love to see the Chiefs trade back for if they don’t take DeCastro.
29. Baltimore Ravens - WR Stephen Hill
Boldin’s tires are starting to wear down, and Torrey Smith is a good deep threat, but he can’t hold up as an every down WR. Stephen Hill can. At 6‘4“ 215 lbs, Hill is a beast. Add a 4.3 40 yard dash time and a 40“ vertical, and you’ve got one hell of an athlete. Hill can step in right away and be a big reliable target for Joe “I’m the best QB in the NFL” Flacco.
30. San Francisco 49ers - S Mark Barron
Barron is the best safety prospect in this draft, but it’s mainly because this draft is almost completely bereft of safety talent. Personally, I must be missing what others see in Barron. I would stay away from him, but Harbaugh seems to have a knack for getting the best out of his players. The 9ers need a safety that can make plays, and maybe Barron can be coached up.
31. New England - ILB Dont’a Hightower
New England’s focus in the top of this draft should be defense defense defense. They need to rebuild that front seven, and Hightower might be able to help them do that.
32. New York Giants - RB Doug Martin
The Giants are pretty solid all around. Their only hole might be lack of RB depth. Problem solved. Doug Martin can block, catch, run, etc. He won’t be an every down back, but the Giants won’t need him to be. I could see tight end Coby Fleener going here as well, but I think Martin is more talented and has a higher floor than Fleener.
This should be a pretty exciting draft. I think the talent pool is equal to that of the 2010 class. In the words of the great sage Bart Scott, “Can’t wait!!”
What do you want the Chiefs to do with the #11 pick?
Trade up (0 votes)
Trade back (47 votes)
Draft DeCastro (53 votes)
Draft Kuechly (10 votes)
Draft Tannehill (2 votes)
Other (explain in the comments) (4 votes)
116 total votes