2012 NFL Mock Draft: Mocking the First Round with Analysis

Gordon BlockContributor IIIFebruary 24, 2012

2012 NFL Mock Draft: Mocking the First Round with Analysis

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    We're only a few months from the NFL Draft, and now is as good a time as ever to bring another mock draft of the first round.

    In addition to making each team's pick, this list will also show why the decision could be a boom or a bust. The draft order is as up to date as possible, without speculation on draft day trades.   

    This mock draft will also include the comparable first-round picks from mock drafts made by B/R's own Matt Miller, Mel Kiper of ESPN, Don Banks of Sports Illustrated and the National Football Post's Wes Bunting.

    Here is another look into how the first round of the draft may play out.

1) Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB (Stanford)

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    Team positional needs: QB, OL, WR

    Why this pick makes sense: Andrew Luck has been the best quarterback prospect for several years in a row. He has a great combination of athleticism and intelligence on the field.

    While no draft pick is a lock to be successful, this is about as close as the Indianapolis Colts can get.

    Why this pick may backfire: The drafting of Luck may pretty much end Peyton Manning's time in Indianapolis (if the slow recovery time from his neck injuries hasn't resolved that already).

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Andrew Luck, QB (Stanford)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Andrew Luck, QB (Stanford)

    Don Banks (SI): Andrew Luck, QB (Stanford)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Andrew Luck, QB (Stanford)

2) St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon, WR (Oklahoma St.)

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    Team positional needs: WR, CB, OL, DL

    Why this pick makes sense: The St. Louis Rams desperately need a playmaking receiver to help quarterback Sam Bradford, especially as the team could lose Brandon Lloyd in free agency.

    Why this pick may backfire:  The Rams may want more picks to fill their wide-spanning needs. They could get that kind of help by trading the spot away to the Cleveland Browns or the Washington Redskins. However, if done correctly, they may still be able to get in position to get Blackmon while trading the pick. 

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Washington Redskins trade up, take Robert Griffin III, QB (Baylor)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Justin Blackmon, WR (Oklahoma St.)

    Don Banks (SI): Cleveland Browns trade up, take Robert Griffin III, QB (Baylor)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Matt Kalil, OT (University of Southern California)

3) Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT (University of Southern California)

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    Team positional needs: OL, CB, WR

    Why this pick makes sense: The Minnesota Vikings desperately need support at offensive line to support quarterback Christian Ponder. Matt Kalil could be a solid contributor for a decade or more, with great size and an ability to block in both passing and rushing situations.

    Why this pick may backfire: It may not be the sexiest pick in the draft. Fans might like to see the team trade down to add picks and go after a wide receiver. 

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Matt Kalil, OT (University of Southern California) 

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Matt Kalil, OT (University of Southern California)

    Don Banks (SI): Matt Kalil, OT (University of Southern California)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Justin Blackmon, WR (Oklahoma St.)

4) Cleveland Browns: Robert Griffin III, QB (Baylor)

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    Team positional needs: QB, WR, RB, CB

    Why this pick makes sense: Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III is a tremendous quarterback, a 1-B option to the 1-A option of Andrew Luck. He's a tremendous athlete and a smart player with a great character. This is a guy that could be the face of the Browns' rise.

    Why this pick may backfire: It's tough to see Griffin falling this far. Several teams, including the Washington Redskins, may move up to try to grab him. The Browns may have to use their 22nd pick in a deal with either Minnesota or St. Louis to move up.

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Trent Richardson, RB (Alabama)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Robert Griffin III, QB (Baylor)

    Don Banks (SI): St. Louis Rams select Justin Blackmon, WR (Oklahoma St.)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Robert Griffin III, QB (Baylor)

5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trent Richardson, RB (Alabama)

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    Team positional needs: CB, RB, LB

    Why this pick makes sense: Trent Richardson is a tremendous talent. The Buccaneers could take advantage of him by pairing up with their more physical back, Legarrette Blount. 

    Why this pick may backfire: Ronde Barber is ancient. Aqib Talib is erratic. Cornerback is a position requiring attention now.

