The NFL playoffs are not quite over and the draft order has not even been fully determined yet. Perfect time for my first NFL Mock Draft of the offseason. Let me know what you think about your teams selection and who you would prefer if you don't agree with my choice. Thanks for the feedback.
1. Colts- Andrew Luck QB Stanford
The Colts have many needs but quarterback is the top one and Luck is the best player in this draft. I believe the Colts are in need of a day one starter and they are fortunate that Luck is just that. This one is not only a no-brainer, it is a foregone conclusion.
2. Browns- Robert Griffin III QB Baylor
The Browns have the ammo to move up and make this happen. Griffin reminds me of a young Randall Cunningham, long motion and extremely athletic. He is far more accurate at this point in his career than a lot of people are giving him credit for. I love his potential, so will the Cleveland fans.
3. Vikings- Justin Blackmon WR Oklahoma State
The Vikings have to be tempted to select Kalil here, but this draft is deep at tackle and Blackmon is too good to pass up. Ponder gets a target like he has never had at any stage in his career and Vikings fans get their best wide receiver since Randy Moss and Cris Carter were wearing purple.
4. Rams- Matt Kalil OT USC
Kalil is a true NFL left tackle prospect, and a very good one. The Rams move down two spots and pick up a first round pick from the Browns in the move. They also land the top pass blocker in the draft and fill a huge need. Rodger Saffold and Jason Smith are not good enough to keep Sam Bradford healthy.
5. Buccaneers- Morris Claiborne CB LSU
The Bucs have several needs but the need for a top corner becomes more glaring every year. Ronde Barber can not play forever and Aqib Talib can not be counted on. This one also seems like a lock to me.
6. Redskins- Dre Kirkpatrick CB Alabama
The NFL has turned into a passing league. Slowing down these video game like numbers is impossible without strong secondary play. Kirkpatrick can play with the physical receivers he will see at the next level and be an early contributor for the Redskins defense.
7. Jaguars-Jonathan Martin OT Stanford
Jacksonville is apparently committed to Blaine Gabbert for at least another season. Jaguars fans have to be overjoyed by that. Martin will do his part in helping Gabbert take a step forward this season, or at least help keep him standing. This is a good pick for the Jaguars as they need as many young pieces to build around as possible. They may be competing for the number one pick next year, but getting Martin now means they wont have to spend it on a tackle.
8. Panthers- Quinton Coples DE North Carolina
The Panthers offense is in good hands. If you watched Carolina last season you saw one of the best rookie quarterback seasons ever and one of the worst defenses in the entire league. Coples fits what Rivera wants to do on defense and improves the pass rush up front.
9. Dolphins- Melvin Ingram OLB South Carolina
Ingram projects best at 3-4 OLB in the pros. He has the potential to be a dominant edge rusher and is also strong against the run. Will need work in pass defense but he will spend the majority of his time chasing quarterbacks. Gives the Dolphins the pass rush needed opposite Cameron Wake.
10. Bills- Courtney Upshaw OLB Alabama
The Bills stick with the Alabama theme two years in a row. They will be glad they did. Upshaw has incredible instincts and displays above average rush skills off the edge. A very versatile defender with the size to put his hand on the ground and the athleticism to stand up and drop back in coverage. Will start immediately for the Bills defense.
11. Chiefs- Riley Reiff OT Iowa
The Chiefs finally address the right tackle position, a glaring hole in Kansas City for a decade now. Reiff displays all the skills of an elite NFL blocker. Size, strength, athleticism and an above average work ethic. One of the safer prospects in this draft and can start immediately for the Chiefs.
12. Seahawks- Devon Still DT Penn State
Still will be moving up draft boards over the next few months. He is a big, physical player who can control the middle of the field. With coaching and work on his technique, Still projects as the type of defensive tackle that will require a double team on most plays. Already possesses excellent pass rush moves for a defensive tackle.
13. Cardinals- Michael Floyd WR Notre Dame
Arizona invested a lot in Kevin Kolb, now they will give him every opportunity to succeed. Michael Floyd will help Kolb and Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona currently has nobody who can take coverage away from Fitzgerald. Floyd is a physical wide receiver who excels at going after the jump ball. Gifted with excellent ball skills and above average hands. He is exactly what the Cardinals offense needs.
14. Cowboys- Janoris Jenkins CB North Alabama
Jenkins has some character issues that will follow him for a while, but when has character been an issue for Dallas? Jenkins is a top prospect, considered the number one cornerback at Florida when he played with Joe Haden. Jenkins was dismissed from the Gators for marijuana possession and enrolled at North Alabama. Jenkins has the size and ability to match up with the more physical NFL wide receivers. Dallas needs secondary help in a big way and will once again overlook any off-field issues for a first round talent.
15.Eagles- Luke Kuechly LB Boston College
The Eagles obviously have some talent in the secondary and on the defensive line, they need an injection of talent in the linebacker corps. Kuechly is just that, the guy screams intangibles, he will be a leader on the field and in the locker room. He possesses above average instinct and field awareness. Luke will be the Eagles coach on the field for the defense shortly after arriving in Philadelphia. Tackling machine.
16. Jets- Trent Richardson RB Alabama
Richardson was a man among boys in the SEC this season, rushing for over 1600 yards at 5.9 YPC and scoring 21 rushing touchdowns. Tomlinson will be leaving New York, and Greene is not an every down back, so the Jets have a need here. They are fortunate to have a legitimate top 5 talent fall to them and fill a big hole in their offense. They were not "Ground and Pound" last year and they can not rely on Sanchez to carry the offense going forward.
