2012 NFL Mock Draft: Predicting How the 1st and 2nd Rounds Will Shape Up
With the NFL Scouting Combine over and done, prospect rankings have been shaken up drastically. Lots of guys fell, lots of other guys climbed and with that, all we have left are pro days and NFL free agency until we have as clear a picture of the draft as we're going to get.
With these updated rankings, here is an updated, two-round mock draft which includes a few trades and a couple of surprises. Read on to see who your team picked up.
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
This pick shouldn't surprise anyone, so I'll be brief.
Andrew Luck is the closest to a sure thing that any quarterback has been in more than a decade. He's got the size, intelligence, athleticism, accuracy and intangibles to be a perennial Pro Bowler.
To sum it up briefly, Luck is such a good prospect that the Colts ran off a quarterback who led them to the playoffs for over a decade straight because they could get Luck.
The Colts are taking him here unless someone surprises them with an offer that's too good to pass up.
2. Cleveland Browns: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
I think the Browns will end up trading up for Robert Griffin III, despite reports that they'll consider looking for a signal-caller in free agency.
In this mock, I have them surrendering both of their first-round picks and trading spots with the Rams in the second round for the Griffin pick. It's a steep price, but well worth it for Griffin.
The Washington Redskins are willing to sell the farm for Griffin, apparently, but I think that might be smoke and mirrors. Furthermore, by trading with the Browns, the St. Louis Rams will assure that they'll pick up Justin Blackmon (spoiler!).
Griffin has unrivaled athleticism, is intelligent and has one of the best deep balls I've seen in a long time. Even though he comes from a spread offense, he has a ridiculous amount of raw talent to work with. He might be the guy that turns the Browns around.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Matt Kalil measured in a little shorter and heavier than he was listed, but everything else about him confirmed that he was everything you'd want in a franchise left tackle.
Kalil had a solid performance on the bench, repping the weight 30 times despite his nearly 35" arms. He also had a 40 time of just under five seconds and a 10-yard split time of 1.7 seconds (good enough for fourth among offensive linemen).
Besides his combine performance, he's got tons of great tape, excellent NFL bloodlines and, seemingly, a great attitude.
He'll anchor the Vikings line for the next decade.
4. St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
The Rams will want to protect Sam Bradford's blind side, but no tackle is worth taking here over Justin Blackmon.
Blackmon measured in a little shorter than advertised, but it doesn't matter. At 6'1" tall and 207 lbs, he's plenty big for the NFL. He also plays way bigger than that; in the 2010 matchup between Oklahoma State and Nebraska, he wore out first-round cornerback Prince Amukamara.
He also caught the bullet passes that Brandon Weeden threw to him consistently, so you know he has great hands. He ought to have no problem catching passes thrown by Bradford.
Blackmon is fast, physical and has great on-field production. There's no reason for the Rams to pass on him.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
The Buccanneers need a corner, and luckily for them, a corner happens to also be the best player available.
Morris Claiborne has been fantastic all year, and even though he didn't have a killer combine performance, it was good enough. He had a 40 time of 4.47 seconds, which isn't great, but isn't bad enough to really hurt his stock.
In the drills, he looked natural, relaxed and great. He's a No. 1 NFL corner if ever there was one.
With Ronde Barber getting old and Aqib Talib constantly being an off-the-field concern, the Buccaneers need new blood at corner. Claiborne will give them just that.
6. Washington Redskins: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
First big shocker of the draft. Michael Floyd surpassed Alshon Jeffery on most big boards a while ago, but he had a fantastic combine performance that boosted his stock.
The Redskins could consider Iowa tackle Riley Reiff, but taking a right tackle at No. 6 overall seems like a bit of a reach, positionally. They could also consider taking Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but I think they'll trade down for him if he's caught their eye.
The Redskins may land Peyton Manning, and if they do, they'll need to give him a better weapon than Santana Moss.
Floyd had been killer for Notre Dame all season; then he looked great in the combine drills. He also had good measureables: a solid 40 time (4.47 seconds), 10-yard split time (1.57 seconds) and great jumps (36.5" on the vertical, 10'3" on the broad).
Even with his preseason DUI, he's the No. 2 receiver on everyone's big boards now, and even though it's a bit of a reach, it's a good pick for the Redskins.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
The Jaguars' big needs are wide receiver, cornerback and defensive end. Gene Smith also rarely takes any player, anywhere, with character concerns, which eliminates players like Dre Kirkpatrick, Quinton Coples and Michael Floyd (were he available).
Given those limitations, I think the Jaguars will go with Melvin Ingram. Despite his short arms (31.5"), Ingram was a stud at the combine, and there's no way he'll fall past the Seahawks.
Ingram will instantly upgrade the Jaguars' poor pass rush, and since he seems to be a high-character, high-motor player, he's exactly what Smith looks for in draft picks.
8. Miami Dolphins: Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
The Dolphins are switching to a 4-3 defense, and so they'll need a good defensive end. The one with the highest ceiling is Quinton Coples.
Coples had a dominant combine performance, but that's not really news. His physical ability has never been in question; the problem is his work ethic.
