Andrew Luck will be the gift that keeps on giving for the Indianapolis Colts. Robert Griffin III is like that hot new toy that every kid wants. Yes, it is that "hap-happiest time of the year," when fans everywhere can make their wish list for a new star to come out of the 2012 NFL draft.
It is also holiday time, and with it (for better or worse) come holiday songs. Follow along for a complete mock draft of the first round of the NFL draft, complete with a comparison of each prospect to a holiday song.
Pick: Andrew Luck
It is really not fair the Indianapolis Colts have the opportunity to transition seamlessly from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck. The Colts "luck" out and string together the two most-heralded quarterback prospects in successive generations.
Luck has the perfect technique, has run an NFL system for three years, has the ideal size and plenty of athleticism to be an elite quarterback at the next level. Just for fun, he is the son of a coach, so he has been talking football since preschool. What is not to like?
Song: "All I Want for Christmas Is You"
The Andrew Luck sweepstakes. Suck for Luck. For the teams that quickly played their way out of playoff contention, Luck is the perfect gift and all a general manager could want.
Pick: Matt Kalil
Matt Kalil is the consensus best prospect on the offensive line and will be a top-five pick. With an athletic 6'6," 295-lb build, Kalil has the perfect frame to keep this generation of quicker pass-rushers at bay.
Song: "My Favorite Things"
Sing it with me, Sam Bradford! "Big offensive linemen who pro-tect my blind side. Please draft someone to keep pass-rushers off my hide. These are a few of my favorite things..."
Pick: Justin Blackmon
Christian Ponder has impressed at times as a rookie. He has not exactly been Cam Newton, but I think he will be a very good quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings. They have the explosive running back and wideout; now they need a dependable possession receiver.
Enter Blackmon, who has had at least 100 catches and 15 touchdowns in each of the last two seasons for the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Song: "Silent Night, Holy Night"
I expect Blackmon to be a silent assassin at the next level. At 6'1", and with a relatively average 40 time, he will not remind anyone of Calvin Johnson, but will move the sticks and score touchdowns.
Pick: Matt Barkley
Could Matt Barkley really be the solution the Washington Redskins have been seeking for the last two decades?
There are some scouts that hold Barkley in the same regard as Andrew Luck, and I cannot completely disagree. Barkley has more touchdowns, fewer interceptions and has been playing against the same Pac-12 competition. Barkley may not have your "prototypical" size, but at 6'2" is more than tall enough to get the job done.
Song: "Come All Ye Faithful"
Barkley just needs someone to have faith and give him the keys to a franchise. I love the edge the hype gives a guy like Barkley. The USC star knows his career will forever be linked to Andrew Luck, and will work that much harder to be the better quarterback.
Pick: Alshon Jeffery
Alshon Jeffery might be the most dangerous receiver in the draft, and this offense desperately needs some explosion. With the dismissal of his quarterback Stephen Garcia at the start of the season, Jeffery's stats have taken a hit, but the ability is still there.
Song: "12 Days of Christmas"
"And in the first round of the draft, my GM brought to me..." a receiver who can catch the damn ball. Blaine Gabbert has been awful as a rookie, but he is working with the NFL's worst receiving corps. Plus, many great quarterbacks have been worse as rookies. Give him another year with a viable option and see what he can do.
Pick: Trent Richardson
I think Peyton Hillis' days in a Cleveland Browns uniform are numbered. There are just too many bridges burned there. Enter his replacement, Trent Richardson. Richardson has ideal size and speed for the position, and has been productive all three years of college, biding his time behind 2010 first-round pick Mark Ingram the first two seasons.
Song: "Jingle Bells"
Trent Richardson has made defenders look like they are trying to tackle a "one-horse open sleigh" this season. He will try to take his runaway sled act to the next level as the highest running back selected since Darren McFadden.
Pick: Quinton Coples
The Tampa Buccaneers continue their defensive line overhaul by selecting the top prospect on the board. Quinton Coples is a two-way defensive end, as he is as good against the run as the pass. Coples has the best combination of size and speed in the draft, and the production to go with the athleticism.
Song: "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"
"He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake." Kind of creepy of jolly ol' Saint Nick when you think about it. Regardless, I'm sure there have been more than a few ball-carriers that have felt that way against the 6'6" Coples. The UNC product has accounted for 17.5 sacks in the last two seasons, and 32 tackles for loss in his career.
