Andrew Luck would have been the #1 overall pick if he declared for the 2011 NFL Draft. Luck’s decision returned to school caused Cam Newton to go #1 overall. Luck was the consensus clear cut prospect in 2011 before he returned to school.
Luck has been the top overall NFL Draft prospect dating back to October of 2010 when Luck jumped Jake Locker the preseason favorite to go #1 overall in 2011 after the 2010 NFL Draft. Luck is the clear cut top prospect in 2012.
32 teams were in the hunt to get Luck and now only two teams have a shot at the top pick. The Indianapolis Colts and the St. Louis Rams are those two teams. Who will win the Luck pick? What will they do with it? Will they draft Luck, another player, or trade down?
Luck is a shoe in to succeed in the NFL getting a team to the playoffs. Its just a matter of where he ends up and what the team puts around him that dictates whether he wins multiple Super Bowl rings. Luck is going to win a Super Bowl at some point. Luck is not a shoe in to start right away because the Colts could pick #1 overall with Manning recovering.
Find out all the answers and more in the first 4 round mock draft that Rant Sports is posting. There will be projected trades in this mock draft with analysis on why the moves make sense for both teams.
To interact with me on certain picks email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on twitter at CRans0m. You can also post certain comments in the comments page.
1. Indianapolis Colts 2-13 Andrew Luck Quarterback Stanford Junior Redshirt Regardless of what happens with the Colts their guaranteed a crack at one of the top 2 picks meaning their guaranteed one of the top 2 prospects.
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is the clear cut #1 prospect. The clear cut #2 prospect is USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil. Regardless of whether Luck or Kalil goes #1 overall the Colts are guaranteed the option of taking the player that slips to #2 overall.
The Colts clinch the Luck pick with a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. If the Colts defeat Jacksonville along with the St. Louis Rams losing to the 49ers then the Rams would get the top pick.
The Rams drafted Sam Bradford #1 overall in 2010. There is talk that the Rams would take Luck and trade Bradford. St. Louis invested too much in Bradford so I’m not buying that. Cleveland wanted Bradford in 2010. Maybe the Browns give up both of their first round picks for Sam Bradford and the Rams would take Luck with the pick because Luck is such a highly coveted prospect because Andrew Luck has Brady or Manning’s skill set along with Elway’s scrambling ability. Luck is going to give your team a contender every year. It will come down to whether you can give him a supporting cast to help him win 2 to 5 Super Bowls. I think Luck is bound to win a Super Bowl at some point regardless of where he goes.
The Rams are not taking Luck. The Rams will either A. Take USC left tackle Matt Kalil #1 overall in attempt to force the Colts to take Luck 2nd or B. Trade the Andrew Luck draft pick to the Cleveland Browns for a kings ransom of draft picks including the 5th overall pick, a top 25 pick, and a 2013 first round pick. The Rams could get Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon or LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne with Cleveland’s pick at #5 overall before trading the pick from the Cleveland Browns via Atlanta Falcons for a 3rd 2013 first round pick. St. Louis could also move down again if Robert Griffin III is still available along with Blackmon and Claiborne both being gone at #5 overall.
The Colts will get the #1 pick under two conditions. The Colts lose or both the Colts and Rams winning guarantees the Colts get the top pick.
Regardless of what happens the Colts are guaranteed one of the top 2 picks with Andrew Luck or Matt Kalil. The Colts owe Manning 28 million in 2012 and Andrew Luck is considered a franchise player or a once in a generation quarterback. Only 2 #1 picks John Elway in 1983 and Peyton Manning in 1998 received this hype. Luck is in the same league as those two quarterbacks with amazing intelligence and decision making.
I can tell you firsthand that Luck’s hype on ESPN is excessive. The hype is real though and Luck is going to be a legit quarterback with hall of fame potential at the next level. Andrew Luck can play. I’ve done not 1, but 2 scouting reports on Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck so I’ve seen everything when it comes to Luck.
Luck is the best quarterback prospect since Manning. He is money with three step and 5 step throws dominating in the short and medium passing game like New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. If Luck has the proper supporting cast he can make all the throws plus he scrambles out of the pocket like John Elway.
Andrew Luck is a can’t miss prospect. Peyton Manning will turn 36 years old this offseason. Even if he recovers from his neck surgery you need a quarterback of the future. Manning gives you 2 to 3 years tops with a full recovery.
Manning is not going to play for another 5 to 10 years like some are speculating just because of the contract. The Colts have to take Luck if he’s available when they pick.
Taking Luck sounds foolish because Manning’s established a legacy in Indianapolis. The Colts have to take Luck at the end of the day because this is a quarterback that only comes along once every 15 years.
If the Colts pass on Luck and Luck goes on to win multiple Super Bowls when Manning retires then the Colts deserve to endure a playoff drought like the one the Buffalo Bills are currently dealing with.
Isray says no quarterback in the next two drafts is as good as Peyton Manning. The Colts never send smokescreens when drafting players. Luck is just such a coveted prospect that he’s the exception to this Indianapolis Colts golden draft rule.
Jim Irsay has to make it sound like Luck isn’t as good as Manning so the media doesn’t build up so much hype about Luck. Isray knows Luck’s probably going to be the Colts quarterback of the future. He also knows that the media cannot build up all this hype about Luck because it may make him look foolish for drafting Luck if Luck doesn’t pan out.
The Colts will draft Andrew Luck if they receive the #1 pick. The million dollar question will be whether he plays as a rookie because Manning may make the full recovery. Right now I’ll say Luck sits behind Manning. I could just as easily see the Colts parting ways with Peyton Manning.
2. St. Louis Rams 2-13 Matt Kalil Left Tackle USC Junior Redshirt USC left tackle Matt Kalil is the best player in the draft if your team cannot land Andrew Luck. Kalil is considered the best pass blocking prospect since Wisconsin left tackle Joe Thomas who is the NFL’s best left tackle in the league. Thomas is on the Browns. The Browns have no quarterback, playmakers, or running game around this promising offensive line which is keeping Cleveland from contending.
Kalil is a talented pass blocker. He’s not as good as Joe Thomas plus his run blocking needs some work. Kalil may need to bulk up adding more size at 6 foot 7 295 pounds. Kalil weighed 283 pounds in high school. Essentially Kalil has only put on 12 pounds in 4 years at USC. The only reason he’s graded so high is because his pass blocking when it comes to containing pass rushers is beyond exceptional.
Kalil beat out USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith for the left tackle job as a sophomore redshirt. Smith was the first offensive tackle selected in the 2011 NFL Draft. Tyron Smith is currently the Dallas Cowboys right tackle.
Adding Matt Kalil to USC’s offensive line provides some stability. It enables Roger Saffold to move to right tackle and Jason Smith to move inside to left guard with Harvey Dahl moving back to right guard. Dahl is playing right tackle right now because both Saffold and Smith are on injured reserve along with quarterback Sam Bradford.
With Matt Kalil starting right away at left tackle the Rams could be one of the teams picking in the top 5 to make the playoffs. The Rams also have issues everywhere on secondary, finding a primary flanker receiver, a running back behind Steven Jackson, defensive tackles, outside linebackers, and center.
The Rams will be more competitive with Kalil. Will Kalil be enough to get the Rams out of the NFC West? That will remain to be seen.
3. Minnesota Vikings 3-12 Morris Claiborne Cornerback LSU Junior LSU coverage cornerback Morris Claiborne can play a field, boundary, nickel cornerback role. Claiborne has continued to showcase his consistency despite the loss of Patrick Peterson.
Everyone is handing out love to the Honey Badger Tyrann Mathieu. The real LSU tiger anchoring the Tigers this secondary is Claiborne. Mathieu’s production will decline without Claiborne in 2012 and the Honey Badger won’t be making as many explosive plays on special teams.
Adding Claiborne to the Vikings secondary gives Minnesota a shutdown corner who can play that field role containing #1 flanker receiver targets. Antoine Winfield is an excellent man coverage corner. Winfield is aging though and he has a history with injuries. Drafting Claiborne allows you to make Claiborne your #1 field corner moving Winfield to a #2 boundary role. This will make Minnesota’s pass defense much more effective in 2012.
The Vikings already have one of the NFL’s best pass rushing and run stuffing units. You give the Vikings a game changing pass defense upgrade like Morris Claiborne then the Vikings defense will keep games close. Christian Ponder your 2011 first round pick at quarterback will have a better chance of guiding the Vikings to wins if Minnesota has a defense that can get to the quarterback, stop the running game, and use shutdown corners to disable wide receivers.
I have Claiborne graded out as my 5th best available player. I have Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon graded out as my 9th best player because I’m not sold on his physical tools. Blackmon has the intangibles and has been consistent which may propel him into the top 5 at the end of the day.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars 4-11 Quinton Coples Right End North Carolina Senior Quinton Coples is my favorite prospect in the 2012 NFL Draft after Andrew Luck and Matt Kalil. Coples reminds me of Julius Peppers with the ability to play a 3-4 role as well. Coples is effective at stopping the run.
Maybe its just me, but getting a blue collar pass rushing sack artist is a bigger priority then getting your quarterback a primary receiving target to throw to. There is rapid debate on whether Blackmon or Coples should be the 4th selection.
The Jaguars always screw up at the draft every year. They may reach for Stanford left tackle Jonathan Martin moving left tackle Eugene Monroe to right tackle and Eben Britton to left guard. This offensive line would give Gabbert more time to make his throws plus the Jaguars organization would believe that Gabbert’s decision making would improve in year 2 in year two with better pass protection.
Monroe can be a blindside at left tackle. The rest of the Jaguars offensive line isn’t stepping up and Monroe is taking a lot of heat for allowing premier pass rushers to get by him.
Gene Smith wanted Ben Roethlisberger in 2004 and the Jaguars owner told him no at the time since they took Byron Leftwich the previous year. The Jaguars have a new owner and the Jaguars have already paid Gabbert 8 million of the 12 million he’s owed. Maybe they should wash their hands and select Heisman winner Robert Griffin III giving up on Blaine Gabbert.
Teams rarely give up on quarterbacks after one year so I doubt Robert Griffin III ends up in Jacksonville. The Jaguars have a chance to royally screw the Cleveland Browns if Cleveland does not trade up for Andrew Luck. I don’t think they take that chance because I think the Jaguars want to use 2012 to build around Blaine Gabbert.
I said that Gabbert would be the worst of the worst 2011 first round quarterbacks. Blaine Gabbert’s making me look pretty smart right now. That may change if the Jaguars build around him. Jacksonville has tons of draft needs at wide receiver, right end, left end, cornerback, free safety, and adding another offensive lineman for depth. Jacksonville may be opted to go with the best player available at one point. The Jaguars will probably need the 2013 NFL Draft to rebuild as well if they decide to continue with Gabbert. If Jacksonville gives up on Gabbert before 2013 then the Jaguars mediocrity will continue.
Jacksonville will have their choice between Coples, Griffin, Martin, and Blackmon. Coples is such a highly coveted defensive end prospect. Jacksonville has needed a defensive end since 2010. Why put off adding a pass rusher any longer when a premier pass rusher like Coples is available?
5. Cleveland Browns 4-11 Robert Griffin III Quarterback Baylor Junior Redshirt The Cleveland Browns look like a lock to get a franchise signal caller unless the Colts take Luck with the Jaguars robbing Cleveland by taking Baylor’s Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III one year after selecting Blaine Gabbert. The only ways Cleveland cannot get a quarterback is with a Colts win over the Jaguars and a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Browns will remain a cellar dweller if the Steelers lose to Cleveland on Sunday.
Cleveland has the AFC North’s best offensive line with left tackle Joe Thomas, left guard Jason Pinkston, center Alex Mack, and right guard Shaun Lauvao. The Browns offensive line is also anchored by the NFL’s best blindside at left tackle in Joe Thomas.
