The 2011 NFL season is coming to a close and soon a 31st team will join the other 30 disappointed franchises.
There is a lot of talent in this draft and the elephant in the room of what is going to happen to current Colts QB Peyton Manning.
Find out what each team will do and where Manning will end up in my complete first round mock of the 2012 NFL draft including trades.
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
This is the most obvious choice since the Colts have made it no secret that they plan to take Andrew Luck with the first overall pick.
The Colts have been spoiled with the great play of Peyton Manning and found out just how good the rest of the team was without him in 2011.
Although Luck will not fix every problem this team has, he is the consensus No. 1 quarterback and can’t-miss prospect in the draft.
Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
There has been speculation that the Dolphins do not plan to re-sign Long. A trade would enable Miami to get something for the former first overall pick and still land their franchise quarterback.
Matt Moore did a decent job for the Dolphins this year, but he is not the answer. Robert Griffin III has seen his stock skyrocket this season culminating in a Heisman Trophy.
Matt Kalil, OT, USC
The Minnesota Vikings sit in a perfect spot here because they have a lot of good pieces already and have the best OT in the draft fall right to them at pick three.
The team needs to be able to protect Christian Ponder and open up holes for Adrian Peterson in the run game.
Kalil is the type of player who could start from day one at LT for a Vikings team that allowed 49 sacks in 2011.
Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
The Browns could address the quarterback situation later in the draft; however, right now they are ecstatic that Blackmon fell to them here.
Blackmon would immediately become the top offensive threat for the Browns and would give them a legitimate target in the passing game.
Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers really took a big step back in 2011, although all of that young talent is still there and the future is still bright for this team.
Ronde Barber, who is 36, cannot play forever and there is no telling what is going to happen with Aqib Talib, who is dealing with both injuries and off-the-field problems.
Morris Claiborne is a big, physical corner with great coverage skills and will help a Buccaneers defense that finished 21st against the pass in 2011.
Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
The Washington Redskins lost out on the Robert Griffin III sweepstakes, so I see them trading out of this pick with the Rams who already got their franchise LT in their trade with the Dolphins.
Michael Floyd will bring a great red-zone threat to an offense that has had to rely totally on running back Steven Jackson over the years.
Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
The Jacksonville Jaguars really need a receiver for Blaine Gabbert. However, there is no way they take one here with both Justin Blackmon and Michael Floyd off the board.
The Jaguars' defense finished sixth in the league in total yards allowed and yet they only accumulated 31 sacks over the season.
Quinton Coples is the best pass-rushing 4-3 end in the draft and is a talent that the Jaguars cannot pass up here at pick seven.
Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Even though the Carolina Panthers looked much improved in 2011, they still have a lot of needs, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
After finishing the season 28th overall in defense I really think the Panthers are hoping Morris Claiborne falls to them here. They could also end up going with Dre Kirkpatrick.
But I see Kirkpatrick falling right now, and Michael Brockers has the explosiveness to help out the Panthers' defensive line.
Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
This pick has changed hands a few times from the Dolphins to the Rams to the Redskins and ultimately to the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts trade Peyton Manning to the Washington Redskins for a lot of picks, and after getting their next franchise quarterback in Andrew Luck they now need to protect him.
Riley Reiff would pair with last year’s first round pick Anthony Castonzo and allow the team to move Ben Ijalana to guard while helping to protect the No.1 overall pick.
Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
The Buffalo Bills were a great story in 2011 and could use this pick on the defensive side of the ball to help a pass-rush that tied for 27th in the league.
Courtney Upshaw would be the pick for me then here. However, I have them upgrading the offensive line with Jonathan Martin.
The Bills actually gave up a league-low 23 sacks this season and Martin would help this offense continue to develop.
Devon Still, DT, Penn State
Even though the Chiefs got destroyed by injuries in 2011, Scott Pioli has done a great job of accumulating talent on this team.
If either Jonathan Martin or Riley Reiff falls to this spot, I definitely think the Chiefs will look to upgrade the offensive line. But with both gone in my mock, Devon Still is the pick.
Still is versatile enough to fit into any defensive scheme and the Chiefs need him to strengthen a run defense that ranked 26th in 2011.
Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
The Seattle Seahawks could decide to trade out of this spot to try and get a quarterback or go for a pass-rusher. However, I see Pete Carroll jumping at the shot to take Richardson.
Trent Richardson is universally known as a top-five talent in this draft and only slides due to teams ahead of the Seahawks having greater needs than running back.
Marshawn Lynch is a free agent, and even if he is brought back Richardson is too good of a value to pass up here at 12 for the Seahawks.
David DeCastro, G, Stanford
Courtney Upshaw could be the pick here for the Cardinals to bring some pass-rush, since their leading sack guy was Calais Campbell with eight.
In the end, though, I see the Cardinals upgrading an offensive line that gave up the second most sacks in the league with 54.
The Cardinals would really love if either Jonathan Martin or Riley Reiff are available here; however, David DeCastro is the best interior lineman in the draft and will start on day one for them.
Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
The Cowboys need some help on the defensive side of the ball and they could go for a guy to pair with DeMarcus Ware in the pass-rush.
I really feel, though, that they need to get some help in the secondary, and they could cut ties with Terence Newman this offseason.
Janoris Jenkins’ stock is going to rise and Jerry Jones is the type of owner that does not care about a player’s off-the-field problems.
Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
The Philadelphia Eagles were probably the most hyped and definitely one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL last season.
I would not be surprised to see the Eagles take a receiver in the first round or even another offensive lineman to protect Michael Vick.
That being said, I would be shocked if Luke Kuechly is there and the Eagles do not take him, because middle linebacker was a huge problem last season.
Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
The Jets have a lot of holes on this team and could go with a receiver, running back, safety or linebacker here.
There are guys like CB Dre Kirkpatrick, S Mark Barron, RB Lamar Miller and WR Alshon Jeffery left. However, I see the Jets going with the best pass-rusher available in Courtney Upshaw.
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
The Cincinnati Bengals have done a pretty good job of stockpiling talent on both sides of the ball. However, they suffered from losing CB Jonathan Joseph to free agency this season.
Things got even worse when they lost CB Leon Hall in Week 9 for the season, and yet the defense still finished ninth against the pass.
Dre Kirkpatrick has been projected to go higher than this, but I really see him dropping a bit due to Janoris Jenkins rising and other teams having greater needs.
Cordy Glenn, G/OT, Georgia
Phillip Rivers did throw for over 4,500 yards this season, yet he also threw 20 interceptions and looked like he was off at times.
The answer could be to draft Alshon Jeffery here to give Rivers another target in the passing game, or to take a pass-rusher like Melvin Ingram.
The truth is that Rivers still threw for that many yards with the receivers they had, and I see the team upgrading the offensive line with Cordy Glenn to give him even more time to sit back and throw.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
That being said, the line did play better towards the end of the season and they do have injured players coming back next year.
The Bears have a lot of smaller, faster receivers and the team finally drafts a big No. 1 guy for Jay Cutler in Alshon Jeffery.
Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
Chris Johnson may have ended up with over 1,000 rushing yards, but anyone would tell you he had a terrible season.
I do not think Johnson will struggle like that next year, and if someone falls I think the Titans would take an offensive lineman to help open up holes for him.
If no one falls here, then the Titans will take a pass-rusher to help a defense that finished 31st in the league with only 28 sacks.
Lamar Miller, RB, Miami (FL)
The Cincinnati Bengals upgraded the defense with their first pick and now they strengthen an already young and improving offense.
The Bengals could also decide to continue to amass more talent on the defensive side of the ball here with guys like DT Dontari Poe or OLB Melvin Ingram.
Cedric Benson may or may not be back with the team, and Lamar Miller will give Andy Dalton the ability to play-action to A.J. Green down the field more.
Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State
This pick could very well be a quarterback, although I am not ready to give up on Colt McCoy, especially now that the Browns have Justin Blackmon at receiver for him.
Alfonzo Dennard could be the pick here to pair with Joe Haden in the secondary. However, I think Vontaze Burfict could change this defense.
Inside linebacker may not be the Browns' biggest need, but Burfict brings an attitude with his game which the Browns could really use.
Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
I think the Detroit Lions would love to bring in another attitude type of player like Vontaze Burfict to go along with Ndamukong Suh.
With Burfict gone, though, the Lions look to upgrade a secondary that played surprisingly well at times but finished 22nd against the pass.
It would be great if guys like Chris Houston and Alphonso Smith continued to develop; however, Alfonzo Dennard would just add to an already improving defense.
Mark Barron, S, Alabama
This would be a dream scenario to me for the Steelers because Mark Barron is the best safety in the draft and may go a lot higher than this.
The Steelers have one of the best pair of safeties in Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu. However, they are 32 and 30 respectively and the team does not have a true heir to either on the roster.
Safety may not necessarily be the most glaring need for the Steelers, but there’s no way the team passes up on Barron if he falls this far.
Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
Don’t get me wrong, I actually really like Tim Tebow and for a while I thought that the Broncos would use this pick on a tight end like Coby Fleener or Dwayne Allen to give him more weapons in the passing game.
I decided to go with Fletcher Cox because I think they can get a quality TE later in the draft. They should take the opportunity here to upgrade a defense that was much improved in 2011.
Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
The Houston Texans finally made their first playoff appearance this season after years of accumulating talent on both sides of the ball.
The defense finally came around this season. On offense, however, Andre Johnson is 30 and coming off an injury-plagued season. The team could use some youth at the position.
Kendall Wright has great hands and speed, and he would be a perfect fit here to go along with Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter.
Andre Branch, OLB, Clemson
The only way I could see the New England Patriots not going with a defensive player here is if they really like a receiver at this point.
The struggles that the Patriots' defense has endured this season have been well-documented. New England could use anything to improve the 31st ranked defense in the NFL.
The Patriots had two players amass 10 sacks this season. However, I still see them taking a pass-rusher in Andre Branch here.
Nick Perry, OLB, USC
Although the Packers had a great season record wise, they finished 27th in rushing and 32nd in passing defense.
The defense led the league in interceptions with 31 yet finished tied for 27th in sacks, which is why they go with a pass-rusher in Nick Perry at pick 28.
Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
That being said, the Ravens’ offensive line needs to be addressed with C Matt Birk now 35 and G Ben Grubbs a free agent.
They could decide to retain Grubbs; however, they have no true heir to Birk on the roster and Peter Konz is the best center in the draft.
Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
Jim Harbaugh got more than anyone could have possibly thought was possible from QB Alex Smith this season.
Mohamed Sanu has decent size with great hands and would help in the continuing development of Smith at the quarterback position.
Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
I know the Patriots always trade at least one of their first rounders; however, I honestly think this could possibly be the year that the Patriots actually use both of their first-round picks.
Even though the defense has played better in the postseason, it was terrible during the regular season and needs to be upgraded.
Defensive tackle is not the most pressing need; however, Vince Wilfork is now 30 and Dontari Poe could sit and develop behind him for a while.
Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State
I would not be shocked to see the Giants cut Brandon Jacobs and take a running back here, a tight end or even ILB Dont’a Hightower.
Adding Zebrie Sanders will upgrade this line and help protect Manning, while also opening up some holes for the league's worst ranked rush attack.