This is the first in a series of posts that breaks down my mock draft for the first round of the 2012 NFL draft. Later posts, following this series, will explore the 2012 draft class with scenarios and implications for the Detroit Lions.
1. Colts—Andrew Luck (QB, Stanford). The Colts have to do this. Ten years from now, Peyton Manning will be taking his son to Little League and Luck can be doing some damage—well, let’s hope more than he did against Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl. Luck seemed to be in command with passes over the middle but questionable on the outside routes. I hope he and his big biceps can throw in tight spaces in the NFL.
2. Rams—Trent Richardson (RB, Alabama). Drafting on need instead of the best player available can be like cashing a check at a currency exchange, but a trade will send Stephen Jackson to a title-contending team, and Trent Richardson will help a team with a lame offense and defense like the Rams. Sam Bradford seemed to regress this year. He was banged up and couldn’t get his legs to work right to get the ball in tighter spaces. The addition of Richardson will take the pressure off.
3. Vikings—Matt Kalil (OT, USC). This is an early pick, but with Richardson gone, the Vikings can pick up a running back in the second round. Running, big offensive linemen will be welcome to Christian Ponder. The Vikings’ recent heyday in 2009 had offensive and defensive linemen in their prime, and Kalil will bring them back up.
4. Browns—Robert Griffin III (QB, Baylor). This guy has all the goods. You want playing time? He has played in 40 games over his career in the Big 12, and he has a winning record against dominating teams with much better high school recruitment programs than Baylor’s. Colt “Little Man” McCoy did what he could with Cleveland, but no bombs thrown in the right places or a scramble and a bullet in tight spaces. Little Man doesn’t have that in his arsenal. (Cleveland has another first pick from Atlanta; this one is easy—look for a running back later in the first round and put the rest of the picks on the D side of the ball.)
In the next post, picks 5 through 8.