Plenty of trends arise in prospect evaluation around this time of the year.
In 2012, that trend is late-surfacing reports of attitudes issues amongst the elite prospects.
I'm not here to validate or deny said reports, but rather take a look at where both Griffin and Kalil will soon call home (although there's little debate about the 2011 Heisman winner's next step).
Kalil—attitude or not—is one of the pivotal players to keep an eye on in the beginning stages of the first round.
On pure talent and position, he's the kind of player that is worthy of a top three selection. He's a franchise-caliber left tackle; those kind of guys don't grow on trees.
But, unlike most every other year, there's a shot that Kalil will slip down the draft because the teams picking the near the top are largely set at the left tackle position, or have other more glaring needs that take precedent in this instance.
So where will Matt Kalil end up? You'll find out in this full two-round mock draft.
The lay-up of all lay-ups when it comes to educating guessing. Actually, this isn't an educated guess. The Colts are taking Luck. Period. End of story.
He's a franchise quarterback with virtually every trait you could ask for in a prospect and the player the Colts have been enamored with since even before Peyton Manning was released.
How long will it take for Luck to steer Indy's fortunes opposite of the direction they headed in 2011? Well, if he's anywhere close to as good as the hype surrounding him, not long.
Another shoo-in. Redskins fans ought to go ahead and place an order on their Griffin jersey, although it's unclear what number the Heisman winner will don as a pro.
Griffin has so many of the tools needed to be a game-changer, not the least of which is his poise. He's incredibly comfortable in a leadership role, and that's something that will matter as a rookie in a huddle filled with some veteran presences.
Like Luck in Indianapolis, Griffin should soon set the Redskins back on track.
Really, there are only two ways with which Minnesota can elect to go at pick three, and that's either Claiborne or Kalil.
Why Claiborne, then?
A few reasons: Calvin Johnson, Greg Jennings, Brandon Marshall, and a trio of supremely talented quarterbacks throwing footballs to them.
The NFC North is a high-octane offensive division that will require Minnesota to be able to defend the pass in order to compete. They couldn't do it in 2011, and Claiborne is one step in a movement towards fixing it in 2012.
Might they go Kalil? Yes, but my gut says defense on this one.
The Browns offense is woeful. It was painful to watch in 2011. Richardson, the best running back prospect to come out since Adrian Peterson, will immediately improve it.
I understand those who don't value running backs in the top five picks, but I'm not one of them.
Richardson is a guy who can play on all three downs and effectively produce as both a runner, receiver and pass blocker. His presence will lighten the load on Colt McCoy.
Projected trade: Buffalo trades its first-round pick in 2012 (No. 10), its second round in 2012 (No. 41) and its fourth-round pick in 2013 to Tampa Bay for its first-round pick in 2012 (No. 5).
Note: I'll limit projected trades to just the top 10 picks, as the unpredictability outside of the first 10 selections decreases the legitimacy of proposals.
After losing Demetress Bell to Philadelphia in free agency, the Bills move up to fill their most glaring remaining need. Kalil is the guy to take to protect Ryan Fitpatrick's blindside, and worth the steep price paid to move up to acquire him.
Kalil won't need long to adjust as a pro, and will start from the first day he shows up in Orchard Park. He'll have plenty of reps during training camp against Mario Williams to grow accustomed to the speed of a star rusher in the NFL, and that can only help this already impressive young tackle.
Cox, right, will help the St. Louis run defense.
This is a popular match in recent mock draft discussions, as new Rams head coach Jeff Fisher may look to improve what was a porous run defense in 2011 by adding the defensive tackle that many consider the best of the bunch in this draft class.
Cox has been a fast-riser throughout the draft process, and he's not just considered a safer bet than Dontari Poe of Memphis—many like his game much more too.
The Rams, seeing a deep wide receiver class, elect to pass on Justin Blackmon and will readdress the position later down the line.
There is always the possibility the the Jaguars do something unexpected (that's a tendency of GM Gene Smith's), so don't discount a guy like Stephon Gilmore here.