I said in 2009 at a lunch table at North Allegheny that the Jets had a left tackle in Ferguson and that Sanchez would have more early success than Stafford because he would have the better supporting cast to start his career. I had a feeling Stafford was the better long term quarterback. That’s been showcased in 2011 with the Lions making the playoffs and Sanchez struggling with the loss of right tackle Damien Woody and wide receiver Braylon Edwards. Sanchez began his career with more to work with which made him look like the better quarterback early in his career with 2 straight AFC Title appearances. Stafford had no one, but Calvin Johnson as a rookie. Stafford was out for the whole year in 2010. 2011 has been Stafford’s breakout year with the improved supporting cast and getting a 2nd year to master the Lions playbook off the field due to an injury after showing major signs of progress in 2010 Lions training camp.
Stafford injured his shoulder against the Browns his rookie year. He rallied Detroit to a win by throwing a game winning touchdown on the final play. When rookie quarterbacks have that moment everyone begins to believe in that quarterback and you know you have your future starter.
Cleveland has good blockers they just need playmakers on offense at quarterback, wide receiver, and running back. Getting a quarterback makes an irrelevant team like the Cleveland Browns relevant.
With Matt Barkley set to return and Landry Jones both expected to return their is only one sure fire quarterback after Andrew Luck. That’s Baylor’s Robert Griffin III. Cleveland has 2 first round picks. The Cleveland Browns will either trade up for Andrew Luck or take Robert Griffin III with this selection.
Cleveland could climb up to 2nd in the AFC North if they get the right quarterback. Dalton may have a sophomore slump for all we know plus Flacco will be in a contract year in 2012. Baltimore could lose some players on the left side of the offensive line like left tackle Bryant McKinnie and left guard Ben Grubbs along with potentially losing Ray Lewis or Ed Reed due to retirement on defense.
Some fans doubt the Browns because they have never really struck gold with a quarterback. I think Luck has hall of fame potential and Griffin has pro bowl potential. I thought the 2011 NFL Draft would feature 3 quarterbacks with ability to become great, but not pro bowl starters like Joe Flacco or Jay Cutler. I thought Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, and Cam Newton had this ability. I thought Gabbert would bust. Newton has proved himself as a rookie and has a chance to be a pro bowl quarterback if he continues to improve. Newton has surpassed my expectations of being a David Garrard quarterback at best. In other words I was wrong about Newton.
If neither Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III can make the Browns relevant I’m not sure anyone at quarterback in the entire universe can because their the Browns. Quarterbacks like Tim Couch, Derek Anderson, ad Brady Quinn tried to revive the Cleveland Browns and they all failed. It looks like Colt McCoy may be in for a similar fate.
There is always a team picking in the top 5 that gets their team to the postseason the following year. The Colts may have a quarterback controversy with Manning and Luck plus their will be some defensive needs at cornerback to address. The Rams, Vikings, and Jaguars will all have tons of draft needs. These teams may have too many needs to address to contend right away.
You need a quarterback, left tackle, pass rusher sack artist who gives left tackles problems, a shutdown corner, and a blue chip wide receiver to contend in this league. Cleveland has Joe Thomas as the NFL’s top left tackle along with a good supporting cast for the interior offensive line. Cleveland also has cornerback Joe Haden who is emerging as a breakout cornerback in the mold of a Darrell Revis anchoring one of the leagues top ranked pass defenses.
Cleveland has 3 of the top 40 draft picks. If they get a quarterback, a pass rusher with their 2nd first round pick from Atlanta, and a wide receiver at the top of round 2 hitting the jackpot on all 3 picks then I think they can realistically finish ahead of Cincinnati and Baltimore in 2012 potentially getting a wild card spot.
Regardless of whether the Browns get Luck by giving up a King’s Ransom of draft picks or Griffin I think they could contend for a wild card spot in 2012 with Luck or Griffin as their quarterback. Luck is a quarterback who can help you get double digit wins on a yearly basis. Griffin can perform well too if Cleveland drafts other blue chip players with other draft picks at key positions like pass rusher and wide receiver.
Cleveland doesn’t have the players at the key positions to surpass Pittsburgh in the AFC North yet. Even if you get the right quarterback long term with Luck or Griffin your still looking at 2nd place best case scenario. Even if they get those key players in 2012 it may be a transition year for the rookies. Cleveland could have those players to contend long term if they hit the jackpot on draft day in 2012 at the key positions.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco will be in a contract year, Andy Dalton could have a sophomore slump, plus Pittsburgh’s defense will be aging another year in 2012. If the Browns want to become a major player in the AFC North and potentially the AFC long term then they have to draft the right players in 2012. This is Cleveland’s golden chance to become a relevant team for a long time if you draft the right players so you cannot screw this up if your Mike Holmgren or Tom Heckert the Browns GM.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-11 Justin Blackmon Wide Receiver Oklahoma State Junior Redshirt I think Josh Freeman has potential to be an pro bowl caliber quarterback. That being said, I don’t see Freeman coming close to maximizing his potential unless a coaching change is made. If Tampa Bay keeps Morris as their head coach I could see Freeman busting at some point down the line with Tampa Bay facing Cam Newton and Matt Ryan twice a year along with Drew Brees.
Raheem Morris struggled as a first year head coach. Tampa Bay did well in 2010 and that caused Morris to be retained. Morris has struggled in 2011 and Tampa Bay is really failing to meet expectations.
Mike Williams is more of a #2 target playing a flanker role as the primary receiving target. Arrelious Benn is more of a slot receiver playing a secondary #2 target role.
Justin Blackmon has had back to back seasons with 110+ receptions, a minimum of 1,300 or more receiving yards in both years, and a minimum of 15 receiving touchdowns over the past two years. Blackmon may lack some of the physical tools. Blackmon displays the mental skill set.
My first original impression in may was Blackmon is a #4 receiver that will get over drafted. I watch him in September and say Blackmon is a #4 target with potential to develop into a slot receiver. I watch Blackmon in October and say this is a slot receiver with potential to develop into a secondary #2 target. I watch Blackmon in November and say he’s a sure fire #2 target worse case scenario. Now as were heading into the bowl games I’m telling myself Blackmon is a high end #2 target with potential to develop into a low end #1 target like Anquan Boldin or Miles Austin.
Receivers like Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, and Torry Holt had their most success when they were used as high end #2 targets even though these receivers displayed low end #1 ability as their careers progressed. Owens had his best years with the 49ers when he was paired up with Rice as a secondary target. Same thing can be said with Moss next to Carter playing the flanker late in his career or Holt next to Issac Bruce as a secondary target. Blackmon has that same ability as a high end #2 target with ability to develop into a low end #1 target.
Some people have Blackmon as a top 5 prospect. I think Blackmon is a top 10 prospect because he’s a high end #2 target with low end #1 ability. Blackmon is not that sure fire #1 target like AJ Green, Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, or Andre Johnson and I believe that has to be taken into account when considering where to draft Blackmon despite his consistency at Oklahoma State. That consistency may get Blackmon pushed into the top 5. You don’t draft a receiver in the top 5 unless I know their a sure fire #1 target. That remains to be seen with Blackmon because of the lack of physical tools despite having elite intangibles, speed, hands, crisp route running, and top notch production.
Blackmon would be an upgrade over Mike Williams at the flanker. Williams could become the secondary target with Benn moving inside to a slot receiver. Dezmond Briscoe could be a #4 option.
Tampa Bay likes taking prospects in the southern to midwestern region. Adrian Clayborn Iowa 2011 first round pick. Gerald McCoy defensive tackle Oklahoma. Suh was also in that region, but he went a pick earlier to Detroit. 2009 Tampa Bay went with Freeman. 2008 Tampa Bay took Aqib Talib of Kansas at cornerback. 2007 you draft Gaines Adams a defensive end from Clemson.
Justin Blackmon is in that midwest region as a wide receiver at Oklahoma State. He’s a no brainer selection at #6 overall if he slips out of the top 5.
The 2013 NFL Draft could feature USC’s Matt Barkley, Oklahoma’s Landry Jones, Arkansas’s Tyler Wilson, and Tennessee’s Tyler Bray as potential first round quarterback prospects. I think their is a chance Tampa Bay could consider one of those quarterbacks if Freeman does not rebound in 2012. Tampa Bay is going to be better in 2012 so I don’t think Freeman’s days are numbered just yet.
7. Washington Redskins 5-10 Luke Kuechly 3-4 Middle Linebacker Boston College Junior If Washington fails to elect Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III as the nations new signal caller in the NFL draft then their are a few options. Plan A) You can sign Peyton Manning if the Colts release him. Plan B) Sign Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn Plan C) You can wait for a quarterback in the 2nd or 3rd round and keep Grossman as your starter. Why do I get the feeling that Washington opts to go with plan C here?
If Washington does not address quarterback then 3-4 middle linebacker could be a rout this team goes in. London Fletcher is aging. Luke Kuechly won the Butkus Award at Boston College. Aaron Curry, Rolando McClain, and Von Miller were all Butkus Award winners in College before Kuechly. All 3 players were top 8 overall draft picks the year after they won the Butkus Award.
Mike Mayock a Boston College alumnus who NFL Draftniks worship will rave non stop about Kuechly on NFL Network leading up. This will push Kuechly into the top 10 considering Mayock was also very high on Clay Matthews in 2009 and Von Miller in 2011. Here’s a Mayock impression to give people a better idea of what to expect when he comments on Luke Kuechly.
Mayock: Boston College middle linebacker Luke Kuechly is very versatile. Can play inside in a 3-4 or anywhere in a 4-3 scheme with his versatility. Kuechly shows great instincts with stopping the run and playing man or zone coverage on tight ends. Kuechly showed amazing man coverage ability against Clemson’s Dwayne Allen and Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert. Kuechly has the relentless work ethic and intelligence that coaches look for. Kuechly is going to be an outstanding football player that I look forward to watching at the next level.
8. Miami Dolphins 5-10 Jonathan Martin Right Tackle Stanford Junior Redshirt Miami needs a right tackle. Marc Colombo just sucks. Colombo has surrendered 7 to 9 sacks while being beat in one on one battles at least 11 times maybe even a dozen. Left tackle Jake Long has missed the last two games with injury. Martin can move to left tackle his natural position if Long gets injured again in 2012. Martin is a powerful run blocker that may be better suited at right tackle because he’s struggled against speed rushers despite having powerful ability when pass blocking and run blocking with brute force.
With Jake Long and Jonathan Martin you have a great bookend duo that could be the best offensive tackle tandem in the NFL down the line. Vernon Carey and John Jerry can be your starting guards both have offensive tackle experience, but are better suited inside at guard due to a lack of footwork. Mike Pouncey can remain at center with the Dolphins having an offense that can open up the running game for Reggie Bush and protect Matt Moore. Moore and Bush have proven to be effective game managers with Jake Long’s injury at left tackle along with Marc Colombo just playing mediocre at right tackle.
Trade Alert Bengals deal 19th and 24th overall picks to Carolina Panthers for 9th overall pick
Why It Makes Sense For The Cincinnati Bengals? Trent Richardson is the only top 10 prospect available on the draft board thanks to Matt Barkley returning to school. Richardson is a can’t miss running back prospect and provides an upgrade over Cedric Benson. Richardson can be the feature back with Benson splitting carries as the secondary back.
With Richardson being the only top 10 prospect left his value increases immensely. Cincinnati has 2 first round picks. They hold the 19th pick courtesy of the Oakland Raiders and the 24th overall pick. Cincinnati can package these picks to Carolina so they can move up to get Richardson which seems to be priority #1 on the Bengals draft list.