17. Bengals- Kendall Wright WR Baylor
Wright is considered by many to be the most explosive wide receiver in the draft. The Bengals could go cornerback or running back here as well, they have several good options available. I think they lean towards the wide receiver position due to the recent legal trouble of Jerome Simpson. Simpson may not be available this season, or for a few after that. Andy Dalton will get another weapon here and the offense will take another step forward next season.
18. Chargers- Cordy Glenn T Georgia
Glenn has the ability to play inside at guard or outside at tackle. I believe he projects best at right tackle in the NFL. The Chargers need help all over the offensive line so the versatility is a plus here. Glenn is capable of starting as a rookie on the right side and immediately improves the run blocking.
19. Bears- Fletcher Cox DT Mississippi State
The Bears have an obvious need at wide receiver but I don't see them reaching here with Floyd and Wright off the board. Cox is the perfect fit for the Bears defense. He is an athletic interior lineman with excellent quickness. Cox will be able to contribute in the defensive line rotation as a rookie and will make some plays in the back field for Chicago.
20. Titans- Whitney Mercilus DE Illinois
Tennessee is still looking to improve it's pass rush from the defensive end position. They also have free agents at this position so it is a priority. Mercilus is definitely a boom or bust type pick, but he does have tremendous potential. Has a chance to turn into an excellent pass rusher at the next level.
21. Bengals- David Wilson RB Virginia Tech
Cedric Benson is still capable but he's not getting any younger, he is also a free agent. The Bengals hit a home run with Dalton at quarterback and are going to surround him with weapons. Wilson provides Cincinnati with an every down back if Benson leaves. The Virginia Tech standout is a legitimate home run threat every time he touches the ball. If he gets outside on a defense, he is gone. He is also a capable pass blocker and receiver out of the back field.
22. Rams- Alshon Jeffery WR South Carolina
Providing Sam Bradford with a number one wide receiver is a must for the Rams. Jeffery is not a burner, but he is a huge target with above average hands. Jeffery is capable of beating defensive backs in jump ball situations and would be an immediate threat in the red zone for St. Louis. Due to his lack of overall speed he will still be available, but Jeffery very well could be the second best receiver out of this draft.
23. Lions- Alfonzo Dennard CB Nebraska
The Lions are surprisingly stocked at a lot of positions and also surprisingly thin at cornerback. They have some young talent in the secondary, but it is obviously the weak link of the defense and probably the team. Dennard is an extremely competitive player who does not make mistakes. The fundamentals and intelligence make up for his lack of size. Dennard could compete for a starting spot or contribute in the nickel as a rookie.
24. Steelers- Zach Brown OLB North Carolina
Pittsburgh needs to get younger and faster on defense. Brown is an extremely athletic player who could step in and be the next great Steelers rush linebacker. He fits perfectly into their 3-4 defense. Some experts project him as high as top ten, an excellent value for Pittsburgh this late in the first.
25. Broncos- Lamar Miller RB Miami
The Broncos are planning on opening 2012 with Tim Tebow as the starting quarterback. This means the run heavy offense will be returning, and rumor has it Knowshon Moreno will not be. McGahee had a good season but John Fox does not want to rely on the aging running back getting 25 carries a game. Miller has exceptional vision and cutback ability. He can split carries with McGahee but expect Miller to be the dominant runner by the middle of the season.
26. Texans- Mark Barron SS Alabama
The Texans are building an outstanding defensive unit in Houston. Barron will be a nice addition to an already strong group. The young safety has an extremely high football IQ. He is the type of player who will know where he is supposed to be on the field at all times, as well as the other ten guys on defense. Barron can make plays as well as call them for the defense, another coach on the field type player who is not afraid to put a hit on a ball carrier.
27. Patriots- Dontari Poe DT Memphis
The Patriots have needs in the secondary but I don't see them passing on Poe. Poe is a massive defensive tackle who can control the middle of the line of scrimmage. His game is a power game and he has plenty of it, extremely strong individual who uses his strength well against opposing lineman. Will split time with Vince Wilfork and take over for him eventually.
28. Packers- Jerel Worthy DT Michigan State
The Packers will no doubt go defense in the first round. Worthy would be the best available defender here and that's exactly what Green Bay needs. He projects as a defensive end in the Green Bay 3-4. Worthy can occupy double teams and will shut down the run anywhere near him.
29. Giants- Dont'a Hightower LB Alabama
The Giants need to improve their depth and talent at linebacker. Hightower is an extremely strong run defender with above average NFL size. Hightower has room for improvement against the pass but he immediately improves the Giants run defense.
30. Ravens- Vontaze Burfict LB Arizona State
Burfict is a ferocious hitter, brings an intimidating presence to the middle of the defense. Ray Lewis can not play forever and Vontaze could learn from the future Hall of Famer until Lewis decides he's had enough. Burfict excels at fighting through blockers to find the ball carrier. Very physical defender.
31. 49ers- Mohamed Sanu WR Rutgers
The 49ers have a sever lack of quality depth at the wide receiver position. This is very much a need pick but not at all a reach at this point in the draft. Sanu is not the fastest wide receiver but he is deceptively quick in and out of his routes and catches everything near him.
32. Patriots- Andre Branch OLB Clemson
The Patriots are once again sitting in good position here. The second of New England's first rounders will be used to help upgrade the pass rush. The rich get richer here. Branch is a pick with good upside and not much risk. He will be a good player even if he never reaches his great pass rush potential. Solid all around defender, also extremely versatile.