2012 NFL Mock Draft: Ideal Pick for All Teams

Jon Dove@https://twitter.com/#!/Jon_Dove42Contributor IJanuary 12, 2012

2012 NFL Mock Draft: Ideal Pick for All Teams

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    The NFL draft is such an entertaining event because of the uncertainty of each pick. Everyone tries to anticipate or predict the outcome, but even the best mock drafters get less than 50 percent correct.

    If every team was able to land its ideal prospect, there would be no excitement in watching the draft.

    However, it is a good exercise to take a look at the draft order and anticipate team needs. This is why mock drafts are so popular and exciting. Every fan loves to dream and hope his or her team can land the ideal prospect.

No. 1 Indianapolis Colts

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    Ideal Pick: Andrew Luck, Quarterback—Stanford

    Peyton Manning's neck injury really changed the immediate and long-term future of the Indianapolis Colts. His missed season is the only reason the Colts have the No. 1 pick and a shot at landing Andrew Luck.

    This franchise has no choice but to make Luck the top overall pick.

    Jim Irsay and Peyton Manning both know that passing on Luck would be a major mistake. As competitive as Manning is, he understands that the long-term success of the Colts depends on adding Andrew Luck.

No. 2 St. Louis Rams

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    Ideal Pick: Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver—Oklahoma State or Alshon Jeffery, Wide Receiver—South Carolina

    The most likely and ideal scenario would be for the St. Louis Rams to auction this pick to the highest bidder. St. Louis has a great opportunity to move down the draft and pick up some extra draft picks.

    Several teams will be looking to move up in order to land Baylor's Robert Griffin III, who appears unlikely to drop out of the top three.

    St. Louis' biggest need is at the wide receiver position, but neither Blackmon nor Jeffery are worthy of the No. 2 overall pick. Orchestrating a trade with a team like the Washington Redskins or Miami Dolphins would allow the Rams to get more value.

No. 3 Minnesota Vikings

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    Ideal Pick: Jonathan Martin, Offensive Tackle—Stanford

    The Minnesota Vikings offensive line allowed 49 sacks this season, ranking them in the bottom five of the NFL. Left Tackle Charlie Johnson is the weakest link along the offensive line and needs to be replaced as soon as possible.

    Stanford's Jonathan Martin possesses the ability to step in and immediately upgrade the position.

    Minnesota committed to moving forward with Christian Ponder and now needs to surround him with pieces needed to succeed. Adding a left tackle capable of limiting pressure would go a long way to helping Ponder.

    Martin's strength is his fluid movement and ability to protect the passer. 

No. 4 Cleveland Browns

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    Ideal Pick: Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver—Oklahoma State or Alshon Jeffery, Wide Receiver—South Carolina

    The Cleveland Browns offense lacks playmakers, especially at the receiver position. Greg Little appears to be the only keeper on the current roster.

    Adding a potential No. 1 receiver will also help the development of Colt McCoy, who isn't the type of quarterback capable of succeeding with average targets.

    Cleveland may also look at adding a quarterback like Baylor's Robert Griffin III. However, the best course of action would be to see if McCoy can succeed with better talent.

    Both Justin Blackmon and Alshon Jeffery bring size and the ability to make plays down the field. Adding either player would really open the Browns' offensive attack.

No. 5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Ideal Pick: Morris Claiborne, Cornerback—LSU

    LSU's Morris Claiborne continues to rise up draft boards and could push himself into the top three. He is a terrific athlete, and a potential lock-down cornerback.

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers face a lot of question marks in the secondary. Ronde Barber and Aqib Talib both might not return next season, especially with the pending coaching change.

    The addition of Claiborne will not only help in coverage but also assist the Buccaneers' league-worst pass rush. His ability to shut down a team's No. 1 target will force the quarterback to hold the ball longer, allowing the defensive line to create pressure.

No. 6 Washington Redskins

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    Ideal Pick: Robert Griffin III, Quarterback—Baylor

    The Washington Redskins desperately need to find a quarterback in this draft. This franchise cannot afford another season with Rex Grossman or John Beck under center. However, they face an uphill battle to land a top-notch quarterback prospect.

    Washington has no shot of landing Andrew Luck, but the opportunity to land Baylor's Robert Griffin III will be up for grabs.

    However, its unlikely that Griffin III falls to the No. 6 pick, meaning a trade is necessary to land his services.  The most likely trade partner is the St. Louis Rams, who should receive a king's ransom for the No. 2 overall pick.