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Morris Claiborne, CB (LSU)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Trent Richardson, RB (Alabama)

    Don Banks (SI): Trent Richardson, RB (Alabama)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Trent Richardson, RB (Alabama)

6) Washington Redskins: Morris Claiborne, CB (LSU)

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    Team positional needs: QB, CB, WR

    Why this pick makes sense: You can't have too many good cornerbacks. LSU's Morris Claiborne is the gold standard at the position for this draft class.

    Why this pick may backfire: Quarterback is a much more important position for this team. With the right trade partner, they may consider moving down, grabbing either Ryan Tannehill or Brandon Weeden.

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): St. Louis Rams pick Michael Brockers, DT (LSU)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Morris Claiborne, CB (LSU)

    Don Banks (SI): Morris Claiborne, CB (LSU)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Morris Claiborne, CB (LSU)

7) Jacksonville Jaguars: Quinton Coples, DE (North Carolina)

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    Team positional needs: WR, CB, DE, LB

    Why this pick makes sense: Coples, with his great size, speed and athleticism, would fit a major need for the Jaguars. 

    Why this pick may backfire: Are we getting fooled by his awesome Senior Week performance?

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Quinton Coples, DE (North Carolina)

    Don Banks (SI): Dre Kirkpatrick, CB (Alabama)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Quinton Coples, DE (North Carolina)

8) Miami Dolphins, Riley Reiff, OT (Iowa)

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    Team positional needs: QB, OL, DE

    Why this pick makes sense: Reiff would help stabilize the line and help when they pursue a new quarterback in free agency.  

    Why this pick may backfire:  The Dolphins may want to add some defensive line talent to help in their shift to the 3-4 scheme, plus several good quarterbacks are still on the board.

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Carolina Panthers select Justin Blackmon, WR (Oklahoma St.)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Riley Reiff, OT (Iowa)

    Don Banks (SI): Riley Reiff, OT (Iowa)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

9) Carolina Panthers: Michael Brockers, DT (LSU)

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    (Pick may flip with Miami Dolphins)

    Team positional needs: DL, CB, WR

    Why this pick makes sense: The Carolina Panthers are in desperate need of some pressure toward the middle of the defense. Michael Brockers fits well in their 4-3 system.

    Why this pick may backfire: He will need some time to fully develop the technique necessary for the pro game.

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Miami Dolphins select Nick Perry, DE (University of Southern California)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Michael Brockers, DT (LSU)

    Don Banks (SI): Michael Brockers, DT (LSU)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Devon Still, DT (Penn State)

10) Buffalo Bills: Luke Kuechly, LB (Boston College)

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    Team positional needs: DE, LB, OL

    Why this pick makes sense: He's a great tackler with solid instincts and can shed opposing blockers with ease.

    Why this pick may backfire: If the Bills want to go with a linebacker, they may be more interested in the slightly larger Courtney Upshaw.

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Melvin Ingram, DE (South Carolina)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Courtney Upshaw, LB (Alabama)

    Don Banks (SI): Quinton Coples, DE (North Carolina) 

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Michael Brockers, DT (LSU)

11) Kansas City Chiefs: Jonathan Martin, OT (Stanford)

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    Team positional needs: OL, LB, NT

    Why this pick makes sense: Right offensive tackle is an immediate need. Jonathan Martin has the necessary size and athleticism, and his time at Stanford should make him ready to handle a pro-style offense.

    Why this pick may backfire: They may find better value going for defensive talent at this stage in the draft.

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): David DeCastro, OG (Stanford)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Luke Kuechly, LB (Boston College)

    Don Banks (SI): Jonathan Martin, OT (Stanford)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Mike Adams, OT (Ohio State)

12) Seattle Seahawks: Melvin Ingram, DE (South Carolina)

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    Team positional needs: OL, LB, QB

    Why this pick makes sense: This team needs a pash-rusher badly. Really badly. Melvin Ingram's the best talent left on the board for the position.

    Why this pick may backfire: Tarvaris Jackson is still the starting quarterback. They may want to go after a passer in the second or third round.

