2012 NFL Draft Thread
I figured it would be a better idea to post draft-related topics in this thread instead of getting those topics mixed in with the NFL offseason transactions.
Here's the final 2012 NFL draft order (draft is from April 26-28):
1. Indianapolis Colts
2. Washington Redskins (via St. Louis Rams)
3. Minnesota Vikings
4. Cleveland Browns
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
6. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins)
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
8. Miami Dolphins
9. Carolina Panthers
10. Buffalo Bills
11 Kansas City Chiefs
12. Seattle Seahawks
13. Arizona Cardinals
14. Dallas Cowboys
15. Philadelphia Eagles
16. New York Jets
17. Cincinnati Bengals (via Oakland Raiders)
18. San Diego Chargers
19. Chicago Bears
20. Tennessee Titans
21. Cincinnati Bengals
22. Cleveland Browns (via Atlanta Falcons)
23. Detroit Lions
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
25. Denver Broncos
26. Houston Texans
27. New England Patriots (via New Orleans Saints)
28. Green Bay Packers
29. Baltimore Ravens
30. San Francisco 49ers
31. New England Patriots
32. New York Giants
Last edited by Hesel; 03-09-2012 at 10:36 PM.
Mike Mayock's New Top Prospects List (updated 3/5/12)
1. Andrew Luck, Stanford (RS JR)
2. Robert Griffin III, Baylor (RS JR)
3. Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
4. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma St.
5. Kirk Cousins, Michigan St.
1. Trent Richardson, Alabama (JR)
2. Doug Martin, Boise St.
3. David Wilson, Virginia Tech (JR)
4. Lamar Miller, Miami (FL) (RS SO)
5. LaMichael James, Oregon (RS JR)
1. Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma St. (RS JR)
2. Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
3. Kendall Wright, Baylor
4. Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech (JR)
5. Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina (JR)
1. Orson Charles, Georgia (JR)
2. Coby Fleener, Stanford
3. Dwayne Allen, Clemson (RS JR)
4. Deangelo Peterson, LSU
5. Ladarius Green, Louisiana-Lafayette
1. Matt Kalil, USC (RS JR)
2. Riley Reiff, Iowa (RS JR)
3. Jonathan Martin, Stanford (RS JR)
4. Mike Adams, Ohio St.
5. Cordy Glenn, Georgia
1. David DeCastro, Stanford (RS JR)
2. Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin
3. Amini Silatolu, Midwestern St.
4. Kelechi Osemele, Iowa St.
5. Brandon Brooks, Miami (OH)
1. Peter Konz, Wisconsin (RS JR)
2. Philip Blake, Baylor
3. Ben Jones, Georgia
4. David Molk, Michigan
5. Michael Brewster, Ohio St.
1. Quinton Coples, North Carolina
2. Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
3. Nick Perry, USC (RS JR)
4. Vinny Curry, Marshall
5. Jared Crick, Nebraska
1. Dontari Poe, Memphis (RS JR)
2. Fletcher Cox, Mississippi St. (JR)
3. Michael Brockers, LSU (RS SO)
4. Jerel Worthy, Michigan St. (RS JR)
5. Kendall Reyes, UConn
1. Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
2. Whitney Mercilus, Illinois (RS JR)
3. Andre Branch, Clemson
4. Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma (JR)
5. Shea McClellin, Boise St.
1. Luke Kuechly, Boston College (JR)
2. Dont'a Hightower, Alabama (RS JR)
3. Mychal Kendricks, Cal
4. Keenan Robinson, Texas
5. Sean Spence, Miami (FL)
1. Morris Claiborne, LSU (JR)
2. Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama (JR)
3. Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
4. Josh Robinson, UCF (JR)
5. Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina (JR)
1. Mark Barron, Alabama
2. Harrison Smith, Notre Dame
3. Brandon Taylor, LSU
4. DeQuan Menzie, Alabama
5. Phillip Thomas, Syracuse (JR)
Please post mock draft picks except the retarded ones where the eagles pick a WR in the first
Here is Mel Kiper's latest mock draft (version 2.0, updated 2/15/12)
Latest Kiper NFL Mock Draft
1) Indianapolis ColtsRecord: 2-14* Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
While the public relations drama continues between Jim Irsay and Peyton Manning, there's little drama surrounding whom the Colts will take with the No. 1 pick. I doubt Luck throws next week at the NFL combine, but his status among evaluators really isn't in question. Arm talent, strength, size, smarts, leadership, intangibles -- it's all there. The only question is whether he'll be serving an apprenticeship under Manning, but my guess right now would be that he won't have to.