Pick: Robert Griffin III
Could the most exciting prospect in the draft slip this far to the Miami Dolphins? Well, that depends on three things: the Washington Redskins' decision between RGIII and Barkley, whether or not Barkley jumps and the Cleveland Browns' confidence in Colt McCoy.
I think Barkley will jump and old-school Mike Shanahan will prefer the quarterback with the more "classical" skill set. McCoy has played well enough to deserve another chance in Cleveland. He has 14 touchdowns to 11 interceptions, has no playmakers in the receiving corps and was dealt a tough hand when Peyton Hillis bailed on the team.
Song: "It Must Be Santa"
RG3 is the most exciting prospect in the draft, and Bob Dylan's version of "It Must Be Santa" is the most exciting Christmas song. Unlike Griffin, "Santa" did not have much competition.
Pick: Morris Claiborne
Another great pick for a rebuilding Carolina Panthers franchise. Cam Newton has instilled hope and excitement on the offense, and Claiborne will help do the same for the defense. Claiborne has shutdown potential at cornerback, and could be a true game-breaker.
Song: "White Christmas"
When I think of a "White Christmas" I think of a blizzard so thick you cannot see your hand in front of your face. Claiborne could provide that kind of blanket on opposing quarterbacks' favorite targets.
Pick: Vontaze Burfict
Forget the secondary. This defense needs a linebacker that can make some tackles. At 6'3" 250, Burfict projects as the perfect middle linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles' 4-3 scheme. Burfict is a three-year starter, and has shown improvement with each passing season. Always a tackling machine, Burfict has added a career-high five sacks to his resume in 2011.
Song: "Feliz Navidad"
A linebacker that can tackle in Philadelphia? Now that is cause for celebration. Ever since the Bobby Taylor/Troy Vincent days this team has featured an exceptional secondary, a solid defensive line and absolute garbage at linebacker.
Does anyone else remember the team forklifting the bloated corpse of Levon Kirkland out of retirement to come play middle linebacker back in 2002? Seriously, learn from your mistakes and get some damn linebackers that can hit!
There, I'm done. Soap box returned.
Pick: Landry Jones
I am not as high on Landry Jones as some, but I think with a year or two holding the clipboard, he can be a solid quarterback. Matt Cassel can hold the job for now for the Kansas City Chiefs, but he really is just a game-manager.
Song: "Silver Bells"
He is not Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley or Robert Griffin III, but Jones should be able to get the job done as a second-tier prospect.
Pick: Michael Floyd
Michael Floyd will be a very good pick for the Buffalo Bills. He is big, fast and has been productive in all of his four years at Notre Dame. This season Floyd picked it up a notch, setting career highs in receptions and yards.
Song: "Do You Hear What I Hear?"
"Do you see what I see?" It's Stevie Johnson, dropping clutch pass after clutch pass and costing his team victories. Let Stevie provide the excitement, while Floyd provides the consistency.
Pick: Dre Kirkpatrick
The Arizona Cardinals have a star in the making with Patrick Peterson at cornerback. Why not pair him with another shutdown corner?
Song: "All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)"
"All I want for next season is my two shutdown corners." In the pass-happy NFL, this is a tune any fan can sing. The Cardinals had this for about a day last season, but there was that mess at quarterback that caused them to trade Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to the Philadelphia Eagles. Welcome to what could have been.
Pick: Zach Brown
With no quarterbacks or explosive offensive playmakers available at this point in the draft, the Seattle Seahawks should select the best defensive player available. I believe that man is Zach Brown, who has done a little bit of everything for North Carolina.
On the year, Brown has 91 tackles, 5.5. sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions. He could be the game-breaker this solid Seahawks defense needs to push them into elite status.
Song: "Blue Christmas"
It certainly could be a North Carolina blue Christmas gift for Seahawks fans. Easily the fastest linebacker in the draft, Brown could be an absolute steal at No. 14 and turn out to be the best defensive player taken.
Pick: David DeCastro
Ideally, I think the Cincinnati Bengals would like a receiver here to pair next to A.J. Green and give young Andy Dalton another weapon. Unless one of the top three slip, a receiver would be a reach here, so we will go slow and steady with David DeCastro. Starting guard Bobbie Williams is 35 years old and out for the season, putting his career in jeopardy.