Cincinnati hit the jackpot in the first two rounds in the 2011 NFL Draft with both AJ Green and Andy Dalton. Now your got 2 first round picks in 2012 because you dealt Carson Palmer. Palmer and Ochocinco are gone, you managed to draft good replacements, and your team controls their own destiny. Things cannot get any better if your a Bengals fan. If you make a deal to move up getting one more playmaker then you have a deadly offense considering the Bengals have a great run blocking unit and an above average pass blocking offensive line. Cincinnati just needs to have a back like Richardson to make Dalton’s job even easier than it already is.
Why It Makes Sense For The Carolina Panthers? Carolina’s two biggest draft needs are at cornerback and wide receiver. Carolina could end up using these two draft picks from Cincinnati to add another wide receiver for Newton along with a shutdown corner on defense.
Carolina is kind of screwed picking 9th overall here. They cannot identify a draft need without reaching for someone. Their best option would be to trade down. Kansas City would take Trent Richardson in a heartbeat if they picked 10th with Richardson still available. The Bengals have two first round draft picks and they would be open to dealing both picks to keep Kansas City from getting another back to pair up with Charles since running back is also a position the Bengals could afford to improve. This helps Carolina because they don’t have a 3rd round pick plus the Panthers could address more draft needs with multiple first round draft picks.
This trade makes too much sense on both sides considering Cincinnati’s need for a back like Richardson along with Carolina wanting to draft by need by moving down for more picks. Carolina’s last two wins against Houston and Tampa Bay show that Newton has promise possibly pro bowl potential. At what cost were those two wins for Carolina long term?
9. Cincinnati Bengals from Carolina Panthers 6-9 Trent Richardson Running Back Alabama Junior Cincinnati instantly upgrades their backfield by adding Trent Richardson. An offense featuring AJ Green as your primary flanker receiver option, Jermaine Gresham at tight end, secondary receiving options, along with a great offensive line pass blocking/ run blocking, along with Trent Richardson at running back can make any average joe quarterback look like a decent franchise signal caller.
I’m not trying to tell Bengals fans that Dalton is an average joe quarterback. I’m just not completely sold on him long term despite the impressive rookie campaign. Like Sanchez, Dalton has a great supporting cast built around him.
10. Kansas City Chiefs 6-9 Riley Reiff Left Tackle Iowa Junior Redshirt Kansas City will try to move down. No one will want to make a deal with the Chiefs so Reiff becomes the 3rd and final 1st round prospect at left tackle to be taken in the top 10 overall.
11. Buffalo Bills 6-9 Michael Floyd Wide Receiver Notre Dame Junior The Bills love Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd. Stevie Johnson may be better suited as a secondary receiver. Michael Floyd has the ability to become a #1 primary flanker target and you paid Ryan Fitzpatrick a monster contract.
Fitzpatrick’s offensive line has improved. The Bills secondary and 3-4 defensive line is legit. Adding a blue chip receiver like Floyd and some linebackers on defense are the only necessary steps remaining before the Buffalo Bills become a contender.
The Bills showed they can contend early in the season when Fred Jackson is healthy with CJ Spiller splitting carries.
Buffalo could take the next step in 2012 with Michael Floyd a healthy Fred Jackson, and some 3-4 linebackers in the later rounds.
12. Arizona Cardinals 7-8 David DeCastro Right Guard Stanford Junior Redshirt Arizona’s biggest concern is their offensive line. Pocket passers like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, or Drew Brees would fail to deliver for the Arizona Cardinals with Arizona’s inability to protect the quarterback.
Arizona needs upgrades at left tackle, right tackle, left guard, center, and right guard. With no left tackles worth taking Stanford right guard David DeCastro has to be the pick here. DeCastro is an elite right guard prospect in the mold of a Chris Snee. DeCastro’s been a right guard his whole career at Stanford and he will have the most success as an NFL right guard because that’s his natural position.
Arizona does not have a 2nd round pick due to the Kevin Kolb trade. If the Cardinals do not pick high enough to take one of the four offensive lineman then they are going to have to move down for more draft picks.
13. Philadelphia Eagles 7-8 Brandon Thompson Defensive Tackle Clemson Senior Thompson is the best player available. The Eagles may take the best player available. Thompson would boost the Eagles run defense next to Cullen Jenkins at defensive tackle.
Right now the only defensive tackle that has made a case for going in the top half of the draft is Brandon Thompson. Dontari Poe looked like a 2nd round prospect against Central Florida. Poe may skyrocket up draft boards with a monster combine.
14. Seattle Seahawks 7-8 Montee Ball Running Back Wisconsin Junior Marshawn Lynch has an expiring contract. If Lynch isn’t resigned Seattle will need a new back. Wisconsin running back Montee Ball was a Heisman Finalist and some argue that he had a better season then Alabama’s Trent Richardson.
Seattle has an offensive line in place for 2012 that will be experienced enough to take the next step with Okung, Carpenter, Moffitt, and Unger. The Seahawks may need a running back if Lynch leaves though.
I think Seattle signs Matt Flynn Green Bay’s backup to compete with Jackson for the starting job while drafting Montee Ball. Seattle’s had their most success being a balanced team. Hasselbeck at quarterback, Walter Jones as a pass blocker/run blocker at left tackle, and Shaun Alexander at running back was Seattle’s blueprint formula to Super Bowl 40. Seattle will use the exact same formula to get back to the Super Bowl.
15. San Diego Chargers 7-8 Dre Kirkpatrick Cornerback Alabama Junior Its too early for San Diego to select a pass rusher. Dre Kirkpatrick would make a good boundary cornerback next to Quinton Jammer. Kirkpatrick struggles against receivers with massive size and receivers with blazing speed despite having the intangibles from a coverage standpoint.
Starting Dre Kirkpatrick out as a #2 corner and grooming him into a #1 corner for the future is the best way to ensure his success at the NFL level. Kirkpatrick cannot play nickel and he’s not a #1 corner yet so this could be a boom or bust pick to a certain extent.
Jammer got exploited in San Diego’s first contest against Oakland. Its evident that the Chargers need to make a change at cornerback if they cannot land the pass rusher they desire in the first round.
Trade Alert Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade 2013 first round pick to Chicago Bears for 16th overall pick
Why It Makes Sense For The Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Tampa Bay loves Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard. Ronde Barber is nearing the end of his career plus Aqib Talib has issues off of the field having difficulties staying out of trouble. Tampa Bay would be reaching for Dennard with their top 10 pick. I think Tampa Bay would gladly put their future in jeopardy for Dennard because their organization is so high on him. Tampa Bay fans would be thrilled if they landed both Justin Blackmon and Alfonzo Dennard with 2 first round picks.
Why It Makes Sense For The Chicago Bears? Chicago’s main positions to address are wide receiver, offensive tackle, cornerback, and safety. The 2013 NFL Draft is stacked at those 4 positions plus Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o could be potential 2013 options for the Chicago Bears. With 2 first round picks in 2013 the Bears could address too long term needs. I realize Bears fans want to get an impact player for 2012 out of this draft. Chicago is sandwiched here picking in the middle of the draft plus none of the players available really address an immediate need.
It probably makes more sense long term if the Bears deal this pick. Alshon Jeffery is a boom or bust prospect at wide receiver. Alfonzo Dennard is only good in man coverage and Jenkins has character issues. Who can Chicago really draft here that benefits them long term?
2013 will give them options at wide out like USC wide receiver Robert Woods a 2013 top 5 prospect, Washington State wide receiver Marquess Wilson, California wide receiver Keenan Allen, Oklahoma wide receiver Kenny Stills and Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter.
2013 features Seantrel Henderson at Miami FL at left tackle. Alabama offensive tackles Barrett Jones and DJ Fluker are bookend prospects. Texas A&M’s Luke Joekel at left tackle and Jake Matthews at right tackle the son of hall of famer Bruce Matthews and cousin of Clay Matthews are a bookend tandem for the Aggies. LSU has Chris Faulk at left tackle and Alex Hurst at right tackle. SEC left tackle Xavier Nixon and SEC right tackle Bobbie Massie may return for their senior seasons to boost their stock. 2013 will be stacked at offensive tackle. Do not discount Virginia’s Oday Aboushi or Nebraska’s Jermaine Sirles either.
2013 has David Amerson a 6 foot 3 cornerback from North Carolina State who finished the season with 12 interceptions an NCAA best. Xavier Rhodes is a 6 foot 2 215 pound cornerback for Florida State. Tyrann Mathieu AKA the Honey Badger is talented, but very undersized at 5 foot 9. Mathieu was a Heisman finalist at cornerback. The final first round prospect at cornerback is DeMarcus Milliner of Alabama.
2013 has Oklahoma’s Tony Jefferson, USC’s TJ McDonald, and Florida’s Matt Elam as first round safeties. 2013 will also likely feature 4 first round quarterbacks in Matt Barkley, Landry Jones, Tyler Wilson, and Tyler Bray.
Why take someone in 2012 when you have up to 30 players that could make a case for being Chicago Bears in 2013. Its nearly a lock that the Bears would have 2 draft picks in the top 30 if the Buccaneers dealt them their 2013 first round pick. Tampa Bay and Chicago both have enough talent to make the playoffs in 2013. I have a hard time seeing either team in New Orleans playing in Super Bowl 47 two years down the road in 2013 at this point in 2011.
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers from Chicago Bears 7-8 Alfonzo Dennard Cornerback Nebraska Senior Tampa Bay loves Dennard. I really think there is a realistic chance Tampa Bay moves back into the first round to get him. Tampa Bay has a top 10 pick and they love Dennard. Its not a matter of whether they move back into the first round for Dennard. Its whether where they move back for Dennard. Tampa Bay would have Dennard play a boundary role at first and move him to field cornerback if Aqib Talib gets injured or suspended.
The only way Dennard isn’t in a Buccaneers uniform is if Morris Claiborne slips to 6th overall. The only way that happens is if Minnesota and Jacksonville both pass on Claiborne.
17. Tennessee Titans 8-7 Brandon Jenkins Right End Florida State Junior The Titans need a pass rusher at right end that gives left tackles fits. Derrick Morgan is more suited for left end. Jenkins had 13.5 sacks in 2010. Jenkins pass rushing has declined, but his run stuffing has improved tremendously in 2011. Because Jenkins run stuffing improved so much, his draft stock does not improve or take a big hit. Jenkins remains in that mid first round range if he opts to declare.
Mike Munchak the Titans head coach denied rumors about leaving the Titans for Penn State. Munchak needs to start Jake Locker next season if the Titans do not make the playoffs in 2011. Locker has thrown 4 touchdowns and no picks in 4 relief apperances as a backup. Locker nearly rallied the Titans to comebacks against Atlanta and New Orleans. I really do hope he ends up pulling a Nick Saban going to Happy Valley because I’m not sure he’s equipped to coach in the NFL. Munchak has a really good team around him that’s not being utilized to their full potential. Munchak was an offensive line coach with no offensive coordinator experience before becoming a head coach. Tony Sparano was an offensive line coach also before becoming the Dolphins head coach. Its hard to say anything bad about Munchak though because he has a winning record for a first year head coach at 8-7. Munchak will be judged heavier for Tennessee in year 2.
18. New York Jets 8-7 Courtney Upshaw 3-4 Right Outside Linebacker Alabama Senior The Jets will love Alabama pass rusher Courtney Upshaw. Upshaw should be the pick if he’s still available at #18 overall.
As crazy as it sounds I think the Jets may significantly regress in 2012. They lack a starting right tackle and I believe Plaxico Burress is past his prime. Burress isn’t a game changing receiver. He’s more of a red zone threat who is beginning to age. The Jets offense could also use upgrades at guard. The Jets won’t be picking high enough to grab an offensive game changer plus their scouting department loves Upshaw.
Buffalo looked promising in 2011 early in the season. George Edwards was Florida’s defensive coordinator during Tebow’s senior year at Florida. Edwards knew how to game plan against Tebow and his strategic coordinating on defense led to Tom Brady throwing 4 picks in Buffalo blowing a 21 to 0 lead. Buffalo can contend if they draft a receiver like Michael Floyd along with having a healthy Fred Jackson.
