Todd McShay 2012 NFL Mock Draft: Last Look at McShay's Predictions
Every draft analysts' mock drafts get criticized, but Todd McShay's stand above the rest, and for good reason. McShay has a high-profile job at ESPN, and with publicity comes attention and criticism.
After reading this, you can decide.
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
McShay would be an idiot if he had any other pick here. The Colts know Andrew Luck is the pick, Andrew Luck knows he's the pick and everyone else knows he's the pick.
Luck is widely considered the top quarterback prospect in the draft, and he's a rare player. How many quarterbacks call plays at the line of scrimmage in the NFL, let alone college?
2. Washington Redskins (from STL): Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Washington traded up for Robert Griffin, so they're definitely going to take him. The Redskins don't have a bad team really, but they lack a quarterback. Well, they did, at least.
Griffin represents a complete culture change in Washington. For too long, the team has tried band-aids at quarterback instead of seeking a legitimate franchise player.
This is a new era for the Redskins.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Over the past couple weeks, this pick has gone from consensus to heavily contested. It will be Morris Claiborne or Matt Kalil, and either one would be a respectable projection.
At the moment, Kalil is still the more likely pick. He's largely considered a better player than Claiborne, and left tackles are generally taken before cornerbacks.
This one could go either way, but I'll side with McShay.
4. Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
After the two quarterbacks, this has developed into the one consensus pick in the top six. Cleveland's offense is devoid of offensive playmakers, and Trent Richardson is the best non-quarterback in the draft.
The Browns can't compete with Pittsburgh, Baltimore or Cincinnati's passing attacks, but they can control the ball by running the ball. Richardson lets them do that.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
The Buccaneers are essentially taking the guy who falls to them. If it's Matt Kalil, they'll take him or trade the pick. If it's Trent Richardson, they'll take him. In this scenario, it's Morris Claiborne, and they take him.
Claiborne is a fantastic talent and fills a huge need for Tampa Bay. He is easily the best player left on the board, and the Buccaneers would be stupid to take anyone else.
6. St. Louis Rams (from WASH): Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
This is another pick that has gone from a lock to up-in-the-air. Justin Blackmon seems like the obvious pick—he is widely considered a top talent and fits the Rams' need.
Lately, though, Fletcher Cox is being mentioned as a potential pick. He may be a better player than Blackmon, and Jeff Fisher has a history of drafting defensive linemen and not drafting wideouts.
I'm leaning Cox here, but Blackmon is far from a stupid prediction.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
This isn't an unintelligent projection at all, but no one knows what Gene Smith is going to do. The Jaguars have plenty of needs to fill, and there isn't a great value left on the board.
Melvin Ingram is a versatile player with some upside, but he's not exactly a superstar either. Though this isn't necessarily the best pick, it's definitely a plausible one.
8. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
The Ryan Tannehill saga has been one of the most interesting, highly-publicized storylines of the draft season. Tannehill has been projected to Cleveland, Miami and many other teams further down in the first round.
The Dolphins have pursued multiple quarterbacks in the offseason, so the question becomes not whether they want a quarterback, but whether they want Tannehill.
In this scenario, it's hard to imagine Miami passing on him.
9. Carolina Panthers: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
If Fletcher Cox is available at No. 9, he's a no-brainer to the Panthers. Carolina's biggest need is at defensive tackle, and Cox is the best player available.
Carolina's defense has some talent with Charles Johnson and Jon Beason, but it's far from a finished product. The team needs at least one solid starter along the interior offensive line, and Cox should be much better than solid.
10. Buffalo Bills: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
After losing Demetress Bell, offensive tackle is a need for the Bills, but it may not be Buddy Nix' priority. Buffalo's offense featured plenty of short passing, and the team may elect for a playmaker instead.
That's not to say this is an unlikely pick, but I doubt it is the most likely one. Michael Floyd or even Stephen Hill would be more of a typical Nix pick.
11. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
The Kansas City Chiefs are consistently impossible to predict. Almost no one expected them to take Jonathan Baldwin last year or Eric Berry in 2010, but they did.
