1) Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck – QB – Stanford – Luck is the most pro-ready quarterback to come out of college since Peyton Manning. It is time for the Colts to cut the cord, draft Luck, and prepare to be competitive in a couple years.
2) St. Louis Rams – Matt Kalil – OT – USC – In reality, this should be a traded pick. The Rams need to milk as much talent out of this draft as they can and trading back to take advantage of a team wanting RG3, but I won’t predict trades in a mock. Most people have Justin Blackmon here, but I think he is a bit overrated, and the Rams have enough guys at receiver, none #1 guys, but there is enough talent outside on that team. Picking Kalil will allow them to move Jason Smith in to guard where he can resurrect his career similiar to Robert Gallery.
3) Minnesota Vikings – Justin Blackmon – WR – Oklahoma State – While I just discounted him above, I think this is the perfect pick to give Ponder another weapon and will help roll coverage off Pervy Harvin.
4) Cleveland Browns – Robert Griffin III – QB – Baylor – There is some mild concerns that RG3 might not be completely pro ready day one of the season, and I am not sure the Browns are not sold on Colt McCoy, but this is too good a talent to pass up. Let the two guys compete and see if Griffin can take the spot going into the season. I don’t see McCoy being an elite starter ever, but I do see him being one of the best back up guys in the NFL, and with some injury concerns over Griffin, the combo would be great for Cleveland to have.
5) Tamp Bay Buccaneers – Trent Richardson – RB – Alabama – Probably the best running back talent to come out of college since Adrian Peterson. Blount has proved he is not an every down back, but a combination of Richardson and Blount could be one of the best in the league.
6) Washington Redskins – Morris Claiborne – CB – LSU – Mike Vick, Tony Romo, and Eli Manning. Hakeem Nicks/Victor Cruz, DeSean Jackson/Jeremy Maclin, and Dez Bryant/Miles Austin. That is what the Redskins see in their division, and since there are no guys in that mold available here, if they don’t trade up for Griffin, a corner that will help slow those guys for the next 10 years.
7) Jacksonville Jaguars – Riley Reiff – Iowa – OT – Just another excellent offensive lineman from Iowa. Gabbert was the most disappointing rookie quarterback last year, but he also had the worst line and worst receiving core. He became gun shy based on all the pressure he faced, and Reiff can help slow down an oppositions pass rush.
8/9) Carolina Panthers – Dre Kirkpatrick – CB – Alabama – He is 1B to Claiborne’s 1A, a big corner that will be helpful for a team that will need to slow down the passing games of Atlanta and New Orleans. It was clear the Panthers needed more secondary help this season.
8/9) Miami Dolphins – Devon Still – DT – Penn State – This may not be the biggest position of need for the Dolphins, and it may not be the best player available, but in a division that leaves you chasing Tom Brady and the Patriots, you need a push up the middle, and Still is by far the best DT in this draft.
10) Buffalo Bills – Jonathon Martin – OT – Stanford – Since trading Jason Peters a couple years ago, the Bills have been near the top of the league in sacks given up. Martin will not only help in that statline, but he is great in the run game as well.
11/12) Kansas City Chiefs – Luke Kuechly – ILB – Boston College – Not the most athletic inside backer, and would not fit a 4-3, but being the inside guy next to Derrick Johnson could be a special combination. Putting those two guys together with Hali coming off the edge could be one of the best unknown linebacking corps in the league.
11/12) Seattle Seahawks – David DeCastro – OG – Stanford – May well be the best lineman in this draft, but being a guard, his value is lessened. DeCastro lined up next to Russel Okung could make that left side of the line second to none, and open up massive holes for Marshawn Lynch. If the Seahawks make this pick, mark Lynch as a top 5 fantasy running back next year.
13) Arizona Cardinals – Mike Adams – OT – Ohio State – I had him late first round until I watched the Senior Bowl where he dominated three first round pass rushers. He will protect John Skelton’s blind side, yeah, I have given up on Kolb, and open some off tackle holes for Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams.
14) Dallas Cowboys – Quinton Coples – OLB/DE – North Carolina – I initially had Dre Kirkpatrick falling here and filling the biggest position of need for the Cowboys, but then I put my homerism aside and took another look at it. At this spot, there won’t be a decent pick at a position of need for the Cowboys, but a team can never have too many pass rushers. Coples take the spot that Anthony Spencer has disappointed in, or put his hand in the ground and come off the edge in front of Demarcus Ware, either way, he will be a factor on this team.
