Mock Draft #1
Whose going number one overall? What is your team going to do come draft day? What players will find new homes in crazy trades on draft day? Keep reading here to find out!
*UPDATE- Here is my first mock draft!!! Leave comments and questions regarding it, I would love some feedback!*
2012 First Round Mock Draft
The Indianapolis Colts 2011 season has confirmed the statement oft made by non-Colts fans for the past decade: This team was nothing without Peyton Manning. The Indianapolis Colts drafted Peyton Manning first overall out of Tennessee in the 1998 NFL Draft. Manning would lead the Colts to the playoffs in 11 of the 13 seasons he played, securing 2 Superbowl berths and winning 1 title for the Colts. Unfortunately, Manning missed all of last season with a neck injury.
Neck injuries can be career ending, and no one knows if Peyton Manning will ever be the same player again. Along with Bill Polian being fired this off-season, Manning is owed a 28 million dollar roster bonus on March 8th. Oh, wait, Peyton will be 36 by the start of the season as well. All of this will be too much for Indy’s new GM to keep him around after a third neck surgery in 18 months. What will the Colts do without their HoF signal caller?
Enter Andrew Luck. Andrew Luck is considered by many to be the best quarterback prospect since Peyton himself, or even John Elway, who happens to be an ex-Cardinal as well. I’d say more of a Philip Rivers pre-2011. Rivers’ senior year yielded a 72% completion percentage with 4400+ yards at 9.3 yards per attempt and 34 tds to 7 ints, and a 170.5 QB rating. Andrew Luck’s final year at Stanford was very similar- Luck completed 71.3% of his passes with 3500+ yards at 8.7 yards per attempt, with 37 tds to 10 ints and a 169.7 QB rating.
Although Luck has better mechanics and mobility than Rivers, the level of competition Luck faced was not that much better than Rivers’. This leads me to believe that Luck is the next Philip Rivers, not Peyton Manning or John Elway. Then again, unless you had a guy like Peyton or a rare gem in Tom Brady, who wouldn’t want Philip Rivers?
*TRADE* The Browns are surrendering the 4th and 22nd overall selections for the Rams 2nd overall selection.
Colt McCoy came out of college a 3rd round pick. He played with promise in the limited action he had. An ankle sprain cut his rookie season short. He came into the 2011 season a sleeper on many boards, though one of the biggest concerns included his lack of weapons. Colt didn’t seem to pick up on Pat Shurmer’s offense. He had a really tough season. He threw for 14 tds with 11 ints, under 3,000 yards in 13 games played with a pathetic 5.9 ypa. He finished the season with a 0 td, 2 int effort against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I have the Browns trading up with the Rams for the 2nd overall pick to draft Robert Griffin III, aka, RGIII.
RGIII is a once in a decade talent; He runs a 4.4 40 yard dash while posting the second-highest QB rating in the nation at 189.5. RGIII connected on 72.4% of all of his passes for nearly 4,300 yards at 10.68 yards per attempt. That’s absolutely insane. He threw for 37 tds and 6 ints. RGIII was also sacked 27 times. Believe it or not, but the fact that someone can produce like that while facing consistent pressure is really, really impressive. Yes, he played out of the spread offense. Yes, his numbers were inflated slightly from it, but he wasn’t in a dink-and-dunk offense. He wasn’t in the Case Keenum offense, either. He had legitimate pro-reads in many different packages and he also has the best deep accuracy I’ve seen in the 4 years I’ve watched prospect tape. RGIII is real.
This is a great move for the Browns. They only surrender the 4th and 22nd overall selections. They keep their 2nd round pick and they keep their 1st for next year.
The Vikings have a lot of needs. They could use another wideout to complement Percy Harvin. They could use a DT to pair with Kevin Williams before he age starts to set in, and they absolutely need to overhaul their secondary. Today, however, their biggest need is a franchise LT. Matt Kalil has very quick feet, a lot of lower body strength, and very good technique. The only concern is his weight. He needs to add a bit of weight (he’s listed at 295), and more upper body strength to help handle with some of the larger D-linemen in the NFL. In a division with guys like Julius Peppers, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Clay Matthews, and Cliff Avril, Kalil is going to be learning on the fly. He should be okay, though. Tyron Smith played RT at USC because of this him.