But, assuming more conventional wisdom shines through, the Jaguars land the top receiver in this class and provide QB Blaine Gabbert with a new weapon to help refine his currently underwhelming game.
Blackmon does not have elite speed or dynamic athleticism, but he's a polished, smart and mature wide receiver who can be productive in any offense.
The Jaguars had the worst receivers in the league last year, but with Blackmon and Laurent Robinson, that's no longer the case.
As it turns out, the Dolphins don't need to do a thing to land the quarterback they've been allegedly targeting throughout much of the pre-draft process. Tannehill falls into their lap and will reunite with his former college head coach Mike Sherman, the current offensive coordinator with the Dolphins and a guy who we expect believes in the 23-year-old.
And while I don't think Tannehill will walk into the starting job without duking it out during the preseason with Matt Moore, I do think he gives the Dolphins' franchise hope for building around a young quarterback they believe can become elite.
That's a good step after what has been a dreadful offseason.
What seems to be universally agreed upon by draftniks is that the Panthers will look for defensive help at pick nine.
Where debate still lingers is which player they'll elect to go with, but to me, there's no better choice than Gilmore.
The Panthers need help defending the pass, especially in a division laced with potentially elite passing games. They have a handful of pieces in the back end that can get the job done, but lack an elite young cornerback who can shut down his area of the field. Gilmore may not be in the class of Claiborne, but he's a No. 1 cornerback in the making.
After missing out on both Richardson and Claiborne, the Bucs decide to move down and still land the player that many consider the second-best defensive prospect in this draft.
Kuechly can immediately quarterback their defense and play on all three downs. He's a tackling machine who excels in pass defense, and that helps when playing in the NFC South, where he'll be asked to play in a ton of sub package defenses.
I've long been a fan of this guy's game, and I think new Bucs head coach Greg Schiano will soon be as well.
Surprised by this one? Don't be, because the Chiefs and Barron would be a terrific match.
The Chiefs have a pair of young safeties already on the roster, including a superstar in Eric Berry, but the team has sorely lacked a third safety in recent seasons. Barron wouldn't be drafted to be a situational player, but his addition would lead to sliding Kendrick Lewis into the third slot and starting Berry and Barron.
Keep this in mind: head coach Romeo Crennel has long implemented a defensive scheme against Peyton Manning in which he used a physical safety at the line of scrimmage to disrupt his primary tight end target (which figures to be Jacob Tamme in 2012). Barron has the abilities to do that, which would allow Berry and Lewis to roam in space, something each excels at.
The Seahawks would love to see Kuechly fall here, as the team surely needs an inside linebacker upgrade after losing David Hawthorne to New Orleans in free agency. But a pass-rusher is an additional need, and Ingram is the best available at this point.
He's compact, powerful and has good explosion off of the edge. He may never be a 15 sack-per-season player, but Ingram will perpetually disrupt the pocket with his strength off the edge.
Seattle's defense is quickly taking form as an elite group under Pete Carroll.
There was a time not long ago where it felt like the Cardinals went after an offensive player in the first round of the draft every year. That's changed of late, but Floyd is the guy for 2012.
Yes, the Cardinals have invested in multiple receivers to play alongside Larry Fitzgerald, but Floyd would push this receiving corps into the realm of downright scary.
He'd see a ton of man coverage and also free up space for Larry Fitzgerald. The two could become the most lethal perimeter receiving duo in all of football, and have an effect on their offense much like the Giants had with Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks in 2011.
In a perfect world, the Cowboys will land Mark Barron, but the only way to ensure your draft fortune is to finish 2-14 like Indianapolis did in 2011.
That being said, Brockers is more than a consolation prize. He's the defensive lineman that intrigues me most in the entire draft, as he has the ability to play all over the line and the explosiveness to create havoc on nearly every down.
Brockers is young and inexperienced, so it may take him a year or two to fully develop. But when he does...watch out.
Given his upside, Poe is in some ways an early steal at pick 15. He's massive, powerful, athletic and has plenty of room to grow.
Question is, does he have the sort of intangibles needed to take the strides to become great?
