2012 NFL Mock Draft: Full First Round with Alternate Selections

Daniel BarnesCorrespondent IIIJanuary 3, 2012

2012 NFL Mock Draft: Full First Round with Alternate Selections

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    With the NFL playoff picture finally clear, the final draft order for the 2012 NFL draft is starting to become clearer.

    Along with that, we're starting to see who is returning to school and who is going to be available for the draft and when each team will be picking.

    Obviously, things like the remaining bowl games, the Senior Bowl and the combine will change things, but until then, things are about as clear as they're gonna get.

    Here's a full first-round mock draft along with alternate selections for each team, given what we know now.

1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

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    This one is obvious.

    Now that Jim Irsay has cleaned out the entire front office, the new guys coming in will want to take Andrew Luck. The last time the Colts' management was overhauled like that was in 1998, and the new guy that came in (Bill Polian) took Peyton Manning with the first overall pick.

    I expect them to mirror that decision by starting the rebuilding process with the best quarterback prospect, some say, since Peyton Manning.

    That said, I think it is more than conceivable that the Colts will trade away the pick to a quarterback-hungry team. With many teams wanting quarterbacks and only a finite number of prospects available, the Colts could get a king's ransom.

     

    Alternate Selection: None

    If the Colts don't trade the pick, they'll be selecting Andrew Luck.

2. St. Louis Rams: Matt Kalil, OT, USC

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    Sam Bradford might have had a better season if he wasn't constantly under pressure within a few seconds. Matt Kalil will help fix that.

    There's no such thing as a can't-miss prospect, but Kalil is about as close as it comes.

    He's had two years as a starter in a pro-style offense against tough competition, he's the perfect size for the position (6'7" and 300 pounds), and his brother has already been selected to multiple pro bowls.

     

    Alternate Selection: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

    The other huge need for the Rams is a receiver that won't drop every pass that Bradford throws his way.

3. Minnesota Vikings: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

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    The Vikings will probably trade this selection away to a team that needs Robert Griffin III, likely to the Redskins or Seahawks. However, I am not projecting trades in this draft because it just gets too messy, and in reality, they're impossible to predict.

    The Vikings' biggest need is on the offensive line, but Matt Kalil is off the board already, and Riley Reiff and Jonathan Martin aren't worth taking here. Their other needs are a deep threat receiver and secondary help.

    Morris Claiborne is the better player, so they take him with the third overall selection. Claiborne is a big part of the reason that LSU had such success this season.

    Claiborne has had 46 tackles and six interceptions this season and another six tackles broken up. He'll prevent teams from dropping 40 points on the Vikings every game.

     

    Alternate Selection: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

    They could always go with the receiver instead, but again, they'll probably trade the pick.

4. Cleveland Browns: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

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    Colt McCoy has now had a full season as a starter to solidify the job, but Cleveland has been consistently terrible.

    The Browns need a change, and RGIII is the guy to do it.

    Because he can run very well, Griffin often gets lumped into the group of "mobile quarterbacks," but he's really a whole different kind of player. Griffin is a pocket passer (he completed over 72 percent of his passes), who just happens to be very athletic.

    When play breaks down, Griffin seems to favor extending the play with his legs and making the play with his arm. He can also grab easy first downs if defenses drop too many players into pass coverage.

    He won the Heisman for a reason, and he won't make it past the Browns.

     

    Alternate Selection: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

    While I think taking a running back this high would be moronic, Richardson is an absolute beast and would have an instant impact on whatever team drafted him.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

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    Teams have been dropping points on the Buccaneers like crazy all season. They can't depend on their pass defense, and so an upgrade at corner would be great for them.

    They want Claiborne, and he'll probably be available if the Vikings trade down, which I think they'll do. But since I'm not projecting trades in this draft, they go with Kirkpatrick, who is still an excellent cornerback and worth a top-10 pick.

    Kirkpatrick came into the season as the top corner prospect in the country, but since quarterbacks tended to stay away from him, he didn't get any interceptions. He did manage nine passes defended and two forced fumbles, though, so he still got a good bit of production.

     

    Alternate Selection: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

    The Bucs' run defense was abysmal, and an upgrade would be great. However, Kuechly is a natural middle linebacker, and they already have Mason Foster.

    They could take Kuechly and shift their positions around, though.

6. Washington Redskins: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

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    When Rex Grossman has played well, the Redskins have won games. When he was off, they lost—and he was off a lot.

    Landry Jones at No. 6 is a big reach, but if last year's draft showed anything, it's that teams will reach for quarterbacks when they have the need, and the Redskins certainly have a need.