This is one of the two picks exchanged in the trade with Cleveland for the 2nd overall pick.
Sam Bradford: The next great quarterback to enter the NFL. He was going to save the franchise. One question: What the hell happened?
Answer: Danario Alexander, Greg Salas, Austin Pettis, Brandon Gibson. Brandon Lloyd was a nice acquisition, but it looks like it will be short lived. Sam Bradford had the worst sophomore slump I’ve ever seen. 53.5% completion, 1,400 less yards, and finished the season with 6 tds, 6 ints, and 10 fumbles. Sam Bradford needs someone to throw the ball to. Brandon Gibson was his leading receiver outside of Brandon Lloyd. The Rams need to pair a wideout with Sam to grow for years to come. If they want him to ever touch his potential, they would be smart to snag a game-changer. Lucky for them, Justin Blackmon is still available.
Justin Blackmon is one of 2 players to ever win the Fred Biletnikoff Award for the nation’s top receiver twice. In the past 2 years, Blackmon accumulated 232 receptions for 3,304 yards, 38 tds and a 14.4 yards per catch average. Those numbers are insane. Though Blackmon’s ypc average dropped off this year, he also faced double and triple teams this season compared to the single coverage he faced his first season as a starter. The 6’1, 215 lb receiver won’t make it past this spot on draft day.
The Bucs need some serious help on the defensive side of the ball. You could argue that they need a receiver to make up for the lack of threats and Mike Williams abrupt drop off season, but no receiver left on the board is worth taking this high. Trent Richardson can take over for LeGarrette Blount, considering Blount can’t pick up blitzes or run consistently. That may be met with some anger, considering his monster run last year against the Packers. So, that leaves CB. Aqib Talib is a problem child and Ronde Barber, their best defensive back, is going to be 37 a few weeks before the draft. Whether it’s retirement or free agency, it doesn’t look like Ronde will be a Buc anymore.
Morris Claiborne is the top player at his position. At 6’0 185 lbs, Claiborne has great size for an NFL CB. He runs a 4.4 40, and returns punts too. Hard to believe this kid was a receiver primarily in high school. He snagged 6 picks in 2011, and plays effectively in run support. He logged 54 tackles on the season, compared to Tyrann Mathieu’s 77 tackles. In this case, less tackles are better. Claiborne has all the ability to be a shutdown corner in the NFL, following Patrick Peterson, who was the first corner off the board at 5 to the Cardinals last year. It’s only fitting Morris goes 5, as well.
The Redskins need a lot of help. A lot. They need a QB, a legitimate #1 receiver to pair with Hankerson, some TE depth, secondary help, and, as always, OL help. There are no marquee receivers left this high, no CBs that fit the ShanAllen way, and no TE would go this high. That leaves OL. Interior OL never goes this high (no matter how good they are), so Washington may as well upgrade OT.
Jammal Brown is going to be 31 this season. He had a really bad season last year. According to Pro Football Focus, his best game included allowing a single pressure, meaning he had 0 games of allowing 0 pressures. He has never played a full 16 game season, and it looks unlikely that he would be able to at this point in his career. He is due no more guaranteed money on his 5 year contract, and he looks like a possible cap casualty this off-season. Even if Jammal Brown stays, the Redskins should look to find his replacement soon.
Riley Reiff is a 6’6, 300lb monster with some athletic ability. He could add some power/weight to his frame, but he has great technique and comes from strong coaching.
Considering TW is one puff away from failing a drug test, the Redskins should really have 3 starting caliber OTs on the roster, one of which with swing tackle ability. They could keep J. Brown to mentor Reiff and potentially use Brown as the swing tackle on game day.
The Jags have a TON of holes to fill. They need receiver help badly. They could use a RT considering Eben Britton has been shuffled around the line. Blaine Gabbert looked awful last year, leading many to say a quarterback is the biggest need. Even though help is needed all around the board, I’m putting Quinton Coples, the massive 6’6, 280lb defensive linemen, in this slot.