With that said, Luke Kuechly is just as likely here as anyone else is. Kansas City needs an inside linebacker, and Kuechly is a great, safe prospect. He fits what Romeo Crennel and Scott Pioli are looking for in an inside linebacker.
12. Seattle Seahawks: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Outside of quarterback, Seattle's pass rush is its biggest flaw, and the team could believe Quinton Coples to be an elite fix. Coples is a controversial prospect, but a lot of people like him in the top 10.
Pete Carroll doesn't run a conventional defense by any means, and he could find a way to utilize Coples' unique skill set.
Another interesting defensive end prospect is Chandler Jones, but McShay made a good projection here with Coples.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
This is the first pick that I really don't like.
Arizona doesn't have an elite wideout opposite Larry Fitzgerald, but that is far from the team's biggest need. The Cardinals need offensive line help, and Cordy Glenn is exactly the type of player they love.
Arizona's offensive line is massive. Glenn is certainly that, but he's also a terrific athlete capable of playing any offensive line position except center.
14. Dallas Cowboys: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
This is an interesting sleeper pick, but Mark Barron seems more likely. Dontari Poe could play in Rob Ryan's defense much like Shaun Rogers did; however, he doesn't fill the team's biggest need.
Barron is generally considered a mid-first-round pick, so he isn't a bad value. More importantly, though, is the fact that Dallas has been linked to Barron for a while now.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Mark Barron, S, Alabama
This pick is just odd. The Eagles are fine at safety with Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman, and Mark Barron isn't exactly a steal at No. 15.
Philadelphia would be much better off drafting Dre Kirkpatrick, who could play safety or cornerback. The Eagles don't need to pick for need, and Barron neither fills a need nor offers a great value.
16. New York Jets: Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
Rex Ryan loves versatile players, and if nothing else, Chandler Jones is versatile. The Syracuse defensive end could fill a number of roles in the NFL, which is always valuable.
With that said, the Jets are more likely to go with Courtney Upshaw. The Alabama product has experience in the 3-4 defense and could contribute immediately.
This isn't a bad pick, but it's not the best one.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (from OAK): David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
This pick almost seems too obvious. The Bengals need help at guard, and David DeCastro is a terrific value here.
Cincinnati's run game is its biggest flaw, and DeCastro would immediately help there. The Stanford guard is a future star (as much of a star a guard can be, at least).
18. San Diego Chargers: Cordy Glenn, OT/G, Georgia
It's hard to argue with this pick. The Chargers have a void at tackle after the loss of Marcus McNeill. They have an even bigger hole at guard following Kris Dielman's concussion-forced retirement.
Fortunately, Cordy Glenn can play either guard or tackle. The Georgia lineman is light on his feet for a man of his size, and he could be a dominant player in the NFL.
San Diego could use a player like Michael Brockers at defensive end, but Glenn is either a better or equally-good pick.
19. Chicago Bears: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
It's unlikely Stephon Gilmore will still be available here, but the Bears would be stupid to pass on him if he is. The South Carolina corner is arguably a top-10 talent, and cornerback is an extremely important position.
Cornerback isn't Chicago's biggest need, though, and it may look to fill holes instead of adding elite talent. Whitney Mercilus, Shea McClellin and Nick Perry are options at defensive end.
20. Tennessee Titans: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Cornerback is a need for the Titans, but it's not their biggest need. People are torn on Dre Kirkpatrick, so Tennessee could really like him and take him, or the team could opt to address a bigger need.
Kirkpatrick would be a good pick, and he definitely is possible, though, so I won't criticize McShay. Tennessee could also take a defensive end such as Whitney Mercilus or Shea McClellin, though.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
The Bengals have one superstar wideout in A.J. Green, and Jordan Shipley is returning from injury this year, so wide receiver isn't a huge need. However, the value matches up here, and Cincinnati does need another weapon.