Well, there aren't many defensive line coaches that I would want taking on a project like Poe more than Jim Washburn, as I think he can morph Poe's potential into potency, and make a stud out of this kid.
The Eagles need run defense help in the worst way, and that's where Poe will make his money.
Maybe you haven't seen McClellin this high on other mock drafts, but he is flying up draft boards and is an incredible fit for a Rex Ryan defense.
There's not much he cannot do, and few coaches would savor the opportunity to coach a guy like this more than Ryan. He'd be used all over the formation and give the Jets a better pure pass-rusher than than currently have (unless Aaron Maybin continues to improve off of his 2011).
The Jets may be tempted by a guy like Coples here, but McClellin seems closer to a sure thing in my eyes.
The Bengals really need secondary help. Leon Hall went down with an Achilles' tear late last year and the team has a couple of aging veterans alongside him.
Kirkpatrick is not an elite man-to-man prospect, but he excelled in a pro style scheme at Alabama and will be physical and aggressive under Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.
17 is just too high for the Bengals to take an offensive guard, although David DeCastro still makes some sense.
Why the drop for Reiff? I think he's a long-term guard. Not a star, but a solid guard who can play tackle in a pinch.
Reiff's athleticism and short arms scare me, and that will translate to a position switch to help hide those limitations.
San Diego needs help along the offensive line, and Reiff can step into a starting right guard role immediately.
The Bears need help along the offensive line, that's no sort of mystery.
And while I don't necessarily love the idea of taking a guard in the top 20 picks, I think DeCastro is an instant starter with the makeup to justify the pick.
He's strong, tough, smart, technical and plays with a whole lot of nasty. This guy will come in and open up holes for whoever is taking carries in Chicago, and he'll also help the effort to keep Jay Cutler on two feet.
The Titans would have loved to have seen DeCastro drop to pick 20, but the opportunity to draft Jones is not too shabby either.
Jones is a freak athlete who could develop into a top-flight 4-3 defensive end. He has unique potential and could assume the role that Derrick Morgan has not been able to seize thus far in his career.
While not necessarily the team's most pressing need, the lack of a cornerback or interior offensive lineman worth drafting at this point leads the Titans to Jones.
The Titans passed on Glenn because they have enough to get by at guard for 2012. The Bengals don't have such a luxury, so taking him at 21, which is probably too high, is the move.
Glenn has solid makeup and the ability to swing between both guard and tackle. There are games you watch of his that make you say wow (LSU in 2011 being one of them) and others where you can't quite figure him out.
Nonetheless, the Bengals need this guy in a bad way, and they piece together another solid first round with Glenn and Kirkpatrick.
The Browns addressed their running back need at pick four with Richardson, and now they elect to take another guy who they can use to pave his way in Adams.
Is Adams an elite propsect? No. Is right tackle a premium position? No. But this is a nice blend of need and the type of player that Cleveland seems to like.
Pencil Adams in as the day one starter opposite of Joe Thomas. Not a bad duo.
Coples' wait ends at pick 23, and man does it make for an interesting match. The Lions love to uncork their defensive ends and let 'em run free after the quarterback. If there's one skill that could make Coples a star in the NFL, it's his ability to rush the passer.
Will he have the opportunity to do so from day one? Likely not, as the Lions have Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril already entrenched as starters. But Coples would add a dynamic additional rusher and could wreak havoc in sub situations.
Here's one that makes too much sense not to happen. Hightower is a Steelers kind of player: he's gritty, tough, smart and physical.
The Steelers said difficult goodbyes to a few popular veterans this offseason, not the least of which was James Farrior. And although it will be different seeing someone other than Farrior quarterbacking the Pittsburgh defensive huddle, Hightower will soon make Steelers fans very happy he's on their side.
I understand the Broncos offense is already in better shape than their defense, but surrounding Peyton Manning with all of the necessary pieces is of critical importance prior to the start of the season.
Is Willis McGahee a sufficient starter? Yes. But Manning has a history of playing with dependable backs who can do a little bit of everything.
Enter, Doug Martin. He's versatile, reliable and will look really good running stretch plays in Denver.
The Texans have a need for a wide receiver, even though their passing attack was really good in 2011.