Quinton Coples is arguably one of my least favorite prospects this draft, and most definitely the most overrated procpect this year. He’s lazy, lacks heart, and he only plays when he wants to. As a Redskins fan, it sounds a hell of a lot like Haynesworth. I, however, believe that Gene Smith will fall in love with the kid. Aaron Kampman cannot stay healthy, and he hasn’t regained that pre-’08 form which could lead to his release, while Jeremy Mincey is an unrestricted free agent. After Del Rio was fired, the Jags coaching staff began to move Mincey around the line. By the end of the year, he was credited with 8 sacks. The Jags were trailing in nearly every single game they played, meaning teams would run the ball and not pass it, making that sack total pretty impressive. Without Mincey, the Jaguars have nothing.
Quinton Coples was a top 10 prospect coming into the year. His dip in production is, however, slightly concerning. He recorded less sacks, tackles, and tackles for loss this past season compared to his previous season. His work ethic was beginning to be questioned. He had a golden opportunity at the Senior Bowl to improve his draft stock, and contrast to what others say, I thought he didn’t play well at all. He was blanked by Mike Adams almost every snap they played against each other. I watched every practice open to public (the Wednesday practice that week had been cancelled due to rain), and Coples was unimpressive.
His versatility, however, will help. He can play as a 5-tech in any 3 man front packages, and even some 3 tech (4-3 over tackle). I don’t like this pick, but it fills a need, and it allows for this talented defense to only play better, assuming Coples decides he wants to play.
The Panthers spent a couple of 3rd round picks on defensive tackles last year. Sione Fua played well at the 4-3 under tackle/NT spot before winding up on IR. Terrell McClain, however, did not. He started 12 games, logging only 1 sack and 19 tackles. He often looked lost, consistently being pushed back off of the line. The Panthers run defense was gashed for 130 yards per game, allowing nearly 2,100 yards rushing and 18 rushing tds. Help is still needed at this position.
There is one dilemma, however: Michael Brockers or Devon Still?
This is how I view it: Extremely raw, and arguably a one year wonder? Or an experienced starter who gradually improved and finished his career with a fantastic senior season, catapulting his draft rating and stock?
Go with the proven senior. Devon Still had a fantastic year logging 49 tackles and 4.5 sacks. He showed a good array of pass rushing moves, while playing strongly in run support as well. Devon Still did wear down towards the end of the year, however. He logged zero tackles in 3 of the final 4 collegiate games he played in. You could blame that on the mental wear and tear of the PSU scandal, though. I fully expect the Panthers to select a DT, barring the slim chance LSU’s Morris Claiborne falls to the Panthers.
The Dolphins need a CB opposite of Vontae Davis. Sean Smith gets torched pretty regularly, so someone needs to come in to help. I feel as if that will happen via FA, despite the Dolphin’s tight budget and need for a new franchise QB. This pick, the Dolphins will draft someone to replace RT Marc Colombo.
The Dolphins were a solid, all around team with questions surrounding QB troubles before the season. By the end of the season, the Dolphins were still fairly solid, with needs at QB and RT. This is when I ask: Why in God’s name did the Dolphins sign Marc Colombo? He’s old and ineffective. He surrendered 8 sacks this past season, making him scapegoat for some poor OL play. It’s too high to draft a C or an OG, so the RT position is the first to be upgraded.
Jonathan Martin has been a very good LT for the Cardinal. He has covered Andrew Luck’s blindside, providing rock-solid protection for most of his time as Stanford’s starting QB. Martin is quick with his feet and displays solid technique. Arguments have been made that his play has been so good due to stud LG David DeCastro playing next to him, while others have said he lacks natural athleticism to succeed as a left tackle in the NFL. Both of those may be true, but the Dolphins will be enamored with his technique and his maturity, ultimately deciding to shore up this mediocre O-line. With Jake Long slotted at LT, and Martin on the right, the Dolphins will have bookend tackles for years to come.
The Bills were pathetic last year at getting to the opposing teams quarterback. They amounted to 29 quarterback sacks, 9 of which coming against the Redskins. Take that game out, and the Bills averaged a little over 1 sack per game. They absolutely need to improve in this aspect. Yes, they need help at WR and OT, but the sack sheet is unforgivable. The Bills need to use this selection on a premium pass rusher in this draft.
Whitney Mercilus was unstoppable this season. He averaged a sack a game, logging 16 on the season with 22 TFL on the season. He has a good array of pass rushing moves, and is a very consistent tackler. He has great size at 6’4, 265lbs and possesses tremendous speed for a guy his size. He has been labeled a potential one-year wonder. While this is very possible, the talent is there and the upside is unlimited for Mercilus. The Bills should absolutely pounce on the opportunity to fortify their pass rush with one of college footballs best players during the 2011 season.