Miami has shown promise on offense despite left tackle Jake Long being injured along with right tackle Marc Colombo just flat out sucking. Miami could be back in the thick of things with an offensive tackle to compliment Jake Long along with a quarterback to groom for the future behind Matt Moore.
The other reason I think the Jets may regress is because of Rex Ryan. There was all this talk about how he guaranteed a Super Bowl. Ryan looks like he won’t deliver on that promise and some members in the Jets organization are divided on the issue of Mark Sanchez being the quarterback of the future. Don’t be surprised in 2013 if the Jets part ways with Rex Ryan and the Jets are picking high enough to land one of the four first round quarterbacks in the 2013 NFL Draft. I think it could realistically happen if the Jets don’t rebound in 2012 if they miss this years playoffs.
19. Carolina Panthers from Cincinnati Bengals via Oakland Raiders 8-7 Janoris Jenkins Cornerback Northern Alabama Senior Carolina has a bigger interest in addressing defense than adding offense to build around Newton. I think Carolina would take a corner before a receiver. It makes too much sense for Janoris Jenkins to go 19th overall to the Panthers.
Jenkins could start out as a boundary corner next to Chris Gamble. Over time Jenkins could move to a field cornerback becoming a #1 field cornerback. Jenkins has some character issues. He has the ability to be the top cornerback after Morris Claiborne if he puts everything together.
Jenkins covered receivers like AJ Green, Julio Jones, and Alshon Jeffery at Florida before transferring to Northern Alabama for his senior year because he got kicked off the Florida Gators football team.
20. Dallas Cowboys 8-7 Chase Thomas 3-4 Left Outside Linebacker Stanford Junior Redshirt Anthony Spencer has an expiring deal at 3-4 left outside linebacker after this season. Dallas will need a second pass rusher next to Ware. Stanford’s Chase Thomas is a 3-4 outside linebacker that can play on either side of the football field giving left tackles or right tackles fits. Thomas makes a lot of sense for the Dallas Cowboys if they cannot address cornerback in the first round.
21. New York Giants 8-7 Zach Brown Right Outside Linebacker North Carolina Senior The Giants need a 4-3 right outside linebacker. Zach Brown is the top right outside linebacker available.
22. Denver Broncos 8-7 Vontaze Burfict Middle Linebacker Arizona State Junior Vontaze Burfict entered the season as a top 10 pick. He struggled against California getting benched and did even worse against Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Denver could use an upgrade from Joe Mays at middle linebacker. I could see Denver adding Burfict if he falls to this pick. Burfict may be a boom or bust prospect. I think John Fox would see some Jon Beason in Burfict and consider taking a flyer on Vontaze Burfict if he slips to Denver.
23. Cleveland Browns from Atlanta Falcons 9-6 Andre Branch Right End Clemson Senior Redshirt Cleveland needs a sack artist pass rusher. Andre Branch did a great job commanding double teams on the right side at right end which opened up pass rushing chances for Jarvis Jenkins, Brandon Thompson, and DaQuan Bowers on Clemson’s defensive line.
Bowers went on a sacking spree in 2010 leading the nation in sacks. Branch has 10.5 sacks in 2011 getting by quality left tackles. Cleveland needs a second defensive end besides Jabaal Shear. The Cleveland Browns may take this into account by selecting Andre Branch.
Branch is a 4-3 defensive end at 6 foot 5 270 pounds with the ability to switch to a 3-4 outside linebacker role if he drops 10 pounds.
24. Carolina Panthers from Cincinnati Bengals 9-6 Alshon Jeffery Wide Receiver South Carolina Junior Alshon Jeffery was once a top 5 pick. Jeffery is now a boom or bust prospect with a major drop off in 2011 with his production. Carolina needs a second receiver next to Steve Smith. I think there is a realistic chance that Carolina would add Jeffery if he slips this far.
25. Detroit Lions 10-5 Melvin Ingram Right End South Carolina Senior Redshirt Melvin Ingram is the best player available. The Lions have a tendency to ignore critical draft needs by taking the best player available.
Ingram can play 4-3 defensive end, 4-3 defensive tackle if he bulks up, 3-4 defensive end if he bulks up, or 3-4 outside linebacker if he loses weight. Ingram has a lot of versatility for a defensive end. Kyle Vanden Bosch is the Detroit Lions current 4-3 right end. Vanden Bosch was a right end pass rusher under Jim Schwartz in Tennessee when Schwartz was the Titans defensive coordinator.
Melvin Ingram may have pro bowl ability. He needs to find his natural position though. Kyle Vanden Bosch is currently 33 years old at right end. The Lions defensive line is deadly with Vanden Bosch, Suh, Fairley, and Cliff Avril at left end. Now your adding a right end for the future behind Vanden Bosch that can rotate into the lineup at defensive end making Detroit’s deadly defensive line even stronger.
26. Houston Texans 10-5 Dwayne Allen Tight End Clemson Junior Redshirt There are only 4 first round prospects available. Dwayne Allen is the best player available and none of the prospects really fit a major need for Houston. Houston can either take the best player available or reach for someone.
Houston has drafted well over the years so they sort of have the luxury of reaching for the best player available.
27. Pittsburgh Steelers 11-4 Dont’a Hightower 3-4 Middle Linebacker Alabama Junior Redshirt Dont’a Hightower is the only 3-4 middle linebacker left with first round talent. Manti Te’o returned to Notre Dame for his senior season. Dont’a Hightower will likely be Pittsburgh’s first round selection.
I flirted with the idea of adding an offensive lineman it doesn’t make much sense though. Max Starks at left tackle and Marcus Gilbert at right tackle is Pittsburgh’s best offensive tackle tandem since their Super Bowl 40 tandem of Marvel Smith and Max Starks or Starks and Colon in Super Bowl 43. Pittsburgh had no interior offensive line when they won Super Bowl 43. They had the offensive tackles and arguably one of the NFL’s best defenses when winning Super Bowl 43. Jonathan Scott was horrible when filling in for Starks in 2010 at left tackle. The Jets did Pittsburgh a huge service by knocking off New England whether people want to believe that or not.
Willie Colon got paid 29 million over 5 years in 2011. Colon will probably move from right tackle to left guard. Chris Kemoatu has struggled at times at left guard in 2011 and he’s been a solid starter in years past. Maybe Colon moves to left guard with Kemoatu moving to right guard. Thanks to paying Colon Pittsburgh may have to let go of Mike Wallace or Rashard Mendenhall. I don’t think they got the cap to bring both back after Ben took a pay cut to help renew contracts of some of the defensive players.
Pittsburgh’s offensive line has been effective at times in 2011 when Starks is playing left tackle, Gilbert is playing right tackle, Kemoatu is playing left guard, and Pouncey has been playing center. The reason this offensive line has struggled in some games is because of injuries, penalties, run blocking, or missing some plays on pass protection.
The offensive line has done better in 2011 then they did in 2010 plus Colon could recover from his injury and have a career year at guard after getting the 5 year deal. With Starks and Gilbert playing offensive tackle well its hard to see Colon getting another crack at offensive tackle unless injuries occur in 2012.
Pittsburgh has drafted offensive players in even numbered years. I think they focus more on defense in 2012 because the defense is beginning to age now. Farrior is nearing the end of his career. I think Hightower has a chance to make an instant impact by beating out veteran Larry Foote or Stevenson “Stay on Special Teams cause your not a long term starter” Sylvester.
28. New England Patriots from New Orleans Saints 12-3 Fletcher Cox Defensive Tackle Mississippi State Junior After Brandon Thompson the only 4-3 defensive tackle that has sold me as a first round prospect is Mississippi State’s Fletcher Cox. New England released Haynesworth so Fletcher Cox may be an enticing option for New England.
29. Baltimore Ravens 11-4 Whitney Mercilus 3-4 Left Outside Linebacker Illinois Junior Redshirt The Ravens need a 3-4 left outside linebacker next to Terrell Suggs. Jarrett Johnson has just been too average. Sergio Kindle your 2010 2nd round pick hasn’t recovered from his injury as a rookie yet. Mercilus led the nation with 14.5 sacks in 2011.
Mercilus is a deadly run stuffer. He can play on either the left or the right side as a pass rusher. Whitney Mercilus is equipped to play in a 4-3 or a 3-4 scheme. Ozzie Newsome will be intrigued by these qualities as the Ravens GM if he cannot land a 3-4 middle linebacker in the first round.
Trade Alert Miami Dolphins trade 2013 first round pick and a 2012 4th rounder to San Francisco 49ers for 30th overall pick.
Why It Makes Sense For The Miami Dolphins? Miami’s new regime will want to bring in a quarterback for the future even if Matt Barkley and Landry Jones both return to school. Ryan Tannehill of Texas A&M is a player who could surge up draft boards like Ponder did in 2011. Like Tim Tebow Ryan Tannehill is listed as a 2nd to 3rd round pick by some. Tannehill is a 2nd round talent so he makes a lot of sense at #30 overall with no first round prospects left.
Teams reach for quarterbacks all the time so Tannehill could be that 3rd quarterback who moves into the first round. Arizona’s Nick Foles or Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden may also get high praise from scouts at quarterback. Weeden is 28 years old and 45 days older than Aaron Rodgers which is why I have Weeden listed as a 5th round prospect. Weeden is 6 foot 4 220 pounds, but his age is a huge concern considering he plays in a spread offense. Weeden plays in a spread offense and puts up video game numbers thanks to Justin Blackmon at wide receiver. I would not be shocked if Weeden got pushed up Blaine Gabbert style because of the physical tools along with a dominant senior bowl.
I’m already saying right now for the record that Tannehill, Foles, or Weeden will get pushed up draft boards making a first round bid because of their size. Tannehill is the safe bet at quarterback. Foles is a project with immense pro bowl potential. Foles is not a safe bet like Luck or Griffin. He’s probably a mid round boom or bust prospect. Foles is kind of like a poor mans Ben Roethlisberger with his ability to pump fake, sell play action plays, and move out of the pocket. The odds of Foles reaching his potential are slim to none which is why he’s a 4th round prospect. Some people had Foles graded higher than Blaine Gabbert last season back in October of 2010.
Brandon Weeden could be a wild card because of his size and arm strength. His age is a concern, but we saw the 26 year old Danny Watkins go in the first round at guard. I’m not dismissing Weeden just yet.
Moving up for a quarterback makes complete sense for the Dolphins new regime. Moore has been a solid starter. He’s not a long term answer though. You can start Moore in 2012 and groom the 3rd quarterback that gets pushed up draft boards likely Tannehill at this point to be your quarterback of the future.
Why It Makes Sense For The San Francisco 49ers? The 49ers released Braylon Edwards yesterday. The 49ers have to address wide receiver and cornerback in the draft. 2013 will be stacked at those 2 positions. Why not give up your 2012 draft pick so you can have 2 2013 first round picks. You would also get a 2012 4th rounder from the Dolphins so this is a win win deal if your the 49ers.
30. Miami Dolphins from San Francisco 49ers 12-3 Ryan Tannehill Quarterback Texas A&M Senior Redshirt Miami will want a new quarterback for the new regime. I have no first round prospects left so teams will reach for 2nd round talents. One team will try to move up for a quarterback considering Miami, Washington, Kansas City, and Seattle all need quarterbacks.
31. New England Patriots 12-3 Mark Barron Strong Safety Alabama Senior TJ McDonald was the top safety in the 2012 NFL Draft. McDonald is going back to USC for his senior year. Mark Barron is now the top safety available. I think Barron would be the right choice for New England with this late first round selection.