2) St. Louis RamsRecord: 2-14* Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St.
I've said before this pick could be in play. Cleveland, Washington or maybe even Miami could slide into this spot if they want to make a move at quarterback, but Blackmon goes here in this mock because I'm not able to reflect trades. It will be interesting to see if Blackmon is willing to run in Indy. He could bypass it and wait for his pro day given his current status. St. Louis is in desperate need of a weapon in the passing game, and will get one with one of its first two picks. Remember, it could also lose Brandon Lloyd in free agency.
3) Minnesota VikingsRecord: 3-13* Matt Kalil, OT, USC
The Vikings need to upgrade at left tackle, and Kalil is the rare one who could step into that position right away at the NFL level. Great feet, arm length, athleticism and finishing skills as a run-blocker make him a very complete prospect. I can see the Vikings tempted if Blackmon is around here, which he very well could be, because they're also lacking weapons in the passing game. They could also go for a cornerback. It'll be one of three, all top needs.
4) Cleveland BrownsRecord: 4-12* Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Given the makeup of the roster, and the fact that they have two first-round picks and can really enhance the level of young talent, I think the Browns are far more likely to look at a young QB prospect than get into the bidding war for a veteran like Manning, or even Matt Flynn. One question I have is whether Cleveland stays at this spot and hopes Griffin is still around, or gets aggressive and moves up to No. 2 and guarantees they get their guy. Given his experience, leadership qualities and overall skill set, I don't see it as much of a leap for Griffin to be a Week 1 starter in 2012.
5) Tampa Bay BuccaneersRecord: 5-11* Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
I'll say it again -- don't simply dismiss the idea that Richardson could land here because of the presence of LaGarrette Blount. A great running team now needs more than one good back, and Richardson is by far the best back on the board this year. As well, if the Bucs are going with a "best player available" mantra early on -- very possible given a wide range of needs -- Richardson would make a lot of sense here. Blount has power, but he's far more limited as an all-around back than Richardson. The Bucs were actually below league average in yards per rush in 2011, and could look to improve there.
6) Washington RedskinsRecord: 5-11* Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
The Redskins are a team I could certainly see moving off this pick, but if the draft broke this way, the pick makes a lot of sense on both need and value. And obviously, what the Skins could do in free agency for their offense is something I'm considering. Tyrann Mathieu got the headlines at LSU, but the best cornerback on the team was Claiborne. He's the top corner in the draft, and while the Skins have offensive needs, they should also be willing to draft best available when possible because the roster needs more talent, period. While not quite the athlete, Claiborne is actually a better pure cover corner than Patrick Peterson, the No. 5 overall pick from last year.
7) Jacksonville JaguarsRecord: 5-11Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
If the Jags don't add help at wide receiver in free agency, they could look for help here, but they're also desperate for pass rush help. They sacked opposing quarterbacks fewer than two times a game in 2011, and Coples would fit in the scheme as the top 4-3 defensive end in the draft. He has ideal physical traits, with great length at 6-foot-6, and the size to hold up in the run game, complementing his pass-rush skills. Jacksonville is another team that simply needs to upgrade the talent level, so it shouldn't reach on offense at the cost of adding superior talent.
He doesnt have zach brown in his top 5?
8) Carolina PanthersRecord: 6-10* Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
The Carolina defense in 2011 wasn't helped by injuries, but the result was a unit that couldn't stop the run, but also had a tough time generating consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. It starts up front, where the Panthers simply need to add talent. Brockers is a high-ceiling defensive tackle, a player who will thrive in any scheme, but could be particularly effective as a penetrator in the 4-3. The Panthers had to make do rotating a pair of rookies on the defensive interior last season, and really need to add talent and depth. The offense is going to be there -- they have to find some stoppers.
9) Miami DolphinsRecord: 6-10* Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
The Dolphins will be adding a quarterback, and Reiff helps them finish what could be a solid offensive line in 2012. Reiff's tape was exceptional this past season, and given how complete he is right now, stepping in immediately on the right side shouldn't be a problem. Outside linebacker also makes some sense here, but Miami knows its offense is really close, and Reiff makes the quarterback situation that much more appealing, regardless of who takes the snaps. The Dolphins aced their first-round pick last year, also hitting the O-line. Wouldn't hurt them one bit to double down.
