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NFL Mock Draft, v1.0 (pre combine)

February 22, 2012 by Steel Haven

Projected Trades

I don't usually project trades in my mock drafts. I am going to make an exception in at least the first version of this year's mock because the current draft order seems to provide optimal opportunities for QB needy teams to move into a position to take RGIII and Ryan Tannehill.
  • St. Louis trades 1 (2) to Washington for 1 (6), 2 (39), 4(2012), 1(2013)
    The Redskins can�t afford to go into next season without a plan at QB. Peyton Manning is a possibility of course if he proves healthy. In any case solving the problem at the position for a decade instead of a couple of years would have to be tempting. The Redskins actually have the cap space to fill holes which would help alleviate dealing a high volume of picks. Throwing in the extra fourth rounder from the Jason Campbell trade to sweeten the pot couldn't hurt.
  • Kansas City trades 1 (11/12) to Cleveland for 1 (22), 2 (37)
    A slight overpay for a desperate franchise unlikely to solve their QB issues through free agency. Trading both first round picks to get into position to take RGIII is another possibility.

Round 1

  1. Indianapolis Colts

    QB Andrew Luck, Stanford

    Luck starting with Peyton Manning in someone else's uniform appears to be an inevitable outcome.
    • Needs: QB, OG/RT, CB, WR, TE, DE
    • Other Options: RGIII
  2. Washington Redskins (projected from St. Louis)

    QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor

    Griffin is the type of dynamic playmaker sorely lacking in the Redskins offense. Owner Daniel Snyder gets to make a splashy off season move that also makes perfect sense for his franchise.
    • Needs: QB, WR, RT/G, CB, S, ILB
    • Other Options at 6: WR J Blackmon, OT R Reiff, QB R Tannehill, trade down
  3. Minnesota Vikings

    OT Matt Kalil, USC

    Really in a no lose situation. Either Kalil lands in their lap and they plug him in at LT for years to come or else they get a bounty for RGIII.
    • Needs: LT, CB, S, WR, OG, LB
    • Hope might be available: no one
    • Other Options: CB M Claiborne, trade down
  4. Cleveland Browns

    RB Trent Richardson, Alabama

    Desperately need offensive playmakers. While backs have tended to slide on draft day Richardson is in a special class with the likes of Purple Jesus. Also have the ammunition to trade up for RGIII thanks to last year�s trade of Julius Jones.
    • Needs: QB, WR, RB, RT/OG, DE, CB
    • Hope might be available: RGIII
    • Other Options: WR J Blackmon, CB M Claiborne, trade up
  5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    CB Morris Claiborne, LSU

    Claiborne is arguably better than last year�s number 5 pick, former teammate Patrick Peterson. He provides value and fills a major need given Aqib Talib�s off the field issues and Rhonde Barber�s advancing age.
    • Needs: CB, RB, G/C, RT, LB, WR
    • Hope might be available: RB T Richardson
    • Other Options: WR J Blackmon, OT R Reiff
  6. St. Louis Rams (projected from Washington)

    WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma St

    Blackmon provides a big, explosive target for franchise QB Sam Bradford. The Rams are clearly more than just one player away so trading down for extra picks makes sense. Jeff Fisher has given every indication that one of his top priority is to protect Bradford so don't discount them staying at 2 and drafting Kalil to allow Roger Saffold to move to the right side.
    • Needs: WR, OT, OLB, CB, DT, RB
    • Other Options at 2: OT M Kalil
    • Other Options at 6: OT R Reiff
  7. Jacksonville Jaguars

    WR Kendall Wright, Baylor

    Wright has the speed to stretch the field on the outside and quickness to make big plays out of short passes from the slot. Blaine Gabbert needs all the help he can get.
    • Needs: WR, DE, CB, FS, RT, QB
    • Hope might be available: WR J Blackmon, CB M Claiborne
    • Other Options: DE Q Coples
  8. Miami Dolphins (coin flip)

