This mock is designed to look at Rounds 1 and 2 only. I admire anyone who mocks an entire draft.
With that said, this approach will analyze straight up picks, no trades up or back, although I firmly believe there are several teams looking to trade their picks. At first I thought the Vikings might try to trade back, but when the Rams traded, the Vikings were pretty much sitting in the catbird seat to draft Matt Kalil.
Oops, gave one away already; not that it was any surprise, though.
I think the Browns (already notified the media, including the Russians), Dolphins, Seahawks, Cowboys, Jets and, of course, the Patriots may be willing to deal. However, let’s look at Rounds 1 and 2, pick by pick, with brief analysis for each pick.
Where will Richardson wind up?
Colts pull the surprise of the draft...just kidding. Andrew Luck is 99.95 percent a Colt, although arguments have been made for both players. In my estimation either guy would be a great pick—it just depends on the type of offense you want to run in Indy. Plus, it was basically verified by ESPN's Adam Schefter the Colts would indeed draft Andrew Luck No. 1.
Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Now this is the real pick and every reason the Redskins gave up the Department of Justice to get it. Again, all joking aside, RG III is a dynamic player who will remind Redskins fans why chasing Michael Vick around the last two years was worth it. They will now have a younger, more astute version of MV. The sky is the limit for this quality kid.
Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, T, USC
I think this is the first time that I have seen where the top three players are universal across most mock drafts. The contrarians have the Vikings drafting Claiborne, or the new hot name, Michael Floyd.
If the Vikings pass on Kalil there will be riots in the Twin Cities. Although, let me say, it would not be surprising to see the Vikings trade down with the Bucs so the Bucs can draft Trent Richardson, and the Browns will be left at the altar once again.
Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
This might be a little high for Richardson, but the Browns, short of a trade back, have little choice. Justin Blackmon is also a possibility, but Holmgren knows what division he is in, and a strong running game is paramount in this division. Richardson gives them that power, explosiveness and speed to git’r done.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Things could get a little interesting here as well. The Bucs went buck wild in free agency. I think they spent way too much for Eric Wright, and even with that, they will select Claiborne, who is a quality shutdown type with great speed and quickness. He’s smooth and at times looks effortless. Ronde Barber is 100 years old, so Claiborne makes total sense here.
St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
The Rams breathe a sigh of relief to know that Blackmon is available; the trade pays off in a big way. Blackmon possesses all the necessary tools to be the featured receiver in an offense that lacks punch. A not so surprise could be Floyd of Notre Dame.
Is the Aggie South Beach Bound?
Jacksonville Jaguars: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
The Jaguars are in a unique position but also that no man’s land. I always feel that pick No. 7 to pick No. 13 is a tough area to pick. Are you reaching for player, or do you just look at the best athlete? It’s always tough. The Jags could look to defensive end, but their defense is a strength and it seems prudent to concentrate on your weakness early in the draft.
I harken back to the Vikings. In 2007 they chose Adrian Peterson at No. 7 even though they had Chester Taylor. Last year they were at No. 12 and picked Christian Ponder; some said he was a reach. So you never know how this is going to play out.
Some have the Jags drafting for defense, but their offense struggled way too much last year, and I see Mularkey getting help for his embattled quarterback. Therefore, they will add another receiver to go with Laurent Robinson because neither of the other Jaguar receivers are feature receivers. Floyd can be that guy.
Miami Dolphins: Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
The Dolphins are in that zone where a multitude of things can happen. I seriously believe the Dolphins will try and trade this spot because drafting Tannehill at No. 8 is a big stretch. I like Tannehill, but I see him more as a late-first-round, early-second-round pick.
If they could trade down four or five spots then the selection of Tannehill would not be seen as that bad of a reach because the team at least got another two or more picks from the trade.
I don’t give a dog's left eye what Todd McShay says; Miami should not feel desperate because they lost out on Manning and Flynn, because there is a silver lining to all of this.
