The 2012 NFL Draft is quickly approaching. The Scouting Combine will be held next month followed by pro days from various players.
This is Mock Draft No. 1 for me. All subject will most likely change between now and April 27.
Aside from Andrew Luck to the Colts, this draft could go many different ways. This is how I see it shaping up, in the first round.
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is supposed to be the first can't miss pick since...Peyton Manning. How ironic is it that one successful collegiate legend replaces another one.
This is a no-brainer. The Colts are going through a complete roster overhaul and Luck will be the new face of this franchise.
The Rams have gone in a different direction with new Head Coach Jeff Fisher. To start with he has a franchise quarterback and running back. Fisher likes to run efficient smash mouth football. To do that you will need a bookend left tackle. Matt Kalil is the best in the draft at his position, and will provide stability that has been missing there since Orlando Pace.
Leslie Frazier's Vikings had a tough 2011 season. The McNabb experiment was a disaster, and Christian Ponder was erratic as a rookie. Adrian Peterson will be coming off an injury, which leaves the offense in further disarray.
Still the defensive-minded coach will go with the playmaker from LSU, Morris Claiborne. Claiborne is similar to his former teammate Patrick Peterson, who came on strong last year for Arizona. The Vikings have long been without a strong presence in the secondary; here is their answer.
This could be the first surprise of the draft.
Mike Holmgren and the Cleveland Browns are at a crossroads. Do they stick with Colt McCoy, and continue to build around him or get another quarterback? Justin Blackmon could fit here and do for Colt what A.J. Green did for Andy Dalton last year.
With that said, Holmgren will not let the chance to draft an exciting player who would play well within their system, while at the same time excite their fanbase. Robert Griffin III in Cleveland will be a star from day one.
The Bucs took a major step back last season and it cost Raheem Morris his job.
There were major problems on both sides of the ball, and quarterback Josh Freeman regressed in his development. It is time to get him back on track.
Yes they need a running back but the NFL has proven those guys come a dime a dozen. No need to spend a top-five pick on one. Instead you get a stud wide receiver, Justin Blackmon who will put a smile on Freeman's face for years to come.
Mike Shanahan is on the hot seat.
He has thoroughly mismanaged the quarterback situation and I fully expect them to address that this offseason. I just don't see it happening at the sixth pick in the draft.
Ryan Tannehill will be tempting but I expect the Redskins to look more towards free agency for a quarterback, maybe taking a look at Matt Flynn.
For the Redskins—if they chose to go that direction—what better way to entice a free agent quarterback than with a young left tackle to protect him. Riley Reiff is as solid as it gets and will be a great choice for the Skins.
The Jaguars need a lot of things. Blaine Gabbert was often running for dear life last season, so an offensive tackle would be a good fit right here. However, a stud pass rusher might be a more viable option.
Quinton Coples has the "potential" scouts just drool over. His showing was one of the best at the Senior Bowl and helped solidify him as top-10 pick.
The Panthers were fun to watch last season with the great play of rookie sensation Cam Newton. The offense put up plenty of points but the team still finished with a poor record.
The defense gave up way too many points and leads in late games. Ron Rivera is a defensive guy; look for him to set the tone with the physically gifted Michael Brockers.
Did you watch the National Championship Game? I know only a few did.
Philbin saw a star linebacker in Clay Matthews every day, who has done wonders for the Packers. Upshaw is a player in the same mold. Look for Philbin to use Upshaw in the same way as the Packers did with Matthews.
Well, the Bills paid quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick a large sum after the hot start he had. Then the season went up in flames leading to people questioning the move.
What went under the radar, was the obscene amount of injures to the team's offensive line. Jonathan Martin kept Andrew Luck upright at Stanford this season; he can do the same for Fitzpatrick, in Buffalo.
Even before Jamaal Charles got hurt last this past year, the Chiefs were weary about his ability to hold up for the long term. Now, the front office must be on high alert as he continues to recover from early season ending knee surgery.
Trent Richardson can handle abuse the NFL hands out and would work very well with Charles when he comes back.
The Seahawks really need a quarterback but is Ryan Tannehill an immediate upgrade over their current QB situation? No.
Devon Still is an interchangeable defensive lineman, Pete Carroll would love. Look for him to make an immediate impact on the next level.