Even with those questions there, Coples has Julius Peppers-like upside, and if he impresses any one team in interviews, he'll definitely be taken in the top 10.
9. Carolina Panthers: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
The Panthers have a very tough decision to make here: Dontari Poe or Fletcher Cox?
Poe was an absolute monster at the combine. He moved very well for someone who weighs in at 350 lbs, and he benched 225 lbs 44 times, more than any other player.
Cox, on the other hand, is the better fit in a 4-3 defense, especially since they already have Sione Fua playing 4-3 nose tackle pretty well. Cox also blew up the combine, so it's not like he's that much less a prospect.
Cox had 30 reps on the bench despite his long arms (34.5"). He looked fantastic in the drills and was much quicker than his 40 time (4.79 seconds) suggests.
The Panthers still have a hole at defensive tackle, and Cox will fill that hole just fine.
10. Buffalo Bills: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
The Bills, now that they're moving to a 4-3, could take a defensive end here, but I think Courtney Upshaw's low numbers on the bench and Wonderlic might have scared off a few teams. Instead, they take a franchise left tackle in Riley Reiff.
Reiff had an up-and-down combine performance; his measureables weren't great. He had shorter arms than expected (33.25") and didn't do great on the bench (23 reps).
None of those are bad, but if you're spending a top-10 pick on a player, they need to be better.
He helped himself, however, by looking good in the drills and by having a good 10-yard split time (1.71 seconds). Between those things, he neither hurt nor helped himself.
He's no Matt Kalil, but he'll do just fine as the Bills left tackle.
11. Kansas City Chiefs: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
The Chiefs could go one of two ways with this selection. They could grab a fantastic nose tackle in Dontari Poe (who I mentioned earlier), or they could grab Trent Richardson. I think they go with the latter option.
Since Jamaal Charles is coming off an ACL tear and is more of a speed back anyway, adding Richardson makes sense for the Chiefs. If Charles does come back at 100 percent, then the tandem of running backs will be one of the deadliest in the NFL.
Richardson is a powerful runner who can break tackles with the best of them. He can catch too, making him a possible receiving target as well.
12. Seattle Seahawks: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
The Seahawks really need a quarterback, but unless Pete Carroll really sees something in Ryan Tannehill that others don't, then they won't take him over Tarvaris Jackson. Instead, they take the best defensive player that makes sense for them in Michael Brockers.
Brockers had a bad combine, and that hurts his stock, but since he's still a developing player that switched from linebacker to defensive tackle just one year ago, his upside is tremendous.
Brockers is a monster, standing 6'5" and weighing in at 322 lbs. I think he'll be able to add plenty more muscle and power in the offseason. If nothing, he's still very quick for defensive tackle.
The Seahawks will also consider Nick Perry and Whitney Mercilus here, but I think they'll go with the defensive tackle position instead, unless Melvin Ingram is there.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
The Cardinals luck out by having a player fall to them that fills their biggest need. They'll owe Kevin Kolb a lot of money next season, so they need to do their best to keep him protected.
Jonathan Martin didn't participate in the combine drills because of food poisoning, but his weigh-in was about what was expected: 6'5" tall, 312 lbs and 34" arms. His stock remains unaffected.
Looking at his tape, Martin is a strong run-blocker and a very good pass-blocker. He projects more as a right tackle, but he could definitely make the move to the left side in time.
He was beaten a few times by Nick Perry in the USC game, but didn't give up any sacks to him. It's a big need for the Cardinals, and Martin fits it.
14. Dallas Cowboys: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Another Alabama player that was falling is Dre Kirkpatrick, and the Cowboys couldn't be happier about it.
In the NFC East Championship game against the New York Giants, the Cowboys simply could not contain Victor Cruz. Even when they double-covered him, their defensive backs were simply not good enough to stop him.
If that's not a team in need of a corner, then I don't know what is.
Dre Kirkpatrick has a few character concerns, since he was arrested for simple possession of marijuana, but that's not a big deal and Jerry Jones won't care.
Kirkpatrick had a great 40 time of 4.43 seconds and has great height for a corner, standing 6'2" tall. He'll help the Cowboys fix one of their many problems.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Kuechly, MLB, Boston College
The Eagles will be ecstatic to see Luke Kuechly still on the board when they pick. Middle linebacker is their biggest need, and Kuechly is the best one by a pretty fair margin.
Kuechly rewrote record books in his junior season by collecting 191 total tackles, 102 of them solo. The year before, he had 183.
He also showed way more athleticism in the combine than people thought he had. He had 27 reps on the bench and ran a blistering 4.50-second 40-yard dash. That, combined with phenomenal game tape, makes him pretty much a sure thing.
If the Eagles pick up Stephen Tulloch in the offseason, then this pick will change, but right now it seems like a perfect fit.
16. New York Jets: Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis
It's strange to see him fall this far after a ridiculous performance in the combine, but somehow, Dontari Poe finds himself in a Jets uniform.
Nose tackle isn't the biggest need for the Jets, but since the position is rare, a standout like Poe is a blessing. At the combine, Poe had 44 reps on the bench, more than any other player. He also moved with ridiculous speed for a man his size.