Next year’s quarterback crop is supposed to be deeper than this year, and the Dolphins might be at or around where they are this year and could have their pick of quarterback.
I don’t want to say throw away the season, but Moore has shown to be capable, and the Dolphins cannot force the issue and push the panic button. It always comes back to haunt you. Tannehill has 19 starts. He needs time. If they rush him in, it could be disastrous. In many ways you could say that patience is the father of success.
With that said, Ingram adds a nice complement to Cameron Wake, and the Dolphins defense is at least able to keep the team in games. Most scouts believe that Ingram is a more consistent player than Quinton Coples, although Coples can look incredible at times.
Carolina Panthers: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
The Panthers are in a good position because there are several players sitting there relative to their team needs, but with Floyd and Blackmon off the board, there is no other receiver rated to go this high. They could look to Riley Reiff, but there is a greater need.
Some may see this as a reach, but the Panthers really need to address their woeful run-stop game. The Panthers gave up nearly 131 yards per game last year. Poe is a big body with great athleticism reminiscent of Haloti Ngata.
Buffalo Bills: Riley Reiff, T, Iowa
Buffalo has several areas of immediate need, but protecting their new million-dollar quarterback is paramount, and with the signings of DE Derek Anderson and DE/OLB Mario Williams, they can turn their attention to the offensive line.
According to the Bills' depth chart, the only player listed at LT is Chris Hairston. Reiff is considered one tier below Kalil, but that may not be a bad thing.
Kansas City Chiefs: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
The Chiefs could consider David DeCastro, G, Stanford, but their need is greater at tackle, so the Chiefs could make that trade with the Dolphins and then select Reiff, and the Dolphins may go with Tannehill here, but that is all speculation.
The Chiefs gave up 132 YPG in rush defense last year, and Brockers would be a solid pick to slide in to the middle to shore up an eyesore.
I guess a surprise here could be Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State, but my sense is Romeo Crennel shores up that defense first.
Seattle Seahawks: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
I originally had David DeCastro, G, Stanford.
My switch comes about with the loss of MLB, David Hawthorne. Carroll knows he has to keep that defense strong even though he needs lineman as well. If Kuechly is the real deal he will be a Brian Urlacher type who adds a very nice addition to your defense.
Does the BC Eagle go somewhere between 13 and 19?
Arizona Cardinals: Jonathan Martin, T, Stanford
This was a tough one because the Cardinals would have liked to have seen Reiff drop here, but again, teams drafting ahead of the Cardinals look for needs, LT is coveted, and Kalil and Reiff are the top two.
The Cardinals do not have a pick in Round 2, so they have got to get the guy they need, but again, there is a market here to trade down, and the Cardinals could very well do that. A team that really likes Devon Still or Fletcher Cox or even Luke Kuechly could pull a trade here.
With no trade, the Cardinals will draft Martin, who is a big man who did very well protecting Andrew Luck. Plus, he keeps the mascot name of Cardinal; too easy.
Don’t rule out Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama, but this may be a little too high for him.
Dallas Cowboys:David DeCastro, G, Stanford
Original pick: Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
Jerry Jones is licking his lips over the fact that not only is the best guard available, but a very good athlete as well. Jones begins to recall the Dallas O-Line of the early 90's which helped to produce huge holes for Emmitt Smith.
Philadelphia Eagles: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
With the acquisition of DeMeco Ryans, it is unlikely they will look at Luke Kuechly or Courtney Upshaw. The Eagles can look to fill the middle up front with Cox.
There is a possibility the Eagles could look at Devon Still if the Cowboys grab Cox, and wouldn’t Jerry Jones love to rub Reid’s rhubarb.
New York Jets: Mark Barron, SS, Alabama
Original pick: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
If the Seahawks pass on Kuechly for DeCastro, the Jets will pounce on Kuechly here, but since he's gone they take the best safety in the draft.
Given last year's back end failures, the addition of Barron gives the Jets a credible and impact style player.