This isn't a sexy pick but it is the necessary one.
The Cardinals need to improve the inside of their offensive line. Beanie Wells, when healthy, has shown he can be the guy, and Kevin Kolb will have a full offseason to work with Larry Fitzgerald. All of that can come to fruition with security on the offensive line. David DeCastro provides just that.
You never know what Jerry Jones is going to do when he has a draft pick.
The Cowboys need a ton of help on the offensive line, but they will address that later in the draft. They also need help in the secondary, enter Dre Kirkpatrick.
Hold on, Juan Castillo is actually coming back as defensive coordinator next year? You better get him some help.
The team struggled last season to live up to expectations with their biggest hole being at the linebacker position. Luke Kuechly is the best middle linebacker in the draft. He is everything the Eagles need and more.
I was tempted to put Michael Floyd right here, but I think Rex Ryan is looking to stay away from wide receivers for a while. Santonio Holmes' contract will be difficult to get rid of, so I don't expect them to invest too much more in that position.
Instead, Ryan will get back to the basics and look for his next Ed Reed. Mark Barron is not Reed, but can still shine with the Jets.
Ever since Shawne Merriman's fall from grace the Chargers have been looking for a replacement. Larry English is a bust, so still they trudge on. Nick Perry has the flexibility to rush the passer with one hand in the ground or running off the edge. Here we go again...
New Bears general manager Phil Emery has a track record for loving big, talented wide receivers. Roddy White, Dwayne Bowe and Jonathan Baldwin were drafted during his tenures with the Falcons and Chiefs.
The Bears need a big target for Jay Cutler. Michael Floyd from Notre Dame would be a match made in heaven.
When a guy leads your team with only seven sacks, you know it's time to upgrade your pass rush. Ask Clemson what Melvin Ingram can do to the quarterback.
The Bengals have a solid offense and a bright future. All except for their 29-year-old free agent Cedric Benson. Time to move on; again those Hurricanes fit nicely in Cincinnati.
The Browns obviously need help in various places. Whitney Merciless is a very underrated talent at defensive end, who can be a solid starter right away for Cleveland.
Congrats to the Detroit Lions, you made it to the playoffs. Keep your quarterback upright and you have a great shot at doing it again. Come on down Mike Adams.
If Tim Tebow is going to sniff the playoffs again, he is going to need some help. Dwayne Allen is a big, athletic target who could do wonders for a quarterback with a funky motion. This pick is a must if the Broncos decide to go forward with Tebow.
For years Andre Johnson has been one of, if not the best wide receiver in the game. Injuries slowed him down last year, but also exposed a lack of depth at the position. Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones are not viable options alongside Johnson. Alshon Jeffery is a great talent who can learn a great deal from a star.
Okay, I know the man got to this year's Super Bowl. I know he is a genius and has multiple championships. However, if Bill Belichick does not draft a defensive player with his first three picks, it would be a travesty. The big pass rusher Fletcher Cox would be a great start.
Many things went wrong for the Packers in the playoffs but it is still not time to panic. They are still set on the offensive side on the ball. However, when you have more interceptions as a team than sacks, it might be time to go shopping for pass rushers. Jared Crick is a guy who fits the mold of the Green Bay Packers.
Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has already indicated he will look for the man to replace Ray Lewis in this year's draft. Not sure how you replace a hall-of-fame player and arguably the best player ever to play his position, but Vontaze Burfict is a talented middle linebacker with a ton of upside. He can learn as Ray's understudy for a season or two before taking over.
You made it to the NFC Championship game and were so close to a Super Bowl appearance. All you can really do is build upon your current talent and continue to go forward.
With that, they could use more depth at the cornerback position. Giants receiver Victor Cruz showed holes in the slot. Alfonzo Dennard could certainly help.
The Giants are back in the Super Bowl thanks to their strong defensive line, athletic wide receivers and the stellar play of Eli Manning.
Adding depth is always important for good teams, adding somebody who can protect your franchise quarterback is even more key. Cordy Glenn is a strong inside offensive lineman who can start for the Giants right away.
Defense! Actually, Brandon Boykin is a Patriots guy. We have seen this jack of all trades return punts and play some offense, in addition to his primary duties as a cornerback. Somewhere, Julian Edelman is scared.