No. 7 Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Ideal Pick: Alshon Jeffery, Wide Receiver—South Carolina

    New head coach Mike Mularkey's first order of business will be for management to bring in some offensive playmakers. Outside of Maurice Jones-Drew, the Jacksonville Jaguars lack explosive weapons, especially at wide receiver.

    Their lack of talent resulted in the league's lowest passing total and second-lowest passing touchdowns.

    The Jacksonville Jaguars have committed to moving forward with Blaine Gabbert as their quarterback, and now they need to give him some help.

    Their first move was hiring Mike Mularkey, who played a major role in the development of Matt Ryan. The next move is to bring in a potential No. 1 receiver like South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery.

No. 8 Carolina Panthers

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    Ideal Pick: Quinton Coples, Defensive End—North Carolina

    Offensively, the Carolina Panthers have enough talent to win football games. However, the defensive side of the ball struggled to shut down the opposing offense. One of the biggest problems was finding a way to generate a pass rush.

    North Carolina's Quinton Coples boasts the potential to develop into a consistent pass rushing threat.

    Coples combines a combination of size and quickness to generate pressure. His addition also helps draw attention away from Charles Johnson, who seen his sack total drop this season.

    The combination of Copes and Johnson gives the Panthers a potentially lethal pass rush.

No. 9 Miami Dolphins

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    Ideal Pick: Robert Griffin III, Quarterback—Baylor

    The Miami Dolphins are another team that desperately needs help at quarterback. Matt Moore did a nice job this season, but he provides only limited upside.

    Baylor's Robert Griffin III brings extreme athleticism and is a true playmaker. His addition would give the Dolphins excitement and direction at the quarterback position.

    However, Miami is in the same boat as everyone else, as they will need to negotiate a trade to land Griffin III. The Dolphins could find themselves in a bidding war against the Washington Redskins, which will drive up the price.

    Adding an explosive player like Griffin III is worth any price, but a team needs to be willing to make a bold move.

No. 10 Buffalo Bills

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    Ideal Pick: Courtney Upshaw, Linebacker—Alabama

    The Buffalo Bills have needs on both sides of the ball, but their greatest need is at linebacker.

    Alabama's Courtney Upshaw possesses the skills needed to step in and make an instant impact. His ideal fit is at outside linebacker, where can set the edge against the run and rush the passer.

    This past season, Chan Gailey showed that he can make due with average offensive talent, which allows the Bills to focus on improving the defense. Chris Kelsay and Spencer Johnson finished the season as the starting outside linebackers, Upshaw would be an upgrade over both players.

No. 11 Kansas City Chiefs

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    Ideal Pick: Riley Reiff, Offensive Tackle—Iowa

    The general consensus is that Brandon Albert fits better on the right side of the line. He has done a good job holding up on the left side, but could be an elite right tackle.

    This thought process makes adding a left tackle like Iowa's Riley Reiff a smart move. Adding Reiff improves as many as two spots along the offensive line.

    The Kansas City Chiefs are moving forward with Romeo Crennel as their head coach, which likely means a run-heavy offensive approach. Making improvements along the offensive line is a key to featuring a run-oriented attack.

    The addition of Reiff will also help the passing game by providing increased protection.

No. 12 Seattle Seahawks

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    Ideal Pick: Quinton Coples, Defensive End—North Carolina

    There is a major difference between ideal and realistically ideal, and this pick is intended to be more of a realistic scenario.

    The Seattle Seahawks would love to add either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, but it would cost an enormous amount to move that far up the draft. It makes more sense for the Seahawks to hang on to their picks and address other needs.

    Adding a pass rusher is the next need on the Seahawks list, and North Carolina's Quinton Coples would be a good fit. His versatility allows him to fit a few different spots along the defensive line, which is important for Seattle.

    The Seahawks run a unique 4-3 system, where one of the defensive ends plays two-gap football. This spot is currently held by Red Bryant, but he is a limited pass rusher.

    Coples would be able to replace Bryant on passing downs and provide more of a pass rush, while still bringing strong play against the run. On non-passing downs, he could spell Chris Clemons, who struggles against the run.

No. 13 Arizona Cardinals

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    Ideal Pick: Riley Reiff, Offensive Tackle—Iowa

    The Arizona Cardinals offensive line allowed 54 sacks this season, ranking it 31st in the NFL. This unit played a role in the injuries and struggles of Kevin Kolb.

    The biggest concern is at left tackle, where Levi Brown appears to be playing out of position.

    Brown needs to be shifted to right tackle, which opens a spot for Iowa's Riley Reiff. Reiff possesses the quickness and balanced needed to hold up in pass protection. Adding him to the offensive line helps provide better pass protection, which will increase the effectiveness of the passing offense.