Cincinnati Bengals: Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia
Cincinnati made great strides last year, but they still have several areas of need. One is the guard position, and Glenn is a powerful run-blocker. They could go for Kirkpatrick here and hope that Glenn is available at 21, but with the Chargers at 18, the Bears at 19 and the Titans at 20, they should get him now.
San Diego Chargers: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
The Chargers could grab Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin, but he is projected more as a Round 2 selection.
Mercilus can be merciless when it comes to the quarterback. Besides, this is an area of need for the Chargers, as their defense last year only came up with 32 sacks, and Antwan Barnes had 11 of those. Plus, if they lose Luis Castillo, that makes this pick even more important.
Another possibility is Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama, but his stock seems to have dropped lately. Plus, they signed Jarrett Johnson.
Chicago Bears: Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin
This may seem to be a bit of a reach given Zeitler’s grade was as a second-round selection, but the other top guards are gone, and with the acquisition of Brandon Marshall, the Bears will not see WR as an initial need, although they may look at that in Round 2 given Johnny Knox’s situation.
The Bears need interior help, and even though Zeitler follows Gabe Carimi as Badgers to the Bears, it is about necessity and providing Jay Cutler some more security.
Will your team select the speedy Wright?
Tennessee Titans: Quinton Coples, DE, USC
Original pick: Nick Perry, DE, USC
In looking at who the Titans may like at this position, I found that some of the picks they may desire are gone, while others may be a reach at this point. Coples is very talented, but sometimes can have attitude or effort issues. Munchak seems to be the type of guy who can keep him motivated.
I don’t think there is any doubt that Coach Munchak wants to have a dominant offensive and defensive line and to work outward from there. Coples fits in nicely with Munchak’s rebuilding of the defensive line.
Cincinnati Bengals: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
This pick makes perfect sense for the Bengals. After shoring up their interior line to help Andy Dalton, now they can focus on an area of weakness on the defense.
Kirkpatrick is probably the top rated DB coming out of the draft next to Claiborne. He will make Bengals fans very happy. There’s champagne being poured in Cincinnati, as they begin to build a team that will overtake the AFC North.
Cleveland Browns: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
The Browns wanted RG III no doubt, but there is no reason to believe they will just draft another QB just to draft a QB, but…Tannehill is a quality QB who might be good enough to start over Colt McCoy.
Yes, Tannehill could go earlier, but most teams are pretty secure in who their starters are. One could argue the Browns don’t have to push the panic button and could draft a WR here to further bolster McCoy’s chances.
If they draft a WR in this spot to go with Richardson, any lack of offense can be attributed to McCoy, but if they draft these weapons and McCoy advances his play, then they would have chosen wisely.
My take is too much pressure forces the Browns to take Tannehill here. And honestly, this is about the area of Round 1 where Tannehill’s name begins to surface.
Detroit Lions: Janoris Jenkins, DB, Northern Alabama
The smokescreen is that the Lions are suddenly not so hot on Jenkins. Yeah, and kids don't like candy. This one is so obvious. Seriously, the only other area the Lions may look at this point is offensive line, but the top tier players are gone and they really need to look at their corner position.
I think the Lions are sporting high fives as Jenkins drops into their lap. There is an argument that Jenkins may turn out to be the best of the DB bunch, but there is also a risk, and that is the reason he drops to this point.
The Lions defense gets a significant upgrade at a position that was torched last year.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Adams, T, Ohio State
Original pick: Devon Still, NT, Penn State
At this point in Round 1, the Steelers stand in that area where best player available (BPA) comes into play. They really have three need areas: OL, DL, CB.
Of the three position areas, Devon Still and Jerel Worthy would be very good selections, but I think the Steelers front office has heard the roars of, "We want Big Ben to have more protection."