    Jones did pass for a lot of yards for the season (4463), and his completion percentage is pretty good (63.2 percent), but his touchdown to interception ratio (29-15) leaves something to be desired. Most of those interceptions came after his favorite target, Ryan Broyles, was injured.

    He could help or hurt his stock in the new college All-Star game, depending on how he performs.

     

    Alternate Selection: None

    The Redskins have a huge need for a quarterback, so they have to take Jones or trade the pick.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

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    Last year, Nick Fairley and Prince Amukamara fell way past their projected spots because of the run on quarterbacks. In this mock, that's exactly what happens to Justin Blackmon.

    Blaine Gabbert had a terrible rookie season, but with the receiving corps in Jacksonville, you can't really blame him too much. The Jaguars have an enormous need at wide receiver, and they get lucky here by getting the best one in the draft class.

    Blackmon caught for 1,522 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. He also looked phenomenal in the Fiesta Bowl. Even in double coverage, Stanford's secondary simply couldn't stop him. He was breaking tackles, finding space and making tough catches.

    He's everything you could want in a receiver.

     

    Alternate Selection: Quinton Coples, DE, UNC

    Of course, the Jaguars may just take the best defensive player available, since they could really use an upgrade to their pass rush.

8. Miami Dolphins: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

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    The Dolphins want a quarterback, but Matt Moore played too well for them to get one worth taking over Moore, so instead, they get the best right tackle on the board in Riley Reiff.

    Now, they could take Jonathan Martin, since he might be a slightly better tackle, but with Jake Long on their team, they will be drafting someone to just play on the right side, and Riley Reiff projects as a better right tackle than Martin.

    Reiff is big and powerful, but he is svelte and quick enough to not be beaten by speed rushers along the edge. With the new CBA, having bookend tackles on an offensive line makes financial sense, and with the Dolphins' needs, he's the player that makes the most sense here.

     

    Alternate Selection: Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama

    You can never have too many pass rushers, and Upshaw is one of the best players in this class.

9. Carolina Panthers: Quinton Coples, DE, UNC

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    With Steve Smith and Cam Newton, the Panthers are set on offense for now. What they need is a better all-around defense, which they get in Quinton Coples.

    Coples is effective against both the pass and the run, so the Panthers get an upgrade to both parts of their defense, which could both use it.

    For the season, Coples pulled out 15 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and 55 total tackles along with three forced fumbles and two deflected passes. Yeah, there's a reason he's so highly regarded.

    Furthermore, the Panthers ought to make their fanbase happy by keeping it local.

     

    Alternate Selection: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

    Steve Smith won't be around forever.

10. Buffalo Bills: Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama

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    The Bills' defense still can't stop the run or get to the quarterback, so they take the best rush linebacker available in Courtney Upshaw.

    Upshaw was very productive for Alabama's legendary defense this season and already played in a 3-4 defense, where he fits like a glove. For the season, Upshaw had 8.5 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, an interception and 45 total tackles.

    The Bills' defense needs another spark.

    Their offense was doing just fine, running up the score on everyone until the halfway point in the season, but their run defense is one of the league's worst. Upshaw will both pressure the quarterback and guard against the run for the Bills effectively.

     

    Alternate Selection: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

    They might want to pump up that high-scoring offense even more with the addition of a great wide receiver, since they've locked themselves in with Fitzpatrick.

11. Kansas City Chiefs: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

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    The Chiefs are one of the many teams that could use an upgrade at quarterback, but they'll have to stick with Kyle Orton and Matt Cassel  for now, and instead will get them better protection.

    Jonathan Martin is the No. 2 left tackle on most people's radars, but I have him as third on my big board. He was beaten by speed rushes by Nick Perry in the USC game more than once, but he's still a great left tackle prospect.

    Martin has kept Andrew Luck on his feet for most of the season, and since Stanford is also one of the most proficient running teams in the country, some of that run blocking came from Martin as well.

    He's a good pick at No. 11.

     

    Alternate Selection: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

    They may reach for a quarterback anyway.

12. Seattle Seahawks: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

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    A while ago, WalterFootball mocked Ryan Tannehill to Seattle, which I thought was a ridiculous reach, until I remembered that he also mocked Jake Locker to Tennessee last season, so I'm not going to second guess him.

    Just like Jake Locker and Christian Ponder in 2011, Ryan Tannehill will probably be picked by a quarterback-hungry team in the first round. Seattle is certainly one of those teams, especially since it's pretty good at every other position.

    Tannehill helped his draft stock a little in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. He completed 67.5 percent of his passes for 329 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Still, he's a project.