His 40 time was 4.87 seconds officially, but he ran an unofficial 4.7-second sprint at one point. No one should be that big and that fast.
With Poe stuffing the middle, the Jets front seven will be terrifying.
17. Cincinnati Bengals: Janoris Jenkins, CB, Northern Alabama
There are two ways that the Bengals could go here: They could take a corner, or a running back. Given the teams between their first and second pick, I don't think it matters which one they take first. They'll end up with both.
Still, they probably have Janoris Jenkins a little higher on their big board, and none of the three teams after them are in the market for a running back (unless the Tennessee Titans cut Chris Johnson), so it's the safer move.
Jenkins dominated the small-school competition he faced at Northern Alabama after getting kicked out of Florida for multiple arrests. His character is certainly questionable, but he's got tremendous upside.
He can also become a dangerous kick returner, so he'll serve a dual purpose with the Bengals.
18. San Diego Chargers: Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
The Chargers need a pass-rusher, and they have a choice between two fine ones. Whitney Mercilus and Nick Perry would both fit in as rush linebackers, but I think the Chargers will take the player that had probably the most impressive combine performance at his position, Nick Perry.
Perry ran an insane 4.5-second 40-yard dash and repped 225 lbs 35 times on the bench. He then managed a 38.5" vertical jump, the best of any defensive lineman.
Perry proved that he's a workout warrior, and that kind of athleticism will give him the edge over Mercilus's great on-field performance in the regular season.
The Chargers could also grab the falling guard David DeCastro here.
19. Chicago Bears: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
The Bears will grab David DeCastro faster than you can blink. They'll be floored if he falls to them. DeCastro isn't the best fit for Chicago's scheme, but he's such a great player that the Bears won't let him slip past them.
DeCastro has been a dominant run-blocker all season. He's dominated every defensive lineman he's faced, including Washington monster Alameda Ta'amu.
Then, he stepped up and had a great combine. He proved how powerful he was by getting 34 reps on the bench. he also had a pretty good 10-yard split time of 1.82 seconds and looked flawless in drills.
20. Tennessee Titans: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
Tennessee had a great defense in 2011, despite having next to no pass rush. Sack-master Whitney Mercilus ought to remedy that.
Mercilus led the FBS in both sacks and tackles for loss with 16 and 22, respectively. He also collected nine forced fumbles, which led FBS.
He weighed in a little lighter than the Titans would prefer (261 lbs), but he can add 10 lbs or so in the offseason to better fit the Titans' defensive scheme.
Mercilus also had a good combine. He had 27 reps on the bench, despite relatively long arms (33.88"). He also looked fast in the drills and recorded a respectable 40 time of 4.63 seconds.
He also has a reputation as a hard worker, which the Titans will go bonkers over. He'll be the pick for the Titans if he's available.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
Like I said, the Bengals need a running back, and David Wilson is probably the best one available.
Depending on who you ask, the No. 2 running back in this year's class could be Lamar Miller or Doug Martin, but Wilson really had a great all-around combine performance, and looks the most like a feature back in the NFL.
He had a phenomenal 11' broad jump and a 41" vertical jump. He also had one of the lowest 40 times among all running backs with 4.40 seconds (only Chris Rainey and LaMichael James had lower).
Wilson also looked great in the drills, especially when catching passes. A.J. Green will appreciate that.
22. St. Louis Rams: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
Mike Adams hurt himself way more than I thought he would in the combine, but the talent is still there and Sam Bradford badly needs some protection.
Adams has long arms (34"), big hands (11") and great height (6'7"). He also had a fantastic Senior Bowl week, regularly shutting out players like Vinny Curry and Courtney Upshaw.
That's what coaches will get with Adams—a raw talent with a lot of upside. If he's coached well, he'll do just fine.
He also has some character concerns, but Fisher has taken chances on character risks before if they're talented enough. Adams certainly seems to be.
23. Detroit Lions: Courtney Upshaw, DE, Alabama
The Lions always take the best player available that fits a need, and if Cliff Avril walks out, defensive end would make sense. Courtney Upshaw is also the best player available by a pretty substantial margin, and he only falls this far for scoring a nine on the Wonderlic.
Upshaw had a disappointing bench press at the combine, only managing 22 reps. He also didn't look great in the drills, but in his defense, he was running drills with linebackers, when he looks more like a defensive end at this point.
He also looked great all season and in the Senior Bowl, so I can't imagine he'll fall any further than this based on one bad performance at the combine.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia
The Steelers offensive line is almost as bad as Chicago's, and they need to beef it up if they want to keep Ben Roethlisberger on his feet. They'll use some early picks on linemen.
Cordy Glenn will be the best available, and with his ability to play either tackle or guard, he's versatile enough to fill one of several needs for the Steelers.
Glenn had a great combine. He had 35.75" arms and a 40 time of 5.15 seconds. He needs to work on his footwork, but for Pittsburgh's power-blocking scheme, he'll fit in nicely, even with his limitations.
With Glenn available, this pick is a no-brainer.
