The No. 1 pick in April's NFL draft will be Andrew Luck. Of course, that makes a bit of an assumption that he'll come out. But assuming he does come out, the Stanford quarterback will go No. 1.
But who gets Luck, and what happens after he goes?
Well, the Dolphins and Colts are each winless, and the Cardinals and Rams each have one win. Given the way the rest of the schedule sets up, I have the Dolphins getting the No. 1 pick. But even if the Colts get it, they should look to fill another hole, at running back.
This isn't backtracking, but the Colts should take Luck if a few things happen. One is that they need to get that No. 1 pick. Two is that Peyton Manning is not on their roster in 2012. If that happens, then they should go for Luck.
If neither of those happen, then they should get themselves into a position to take Alabama's Trent Richardson.
In my mock below, you'll notice that I have Richardson going to the Colts at No. 2. That's not too much of a reach, but they could probably trade down a few picks to get him. I don't like to forecast potential trades, but that's probably not the worst road for the Colts to go down.
I certainly understand some fears about taking a running back that early in the first round. Running backs' careers are so short, and there are so few true featured backs. Still, when one of those guys becomes available, you don't want to pass on him.
Richardson is that guy. He's got freakish athletic ability and a great work ethic. The Colts' running back by committee has just not done a good job for them. Their record speaks for itself. You don't have that kind of record if you have any sort of a running game.
Even if the Colts are in a position to get Luck, they shouldn't do it unless Manning is done as a Colt. He would wasted on the bench behind Manning.
If the Colts are really looking for a project to replace Manning, they should trade down to get Matt Barkley from USC or even draft someone in the later rounds.
Richardson is the kind of back to step in and make an immediate impact. When you get that kind of chance, you don't necessarily want to waste it because you're worried about longevity. He's a featured back at Alabama and will be one again in the NFL. The Colts' rushing attack is not good enough to pass up on a guy like that.
2012 Mock Draft: First Round
|1. Miami Dolphins||Andrew Luck||QB-Stanford|
|2. St. Louis Rams||Morris Claiborne||CB-LSU|
|3. Indianapolis Colts||Trent Richardson||RB-Alabama|
|4. Minnesota Vikings||Alshon Jeffery||WR-South Carolina|
|5. Arizona Cardinals||Matt Kalil||OT-USC|
|6. Jacksonville Jaguars||Justin Blackmon||WR-Oklahoma State|
|7. Denver Broncos||Vontaze Burfict||ILB-Arizona State|
|8. Seattle Seahawks||Landry Jones||QB-Oklahoma|
|9. Carolina Panthers||Quinton Coples||DE-North Carolina|
|10. Cleveland Browns||Luke Kuechly||ILB-Boston College|
|11. Tennessee Titans||Dre Kirkpatrick||CB-Alabama|
|12. Philadelphia Eagles||Jonathan Martin||OT-Stanford|
|13. Kansas City Chiefs||Matt Barkley||QB-USC|
|14. Washington Redskins||Dontari Poe||DT-Memphis|
|15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Michael Floyd||WR-Notre Dame|
|16. Dallas Cowboys||David DeCastro||OG-Stanford|
|17. Cincinnati Bengals (via OAK)||Janoris Jenkins||CB-North Alabama|
|18. Chicago Bears||Riley Reiff||OT-Iowa|
|19. New York Jets||LaMar Miller||RB-Miami|
|20. Cincinnati Bengals||Brandon Thompson||DT-Clemson|
|21. San Diego Chargers||Zach Brown||OLB-North Carolina|
|22. Cleveland Browns (via ATL)||Melvin Ingram||DE-South Carolina|
|23. Houston Texans||Nick Toon||WR-Wisconsin|
|24. Detroit Lions||Manti Te'o||ILB-Notre Dame|
|25. New York Giants||Mark Barron||S-Alabama|
|26. Buffalo Bills||Jerel Worthy||DT-Michigan State|
|27. Pittsburgh Steelers||Mike Adams||OT-Ohio State|
|28. New England Patriots (via NO)||Jared Crick||DT-Nebraska|
|29. San Francisco 49ers||Ryan Broyles||WR-Oklahoma|
|30. Baltimore Ravens||Alfonzo Dennard||CB-Nebraska|
|31. New England Patriots||Jonathan Massaquoi||OLB-Troy|
|32. Green Bay Packers||Markelle Martin||S-Oklahoma State|