1. Indianapolis Colts- (Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford)
Despite the recent surge of publicity that Robert Griffin III has received as an equal prospect to Andrew Luck, it simply isn’t true. Luck ran a more diverse offense at Stanford and was often asked to make pre and post snap adjustments at the line of scrimmage. From a physical standpoint one could make the argument, but from a mental standpoint Luck is a few more paces ahead at this point.
2. Washington Redskins [from St. Louis] – (Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor)
Mike Shanahan gets a phenomenal talent to run his boot-action offense. Griffin can make all the throws necessary to challenge the entire field and has excellent straight line speed. The Redskins are hoping for their first long time franchise quarterback since Joe Theisman.
3. Minnesota Vikings- (Matt Kalil, OT, USC)
Minnesota’s left side was inconsistent in pass protection with Charlie Johnson last season, hampering the development of rookie quarterback Christian Ponder. Matt Kalil is the obvious choice here as he has all the physical ability to be a bookend left tackle for the next ten years in the NFL.
4. Cleveland Browns- (Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama)
There’s speculation that the Browns could be looking for a quarterback here, and if Robert Griffin was available it would be a sure selection. But after Luck and Griffin it’s a huge reach to select another quarterback in this class at this spot. Colt McCoy has shown starting NFL traits but hasn’t had much support around him. It’s a toss up between Justin Blackmon and Trent Richardson. I’m going with Richardson believing that the Browns front office will see a special tailback that can control the clock and open up the downfield passing game.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- (Morris Claiborne, CB, Louisiana State)
Morris Claiborne is the best cornerback in this class and the Buccaneers are short on good cornerbacks. Ronde Barber will be returning to the team but at 36 years old he isn’t the player he once was. Claiborne immediately replaces Aqib Talib, allowing Eric Wright to move inside. In a division against the Saints, Falcons, and Panthers, it’s important to have a few reliable cover corners. .
6. St. Louis [from Washington] – (Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State)
This would be the ideal scenario for the Rams. Justin Blackmon has the potential to make an early impact this season in a similar way that both A.J. Green and Julio Jones were able to last year. St. Louis could also use immediate help on the offensive line and in the secondary, but Blackmon should be the highest rated player here.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars- (Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois)
It’s been reported that the Jaguars are hoping for a possible trade partner to move further down the board. Whether or not they’re able to make a trade general manager Gene Smith isn’t shy about taking the player he likes regardless of perceived value. Mercilus is just scratching the surface of his potential and has a good motor combined with natural pass rushing skills; led the FBS with 16.5 sacks in 2011.
8. Carolina Panthers- (Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina)
I’d be surprised if Ron Rivera passed on Quinton Coples’ size, strength, position versatility, and overall athletic ability. Though Coples’ work ethic has been questioned, his skill set is highly uncommon. He can play inside and out, giving the Panther defense flexibility with sub packages.
9. Miami Dolphins- (Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M)
While I like Ryan Tannehill’s skill set and upside, I don’t see him as a top ten pick. I feel he has trouble with pressure, both physically and handling in-game situations. But the Dolphins need to make a splash at the position and with Tannehill’s college coach now the offensive coordinator, the fit seems natural. The former wide receiver is still a work in progress, but he has NFL skills and comes to Miami with a working knowledge of the offensive system.
10. Buffalo Bills- (Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa)
The Bills addressed their biggest needs on defense in free agency adding both Mario Williams and Mark Anderson to upgrade the pass rush. They still could use help in their secondary and Dre Kirkpatrick will likely be considered here. But Buffalo hasn’t replaced Demetress Bell and desperately needs a quality offensive tackle. In my opinion Riley Reiff is every bit as good as Matt Kalil and can be penciled in as a starter from day one.
11. Kansas City Chiefs- (David Decastro, OG, Stanford)
It’s not common to see an interior lineman drafted inside the top 15, but David Decastro is clearly a top 15 player in this draft class based on his career at Stanford. This selection would give the Chiefs a strong, young interior line with Decastro, Jon Asamoah, and Rodney Hudson at center.
12. Seattle Seahawks- (Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina)
This pick makes plenty of sense for Seattle. The Seahawks need a pass rushing threat opposite Chris Clemons and Ingram showed he could get to the quarterback from defensive end, tackle, and linebacker; posting 10 sacks last year for South Carolina. Melvin Ingram is a versatile, hard working player that fits any defensive front.