32. Green Bay Packers 14-1 Stephon Gilmore Cornerback South Carolina Junior Spurrier rarely talks underclassmen out of declaring. Most SEC coaches plead their players into returning to school which is why I respect Spurrier a lot more than most SEC coaches.
Unless Gilmore’s parents want him to return to school to finish his degree then I think he goes pro. Gilmore can play great man and zone coverage plus he blitzes well. I think Gilmore is getting pushed down a bit. Gilmore makes a great fit for Green Bay though. He can come in at his own pace and earn his way up the Packers cornerback depth chart.
33. St. Louis Rams 2-13 Dontari Poe Defensive Tackle Memphis Junior Dontari Poe is a 6 foot 5 350 pound defensive tackle. Poe can also be used as a 3-4 defensive end on either side or a 3-4 nose tackle. Poe displays incredible versatility, size, strength, and power. If Poe blows up the combine I think he has an outside chance of grabbing that final spot in the top 10 that’s up for grabs at this point.
34. Indianapolis Colts 2-13 Chase Minnifield Cornerback Virginia Senior Redshirt Two Virginia cornerbacks have gone in the top 34 overall. Chris Cook went 34th overall in 2010. Ras I Dowling went 33rd overall in 2011. Both cornerbacks went to Virginia.
Chase Minnifield was a nickel corner in 2009. In 2010 Minnfield had to become the field cornerback when Ras I Dowling got injured.
Chase Minnfield has maintained that role heading into the 2011 College Football Season. Chase Minnfield is the son of Frank Minnifield who is the 4 time pro bowl cornerback that anchored the Browns secondary in the 1980′s. Minnifield was primetime in the 1980′s before Deion Sanders arrived to the NFL.
The Colts need a #1 field cornerback who can contain #1 receiver targets and a #2 boundary cornerback that can contain secondary receiving targets playing #2 wide receiver. The Colts should use this pick on Chase Minnifield considering his dad was a pro bowler
35. Minnesota Vikings 3-12 Mike Adams Left Tackle Ohio State Senior I’m not sure Ohio State left tackle Mike Adams is a top 50 talent. Adams addresses a critical need at left tackle for the Minnesota Vikings. Adams may get pushed up draft boards with the lack of established sure fire first round offensive lineman for the 2012 NFL Draft.
Minnesota will take Mike Adams here and hope they get a rookie starter kind of like what the Rams got with Rodger Saffold at left tackle in the 2nd round the year they took Bradford.
36. Cleveland Browns 4-11 Kendall Wright Wide Receiver Baylor Senior Kendall Wright was Robert Griffin III’s favorite target to throw to at Baylor. The 5 foot 10 190 pound wide receiver reminds many of a younger version of Mike Wallace. People said similar things about 2nd round pick Torrey Smith who has had early success with the Baltimore Ravens.
Smith didn’t do much in the first meeting against Pittsburgh, but showed early success after that game which is why I picked Baltimore to sweep Pittsburgh in regular season play. Smith caught the game winning touchdown from Flacco.
Kendall Wright had 101 receptions, 1,572 receiving yards, and 13 receiving touchdowns in 2011. Wright played a huge role in Robert Griffin III winning the Heisman. I think Wright’s a better secondary option. If one quarterback can make Wright a flanker target like Mike Wallace its Robert Griffin III.
A receiving core with Wright as your flanker, Greg Little as a secondary target, Mohammed Massaquoi as a slot receiver, Josh Cribbs being a #4 role along with Carlton Mitchell as a #5 target makes Cleveland’s passing game much more dangerous considering you got Ben Watson, Evan Moore, Jordan Cameron, and Dan Gronkowski as tight ends in addition to having these receivers moving down the lineup with Griffin as your starting quarterback in 2012.
37. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-11 Chris Polk Running Back Washington Junior Redshirt Chris Polk has an average run blocking unit. Polk is 6 foot 222 pounds. He may run a 4.3 40 time plus he has convinced me he can be a complete rusher at the next level.
Polk has 3 straight seasons of 1,100 rushing yards. A running back tandem featuring LeGarrette Blount and Chris Polk is exactly what Tampa Bay needs.
38. Jacksonville Jaguars 4-11 Robert Lester Free Safety Alabama Junior Redshirt No more 2nd round wide receivers available. Jacksonville looks to upgrade their defense. Free safety is a pressing need for Jacksonville. Robert Lester is considered the top free safety prospect with TJ McDonald expected to return to USC.
39. Miami Dolphins 5-10 Nico Johnson 3-4 Left Outside Linebacker Alabama Junior Nico Johnson would make a good 3-4 left outside linebacker next to Cameron Wake. Johnson can essentially play any linebacker role in a 4-3 or a 3-4 scheme.
40. Washington Redskins 5-10 Kevin Zeitler Right Guard Wisconsin Senior Washington may add a right guard. Kevin Zeitler is the best right guard available at this point.
41. Kansas City Chiefs 6-9 Lamar Miller Running Back Miami FL Sophomore Redshirt Lamar Miller has had great run blockers at the U. Seantrel Henderson and Brandon Washington this season. Last year he had these two plus Orlando Franklin. Miller could be an effective #1 back. He’s not the late first round prospect that some are making him out to be. Miller will thrive in Kansas City because he will get to be the #2 back splitting carries with Jamaal Charles plus the Chiefs put a huge emphasis on run blocking. Miller has already announced his intentions to declare for the 2012 NFL Draft.
42. Buffalo Bills 6-9 Nick Perry 3-4 Right Outside Linebacker USC Junior Redshirt I think Perry could mold himself into a great starter if he answers durability concerns. I thought Perry would be a draft sleeper back in August when I graded him as a 4th round prospect. Many people seem to agree on the notion of Perry developing into a starter so I’m going to move Perry up in my draft. Perry has been making a big move up draft boards so I’ll give him to Buffalo here since they need 2 3-4 outside linebackers along with 1 3-4 inside linebacker.
George Edwards the Bills defensive coordinator was Florida’s defensive coordinator during Tebow’s senior season at Florida. No wonder Buffalo was able to pick apart Tebow on Sunday. Give Edwards his own pass rushers in Buffalo and he may be able to become a future head coach candidate.
Edwards made Tim Tebow and Tom Brady throw 4 interceptions with his play calling in Buffalo. Lets not jump to conclusions and discount this folks.
43. Carolina Panthers 6-9 Zebrie Sanders Right Tackle Florida State Senior I honestly believe left tackle Andrew Datko provides more long term potential as a successful starter than Zebrie Sanders. Datko has major durability issues with his left shoulder which may make him a late round pick.
Zebrie Sanders is most famous on Youtube for being featured in a C’Mon Man segment where he stands like a statue at right tackle. Sanders has done a quality job filling in for Datko at left tackle and that will push him up draft boards even if he does not provide as much long term potential as Datko. Sanders is the safer prospect, but I think Datko has a greater chance of becoming a legit starter on Sunday’s.
That being said, some people think Sanders could make a early 2nd to late first round bid. Jeff Otah has had injury issues at right tackle the last two seasons along with Jordan Gross’s play at left tackle declining from a pass blocking standpoint even though Gross continues to run block at a high level while displaying outstanding footwork. Maybe Carolina brings in Sanders as a backup to start out his career and plugs him into a starting role at offensive tackle if injuries continue to occur with Jeff Otah at right tackle.
44. Philadelphia Eagles 7-8 Michael Brewster Center Ohio State Senior The Eagles will need a starting center. Brewster is my top center available at this point.
45. Seattle Seahawks 7-8 Desmond Trufant Cornerback Washington Junior If Desmond Trufant forgoes his senior season do not be surprised if Seattle takes a look at him in the 2nd round. Trufant’s older brother Marcus Trufant plays a field cornerback role for the Seahawks. Marcus Trufant is starting to get up their in age. Desmond could begin his career playing a boundary role over time succeeding his older brother as Seattle’s #1 shutdown corner.
46. San Diego Chargers 7-8 Alameda Ta’amu Nose Tackle Washington Senior San Diego needs long term 3-4 defensive lineman. Ta’amu provides good value if he slides this far. It would not hurt San Diego to take a flyer on Ta’amu here if he’s still available.
47. Chicago Bears 7-8 Peter Konz Center Wisconsin Junior Redshirt Peter Konz has dominated some of the top Big 10 Defensive tackle prospects in convincing fashion. An injury where Ball had his best games to end the year drops Konz to this spot if he declares. Konz could be a 2013 first rounder if he returns for his senior year.
48. Philadelphia Eagles from Arizona Cardinals 7-8 Nigel Bradham Right Outside Linebacker Florida State Senior I love Nigel Bradham’s versatility. I see Bradham as a linebacker that can play WILL, MIKE, or SAM in a 4-3 scheme. Lots of people in the scouting community believe Bradham is overrated and that Utah State’s Bobby Wagner is underrated. I think its vice versa with Bradham being the underrated linebacker.
I love Bradham’s instincts and tackling ability. Bradham also provides the versatility which is another critical element when evaluating a linebacker.
49. New York Jets 8-7 Vinny Curry 3-4 Left Outside Linebacker Marshall Senior There is not a right tackle or wide receiver available here. The Jets double dip at 3-4 outside linebacker.
Imagine how sick the defense will be with Wilkerson, Upshaw, Curry, Bart Scott, David Harris, and the Jets secondary. This defense will make Sanchez’s job a lot easier in 2012. Will Sanchez have enough of a supporting cast to win games though?
50. New England Patriots from Oakland Raiders 8-7 Jayron Hosley Cornerback Virginia Tech Junior Jayron Hosley is expected to declare. Every year since 2008 Belicheck has drafted a corner in the first two rounds. This is becoming a tradition for Patriots fans like myself so rather than fighting the tradition I’ll manage to embrace it.
51. Dallas Cowboys 8-7 Leonard Johnson Cornerback Iowa State Senior With Hosley off the board only 1 second round corner remains. That’s Iowa State’s Leonard Johnson. Johnson had an amazing game keeping Justin Blackmon in check as Iowa State knocked off #2 Oklahoma State. Dallas fans should be optimistic if they get Leonard Johnson in the 2nd round.
52. Tennessee Titans 8-7 Winston Guy Jr. Strong Safety Kentucky Senior Winston Guy Jr. reminds me of Bob Sanders. The good news is Winston Guy is more durable than Sanders plus he faced tougher competition in the SEC. The bad news is Winston Guy Jr. is undersized. Chris Hope’s deal expires after this season and I think the Titans fall in love with Winston Guy Jr.’s blitzing ability deciding to take a flyer on him much earlier than people expect.
53. Denver Broncos 8-7 Devon Still Defensive Tackle Penn State Senior Redshirt Devon Still struggled against a Wisconsin team that had Peter Konz ruled inactive. That’s why I got Still listed this low. Most mock drafts have Still going to Denver in the first round.
Denver may end up getting a steal with Still if they get Devon Still in the 2nd round. Lots of people have Still going in the first round. I would not be surprised if Still slipped this far if he disappointed GM’s in workouts. A lot of casual NFL fans probably would be shocked to a certain extent though.
54. New York Giants 8-7 Delano Howell Free Safety Stanford Senior Delano Howell is one of those old school gridiron safeties that your grandparents would have idolized growing up as a kid. Howell is such a tenacious competitor fighting through pain on plays when he’s injured along with being able to line up like a center fielder. Howell can create turnovers by forcing fumbles or capitalizing on interceptions.
Antrel Rolle needs to be replaced. I think Howell would be a major upgrade over Rolle.
55. Cincinnati Bengals 9-6 Marcus Forston Defensive Tackle Miami FL Junior Redshirt Marcus Forston could be a great defensive tackle to add for depth. The Bengals could use some depth at defensive tackle. Why not take Forston with no cornerback prospects available?
