Thursday, March 8, 2012

2012 NFL Mock Draft 2.0

By: Brian Sanchez

Mock Draft 2.0 is the final mock before Free Agency opens up.  

1.  Indianapolis Colts- QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
     This is the obvious pick here, made even more obvious by the releasing of Peyton Manning.  Luck is a once in a decade talent with his arm, athleticism, brilliance, calls at the line of scrimmage, and attitude, all of which lends itself to Luck being an instant team leader.  This is Luck's team now and The Colts should be considered lucky (pun intended) That the end an era with Manning and get to start again with Luck.

2. St. Louis Rams- WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma St.
     I will not change the draft order to project a trade.  But I do think the Rams will move back in the draft and end up with Blackmon.  If they stay at No. 2 I think they will still pick Blackmon.  He is by far and away the best WR talent in this draft and he has the ability to become an instant No. 1 receiver.  QB Sam Bradford needs help, Blackmon can be the help he needs.  Some say the Rams should take a Tackle to protect Bradford, but I like Saffold and think he can be a solid NFL Left Tackle.

3. Minnesota Vikings- OT Matt Kalil, USC
     Kalil is the best Offensive Line prospect in this draft and he made that apparent at the Combine, and the Vikings will be happy to see him on the board.  Minny Reached last year for QB Christian Ponder and now they have to commit to him.  Since Blackmon is the only weapon worth having this early, they should draft Kalil to protect Ponders' blind side and bolster their terrible O-Line.

4. Cleveland Browns- QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor
     A lot of people think RGIII is going to be a very good pro, me included.  Colt McCoy is not an NFL starter and the Browns know it.  RGIII will be a savior for this Cleveland team, and I do think they will get him, especially after the way he dazzled scouts at the combine with his athleticism and measuring in over 6'2".  A lot of teams could be looking to trade up to No. 2 and get the Rams pick to take RGIII.  I think the Browns will move up two spots to secure him.  The Rams would then move back to No. 4 and take whichever player the Vikings do not take between Kalil and Blackmon.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
     This young man will be the best DB prospect in the draft as well as one of the top athletes in the draft.  With CB Ronde Barber mulling retirement and CB Aqib Talib possibly going to jail, the Bucs will need someone to line up outside making Claiborne an easy pick.  Some say the Bucs should look at Trent Richardson here because having more than Legarrette Blount will help the offense.  I just think the Bucs will see two huge holes at DB and one minor hole at RB and then see Claiborne and pull the trigger.

6. Washington Redskins- OT Riley Rieff, Iowa
     I make this pick assuming the Redskins sign, Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn or another veteran to be their new QB.  With that happening they'll need someone to protect the new QB.  Rieff is climbing boards quick and is mentioned in the same sentence as Matt Kalil.  This would not be a stretch, just a strong, smart football move.  Then they would be able to slide one of their current tackles inside and solidify the O Line.

7.  Jacksonville Jaguars- DE/OLB Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
     In the previous draft I had the Jaguars taking OT Jonathan Martin from Stanford in order to protect Gabbert.  I did not think they would take DE Quinton Coples, who although talented, isn't a high motor guy.  GM Gene Smith values motors over pure talent as evident by his high oick of DT Tyson Alualu out of Cal.  Melvin Ingram had a great Combine showcasing his athleticism and pass rush ability.  Pairing him with the other high motor Jaguars on defense could give opposing O Lines headaches.  
previous pick: OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford

8. Miami Dolphins- OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford
     The Dolphins should be landing either Manning or Flynn and I think will look even further into making their offense formidable.  With no real weapons on the board I think they are one more O Lineman away from having a dominant Line.  Jonathan Martin was impressive at the combine and is a very bright kid.  He could be an NFL LT but with Jake Long already in place MArtin can step in day 1 as a solid RT.  After drafting Pouncey last year the Dolphins should win the line of scrimmage on offense nearly every down.  
previous pick: DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina

9.  Carolina Panthers- DT Dontari Poe, Memphis
     I had the Panthers taking DT Michael Brockers here because they need help on their interior D Line.  Brockers had a sub par Combine while Poe lit it up.  The nearly 350 lb. Poe ran a sub 5 second 40 yard dash.  This made him not just a nose tackle but an incredibly versatile D Lineman.  I think his versatility, power, and athleticism make him a powerful pick and a big help to the Panthers.
previous pick: DT Michael Brockers, LSU

10.  Buffalo Bills- DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina
     I've had Coples falling because of his lack of motor, but he falls no more.  The Bills need a pass rusher, they have made that very clear.  Coples is the most purely talented pass rusher in the draft and the Bills will not be able to say no.
previous pick: DE/OLB Melvin Ingram, South Carolina

11.  Kansas City Chiefs- RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
     This is not a no brainer pick for the Chiefs.  Richardson is a top 10, maybe even 5 talent, but the RB position does not have the value it once did.  Jamaal Charles will be coming of reconstructive surgery on his ACL and was not really a carry the load kind of RB before anyways.  Richardson is.  He is very strong and runs to contact.  He is an incredibly impressive RB and in tandem with Charles, can be an elite one two punch.