    There's a possibility that Arizona will need to orchestrate a trade in order to land Reiff, and moving up a few spots to No. 10 might do the trick.

No. 14 Dallas Cowboys

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    Ideal Pick: Dre Kirkpatrick, Cornerback—Alabama

    In their last three losses, the Dallas Cowboys' secondary allowed 1,039 yards and seven touchdowns. This definitely played a major role in their late season collapse and failed playoff attempt.

    Terrence Newman and Mike Jenkins both need to be replaced and are potential offseason cap casualties.

    Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick would be the ideal addition and would instantly improve the Cowboys' pass defense.

    His physical playing style allows him to disrupt the timing of the offense. The Cowboys could use some toughness in the secondary, especially when it comes to run support.

    Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan loves to bring pressure, which puts his defensive backs on an island. Kirkpatrick possesses the ability to lock up man-to-man and provide steady coverage.

No. 15 Philadelphia Eagles

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    Ideal Pick: Luke Kuechly, Linebacker—Boston College

    The Philadelphia Eagles' biggest problem this season was missed tackles and inability to stop the run. Their defense couldn't make stops in big situations or help the offense when it struggled with injuries.

    Boston College's Luke Kuechly boasts the exact skills this Eagles defense missed last season.

    He uses his instincts and football IQ to quickly diagnose the play and pursue. Once he reaches the ball carrier, Kuechly squares up and makes a technique, sound tackle.

    Adding his consistency to the Eagles defense would make an instant impact.

    Philadelphia could potentially use this pick as a trade chip, as Kuechly might be available a few picks later. Best case scenario: The Eagles pick up an extra pick or two and are able to land Kuechly.

No. 16 New York Jets

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    Ideal Pick: Trent Richardson, Running Back—Alabama

    The New York Jets want to run the football and play strong defense, a strategy they weren't able to employ this season. Shonn Greene topped the 1,000-yard mark this season, but he doesn't possesses the same upside as Alabama's Trent Richardson.

    Richardson separates himself from other running backs because of his combination of quickness and strength. He is capable of picking up yards between the tackles and breaking off a 90-yard touchdown run.

    New York needs to add this type of playmaker to its offense, which really lacks explosiveness.

    Adding Richardson also helps replace LaDainian Tomlinson, who isn't expected back next season.

No. 17 Cincinnati Bengals (from OAK)

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    Ideal Pick: Trent Richardson, Running Back—Alabama

    Cedric Benson has produced three straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons, but there are several reasons why he might not be back next season. Benson is a pending free agent, approaching 30 years old and continues to have off-field problems.

    There's little doubt that the Cincinnati Bengals will target a running back early in the 2012 draft.

    Alabama's Trent Richardson is the cream of the running back crop and possibly the only first-round talent. His addition would help take this Cincinnati offense to the next level.

    A young core of Andy Dalton, AJ Green and Richardson makes the future in Cincinnati very bright.

    The Bengals likely will needed to move up the draft in order to land Richardson, but they have the ammo needed to make such a move.

No. 18 San Diego Chargers

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    Ideal Pick: David DeCastro, Guard—Stanford or Mike Adams, Offensive Tackle—Ohio State

    Kris Dielman, Nick Hardwick and Marcus McNeil all face uncertain futures, and the loss of all three would devastate the San Diego Chargers offensive line. Philip Rivers doesn't boast the quickness or escape-ability to overcome such a dramatic turnover along the offensive line.

    Dielman's future seems to be the most questionable, which would make the addition of Stanford's David DeCastro a wise move.

    DeCastro is a plug-and-play-type player, who instantly brings toughness to the offensive line. He will excel as both a run and pass blocker and is someone who also provides leadership.

    The Chargers' direction with this pick depends a lot on the decisions of Dielman, Hardwich and McNeil. If McNeil is unable to return, Ohio State's left tackle Mike Adams becomes the more likely pick.

No. 19 Chicago Bears

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    Ideal Pick: Michael Floyd, Wide Receiver—Notre Dame

    The Chicago Bears receiving corps lacks consistency and size, which was very apparent this season.

    They felt the addition of Roy Williams would solve their problems, but his inconsistent play followed him to Chicago.

    Notre Dame's Michael Floyd is an ideal candidate to step in and fill the Bears' wide receiver needs.

    Floyd possesses a good combination of size and quickness, which allows him to make a wide array of plays. His body control helps him go up and make the tough catch in traffic. This is the type of receiver Jay Cutler needs to assist him in taking the next step in his development.