*TRADE* The Bengals are surrendering the 17th and 21st overall selections for the Chiefs 11th overall selection.
This is the second big trade I have materializing in my mock. The Bengals will go all in to acquire Trent Richardson after he falls to the 11th overall pick, shipping off their two first round selections for this season.
The Bengals have a very young, and strong offensive group of skill players. Andy Dalton with another year in Jay Gruden’s system at QB, A.J. Green at WR with a year to learn to separate from corners even better, a solid slot receiver in Jordan Shipley, and a decent OL. The weak link of the offense- Running back Cedric Benson. Benson ran for less than 4 yards a carry for the fourth time in his career. He has had a few run ins with the law, too. He was on a one-year contract and is likely to walk away from the team in free agency. This creates a need at running back.
T-Rich can fill that need. The 5’11, 224lb running back is an absolute STEAL at this spot in the draft. He’s the best prospect since LaDanian Tomlinson with APAD type strength. He can pass protect, run inside, outside, and catch the football. He’s a complete stud. He has all of the tools to succeed at the NFL level. T-Rich ran for just under 1,700 yards at a 5.9 ypc average, with a total of 21 rushing tds. He also caught 29 passes for 338 yards, boasting an 11.7 per catch average, and 3 tds. Any back that averages over 8 yards per reception should be considered special coming out of the backfield. The Bengals are going to be around for awhile, assuming Andy Dalton doesn’t have any setbacks. Richardson will only help this team stay around stonger, longer.
The Seahawks were a bit of a surprise in 2010, raising the expectations for the franchise in 2011. The team did disappoint, however, managing the same 7-9 record they earned in 2010. The Seahawks need a franchise quarterback before they can be considered any sort of contender, especially now that the 49er’s have figured out how to utilize Alex Smith. Unfortunately, there are no quarterbacks at this point worth drafting. The Seahawks could always try and trade down, but here I have them taking someone to help improve their D-line.
Michael Brockers had a really good year at LSU this past season. He totaled 54 tackles, 10 tfl, 2 sacks and a blocked kick. He is very young and fairly raw. He is coming out of school as a redshirt sophomore. He is a bit of a one year wonder, though. He didn’t receive much playing time as a redshirt freshman.
For the Seattle fans up in arms, this move makes sense. Red Bryant is a free agent, and this could be the only big contract of his career, so he may just pursue the largest check possible, while Brandon Mebane is beginning to enter his prime and still lacks any sort of pass rushing repertoire. Brockers will supplant Bryant if he leaves at the very worst, and at the best is a rotational player, eventually pushing starter Brandon Mebane for snaps later in the season.
Arizona was a team that was supposed to take the NFC West in case the Rams were to flop. Kevin Kolb was supposed to bring the franchise back to the Kurt Warner days in which they made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, stopping just short at the Superbowl in the ’08 season. One player who also busted out for the team was one of Kolb’s ex-then-soon-to-be-again teammates Stewart Bradley. Bradley, given a 5yr/$25,000,000 contract, started only 1 game the entire season and is likely to be a cap casualty. In order to save their skin, the Cardinals will be bringing in Bradley’s replacement on draft day.
Luke Kuechly has been the most consistent linebacker in college football the past 3 seasons, logging at least 158 tackles in each of his last 3 years at LB for the Eagles. He has amassed over 530 tackles in 3 years for BC. His biggest knock is his “lack of athleticism”, which pretty much means he is what Ryan Kerrigan was: A rather large white linebacker. The kid has great instincts, and is considered, by me mind you, to be the best linebacker prospect since Patrick Willis. He is a monster, a leader, and also a very intelligent player, being flagged for few to little plays throughout his prolific career.
It says a lot that Stanford’s program has yielded three top-15 picks in this draft, thus far. The Cowboys need some interior line help. Bill Nagy may be the worst starting offensive guard in football next to Doug Legursky and Chris Kemoateau. No matter how much it kills me inside, I have to give the Cowboys arguably the best offensive linemen at guard to ever come out of the draft.