     

    Alternate Selection: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

    If Tannehill isn't available or they don't feel like reaching, Dennard fits another big need.

13. Arizona Cardinals: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College

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    The biggest need for Arizona is offensive tackle, but unfortunately for them, the three worth taking this high are gone. So, instead, Arizona goes with the best available player, which happens to be Luke Kuechly.

    Kuechly now has 516 career tackles. He also won both the Dick Butkus and the Bronco Nagurski Awards, given to the nation's best linebacker and best defensive player, respectively.

    He may return to school to set a tackle record that will never be broken, but if he enters the draft, he'll be the top inside linebacker in his class.

     

    Alternate Selection: Trade down

    The Cardinals may decide that they'd rather pick up additional later picks and grab a tackle later in the draft.

14. Dallas Cowboys: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

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    Well, the Cowboys fell apart again as Eli Manning picked them apart. They simply could not cover Victor Cruz, even when he was double-covered. If that's not a team that needs an upgrade at corner, then I don't know what is.

    Dennard has been a great cover corner this season and seems to be a better player than teammate Prince Amukamara, who was considered for the seventh overall pick last year.

    Dennard has no interceptions this season, but that doesn't mean he isn't a great player. Quarterbacks tend to stay away from him.

    He also missed his first three games, and the games against Chattanooga and Fresno State would've been great opportunities for a couple of interceptions.

     

    Alternate Selection: Janoris Jenkins, CB, Northern Alabama

    The Cowboys won't care about his character concerns, and they may have him higher on their big board.

15. Philadelphia Eagles: Vontaze Burfict, MLB, Arizona State

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    Vontaze Burfict has fallen a lot on draft boards, but I'm willing to bet that he'll blow the combine away and climb back up the boards. Furthermore, the Eagles really need some upgrades at linebacker, so he fills a big need.

    Burfict only had 69 tackles this season, but he also had five sacks and seven tackles for loss, three passes broken up and an interception. He's also very big for an inside linebacker, at 6'3" and 250 pounds. He has toned down the attitude problems which people were wary of last season.

    As athletic as he is, I can't help but think that he'll perform very well at the combine and make draft scouts take a second look.

     

    Alternate Selection: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

    DeSean Jackson had a terrible season and may be gone.

16. New York Jets: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

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    The Jets are probably starting to think about replacing Mark Sanchez, but right now, they can't, so instead, they'll get an upgrade in their passing game.

    Alshon Jeffery is the best available wide receiver. Michael Floyd is arguably better, but his character concerns have made him drop a few spots.

    Jeffery had a disappointing season overall, but he came through big in South Carolina's bowl win over Nebraska. He only had four receptions, but those four receptions were for 148 yards and a touchdown. He showed a lot of the physical presence that seemed to be missing for the rest of the season.

    He can obviously still power his was through tackles and pick up additional yards.

     

    Alternate Selection: Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois

    Mercilus could be a great rush linebacker for the Jets.

17. Cincinnati Bengals (via Oakland): Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

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    Trent Richardson falls this far because the teams picking before Cincinnati are all pretty set at running back, and it's becoming more and more clear that running backs aren't as valuable as they used to be.

    However, the Bengals are picking low enough for Richardson to make sense.

    The stat isn't official, but 48 percent of his 1,583 yards were picked up after contact with at least one defender. He also had 20 touchdowns and a six yards-per-carry average.

    If you're going to take a running back in the first round, it may as well be one that's this good.

     

    Alternate Selection: Janoris Jenkins, CB, Northern Alabama

    The Bengals have built a pretty solid defense, but they could still upgrade their pass defense.

18. San Diego Chargers: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford

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    David DeCastro is one of the best guard prospects to come around in the last decade, so taking him in the Top 20 is no reach; he may be the best player available.

    Furthermore, the Chargers could use a new guard.

    DeCastro has been keeping interior pressure off of Andrew Luck all season, and he's beaten every defender he's been put up against, even monstrous nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu of Washington.

    Stanford has also one of the best rush attacks in the nation, and that's mostly because of DeCastro.

     

    Alternate Selection: Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois

    You can never have too much pass rush.

19. Chicago Bears: Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia

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    The Bears lost both their quarterback and running back to injury this season. If they hadn't, they almost certainly would have made the playoffs, and maybe would have even had a run deep into the postseason.

    They cannot ignore their offensive line any more, so they take the best lineman available in Cordy Glenn.

    I was down on Glenn at the beginning of the season, since Boise State's defense manhandled him. However, since that game, he's been stellar and has rarely been beaten by pass rushers.