    The Bears offense would look a lot different with a legitimate No. 1 target.

No. 20 Tennessee Titans

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    Ideal Pick: Alfonzo Dennard, Cornerback—Nebraska

    The Tennessee Titans face the real possibility of losing Cortland Finnegan to free agency this offseason. He figures to command a decent sized contract, one the Titans might not be willing to match.

    Nebraska's Alfonzo Dennard can replace Finnegan on the field and help limit the off-field distractions.

    Dennard is a physical defender, who loves to play bump-and-run coverage. His ability to quickly close on the ball also makes him a fit in zone schemes.

    Tennessee Head Coach Mike Munchak loves physical and no-nonsense players, which perfectly defines Dennard.

No. 21 Cincinnati Bengals

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    Ideal Pick: Janoris Jenkins, Cornerback—North Alabama

    The Cincinnati Bengals might need to package this pick with their other first-rounder to move up and get Alabama's Trent Richardson. However, if they keep the pick, North Alabama's Janoris Jenkins will be one of their targets.

    Adding Jenkins helps provide depth and replace Johnathan Joseph, who left via free agency.

    Jenkins is a fluid athlete, who boasts a great feel for the game. His quick burst and instincts allow him to close on the ball. He also possesses excellent ball skills, which makes him a threat to pull down plenty of interceptions.

    The Bengals defense needs to find a way to create turnovers. Their secondary ranked towards the bottom of the NFL with only 10 interceptions.

No. 22 Cleveland Browns (from ATL)

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    Ideal Pick: Cordy Glenn, Offensive Line—Georgia

    The right side of the Cleveland Browns offensive line needs a ton of work, with both Shawn Lauvao and Tony Pashos on the chopping block. They need to find an offensive lineman with some versatility, capable of lining up at either guard or tackle.

    Georgia's Cordy Glenn fits exactly the type of player needed to improve the Browns offensive line. He possesses good size and athleticism, which allows him to fit multiple positions. While at Georgia, Glenn lined up at left tackle, right tackle and guard. 

    The Browns can instantly pencil him in as a starter at either right guard or right tackle.

No. 23 Detroit Lions

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    Ideal Pick: Janoris Jenkins, Cornerback—North Alabama

    The Detroit Lions secondary struggled despite help from a strong pass rush. This unit allowed nearly 240 passing yards per game.

    Current starters Chris Houston and Eric Wright are decent players, but neither are capable of locking up on a team's No. 1 receiver.

    North Alabama's Janoris Jenkins possesses the quickness and attitude needed to be an effective cornerback. His ability to jump developing routes helps him break up pass attempts. Jenkins also brings excellent balls skills to the table, which makes him a threat to pull down interceptions.

    Adding an aggressive corner like Jenkins would be a great fit in Detroit. He would be able to take advantage of the hurried throws forced by the pass rush.

No. 24 Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Ideal Pick: Mike Adams, Offensive Tackle—Ohio State

    Injuries ravaged the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line, with multiple starters missing significant time. This problem highlighted the need for depth along the line.

    Ohio State's Mike Adams would not only provide depth but also upgrade the left tackle position.

    During the offseason, the Steelers resigned Willie Colon to a long-term extension, but he was quickly lost for the season with a triceps injury. Even when healthy, Colon is a better fit on the right side of the line.

    Adding Adams would set off a chain reaction that improves several spots along the line. Adams would be inserted at left tackle, Colon to right tackle and Marcus Gilbert inside to guard.

No. 25 Denver Broncos

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    Ideal Pick: Devon Still, Defensive Tackle—Penn State

    While Tim Tebow gets all the credit for the Denver Broncos' playoff run, it's the defense that is mainly responsible for their success. This past week's playoff win cemented Tebow as next year's starting quarterback, which means the Broncos continue to need strong defensive play.

    The one thing missing from Denver's defense is a good inside pass rush.

    Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil create pressure off the edge, but nobody is there to make a play in the middle. Penn State's Devon Still possesses the quick first step needed to penetrate the pocket.

    Still finished the season with 17.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. Adding him will really increase the production of the defense.

No. 26 New York Giants

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    Ideal Pick: Peter Konz, Center—Wisconsin

    During the offseason, the New York Giants signed David Baas to a multi-year deal. By the end of the season, Baas was on the bench and appears no longer to be in the future plans.

    The center position is too important to fill with a backup-caliber player.

    Wisconsin's Peter Konz possesses the potential to develop into an elite NFL center. He plays with good leverage, strength and technique. This allows him to open up running lanes and protect the passer. 