56. Atlanta Falcons 9-6 LaMichael James Running Back Oregon Junior Redshirt I know Atlanta added JaQuizz Rodgers. To be honest I wasn’t a huge fan of Rodgers or James. I believe James is a slight upgrade over Rodgers and many people are high on James so I think Atlanta could take a chance on James as a change of pace #3 back. Turner and Snelling need to remain the top 2 backs while James and Rodgers compete for that #3 running back spot. Rodgers can keep his job on special teams because that’s one area he could excel at if Eric Weems or Dominique Franks gets injured.
57. Houston Texans 10-5 Kenny Vaccaro Strong Safety Texas Junior I feel like the Houston Texans need safety upgrades at both spots. Texas Longhorns safety KennY Vaccaro could declare. Vaccaro may be a late 2nd round prospect so keep an eye on Vaccaro if your a Texans or Patriots fan.
58. Detroit Lions 10-5 Audie Cole Left Outside Linebacker North Carolina State Senior Redshirt I thought Cole had late first round potential with a dominant senior bowl. The consensus has Cole graded out as a 3rd round pick. I’ll compromise and move Cole down to the late 2nd round. Every year you see the Lions ignore needs to take the best players on their draft board.
The Lions could use an upgrade at left outside linebacker. Audie Cole may be an enticing late 2nd round pick.
59. Pittsburgh Steelers 11-4 Jerry Franklin 3-4 Right Outside Linebacker Arkansas Senior Redshirt Jerry Franklin had 6.5 sacks in 2010. I think he has the versatility to develop into a 3-4 right outside linebacker. Both Jason Worilds and Chris Carter have both failed to cease the moment when Harrison or Woodley is out. I think another pass rusher for competition is needed at some point. With no other key positions to address Pittsburgh just decides to add the best available player hoping he has a future with the team.
I think Pittsburgh would go to Arkansas’s pro day. Franklin and Bequette both have a chance to be under the radar 3-4 pass rushers. Pittsburgh may fall in love with one of them and take them here. There was an article on the Steelers website about how they loved Marcus Gilbert at their pro day last year.
60. New Orleans Saints 12-3 Travis Lewis Right Outside Linebacker Oklahoma Senior Redshirt The Saints need a 4-3 right outside linebacker. I like Travis Lewis a lot better than teammate Ronnell Lewis. I think Lewis has a higher ceiling if he can stay healthy.
Some durability concerns, questions about his ego, and the lack of versatility as a 4-3 only right outside linebacker have scouts concerned. I’m not concerned about Lewis. Every year a player drops due to character concerns and then they make GM’s regret passing on him. I think Lewis has a chance to be that player.
Oklahoma’s had players like that in the past where they dropped further than they should have only to pan out. Peterson should have gone in the top 5. He went 7th due to injuries. DeMarco Murray went in the 3rd round and that kind of looks silly now with Ryan Williams and Mikel LeShoure both missing action all season due to being on injured reserve.
Trade Alert Chicago Bears trade 3rd round pick from Carolina Panthers and 2012 4th round pick to Baltimore Ravens for 61st overall pick.
Why It Makes Sense For The Chicago Bears? The Bears need a left outside linebacker for their 4-3 scheme. Ronnell Lewis could be a good fit at this point. I know the Bears may have to give up one of their day 2 picks and a 4th rounder, but I think it would be worth it. You would already have 2 first rounders for 2013 if you trade your 16th overall pick to Tampa Bay for a 2013 first rounder.
Why It Makes Sense For The Baltimore Ravens? Baltimore has two big needs at 3-4 middle linebacker and free safety. They cannot address those needs here plus the Bills own the Ravens 4th round pick from the Lee Evans trade. Adding some extra ammunition with draft picks by getting younger at certain positions could really help the Ravens establish some potential starters for the future.
61. Chicago Bears from Baltimore Ravens 11-4 Ronnell Lewis Left Outside Linebacker Oklahoma Junior The Bears need a 4-3 left outside linebacker. Ronnell Lewis would be a good fit in the late 2nd round. Lewis is expected to declare.
62. San Francisco 49ers 12-3 Eddie Whitley Free Safety Virginia Tech Senior Eddie Whitley is the final player that I have graded out as a 2nd round prospect. San Francisco could use a free safety so Whitley makes a lot of sense here.
63. New England Patriots 12-3 Bruce Irvin Right End West Virginia Senior Irvin has played in a combination of 4-3 and 3-3-5 schemes at West Virginia. He’s better suited as a 3-4 pass rusher. I could see Belicheck taking a liking to his pass rushing ability.
64. Green Bay 14-1 Kheeston Randall 3-4 Right End Texas Senior Green Bay may opt for upgrades at both 3-4 defensive end spots. Kheeston Randall is a player I’m still high on even though he declined a lot as a senior. Randall would be a good late 2nd round pick to end the 2nd round plus he fills a need.
65. Indianapolis Colts 2-13 Cordy Glenn Left Guard Georgia Senior Indianapolis needs a starting left guard. Cordy Glenn may be the answer. Glenn is a 6 foot 5 348 pound run blocker that is best suited at guard. The Colts need a 3rd round offensive lineman to compete with Ijalana for the right tackle job before kicking him inside to left guard as a starter. That man is Georgia’s Cordy Glenn.
66. St. Louis Rams 2-13 Nick Toon Wide Receiver Wisconsin Senior Redshirt Nick Toon is the son of Al Toon. More help for Sam Bradford. Brandon Lloyd is still productive. Lloyd was a great flanker in Denver. I see him more of a #2 target in St. Louis. I think Toon has a chance to re-unite with former teammate tight end Lance Kendricks. With Nick Toon emerging as Bradford’s favorite target along with second year play from Lance Kendricks at tight end with Matt Kalil at left tackle, the Rams offense will quickly become one of the leagues most dangerous passing attacks.
67. Minnesota Vikings 3-12 Brian Quick Wide Receiver Appalachin State Senior Redshirt One of the teams that is eying 6 foot 5 220 pound Appalachin State wide receiver Brian Quick is the Minnesota Vikings. Quick could start out as a secondary target and work his way into a flanker role as Ponder’s favorite target if injuries continue to linger for Percy Harvin.
68. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-11 Sean Spence Right Outside Linebacker Miami FL Senior One team in dire need of a 4-3 right outside linebacker is Tampa Bay. If I am picking one 3rd round linebacker to win a starting job I like Sean Spence. I think Spence could start right away just like Mason Foster.
69. Jacksonville Jaguars 4-11 Donnie Fletcher Cornerback Boston College Senior Jacksonville gets robbed of taking a flanker receiver for Gabbert yet again. Donnie Fletcher is an amazing #2 boundary corner. Jacksonville needs that boundary corner next to field corner Rashean Mathis. Fletcher could start out as a boundary corner developing into a field cornerback.
70. Cleveland Browns 4-11 Bobby Rainey Running Back Western Kentucky Senior Redshirt One back who gave LSU’s run defense some fits is Western Kentucky’s Bobby Rainey. Rainey doesn’t have much to work with so that’s saying something.
Rainey has had 340 carries with 1,600+ rushing yards, and 13+ rushing touchdowns or more the past 2 seasons at Western Kentucky. Cleveland needs a back like this if Peyton Hillis jumps ship. I think Rainey dominates at the combine and really makes a case for being a top 70 pick. This pick would surprise a lot of people with underclassmen like Bernard Pierce and Robert Turbin still on the board.
71. Washington Redskins 5-10 Kirk Cousins Quarterback Michigan State Senior Redshirt Trent Dilfer stated that Arizona’s Nick Foles is a top 15 pick. He also stated that Cousins is the best quarterback after Andrew Luck. Does this mean Cousins is a top 10 pick according to Dilfer?
If Matt Barkley and Landry Jones both return then quarterbacks will get pushed up boards. Cousins sliding to Washington at #71 will be sort of good value for Kirk Cousins. I think Cousins needs to go to a place like Buffalo, Kansas City, Seattle, Philadelphia, or Denver and sit out as a backup. Washington is the worst place for Cousins to go.
If Washington sticks with Rex Grossman and John Beck by drafting Cousins the Redskins are basically setting up Cousins to flop. I think Cousins has potential to develop into a top notch backup or a decent quality starter. Cousins is a quarterback who will be set up for failure if he goes to a team like Washington where he might get playing time as a rookie.
72. Miami Dolphins 5-10 Coby Fleener Tight End Stanford Senior Redshirt Miami needs a tight end. I thought Fleener was a #2 tight end at first. The more I watch Fleener the more I think he has a chance to develop into a quality starter. He’s a slight upgrade over Anthony Fasano so this would be good value for Miami in the 3rd round. I got the Dolphins taking Jonathan Martin 8th overall so this would be good value for Fleener as Miami gets another Stanford Cardinal. Too bad they couldn’t get Jim Harbaugh or Andrew Luck. Is it still too soon to bring this up in front of Dolphins fans?
73. Buffalo Bills 6-9 Brandon Lindsey 3-4 Left Outside Linebacker Pittsburgh Senior Redshirt Dave Wandstead is the Bills 3-4 middle linebackers coach. Wandestead recruited Lindsey at Pittsburgh. Lindsey would be a good bookend pass rusher across from Nick Perry.
74. Baltimore Ravens from Chicago Bears via Carolina Panthers 6-9 Kevin Reddick 3-4 Middle Linebacker North Carolina Junior Kevin Reddick is considered a 1st round pick by some. I see a 3rd round pick with Reddick if he declares. If the Ravens can snag Reddick here they have to take him making him Ray Lewis’s successor.
75. Kansas City Chiefs 6-9 Jerrell Harris 3-4 Left Outside Linebacker Alabama Senior Jerrell Harris can serve a depth role behind Justin Houston. Houston struggled early, but he got better as the year progressed. I still feel like it would help to get a player to rotate rushes with Houston.
76. Seattle Seahawks 7-8 Vince Browne Right End Northwestern Senior Redshirt Vince Browne of Northwestern is one of the most underrated right ends based on what I’ve seen. Browne has done well in one on one drills against offensive tackle Al Netter another 2012 prospect. Pete Carroll always makes a bizarro pick. Taking Browne in the top 80 is about as bizarro as it gets Seahawks fans.
77. San Diego Chargers 7-8 Cordarro Law 3-4 Right Outside Linebacker Southern Miss Senior Redshirt I’ve been a huge fan of Cordarro Law as a sleeper. I had him as a 4th rounder prior to the Conference USA Championship game. The way Law dominated against unbeaten Houston and Nevada in the bowl games earns him top 100 consideration with this pick.
78. Chicago Bears 7-8 Orson Charles Tight End Georgia Junior There is a lot of Orson Charles hype. I see a #2 tight end at best. Charles should be good enough to beat out Matt Speath for a starting tight end job in Chicago if he slips this far.
79. Arizona Cardinals 7-8 Oday Aboushi Left Tackle Virginia Junior Oday Aboushi is an intriguing player. I have him listed as a 3rd rounder if he declares. He may make a case for being a top 10 pick if he returns next season improving on his production. Aboushi would face far more competition at offensive tackle in 2012 then he would in 2011 along with risking his stock. If Aboushi declares and blows up the combine he could go as high as #20 overall in 2012.
Virginia has produced D’Brickishaw Ferguson, Branden Albert, and Eugene Monroe as NFL left tackles. Aboushi looks to be the next Cavalier left tackle next in line at the NFL level. I have Arizona taking DeCastro with the 12th pick. I seriously doubt Aboushi slides past this spot if he declares for the 2012 NFL Draft barring an injury. I could see Arizona giving Kolb more time in the pocket with Aboushi at left tackle and DeCastro at right guard.
80. Philadelphia Eagles 7-8 Russell Wilson Quarterback Wisconsin Senior Redshirt Russell Wilson may be a reach at #80 overall due to his lack of size. Wilson has had an amazing season at Wisconsin. I feel like someone will reach for Wilson if Barkley and Jones both return. I think that team could be the Eagles because Vick underperformed and the Eagles are ready to cut ties with backup Vince Young. Kafka and Wilson could compete for the backup quarterback job in Eagles training camp. That would be a fun battle to watch.
