ESPN draft insider Todd McShay is about to be a fixture in your living room for the next five months.
The sworn villain of Mel Kiper Jr. is rarely seen until the bowl season as the following year’s draft begins to take form. On Wednesday he posted his first of what will probably be six or seven mock drafts and like most there are some picks that make plenty of sense and some that you know for a fact won’t be happening.
He has split the board down the middle with 16 players on each side of the ball and has three quarterbacks and seven players overall in the top 10.
Here are his five best picks and his five worst picks.
Before we get into the best and worst, here is the full mock draft with a short take on each pick:
1. Indianapolis Colts—Andrew Luck, QB
It doesn’t take an expert to predict this selection.
2. St. Louis Rams—Matt Kalil, OT
The Rams season has been a disaster because the O-line can’t protect Sam Bradford, who has been battling injury for the entire season. Grabbing the best tackle in the draft makes plenty of sense.
3. Minnesota Vikings—Morris Claiborne, CB
This year’s version of Patrick Peterson….who also went to LSU.
4. Cleveland Browns—Trent Richardson, RB
The Browns are the worst fantasy team in the league because they have zero playmakers. Drafting Richardson would change that.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars—Quinton Coples, DE
The Jags need help virtually everywhere and getting Coples shores up an awful D-line.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Dre Kirkpatrick, CB
The Bucs defense is ranked 30th in the league and could desperately use a shutdown corner like Kirkpatrick.
7. Washington Redskins—Robert Griffin III, QB
The ‘Skins need a QB…but is RG3 the answer?
8. Miami Dolphins—Matt Barkley, QB
This would be a dream come true for Miami.
9. Carolina Panthers—Justin Blackmon, WR
Blackmon is hands down the best receiver in this draft and Steve Smith needs help.
10. Buffalo Bills—Riley Reiff, OT
The Bills must address an O-line that has been downright awful the last two months.
11. Philadelphia Eagles—Luke Kuechly, ILB
The most productive linebacker in the draft goes to a defense that is desperate for depth at the position.
12. Kansas City Chiefs—Jonathan Martin, OT
The protection in Kansas City is lacking and grabbing Luck’s left tackle certainly wouldn’t hurt.
13. Arizona Cardinals—Courtney Upshaw, OLB
McShay is really stretching with Upshaw at this pick for the new-look Cardinals defense.
14. Tennessee Titans—Andre Branch, DE
They are a D-line factory and Branch is the best man available at this point in the draft.
15. San Diego Chargers—Mark Barron, S
The ‘Bolts have to go O-line here. Completely disagree.
16. Seattle Seahawks—Landry Jones, QB
His stock dipped this season but Jones has enormous upside and can instantly help Seattle.
17. New York Giants—Vontaze Burfict, ILB
Tons of raw ability, but needs a strong coaching staff to iron out the rough edges.
18. Cincinnati Bengals (from OAK)—David DeCastro, G
Bengals need interior line help and DeCastro is the best of the bunch. Perfect fit.
19. Chicago Bears—Michael Floyd, WR
Bears have a gaping hole at the position and I’m sure all Bears fans that also root for the Fighting Irish would be thrilled with this pick.
20. Dallas Cowboys—Fletcher Cox, DT
‘Boys must use this pick on defense and grabbing someone upfront with the size of Cox would be a great idea.
21. Cincinnati Bengals—Alfonzo Dennard, CB
Very little depth at the position and Dennard is a terrific athlete that has great intangibles.
22. New York Jets—Alshon Jeffery, WR
The Jets have more pressing needs than a receiver that has questionable athletic ability.
23. Denver Broncos—Devon Still, DT
The Broncos have more pressing issues in the secondary than upfront right now.
24. Cleveland Browns (from ATL)—Kevin Reddick, OLB
The Browns defense is better than you think and I believe they have to go with skill players with both of their first round picks.
25. Detroit Lions—David Wilson, RB
This pick makes plenty of sense. Jahvid Best is always going to be an injury concern and his absence is the main reason the Lions will be one-and-done in the playoffs.
26. Houston Texans—Zebrie Sanders, OT
Texans have a zone-blocking scheme that would be a perfect fit for Sanders' talents.
27. Baltimore Ravens—Mike Adams, OT
The Ravens are dealing with tons of issues on the O-line and getting the best available is the smart move to make.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers—Jarvis Jones, OLB
The Steelers need offensive line help much more than another linebacker.