They answer the calls. Adams gives them a big son-of-a-gun of a tackle. He is a solid run-blocker with a mean streak but needs work in the pass protection game. Also, he would most likely be better suited at RT until he learns more about the LT position if they want to project him for that spot
Denver Broncos:Devon Still, DT, Penn State
Original pick: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
The Broncos seem to have addressed areas of need on offense, especially with Manning, although I am still upset with how they dealt with Tebow.
Although I originally had Gilmore here, by having the Steelers go O-Line, this made Devon Still available and I believe he is the type of player John Fox likes. He comes from a solid system that has put out very good defensive linemen lately.
Besides, the Broncos gave up way too much in the run game last year and the pool of DB's runs deep, so there is a chance in Round Two or Three for that position.
Houston Texans: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Again, another tough one, but Andre Johnson needs help. He has had an adequate support cast, but Wright gives them an added dimension.
I almost went with Stephen Hill here, but Hill and Johnson are mirror receiver types, and Wright gives the Texans that DeSean Jackson type of receiver. If you thought the Texans offense was potent last year, wait until you see this one explode on defenses.
Tom, don't worry, you have two first and two second round picks
The obvious is obvious; the Patriots need some serious help on defense, and the best place to start is in the middle. Losing Mark Anderson didn’t help, and the signing of Jonathan Fanene seems to be more of a tit for tat type of transaction.
There is a chance the Patriots could go DB or safety here, but they have another choice in Round 1 unless Belichick decides to bundle and move up or stand pat and draft BPA.
Worthy helps a front line that had many rotations last year.
Green Bay Packers: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
The Packers were in a similar position last year as the Patriots, but the Packers problem was they ran into a Giants defense that was playing better than any defense in the playoffs. Because the Green Bay defense was too much of a liability, the Pack were sent packing.
Upshaw gives them a credible threat on the end to bookend with Clay Matthews. My only concern is that Upshaw’s draft stock has dropped, but on balance, Upshaw’s body of work makes him a late first-round pick, so this seems about right.
Baltimore Ravens: Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
Back-to-back Tide players go here but more out of necessity than just being Crimson Tide players. Ray Lewis has been a phenomenal player, but there will be a time to replace the ageless wonder.
Hightower is a nasty player who would relish learning from one of the game’s best. However, if the Steelers happen to grab Hightower, the Ravens may look at Mike Adams, T, Ohio State or Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin.
San Francisco 49ers: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
The 49ers interior line needs help, and Konz is the best value at this point. San Francisco lost Adam Snyder, and Jonathan Goodwin will be 34 years old; either C or G needs to be addressed.
Had one of the top CBs dropped, that position could have been addressed, but for the Niners, addressing the line seems paramount at this time.
New England Patriots: Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State
Original Pick: Mark Barron, SS, Alabama
This is primetime Belichick time. You have to know those little gerbil wheels are running feverishly through Coach Belichick’s mind. I would bet a week's salary that Belichick trades this pick to accumulate more for this year or next.
McClellin is a good gamble at this point. He adds versatility and who likes versatility more than Billy? Plus he goes defense, defense and can look at a receiver later in the second or third round.
The Patriots could also look to Andre Branch, DE, Clemson to combine with Worthy, which would certainly make a lot of sense as well.
New York Giants: David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
Original Pick: Mike Adams, T, Ohio State
Hang on, hang on, New York fans before you go putting my address on Twitter, hear me out. Most scouts feel the primary needs for the Giants are OL, MLB and RB. I know Coby Fleener looks like the attractive choice, but with the signing of Bennett, that gives me pause to have Fleener going at this point.
With the loss of cry baby Brandon Jacobs and the injury prone Bradshaw forces the Giants into getting someone who can tote the rock now. Wilson is ACC. He is a product of Beamer. I think Coughlin sees things in that relationship that likes over Lamar Miller or Miami.
This is a solid pick. As for the MLB position, I just don’t see another MLB outside of Kuechly and Hightower worth taking this high.
Well, that does it for Round 1; click NEXT for Round 2
Who takes a chance on Weeden?
