Selections and player projections are all subject to change, as we have a lot of the evaluation process still to come. The following mock is primarily what I believe will happen. Picks 8-9 & 11-12 will be decided via coin-flip at the NFL combine; I flipped a coin myself for the sake of the mock. So without further adieu, lets get started:
1. Indianapolis Colts: QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
-No brainer. Andrew Luck is the focal point of the Colts’ future.
*trade* – Redskins move up to 2nd overall.
2. Washington Redskins (f/STL): QB Robert Griffin, Baylor
-Skins’ 2012 QB is not currently on the roster. They trade up for their man.
3. Minnesota Vikings: OT Matt Kalil, USC
-Charlie Johnson is not a cornerstone LT, but Matt Kalil is. Vikes are laughing with this pick.
4. Cleveland Browns: RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
-An impact player with no durability issues. He can handle being the focal point of an offense.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
-Bucs have a few holes, but Aqib Talib’s future is uncertain & Ronde Barber will be 37 at the time of the draft.
*trade* – Rams move down to 6th overall.
6. St. Louis Rams (f/WAS): WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
-Top receiver in the draft. The Rams must protect a hefty investment in Sam Bradford.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
-With no natural rush-ends (worthy of #7) available, Jags add a CB with #1 potential. A talented Derek Cox landed on IR with a knee injury and Rashean Mathis is a free agent.
8. Miami Dolphins: OT Riley Reiff, Iowa
-A well coached blocker with strength and athleticism; Long and Reiff create a nice pair of bookends for Miami.
9. Carolina Panthers: DT Michael Brockers, LSU
-6’6″ 306 lbs., Brockers is an all-around defender with top-shelf upside and no physical limitations.
10. Buffalo Bills: DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina
-Bills continue building a big + strong defensive line that can get after the QB. Nice fit next to Marcel Dareus, as well.
11. Kansas City Chiefs: OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford
-Martin has a high floor & offers KC flexibility along the OL. Nice athleticism, as well.
12. Seattle Seahawks: DT Devon Still, Penn State
-A complete interior-DL who is strong at the point of attack. An athletic former defensive end.
13. Arizona Cardinals: ILB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State
-Bust factor is there, but Burfict has All-Pro type upside. Great compliment at ILB next to Darryl Washington.
14. Dallas Cowboys: DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
-Anthony Spencer expected to test the market. Upshaw should be an improvement early in his career and is a better all-around talent.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: ILB Luke Kuechly, Boston College
-Sideline to sideline defender, Kuechly has great instincts as well. Had a mind-boggling 532 tackles in three years at BC.
16. New York Jets: DE/OLB Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
-High motor, high upside pass rusher. Will have to transition, but could be a consistent double-digit sack artist.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (f/OAK): OG David DeCastro, Stanford
-A plug and play, player. DeCastro is a well-rounded blocker with great size. Has the makeup of a Pro-Bowl guard.
18. San Diego Chargers: DE/OLB Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
-A disruptive presence off the edge, Ingram has a knack for making plays in the backfield. 25 TFL / 19 sacks in two years.
19. Chicago Bears: WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
-If it weren’t for off-field concerns, he could go top 10. Big + physical vertical threat that possesses ideal body control for Jay Cutler. Great value selection.
20. Tennessee Titans: DE Nick Perry, USC
-A high motor speed rusher with tremendous quickness. Raw, but loads of upside. TEN was 31st in sacks in 2011.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: CB Janoris Jenkins, Florida / North Alabama
-Character concerns bumped him out of the top 15, but he’s kept clean and done well this year. A talented play-maker.
22. Cleveland Browns (f/ATL): OLB Zach Brown, North Carolina
-No QB worthy of 22. Browns add a nice piece to continue working back to a 4-3. Brown is a speedy, play-making LB.
23. Detroit Lions: CB Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska
-Fundamentally sound with good quickness. Capable of stepping in immediately, Dennard is a nice, safe pick.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: ILB Dont’a Hightower, Alabama
-Farrior & Foote are getting long in the tooth so the Steelers continue the youth movement on defense. Hightower has great instincts & football IQ.
25. Denver Broncos: DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State
-Notable talent who can be disruptive in both facets of the game. Another nice piece for the Broncos front 7.
26. Houston Texans: WR Kendall Wright, Baylor
-Texas boy, he is highly regarded. Silky smooth play-maker who provides a great compliment to Andre Johnson.
27. New England Patriots (f/NO): DL Brandon Thompson, Clemson
-Offers 4-3 & 3-4 versatility. Nice movement skills, and will add more beef to the Patriots defensive front.
28. Green Bay Packers: DE Jared Crick, Nebraska
-Long armed 3-4 DE-type in the J.J. Watt mold. Gets after the QB very well, 19 sacks between 2009-2010. His 2011 season as cut short early due to injury.
29. San Francisco 49ers: WR Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina
-Slide ends at 29. Regressed a bit in ’11, but Jeffery has top 10 talent. Long-limbed vertical threat in the Sidney Rice mold.
30. Baltimore Ravens: C Peter Konz, Wisconsin
-Matt Birk is turning 36 and on bad knees – both he & Andre Gurode are free agents, too. Konz is the draft’s top Center and Ozzie Newsome likes to draft his O-linemen early.
31. New York Giants: DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State
-A still-developing interior presence with significant upside. He is a penetrator who offers a nice pass rush in the middle.
32. New England Patriots: CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
-Adds more depth to the Pats CB-group. Gilmore has #1 CB potential but needs better coaching.
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