12.  Seattle Seahawks- MLB Luke Kuechly, Boston College
     Kuechly had an awesome combine coming in with more size and seemingly more athleticism.  The Eagles were licking their chops hoping he got to them, and I no longer think he will.  Kuechly is a very bright, very instinctive linebacker that can instantly make a defense better.  With current MLB David Hawthorne likely on the way out, Kuechly will step in and make an immediate impact.
previous pick: DT Devon Still, Penn St.

13.  Arizona Cardinals- WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
     The Cardinals need an O Lineman but the top options are already gone and it would be a huge reach to take any of the other ones.  I think they will address the Line in FA.  When the Cardinals were dominant offensively it was because they had Boldin and Fitzgerald.  Fitz has been putting up big numbers still, but coupling him with Floyd makes the offense scary again.  Floyd earned this position by running a 4.45 40 yard dash at his height making him a legitimate threat.
previous pick: OG David Decastro, Stanford

14.  Dallas Cowboys- S Mark Barron, Alabama
     The Cowboys need a lot, a lot, a lot of help in their secondary.  They need both safeties and corner backs.  I think the CB position will be much easier to fill in FA (Cortland Finnegan) and there will be much less talent at the safety position.  The top Safety in the draft is a big time playmaker both in the run game and the pass game.  He is a perfect fit for Dallas.
previous pick: CB Janorice Jenkins, Northern Alabama

15.  Philadelphia Eagles- DT Michael Brockers, LSU
     Now, based off of Combine results Fletcher Cox from Mississippi St. probably deserves to be here.  I think Brockers will recover with a big Pro Day and will show he will be a solid NFL DT.  That is what the Eagles need, they are very soft at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
previous pick: MLB Luke Kuechly, Boston College

16.  New York Jets- OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
     The Jets need help on defense.  They need a pass rusher so they don't have to blitz at all times just to get pressure.  Upshaw has the ability to get to the QB on his own.  Less blitzes will mean better coverage which could mean the Jets may return to being one of the better defenses.  
previous pick: S Mark Barron, Alabama

17.  Cincinnati Bengals- CB Janorice Jenkins, Northern Alabama
     The Bengals are well known as a team that identifies need, and drafts accordingly.  They have two needs, CB and RB.  Nate Clements is on the wrong side of 30, inconsistent, and a free agent.  That is not good.  Leon Hall will not be ready to start the season coming off of his Achilles injury.  And of course, they lost Jonathan Joseph to the Texans last year.  Jenkins is really talented but also a big off field issue.  Usually that does not matter to the Bengals.  Jenkins was very fast and agile at the Combine and will e worth the risk to some teams, Bengals included.
previous pick: CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama

18.  San Diego Chargers- OT/OG Cordy Glenn, Georgia
     Glenn is the Dontari Poe of offense.  He is huge but very, very agile.  He can play both the tackle ond the gaurd and that is what makes him so valuable to the Chargers.  They need help on the O Line and drafting Glenn can leave them room to sign a FA at any position on the line and put Glenn wherever a hole is left.
previous pick: OLB Courtney Upshaw

19.  Chicago Bears- OG David DeCastro, Stanford
     The Bears need help at the WR and I think they will fix that in FA.  They need to keep Cutler upright and the best way to do that is by drafting the most dominant guard in College Football.  DeCastro will be an immediate impact and will help the O Line.
previous pick: WR Alshon Jeffrey, South Carolina

20.  Tennessee Titans- DE Whitney Mercillus, Illinois
     The Tiatns ahve three DE's heading towards FA and their best linemen Jason Jones is most likely going elsewhere.  It's a bit of a toss up between Perry and Mercillus but I go with Whitney because he is more ready to make a big time impact now, where as  Perry needs a year or two.  With CJ2K on the team now, the Titans neeed to play to win now.
previous pick: OL Cordy Glenn, Georgia