10) Buffalo BillsRecord: 6-10Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama
This is another pick that I'm staying with for now. The pass rush still needs a lot of help, and Upshaw is currently the best 3-4 outside linebacker in the draft. Even as Buffalo looks to shift that defense to a 4-3 (see Denver's draft strategy at No. 2 last year) Upshaw can still easily fit. Don't pass talent because of small scheme questions. He should be able to apply a lot of pressure to opposing quarterbacks from the edge for whoever gets him for 2012. Remember, nobody on the Bills managed more than 5.5 sacks in 2011, and as a team, they simply haven't been able to get pressure unless they bring numbers. This is an energetic talent, an edge linebacker in the mold of a more athletic LaMarr Woodley, a guy who has been well-coached and can start early.
11) Kansas City ChiefsRecord: 7-9* Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
In Romeo Crennel's system, you have to find linebackers with great instincts who can be physical in the run game, make stops through the hole and get into the backfield. Kuechly is simply a machine, a prototype for what you want in an interior linebacker. He has exceptional instincts, and masks any questions of his speed by diagnosing the play faster than anybody out there. Can play a little high, but that's just quibbling, as he takes few false steps. I can see the Chiefs looking for a nose tackle, but this slot might be a little high for great value there.
12) Seattle SeahawksRecord: 7-9Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
Some see the Seahawks looking at a QB this high, but the value doesn't make a lot of sense for me just yet. On the defensive side of the ball, the big need is help for the pass rush. Ingram has enough size to hold up in the 4-3, and will provide an upgrade. The Seattle defense is really fast, and could become dynamic if it can generate more pressure on opposing passers. If Kuechly is still here, I can also see that pick, but the development of K.J. Wright makes Ingram a good target.
13) Arizona CardinalsRecord: 8-8* Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
As I've noted before, Arizona hasn't drafted an offensive lineman before the fifth round since 2007 -- and it's about time. Martin may start on the right side, but he has the physical tools to become the blindside tackle here. Questions remain about what the Cardinals will do at quarterback -- my guess for now is they simply stick with Kevin Kolb and hope that investment pays off -- but there's no question they have to be better up front regardless of who is back there. Martin has a lot of athleticism, is a very good run blocker, and should continue to improve his game.
14) Dallas CowboysRecord: 8-8Mark Barron, S, Alabama
Dallas got shredded far too often with the passing game in 2011, and while Barron might be a very slight reach here in terms of his current grade, he's a perfect fit for the Cowboys. I have "defensive back" on my sheet as a big need in Big D, meaning they can't go wrong with either the top safety or the top cornerback here, and Barron offers the most value. Better in run support right now than he is in coverage, Barron could get better against the pass, but he's an upgrade for the Cowboys.
15) Philadelphia EaglesRecord: 8-8* Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi St.
No team was softer up the middle than Philly in 2011, and while linebacker is a bigger need, it wouldn't be a very good value here if the board lines up like this. In Cox, you get a player who should be great in the 3-4, a powerful bull-rusher who can collapse the pocket, but also a guy who does a good job against the run and plays with a really high motor. I have wide receiver as another potential need, but the Philly defense needs to be a bigger priority in the draft. The Eagles can target a linebacker in the next round.
16) New York JetsRecord: 8-8* Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia
The Jets like to bill themselves as a ball control team on offense, able to run to set up the pass, and put away games with physical play up front. Well, it's hard to do that if you're 29th in the NFL in yards per rush, as they were in 2011. With Tony Sparano coming to town, my guess is shoring up the offensive line will be a priority (just as it was with his last pick in Miami) as the Jets try to get the offense back where they want it. Glenn is a really versatile guy who could probably be adequate at tackle, but could dominate inside. He could start there immediately.
17) Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland)Record: 8-8* Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
The Bengals held up pretty well against the pass last year, but should look for the heir to Johnathan Joseph, whom they lost to Houston before the 2011 season. Kirkpatrick fits the bill as a big, physical corner who doesn't give up much in coverage given his size (nearly 6-foot-3), which makes him particularly good inside the red zone. He's also not one to shy away from run support. The Bengals need a running back, too, but they can find value at that position much later. Glenn is also an option if the Jets don't make that pick.