    Konz also provides leadership and a high football IQ, which helps make the calls and adjustments at the line.

    The Giants really missed Sean O'Hara this season, as evident by their league-worst rushing attack.

No. 27 Houston Texans

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    Ideal Pick: Kendall Wright, Wide Receiver—Baylor

    The Houston Texans offense became a lot less explosive when Andre Johnson was forced out of the lineup. His absence put a lot of pressure on the running game and other receivers.

    Houston needs another explosive target on the outside, capable of complementing or filling in for Johnson.

    Baylor's Kendall Wright boasts the quickness and playmaking ability to strikes fear in opposing defenses. His addition will help open things up in the running game, as well as draw double-teams away from Johnson.

    Houston focused most of its resources this past offseason on upgrading the defense, now it's time to bring a little more firepower to the offense.

No. 28 San Francisco 49ers

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    Ideal Pick: Alfonzo Dennard, Cornerback—Nebraska

    The San Francisco 49ers have found success thanks to their defense, which is now among the league's elite. However, this unit could use an upgrade at the cornerback position. Tarrel Brown is better suited in a nickel role or on the bench.

    Nebraska's Alfonzo Dennard possesses the toughness and football IQ needed to fit on this 49ers team.

    Coach Jim Harbaugh wants physically and mentally tough players who want to win. Dennard's ability to play bump-and-run coverage makes him a great fit for this defensive system.

    An upgrade at the cornerback position will allow the 49ers to be more aggressive with their pass rush. This aggressive style will put more pressure on the quarterback and provide more opportunities for interceptions.

No. 29 New England Patriots (from NO)

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    Ideal Pick: Courtney Upshaw, Outside Linebacker—Alabama

    It is time for the New England Patriots and Bill Belichick to take a risk and move up in the draft. This defense needs elite talent, not just a collection of late first-round players.

    Belichick's recent history with second-round selections should sway the organization into making a bold move.

    The recent questionable picks of Ron Brace, Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley all make you question the Patriots' strategy. Alabama's Courtney Upshaw cannot be had this late in the draft, but he would still be a perfect fit for this New England defense.

    If New England packages its two first-round picks, it can move up and be in range to select Upshaw.

    Upshaw's versatility and playmaking ability is what makes him worthy of the risk. He is a perfect fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker, as he possesses the ability to stack and shed and create pressure.

No. 30 New England Patriots

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    Ideal Pick: Mark Barron, Safety—Alabama

    The New England Patriots secondary has been an issue all season, ranking as one of the worst in the entire NFL. A lot of the issues come at the safety position, where injuries and inconsistent play haunted them all season long.

    Adding a prospect like Alabama's Mark Barron could potentially have a major impact on this defense.

    Barron is a versatile player who does a good job against the run and in deep coverage. His wide range of skills will be utilized by the bright mind of Bill Belichick. The Patriots defense was at its best when it had safeties like Rodney Harrison striking fear into the opposing offense.

    As I mentioned earlier, the New England Patriots should package this pick with their other first-rounder and move up to get a more impact player.

    However, if they stay put, Barron would be a great addition.

No. 31 Green Bay Packers

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    Ideal Pick: Whitney Mercilus, Defensive End/Linebacker—Illinois

    The Green Bay Packers defense has taken a step back this season and is nowhere near the unit we saw in last year's Super Bowl. One of the biggest concerns has been a drop in production by Clay Matthews.

    This drop has a lot to do with the added attention and double-teams.

    Adding a top-notch pass rusher like Illinois' Whitney Mercilus will help draw attention away from Matthews and increase the Packers' pass rush. Mercilus doesn't have a set position, but he has the ability and quickness to transition to outside linebacker.

    It's a lot to ask Matthews to duplicate last season's production, which means next year, the defense is going to have to make improvements.

No. 32 Baltimore Ravens

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    Ideal Pick: Vontaze Burfict, Linebacker—Arizona State

    Ray Lewis is approaching the end of his career, and a long-term replacement isn't currently on the roster. The Baltimore Ravens would be wise to select an athletic linebacker to be mentored by Lewis.

    Arizona State's Vontaze Burfict has the attitude, toughness and athletic ability to step in and help lessen the eventual loss of Lewis.

    The Ravens could potentially get two or three more seasons out of Ray Lewis, but he's not going to be able to play forever.

    Over the years, Baltimore's success has come from its ability to field an intimidating defense. Removing a leader like Ray Lewis takes the bite out of this unit.

    However, Burfict possesses the same intensity and nastiness, which could make for an easy transition.