29. New England Patriots (From N.O.)—Melvin Ingram, DE
His versatility makes him perfect for the Patriots defensive scheme.
30. San Francisco 49ers—Kendall Wright, WR
The 49ers certainly need help a wide receiver, but is Wright the best available?
31. New England Patriots—Jonathan Banks, CB
Can’t argue with the worst ranked pass defense getting upgraded.
32. Green Bay Packers—Ronnell Lewis, OLB
Getting more pass rushing depth behind Clay Matthews will make this defense even deadlier.
Sure the 49ers could use another playmaker alongside Michael Crabtree, but Hunter is not worthy of a first-round pick. He struggles to finish his routes and needs to get stronger. How much of his success this year came because he had the quarterback that won the Heisman Trophy.
I think the 49ers can get more value with this pick.
Devon Still has a bright future, but the Broncos have bigger needs at the moment. They need to cross their fingers that a cornerback like Alfonzo Dennard is available by the time they pick at No. 23. A safety would be nice, but it would be a large stretch to nab one at this point in the draft.
Their lack of depth in the secondary is the No. 1 reason Tom Brady was able to torch Denver last Sunday and it’s a bigger issue than a D-line that has exceeded expectations this season.
McShay is going too gaga on SEC players here. Sure Courtney Upshaw has the size to be a strong NFL player, but is he more of a defensive end?
Upshaw is going to need a very specific scheme to fit his talents and I don’t think the Cardinals would be the right fit.
The Cardinals have far more pressing needs on the offensive line and they need to address those right away in the first round.
The best running back in the draft last year (Mark Ingram) didn’t go until the 28th pick, so this year’s best back is a full 24 picks better?
Sure he is durable, strong and has plenty of speed but I just don’t think NFL teams value backs enough to make them top 10 picks at this point.
The Browns are much better off selecting Julio Jones at this pick. Oh they blew their chance to do that last year? OK then replace Jones with Justin Blackmon.
There is no question that the Redskins will be drafting a quarterback with their first-round pick, but is Robert Griffin III really the best QB prospect after Luck?
Assuming Mike Shanahan is back for his third season, I seriously doubt he wants to restructure the entire offense for a QB that may or may not end up working out.
With such a high pick, you can’t miss. Matt Barkley is much more of a sure thing and is the traditional pocket passer that the majority of coaches would love to have. I think Barkley has a much higher upside and will be higher on the ‘Skins big board than Griffin III.
This is a pretty easy one to figure out.
The Patriots pass defense is borderline historically bad and if they don't address the issue in the first round I think Tom Brady's head might explode.
In his final year as a Bulldog, Johnthan Banks had five interceptions and three sacks as one of the best corners in the hardest conference in America.
No team needs running back depth more than the Lions, and getting the best available is a must. David Wilson averaged over six yards per carry for a V-Tech team that relied heavily on him.
He has the size to get that one yard Jahvid Best just can't get. He would be excel with a balanced Lions team that could provide him with roughly 15 carries.
Wilson would be a candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year if he lands in Detroit.
According to McShay the Bears haven't drafted a receiver in the first round since 2001.
The time is now to change that and Floyd is the perfect pick.
He is already a hometown favorite and would make QB Jay Cutler's life a lot easier. He has the size, speed and explosiveness to be a real pain for the NFC North for the next 10 years.
He has been one of the best two receivers in the nation for two years running and would instantly boost a Bears offense that is lagging behind the defense.
The Rams O-line has been horrendous and it's becoming clear that Jason Smith is approaching bust status.
With the No. 2 pick you have to draft a sure thing and Kalil is as sure as it gets. He has ridiculous size and bulk and was flat-out dominate his last two years with the Trojans. His foot work and discipline are incredible.
He will protect Sam Bradford and may keep him healthy. After this disastrous year, that would certainly be welcomed.
The Miami Dolphins HAVE to draft a quarterback in the first round and if they are lucky enough to land Barkley it's a home run.
He has all of the tools to be the next Dan Marino and would turn around a franchise currently stuck in no man's land.
Barkley was nothing short of incredible at USC despite dealing with all of the ramifications that came with the Reggie Bush scandal. He is going to have more NFL success than Robert Griffin III.
He is ready to play now and will completely change the fortunes of the franchise.