25. Denver Broncos: Devon Still, DT, Penn State
The Broncos needed a defensive tackle last season, but passed on Marcell Dareus. This year, they take one with their first pick in Devon Still.
Still was the No. 1 defensive tackle prospect in what looked like a weak class, but with Brockers declaring early and Fletcher Cox tearing up the combine, he has slipped to third. There are also rumors that he has a less-than-stellar work ethic.
Still, he's too good to pass up here (punch line!). He had a great measurements at the combine, standing 6'5" tall and weighing in at 303 lbs.
He also had a very productive senior season where he racked up 17 tackles for loss. Between all those things, he's worth taking, despite the risks that he isn't the hardest worker.
26. Houston Texans: Kendall Wright, WR/KR, Baylor
Kendall Wright was soaring up draft boards, but a disappointing 40 time at the combine and the fact that the teams before have other needs really hurts him. The Texans won't complain though, as he fits two of their needs precisely.
Andre Johnson is one of the best wide receivers in the game, but he isn't getting any younger, and beyond him, their receiving corps is kind of thin. Taking Kendall Wright would give Matt Schaub another deep threat on the field in case Johnson was injured again.
When Johnson retires, or starts to decline, Wright would their new No. 1 target.
There's also his ability as a returner. Jacoby Ford has no business returning kicks and punts for the Texans. If they manage to land Wright, then that will no longer be an issue.
27. New England Patriots: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
It's no secret that the Patriots lost the Super Bowl because they have no downfield threats at the receiver position, so I think they'll fix that before taking a defensive player. Alshon Jeffery is also probably the best player available, so it makes sense to take him here.
Jeffery shot down rumors that he had gotten lazy and out of shape in the offseason by showing up to the combine at a pretty slim 216 lbs. That looks even slimmer when you remember that he's 6'3" tall.
Jeffery will give Brady someone he can throw passes of more than 10 yards to, and it'll allow the Patriots to occasionally sit one tight end and still have an effective offense.
It makes sense, but Belichick has surprised us before, so who knows?
28. Green Bay Packers: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
Despite his terrible bench-press numbers, don't you think the Packers would love to bring in a local product to replace the aging Scott Wells? It seems to make sense to me, so I have the Packers taking on Wisconsin's Peter Konz.
Konz had a disappointing performance on the bench, only managing 18 reps, which is a bit of a red flag. However, he was quick in drills and good arm length (33"), so he's still a first-rounder.
Anyway, if the Packers don't have to use their franchise tag on Wells, then they will be free to use it on Matt Flynn so that they can pick up some draft picks to trade him to quarterback-needy team.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
The Ravens manage to land Ray Lewis' replacement with Dont'a Hightower, Alabama's superstar linebacker.
The Ravens have some offensive line needs, but no offensive linemen are worth taking at this point in the draft and Hightower is probably the best player available, so he makes sense here for that reason as well.
Hightower is a huge middle linebacker, standing 6'2" tall and weighing in at 265 lbs. He also has pretty good speed, as he ran the 40 in 4.62 seconds. All of that, plus his great tape from his time at Alabama makes him looks like a great pick here for the Ravens.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Alfonzo Dannard, CB, Nebraska
San Francisco was a very complete team in 2011, and they only reason they didn't appear in the Super Bowl was because of a few mistakes made at just the wrong time. They outplayed the New York Giants in the NFC Championship and may have been the best team in the league at the season's close.
However, with Carlos Rogers probably gone, they need a new cornerback, which is exactly what they take with their first pick with Alfonzo Dennard.
Dennard hurt his stock severely in the Senior Bowl, but recovered a little of it in the combine. He still looked a little stiff in the drills, but most people will probably attribute that to the lingering injury which he sustained in the Senior Bowl.
Dennard showed decent speed in the 40-yard dash, completing it in 4.51 seconds, and had an even better 10-yard split time of 1.52 seconds. He also performed well in the vertical jump (37").
Dennard can be a starting-quality corner in the NFL; he'll just need a little time to adjust.
31. New England Patriots: Kendall Reyes, DT/DE, Connecticut
The Patriots usually trade these picks, but I think they might actually use this one to snag a great defensive tackle like Kendall Reyes.
Reyes tore up the Senior Bowl rode the momentum all the way to the combine. On the bench, he put up 36 reps, tying a few others for the second-most among defensive linemen. He also had a great weigh-in, measuring 6'4" tall with 33.25" arms and weighing 299 lbs.
Still, it's his great performance in drills and the Senior Bowl that has boosted his status to that of a first-rounder. He'll fill a role that the Patriots really need. They signed Albert Haynesworth for a reason, after all.
32. New York Giants: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
The Giants are a pretty solid team. However, one place that they could use some improvement is at the tight end position.
I had Dwayne Allen as my No. 1 tight end until the combine. Coby Fleener is absolutely enormous and athletic, and so he's now taken the No. 1 spot.
Fleener measured in at 6'6" tall, 247 lbs and with 10" hands. That's pretty hard to beat as a tight end. He didn't participate in the running drills because of an ankle injury.
However, he looked great in the bench press. He managed to get 27 reps, which was tied for second among tight ends.