St. Louis Rams: Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut
The Rams got their featured receiver in Round 1 and now look to shore up a hole in the middle of their defense.
Indianapolis Colts: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
Minnesota Vikings: Harrison Smith, SS/FS, Notre Dame
Original Pick: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
By getting their left tackle for the next decade, the Vikings are in a unique position to trade down here about four or five spots and still land Smith. Yes, I think Hill would be a great selection here as well, but my inclination tells me the Vikings will look WR in Round 3.
Smith certainly looks the part and I have compared him to Craig Steltz of the Bears, and this may seem just a tad high for him, so we'll see if this is what the Vikings do.
I hope this doesn't come back to haunt me.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
After missing out on Trent Richardson, the Bucs get a pretty doggone good running back in Miller.
Cleveland Browns: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
By selecting Tannehill late in the first, the Browns get a target for the eventual QB starter, Tannehill or McCoy.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Kelechi Osemele, G, Iowa State
After selecting a featured receiver in Floyd, Mike Mularkey gets Gabbert some protection with Osemele.
St. Louis Rams (from Washington): Zach Brown, OLB, UNC
Fisher gets to work on that defense.
Carolina Panthers: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
Keepin’ it Carolina style; Newton gets big target for red zone.
Buffalo Bills: Stephen Gilmore, DB, South Carolina
Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech
Originally I had Gilmore going in Round 1, but circumstances influenced me to drop Gilmore into Round 2. The Bills need to work on the back end of their defense, which seemed to play very poorly headed toward the end of last year. The receiver class is deep, so the Bills may go WR here, but Gilmore is a talented DB who may not even be here at this spot.
Miami Dolphins: Amini Silatolu, G, Midwestern State
Silatolu is climbing the charts, and the Dolphins will look to beef up the middle of their offensive line. Brandon Weeden is a possibility here, but again, I think the Dolphins should wait on next year, or maybe consider a quarterback in Round 3, Foles and Osweiler, maybe even Weeden will be there.
Seattle Seahawks: Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
The Seahawks need depth on the defensive line. Chris Clemons had 11 sacks last year, but the rest are average.
Kansas City Chiefs: Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State
Original Pick: Zebrie Sanders, T, Florida State
I am really rolling the dice here on the Chiefs because David DeCastro was there in Round 1, and now I have them passing on Sanders. I hope this isn't one of those situations most of us have had. You know, erasing an answer you previously had only to find out your instincts were right from the get go.
I have no real justification for this pick, just gut. However, I would gladly accept being wrong and having the Chiefs selecting a lineman either Round 1 or 2.
Dallas Cowboys: Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska
The Cowboys stick with defense, as Anthony Spencer may be overrated.
Philadelphia Eagles: Bobby Wagner, OLB, Utah State
Philadelphia follows the Cowboys with defense and why not; each team had disappointing defenses last year.
New York Jets: Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
Original Pick: David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
The Jets so-called ground and pound has looked more like mush and push. Shonn Greene is not a three-down back, and Joe McKnight is not the answer. Wilson is most likely gone at this point, so it really comes down to Martin, or Isiah Pead, Cincinnati, but the Jets have to address this position as soon as possible.
New England Patriots (from Oakland): Tommy Streeter, WR, Miami
Original Pick: Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State
Belichick has four picks in Rounds 1 and 2, and surely he is going to experiment with one of them—that is the genius of Bill Belichick.
Side note: Is there any team the Raiders have not at least given one draft choice to in the last few years? Just curious.
Streeter makes sense for the Patriots. Even though they score with anybody, a wide threat like Streeter could rekindle the Moss era in New England thereby making defenses sleep less than they already did.
After dropping out of Round One, Dennard Finds a Home
San Diego Chargers: Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
Antonio Gates has had injury issues the last few years, so Allen adds a nice alternative and eventual replacement for a wonderful career by Gates.