Song: "Here Comes Santa Claus"
I hate to make big, white guy jokes, but here comes a big white guy (whose college colors are red and white) to help keep the Bengals' rebuilding effort going. DeCastro will be a great addition to Cedric Benson and the power running game.
Pick: Jarvis Jones
The Cincinnati Bengals have had a solid defense all year, but they have not had a ton of big plays to show for it. Enter Jarvis Jones, one of the nation's best at getting to the quarterback.
Song: "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas"
It will be a holly jolly draft day if the Bengals nab Jones. They have just 2.5 sacks from their outside linebackers this season.
Pick: Riley Reiff
The Chicago Bears are elite at just about every position but receiver and the offensive line. There are not any receivers that warrant a pick at this spot, so that will have to wait for another year. Reiff should be the slection to protect Jay Cutler's blind side for the next decade.
Song: "Christmas Wrapping"
Jay Cutler on draft day: "Really? A new left tackle? For me? Oh, you shouldn't have."
Pick: Jonathan Martin
The San Diego Chargers just signed Jared Gaither off the street to be their starting left tackle. Ouch. In the last two seasons, the Chargers offensive line has gone from a strength to a weakness. It is time to rebuild, or the same thing will happen to the quarterback position.
Song: "I'll Be Home for Christmas"
The Stanford product will not have to go far from home, making this a perfect fit.
Pick: Devon Still
The Tennessee Titans still have not exactly recovered from the loss of Albert Haynesworth, who was the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year before leaving the team in 2008. The team is 20th against the rush in 2011, and has received little production from their defensive tackles.
Devon Still is the top defensive tackle prospect in the draft, and fills a huge need for the Titans. Still has been an impact player for Penn State, and against Illinois was a destructive force in a 10-7 win.
Song: "Frosty the Snowman"
Again, hate to make fat guy jokes, but hey. The big man is a valuable cog of any defense. And I'm running out of Christmas songs.
Pick: Luke Kuechly
The term "tackling machine" is thrown around a lot. It could not be more applicable to Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, who Rob Ryan will have a lot of fun with on this Dallas Cowboys defense. Kuechly has one game with fewer than 10 tackles on the year. For the record, he had nine.
Kuechly has had no fewer than 142 tackles since starting as a freshman in 2009. He has been no slouch of a playmaker either with seven interceptions, two forced fumbles and two touchdowns to his credit.
Song: "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"
Kuechly will be such a perfect fit on the Cowboys, his folks will have to beg him to leave Dallas and come home. The Cowboys are missing one element from an elite defense. Kuechly and his motor could be that element.
Pick: Cordy Glenn
Cordy Glenn is not a sexy pick, but a necessary one for the Detroit Lions. The rushing offense ranks 24th in the NFL, and both starting guards are other teams' castoffs. Glenn will help solidify the run and help it catch up to the vaunted passing game.
Song: "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"
For years, the NFL draft has been the most wonderful time of year for Lions fans, instilling hope and that "Hey, maybe next year" feeling. Recently, it has finally brought in some production with Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, Ndamukong Suh and Jahvid Best. A solid road grader like Glenn will help make January (and February?) the best time to be a Lions fan.
Pick: Manti Te'o
Yes, the Cleveland Browns have D'Qwell Jackson, but he is a free agent after this season. Besides, the Browns' 31st-ranked rush defense could use more help at linebacker, and Te'o definitely has the athleticism to play on the outside.
Song: Pretty Paper
Te'o's 106 tackles and 4.5 sacks look pretty on paper, but I have some reservations about a player that only has one season of big-time experience.
Pick: Nick Toon
The Tim Tebow train is running wild for the Denver Broncos. Now it is time to get him some weapons. With his (for lack of a better term) "interesting" passing technique, the best thing for Tebow would be a tall receiver that gives him a big window to throw to.
Toon has a great blend of speed and size. Coming from Wisconsin, he knows to run block, which he will do plenty of in Denver.
Song: "Away in the Manger"
Another disciple for the chosen one. Need I say more?
Pick: Courtney Upshaw
A running back like Lamar Miller could be the pick here, but I expect the New York Jets to bring in Peyton Hillis in the offseason. Rex Ryan will look for somebody to come help his defense, which has fallen from elite status. Enter Upshaw, who has 8.5 sacks on the year and is the perfect build to play outside linebacker. At 265, Upshaw could also line up at defensive end in nickel and dime situations.