Fleener looked fast this season when he was playing, so his 40 time probably isn't a factor. With the great size and strength that he showed in the combine, he deserves being a first-round selection.
Round 2, Pick No. 1, St. Louis Rams: Zach Brown, OLB, UNC
The Rams have a lot of holes, so they'll probably just pick the best available player. I don't know who that is on their big board, but on mine, it's Zach Brown.
Chances are, the Rams will end up with Michael Griffin and Cortland Finnegan in the offseason, which will give them a huge upgrade to their backfield right off the bat. However, their linebacking corps definitely could use some work.
Brown will likely be a first-rounder if he can keep his attitude in check. But like I said with Mike Adams, Jeff Fisher isn't afraid to take risks on players if they're talented enough.
Besides, with Chris Long and Robert Quinn (and probably Finnegan), the Rams will have a strong enough locker room to deal with Brown.
2. Indianapolis Colts: Mark Barron, SS, Alabama
The Colts have a lot of holes, so they, like the Rams, could end up with anyone. Since strong safety is one of their bigger needs, and since Mark Barron is one of the best players available, I think that's who they'll take.
Barron didn't participate in the combine drills, but he's still the No. 1 strong safety prospect in the class. He was a stud for Alabama all season, so even without combine numbers to work with, the Colts have a pretty good idea of what they're getting.
However, there are a lot of ways the Colts could go here. They could snag a wide receiver like Mohamed Sanu, a pass-rusher like Andre Branch or a nose tackle, like Alameda Ta'amu. With as many holes as they have, anything is possible.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
With the left tackle spot secured, the Vikings have Christian Ponder's blind side covered. Now, they just need to give him a weapon, which they do by selecting Mohamed Sanu.
Sanu could easily be a first-round selection, but because of needs, he slips into the second round.
Sanu was great player for the Scarlet Knights this season, and he had a pretty good combine to boot. He measured in at 6'2" tall, 213 lbs and had hands that were 10.16" across, the third largest of any receiver.
He is also apparently a high-character guy who'll be a leader in the locker room. Everyone loves that.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
Apparently there are questions about LeGarrette Blount's work ethic, and so the Buccaneers will want to take a running back early in the draft.
As I said earlier, Lamar Miller could be the second running back off the board with the right team picking, so it's no surprise that he doesn't make it far into the second round.
Miller had a great combine. He measured up at 5'11" and weighed 212 lbs—great size for an every-down back in the NFL. He had a fantastic 40 time (4.38 seconds), better than any running back other than Chris Rainey and LaMichael James.
He's also looked like a feature back during the 2011 season at Miami, so his combination of on-the-field production and a great combine makes him a very desirable prospect.
5. Cleveland Browns: Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall
The Browns could use a wide receiver, but since Mike Holmgren doesn't like taking wide receivers early, and since they could also use a defensive end, I think the pick here will be Vinny Curry.
Curry had a great Senior Bowl, but an up-and-down combine. He had a disappointing 40 time of 4.85 seconds, and the rest of his measurables were mediocre. However, he has great size (6'3" tall and 266 lbs) and an excellent record as a pass-rusher.
Even though he had an off day at the combine, he's definitely worth an early second-round selection and is probably the best player that makes sense for the Browns.
6. Jacksonville Jaguars: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
The Jaguars cannot get by any longer with the receiving corps that they have right now. Blaine Gabbert cannot be expected to succeed when his best target is Maurice Jones-Drew. That's why the Jaguars are taking Stephen Hill here.
Hill was one of the big stories of the combine this year. He stands 6'4" tall, so he's already got a lot of upside for that reason alone. Then, he ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash, the best among wide receivers.
He also had the fastest 10-yard split (1.2 seconds), the longest broad jump (11'1") and the third-highest vertical jump (39.5").
He's raw, but that kind of physical ability will get him drafted in the early second round at least. In fact, he might go as high as the first round. His upside is incredible.
7. Washington Redskins: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Until he shows something in his pro day, Ryan Tannehill will be a second-rate quarterback. However, he's an upgrade over Rex Grossman, and Mike Shanahan wouldn't be able to resist him this late in the draft.
Even if the Redskins land Peyton Manning, they need a long-term solution, since they don't know how much longer Peyton will be able to play.
Since Tannehill is a bit of a project with a lot of athletic ability, having him sit for a year or two behind Peyton would probably be the best thing for him anyway.
Of course, if the Redskins do land Manning, they may decide to grab a right tackle to give him better protection instead of grabbing Tannehill, so the pick could be Zebrie Sanders or Bobby Massie.
8. Carolina Panthers: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
The Panthers could look to an offensive tackle to play on the right side and eventually take over for Jordan Gross, but I think they'll stick to the defense and take Stephon Gilmore.
Gilmore had an up-and-down year with South Carolina, but his overall numbers were good and he had a solid combine. His measurables were good (6'0" even and 190 lbs), and he had a very good 40 time (4.44 seconds), but most of his other drills were mediocre.
The Panthers defense was one of the worst against the pass this season, so grabbing an upgrade at the corner position is one of their top priorities. Hopefully, Gilmore will help them turn that around.