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Lamar Miller, RB (Miami (FL))

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Melvin Ingram, DE (South Carolina)

    Don Banks (SI): Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Nick Perry, DE/OLB (University of Southern California)

13) Arizona Cardinals: Mike Adams, OT (Ohio State)

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    Team positional needs: OL, DE, LB

    Why this pick makes sense: The Arizona Cardinals could be close to challenging, but need some extra protection for QB Kevin Kolb. They haven't selected an offensive lineman earlier than the fifth round since 2007.  

    Why this pick may backfire: They also need some depth on the defensive side of the ball and found a lot of success drafting cornerback Patrick Peterson high in last year's draft.

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Jonathan Martin, OT (Stanford)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Jonathan Martin, OT (Stanford)

    Don Banks (SI): Courtney Upshaw, LB (Alabama)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Riley Reiff, OT (Iowa)

14) Dallas Cowboys: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB (Alabama)

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    Team positional needs: The defense, OL 

    Why this pick makes sense: Kirkpatrick has great size (with speed to match) and would fill an immediate need on the Cowboys roster.

    Why this pick may backfire: The Cowboys may prefer a center (like Wisconsin's Peter Konz) to replace the poorly rated Phil Costa.

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Quinton Coples, DE (UNC)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Mark Barron, S (Alabama)

    Don Banks (SI): Stephon Gilmore, CB (South Carolina)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Dre Kirkpatrick, CB (Alabama)

15) Philadelphia Eagles: Dont'a Hightower, ILB (Alabama)

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    Team positional needs: LB, OL, S

    Why this pick makes sense: The Eagles' Achilles' heel last season was at linebacker. Hightower will be a consistent presence for the unit.

    Why this pick may backfire: Wide receiver may become a need depending on the free agency status of DeSean Jackson.

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Dont'a Hightower, ILB (Alabama)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Fletcher Cox, DT (Mississippi St.)

    Don Banks (SI): Luke Kuechly, LB (Boston College)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Luke Kuechly, LB (Boston College)

16) New York Jets: David DeCastro, OG (Stanford)

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    Team positional needs: OL, DE, WR

    Why this pick makes sense: With the Jets looking to run more in 2012-13, David DeCastro's is well prepared to block adequately in the run game.

    Why this pick may backfire: Jets could get more value in putting talent on the defensive side.

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Courtney Upshaw, OLB (Alabama)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Cordy Glenn, G/T (Georgia)

    Don Banks (SI): Melvin Ingram, DE (South Carolina)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): David DeCastro, OG (Stanford)

17) Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland Raiders): Cordy Glenn, G/T (Georgia)

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    Team positional needs: CB, OL, WR

    Why this pick makes sense: Bengals could use some extra offensive line depth, and Cordy Glenn is versatile enough to play well at both guard and tackle.

    Why this pick may backfire: It might be a bit of a reach, especially with some of the secondary talent still on the board.

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Stephon Gilmore, CB (South Carolina)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Dre Kirkpatrick, CB (Alabama)

    Don Banks (SI): David DeCastro, OG (Stanford)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Janoris Jenkins, CB (North Alabama)

18) San Diego Chargers: Michael Floyd, WR (Notre Dame)

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    Team positional needs: OL, WR, LB

    Why this pick makes sense: Vincent Jackson may be heading out of town, so San Diego will need a play-making receiver to take his place in the lineup. Floyd is the best value at this part of the draft.

    Why this pick may backfire: If Jackson is re-signed, the Chargers will likely look at its defensive needs. They could even go for a non-need position like cornerback or safety given the talent left on this board.

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R):  Riley Reiff, OT (Iowa)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Michael Floyd, WR (Notre Dame)

    Don Banks (SI): Kendall Wright, WR (Baylor)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Courtney Upshaw, OLB (Alabama)

19) Chicago Bears: Kendall Wright, WR (Baylor)

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    Team positional needs: WR, OL, TE

    Why this pick makes sense: The Chicago Bears will be disappointed to see Michael Floyd go off the board, but they get a great value instead with Kendall Wright. 

    Why this pick may backfire: They need help at offensive line badly to protect quarterback Jay Cutler. If guys go as quickly as in this draft, they may need to trade up to grab somebody.