    OT Riley Reiff, Iowa

    Reiff would be able to step in immediately and replace Marc Columbo on the right side. Of course they could also be in the mix for RGIII. Reuniting Tannehill with his college coach, new offensive coordinator Mike Sherman is another possibility. For now I�ll go with the assumption that they either sign Peyton Manning or more likely Matt Flynn.
    • Needs: QB, RT, FS, DE, OG, WR
    • Hope might be available: no one
    • Other Options: DE Q Coples, QB R Tannehill, trade up/down
  9. Carolina Panthers (coin flip)

    DE Quinton Coples, UNC

    Can Coples become the next Julius Peppers? He would provide a much needed pass rusher opposite Charles Johnson for a team that managed only 31 sacks last season. He also has the size to hold up against the run and could conceivably move inside in certain situations.
    • Needs: CB, DT, RT/OG, DE, WR, S
    • Hope might be available: OT R Reiff
    • Other Options: DT M Brockers, CB D Kirkpatrick, DT D Still
  10. Buffalo Bills

    DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama

    Buddy Nix has stated that improving the pass rush is their top priority. Upshaw has the size to put his hand down at end in passing situations combined with the experience and instincts to play OLB on early downs. His versatility and playmaking ability should make him a fit even if new defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt exclusively utilizes the 4-3.
    • Needs: DE, OLB, CB, OT, WR, TE
    • Hope might be available: DE Q Coples
    • Other Options: DE M Ingram, CB D Kirkpatrick, OT J Martin
  11. Cleveland Browns (coin flip/projected from Kansas City)

    QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M

    Reports are that Tannehill carries a better grade from some teams than Jake Locker or Christian Ponder last year. The former WR has all the physical attributes to succeed even after only starting 19 games in his college career.
    • Other Options at 22: T/G C Glenn, DE W Mercilus
  12. Seattle Seahawks (coin flip)

    DT Devon Still, Penn St

    Still came on as a senior and was named Big 10 defensive player of the year despite the turmoil surrounding him in State College. He provides the athletic, penetrating presence in the middle of the defense lacked by the Seahawks.
    • Needs: QB, DE, DT, LB, OG, RB
    • Hope might be available: QB R Tannehill, DE C Upshaw
    • Other Options: DT M Brockers, DE M Ingram
  13. Arizona Cardinals

    OT Jonathon Martin, Stanford

    Best case scenario for the Cardinals. Martin is an immediate starter and clear upgrade at their position of greatest need.
    • Needs: OT, WR, ILB, DE, OLB, OG
    • Hope might be available: OLB C Upshaw, WR K Wright
    • Other Options: OG D DeCastro, LB L Kuelchy
  14. Dallas Cowboys

    CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama

    Another best case scenario. The Cowboys secondary collapsed down the stretch as they missed the playoffs for a second straight season. Replacing Terrence Newman has to be an off season priority.
    • Needs: CB, OG/C, DE/NT, OLB, S, ILB
    • Hope might be available: OLB C Upshaw
    • Other Options: OG D DeCastro, OLB M Ingram, LB L Kuelchy
  15. Philadelphia Eagles

    DT Michael Brockers, LSU

    Brockers coming out as a redshirt sophomore after playing as part of a rotation inside at LSU is somewhat of a wild card. His athleticism and upside are tough to ignore especially considering the mediocre collection of players the Eagles lined up next to Cullen Jenkins last season. Most everyone has penciled Kuelchy into this spot. Based on need it makes the most sense. Yet based on past history Andy Reid seems much more likely to fortify the lines with this pick than spend it on a linebacker.
    • Needs: MLB, OLB, SS, DT, WR, CB
    • Hope might be available: WR K Wright
    • Other Options: LB Z Brown, LB L Kuelchy
  16. New York Jets