21.  Cincinnati Bengals- CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
     The Bengals would like to improve their interior line but with Glenn and DeCastro gone, their is really no next top option.  I think they could go DT here with Fletcher Cox but that is less of a need than CB.  I think Kirkpatrick is a tough physical corner who will be effective.  With the question mark over Leon Hall's health they really have no corners.  Why not double dip and take the No. 3 and No. 4 CB's in the draft and make that position an up and coming strength?
previous pick: RB Lamar Miller, Miami

22.  Cleveland Browns- WR Kendall Wright,  Baylor
     The Browns already took  an explosive play maker from Baylor.  Time to take an equally explosive player out of Baylor at WR.  Wright has elite speed and has already flourished under the throws of RGIII.  Might as well put the two together on the big stage and give your rookie QB a safety blanket at WR with his college running mate.

23.  Detroit Lions- LB Lavonte David, Nebraska
     David is a big time riser in this draft.  There are needs for the Lions at LB and CB.  It will be easier to get CB's this off season then it will be LB's.  David is a versatile LB who can play inside and outside and offer the Lions help at any position.
previous pick: CB Alonzo Denard, Nebraska

24.  Pittsburgh Steelers- MLB Dont'a Hightower, Alabama
     While the Steelers go through a major purge to get under the salary cap they had to cut MLB James Farrior.  They run a 3-4 defense and need that second inside linebacker to pair with Lawrence Timmons.  Hightower seems to have been created to play for the Steelers and will slide in a probably start from day 1 for the Steel Curtain.
previous pick: DT Dontari Poe, Memphis

25.  Denver Broncos- DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi St.
     The Broncos played good in stretches, but overall they are nothing special.  Their biggest need is a play maker on the inside.  Fletcher Cox has the ability to get in the backfield and drop a running back for a loss.  While Brodrick Bunkley had a good year stuffing the run, he did not make explosive plays.  The Broncos have a presence on the outside with their pass rush, time to shore up the middle.

26.  Houston Texans- WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech
     The Texans need a WR to pair with Andre Johnson.  When he went down last year, so did their passing offense.  But, since you have Johnson, you can take a project WR like Hill who blew people away with his 4.35 40 yard dash at the Combine.  Hill will take the top of the defense in a major way and make this Texans offense one of the scarier ones in the league.
previous pick: WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame

27.  New England Patriots- DT Devon Still, Penn St.
     Devon Still has shown inconsistency on tape, but he is powerful and takes up multiple blockers.  He can also play inside or outside and fit into whatever scheme Hoodie needs.  This will not be the sexiest pick the Pats can make but it will help them.
previous pick: DE Whitney Mercillus, Illinois

28.  Green Bay Packers- LB Nick Perry, USC
     The pass rush for the Packers dropped off in a major way last season.  They need someone to draw attention opposite of Clay Matthews.  Perry falls to the end of the first because he is a DE/OLB tweener but I think he can make the full move to OLB and provide big time pass rush.
previous pick: C Peter Konz, Wisconsin

29.  Baltimore Ravens- C Peter Konz, Wisconsin
     All three of the interior linemen for the Ravens are both old and heading towards FA.  Konz can play the center with good size and smarts.  Not to mention he played for Wisconsin where according to their head coach Brett Bielema they play "American Football".
previous pick: MLB Vontaze Burfictt, Arizona St.

30.  San Francisco 49ers- CB Stephen Gilmore, South Carolina
     The 49ers need help at WR but I don't think Alshon Jefferey offers enough value in the first round.  The 49ers need more depth at CB and Gilmore is a special kind of corner.  He is big and does well against bigger WR's but he does not give up a lot as far as quickness for a big CB.  Last year the 49ers took Chris Culliver who was the running mate of Stepehen Gilmore and they complimented each other nicely.  Culliver being the speedy ball hawk, and Gilmore the big physical corner.
previous pick: OLB Zach Brown, North Carolina

31.  New England Patriots- DE Andre Branch, Clemson
     More pass rushers for the Patriots here.  Branch has the size and athleticism to play DE or OLB and has a high motor and pass rush abilities.  He offers versatility much like Still and can fit wherever Bellichick wants them on any particular play.
previous pick: DE/OLB Nick Perry, USC

32.  New York Giants- TE Coby Fleener, Stanford
     The reigning champs have very few holes and are losing very few players to FA.  Where they could use some help is at TE.  Ballard had a good season but he is not dynamic.  Fleener is tall, long, athletic and smart.  The Giants need a TE and the best one in the draft falls all the way to them here with this pick.
previous pick: MLB Dont'a Hightower, Alabama
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