Janoris Jenkins might be a more likely pick, though. The Bengals aren't too concerned about character risks, and Jenkins is a much better player than the draft slot suggests.
With that said, Wright would not be a bad pick, and he isn't unlikely either.
22. Cleveland Browns (from ATL): Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Jonathan Martin doesn't seem like a top-22 pick. Right tackle is a big need for the Browns, but they seem more likely to add a wide receiver here.
Martin's stock has tumbled lately, and for good reason. He isn't worthy of a first-round pick, and right tackle is already a lesser-valued position.
Some aspects of this pick make sense, but it's not likely to happen.
23. Detroit Lions: Courtney Upshaw, DE, Alabama
Defensive end isn't a huge need for the Lions, but Martin Mayhew doesn't really care. The general manager has consistently drafted the best player available, and Courtney Upshaw could be that in this case.
Upshaw played linebacker at Alabama, but he's play end for Detroit. The team's weak spot is on defense, so it would make sense to go there in the first round.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
Dont'a Hightower has been rumored to the Steelers for a while, and Pittsburgh isn't usually too coy about who the team will take in Round 1.
Hightower fills the void created by James Farrior's absence, and he can move around. Hightower has experience in a 3-4 defense, and he could probably play right away if Pittsburgh needs him to.
25. Denver Broncos: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
If Michael Brockers is available, the Broncos have to take him. Denver doesn't have a single starting-caliber defensive tackle, and Brockers is a potential steal.
The LSU defensive tackle is a physical freak capable of dominant play. The value and need could not possibly match up any better.
26. Houston Texans: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Stephen Hill is a rare athlete with a ton of potential. Andre Johnson struggles to stay on the field, and the Texans need another wide receiver.
This is a match made in heaven. Houston isn't so desperate for a wideout that it needs someone to dominate from day one, so Hill will have time to develop while serving as a deep threat.
27. New England Patriots (from N.O.): Nick Perry, DE, USC
The Patriots certainly need a defensive end, but they would probably rather have Shea McClellin or Andre Branch. McClellin and Branch are more versatile and play more fluidly.
That's not to say New England wouldn't take Nick Perry. He is a good value in the late 20s and fills a huge need. He doesn't seem like as good of a fit as others do, though.
28. Green Bay Packers: Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
Andre Branch is a likely pick for Green Bay, but Shea McClellin is more likely. McClellin is more versed in coverage, and Dom Capers requires his linebackers be able to play in all facets of the game.
The mystery question here is whether the Packers might ignore need and draft the best player available. That could mean a number of players.
Or the Packers could take a running back like Doug Martin, or a center like Peter Konz. There are a ton of options here, and they would all be good picks by McShay.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame
This pick doesn't fill a need, and more importantly, it is a terrible value.
The one thing guaranteed in every draft is that Ozzie Newsome will not reach. This would be a monumental reach, so it's certain not going to happen.
The Ravens would be much better off drafting Peter Konz or Mike Adams, both of whom would fill big needs along the offensive line.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut
Kendall Reyes is a second-round value who doesn't fill a need for the 49ers.
Why are they making this pick again?
San Francisco's defensive ends are terrific, and the team has no reason to draft another one. Kevin Zeitler or Peter Konz would be a great addition along the offensive line.
The 49ers could go a number of directions here, but Reyes is not one of them.
31. New England Patriots: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
The position is great, the player is awful.
New England runs a two-gap scheme, and Jerel Worthy is the ultimate one-gap player. The Patriots probably won't go defensive tackle with available players, and they certainly wouldn't go Worthy.
New England could take another pass-rusher or take Peter Konz. They could even reach for a defensive tackle.
That defensive tackle just won't be Worthy.
32. New York Giants: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
This would be a great pick by the Giants. Mike Adams fills a huge need and is an outstanding talent for the last pick of the first round.
The question is whether Adams will still go in the first round after failing the combine's drug test. It's hard to predict exactly how high Adams will be selected, but the Giants should take him here.
If this pick isn't Adams, it should be Doug Martin. Either one is realistic.