    He's also a very big guy, listed as 6'5" and 349 pounds. Since he's been playing as the left tackle for the Dawgs, he's got great feet for a guard as well.

    Maybe he'll help the Bears keep their offensive weapons on the field.

     

    Alternate Selection: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

    The Bears' whole offensive line is riddled with holes, so they may take a center instead, if Konz is higher on their big board.

20. Tennessee Titans: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

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    The Titans' biggest needs are wide receiver and offensive line, but the best receiver here has character issues, and the Titans haven't taken an offensive linemen in the first round since 1993, so that won't happen.

    Instead, they'll take sack-master Whitney Mercilus to upgrade their pass rush. With Mercilus, they can move Jason Jones back to defensive tackle and have someone on the edge who can get to the quarterback.

    Tennessee's defense has been pretty solid this season, and they're still very young, but getting to the quarterback is not their best attribute, so this will fix one of their biggest weaknesses and turn them back into the hard-nosed defense they once were.

     

    Alternate Selection: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

    The Titans might be wary about taking a second wide receiver with character concerns, but it's one of the team's biggest needs, so they may take him anyway.

21. Denver Broncos: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

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    Despite his shortcomings at the end of the season, the Broncos are locked in with Tim Tebow for the time being, so they need to worry about the rest of the team.

    One area in which they could certainly use some help is at running back, and John Fox certainly likes using multiple running backs, so they take Lamar Miller here. Miller rushed for 1,276 yards and nine touchdowns this season, and added another 85 yards receiving.

    He's got great size (5'11" and 212 pounds) and even better speed. He's quick, has breakaway speed and can power through defenders. He'll make a fine every-down back for Denver.

     

    Alternate Selection: Janoris Jenkins, CB, Northern Alabama

    They bring on one of Tebow's former teammates to help their pass defense. Champ Bailey isn't getting any younger.

22. New York Giants: Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama

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    The Giants would like some offensive line help, but this is a little high to take Kelechi Osemele, so instead they grab Dont'a Hightower.

    Hightower has been a beast for Alabama this season, picking up 81 total tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, three broken up passes and an interception.

    The Giants have a great defense, but they could use some help at inside linebacker, which Hightower provides. He also happens to be one of the best players available, so that works for them too.

     

    Alternate Selection: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

    The Giants may take the best available interior offensive lineman anyway, which would be either Konz or Osemele.

23. Detroit Lions: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

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    The Lions luck out here in that they don't have to reach for a great offensive lineman, which they desperately need.

    For the record, if Konz weren't available, this season has made it clear how badly the Lions need a decent offensive line if they're going to take the next step and become a deep playoff threat. They'll reach for whoever is the best offensive lineman available.

    Konz has been a stud for the Badgers this season, helping clear the way for Montee Ball's 38 regular-season touchdowns. He's also kept the interior rush off of Russel Wilson for the most part.

    Of course, Wisconsin constantly produces top-level offensive linemen, so having a few more this season is no shocker.

     

    Alternate Selection: Janoris Jenkins, CB, Northern Alabama

    If they beef up their sorry pass defense instead of fixing the offensive line, someone should be fired, but they might do it anyway.

24. Houston Texans: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

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    The Texans don't have a lot of weaknesses, but they could use a better receiver across from Andre Johnson, and in this mock, Michael Floyd just happens to fall into their collective lap.

    They snag him up without hesitating.

    Michael Floyd had 1,147 receiving yards for the season and nine touchdowns. He would have surpassed Alshon Jeffery as a wide receiver prospect, but he was arrested during the offseason for drunk driving, and that hurts his stock.

    He is a big, physical receiver (6'3" and 224 pounds) that fights single coverage and can make things happen even when double covered. So long as he isn't still a head-case, he's a steal.

     

    Alternate Selection: Alameda Ta'amu, NT, Washington

    He didn't have a great game against Baylor, but he's still the highest nose tackle on my big board until Dontari Poe beats him out after the combine.

25. Cincinnati Bengals: Janoris Jenkins, CB, Northern Alabama

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    To say that Janoris Jenkins has character concerns is an understatement, but he's undeniably a great corner who can also play as a kick returner, and he makes sense this far into the first round.

    As a punt returner, he has three return touchdowns and 390 total return yards on 18 punts. As a corner, he picked up two interceptions, broke up six passes and had four tackles for loss.

    There's no question he's a great player; the question is whether he can keep his head on straight in the NFL.

    Alternate Selection: Devon Still, DT, Penn State

    If he's higher on their big board, they may fill the incoming need at defensive tackle.