9. Buffalo Bills: Cam Johnson, DE, Virginia
The Bills are sticking to the 4-3, and since they've been drafting for the 3-4 up until now, they're going to need a lot of changes in their front seven. Either way, they had no pass rush last season, so a pass-rushing defensive end should be something they're looking for.
Cam Johnson started climbing draft boards after a great week at the Senior Bowl, and he had a pretty good combine as well. He had a vertical jump of 35" and a 40-yard dash time of 4.75 seconds, which is pretty good.
He didn't participate in the bench press, but he had a great weigh-in. He measured 6'3" tall and weighed 268 lbs.
He looked good in drills, and with his strong Senior Bowl performance still on everyone's minds, he's definitely worth taking early in the second round.
10. Miami Dolphins: Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State
With Jake Long entrenched as the starting left tackle for the next decade or so, the Dolphins are picking someone to play on the right side.
Zebrie Sanders looked pretty bad in the Senior Bowl, but he's got all the measureables to be a great offensive tackle. He stands 6'6" tall, weighs 320 lbs, has 35" arms and benched 225 lbs 28 times, which is a lot for someone with arms that long.
He actually looked better in the drills than he did in the Senior Bowl, which isn't saying a lot.
Still, if he's well-coached, with the great size and strength he has, he could be a fantastic right tackle and, if the need arose, he could maybe move to the left side in the future.
11. Seattle Seahawks: Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State
The Seahawks have apparently shown some interest in Kirk Cousins, which makes sense. They need to improve the quarterback position and Cousins was the best-looking quarterback who actually threw at the combine.
Cousins looked great in the throwing drills, which really helped his stock, because he looked like he has made significant strides since the Senior Bowl.
He doesn't have a ton of upside, but he's the right height and weight to be an NFL quarterback. He also has a reputation as a high-character player and still has a little bit of a chip on his shoulder from his days as a recruit.
Cousins may not have a ton of upside, but he has a high floor, and he could at least compete with Tarvaris Jackson. If nothing else, he'll be a great backup.
12. Kansas City Chiefs: Bobby Massie, OT, Ole Miss
The Chiefs have a big need at right tackle, and with Bobby Massie sneaking up draft boards, he'll be a quality selection to guard the right side of either Kyle Orton or Matt Cassell.
Of all the second-tier offensive tackles, Bobby Massie might have the highest upside. He has surprisingly quick feet for a guy his size (6'6" tall and 316 lbs), long arms (35") and good speed. He ran the 40 in 5.23 seconds, which isn't terrific, but it is better than average.
Massie is a sleeper pick at left tackle, but he can step in and play right tackle immediately. That's all the Chiefs need him to do, so it's a pretty natural fit for both of them.
13. Dallas Cowboys: Kelechi Osemele, OG, Iowa State
The Cowboys need help at guard and center, but there isn't a center worth taking, so they go with a guard instead. Bill Nagy can't really be their long-term answer.
Kelechi Osemele also happens to be one of the best players available, so he works on that level too.
Osemele is a big, powerful guard that excels at run blocking. Felix Jones and DeMarco Murray will love this pick. Tony Romo probably won't complain too much either. Osemele will help keep the interior pressure off of him.
Of course, I wouldn't be surprised if the Cowboys instead elected to grab a pass-rusher or a defensive tackle here instead.
14. Philadelphia Eagles: Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
The Eagles are going to have a need at wide receiver if DeSean Jackson is dismissed or traded (although he just received the franchise tag). They replace him with LSU's top receiver, Rueben Randle.
Randle was climbing draft boards steadily based on hype, and was even in consideration for a first-round grade, but then he had a disappointing combine. He had a slower 40 time than expected (4.55 seconds) and nothing else he did wowed anyone.
Still, he looks like a solid No. 2 receiver, and with Jeremy Maclin already there, that's all the Eagles need out of him.
15. New York Jets: Juron Criner, WR, Arizona
There is a possibility that both Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress will be playing for different teams in 2012, so the Jets definitely need to grad a receiver or two in the draft.
Juron Criner is there, and he isn't much of a reach (if a reach at all), so they take him. Personally, I like Criner more than some of the wide receivers that I've already mocked, but draftniks aren't as high on him as me, so he falls to the middle of the second round.
He had a slow 40 time of 4.68 seconds, but other than that, he was great at the combine. He has big hands (10.5") and is a very reliable catcher; he's got good size at 6'3" and 224 lbs, and he has great production from college.
He'll be a great possession receiver. The Jets will have to find a deep threat in free agency.
16. New England Patriots: Andre Branch, DE/OLB, Clemson
One of the many problems with the Patriots defense was the lack of a pass rush, so they'll definitely use one of their four picks in the first two rounds to select a pass-rusher. That's exactly what they get with Andre Branch.
Branch has been projected as a 4-3 defensive end until the combine. Branch weighed in a little light for a 4-3 (259 lbs), but happens to be just the right size to be a 3-4 rush linebacker.
Other than weighing in too light for a 4-3, Branch had a great combine. He had a 10' broad jump, showing his explosiveness, and ran a 1.56-second 10-yard split. He also passed the eyeball test in the drills.
He's the best pass-rusher available, and could have been picked up much earlier, so the Pats won't hesitate to grab him here.
17. San Diego Chargers: Harrison Smith, Notre Dame, SS
Eric Weddle is a fantastic safety, but the Chargers could still use an upgrade at strong safety.
Harrison Smith has been rising on draft boards ever since Mike Mayock fingered him as a top-five safety, and if you know anything, you know not to second-guess Mike Mayock.
Smith also had a very productive combine, running a 4.56-second 40, getting a respectable 19 reps on the bench and measuring in at 6'2" tall, 213 lbs and wielding 32.62" arms.
He also looked great during the drills, and secured his spot as the second-best safety in this year's class.
18. Chicago Bears: Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
The Bears don't have a big need at tight end, but with Dwayne Allen staring them in the face in Round 2, the temptation to draft him will be tough to fight.
The Bears need to increase Jay Cutler's protection and give him better receiving targets. Since Allen excels as a blocker and is a pretty good receiver as well, he can do both of those things, so he's actually a pretty good fit.
Allen showed tremendous strength at the combine, getting 27 reps on the bench, which was second among tight ends. He also has an incredible work ethic, which everyone on the Bears staff will like.
He's a great fit for the Bears' needs.
19. Philadelphia Eagles: Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson
The bigger need for the Eagles at this spot is cornerback, since Asante Samuel will likely be wearing another team's colors next season. However, the best player available that fits a need for the Eagles is defensive tackle Brandon Thompson.
Thompson hurt his stock at the combine, but not enough to make him less than a second-round pick. If nothing else, he showed tremendous strength, racking up 35 reps on the bench.
He also had a pretty productive senior season, so he'll be just fine playing the nose in a 4-3.
20. Tennessee Titans: Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin
The Titans have said that they plan on taking an interior lineman early in the draft, but not in the first round. Instead, they'll grab the best available in Round 2, which is currently Kevin Zeitler.
Wisconsin routinely produces A grade offensive linemen, and Zeitler is just the latest in that line. He's got the size to make head coach Mike Munchak and offensive line coach Bruce Matthews salivate at just under 6'4" tall and 314 lbs.
He also got 32 reps on the bench, which is pretty dang good. He also looked polished and NFL-ready in the drills, which helps him after a hit-and-miss Senior Bowl.
With two Hall of Fame offensive linemen on their coaching staff, the Titans will bring out the best in Zeitler.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Ronnell Lewis, DE, Oklahoma
Ronnell Lewis worked out with the defensive linemen at the combine, and he looked like he belonged there, so I think a lot of teams will give him a look as a 4-3 defensive end.
He's a little light at 253 lbs, but I don't think adding about 10 lbs on an NFL workout will be too tough; at 6'2" tall, he's got the frame for it.
The Bengals have a great defense already, but none of their defensive ends are very good pass-rushers. They may want to use him as a situational pass-rushing defensive end. He excelled at that in college, so it'd be a fit.
He showed a lot of strength for his size, putting up 36 reps on the bench (as much as defensive tackles Kendall Reyes and Mike Martin), so he could definitely work out in a 4-3 defense.
22. Detroit Lions: David Molk, C, Michigan
The Lions won't regret passing on Wisconsin's Peter Konz in Round 1 now that David Molk has fallen into their laps in Round 2.
I'll go ahead and say it—this is a slight reach. I know the Lions always take the best player available, but unless they want to keep drafting running backs every two years because they get career-ending injuries, they have to beef up their offensive line. This might be the year they finally break with that tradition.
Molk showed off his fantastic strength at the combine, getting a better bench total than any other offensive lineman (41). That also happens to be the second-highest total of any player, which is impressive.
He had a good Senior Bowl, and now that he had a strong combine too, he's climbed to the No. 2 spot on my big board at his position.
23. Atlanta Falcons: Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt
With Brent Grimes likely on his way out of Atlanta, the Falcons will need to find a replacement. Vanderbilt's standout corner Casey Hayward is the best player available at that position.
I'm admittedly higher on Casey Hayward than others, but with Stephon Gilmore off the board, Jayron Hosley weighing in at 178 lbs and Chase Minnifield proving to be the weakest player at the combine, Hayward is clearly the best corner left.
Hayward didn't have any mind-blowing performances at the combine, but he showed no major flaws either. Then, when you look at his tape, he has great instincts, good playing speed and a nose for the ball.
He's also the kind of smart, high-character guy that coaches love in interviews.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Alameda Ta'amu, NT, Washington
The Steelers were hoping that Dontari Poe would fall to them, but that just ain't happening. So instead, they have to take a nose tackle in Round 2.
That said, Ta'amu is still a very good player and he'll fit into the Steelers defense just fine.
Ta'amu measured in at 6'3" tall and 348 lbs. He didn't tear the combine up the way Poe did, but he still had a good showing. He was slow, but that's expected from nose tackles.
He did well on the bench, repping 225 lbs 36 times, which tied for second among defensive linemen. He's got the size and strength to stuff the middle for the Steelers for a while.