David DeCastro is a terror on the field. Many draft experts have said this 6’5, 312lb mauler will be an instant All-Pro for the next ten years. He has everything you could ask in a guard; great physical attributes, leadership, football I.Q., footwork, a great punch, just about everything you could think of, this guy has it. The Cowboys are getting an all star to match that much hated logo of theirs with this selection.
Back-to-back NFC East selections, with back-to-back IOL selections. The Eagles are weak at center. Jamaal Jackson is done, while Jason Kelce’s rookie year was pretty rough. The Eagles are set at G with Danny Watkins and if they can re-sign Evan Mathis. Tackle is good with the league’s best in Jason Peters and a damn good Todd Herremans. They are just weak in this one space. That will be fixed.
Peter Konz was arguably college football’s best center this past season. He was the best and most consistent of the Badger linemen, leading running back Montee Ball to over 1,900 yards rushing and 33 tds. Without Konz anchoring the middle, there is no way Ball hits those impressive stats. Konz is a great upgrade to an already half-decent offensive line. Watch out. The Eagles are going to ball this year.
Before you kill me, listen to this reasoning- Santonio Holmes will probably stay a Jet. There is a chance he’s gone, but I think that he stays and continues to sulk, only to be traded after the draft. Despite gaping needs at RT and G, Cordy Glenn and Mike Adams both are slight reaches at this point in the draft. In the meantime, the Jets have an aging (although very consistent) Sione Pouha at NT. He should be retained for a low-risk contract. In the case that he walks, the Jets will need a new NT considering Kenrick Ellis could be deported.
Dontarie Poe is the kind of massive NT that the Jets love to have. Despite his height, Poe keeps a generally low pad level to go with surprising stamina for a 350lb behemoth. He is a massive man that the Jets would love to place in the center of their front three. Poe accumulated 21 tackles and a sack this past season. He does lack some pass rush ability, although that more than likely wont be needed considering it will take double and triple teams to keep this guy blocked consistently.
This is one of the two picks exchanged with Cincinnati for the 11th overall pick.
I don’t see Dwayne Bowe sticking around in Kansas City. There are a lot of rumors about him being tagged this offseason, but I ultimately see the team placing the tag on a guy like Brandon Carr. The Chiefs have a strong, young secondary that will only get better with more time together. In case the Chiefs are unable to re-sign D-Bowe, they will be needing a replacement.
Kendall Wright is a burner. The man has a listed 4.42 40 yard dash, but on the field he looks like he runs a 4.3 flat. He was one of college football’s most explosive playmakers this past season. Then again, Wright was catching passes from the best quarterback in this draft, so it would be hard not to be great. Wright hauled in 108 receptions for 1,600+ yards and 14 tds. I think Wright is D-Jax fast, and will have the same effect (with less headaches) for the Chiefs that Desean had for the Eagles. With Kendall Wright being a fantastic complement to last year’s first rounder Jon Baldwin, the Chiefs seem ready to explode on O.
The Chargers did what they do best every season- Suck so bad to put Norv on the hot seat and hit a hot streak late season to put them in the playoffs, or fall just short, only to save his job. Until Norv and A.J. Smith are fired, there is no way this team wins a Superbowl. They will be competitive again, but with Norv, the team won’t win it all. A.J. Smith has been known to pull some shockers on draft day, such as trading up for an over-hyped Ryan Matthews, or drafting Corey Liuget into the wrong scheme. I won’t be surprised if they continue to pull some stupid moves, but in this mock, I have them drafting the bpa (best player available) at a position of need. Fortunately, they get a steal with this pick.
Melvin Ingram has been one of the better college pass rushers the past couple of years, putting up 19 sacks in his only 2 seasons at DE. He is fairly stout against the run, having played linebacker before switching to DE after a year lost to injury. He totaled 76 tackles, with 26 for a loss in his limited time at DE. He is a little short (6’2) to play DE in the NFL, having been flushed out by OT Mike Adams in the Senior Bowl. He should be able to rush standing up fairly seamlessly, as stated before, for the fact he played LB his first 2 seasons of college football.
The Bears have one of the least explosive receiving corps in the NFL. Their best receiver, Johnny Knox, took a back-breaking (literally) hit in Week 15 vs. the Seahawks. Devin Hester is a return man, and is good for one big play every few games while Roy Williams drops every pass thrown to him. The Bears need more than just a big FA acquisition to become effective.