13. Arizona Cardinals- (Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama)
Courtney Upshaw hasn’t wowed many with his workout numbers or measureables this off-season, leading some to speculate he may fall in the draft. I don’t see it happening. Upshaw is a premier pass rusher that plays stout against the run and gives 110% on every snap; very similar in ability and playing demeanor to Lamarr Woodley. He’d be a great fit in Arizona’s 3-4 defense.
14. Dallas Cowboys- (Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama)
You can’t have too many good cornerbacks in what is becoming a predominantly passing league. Dre Kirkpatrick is a top ten talent at cornerback with the ability to play safety in sub-packages. The trio of Brandon Carr, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Mike Jenkins (when healthy) should match up well against the rest of the NFC East.
15. Philadelphia Eagles- (Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College)
The Eagles made a good move acquiring DeMeco Ryans via trade this off-season, but he can’t solve the linebacker woes on his own. The unit as a whole was lacking in NFL ability last year. Luke Kuechly and DeMeco Ryans together immediately upgrade the front seven’s production against the run and vastly improve underneath coverage against the pass.
16. New York Jets- (Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford)
The Jets could go with a number of players here as they have needs at many positions. Jonathan Martin makes the most sense to me as he would immediately make an impact on the right side. Right tackle was a turnstile last season with Wayne Hunter giving up a ton of quarterback pressures to go with 11 sacks. Rush linebacker and the secondary will get long looks here as well.
17. Cincinnati Bengals [from Oakland] – (Michael Brockers, DT, LSU)
The Bengals were unusually aggressive in free agency this off-season giving them the option of taking the player they deem the best fit. I think the selection comes down to a lineman on either side of the ball. In my opinion Michael Brockers can be a better player than both Geno Atkins and Domato Peko, giving the Bengals a very good rotation inside.
18. San Diego Chargers- (Cordy Glenn, OG/OT, Georgia)
The Chargers should be hoping that Cordy Glenn is still available at this point, as he is capable of filling in immediately for the recently retired Kris Dielman. He also offers the ability to kick out to tackle if necessary.
19. Chicago Bears- (Peter Konz, OG/OC, Wisconsin)
The Bears offensive line was a nightmare last season especially at guard and tackle. The selection of Peter Konz allows Robert Garza to move back over to guard from center. Peter Konz could be the next Olin Kreutz for Chicago, a ten year anchor.
20. Tennesse Titans- (Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame)
This may be a situation where the Titans see excellent value in the selection. Kenny Britt is coming back from knee surgery and has had his share of off field trouble. Behind him neither Nate Washington nor Damien Williams are the caliber of Michael Floyd. This pick gives Jake Locker a good variety of receiving options should he be ready to take the field.
21. Cincinnati Bengals- (Mark Barron, S, Alabama))
The Bengals re-signed Reggie Nelson but released Chris Crocker. Nelson is best suited in coverage and while Barron can play both in and out effectively he’s best closer to the line of scrimmage. Taylor Mays is on the roster but he hasn’t proven capable of passing on a talent like Mark Barron if he’s still on the board.
22. Cleveland Browns [from Atlanta]- (Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor)
Kendall Wright plays extremely fast and is a sure handed target. He has legitimate vertical speed and does an excellent job with his in and out cuts. Wright would be a good option either outside opposite Greg Little or in the slot; another weapon for Colt McCoy’s development.
23. Detroit Lions- (Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska)
At times throughout Dennard’s career at Nebraska he looked like a lock down cornerback, at other times not so much, but his talent and production make him an excellent value at pick #23. He should be a day one starter in this secondary.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers- (Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis)
The Steelers have plenty of needs and can go a number of ways here, but Casey Hampton won’t be healthy by the start of the year and he’s 34 years old. For me, Poe would be a no-brainer for this defense as he shows the ability to anchor from the nose tackle position with nimble feet to offer an inside push on passing downs.
25. Denver Broncos- (Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State)
The Broncos were unable to get a consistent push inside from Marcus Thomas and Broderick Bunkley last season. Bunkley has left Denver for New Orleans and Fletcher Cox provides a replacement and a potential upgrade for the Broncos defense.