15) Philadephia Eagles – Courtney Upshaw – Alabama – DE/OLB – The worst position by far on the Eagles is at linebacker. While they could really use an inside guy, there isn’t one worth drafting this early, but Upshaw can be a great addition as a DE/OLB opposite Babin.
16) New York Jets – Melvin Ingram – DE/OLB – South Carolina – The biggest need for the Jets, outside of Dr. Phil to fix the locker room, is an edge rusher. There are several in this draft that grade out about the same, and ingram is the best fit for the Jets.
17) Cincinnati Bengals – Alfonso Dennard – CB – Nebraska – This may be too early, but the Bengals need a CB and this could be a really good one. I was not happy to see him get kicked out of the bowl game by throwing a punch at Alshon Jeffrey, and his measurements may hurt him at the combine. He is listed at 5’10”, but there is a concern he may measure in closer to 5’8″.
18) San Diego Chargers – Whitney Mercilus – DE/OLB – Illinois – The final of the 4 top talent edge rushers in this draft. The Chargers of a few years ago with the intimidating pass rush is no longer, but this pick could start them back down that path.
19) Chicago Bears – Michael Floyd – WR – Notre Dame – The least flashy, but best fundamental WR in the draft. The Bears need a guy that can become a #1 receiver, and Floyd is it. He may not have the highest upside, but he certainly has the highest floor.
20) Tennessee Titans – Peter Konz – C – Wisconsin – Probably the pick in the first round that will draw the least amount of attention. He is not on the level of a Pouncey or Mangold, but he is an excellent center and can be extremely valuable for a young QB in Locker and a RB in CJ.
21) Cincinnatti Bengals – Lamar Miller – RB – Miami – They need a guy to spell and be the heir apparent to Cedric Benson. Miller runs very similiar to another former ‘Cane running back, Clinton Portis.
22) Cleveland Browns – Kendall Wright – WR – Baylor – Baylor teammate RG3 goes there early in the first, why not build instant chemistry and bring this combination to Cleveland. Wright is a very talented WR for a team that is in need of a receiver.
23) Detroit Lions – Cordy Glenn – OT/OG – Georgia – The Lions have quickly established themselves as a tough, sometimes dirty team. Yet, on the offense, they have yet to establish a running attack. Glenn is a big powerful guy that plays tackle but probably best suited as a guard that will blow people up at the line of scrimmage.
24) Pittsburh Steelers – Mark Barron – S – Alabama – This was the easiest pick in the mock for me. The Steelers need a safety because theirs are getting old and injury prone, and Barron is the only safety with a first round grade. Enough said.
25) Denver Broncos – Janoris Jenkins – CB – North Alabama – This Florida transfer will help an aging secondary. My biggest concern for Jenkins is he was beat multiple times on double moves in the Senior Bowl. But time in the film room with Champ Bailey should help him recognize those at the next level.
26) Houston Texans – Alshon Jeffrey – WR – South Carolina – The Texans could use another outside weapon opposite Andre Johnson. Jeffrey is a special talent and on a team that just needs more weapons to take the next step, this is a perfect fit.
27) New England Patriots – Zach Brown – LB – North Carolina – Most likely an inside backer, he could also slide outside, which is important for the multiple formations the Patriots use. His combine will be important to prove he is athletic as he appears to be.
28) Green Bay Packers – Nick Perry – DE – USC – The defense didn’t get to the QB as often as they would have liked this year, but Nick Perry can help bring pressure from the line. The linebackers and BJ Raji have masked the fact the Packers really don’t have an end to write home about, but Perry just might change that.
29) Baltimore Ravens – Vontaze Burfict – ILB – Arizona State – Crazy talent, maybe even a little crazy, sound like anyone else that plays inside linebacker in the NFL? Oh, yeah, Ray Lewis…so why not learn from him. He has fallen after punching a teammate, but if he can get his anger under control, he will be the steal of the draft.
30) San Francisco 49ers – Mohamed Sanu – WR – Rutgers – Alex Smith completed something like 1 pass to a wide receiver in the NFC Championship game. So, obviously, a WR is their #1 need, and Sanu is the best available.
31/32) New York Giants – Zebie Sanders – OT – Florida State – The Giants line is getting a bit old, and Sanders can play either the left or right side. He may start as depth, but will likely be the starting left tackle after just a year or two.
31/32) New England Patriots – Jared Crick – DE – Nebraska – While he may not be the pure pass rusher the Patriots are in need of, he is a solid defensive end. He will need to become a bit more explosive in his 5 technique, but could fit the Patriots scheme well.