In order to become effective, the Bears must draft an all-star caliber wideout. Michael Floyd is that guy. Michael Floyd logged 100 catches for 1,147 yards and 9 tds. Floyd was Notre Dame’s biggest weapon all season. He was held to less than 78 yards only four times this season; in all other contests, Floyd averaged 9 catches for 112 yards per game, with 7 tds to boot (overall, not per game). He is an effective possession receiver and will be a #1 in the NFL. His 6’3, 221lb frame gives him great size as a #1. He has off the field concerns, being cited for alcohol consumption three times including one in which he was drunk driving. My argument- He’s in college, all college kids drink. Some are dumb enough to drive, but that’s what I think this amounts to. He is going to be another steal come draft day.
The Titans fell just short of the playoffs this year. They were a win away from the wildcard spot. Luckily for them, they didn’t win. If they had, they may have missed out on Cortland Finnegan’s replacement in case he leaves via Free Agency.
The Titans defense had a lot to do with Tennessee’s success last season, placing in the top 10 in points allowed per game, and top 15 in passing yards allowed per game. With Cortland Finnegan likely going to the Rams or the Lions, the Titans will need someone to line up across from Jason McCourty. Dre Kirkpatrick, the 6’2, 192lb corner, has a fantastic frame and a rare size to speed ratio. The redshirt junior has very good coverage skills, excelling in bump-and-run coverage. His skill set matches the Titans defensive scheme perfectly. Kirkpatrick falls due to an off-field arrest due to marijuana possession. He was acquitted of the charges, saying the marijuana was a friend’s instead. Though he is no longer being charged, this will still raise some red flags about decision making and truthfulness. He will be a steal at this slot in terms of ability.
This is one of the two picks exchanged with Cincinnati for the 11th overall pick.
The Chiefs are really *this* close to being the 10-6 team they were two years ago. Next to RT Barry Richardson and Jamaal Charles’ knee, the weakest link on this team is Matt Cassel. Cassel is far too inconsistent to be the QB to win it all for the Chiefs. He can win you a few games, but he will never win the big one. The Chiefs recognize this, and rather than taking Mike Adams out of OSU, they’ll take their QB of the future: Ryan Tannehill
Tannehill is one of the more unique QB prospects in this draft class. The guy is 6’4, 222lbs with 4.6 speed and a cannon for an arm. He actually converted from QB to WR his sophomore year to help the team out and led the Aggies in receiving before switching back to his natural quarterbacking position. The senior QB completed 61.7% of his passes on 531 attempts, scoring 29 tds, while being picked off for 15 ints. If Tannehill can cut down on the interceptions, he could be a very good QB in the league changing to a more mobile QB style compared to pocket passers. Tannehill only has 20 starts as a QB at the collegiate level. After a year behind Cassel, he should be prepared to fight for the starting job.
This is one of the two picks exchanged with Cleveland for the 2nd overall pick.
The St. Louis Rams were smart to acquire some extra picks. They have a ton of needs all over the board, including OT, WLB and SLB, along with CB. Jeff Fisher has taken plenty of headcases like Vince Young and Kenny Britt with high picks before, but taking a repeated offender for pot is different than alcohol. You aren’t tested for alcohol weekly in the NFL. The same cannot be said for cannabis, especially if the league knows you have a history with it. Ultimately, the major off-field concerns shy the Rams away from Janoris Jenkins with this pick, so they grab a guy involved in more minor off-field issues.
Mike Adams was the starting LT for the Buckeyes for the past three seasons, excluding the first 6 games of his sophomore season, and the first 5 of his junior season due to the OSU scandal that caused Jim Tressel his job and Terrell Pryor the rest of his collegiate career. Mike Adams picked up 1st Team All-Big Ten and 2nd Team All-Big Ten the past two seasons. Adams had a pretty strong Senior Bowl showing, blanking guys like Quinton Coples and Melvin Ingram. He lost an occasional battle, but for the most part Adams was rock solid at LT. The Rams desperately need help at tackle. Rodger Saffold is not LT material, while Jason Smith has been a huge bust. Drafting Mike Adams will allow Saffold to shift to RT, while leading to Jason Smith’s likely release. This would allow the Rams to build a strong core of young, effective players.