26. Houston Texans- (Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech)
The Texans need a vertical threat outside of Andre Johnson. Stephen Hill’s impressive measureables and timed numbers in workouts have pushed him up the radar, and while he’s a bit raw, he’s a reliable blocker with prototype size and speed. The Texans gamble on his potential.
27. New England Patriots [from New Orleans] – (Devon Still, DT, Penn State)
It’s always hard to tell what Bill Belichick may do in the draft, as he doesn’t ever select a prospect strictly based on need or best player available according to the media. But the one thing he does do is draft defensive lineman early. Devon Still fits the versatile role that Belichick tends to look for: Athletic, 300 pounds, and able to play all techniques across the front depending on the situation/package. He also presents great value here and has immediate impact skills if used in a rotation.
28. Green Bay Packers- (Jerel Worthy, DT/DE, Michigan State)
The Packers lack a player who can line up at defensive end in their 3-4 defense (5 technique) and make an impact with his pass rush. Jerel Worthy is a player who flashes very good suddenness off the snap to penetrate from the edge while also playing the run with good containment; A good fit.
29. Baltimore Ravens- (Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama)
Ray Lewis won’t last forever and Jameel McLain is only an adequate starter. Hightower can line up either inside or outside in Baltimore’s defense and has the physical tools and mindset to be a long term answer for the Ravens defense.
30. San Francisco 49ers- (Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State )
The 49ers need to improve their overall play along the right side of the offensive line. Except for a few hiccups from time to time Sanders was extremely reliable in both pass protection and in run support from the right tackle spot. Anthony Davis would be better suited in a more isolated area at right guard, this pick allows that to happen.
31. New England Patriots- (Andre Branch, OLB/DE, Clemson)
Andre Branch played defensive end and rush linebacker for Clemson, accumulating 10.5 sacks and plenty of quarterback hurries in 2011. He has the strength and length to play the “elephant” role in New England’s 3-4 front as an outside linebacker; A good player that hasn’t reached his ceiling.
32. New York Giants- (Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina)
The Giants lost Aaron Ross to free agency and will need a better player to step in for him. Antuan Molden was signed from New England but he was inconsistent all year last season. Stephon Gilmore has prototype size and cover skills to develop into a reliable starting NFL cover corner/
33. St. Louis Rams- (Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State)
34. Indianapolis Colts- (Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford)
35. Minnesota Vikings- (Reuben Randle, WR, LSU)
36. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- (Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina)
37. Cleveland Browns- (Bobby Massie, OT, Mississippi)
38. Jacksonville Jaguars- (Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina)
39. St. Louis Rams- (Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska)
40. Carolina Panthers- (Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama)
41. Buffalo Bills- (Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson)
42. Miami Dolphins- (Nick Perry, OLB/DE, USC)
43. Seattle Seahawks- (Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech)
44. Kansas City Chiefs- (Shea McClellin, OLB, Oklahoma)
45. Dallas Cowboys- (Ben Jones, OC, Georgia)
46. Philadelphia Eagles– (Brian Quick, WR, Appalachian State)
47. New York Jets– (David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech)
48. New England Patriots [from Oakland] – (Markelle Martin, FS, Oklahoma State)
49. San Diego Chargers- (LaMichael James, RB, Oregon)
50. Chicago Bears- (Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson)
51. Philadelphia Eagles [from Arizona] – (Ryan Steed, CB, Furman)
52. Tennessee Titans- (Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin)
53. Cincinnati Bengals- (Lamar Miller, RB, Miami (FL))
54. Detroit Lions- (James Brown, OT/OG, Troy)
55. Atlanta Falcons- (Brandon Washington, OT/OG, Miami (FL))
56. Pittsburgh Steelers- (Kelechi Osemele, OT/OG, Iowa State)
57. Denver Broncos- (Audie Cole, LB, NC State)
58. Houston Texans- (Brandon Mosley, OT, Auburn)
59. Green Bay Packers- (Chris Polk, RB, Washington)
60. Baltimore Ravens- (Amini Silatolu, OG, Midwestern State)
61. San Francisco 49ers- (Kendall Reyes, DT/DE, Connecticut)
62. New England Patriots- (Bruce Irvin, OLB, West Virginia)
63. New York Giants- (Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall)