2012 NFL Draft: Snyder's Mock 1.0
The Indianapolis Colts are now on the clock...
They actually have been for some time now, but with free agency under way and some of the biggest names off the board, it's becoming more and more clear what teams will be looking for in the NFL Draft.
So without further ado, with the first selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts select...
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck / QB / Stanford
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
This pick is so obvious, even the ghost of Al Davis couldn't mess this one up. Luck is the best quarterback prospect to enter the draft since, well, the Colts got their man(ning) at number one in 1998.
He has the size (6'4", 235 lbs), athleticism (4.67 40-yard dash, 10'4" broad jump) and experience (37 starts at Stanford) every team looks for when they want a franchise quarterback. His 9,083 yards and 80 touchdowns just add a little spice to his resume.
Luck can make all the throws and, while many people fight it, comparisons to former Stanford legend John Elway aren't that far off. Luck has a good arm and is incredibly accurate, with exceptional ability to extend the play with his legs and create something out of nothing. That's going to be a big asset to have when Luck lands in Indy, as the Colts have purged themselves of most of the talent on the team.
There's really no one else the Colts could take at this pick, unless they really feel Dan Orlovsky will summon his inner Joe Montana, which is about as likely as JaMarcus Russell picking up a football again. The key for the Colts now becomes putting pieces around Luck to help him succeed.
2. Washington Redskins (via Rams): Robert Griffin III / QB / Baylor
Sarah Glenn/Getty Images
There's only one reason you EVER deal three first-round picks and a second rounder, and that's when you think you can grab a franchise QB. And outside of Miami, no one has been in need of a quarterback longer than the Washington Redskins.
Let me start by saying that RGIII is not Michael Vick 2.0. He's far better than that. Griffin is more comparable to guys like former league MVP Randall Cunningham and Warren Moon, because of his ability to throw the ball from the pocket.
The biggest knock on the 2011 Heisman winner is that he really only did it for one season. After the 2010 campaign, most people ranked Griffin as a late round wide receiver. But after his last season at Baylor, he has me believing.
With additions of Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, the Redskins are building a team around Griffin, who should have more success than counterpart Andrew Luck in his first season.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil / T / USC
Harry How/Getty Images
Minnesota is maybe the most upset of any of the teams picking in the top five. Sitting at number three, it has been pretty clear they've wanted to move down for some time now. But with Luck and Griffin off the board, it's incredibly unlikely that anyone would move up.
With that said, there's no reason the Vikings couldn't get a great player with their pick. Minnesota's line has been terrible and they're running with Charlie Johnson at left tackle—enough said. The Vikings absolutely need to start protecting future franchise QB Christian Ponder if they want him to succeed.
Matt Kalil has been the cornerstone on the blind side of Matt Barkley for years now, while last year's ninth overall selection, Tyron Smith, was rendered to the right side.
Kalil is hands down the best and safest tackle prospect in the draft. He has exceptionally quick feet for his 6'7" frame and drives players off the ball in the run game (which Adrian Peterson would love to see). His only knock is that he's not overly athletic and will need to add a little weight (295 lbs).
If the Vikings chose to pass on an anchor to protect Ponder, they could at least give him a weapon. Justin Blackmon wouldn't be a bad fit in Minnesota, paired with Percy Harvin. LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne will also be given consideration at this spot.
4. Cleveland Browns: Ryan Tannehill / QB / Texas A&M
Bob Levey/Getty Images
Here's my surprise pick of the first round—and let me start by saying I don't think Ryan Tannehill is a first round talent.
With that said, the Browns do.
Cleveland head coach Pat Shurmer raved about Tannehill's athletic ability and thought he might be a good fit in their offense. Also, the Browns haven't shown much interest in ANY free agent quarterback including Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn.
All that leads me to believe they are set on taking Tannehill. At pick number four, it's quite a reach on a quarterback who only has played 19 games at the position while spending the beginning of his career as a wide receiver. The problem is they can't move down too far and risk a team like Miami or Seattle scooping him up at eight or 12.
Tannehill does have prototype size, good accuracy and a quick release, but really struggles getting the ball down the field and his mechanics are horrendous.
Cleveland has a situation at running back as well, and may be better served finding Colt McCoy some weapons instead of throwing another QB into a weapon-less system.
With Peyton Hillis gone, Trent Richardson should get a good, hard look from the Browns front office. Justin Blackmon wouldn't be a bad option to add to a team who's go-to receiver is Mohammad Massaquoi.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trent Richardson / RB / Alabama
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images
Free agency's biggest spenders have upgraded their offensive line with Carl Nicks and the receiving corps with Vincent Jackson. Cornerback Eric Wright shores up the secondary, so that leaves one need for Tampa Bay.
LeGarrette Blount bowled his way to 1,000 yards in his rookie season. However, like the rest of his teammates, he disappointed fans last season, rushing for only 743 yards and scoring just five times.
To make this offense flow even better, Trent Richardson would be a beautiful addition to the Bucs. The fifth pick is pretty high to take a running back, but one of Richardson's caliber doesn't come along every year.
Richardson was a horse at Alabama and used his thick frame to blow through his SEC opponents. His 1600 yards and 21 touchdowns are impressive, but his 6.1 yards-per-carry average might be his most telling stat. His speed is deceptive and reminds me a lot of the Jaguars' Maurice Jones-Drew.
Even though the team signed Eric Wright to a sizable deal, don't count out a talented cornerback like Morris Claiborne to replace Ronde Barber when he decides to retire.
6. St. Louis Rams (via Redskins): Justin Blackmon / WR / Oklahoma St.
Brett Deering/Getty Images
The calculated risk pays off for the Rams and they get their man (along with 2 more first-rounders and a second) in Justin Blackmon.
The Rams will lose top receiver Brandon Lloyd to free agency and don't have much else at the position to help Sam Bradford grow. Getting Mark Clayton back from injury helps some, but he's no number one, and Jeff Fisher will have to look to the draft to help his young QB at a pivotal point in his career.
Blackmon isn't overly fast, but always seemed to get open at Oklahoma State. He has exceptional ball skills and great hands. He'll have to work on his route running, and his stock may take a hit due to past top 10 receiver busts (Michael Crabtree, Darius Heyward-Bey), but the Rams need a number one and Blackmon should be the guy.
If St. Louis saw top tackle prospect Matt Kalil fall to them he'd most certainly garner some serious consideration for an offensive line that left Sam Bradford out to dry in 2011. Defensive tackles like Michael Brockers or Fletcher Cox will also get a look from the Rams.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Quinton Coples / DE / North Carolina
Geoff Burke/Getty Images
I'm on the record as not being a huge fan of Quinton Coples (or really any of the defensive ends this year), but nobody needs more pass rush help than the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Signing Jeremy Mincey back helps out some, but the team doesn't have a dominant threat to reach the quarterback. Not to mention the big misses on guys like Derek Harvey and Aaron Kampman.
Coples is a physical freak. At 6'6", 284 pounds, Coples is versatile enough play both end and tackle in a 4-3 and end in a 3-4 set. He's long and strong and has the ability to reach the quarterback, but doesn't always show it. Coples has issues getting off the ball and is very slow in his first step. There's also been some questions about his drive to play.
Still, the Jags should take a swing at a guy with the versatility of Coples. At worst, the team could move him inside to tackle, where he played at UNC in 2010.
If Jacksonville decides to go a different route, they should take a good look at the receiver market. If Justin Blackmon is on the board, he's a no-brainer for the Jags, but don't discount Notre Dame's Michael Floyd at this spot. Floyd had a good combine, and a nice showing at his pro day could do wonders for his draft stock.
8. Miami Dolphins: Riley Reiff / T / Iowa
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
The Dolphins are all but out of the Peyton Manning sweepstakes, and will have to be all-in on Packers' backup Matt Flynn. If Flynn comes in, they'll need more people to protect their investment.
Iowa seems to be the cradle of offensive linemen. It always seems like there's one or two of them selected high each draft. Riley Reiff is the next in that lineage. There are a few concerns with his footwork and strength, but Reiff uses his hands very well. He's also a very good run blocker.
Reiff fits in very well opposite LT stalwart Jake Long and covers up the edges for the Dolphins.
With Brandon Marshall on his way to Chicago, Miami should be in the market for a receiver. Blackmon should be off the board by now but Michael Floyd becomes a realistic target for the Fins. Don't be surprised if Dolphins decide to move down in the first round either.
9. Carolina Panthers: Morris Claiborne / CB / LSU
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
This is the lowest I've seen Claiborne in any mock draft, but I'm not too worried about it. Claiborne's former teammate Patrick Peterson struggled early on last season and that may reciprocate to Claiborne.
But Carolina shouldn't pass on a corner of his talent simply because his teammate didn't live up to the hype.
Claiborne is very similar in many ways to Peterson, especially in his ability to return kicks. But unlike Peterson, Claiborne is more of a finesse corner who moves very smoothly and can make plays.
Carolina forced only 14 INTs last season and with Chris Gamble's career winding down, Claiborne should be a stud in Ron Rivera's defense.
Defensive tackle is another big need for the Panthers and they've taken a look at Claiborne's teammate Michael Brockers. Dontari Poe, Fletcher Cox and Brockers will all be taken into consideration when the Panthers pick.
10. Buffalo Bills: Courtney Upshaw / DE / Alabama
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
This pick could change since the Bills landed Super Mario, but adding Upshaw would only help their cause.
The Bills had only 29 sacks last season with rookie Marcell Dareus leading the way with five. The team will get back Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kyle Williams, but Chris Kelsey is pretty much done and Williams is the only one who can anchor the end in Dave Wannstadt's new 4-3 scheme.
Courtney Upshaw mostly played as a stand-up linebacker at Alabama, but did put his hand on the ground to get to the passer at certain points. He's got a stocky frame and good leg drive when coming off the edge. He also has very good rush moves. Upshaw really reminds me of Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney, as the two are very similar in size (Upshaw: 6'2", 265 lbs).
Like I said, even with Mario Williams, there's no reason they can't still add Upshaw, taking one of the NFL's worst defensive lines to possibly its best.
The Bills have also been very interested in wide receivers this offseason. They looked into Vincent Jackson and brought Robert Meachem in for a visit. Neither player is now in Buffalo, so apparently the Bills didn't fill that hole. Michael Floyd and Kendall Wright will be looked at near the top of the team's draft board.
11. Kansas City Chiefs: Dontari Poe / NT / Memphis
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Dontari Poe is another one of those guys I really see as having major bust potential. He was considered a second rounder (and for good reason) before the combine. But since running a 4.8 and benching 225 lbs 44 times, Poe has skyrocketed up draft boards.
Problem is, when you put on tape of Poe, it doesn't all add up. With that sort of strength and speed, Poe should have dominated the inferior competition he faced at Memphis. But he only managed 30 total tackles and one sack last season.
With that said, Poe is a guy who could really benefit from working with a defensive mind like Romeo Crennel. Remember, Crennel coached Vince Wilfork while in New England and I can see a lot of Wilfork in Poe.
The Chiefs had been rolling with Kelly Gregg at the nose, but he's 35 going on 80 and doesn't have much of a future ahead of him. KC has really struggled finding a nose tackle in the past and Poe should be their solution. At 6'5", 350 lbs, Poe is a beast in the middle and should allow Derrick Johnson to run free to ball carriers. The only thing is getting Poe to live up to his hype.
Despite earning the 11th pick, the Chiefs don't have many glaring holes on the team. Stanford guard David DeCastro could be given some thought.
12. Seattle Seahawks: Luke Kuechly / ILB / Boston College
The Seahawks, to me, seem like the team most likely to lose out in the great QB battle of 2012 and with Luck, Griffin and Tannehill off the board, they're pretty much S.O.L.
But Seattle does have other needs. The team lost linebackers David Hawthorne and LeRoy Hill to free agency, and although Hawthorne may be back, for the sake of argument let's say he won't.
Luke Kuechly made a splash at the combine and his 190 tackles at Boston College didn't hurt his cause either. Kuechly moves very well laterally and has a great nose for the ball. His biggest question mark is his ability to take on blocks and shed them quickly.
Kuechly would fit right in the middle of the Seahawks defense, which isn't a bad unit as it stands currently.
If Hawthorne does re-sign with the team, look for the Hawks to take the best pass rusher available. Melvin Ingram and Nick Perry could end up in the blue and neon green.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Jonathan Martin / T / Stanford
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
The Cardinals were quietly one of the best teams down the stretch last season, finishing the year on a 6-2 streak. But not everybody basked in the glory. The team parted ways with former top five tackle Levi Brown, leaving a gaping hole on the offensive front.
Although they signed guard/tackle Adam Snyder away from the Niners, he's probably not the answer. Jonathan Martin on the other hand protected the blind side of the best QB prospect since Peyton Manning left Tennessee.
Martin is a bit of a project, but has a high ceiling. His biggest work needs to be done on his pass blocking footwork. But as a run blocker, Martin is a beast. Russ Grimm should have a good time working with this kid who could end up as maybe the best tackle in this draft.
If the Cards opt to pass on the offensive line, they may want to get another playmaker opposite Larry Fitzgerald. There's also a need for a pass-rushing outside linebacker, as Joey Porter and Clark Haggans are well past their primes.
14. Dallas Cowboys: Dre Kirkpatrick / CB / Alabama
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Yes, I'm well aware that the Cowboys just signed Brandon Carr to a $50 million contract. But I have no intentions of Dre Kirkpatrick playing corner.
Standing at 6'2" and nearly 200 pounds, Kirkpatrick has the prototypical size of an NFL free safety. He's also got a lanky frame and good bulk to him, which he used to step up and play the run at Alabama. Playing safety will also keep him from having to press physical receivers, which he struggled with at times.
Kirkpatrick is a starter from day one if he lands in Dallas and gives the Boys a much-needed lift deep in their secondary. And be realistic Dallas fans—are you that attached to Gerald Sensabaugh or Abram Elam?
The Cowboys still have problems across the offensive line, as well. Look for David DeCastro's name to get thrown around closer to draft day.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Fletcher Cox / DT / Mississippi St.
Butch Dill/Getty Images
We all saw the Dream Team turn into a nightmare very quickly for Philadelphia in 2011, and most of that had to do with their defense. Linebacker is probably their biggest need, but with Luke Kuechly off the board, the Birds will have to look elsewhere for defensive help.
Mike Patterson didn't exactly have the best season last year, and although he rushed passers pretty well, Cullen Jenkins didn't do much better.
Fletcher Cox from Mississippi State is one of the more underrated players in this year's draft. Cox left school as a junior, but still managed to start 27 games during his college career. He is strong and quick off the ball, and though he sometimes struggles with leverage, he has no major concerns or red flags.
The Eagles could still go linebacker and stretch for Dont'a Hightower, but I don't think he really fits their system. If the team loses Evan Mathis, guard may become a concern as well so David DeCastro and Cordy Glenn of Georgia become viable options.
16. New York Jets: Mark Barron / S / Alabama
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
The Jets need a lot more than you might think. I'd like to start with a quarterback, but if they're going to pass on Peyton Manning, I guess that means they're confident that Mark Sanchez can win them something.
One of the biggest areas of need is at safety. Jim Leonard is very talented but can't stay on the field, and unfortunately his replacement is Eric Smith (the slowest man to ever play in a secondary). New York has needed to upgrade this position for a while and now they'll have an opportunity to do so.
Mark Barron hasn't received much chatter during all the NFL draft talk, but it's mostly because he didn't participate in the combine because of hernia surgery. Barron is an explosive hitter who is best served playing down in the box. He struggles from time to time in man coverage, but is a little better in zone.
The Jets could also use this pick on a pass-rusher. The team hasn't had anybody get to the QB since John Abraham left for Atlanta and last year's flavor of the week, Aaron Maybin, was let go after falling apart down the stretch. Melvin Ingram would be a good fit for Rex Ryan's system.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (via Raiders): David DeCastro / G / Stanford
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The Bengals had an excellent draft last season and after swindling the Raiders out of their first rounder, the skies are looking blue in Cincinnati.
The Bengals could use a definite upgrade along the offensive line and David DeCastro is the highest rated guard to come out since Steve Hutchinson. DeCastro is big and tough, and plays with a mean streak. He can also move incredibly well for his size. And with both Bobby Williams and Nate Livings hitting the open market, the Bengals will need to fill those shoes.
Cincy will also be delving heavily into the cornerback market. Leon Hall is coming off an Achilles injury and Nate Clements is nearing the end. Dre Kirkpatrick would be an option as would Northern Alabama's Janoris Jenkins.
18. San Diego Chargers: Michael Floyd / WR / Notre Dame
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
As I was putting together the mock draft, the Chargers screwed everything up by signing former Raven outside linebacker Jarrett Johnson and forever changed the Mock 1.0.
I'm well aware that the Chargers signed Robert Meachem, but to replace Vincent Jackson, the Bolts should be looking for a legit number one on the outside. A man named Floyd would be very interesting, and I'm not talking about perennial underachiever Malcolm.
Michael Floyd impressed at the combine and did a very nice job of making scouts and personnel forget about the several DUIs that nearly ended his career at Notre Dame. But on the field, Floyd is an absolute stud. He's got top 10 potential, and has great ball skills for his size. Route running is a concern, but it always is for bigger receivers.
San Diego will also have holes to fill defensively. A five-technique end would really help the line out. Guys like Fletcher Cox and Devon Still will be looked at and are possible alternatives.
19. Chicago Bears: Mike Adams / T / Ohio State
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Mike Adams is probably a reach here, but the Bears line is so abysmal that it doesn't look that bad.
Chicago took tackle Gabe Carimi in the first round last season, but he fell subject to injuries and JaMarcus Webb is not a starting left tackle in the NFL. Mike Adams may be able to fill that void and keep Jay Cutler upright for 16 games in 2012.
Adams is exceptionally talented, which makes this selection more likely. Problem is he has never really played up to that talent level. However, Adams is versatile enough to play the left or right side. He has long arms and is an upgrade over anyone playing tackle right now in Chicago.
Defensive end might be another target early for the Bears. Before the Brandon Marshall trade, they were leading the pack for Mario Williams. Home-grown product Whitney Mercilus will get a good look from the Bears to play across from Julius Peppers.
20. Tennessee Titans: Michael Brockers / DT / LSU
Joe Murphy/Getty Images
I'm shocked Brockers is still on the board here at 20 and the Titans have to be jumping for joy that he is.
Tennessee will most certainly lose Jason Jones to free agency, a player who, before the team moved him to end, was fantastic playing inside. But Jones, like former teammate Cortland Finnegan, seems destined for a reunion with Jeff Fisher in St. Louis, so his talents will need to be replaced.
Brockers' stock skyrocketed after the NCAA championship and then cooled somewhat post-combine. He's very agile and quick, with great burst off the line. Brockers is still somewhat raw but has the potential to be the top defensive lineman in the 2012 class.
Like I said earlier, the Titans lost Cortland Finnegan to free agency so replacing him is still an option. Janoris Jenkins has had some off-the-field issues which probably takes him off Mike Munchak's draft board, but Nebraska's Alonzo Dennard and UCF's Josh Robinson should come into consideration.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Janoris Jenkins / CB / Northern Alabama
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
It's almost too obvious that the player with the most character concerns gets drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Jenkins has possibly the most talent of any of the corners in the 2012 draft, but some serious off-the-field issues have taken him completely off some teams' draft boards. But I'm positive he isn't off the Bengals.
Cincy has made plenty of moves like this in the past (Pacman Jones, Andre Smith, Cedric Benson) and really need to shore up the cornerback position.
The Bengals could very likely let Cedric Benson walk in free agency, so they'd have a void to fill there. Miami's Lamar Miller ran exceptionally well at the combine and is crawling up teams' draft boards.
22. Cleveland Browns (via Falcons): Lamar Miller / RB / Miami (FL)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
No one in the NFL has as few weapons offensively as the Cleveland Browns. Former Madden poster-boy Peyton Hillis has left for Kansas City and Montario Hardesty hasn't shown much promise to being more than a career backup. The Browns need to use one of these first round selections to get some weapons for whoever their quarterback may be.
Lamar Miller showed his wheels in the 40 at the combine and would step in right away as the starter in Cleveland. Miller is very elusive as a runner with quick feet and good field vision. There will be durability and inexperience when it comes to draft day.
The Browns also have to look at any receiving option in the draft. They'll probably look harder at a guy like LSU's Reuben Randall because Kendall Wright and Stephen Hill don't really fit the scheme Pat Shumer (or Mike Holmgren) wants to run.
23. Detroit Lions: Alonzo Dennard / CB / Nebraska
Eric Francis/Getty Images
The Lions finally made the playoffs people!!! Probably a sign that the world may be coming to an end after all. But just in case it isn't, Detroit should make plans for the future.
Detroit lost a lot of its games last year because they couldn't defend the pass—at all. Matt Flynn set the Packers' franchise record for yards in a game against the Lions' secondary, so imagine what the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler can do to them.
Alonzo Dennard might be more famously known for getting kicked out of Nebraska's 2011 bowl game after throwing a punch at South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffry. But Dennard is actually a pretty good player. He's strong for a corner and plays excellent zone coverage. Dennard's not as fast as you'd want a corner to be, but makes up for it with great recovery ability.
Detroit should also think about shoring up their offensive line. Mike Adams could be the eventual replacement for an aged Jeff Backus. Georgia G/T Cordy Glenn should get a few looks as well.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dont'a Hightower / ILB / Alabama
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
It's at the point for me that when I watch tape of Dont'a Hightower, I swear I start seeing him in black and gold.
Hightower's style of play makes him a perfect fit in the middle of Dick LeBeau's defense, playing along side of Lawrence Timmons. He would also be a nice replacement for James Farrior and Larry Foote.
Hightower was a beast at Alabama and anchored possibly the best defense in college football history. His versatility and ability to play both inside and outside linebacker and possibly even defensive end should make Hightower extremely coveted amongst 3-4 teams in the NFL.
Adding Hightower just gives Dick LeBeau another toy to play with in an already stout Steelers defensive unit.
Pittsburgh should also be looking heavily at fixing the mess that is their offensive line. If somehow Stanford guard David DeCastro were to fall to them, there's no way they could justify passing him up. Cordy Glenn is also an option, as is Kevin Zeitler of Wisconsin.
25. Denver Broncos: Jerel Worthy / DT / Michigan St.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Denver's defense really stepped it up last year and (sorry, Tebow nuts) was probably the biggest reason the team made the playoffs. Adding Von Miller in the first round last season was an absolute game-changer for the Broncos, but there's still room for improvement.
The Broncos made a big run at Dolphins nose tackle Paul Solai, but lost the battle to Miami. The team is also feverishly trying to bring back Broderick Bunkley. Denver could use some help across their defensive front and Jerel Worthy could be that answer.
Worthy was a monster at Michigan State and frequently received double-teams from his Big Ten opponents. He's flexible enough to play in a 4-3 or 3-4, and his impressive pro day vaults him ahead of falling Penn State defensive lineman, Devon Still.
If Denver were to lose out on the Peyton Manning race, they may still need to add a quarterback—you know, in case the whole "We'll attempt to win with an option quarterback, even though the last time that worked Lambeau was a coach and not a stadium" thing doesn't work out. If Ryan Tannehill falls, he could be in play here, but it's probably too early to reach for a guy like Kirk Cousins.
Lamar Miller should get some consideration as well.
26. Houston Texans: Kendall Wright / WR / Baylor
Sarah Glenn/Getty Images
Honestly, Houston might be the most complete team in the entire league. The one thing the team seems to be missing is someone to play opposite stud receiver Andre Johnson. Fortunate enough, this draft is pretty well loaded with wideout talent.
Kendall Wright's stock took a hit after Mike Mayock hyped this guy up to have Mike Wallace speed, only to watch him run an unimpressive 4.6. Wright isn't a 4.6 guy and is very talented, but lacks ideal size and may become one-dimensional.
With that said, he can help stretch the field for the Texans and open up underneath routes for Matt Schaub and company. Having a deep threat like Wright also helps an already dominant run game because now teams can't play eight men in the box.
Losing Eric Winston and Casey Myers as potential free agents has to be a concern for the Texans, considering they had arguably the NFL's best line last season. Wisconsin's Peter Konz is an option at center, while the team could look at some other pieces to play tackle.