Chicago Bears: Mychal Kendricks, LB, California
It almost sounds sacrilegious to say that Brian Urlacher has seen his better years, but unless he finds the Fountain of Youth he is going to keep getting older and more banged up. Kendricks would be a good player for him to mentor.
Philadelphia (from Arizona): Bobbie Massie, T, Mississippi
Original Pick: Tommy Streeter, WR, Miami
I thought the Eagles would go with a WR her to offset Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, but the Eagles need to replace Jason Peters who tore his Achilles heel .
Tennessee Titans: Reuben Randle, WR, LSU
The Titans have the luxury of picking the receiver that best fits their system. The Titans will waste no time in turning in the card for a steady and reliable receiver in Randle.
Cincinnati Bengals: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Brian Quick, WR, Appalachian State
With the loss of Andre Caldwell and the impending legal issues of the human gymnast Jerome Simpson, this could be a likely area to go WR. With Hill not being selected by the Vikings earlier, he drops. It's basically a Bengals front office decision as to who they prefer, but WR at this spot seems very likely.
Detroit Lions: Bruce Irvin, OLB, West Virginia
This might be a bit of a reach, but the Lions need help on the outside at the second level. Irvin’s got speed, but will need to work on overall game knowledge.
Atlanta Falcons: Josh Robinson, CB, UCF
The Falcons defensive backfield needs upgrading, and at this point the Falcons go for BPA.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Jared Crick, DE, Nebraska
Constant motor, relentless, tenacious, Steeler constructed; enough said.
Denver Broncos: Mitchell Schwartz, T, California
Original Pick: Bobbie Massie, T, Mississippi
Massie is gone at this point, I think, so the Broncos look west to California.
The Broncos will want to assure Peyton that they have his back, no pun intended. Schwartz is a solid pass blocker but will need to work on the run blocking.
Houston Texans: Zebrie Sanders, T, Florida State
The Texans need some help along the line, specifically at tackle. Sanders would be better served inside, as he seems to struggle with speed rushers, but he could develop at RT.
Mitchell Schwartz, T, California
The Texans have some uncertainty along the right side, and Schwartz is a solid pass blocker but will need to work on the run blocking. Look for Texans to look at TE in the coming rounds
Green Bay: Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma
The Packers defense needs an upgrade on the back end. With the selection of Upshaw in Round 1, the retooling continues. This could also be Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech as well, it's a coin toss.
Baltimore Ravens: Brandon Brooks, G, Miami (Ohio)
A lot of people do not know that much about Brandon Brooks because he plays in the MAC. Brooks is huge at 6’6” and 345 pounds, but his weight could become an issue. However, the Ravens were able to motivate Bryant McKinnie, so they should be able to work with Brooks.
The Ravens' line is aging and needs help now, especially with the departure of Grubbs, who saw the Ravens' Super Bowl window closing.
San Francisco 49ers: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
The 49ers were very impressive on defense last year, and they will upgrade their back end with Dennard.
New England Patriots: Best Player Available (BPA)
Original Pick: Marvin Jones, WR, California
For the most part, trying to figure out the workings of Bill Belichick is like trying to figure out Kim Kardashian's contribution to society. So I say BPA here, but it could be a linemen on either side of the ball.
New York Giants: Tank Carder, MLB, TCU
The Giants' MLB position was a weakness last year, mostly due to injury, but they still need to upgrade this area, and Carder has been impressive in workouts and in his game film.
Final Note: Brandon Weeden, and a host of others are not in here and you may be wondering why. If NFL teams get shark frenzy then Weeden, and maybe Brock Osweiler go somewhere late first and second round, but hopefully greater heads will prevail and these guys will go where they are most likely and scouted to go.
I know there are players that you will take exception with, and you will undoubtedly say, “What about so and so,” and “No way he drops this far.” That’s cool, just know that trying to evaluate and place matching talent with team needs is a tall task, and sometimes guys will get passed over. Thanks for checking out my predictions.
Well, there you have it. Your constructive views and comments are always welcome.