25. Denver Broncos: Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
Willis McGahee had a great season, but he's too old to be reliable in the long run. Knowshon Moreno is a bust, and Tim Tebow's strength is the running game. All of this means that the Broncos need a running back.
At the combine, Doug Martin proved to be a workout warrior. Despite weighing in at 223 lbs, he ran a 4.46 40-yard dash, had a 36" vertical jump and had 36 reps on the bench press.
With Trent Richardson, David Wilson and Lamar Miller off the board, Martin is unquestionably the best running back left. With Tebow lining up next to him, teams will have difficulty covering both in the run and both players will flourish.
26. Houston Texans: Markelle Martin, SS, Oklahoma State
One of the few needs for Houston's killer defense is strong safety. Markelle Martin is a reach here, but the Texans have so few needs that taking anyone else doesn't make a ton of sense.
Martin was a fantastic safety for the Cowboys this season, and he really stepped up his play at the season's end, but he didn't participate in most of the combine drills. The only part he did participate in was the bench press, where he got a respectable 19 reps.
He also had decent measurements at 6'1" tall and weighing 207 lbs. He's not going to be a top-five safety, but he'll be an upgrade. Besides, with the talent on the rest of the squad, the Texans can afford not having a fantastic strong safety.
27. New Orleans Saints: Derek Wolfe, DT, Cincinnati
The Saints defense was one of the league's weakest last year, so I expect them to pick the best defensive player available with nearly every selection. Here, it happens to be Derek Wolfe.
Wolfe had a good senior season. I got to see him live in action when Cincinnati played Tennessee, and he required a lot of double-teams.
He has solid measurements as well. At 6'5" tall and 295 lbs, he's a natural 3-4 defensive end, but with his long frame, he could easily add 10 or even 20 lbs and be a fantastic 4-3 defensive tackle.
He's not the fastest guy (he ran a 4.94-second 40), but he has good strength and is quick enough to contribute significantly to New Orleans' interior pass rush.
Also, with a new defensive coordinator in town, the Saints could very well switch schemes. Since Wolfe would fit in either a 4-3 or a 3-4, it'd make sense to pick him up.
28. Green Bay Packers: Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech
Jayron Hosley is undersized (178 lbs), but other than that, he's an extremely productive corner and is worth taking at the bottom of the second round.
The Packers defense gave up a ton of yards and a ton of points this season. Somehow, they went from one of the best defenses to one of the worst, especially against the pass.
Charles Woodson isn't getting any younger either, and the Packers need to be prepared for his eventual retirement. Hosley could be a feasible replacement.
Hosley has blistering speed, clocking in a 4.38-second 40-yard dash, but he needs to work on size and strength. An NFL workout routine will fix him up just fine.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Trumaine Johnson, FS, Montana
They've found Ray Lewis's replacement, so now they move on to Ed Reed's.
Yes, the Ravens have issues with their offensive line that are more important, but any offensive lineman that makes sense here is a bigger reach than Trumaine Johnson.
Johnson had a solid combine, but in the drills, he looked more like a free safety than a cornerback. It's not a knock on his abilities; it's just that his skill set fits one position more than another. At least as a free safety, he gets to be the top prospect at his position.
Johnson had a good combine. He ran a 4.5-second 40, measured in at 6'2" tall and had a broad jump of 10'2" to boot. He definitely helped himself; it's just that he helped himself as a free safety, not as a corner.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest
San Francisco needs to give Alex Smith a legitimate target. They signed Braylon Edwards last season for a reason.
Chris Givens got a mid-round grade when he declared, but he had a fantastic combine performance and, more importantly, Mike Mayock called him a second-rounder. And like I said, you don't second-guess Mayock.
Givens ran a 4.41-second 40, had a 33.5" vertical leap and looked fantastic in the drills. He's worth grabbing at the bottom of the second round.
31. Buffalo Bills: Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin
It isn't really a draft if the Patriots don't trade away at least one of their picks in the first two rounds. The Bills just gave Ryan Fitzpatrick a big extension, but he disappointed down the stretch, so I think they'll be interested in taking a developmental quarterback like Russell Wilson early in the draft.
Chan Gailey runs one of the few offensive schemes that Wilson would be a good fit in.
Wilson was a contender for the Heisman early in the season, and he's been nothing but great every time he's shown up. Even though he's 5'11" tall, he has everything else you want in a quarterback: big hands, accuracy, character, athleticism, a winning record.
If Wilson were three inches taller, he'd be a first-rounder; there'd be no discussion. As it is, he's probably too short to play in the NFL, but the Bills will take a chance on him here.
32. New York Giants: Mike Martin, DT, Michigan
The Giants are never afraid to take the best available player, as long as it makes some sense. Mike Martin would make an already scary defensive line absolutely terrifying for opposing quarterbacks.
Martin showed great strength at the combine, getting 36 reps on the bench. He also had a vertical leap of 33.5" and looked solid in the drills.
He already had a great Senior Bowl performance, so a solid Combine boosts his stock even further, into the bottom of the second round.