This is the 1st Round of a two-round mock draft I’ve put together now that we’re in the swing of free agency and things have started to die down. Look for the second round on Tuesday or Wednesday!
1. Indianapolis – Andrew Luck, QB Stanford
Despite the reports of Robert Griffin III having an outstanding Pro Day, the Colts have already made this decision. I think people need to be careful of getting too overzealous when they gauge picks this high over Pro Day results.
2. Washington (f/STL) – Robert Griffin III, QB Baylor
Mike Shanahan gets the franchise quarterback that he has been searching for in Washington and this time, it better work. The Skins paid a handsome fee for Griffin and they’ll need him to make an immediate impact in the competitive NFC East.
3. Minnesota – Matt Kalil, OT USC
Nothing has changed with my mindset on this pick. The two most valuable commodities on the team are Adrian Peterson and second-year quarterback Christian Ponder. You must protect them with a franchise left tackle. Having a shut down corner in Morris Claiborne is very attractive, but you can fill that later.
4. Cleveland – Trent Richardson, RB Alabama
The Browns allowed Peyton Hillis to walk and he signed for a maximum of $3 million dollars for 2012 with the Chiefs. They have absolutely nothing to brag about in their backfield and need offense and I’m not sure Justin Blackmon is what they’re looking for. I believe Richardson is in rare company as a tailback. We’ll see if Mike Holmgren agrees.
5. Tampa Bay – Morris Claiborne, CB LSU
Tampa went out and got Eric Wright in free agency and re-signed Ronde Barber, but as much as I love the cooler of the twins – to say he’s long in the tooth is an understatement. Bringing in Claiborne could give them a very nice set of defensive backs for the future and allow them to part with Aqib Talib who has been constant trouble.
6. St. Louis (f/Wash) – Justin Blackmon, WR Oklahoma State
The Rams have absolutely nothing at wide receiver that represents a first down or a big play, so Justin Blackmon would immediately be Sam Bradford’s best friend. It’s alright to have worker bees like Danny Amendola working those quick routes, but you need a playmaker.
7. Jacksonville – Melvin Ingram, DE South Carolina
The Jags did sign Jeremy Mincey and have handled a lot of needs in free agency so far. Still, they need production from the defensive end position and Aaron Kampman does not give them that. Ingram is not only the top defensive end on the board, but he is also a very hard worker with a high motor which Gene Smith covets.
8. Miami – Ryan Tannehill, QB Texas A&M
The Dolphins were in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes and were then linked to many quarterbacks including nearly signing Alex Smith. They settled on David Garrard, but he is 34 years old and clearly not the future for the Dolphins. If they want a young, franchise signal caller to make their own, they’ll have to take Tannehill here.
9. Carolina – Quentin Coples, DE UNC
People who frequent our site know I’m not huge on Coples given his inconsistencies, but his upside is outstanding. Greg Hardy is more suited for a rotational role at LDE and when you have to play Drew Brees and Matt Ryan four games out of the year, you need to get to the quarterback. Coples also played a lot of DT in college, so he can kick inside for passing situations and play three-technique in place of Terrell McClain or Sione Fua.
10. Buffalo – Jonathan Martin, OT Stanford
The last time we mocked the first round, we had the Bills chasing defensive ends. They did one heck of a job addressing that area in free agency. Right now they do have an open spot at LT as they have yet to re-sign Demetrius Bell and even if they bring him back, you also have a bit of a journeyman in Erik Pears at RT. Martin is a good pick up for the future of your franchise.
11. Kansas City – Dontari Poe, NT Memphis
While I don’t see Poe as a 3-4 nose tackle yet, the Chiefs could easily fall in love with his size and want to coach him into the core of their defense. He’ll need to learn to be a grinder and not a pass rusher – as he tried to do at Memphis – but after the Combine his stock has shot up.
12. Seattle – David DeCastro, OG Stanford
It might seem high for an offensive guard and well – it is high for an offensive guard – but DeCastro was a monster on the field showing Top 15 potential and then killed the Combine. If you want Steve Hutchinson, you have to pay for him in the draft. The Seahawks signed Frank Omiyale and run a zone-blocking scheme, but neither would affect this pick.
13. Arizona – Mike Adams, OT Ohio State
The Cardinals did let Levi Brown go and then re-signed him, but it was to get rid of his obnoxious cap figure and get him cheaper. He’s not being paid left tackle money because he doesn’t deserve it. Adams is a player they can ease in on the right side and then slide him over to the left eventually with Brown moving over.
14. Dallas – Michael Brockers, DT/DE LSU
Since re-signing with the Cowboys in 2010, Marcus Spears has landed on IR and last year saw the bench for most of the season. His cap number continues to climb and with the penalties they face from the NFL, there is no reason to keep him on the roster behind Kenyon Coleman.
15. Philadelphia – Fletcher Cox, DT Mississippi State
At this pick I’d expect the Eagles to look at Cox and Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly as a possible SAM LB, however I expect them to sign another linebacker by the draft. Hopefully they get someone like Jo-Lonn Dunbar. Cox is in our opinion the best DT in the draft and would be an outstanding fit in Jim Washburn’s defensive scheme – or anyone else’s for that matter.
16. N.Y. Jets – Kendall Wright, WR Baylor
New York did get the big-bodied Chaz Schilens in free agency, but how long will Santonio Holmes be welcome in the Big Apple? Wright made up for a bad Combine with a blistering 40 at his Pro Day and could work the slot and eventually take over on the outside for the Jets.
17. Cincinnati (f/Oak) – Cordy Glenn, OG Georgia
The Bengals signed Travelle Wharton, but you’re putting the Titanic back together with masking tape. Glenn is a powerful guard and furthermore, fits exactly what they typically like at the position.
18. San Diego – Whitney Mercilus, OLB Illinois
Yes, the Chargers signed Jarret Johnson at OLB and he’s a very underrated player, but he’s a run stuffer and was known for being good in coverage for the Ravens for such a big guy. Larry English has been a complete bust and this franchise needs someone who can get to the quarterback right now.
19. Chicago – Luke Kuechly, LB Boston College
To write this would get me killed in Chicago, but luckily I’m safe at home in Philadelphia. Urlacher isn’t going to live forever and Lovie knows it. In the mean time, Kuechly is outstanding value and could learn from one of the best while play SAM in place of the revolving door they’ve had there since Hunter Hillenmeyer left. The Bears put a very high value on linebackers.
20. Tennessee – Dre Kirkpatrick, CB Alabama
Finnegan is out the door and while there is some young talent in Tennessee, none are as good as Kirkpatrick can be. I expect them to address CB through trade or very early in the draft.
21. Cincinnati – Lamar Miller, RB Miami
I don’t believe the Bengals signed BenJarvus Green-Ellis to be the featured back, and I don’t believe you believe they believe they did either. Hopefully you followed that.
22. Cleveland (f/Atl) – Michael Floyd, WR Notre Dame
Floyd is really a much more talented version of Greg Little who almost played with Michael at Notre Dame, but he does one thing that Greg doesn’t – stretch the field. The Browns need that in their offense and Colt McCoy could use a go-to receiver that adjusts to the ball well and makes his life easier. Pair him with Trent Richardson and the Browns step out of the first round with an awesome bounty.
23. Detroit – Stephon Gilmore, CB South Carolina
The Lions need to upgrade their secondary so they can stop getting in shootouts. Sure, it’s not just one position, but in their case it doesn’t help that they don’t have much talent at corner either.
24. Pittsburgh – Courtney Upshaw, LB Alabama
Well, I’ve been talking a bit about it and it’s happening. The Steelers released James Farrior and you always have to be cautious of injuries and have great depth with your outside pass rushers in a 3-4. I hate to keep doing it, but it’s a great fit if Upshaw is here.
25. Denver – Jerel Worthy, DT Michigan State
The departure of Brodrick Bunkley does leave a need at defensive tackle and Worthy is good value here for the Broncos. I also wonder if they’d take a look at Riley Reiff to develop for the future and kick Orlando Franklin inside to guard because of value, but I’m not familiar enough with the situation.
26. Houston – Riley Reiff, OT Iowa
If you’re surprised by the drop, don’t be. Reiff looks like a right tackle only and even if you’re a really good one, falling in the draft will happen. If we simply look back to what happened with Bryan Bulaga a few years ago he went from a consensus Top 5 pick to a late rounder grabbed up by the Packers. Having just cut Eric Winston to save cap room, the Texans would be ecstatic.
27. New England (f/NO) – Stephen Hill, WR Georgia Tech
The Patriots just went out and signed three wide receivers in the offseason, but if you take a look closer there isn’t much commitment there. Anthony Gonzalez and Donte Stallworth got one-year deals and even Brandon Lloyd only got a 3-year/$12 mill deal. Hill coupled with Welker for the future could be a great combo and the GT product does need a year to learn the ropes coming from a simple offense.
28. Green Bay – Nick Perry, OLB USC
Clay Matthews needs some help on the other side of him as a pass rusher and while I don’t value Perry’s ability to play the run as much as others, he does get to the quarterback quite well.
29. Baltimore – Kevin Zeitler, OG Wisconsin
Ben Grubbs went buh-bye in free agency and unless the Ravens plan on kicking Jah Reid inside from tackle Zeitler or Kelechi Osemele would be good options here.
30. San Francisco – Kelechi Osemele, OL Iowa State
Adam Snyder left in free agency and Anthony Davis has been up and down at RT for the Niners. Osemele could play either RG or RT for San Francisco and also gives them the size and power up front that John Harbaugh likes.
31. New England – Janoris Jenkins, CB North Alabama
The Patriots are an extremely hard team to read and their secondary is a mess right now. Devin McCourty was moved to safety in the playoffs last year and there is a chance the move could be permanent. They want Ras-I Dowling back to play over Kyle Arrington who had 7 interceptions last year; supposedly. Jenkins is great value here and allows them to move McCourty if they want, strengthening two positions. There are pass rushers in later rounds.
32. N.Y. Giants – Mark Barron, SS Alabama
Antrel Rolle didn’t play so well last year for the Giants and I doubt he’s around when his contract is up. Barron did play strong safety for the Crimson Tide, however he does show the coverage ability to play either free or strong in the NFL and could be a nice upgrade alongside Kenny Phillips for the Giants.