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Michael Floyd, WR (Notre Dame)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Mike Adams, OT (Ohio State)

    Don Banks (SI): Michael Floyd, WR (Notre Dame)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Michael Floyd, WR (Notre Dame)

20) Tennessee Titans: Nick Perry, DE/OLB (University of Southern California)

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    Team positional needs: DL, OL, CB

    Why this pick makes sense: The Tennessee Titans are in desperate need of help in their pass rush, and they'll be doing cartwheels in the streets in Nick Perry is still available at this point.

    Why this pick may backfire: They might want some more help on offensive line to help out quarterback Jake Locker into year two (although there isn't great value for offensive lineman at this point).

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Whitney Mercilus, DE (Illinois)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Whitney Mercilus, DE (Illinois)

    Don Banks (SI): Dontari Poe, DT (Memphis)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Dontari Poe, DT (Memphis)

21) Cincinnati Bengals: Janoris Jenkins, CB (North Alabama)

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    Team positional needs: CB, OL, WR

    Why this pick makes sense: Janoris Jenkins may have some character questions, but the Cincinnati Bengals have no issues with taking players with baggage. If Jenkins can stay out of trouble, he can be an immediate contributor to a team on the rise.

    Why this pick may backfire: If they grab another wide receiver, it could be a great pairing to go with last year's first-rounder A.J. Green, and another option for quarterback Andy Dalton. 

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Chris Polk, RB (Washington)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): David DeCastro, OG (Stanford)

    Don Banks (SI): Janoris Jenkins, CB (North Alabama)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Cordy Glenn, G/T (Georgia)

22) Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta Falcons): Alshon Jeffrey, WR (South Carolina)

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    Team positional needs: QB, WR, RB, CB

    Why this pick makes sense: If the Browns want to grab a wide receiver to pair up with Robert Griffin III, Jeffery is the best one left on the board.

    Why this pick may backfire: There may be some better value at running back and cornerback at this stage.

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Kendall Wright, WR (Baylor)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Kendall Wright, WR (Baylor)

    Don Banks (SI): St. Louis Rams, after trade with Cleveland, pick Cordy Glenn, OL (Georgia)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Kendall Wright, WR (Baylor)

23) Detroit Lions: Mark Barron, S (Alabama)

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    Team positional needs: Defensive secondary, LB, OL

    Why this pick makes sense: For the Detroit Lions, the possibility of a secondary that can come close to its defensive line is a scary prospect—for opposing offenses. Mark Barron could be a solid addition of talent.

    Why this pick may backfire: The direct need is at the offensive line.

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Janoris Jenkins, CB (North Alabama)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Janoris Jenkins, CB (North Alabama)

    Don Banks (SI): Mike Adams, OT (Ohio State)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Jonathan Martin, OT (Stanford)

24) Pittsburgh Steelers: Dontari Poe, DT (Memphis)

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    Team positional needs: DL, OL, LB

    Why this pick makes sense: After their embarrassing exit in the Wild Card round, the Pittsburgh Steelers need youth on their defensive line. Dontari Poe could be the perfect fit. 

    Why this pick may backfire: Offensive line could be a bigger need, and they have found success on the line in the past several years of drafting.

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Cordy Glenn, G/T (Georgia)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Dontari Poe, DT (Memphis)

    Don Banks (SI): Devon Still, DT (Penn State)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Peter Konz, C (Wisconsin)

25) Denver Broncos: Devon Still, DT (Penn State)

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    Team positional needs: DT, CB, WR

    Why this pick makes sense: The Denver Broncos' defense took major steps in 2011, and with some extra talent at the defensive line, they could have a scary unit on their hands.

    Why this pick may backfire: The defensive secondary is kind of thin behind (putting it nicely) veteran Champ Bailey. Bailey's still good, but how long will he be able to last?

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Fletcher Cox, DT (Mississippi St.)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Devon Still, DT (Penn State)

    Don Banks (SI): Jerel Worthy, DT (Michigan St.)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Alameda Ta'amu, DT (Washington)

26) Houston Texans: Rueben Randle, WR (LSU)

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    Team positional needs: WR, DT, OL

    Why this pick makes sense: Another big receiver to pair with Andre Johnson? No matter who lines up for quarterback for the Houston Texans, this team will be able to move the ball through the air.