81. Dallas Cowboys 8-7 Ben Jones Center Georgia Senior Dallas needs new interior offensive lineman. Georgia center Ben Jones provides amazing value here.
82. Tennessee Titans 8-7 Amini Silatalu Left Guard Midwestern State Senior Redshirt Silatalu has a chance to be a decent starter at left guard. Tennessee has Michael Roos and David Stewart at offensive tackle along with a quality right guard in Jake Scott. A lot of mocks have DeCastro going to the Titans. Tennessee needs upgrades at left guard and center.
83. New York Jets 8-7 Tommy Streeter Wide Receiver Miami FL Junior Redshirt Streeter has declared for the 2012 NFL Draft. He’s a #6 receiver in my mind, but he may convince scouts otherwise at the combine. I got Streeter graded out as a 3rd rounder so this would be the right range for Streeter.
84. New York Giants 8-7 Jared Crick Defensive Tackle Nebraska Senior Redshirt Jared Crick provides amazing value for a Giants team that needs defensive tackle depth.
85. Denver Broncos 8-7 Baker Steinkuhler Defensive Tackle Nebraska Junior Redshirt Denver should openly consider double dipping getting a second defensive tackle for depth like Baker Steinkuhler if he slips this far and ends up declaring.
86. Atlanta Falcons 9-6 David Paulson Tight End Oregon Senior Redshirt Paulson looks like a #2 tight end at this point. If he goes to Atlanta and learns from Gonzalez he may become a #1 tight end at some point down the road.
87. Cincinnati Bengals 9-6 Casey Heyward Cornerback Vanderbilt Senior Cincinnati has Nate Clements under contract until 2012-2013. Cincinnati has Leon Hall as the field corner, Nate Clements as your boundary corner, Adam “Pacman” Jones playing nickel. Heyward is a dime corner at this point. Heyward has a chance to become a #2 corner across from Leon Hall over time with the right development in Cincinnati.
88. Detroit Lions 10-5 William Vlachos Center Alabama Senior Redshirt The Lions can sit Vlachos out behind Dominic Raiola until Vlachos bulks up. Vlachos has the mental attributes that you cannot coach. He lacks the physical tools and size and that can be a necessity for offensive lineman. Detroit has taken tackles with good size and guards who are undersized in years past.
89. Houston Texans 10-5 Josh Chapman Nose Tackle Alabama Senior Redshirt Chapman is a nose tackle Houston has taken a liking to. Champman comes off the board in round 3 here.
90. Pittsburgh Steelers 11-4 Kerry Murphy Nose Tackle Alabama Junior Redshirt Kerry Murphy is 6 foot 4 319 pounds. If he declares and gets his off the field issues together he has a shot to be a top 100 pick.
91. New Orleans Saints 12-3 Jerel Worthy Defensive Tackle Michigan State Junior Redshirt Jerel Worthy was a preseason top 10 pick. I thought Worthy would bust back in August because I was a huge fan of William Gholston at defensive end. Worthy’s draft stock has taken a hit and he could slide. I labeled Landry Jones, LaMichael James, Michael Egnew, Nate Potter, and Jerel Worthy as my top 5 most overrated draft prospects heading into 2011. All 5 prospects had sluggish moments in 2011. Whether each prospect proves me wrong in the NFL by stepping up for their team remains to be seen.
Some people will talk about how this is the steal of the draft if Worthy slips to the Saints in the 3rd round as a defensive tackle for depth. Worthy would not have to start right away plus he would provide more depth at defensive tackle so this would be an ideal fit. Worthy is leaning towards going pro and forgoing his senior season at this point from a speculation standpoint.
92. Baltimore Ravens 11-4 Aaron Henry Free Safety Wisconsin Senior Redshirt Aaron Henry would be a good backup safety to Ed Reed. This seems like an Ozzie Newsome type of pick in the 3rd round.
93. San Francisco 49ers 12-3 Jonathan Banks Cornerback Mississippi State Junior Jonathan Banks is leaning on going pro. Banks has a great, but not pro bowl caliber mental skill set. The physical attributes of Banks game are a question mark I have at this point also. San Francisco could use more cornerbacks so they may take a flyer on Banks at this point. Banks is a dime cornerback in my eyes. San Francisco would have Rodgers as a field cornerback, and Banks who could play a nickel or dime role.
Trade Alert Denver Broncos trade 2013 3rd round pick for New England Patriots 94th overall pick
Why It Makes Sense For The Denver Broncos? Denver has not drafted any offensive players through the first 3 rounds. They have to make a move at some point to build around Tim Tebow.
Why It Makes Sense For The New England Patriots? New England trades down every year. This is classic Bill Belicheck trying to go Christmas shopping for extra draft picks during 3 Big days in April.
94. Denver Broncos from New England Patriots 12-3 Bernard Pierce Running Back Temple Junior I think Bernard Pierce has pro bowl potential. The one area I’d like to see corrected is durability. I think Pierce has everything else to succeed in Denver. Pierce would not be forced into Denver’s starting lineup so this would be another great fit for Denver.
95. Green Bay Packers 14-1 Billy Winn 3-4 Left End Boise State Senior Redshirt Winn is a 3-4 left end. Winn could provide nice value at the end of round 3.
96. St. Louis Rams 2-13 Daniel “Boom” Herron Running Back Ohio State Senior Redshirt Daniel “Boom” Herron could develop into a #1 back. He would get a chance to address character concerns by starting out as a #2 back behind Steven Jackson.
97. Indianapolis Colts 2-13 Jaye Howard Defensive Tackle Florida Senior Redshirt Jaye Howard can play 4-3 defensive tackle or 5 technique in a 3-4. The Colts need one more defensive tackle for depth. Howard could be that guy.
98. Minnesota Vikings 3-12 David Wilson Running Back Virginia Tech Junior David Wilson is a good back. I think he can start if you need him to. I think Wilson could compete with Toby Gerhart for the #2 running back job.
99. Jacksonville Jaguars 4-11 Michael Egnew Tight End Missouri Senior Egnew was teammates with Gabbert at Missouri. I realize Jacksonville has Marcedes Lewis. Teams use two tight ends now in the NFL. It would not hurt to give Gabbert someone to throw to that he is comfortable with. I think Egnew is one of 101 players with a shot at being a top 100 pick.
100. Cleveland Browns 4-11 LaDarius Green Tight End Louisiana Lafayette Senior I realize Cleveland is stacked at tight end. LaDarius Green had a big bowl game so he may be worth a flyer in the 4th round.
101. Philadelphia Eagles from Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-11 James Michael Johnson Middle Linebacker Nevada Senior The Eagles need more linebackers. James Michael Johnson could be a good depth option at middle linebacker in the 4th round. After this point where all of my 3rd round prospects are gone really anything can happen on draft day.
102. San Francisco 49ers from Miami Dolphins 5-10 D’Anton Lynn Cornerback Penn State Senior D’ Anton Lynn is underrated cornerback. I could see Lynn coming into San Francisco competing for a #2 cornerback spot as a rookie. I think Lynn is severely underrated. I would have no problem with the 49ers getting multiple corners because they need at least 2 other corners besides Carlos Rodgers. Worst case scenario Lynn is a nickel corner. Best case scenario he becomes your #1 corner as a field cornerback at some point.
Trade Alert Jacksonville Jaguars trade 2013 4th round pick to Washington Redskins for 103rd overall pick.
Why It Makes Sense For The Jacksonville Jaguars? The Jaguars need a flanker receiver for Gabbert to throw to. The Jaguars have to make a move early on day 4 if they fail to address a receiver with a top 100 pick. Waiting this long to add Gabbert is fiscally irresponsible. Refusing to get Gabbert a receiver until round 5 is just unjustified.
Why It Makes Sense For The Washington Redskins? The Redskins already have the Raiders 2012 4th rounder from the Jason Campbell deal. The Redskins would have 2 4th rounders in 2013. The Redskins could use this if they wanted to package a deal to move up for a player.
103. Jacksonville Jaguars from Washington Redskins 5-10 Jeff Fuller Wide Receiver Texas A&M Senior Jeff Fuller has the ability to be a flanker target. Fuller declined as a senior. If Jacksonville takes Coples instead of Blackmon and they fail to add a receiver at some point you have to move up for Jeff Fuller. I think Fuller can be a flanker #1 target that you can get in the 4th round if you get him.
104. Carolina Panthers 6-9 Keenan Robinson Right Outside Linebacker Texas Senior Redshirt Keenan Robinson can be used as a 4-3 right outside linebacker and a 3-4 middle linebacker. James Anderson is a 4-3 strong side linebacker. Jon Beason is a 4-3/3-4 middle linebacker. Keenan Robinson brings versatility at linebacker that Carolina looks for.
105. Kansas City Chiefs 6-9 Matt Reynolds Right Tackle BYU Senior Redshirt Matt Reynolds is a quality right tackle prospect. Reynolds would be a good right tackle pick in the 4th round. The reason I got Reynolds listed as a 4th rounder is because he is 25 years old. Your only getting 8 to 10 good years with Reynolds rather than 10 to 15 years in the even that Reynolds becomes a big name.
106. Buffalo Bills 6-9 Brandon Washington Right Tackle Miami FL Junior Brandon Washington has lined up as offensive tackle or guard on either side. I think the Bills could afford to add an offensive lineman like that.
107. San Diego Chargers 7-8 Levy Adcock Right Guard Oklahoma State Senior Redshirt Levy Adcock is can play anywhere at offensive tackle or guard. Adcock has struggled at offensive tackle. Maybe San Diego could use this pick to add some depth at guard by selecting Adcock here.
108. Baltimore Ravens from Chicago Bears 7-8 Mike Ryan Right Tackle Connecticut Senior Redshirt Bryant McKinnie will not be around forever at left tackle. Connecticut offensive tackle Mike Ryan plays left tackle. Ryan is far superior as a mauling run blocker. Ryan did a great job paving the way for Jordan Todman at Connecticut.
I’m not completely sold on Jah Reed plus I get the feeling Baltimore brought him in for their interior offensive line. Baltimore resigned Marshall Yanda and Ben Grubbs contract is up after this season. Reed would likely start left guard in 2012 with that becoming a 2013 draft need for Baltimore if the Reed fails to replace Grubbs. Grubbs and Rice are both free agents with Flacco’s deal coming up in 2013.
I think the Ravens move Oher back to left tackle and make Mike Ryan their right tackle when McKinnie is gone. I could see Ryan getting a starting job at left tackle over time. I think Oher would be the better left tackle fit for the time being with Bryant McKennie gone.
109. Arizona Cardinals 7-8 Trevor Olsen Right Tackle Northern Illinois Senior Redshirt The Cardinals will need to use this pick on a right tackle. Trevor Olsen could be a good pick at this point.
110. Philadelphia Eagles 7-8 Dwight Jones Wide Receiver North Carolina Senior DeSean Jackson has been the Eagles flanker since after his rookie year. The Eagles may move on without him though. Jeremy Maclin was drafted in the first round and may cease the moment to become the Eagles #1 target. Riley Cooper is effective in the slot, but a #2 target will be needed if Jackson moves on.
North Carolina’s Dwight Jones has some off the field concerns. Philadelphia won’t care though. I could see the Eagles getting a potential steal with Dwight Jones at this point in the 4th round.
111. Seattle Seahawks 7-8 Nick Foles Quarterback Arizona Senior Redshirt I think Nick Foles has immense pro bowl potential. He’s at least a 3 year project at a bare minimum with so many flaws in his game. He needs time on the bench to learn the teams playbook play by play. If a regime is given time to groom him without throwing him into the fire then I could see Foles panning out being a major draft day. Otherwise it could be a long wait for Foles to step onto the football field.