I hear the calls for Stephen Hill, but before handing the former Georgia Tech wide receiver off to Houston, consider the fit. Is he the piece the Texans need for their offense?
I don't think so, but I think Reuben Randle is. He's more polished than Hill and can work the intermediate concepts in Houston's offense. Matt Schaub will like spreading the wealth Randle's way as well.
The Patriots have a need for a pass-rusher, and Curry is an underrated prospect who could fill that role from an early stage in his career.
Versatility is another key here: he's no one trick pony. Curry has very sold instincts, has speed, power and the technique to leverage opposing tackles.
Sounds like a Bill Belichick kind of guy to me.
Like New England ahead of them, Green Bay has a need for a pass-rusher and loves versatility.
Upshaw fits the bill. He's smart, he's physical and he can do a lot of things dependably for Dom Capers' defense.
I love the way that Alabama used him in 2011, and I'm sure Capers will strive to be equally creative in making the most of this talent.
The Ravens start a seemingly-ageless wonder at center in Matt Birk, but he can't go on forever. Drafting Konz now would be a shrewd look towards the future.
Konz is physical, smart and can play in a depth-level role in 2011. Should Birk opt for retirement after next season, he'd immediately step in and fill the gap.
Baltimore is one of the best at building for the future while remaining competitive in the present. Konz is another example of a pick catered to accomplish that.
The 49ers have made a habit of investing in first round offensive linemen, and the 2011 results pay credence to the strategy.
Zeitler would be the latest in a string of such investments (and the second Badger lineman taken in as many picks), and could tag team with Mike Iupati to form one of the nastiest guard tandems in football.
Other options here include adding an offensive weapon like Coby Fleener, but I think San Francisco will stick to its model of building through the trenches.
If we've learned anything in recent years about Bill Belichick, it's that he's not locked in to playing simply one defensive front. They may play 50 percent 4-3 one week and 20 percent later. They're a game-plan defense.
Drafting Worthy affords the team flexibility, because he's capable to play in a multitude of alignments. Moreover, he's tremendous value at the pick, and the Patriots need depth along the line, as Vince Wilfork was relegated to playing the most snaps of his career in 2012.
The Giants cut ties with running back Brandon Jacobs this offseason, but the team can swing a major upgrade by selecting Wilson at pick 32.
He's got the speed, vision and quickness to be a terrific compliment to Ahmad Bradshaw. And although neither is the ideal short-yardage player, New York can rely on other options for that role.
Another guy who will love this pick: Eli Manning.
33. St. Louis Rams: Stephen Hill, wide receiver, Georgia Tech. A risk? Yes, but the Rams are desperate for help at the receiver position. This guy has major upside.
34. Indianapolis Colts: Trumaine Johnson, cornerback, Montana. A fast-riser with insane size and good production, Johnson would help shore up what was a beaten-down secondary in 2011.
35. Minnesota Vikings: Jonathan Martin, offensive tackle, Stanford. Not elite, but an upgrade for Minnesota, who needs to find line help to protect quarterback Christian Ponder.
36. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Harrison Smith, safety, Notre Dame. Athletic, smart, loves to play the game and a dependable run and pass defender.
37. Cleveland Browns: Brandon Weeden, quarterback, Oklahoma State. I love this guy. He has limitations and is old, but the Browns could do much worse than finding a quarterback ready to compete with Colt McCoy for the starting job.
38. Jacksonville Jaguars: Nick Perry, defensive end, USC. A huge value pick here, and a guy that fills a major need. In fact, I actually like the fit of Perry in Jacksonville more than Melvin Ingram, who they could have had at No. 7.
39. St. Louis Rams (Via Washington): Amini Solatolu, offensive line, Midwestern State. The mountain of a man from the unheralded program would become a pivotal piece of the Rams' efforts to build a formidable line around Sam Bradford.
40. Carolina Panthers: Whitney Mercilus, defensive end, Illinois. The Panthers need pass-rushers to play alongside Charles Johnson. Mercilus would provide good value at pick 40.
41. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Via Buffalo Bills): Coby Fleener, tight end, Stanford. A dynamic passing game weapon. Tight ends are the rage in the NFL, and Fleener has the makings of a good one.
42. Miami Dolphins: Kendall Wright, wide receiver, Baylor. The Dolphins need wideouts for Ryan Tannehill to throw to, and Wright would help. He should be able to smoothly transition into the West Coast system Miami will employ.
43. Seattle Seahawks: Bobby Massie, offensive line, Mississippi. Taking Massie could allow Seattle to move James Carpenter inside to guard, where he's better suited as a pro.
44. Kansas City Chiefs: Jeff Allen, offensive line, Illinois. Durable, consistent and able to flex to multiple positions. The Chiefs offensive line needs one more piece like that.
45. Dallas Cowboys: Brandon Taylor, safety, LSU. Unable to land Mark Barron in round one, the Cowboys pick up their second LSU player of the draft in Taylor, an impressive safety.
46. Philadelphia Eagles: James Brown, offensive line, Troy. A round too high for this guy, but his ability to play guard and tackle makes him a good fit for Philadelphia.
47. New York Jets: Alshon Jeffrey, wide receiver, New York Jets. At this point, the guy is too talented to pass up. Can he control his weight?
48. New England Patriots (Via Oakland): Janoris Jenkins, cornerback, North Alabama. If anyone can keep this guy in line, it's Bill Belichick.
49. San Diego Chargers: Kendall Reyes, defensive line, Connecticut. Solid value here for a guy with some burst and explosion to collapse the pocket as a rusher.
50. Chicago Bears: A.J. Jenkins, wide receiver, Illinois. The Bears don't have to look far to find another wide receiver to add to the mix for Jay Cutler.
51. Philadelphia Eagles (Via Arizona): Lamar Miller, running back, Miami. Andy Reid is always in the market for offensive playmakers in the top part of the NFL draft.
52. Tennessee Titans: Ben Jones, center, Gerogia. There's no finesse to this guy's game. He can supplant Eugene Amano in the middle of the Titans' line.
53. Cincinnati Bengals: Andre Branch, defensive end/outside linebacker, Clemson. Perhaps not a perfect fit, but certainly an above-average value.
54. Detroit Lions: Kelechi Osemele, offensive tackle, Iowa State. This team needs a tackle terribly, as neither Gosder Cherilus or Jeff Backus is the long-term answer in Detroit. Backus has had a steady run in Detroit, but he's closing in on the twilight of his career.
55. Atlanta Falcons: Dwayne Allen, tight end, Clemson. Tony Gonzalez can't play forever, and Allen is a solid two-phase tight end prospect.
56. Pittsburgh Steelers: Chris Polk, running back, Washington. Someone needs to run the football in Rashard Mendenhall's absence.
57. Denver Broncos: Devon Still, defensive line, Penn State. After looking offense in round one, the Broncos add some meat to their defensive line with Still.
58. Houston Texans: Mitchell Schwartz, offensive tackle, Cal. The Texans let go of Eric Winston during free agency. Now they look to find his replacement in Schwartz.
59. Green Bay Packers: Josh Robinson, cornerback, Central Florida. Dazzled during the pre-draft process, he'd give the Packers another body to add to what was a crummy secondary in 2012.
60. Baltimore Ravens: DeQuan Menzie, defensive back, Alabama. He played some safety at the Senior Bowl, and that's where he fits in with Baltimore.
61. San Francisco 49ers: Orson Charles, tight end, Georgia. The 49ers love athletic tight ends, and there's no doubting Charles' physical abilities. It's the other things that need to be ironed out (he recently was arrested and charged with DUI). Could be a tremendous weapon in this offense.
62. New England Patriots: Juron Criner, wide receiver, Arizona. So what if the Patriots have 10 receivers on the current roster? This guy can play and Bill Belichick believes in roster competition.
63. New York Giants: LaVonte David, outside linebacker, Nebraska. This dude can really run and would add to a thin Giants' linebacking core.
***N.B.: New Orleans forfeited its second round pick as part of the punishment from the "Bountygate" Scandal.