The Lions had a really nice season. After going 0-16 3 years ago, the Lions found their way into the playoffs despite having some big holes at OT, C, and CB. Unfortunately for the Lions, their success prevents the fixing of a huge need-LT. They just miss out on LT Mike Adams, and not too long ago Peter Konz was taken off the board. The Lions are a team that tend to draft BPA, despite being fairly deep at positions. Fortunately for Detroit, a big need is arguably the best value at this stage, aside from DT and DE.
Corner Alfonzo Dennard is the BPA, allowing Detroit to fill a huge need in their secondary. Detroit’s secondary was 10th worst in the NFL against the pass, allowing just under 240 ypg. That’s not SO bad, but if Detroit wants to make it deeper into the playoffs, they cannot have guys like Aaron Barry receiving significant play time, just to bash the fans after the game via Twitter. Dennard would be an instant upgrade over him and Chris Houston, allowing Houston to move to the #2 receiver where he will be much more effective. The 5’10, 200lb Dennard should be all healed up from his Senior Bowl injury, and he’ll be able to silence the critics who have said he won’t be able to cover at an elite level in the NFL.
The Steelers are a team that is getting old, and getting old very fast. The average age of their starting defense is 30 and 3 months. A lot of the age is beginning to catch up to the D, including to James Farrior, Casey Hampton, and Troy Polomalu. All three are shells of their former selves, and either need upgraded now or within the next couple years. It’s tough to swallow, but Troy won’t be at the level of his former greatness, and will need to be replaced in a few years. This, however, is not when he will be replaced.
Dont’a Hightower will be taking James Farrior’s place at ILB in the team’s base 3-4 D. Farrior is owed a little over 2.8 mil, with a cap number at about 5, and Larry Foote is owed 3 with the same cap number. The Steelers are likely to part ways with either one, or both of their veteran linebackers, leaving a huge hole in the direct center of their D. Enter Hightower. The junior LB amassed over 80 tackles, with 4 sacks, 11 TFL and 1 int. He would be a good addition to begin a reset process in the linebacking corps.
The Denver Broncos were a fantastic story this past season. From Tebow Time, to a very good, young defense putting it all together, and great coaching at the coordinator level. The Broncos have a lot to live up to this upcoming season, and they have some pretty big holes. They can fill one by drafting Fletcher Cox.
The 6’4, 295lb DT out of Mississippi State was quiet for the first few games of the season until he had back-to-back two sack games against Kentucky and South Carlolina. Brodrick Bunkley is a free agent while Marcus Thomas and Ryan McBean just aren’t getting it done. Yes, the Broncos need RB help due to McGahee’s age, along with CB help because of Goodman and Bailey. There are no players at either position, however, worth this spot aside from Lamar Miller, although I think the Broncos pass on him to address RB help in the second round with a guy like Chris Polk or Doug Martin.
The Houston Texans finally did it. They finally made it to a playoff game. They won it, too. Unfortunately, their starting QB in Matt Schaub went down for the season, and rookie T.J. Yates was, well, a rookie. The Texans have very few needs. They need a couple of wideouts to help out Andre Johnson, and also need some help at SS and NT. They are arguably the most complete team left from this past season, with very few key players hitting free agency other than starting C Chris Meyers. At this spot, the only name of note is receiver Alshon Jeffrey, but I don’t think the Texans would use a 1st rounder on a guy who is supposedly 50 lbs overweight. Instead, they fix up their issue at SS.
Glover Quinn isn’t the worst safety in the league, but is very far from the best. There has been talk of moving him back to corner, playing him at the nickel spot in case Brandon Harris isn’t quite ready, or Nate Allen begins to slack off like he did in Miami. If this indeed does happen, the Texans need a new SS. The Texans could draft a guy like Harrison Smith out of Notre Dame, but ultimately choose Barron. Barron comes from a similar 3-4 defense to the Texans, and plays more of an attacking SS, kind of what the Texans need. Expect Houston to find an answer to their safety issue in the first two days of the draft.
The Patriots received this pick in a trade with the New Orleans Saints in 2011.
The Patriots have achieved quite a lot with some very mediocre talent at best. Tom Brady has turned receivers like Wes Welker and Deon Branch into Gods, while guys like Gronkowski and Hernandez have become some of the biggest names in football. It’s not all Tom, there is a lot of Belichick in there too, which is ultimately why I think the Patriots go all defense in this first round of the draft. With their first defensive pick, they’ll select a guy who will essentially be their Von Miller.