18) San Diego ChargersRecord: 8-8Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
What happens with Vincent Jackson obviously could have an effect on this selection, but even if Jackson remains, the Chargers could use another player who can create matchup problems in the passing game. Floyd showed me a lot this year -- he cut his weight some and played lighter than 230 pounds, and it really made him a more explosive player. He can make plays all over the field in the passing game. The Chargers also must get some help on the offensive line, and could go that route here if they really like a player.
19) Chicago BearsRecord: 8-8Mike Adams, OT, Ohio St.
We know the Bears will be looking for help at wide receiver, but just because the offensive line could be characterized as semi-adequate doesn't mean they should make the mistake of neglecting it and letting it fall apart again. Mike Tice knows as well as anybody that Jay Cutler can be successful in the passing game first if he's not getting hit on every play. Adams is a guy who I've come around on, because he simply knows how to protect the pocket. He can slide his feet and doesn't get beat inside, but he has the length and technique to protect the edge.
20) Tennessee TitansRecord: 9-7Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
They've devoted some draft attention to it in recent years, but the Titans' pass rush still needs help. Only Tampa Bay had more of a struggle getting to opposing passers last year. People talk about the quarterback situation in Tennessee, but I think it was the lack of a pass rush that kept the Titans (barely) out of the playoffs last year. Mercilus is, quite simply, a pass-rusher. I like his athleticism and uncanny ability to beat blockers. He needs a good combine to cement his status, but he could move even higher, and might be a good value here. The Titans need someone who can breathe on an opposing quarterback.
Last edited by Hesel; 03-06-2012 at 10:22 AM.
21) Cincinnati BengalsRecord: 9-7* David DeCastro, G, Stanford
I have guard as one of the top needs for the Bengals, and they won't do any better than DeCastro at this spot. A player who plays with exceptional awareness, DeCastro is the kind of guard who helps you crack off bigger gains in the run and screen game because he gets a great initial punch, but will also get to the second level and throw great blocks out in space. Again, I don't think Cincy gets enough value here at running back, but DeCastro helps the run game, too.
22) Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta)Record: 4-12Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Cleveland needs help at wide receiver but may not be able to get it in free agency, and Wright is a player who can provide an element the Browns don't have right now. The pick makes sense on both need and value. Wright quietly had a season that almost matched Blackmon's in the Big 12. Greg Little was inconsistent but certainly showed a lot of promise as a rookie, and Wright is a good complement. He's smaller at about 5-10, 190 pounds, but adds a speed threat this offense really needs. He'll stretch the field with speed. The Browns need weapons, and Wright fits the profile.
23) Detroit LionsRecord: 10-6Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
At one time, Jenkins was destined to be a top-10 pick, and his talent level hasn't dipped. After exiting Florida, he spent a year at North Alabama, and is finally ready for the NFL. As a pure cover corner, in terms of pure instincts, ball skills and athleticism, you're looking at a potential Pro Bowl player. Jenkins is already a major threat in the return game. He has a history, but get him in the right system, and you could have a star. We know Detroit needs help at corner, and Jenkins might be too much value to pass up here.
24) Pittsburgh SteelersRecord: 12-4* Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
The Steelers are always going to find answers under the brilliant Dick LeBeau, but they have to get younger, particularly up front, and they know it. Poe is that rare zero-technique centerpiece to a 3-4 defense, the guy who simply eats up blockers and frees up the linebackers. If he develops, Poe can be the heir to Casey Hampton in the middle of that scheme, and these guys are just really tough to find. The value lines up as well.
25) Denver BroncosRecord: 8-8Devon Still, DT, Penn St.
Denver has the pass rush off the edge but could add some depth on the interior, and Still is a guy who can penetrate and get tackles for loss from the inside. The Broncos could go a few ways here, which is actually a good thing as they pursue value, and I could certainly look for them to target a corner at this spot, but Still makes a lot of sense in that scheme. I have wide receiver down as a need, but they have a pretty good combo there right now, and given the struggles the offense could face, they need to be able to get stops.
26) Houston TexansRecord: 10-6* Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan St.
Houston did an exceptional job in last year's draft, locking up players who would fit in Wade Phillips' system. And even the injury Mario Williams suffered didn't derail them. Worthy, when he's on his game, can be really dynamic. He has a really good burst for his size, allowing him to penetrate and be really disruptive against both the run and the pass. He'll tie up blockers because he can be really hard to neutralize one on one. He just needs to be consistent, but if Houston can rotate him in, it'll get good production early.