    OLB/DE Melvin Ingram, South Carolina

    Got lucky picking Aaron Maybin off the scrap heap last season. Still have no other edge rushers. Ingram is a versatile playmaker, plain and simple. He looks like a perfect fit for Rex Ryan�s defense.
    • Needs: OLB, RT/OG, NT, S, WR, RB
    • Hope might be available: OLB C Upshaw
    • Other Options: OG D DeCastro, OLB N Perry
  17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland)

    OG David DeCastro, Stanford

    DeCastro is considered one of the surest things in this year�s draft. An immediate starter with limited bust potential that could go significantly higher than this even though he plays a position that is not usually drafted even this high. Starters Bobbie Williams and Nate Livings are both free agents. I�m not sure why they would want Livings back anyway.
    • Needs: OG, CB, S, RB, WR, OLB
    • Hope might be available: CB D Kirkpatrick
    • Other Options: S M Barron, WR M Floyd, CB J Jenkins
  18. San Diego Chargers

    OT Mike Adams, Ohio St

    Mike Adams is the only one of the Buckeyes tattoo five that has managed to increase his draft stock. A nice week at the Senior Bowl helped. Marcus McNeil can�t stay healthy and Jerome Clary was awful after signing a big money deal immediately following the lockout. Depth is needed even though Jared Gaither was adequate in place of McNeil.
    • Needs: OT, G/C, OLB, CB/S, WR, DE
    • Hope might be available: OLB M Ingram
    • Other Options: G C Glenn, CB J Jenkins, OLB N Perry
  19. Chicago Bears

    WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame

    Jay Cutler has not had a go to receiver since being traded to the Bears. Floyd has the size, speed and athleticism to be the number one target.
    • Needs: WR, LT, RG/C, CB, SS, TE
    • Hope might be available: OT M Adams
    • Other Options: G C Glenn, C P Konz
  20. Tennessee Titans

    DE/OLB Nick Perry, USC

    Need to improve the pass rush after finishing 31st in sacks last season. Perry has a quick first step and the speed to cause havoc in the backfield. He could go higher with a blow up performance at the combine.
    • Needs: DE, C/OG, S, CB, OLB, DT
    • Hope might be available: DE M Ingram
    • Other Options: G C Glenn, C P Konz
  21. Cincinnati Bengals

    CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama

    Jenkins has the talent to be drafted higher. Off the field issues that caused his transfer from Florida to North Alabama causes the drop. Since when have the Bengals cared about off the field issues? Leon Hall�s torn Achilles� tendon that is likely to cost him all of 2012 makes this pick necessary.
    • Hope might be available: WR M Floyd
    • Other Options: S M Barron, C Glenn, RB L Miller
  22. Kansas City Chiefs (projected from Atlanta through Cleveland)

    LB Luke Kuelchy, Boston College

    I projected this trade down with an eye on Poe. Then Kuelchy fell into their lap because of the general reticence of teams to take inside LBers too highly. Kuelchy provides an upgrade over Jovan Belcher to form an imposing linebacker corps with Pro Bowlers Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson along with up and coming 2011 rookie Justin Houston.
    • Needs: RT, NT, OG/C, QB, ILB, RB
    • Other Options at 11/12: OG D DeCastro, OT J Martin
    • Other Options at 22: OG C Glenn, C P Konz, NT D Poe
  23. Detroit Lions

    G/T Cordy Glenn, Georgia

    Martin Mayhew is known for selecting the best player available regardless of need. Here need meets value. Glenn is a four years starter that has played multiple positions. He showed at the Senior Bowl that he has the athleticism to stay at tackle in addition to moving inside to guard.
    • Needs: CB, S, G/C, OT, LB, RB
    • Hope might be available: OT M Adams, CB J Jenkins
    • Other Options: S M Barron, CB A Dennard
  24. Pittsburgh Steelers