Nick Perry is one of those tweener guys on the D-line. He can either rush the passer standing up, or with his hands in the dirt. He doesn’t know coverage schemes, but then again, neither did Von. I’m not saying Nick Perry is the next Von Miller in anyway; I’m saying that Nick Perry will more than likely be the Will linebacker that also becomes the fifth pass rusher on the D-line. The Pats will find a way to move this 6’3, 250 lb hybrid player to the fullest extent.
Wow. How did Courtney Upshaw fall to here? I tried finding an early place for him, but most teams in the latter part of the draft need straight DEs, not OLBs fit for the 3-4. The Packers get very lucky that Upshaw falls right into their Lap.
Upshaw is a very good pickup for the Packers at this point in the draft. He provides a position of need, and is a hell of a value this late in the draft. Upshaw is experienced in the 3-4 having played in ‘Bama’s for the past 4 years, and is seen as an upstanding young man with good leadership qualities. Upshaw racked up 9.5 sacks in his senior season, showing why he is one of the nations most feared pass rushers. His run game support can improve, and he needs to learn some more pass rushing moves to be able to be more effective at the pro level. He can no longer be carried by his size and speed.
The Ravens were so close. So. Close. If Lee Evans hadn’t dropped that game-winning touchdown, the Ravens would have had an opportunity to thwomp the Giants a second time. Unfortunately, no such thing happened. I don’t need to say anymore than I already have. The Ravens still need a receiver. A true number one.
Alshon Jeffery had an insane sophomore season, amassing over 1,500 yards receiving, with 9 tds. His production literally halved for yardage, and nearly halved for receptions. While QB play is one aspect to consider, many scouts and analysts have been rather skeptical of Jeffery. They think his speed isn’t great enough, and he has issues separating from press coverage. They’re right; Jeffery has a bit of a weight problem. He had one before the season started this past year, looking a less-than-lean 260 lbs. Now analysts are spewing rumors that the talented receiver is close to 280 lbs and running a 4.8 forty. While I believe that he could have a bad weight problem, I also believe that being on a team with guys like Ray Lewis and T-Sizzle, your head will be put on straight. No one on that team is fat that shouldn’t be. The Ravens will be able to use Jeffery’s 6’4, 229 lbs (listed) frame to their liking. He is good for jump balls, and has very sure hands, something the Ravens sorely missed on their last offensive play of the game.
San Francisco’s game against the Giants was another really close one. The team has been coached up really well, though some major improvements are needed at WR and RG. Cordy Glenn is good value at this point, and is a good pickup to place next to RT Anthony Davis.
Glenn is a massive guard (6’6, 346 lbs) and has the ability to play tackle or guard. During the Senior Bowl, he played really well against some marquee matchups like Courtney Upshaw and Quinton Coples. He did, however, get beat for a couple of one-on-ones throughout the week, but everyone in those practices had at least one day that they let up a sack. Glenn has a thick frame and really good power. He is definitely suited for the Niners blocking scheme, and could even switch out to RT if Anthony Davis continues to play awfully. The biggest issue with Glenn is his feet, He has slow feet and needs to bend his knees a little more. If he loses a little bit of weight and gets some great coaching, he’ll become another reason why the Niners are a team to look out for come next season.
The Pats have their 2nd pick within the last four, and I fully intend on mocking another defensive player to them. This time, the Patriots draft a corner for their porous pass defense. There is no reason for someone like Antwaun Moldin to be starting for the Patriots. They get Ras-I Dowling back next year from his hip injury, but he couldn’t stay healthy throughout his college career. The Patriots must, yet again, draft a corner high to try and make one or two more runs at a Superbowl in Brady’s career.
The Pats are slated to pick the BPA at the position, being Chase Minnifield, the Virginia Cavalier. The Pats get an excellent cover corner in Minnifield. Most programs he played against threw away from him in his senior season due to an interception or incompletion resulting in most scenarios when they threw in his direction. Minnifield is a beast, and a guy the Pats can use from day 1.
The Giants lost 2 TEs in the Superbowl to torn ACLs. That nullifies any need for LB help. Dwayne Allen is the best TE in this class, being Tajh Boyd’s favorite target next to Sammy Watkins. I expect big things out of Allen for years to come.