27) New England Patriots (from Saints)Record: 13-3Vinny Curry, OLB, Marshall
Curry is a really good pass-rusher for a team that needs to find some help in that area. I'm not sure he's the best candidate to play OLB in a 3-4, but Bill Belichick can scheme around his personnel as well as anybody, and if he loves a pass-rusher, he'll find a way to make it work. Curry has violent hands and can really get a tackle off-balance. He can also swim to the inside. The Patriots need to add talent to the front seven, and Curry is a start.
28) Green Bay PackersRecord: 15-1Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame
The Packers are another team that should be looking for the best value possible at either safety or cornerback, and Smith provides value here. What I like about Smith is his ability to do it all. He's not the world's greatest athlete, but any scout will tell you: At this position, you take the instincts over the athlete 100 out of 100 times. Smith gets great jumps in coverage and will get in passing lanes, but he's also outstanding in run support. You don't lose ground in one area when he's out there.
29) Baltimore RavensRecord: 12-4Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
With Ray Lewis' decision to come back for another year, the Ravens might be a little less desperate to find the next great linebacker, and can instead hit another big need. Matt Birk will need a replacement at center, and Konz is the best one in the draft. He's like a good quarterback, picking up every blitz and stunt, and has the kind of smarts in calling out things that will really help the quarterback. The Ravens were a mess up front for portions of 2011 and will need to add help there.
30) San Francisco 49ersRecord: 13-3* Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
Randle could be a steal. This is a guy who, in a more dynamic passing offense, could have been far more productive. Obviously, the combine will tell us a lot, but Randle could be preferred over Alshon Jeffery of South Carolina, because he has the length, but will be a lot quicker into and out of his breaks because he's got a leaner frame. He's better suited to beat opposing defenses over the top. The Niners need a big target in the passing game outside of Vernon Davis, and Randle could be that guy.
31) New England PatriotsRecord: 13-3Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut
We've seen the value of Vince Wilfork, and while Reyes isn't the size of a city block, he certainly has some of the traits of a guy who can help a defense similarly. When he gets good leverage (which he usually does), Reyes is really strong and will get offensive linemen up off their feet as he pushes them into the backfield. He's not going to shed blocks as a brilliant pass-rusher would, but Reyes can develop into the guy who makes everybody else a better pass-rusher because he demands so much blocking help.
32) New York GiantsRecord: 9-7* Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
The Super Bowl will provide plenty of good memories for Giants fans, but from a personnel standpoint, people should also remember the injuries they suffered at tight end, and Allen is the best one in this draft. He's a fantastic athlete, can create matchup problems and further diversify the Giants' offense as they maximize this window of exceptional quarterback play. The Giants could also look for help on the offensive line, or target a linebacker here, but I expect Allen's profile to rise during the workout process, and he should represent a lot of value here.
Last edited by Hesel; 03-06-2012 at 10:23 AM.
LOL @ Richardson going 5th
If he isn't Adrian Peterson taking a RB that early is dumb and such a waste.
you shut your w h ore mouth
Originally Posted by Jordan629
guy is a stud
Mel Kiper Jr. Mock Draft 3.0
Indianapolis ColtsRecord: 2-14* Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
No change here, even with the change to the future of Peyton Manning. Luck was going to land with the Colts; it was only a matter of whether he'd be serving an apprenticeship. I'm interested to see if he gets a deal done well before the draft so he can dive into the playbook. You know the scouting report. Arm strength, talent, size, smarts, leadership, intangibles -- it's all there. Luck is currently working hard out in Palo Alto to further refine his talents.
St. Louis RamsRecord: 2-14* Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St.
Go ahead and put a big asterisk here, because I think this pick will be taken (most likely) by the Browns, with the Redskins also right there. The Browns can do a little more in terms of draft compensation all things being equal, but if Dan Snyder really wants his man, I'd never assume he'd come in second in a bidding war. Blackmon we know could fit with the Rams, even if they draft at No. 4 or No. 6, just based on how the picks could line up.
Minnesota VikingsRecord: 3-13* Matt Kalil, OT, USC
This is one I'm going to stick with. I've liked the pick since the first mock, and I don't see a reason to change. Minnesota needs an upgrade at left tackle, and Kalil is the rare one who could step into that position right away at the NFL level. There's a lot of talk about which quarterback will go where right now, but this pick is about keeping Christian Ponder upright for the Vikings. They won't know what they have unless they can block for him. And it's obvious this will help the running game, too.