26. Cleveland Browns (via Atlanta): Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

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    Melvin Ingram has stepped up and become one of the top defensive end prospects in the country.

    Ingram had 15 tackles for loss and 10 sacks this season on top of 31 solo tackles. Not too shabby, especially for the guy who was supposed to be an afterthought next to teammate Devin Taylor.

    The Browns' biggest needs are quarterback (which they took care of in this mock), running back, wide receiver and defensive end. Melvin Ingram is the best player available that happens to play one of those positions.

    Alternate Selection: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers

    This makes sense because Griffin will need a good weapon. Sanu may return to school, but until he announces, I'm keeping him in the mock.

27. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kelechi Osemele, OG, Iowa State

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    This is a bit of a reach, but Big Ben and Rashard Mendenhall have been injured off and on all season, which may have cost the Steelers a game or two (and all it would've taken is one more victory for them to secure the bye and home-field advantage).

    They need offensive line help.

    Kelechi Osemele is the best lineman available, and he fits in with what the Steelers like from guards (big, powerful, punishing), so he fits like a glove here.

     

    Alternate Selection: The best defensive player available

    Because that's what they usually do anyway.

28. San Francisco 49ers: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers

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    The 49ers signed Braylon Edwards in the offseason for a reason, but he didn't deliver, so they take the best wide receiver available, Mohamed Sanu.

    Like I said, Sanu may return to school, but until he says so, he's available as far as I'm concerned.

    He was a stud for Rutgers this season, catching for 1,206 yards and seven touchdowns. He's 6'2" and about 215 pounds, so he's not a big receiver, but he's far from small.

    He excels even in double coverage (because he was double-covered constantly and still had over 1,000 yards), and he has great hands.

    He'll make either Alex Smith or Colin Kaepernick very happy.

     

    Alternate Selection: Vinny Curry, DE/OLB, Marshall

    In case the 49ers don't resign Ahmad Brooks.

29. New England Patriots: Vinny Curry, DE/OLB, Marshall

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    This may seem like a bit of a reach, but I have Vinny Curry as the third best rush linebacker prospect on my big board (behind Courtney Upshaw and Whitney Mercilus).

    The Patriots had a pretty pathetic pass defense this season, but they've spent a lot of recent, high-end picks on cornerbacks, so I think they'll instead try to get a pass rush going. Curry ought to take care of that.

     

    Alternate Selection: Devon Still, DT/DE, Penn State

    Still is the best defensive tackle of his class, but he's fallen because of needs. He'd fit the Patriots like a glove.

30. New England Patriots (via New Orleans): Devon Still, DT/DE, Penn State

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    Since they have two picks in a row, they get him here anyway.

    Realistically, the Patriots will probably trade this pick away, like they always do, but if they are picking (and didn't take him 29th overall), they'll grab Devon Still here.

    Still has been a force for Penn State this season and is the best defensive tackle prospect in his class. Still picked up 55 total tackles, a staggering 17 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, a deflected pass and a forced fumble.

    He'll be for the Patriots what they hoped Albert Haynesworth would be.

     

    Alternate Selection: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

    Griffin's favorite target might give Tom Brady some options at wide receiver other than Wes Welker.

31. Baltimore Ravens: Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC

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    The Ravens want to find Ray Lewis' successor, but the best inside linebackers are all taken, and taking the next best (Tank Carder) this high would be a reach, so instead, they pick up Nick Perry.

    Terrell Suggs is a great player. Phenomenal, in fact. But the Ravens are a defense-first team, and you can always have more pass rushers.

    Nick Perry would be able to take advantage of the fact that Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs are always double-teamed.

     

    Alternate Selection: Tank Carder, ILB, TCU

    He'd have to fly up draft boards to make sense in the first round, but stranger things have happened, and the Ravens will need a new inside linebacker after this season.

32. Green Bay Packers: Jerel Worthy, DE/DT, Michigan State

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    The Packers are a pretty complete team, so it's hard to say who they'll go with. As well as Matt Flynn played, they'll need a new backup quarterback after this season, but the first round is way too early to start thinking about that.

    Instead, they take the best defensive player that makes sense in Jerel Worthy.

    Worthy started the season as the top defensive tackle prospect in his class, but he's had an inconsistent season. In total, he's gathered up 31 tackles, but 10.5 of those were for a loss and 3.5 were sacks. He also deflected a pass and blocked two kicks.

    In some games, he's looked like a top-10 player, while in others, he's looked like an early third-rounder. Maybe being surrounded by the defensive talent in Green Bay will bring out the best in him.

     

    Alternate Selection: Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

    To replace Charles Woodson, who isn't getting any younger.