Song: "Little Saint Nick"
Rex Ryan is undoubtedly the Saint Nicholas of the Jets, and will be a jolly fat man with this pick.
Pick: Lamar Miller
The New England Patriots have tried this running-back-by-committee thing long enough. It is time to find a stud back. As one of the two fastest backs in the draft, Miller can be that back. Tied for the best 40 time with LaMichael James but 25 pounds bigger, Miller could be a steal for the Patriots.
Song: "Sleigh Ride"
Does anyone want to imagine this Patriots offense with a viable threat at running back? I didn't think so. If he pans out, Miller could take Brady for one last sleigh ride to the Super Bowl.
Pick: Dont'a Hightower
I hate to break it to you, Baltimore Ravens fans, but after 16 NFL seasons, it is time to start grooming a replacement for Ray Lewis. For the time being, Hightower can line up next to Lewis in the 3-4, and he has no better mentor than Lewis to take over as a leader of the Ravens defense.
Song: "Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer"
Ball-carrier got run over by a linebacker—that's the standard for a Baltimore Ravens linebacker. Hightower will not disappoint.
Pick: Dontari Poe
Shaun Cody has done a good job as the defensive tackle of the Houston Texans. However, there may not be a player in the draft more suited to absorb linemen in a 3-4 scheme than the 350-lb Dontari Poe. The Texans have plenty of playmakers on defense, and they would find even more freedom with Poe around.
Song: "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"
By all account, Wade Phillips is one of the good guys in the NFL. He was destined to fail with the Dallas Cowboys but has come back strong with the Houston Texans, turning one of the NFL's worst defenses into one of the best. If the perfect player for his system falls in his lap? Well, we wish you a merry draft day, Wade.
Pick: Kendall Wright
The San Francisco 49ers are solid on all 22 positions of the football field. To take the next step, they need some flash. Enter Kendall Wright, who will be a perfect complement to the steady Michael Crabtree.
Song: "Run Rudolph Run"
As the fastest receiver in the draft, the 49ers will unleash their first-round pick to just "run Wright run," and score touchdowns.
Pick: Peter Konz
The selection of a center in the first round may not have any New York Giants fans jumping for joy, but it is the right move. The Giants once held a proud and powerful running game which has since slipped to 32nd in the NFL. With two former 1,000-yard backs in Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, one can only look at the offensive line.
Song: "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
Frank Sinatra's "Merry Little Christmas," a classic. Nothing flashy, no promises of grandeur—just straight and to the point. Much like this pick.
Pick: Jared Crick
Crick is a perfect fit for this New England Patriots defense. They tried to plug holes along the defensive line with veterans, but their signees have mostly been busts. Shaun Ellis and Albert Haynesworth (who has since been released) have combined for zero sacks. Andre Carter (10 sacks) has brought it, but at 32 years old how many miles does he have left in the tank?
The Patriots can thank an injury for Crick slipping this far in the draft. He had 18.5 sacks in the previous two seasons before barely playing in 2011.
Song: "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town"
If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times. From The Jackson 5 to Bruce Springsteen, everyone has had their crack at this song. Just like the Patriots' pick: repetitive, but effective. Another high-energy player that can play multiple positions, he is a true Bill Belichick guy. Plus, he fills a position of need.
Pick: Stephen Gilmore
Stephen Gilmore is the perfect cornerback to fit the Pittsburgh Steelers' system. He is big (6'1", 193), fast and not afraid to come up and play the run.
Song: "A Holly Jolly Christmas"
Steelers fans have been clamoring for a shutdown corner for years. Pittsburgh has been coaching through their cornerbacks since Rod Woodson left in free agency nearly 20 years ago. Have a holly, jolly draft day Steelers fans; the man you have coveted is finally here.
Pick: Jerel Worthy
The Green Bay Packers watched some of their defensive linemen walk in free agency this past summer. Time to restock. Jerel Worthy is a perfect fit here, as he fills a need but does not necessarily have to be thrown into the fire as a rookie.
Song: "Christmas Eve" (aka that sweet tune you hear every Christmas by Trans Siberian Orchestra)
Green Bay Packers fans won't care about the draft. They will still be too busy partying up an undefeated Super Bowl run and being named the greatest team of all time.