Cleveland BrownsRecord: 4-12* Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
The assumption is they'll need to move up to No. 2 to get RG3, but I can't reflect that until anything is official. I don't think the combine changed anything in terms of where Griffin was likely to land, but it certainly didn't hurt him. He showed off athleticism that would have been impressive for the top wide receivers and running backs. Given his experience, leadership qualities and overall skill set as an accurate passer with a potent arm, I don't see it as much of a leap for Griffin to be a Week 1 starter in 2012.
Tampa Bay BuccaneersRecord: 5-11
* Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
This is one more I'm sticking with. Richardson could land here despite the presence of LaGarrette Blount, and depending on how his workouts go, I can see a team trading into this position to take him. Great running teams need more than one good back, and Richardson is superior to Blount. Further, if the Bucs are going with a best player available at this spot, Richardson fits the bill. I can also see the Bucs taking a close look at cornerbacks, which brings the next guy on the board into play, but I like Richardson here until I get a clear signal they're going another direction.
Washington RedskinsRecord: 5-11* Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Go ahead and pop the asterisk here, too. We know the Redskins are actively looking at moving up, and they could also be in the race for Manning. Obviously, what the Skins could do in free agency for their offense is something I'm considering. If they were to get Manning, this pick could turn into an O-lineman. As for Claiborne, amidst all that's up in the air, he still makes a lot of sense. He's the top corner available, and is actually a better pure cover corner than Patrick Peterson, the No. 5 overall pick from last year. The kid can play, and did nothing to hurt his stock in Indy.
Jacksonville JaguarsRecord: 5-11Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Coples wasn't quite as dominant as I thought he'd be during the 2011 season, but the draft process has reinforced what a lot of front office folks believed, which is that he's clearly the top 4-3 defensive end in the draft. The Jags need pass-catchers, but if Blackmon isn't available, Coples fits. Jacksonville sacked opposing quarterbacks fewer than two times a game in 2011, and Coples is a great fit for the scheme. He has great length at 6-foot-6, and the size to hold up in the run game, complementing his pass-rush skills. Jacksonville is another team that simply needs to upgrade its talent level, so the Jaguars shouldn't reach based on need.
Miami DolphinsRecord: 6-10Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
The Dolphins will be adding a quarterback -- Manning is obviously in play -- and Reiff puts the finishing touches on an improved offensive line. Reiff was exceptional this past season, and given how complete he is right now, stepping in immediately on the right side shouldn't be a problem. I've said that outside linebacker would make sense here, but Miami knows offensive line play will be a big part of their success in 2012, regardless of who takes the snaps. They went O-line in Round 1 last year with good results, and doubling down wouldn't hurt them.
Carolina PanthersRecord: 6-10* Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
The Carolina defense couldn't stop the run last year and had to rotate a pair of rookies on the defensive interior. The offense could use a couple pieces, but they'll be able to score points. Carolina needs to find some stops. Poe was the story of the combine on the defensive side of the ball. He posted numbers for a big man we haven't seen since Haloti Ngata, and if his technique matches the physical traits, he can be a really good one. His size will get him pegged for a 3-4, but I like him better in a 4-3.
Buffalo BillsRecord: 6-10Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
Ingram's stock is on the rise, and the Bills need a pass-rusher. He's billed as a defensive end based on the system at South Carolina, but Buffalo can use him in their personnel groupings and not limit what he does best. He's a pass-rusher, but isn't a guy that becomes a liability against the run. I think there is still growth in Ingram's game, as he learns to better disengage from blocks. With Steve Johnson back in the fold, the Bills should put their focus on defense early.
Kansas City ChiefsRecord: 7-9* Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
Kuechly came to Indy with concerns about his size. But he weighed in at over 240 pounds, easing some of those concerns, and then shined in workouts, proving the added bulk won't slow him down; a classic case where a guy answers the big questions and solidifies his stock. Romeo Crennel needs linebackers with great instincts who can be physical in the run game, make stops and also get into the backfield when asked. Kuechly is simply a machine, a prototype for what you want in an interior linebacker. I can see the Chiefs looking for a nose tackle, so if Poe is around, that pick makes sense as well.
Seattle SeahawksRecord: 7-9Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
There's no question that Tannehill's stock was helped when a couple of other QBs opted to stay in college, but his growth curve has been exceptional, and he's a guy you draft with a very high ceiling in mind. Good arm, the athleticism you'd expect from a former wide receiver and with very good instincts for the position, some team will take him in the upper half of Round 1. We know Seattle isn't set on a long-term solution at QB, and Tannehill makes sense as a guy that gets a full year of developmental time.