27. New England Patriots (via Saints): Melvin Ingram / OLB / South Carolina
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Yet again, New England gets a steal late in the draft.
The Pats switched back and forth between 3-4 and 4-3 sets often in 2011, and look to continue the same thing this year. Losing both starting ends Andre Carter and Mark Anderson to free agency is a sign the team is ready to move on with some other pieces.
Ingram has the versatility to play both standing up and with his hand on the ground, something the Patriots will surely take into account. The Pats need a pass rusher and Ingram at this spot is an absolute steal for New England.
There's also been a rumor that New England may package their two first-rounders to move up into the top 10. They'll most likely be looking to snag a defensive tackle like Quinton Coples or Michael Brockers, neither of which will be there at 27 or 31.
28. Green Bay Packers: Nick Perry / DE / USC
Harry How/Getty Images
After winning the Super Bowl in 2010, the Packers defense fell off the face of the earth last season. One of the biggest reasons was their inability to rush the passer. Teams keyed on Clay Matthews and dared anyone else Green Bay threw at them to try and make a play.
No one did.
Nick Perry is a nice pass rusher who is pretty raw but has a high ceiling. Green Bay could use an edge rusher to take the pressure off Matthews and get him back to form.
The Pack also lost center Scott Wells to free agency so don't be surprised if they fall in love with Wisconsin mauler Peter Konz.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Whitney Mercilus / OLB / Illinois
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Losing Jarrett Johnson to the Chargers is a bigger loss for the Ravens then anyone really knows. Johnson played a very blue-collar style of football in Baltimore and often got lost amongst the names like Lewis, Suggs and Ngata.
The Ravens will probably try and replace him with Paul Kruger, who hasn't proven much in his time in the NFL.
Whitney Mercilus led the NCAA in sacks last season with 16 and is a long, rangy defensive end. Mercilus has the ability to play both linebacker and end at the next level and is just the type of player the Ravens will like to have.
Guard Ben Grubbs moved on to New Orleans, leaving a monster hole on the offensive line. Cordy Glenn and Kevin Zeitler are other options for the Ravens.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Cordy Glenn / G / Georgia
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Cordy Glenn impressed scouts at the combine with his athleticism on a guy with his frame, but questions about whether Glenn is a guard or tackle have come up.
To me, Glenn is a true NFL guard, and that's something the 49ers need after letting both Adam Snyder and Chilo Rachal hit the open market. Glenn would fit in well with the young offensive line in San Francisco, because he plays their style of football. He's great against the run and drives players off the ball.
Signing Randy Moss makes it somewhat unlikely the Niners will draft a receiver here, but Georgia Tech's Stephen Hill is awfully enticing with his ability to stretch the field.
31. New England Patriots: Alshon Jeffery / WR / South Carolina
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
This might be a stretch and isn't very likely to happen, but hear me out.
New England is reportedly interested in wide receivers, particularly receivers who can stretch the field. To me, Alshon Jeffery has the potential to be the next Andre Johnson. On the other hand, he has the potential to be Mike Williams.
Jeffery is big (6'4", 229) and has deceptive speed when getting down the field. He struggles a lot with his weight at times and has some inconsistent play that works against him, but if put in the right situation, he could thrive in the NFL.
I really don't expect Bill Belichick to keep this pick, but if he does they should really take a look at defensive back help. New England got torched in the secondary last year and frequently played wide receiver Julian Edelman at corner. UCF's Justin Robinson is a viable option for the Pats to help shore up their defensive backfield.
32. New York Giants: Zach Brown / OLB / North Carolina
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Despite how well the Giants defense played during their Super Bowl run, it wasn't the same case during the season.
New York had a ton of injuries at linebacker last year and seemed to have some guys (Mathias Kiwinuka) playing out of position. Adding a guy like Zach Brown immediately makes that unit better.
Brown is very fast for a linebacker and probably grades out best to the weak side of a 4-3 defense. Adding Brown would allow the G-Men to put Kiwinuka back in the rotation along the defensive line and solidify the linebacker position as a whole.
The Giants also need to get better up front. Eli Manning was running for his life during the playoffs last season, and would be better served getting more time to throw. Tackle Mike Adams would be a nice fit on the edge.