I think Seattle signs Matt Flynn to compete with Tavaris Jackson for the starting job. Then Foles is drafted as a 3rd string quarterback in the 4th round. If both Flynn and Jackson fizzle then Seahawks fans may call for Foles. Seattle needs to be patient if they opt to sign Flynn drafting Foles in the 4th round. Throwing Foles into the fire is the worst thing they can do if both Flynn and Jackson fail to pan out.
112. Washington Redskins from Oakland Raiders 7-8 Marvin McNutt Wide Receiver Iowa Senior Redshirt Washington’s receiving targets will be Leonard Hankerson, Marvin McNutt, and Fred Davis if they opt to part ways with Santana Moss. McNutt has a chance to be a #2 target and I could see Hankerson making some huge strides to become Washington’s primary flanker target.
113. Tennessee Titans 8-7 AJ Jenkins Wide Receiver Illinois Senior AJ Jenkins has ability to be a #5 target. Tennessee has a flanker in Kenny Britt, a secondary receiver in Nate Washington, a slot receiver in Damian Williams, and a #4 target in LaVelle Hawkins or Marc Mariani. Tennessee could still use that #5 target that could be called upon at the right time. AJ Jenkins is that receiver.
AJ Jenkins is 6 foot 190 pounds. Jenkins racked up 84 receptions, 1,196 receiving yards, and 7 receiving touchdowns in 2011. Jenkins may not learn plays right away. Despite this, Jenkins does have 3 positive qualities. Excellent durability, great intangibles, and production. Jenkins has the tools to be a #5 target and step in when he has a favorable match up against cornerbacks.
114. New York Jets 8-7 Chandler Harnish Quarterback Northern Illinois Senior Redshirt There are questions about Sanchez being the quarterback long term by some people in the Jets front office. Brunell will retire and that will open a backup job along with one of the 3 quarterback spots on the Jets depth chart. I think rookie Chandler Harnish and second year quarterback Greg McElroy have an intense quarterback battle in Jets training camp. This backup quarterback competition could hold bigger implications down the line if Sanchez continues to struggle.
I think Rex Ryan is sold on Sanchez as his guy. I’m just speculating the option of the Jets bringing in Harnish to compete with Greg McElroy for the backup job since Marc Brunell will likely retire after this season. I think Harnish could have potential to develop into a starter. I thought McElroy also had that potential, but he dislocated his thumb so does that affect his throwing motion moving forward? Either way a quarterback competition between two backups with the potential to become starters needs to happen in New York because Mark Sanchez will get the message that he needs to step up.
115. Dallas Cowboys 8-7 Lucas Nix Right Guard Pittsburgh Senior From a personal standpoint I think Nix is one of the drafts most overrated prospects. You got Kyle Kosier at left guard and drafted Ben Jones as your center. The only need left on the offensive line is a right guard. Lucas Nix is being listed as high as the late 2nd round. I had Nix as a 6th round pick to begin the year. Nix is a great run blocker, but his pass blocking is woeful.
116. Denver Broncos 8-7 Jermaine Kearse Wide Receiver Washington Senior Jermaine Kearse has the ability to develop into a #5 target. Denver has DeMaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, and Eddie Royal. Kearse has #5 ability right now. I could see him developing into a #4 role in Denver getting a chance at playing time if injuries occur.
117. New York Giants 8-7 David Molk Center Michigan Senior Redshirt I am torn between mocking a tight end, left guard, or a center here to New York in round 4. Ballard has been effective. I think a #2 tight end for depth is needed in New York behind Ballard. The Giants have David Diehl and Mitch Petrus for depth at left guard when Diehl has to move to left tackle or is injured. I never was a huge fan of David Baas at center when he was on the 49ers. I think Baas is one of the leagues worst centers plus you have no depth at center. David Molk also went to the same college as Baas in Michigan. Adding Molk is a priority if you are the New York Giants looking for more depth on the offensive line. Baas is 30 and he turns 31 in September.
On January 8, 2012 Giants right guard Chris Snee turns 30. Besides left tackle William Beatty all of the Giants starting offensive lineman will be 30 years or older. You have Mitch Petrus as your left guard of the future. You got James Brewer from Indiana as your right tackle of the future. Brewer has a history of getting knee and ankle injuries so maybe you add a right tackle in 2013 if Brewer fails to win the starting job when Kareem McKenzie’s contract is up. 2013 will be stacked with offensive tackles. Getting a center for depth is your biggest concern if your looking to rebuild the Giants offensive line because you got Beatty, Brewer, and Petrus as some future pieces on this aging offensive line.
I thought about Ohio State tight end Jake Stoneburner. You have the emerging Jake Ballard and Travis Beckham as a backup.
Jim Cordle and Keith Boothe are not long term long snappers at center. The New York Giants biggest need on offensive line is center. The Giants could use upgrades at other positions, but Reese is already one step ahead as he’s drafted some potential future starters like Petrus and Brewer. You don’t need to find a right guard yet, but it would not hurt to get one in 2013.
118. Cincinnati Bengals 9-6 Chris Gallipo Left Outside Linebacker USC Senior Redshirt The Bengals need a left outside linebacker playing the strong side. Gallipo is a player that I feel can play WILL or SAM linebacker. Keith Rivers will be healthy along with Rey Maualuga at middle linebacker. Cincinnati can add a linebacker in Gallipo at this point.
119. Cleveland Browns from Atlanta Falcons 9-6 Cameron Chism Cornerback Maryland Senior Cameron Chism was a great field cornerback at Maryland. He did well against Ravens rookie Torrey Smith in one on one battles. Chism can compete with Sheldon Brown, Skryne, and Dimitri Patterson for a chance to start across from Joe Haden.
120. Houston Texans 10-5 Trumaine Johnson Free Safety Montana Senior Trumaine Johnson has the ability to compete for a starting strong safety job. There was an alleged report that Bucky Brooks thought Johnson was this years Dominique Rodgers Cromartie. Johnson got involved in a tasered incident. There were some character concerns that dropped Brandon Harris out of the first round. Houston still took Harris in the 2nd round.
121. Detroit Lions 10-5 Ryan Steed Cornerback Furman Senior The Lions need a #1 field cornerback who can cover well. The Lions secondary puts too much of an emphasis on making interceptions. Your secondary has to have the fundamentals to cover well if you win a Super Bowl. Turnovers help, but coverage is key folks. The Lions secondary relies too much on turnovers. I think Steed has a chance to become the Lions #1 cornerback. Worst case scenario Steed becomes a #2 corner and then you can draft a #1 field cornerback in 2013.
122. Pittsburgh Steelers 11-4 James Brown Left Tackle Troy Senior James Brown is just as good as Gilbert in terms of potential. Pittsburgh will need offensive tackle depth. The Steelers plan on resigning left tackle Max Starks to a 3 to 4 year deal with Marcus Gilbert starting at right tackle. Willie Colon is expected to move to left guard with Kemoatu starting at right guard after struggling at left guard in 2011 losing the left guard job to Doug Legurskiy. Colon and Kemoatu both expected to be paid 5 million.
Here’s how Pittsburgh’s 2012 offensive line is projected to look. Well this how it will look if Starks is retained.
Left Tackle Max Starks
Left Guard Willie Colon with Doug Legursky as a backup, and Ramon Foster as a 3rd stringer if Legursky is playing center with Colon and Pouncey both injured.
Center Maurkice Pouncey with Doug Legursky as a backup
Right Guard Chris Kemoatu with Ramon Foster as a backup
Right Tackle Marcus Gilbert
Pittsburgh looks committed to this starting 5 for 2012 with depth on the interior offensive line. Jonathan Scott may return, but I doubt it. Scott is the worst offensive tackle I’ve ever seen plus Wallace and Mendenhall have deals coming up with Colon and Kemoatu mooching up cap room for Pittsburgh to spend.
Max Starks turns 30 in January of 2012. I think Pittsburgh could spend a 4th round pick here looking for offensive tackle depth. Pittsburgh may want to make Gilbert a left tackle because there is film of him playing left tackle. He’s much better suited at right tackle and nobody will take my word yet until Gilbert is seen at left tackle. The offensive line was horrid in Pittsburgh before Starks arrived during those first 4 weeks with bad left tackle play and injuries everywhere as blue chip pass rushers like Suggs, Freeney, and Mario Williams managed to deplete the offensive line. Then Starks lost 60 pounds and returned to the lineup.
James Brown a left tackle for the Troy Trojans was a 3 year starter for Troy at left tackle. Pittsburgh should resign Starks to a 2 or 3 year deal and draft James Brown for depth as a left tackle for the future. Then when Starks ages you have James Brown who can come in at left tackle. James Brown 6 foot 6 310 pounds goes up against pass rusher Jonathan Massaquoi who was once projected as a 2012 first round pick.
James Brown will be at the Senior Bowl in Mobile Alabama. He’s accepted his invite. As a Patriots fan I’m contempt with our offensive tackle situation. Pittsburgh fans should remember the name James Brown because he’s going to be someone to watch in Mobile because your team may take him for depth at this spot if Brown is still available in round 4.
123. New Orleans Saints 12-3 Bobby Wagner Left Outside Linebacker Utah State Senior I’m not a huge Wagner fan. He is graded out as a 4th round prospect on my draft board. Maybe you add him as another outside linebacker for the Saints if you pick here.
124. Buffalo Bills from Baltimore Ravens 11-4 Korey Williams 3-4 Middle Linebacker Southern Miss Senior Redshirt Another underrated Southern Miss linebacker besides Cordarro Law is Korey Williams. I would take both of these Southern Miss linebackers before even considering Austin Davis. Buffalo needs a second starter next to Nick Barnett. Dave Wandstead coaches the inside linebackes for the Bills. Wanstead can mold Korey Williams into a legit middle linebacker.
Wandstead developed H.B. Blades and Scott McKilltop when coaching at Pittsburgh. Wanstead can make a great starter with Korey Williams. Williams will also play next to veteran Nick Barnett who was on injured reserve when the Packers won Super Bowl 45.
125. San Francisco 49ers 12-3 Juron Criner Wide Receiver Arizona Senior The 49ers released Braylon Edwards. They have to get a receiver at some point. I had the 49ers address secondary with their 2nd round pick along with taking corners with a 3rd and an early 4th I gave the 49ers by trade.
126. New England Patriots 12-3 Chris Owusu Wide Receiver Stanford Senior If New England is given the choice between Chris Owusu or T.Y. Hilton at wide receiver I just get a feeling they go Owusu. Something tells me Belicheck has Owusu graded higher.
127. Green Bay Packers 14-1 Johnnie Troutman Left Guard Penn State Senior I’m torn between giving Green Bay a #6 receiver like T.Y. Hilton or a left guard like Penn State’s Johnnie Troutman for depth since I got no pass rushers graded out as 4th rounders. When Clifton’s gone to retirement you will have 4 lineman with left tackle experience. Bulaga and Sherrod will likely be bookends as 2 first round picks. Newhouse would remain a decent backup left tackle with Lang at left guard. Lang is being moved to right tackle with all of these injuies. Lang has played left tackle and right tackle even though left guard guard is his best fit. If Clifton, Bulaga, and Sherrod are all injured in 2012 Green Bay will need a starting left guard.
If I’m given the choice between Penn State’s Troutman and T.Y. Hilton I will go with Troutman. Green Bay already has 3 offensive tackles when Clifton is gone and an effective left guard with TJ Lang who has offensive tackle experience. You can add Troutman and have him start at left guard if this event occurs again. Evan Dietrich-Smith has no business starting left guard and is only starting their due to numerous injuries at offensive tackle in 2011.
The other thing to take into account is Rodgers is loaded with playmakers to throw to so Troutman would make more sense.