Arizona CardinalsRecord: 8-8Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
Offensive line would be the more obvious pick here, but I want to see what the Cardinals do in free agency first. Floyd would be a great complement to Larry Fitzgerald in that offense, and give the Cardinals an enviable pair of guys that can work underneath, go deep and also post up smaller defensive backs in the red zone. Outside of the offensive line, Floyd is as much as you could do to help a quarterback.
Dallas CowboysRecord: 8-8Mark Barron, S, Alabama
We all know the story. Dallas was a mess defending the pass in 2011, and it might look for help both in free agency and here. Barron's a perfect fit for the Cowboys. He's the best safety in the draft, and the Cowboys can't go wrong with either the top safety or the top cornerback here. He didn't work out in Indianapolis, coming off double hernia surgery, but it's not a lingering concern.
Philadelphia EaglesRecord: 8-8* Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
No team was softer up the middle than Philly in 2011, and in Brockers the Eagles get a big, active player who can both take up blocks and penetrate. He weighed in at 322 pounds at the NFL combine, heavier than I've ever had him listed, but I don't see him as a prototype 3-4 nose tackle. My guess is he'll play a little lighter once he gets into camp, and the Eagles will benefit, particularly against the run. This is like a baseball team -- they need to build out the middle of the field on defense. If Kuechly is here, that makes sense as well.
New York JetsRecord: 8-8Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
Rex Ryan needs a guy that can get to the quarterback on his own, meaning without a blitz package, and Upshaw is that kind of player. He plays with a high motor, sheds blocks well with quickness and violent hands and makes plenty of sense in Ryan's system. He's also bigger than he was listed at Alabama. The Jets could also grab Barron if he's on the board, or get a defensive lineman if they see a fit.
Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland)Record: 8-8* Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Johnathan Joseph left a void last year when he landed in Houston as a free agent, and Kirkpatrick will fill the void. This is a big, physical corner who doesn't give up much in coverage given his size (nearly 6-3), which makes him particularly good inside the red zone. He's also tough against the run. I have the Bengals as a team who could trade up for Richardson if he starts to fall on the board, but if they don't, Kirkpatrick offers immediate help.
San Diego ChargersRecord: 8-8Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
The book on Mercilus is he's an athletic, long-armed pass-rush specialist who simply dominated as a senior. The track record over a few seasons isn't there, but he could be a steal if what we saw in 2011 is what Mercilus truly is. The Chargers need help on the offensive line, but I think free agency will help us get a clearer picture. Mercilus is a great value here, but we'll see how the needs shift.
Chicago BearsRecord: 8-8Mike Adams, OT, Ohio St.
It looks like the Bears will be really aggressive in targeting wide receivers in free agency, and the offensive line still has to be better. Mike Tice knows as well as anybody that Jay Cutler can be successful in the passing game first if he's not getting hit on every play. Adams wasn't a star in terms of testing, but he's really good in pass protection, and the Bears could use more of that trait along the line. He moves his feet and doesn't get beat inside, but he has the length and technique to protect the edge.
Tennessee TitansRecord: 9-7* David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
The Titans also need pass-rush help, but if things break this way, DeCastro represents tremendous value, and that offensive line could use the help after a year where the running game totally fell apart. DeCastro is the kind of player you can draft who won't get big headlines, but will pay immediate dividends because they can plug him in Week 1. Obviously, if a pass-rusher they like falls to No. 20, they could go that direction.
Cincinnati BengalsRecord: 9-7Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia
I have guard as one of the top needs for the Bengals, and if they don't get DeCastro at this spot, Glenn isn't much of a drop. Cincinnati will have added help in the run game next year, but it also needs to get better up front. Glenn is a guy who has also spent time at tackle, and could be moved there in a pinch, but he dominates on the inside and is surprisingly quick given his huge frame. Another good piece in an offense primed to get better.
Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta)Record: 4-12Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska
This is a bit of a gut call for me. I'm not sure exactly how teams will use David, but the guy can flat-out play. The question on David was size, but he checked in at 233 pounds last week, and didn't appear to lose a step in the workout phase, which made me rethink my second-round grade. David played smaller at Nebraska, but you won't find a guy that simply flew all over the field the way David did anywhere in the draft. Cleveland needs help in several spots, but David will be productive.