    Why this pick may backfire: It might be a bit of a reach, especially with some of the defensive line talent on the board, like Mel Kiper's suggestion of Jerel Worthy. 

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Dontari Poe, DT (Memphis)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Jerel Worthy, DT (Michigan St.)

    Don Banks (SI): Rueben Randle, WR (LSU)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Stephen Hill, WR (Georgia Tech)

27) New England Patriots (from Saints): Fletcher Cox, DT (Mississippi St.)

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    Team positional needs: WR, DT, DE, CB

    Why this pick makes sense: Patriots could use plenty of pass-rush support, and Fletcher Cox is versatile in his placement in a defensive formation. If Bill Belichick values any skill, it's versatility. 

    Why this pick may backfire: They might like some CB support, and there's plenty of talent there if they want to go in that direction.

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Peter Konz, C (Wisconsin)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Vinny Curry, OLB (Marshall)

    Don Banks (SI): Fletcher Cox, DT (Mississippi St.)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Fletcher Cox, DT (Mississippi St.)

28) Green Bay Packers: Whitney Mercilus, DE (Illinois)

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    Team positional needs: DL, OL, S

    Why this pick makes sense: The Packers could do well with some extra pass rush, and while his skills could use some fine tuning, he has the potential to be a regular contributor.

    Why this pick may backfire: Given their playoff exit, they may want to grab a wide receiver who can hold on to a pass.

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Vinny Curry, OLB (Marshall)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Harrison Smith, S (Notre Dame)

    Don Banks (SI): Peter Konz, C (Wisconsin)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Melvin Ingram, OLB (South Carolina)

29) Baltimore Ravens: Peter Konz, C (Wisconsin)

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    Team positional needs: LB, S, OL

    Why this pick makes sense: Matt Birk will be 36. A new center needs to be groomed. This would be a dream for the Baltimore Ravens to see Peter Konz fall this far.

    Why this pick may backfire: The Ravens will need a linebacker of the future as well.

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Mike Adams, OT (Ohio State)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Peter Konz, C (Wisconsin)

    Don Banks (SI): Mark Barron, S (Alabama)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Dont'a Hightower, ILB (Alabama)

30) San Francisco 49ers: Mohamed Sanu, WR (Rutgers)

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    Team positional needs: WR, OL, CB

    Why this pick makes sense: Wide receiver is an area that needs depth, as the San Francisco 49ers look for somebody to catch passes who is not a tight end.

    Why this pick may backfire: They may want to grab an offensive lineman to add some depth to a line that showed some flaws last season. Cornerback may be an issue depending on the status of Carlos Rogers. 

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Kelechi Osemele, G (Iowa State)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Rueben Randle, WR (LSU)

    Don Banks (SI): Mohamed Sanu, WR (Rutgers)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Mohamed Sanu, WR (Rutgers)

31) New England Patriots: Vinny Curry, DE (Marshall)

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    Team positional needs: WR, DT, S, CB

    Why this pick makes sense: Vinny Curry has a nose for piling on sacks and can move across various defensive game plans. 

    Why this pick may backfire: This pick may be a reach for a guy who doesn't fill an immediate need.

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Mohamed Sanu, WR (Rutgers)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Kendall Reyes, DT (Connecticut)

    Don Banks (SI): Dont'a Hightower, ILB (Alabama)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Mark Barron, S (Alabama)

32) New York Giants: Coby Fleener, TE (Stanford)

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    Team positional needs: TE, DE, LB

    Why this pick makes sense: Both of the New York Giants' starting tight ends suffered ACL injuries in the Super Bowl. Their recovery time is uncertain. Coby Fleener has great size for a tight end and can catch passes.

    Why this pick may backfire: Tight ends can be overvalued at this part of the draft. 

    Mock Comparison: 

    Matt Miller (B/R): Orson Charles, TE (Georgia)

    Mel Kiper (ESPN): Dwayne Allen, TE (Clemson)

    Don Banks (SI): Coby Fleener, TE (Stanford)

    Wes Bunting (NFP): Coby Fleener, TE (Stanford)