    C/G Peter Konz, Wisconsin

    Konz has the size and athleticism to project to LG. His ability to move to C doesn't hurt given the injury problems of Maurkice Pouncey late in both of his first two seasons. The deteriorating play of Chris Kemoeatu necessitates something be done. The lack of depth on the offense line in this draft combined with six offensive linemen already being picked in this scenario increases the need to make this pick. Normally the first interior offensive linemen would be taken at approximately this juncture.
    • Needs: OT, OG, NT, CB, ILB, FS
    • Hope might be available: OT M Adams, OG C Glenn
    • Other Options: ILB D Hightower, NT D Poe
  25. Denver Broncos

    DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan St

    Broderick Bunkley and Marcus Thomas are limited run stuffers. Worthy adds athleticism and disruptive ability to the interior line.
    • Needs: CB, MLB, OG/C, DT, WR, RB
    • Hope might be available: OG C Glenn, C P Konz
    • Other Options: CB A Dennard, MLB D Hightower
  26. Houston Texans

    NT Dontari Poe, Memphis

    This addresses the main weakness of the defensive front seven allowing Earl Mitchell to move outside to provide depth at end. Poe is a huge interior presence with tremendous upside and the athleticism to create havoc lined up opposite an opposing center.
    • Needs: WR, OG/C, NT, SS, CB, DE
    • Hope might be available: WR M Floyd, C P Konz
    • Other Options: S M Barron, WR M Sanu
  27. New England Patriots (from New Orleans)

    OLB/DE Whitney Mercilus, Illinois

    Mercilus is an explosive pass rusher that also holds up well against the run. His versatility seems like a very good fit in Bill Belichick�s multiple schemes. Mercilus could become a terror with solid coaching to improve technique.
    • Needs: OLB, CB, S, WR, G/C, DT
    • Hope might be available: DT D Poe
    • Other Options: DT/DE F Cox, CB A Dennard, WR M Sanu, trade up/down/out
  28. Green Bay Packers

    DE/DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi St

    Ryan Pickett is aging and Cullen Jenkins was never adequately replaced after leaving before last season as a free agent. Cox is a penetrator with a quick first step that would give the Packers something they currently lack, a pass rushing lineman. He clearly has the frame to add ten or more pounds to help him stand up against the run in Dom Capers� system.
    • Needs: OLB, DE, C/G, CB, S, RB
    • Hope might be available: C P Konz, OLB W Mercilus
    • Other Options: S M Barron, CB A Dennard
  29. Baltimore Ravens

    ILB Dont'a Hightower, Alabama

    Jameel McClain is a free agent and Ray Lewis isn�t getting any younger. Hightower is an intelligent playmaker with the leadership abilities to eventually take over for Lewis both on the field and in the clubhouse.
    • Needs: C, LT, WR, LB, RB, S
    • Hope might be available: C P Konz
    • Other Options: S M Barron, WR M Sanu
  30. San Francisco 49ers

    WR Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers

    The ultra-productive Sanu caught everything thrown his way en-route to 115 receptions this season. Braylon Edwards just didn�t work out and Josh Morgan is a free agent. Even if he returns help is needed for him and Michael Crabtree.
    • Needs: WR, FS, RT/OG, OLB, CB, DE
    • Hope might be available: OLB W Mercilus
    • Other Options: OLB A Branch, CB A Dennard, WR A Jeffery
  31. New England Patriots

    CB Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska

    Combine 40 time will be important for the well rounded Dennard. He is a focused and aggressive corner without any one eye popping skill. The Patriots were forced to use Julian Edelman on slot receivers in the second half of last season so the need is clear.
    • Hope might be available: WR M Sanu
    • Other Options: S M Barron, CB S Gilmore, WR A Jeffery, trade up/down/out
  32. New York Giants

    OLB Zach Brown, UNC

    Brown is the highest remaining player on my board and with a big combine performance is likely to go higher. While outside linebacker is far from the Giants most pressing need, the Super Bowl champions can afford to go best player available. Adding depth at the position wouldn�t hurt considering how badly the defense played last season when Michael Boley was out injured.
    • Needs: OT, G/C, TE, FS, LB, RB
    • Hope might be available: C P Konz, DE W Mercilus
    • Other Options: TE D Allen, OT Z Sanders
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