Detroit LionsRecord: 10-6* Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
Detroit could get into the mix for a cornerback during free agency -- Cortland Finnegan is a name that has come up often -- but I'd still be shocked if the Lions go two rounds without adding a corner. They have plenty of talent up front, and they need to turn their pass rush into more interceptions. Gilmore is a bigger corner, a guy that can handle big wide receivers, but he also doesn't lose much in terms of quickness. I can also see the Lions going O-line or linebacker here, but corner is a big need.
Pittsburgh SteelersRecord: 12-4Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
As part of their purge to get in good standing with the salary cap, the Steelers had to cut veteran James Farrior. While they have some young talent at linebacker, given the way their system works, I think they'll want to find Dick LeBeau another player that can help early. Hightower was an exceptional young player for Bama before he lost a year with an ACL injury, but he recovered this year and might have plenty of growth left. The Steelers have new needs, and Hightower fills one.
Denver BroncosRecord: 8-8* Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi St.
Denver has the pass rush on the edge but must add more depth on the inside, because despite the flashes this defense had last year, overall the Broncos profile as a team that has some holes on that side of the field. Cox is an active guy, a penetrator who will be a great fit in the Denver system, and can help them get some inside push. Cornerback is also a concern, but we'll know more after free agency. If Tannehill is still on the board at this stage, it could make for a pretty interesting draft night.
Houston TexansRecord: 10-6* Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
When the Texans lost Andre Johnson last year, it completely eliminated their ability to stretch the field. That's a problem, because this is a system that thrives on regular use of play-action packages, and it loses a lot of juice if there's nobody around to challenge defenses deep. Wright can do that. His performance in Indy wasn't his best, but his tape shines -- you see a guy that plays fast in pads and beats people deep. His hands are also fine.
New England Patriots (from Saints)Record: 13-3Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut
I had Reyes to the Patriots with their other first-round pick in a previous mock, and he sticks, albeit a little higher, this time around. The Patriots know they have to get better along the defensive front, and that could come via free agency (Mario Williams?). Still, I'd be surprised if they don't target it in the draft, even though Bill Belichick never fails to make moves and surprise during the draft. Reyes provides an active run-stuffer up front, a guy that can eat up blocks and free up rushers.
Green Bay PackersRecord: 15-1* Nick Perry, LB, USC
The Packers need help in the secondary, but a lot of that starts with the pass rush. It's not an exaggeration to say the Packers' pass rush fell off a cliff towards the end of last season. In Perry, you get a guy who played with his hand on the ground at USC, but should be able to stand up for the Packers and provide the complement they need. And hey, the last time the Packers looked for pass-rush help out of USC it worked out just fine.
Baltimore RavensRecord: 12-4Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
Ray Lewis coming back makes me like this pick more, so I'm sticking with it. As I've said before, Matt Birk will need a replacement at center, and Konz is the best one in the draft. He's like a good quarterback out there, able to call the defensive looks, and will be a big help to Joe Flacco. The Ravens were a mess up front for portions of 2011 and will need to add help there.
San Francisco 49ersRecord: 13-3* Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Hill set Indy ablaze, going sub-4.4 in the 40 while measuring 6-foot-4. San Francisco, meet the deep threat you've been looking for. It's no secret the 49ers need more out of their wide receivers, and Hill brings a new aspect to the table, with elite size and track speed to stretch defenses both for himself, and to open up things underneath. He'll need an adjustment period as he gets used to a more conventional offense, but some team is going to fall in love with the measurables.
New England PatriotsRecord: 13-3Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
There's no question Jenkins comes with baggage, but without it you're talking about a player in the conversation 20 spots higher on the board. If you like your locker room and feel like you can keep him on track, this is the kind of guy you take a risk on at a big need position. I still think corner is one for the Patriots, who could obviously look at pass-rush help here. But put a talent like Jenkins in a culture like New England's, and you could have a steal.
New York GiantsRecord: 9-7Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
The Super Bowl was great for the party, but the Giants took a hit on the personnel side, where they lost a pair of tight ends to injury. Fleener has overtaken Dwayne Allen of Clemson as the top tight end on my board, and the Giants need one. He has great hands, will run a lot better than people think and knows how to work in a pro-style system, lined up on the line of scrimmage. He's a great red zone target. The Giants also need offensive line help, or could target a linebacker here, but Fleener makes a lot of sense.