It’s that time of the year when everyone starts doing mock drafts. Free agency has pretty much come to a halt, so I decided to join in on the fun.
1. Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck – QB, Stanford
My Analysis: The Colts learned real fast that Curtis Painter wasn’t the answer when the veteran Peyton Manning was out for the entire 2011 season due to complications from neck surgery. Some are speculating that the Colts are torn between Luck and RGIII. I disagree. The first reason being, Luck was in a pro style offense at Stanford and even though RGIII may be a bit more athletic, I feel Luck is more NFL ready and a better fit for the type of offense the Colts run.
Andrew is a naturally competitive, strong and athletic quarterback. He has all the intangibles required to be a franchise QB at the next level. He has excellent read and react skills and can fire the ball in to the flat with precision coming off of a 1 step drop on short passes. He is tough and willing to step into a throw with oncoming rushers in his face with poise. As a student of Jim Harbaugh, who ran a pro style offense, Luck showed the ability to play from many different looks while at Stanford. He is not as athletic as some, but has shown the ability to get out of the pocket when necessary and make the proper 2nd and 3rd reads. He has shown he is a natural leader and has the ability to make good reads and audible in plays at the line of scrimmage. I looked real hard and it was pretty much impossible to find any weaknesses other than the fact he is limited to being your prototypical pocket QB. But hey,, that’s not such a bad thing, so is Peyton Manning.
2. Washington Redskins
Robert Griffin III – QB, Baylor
My Analysis: The Redskins have had their fair share of woes at the quarterback position. In fact, I think the last time they had a franchise QB was when they acquired Joe Theisman. They have had many failed experiments in free agency over the years and it is obvious they were willing to sell the farm this year in hopes of drafting their next franchise quarterback. Shannahan loves to use the running game and the addition of RGIII adds to his arsenal.
Griffin is arguably the most athletic QB in the 2012 draft, posting a 4.41 40, (CB/WR speed), a 39 inch vertical jump and a 10 foot broad jump. Griffin is very talented and a natural at the at the quarterback position, but he is slightly undersized according to typical NFL standards. (I am not too big on the size issue, personally I think Kellen Moore is the best QB in the draft and he is 2″ shorter. Lets not forget Drew Brees is a tad under 6-1). Griffin has the ability to make plays with his feet, extend plays, and he can make the deep throws. He has many of the same traits Cam Newton did going in to last years draft. He drops back with ease and is relaxed enough to step in to throws while under pressure. However, He has the speed to get out of trouble, and the explosiveness to be a run threat as well. He will keep defensive coordinators up at night that’s for sure.
Weaknesses: My main concern with RGII is durability. Many believe he may tend to be a run 1st QB. With his smaller size and torn acl as a sophomore, I feel he may be a bit of a risk for re-injuring it, or just plain lacking the durability to take the pounding dished out by NFL level players. He really only had 1 good season in college and I see the risk of a 1 hit wonder. I think he will need more time to develop at the next level than Andrew Luck. He has shown flashes of brilliance, but at the same time has been known to make bad decisions and throw in to traffic. In college he was able to rely primarily on his athletic ability, that wont work at the next level.
3. Minnesota Vikings
Matt Kalil – OT, Southern California
My Analysis: The Vikings have had one of the better defensive fronts in the NFL for quite some time. Jared Allen was the NFL sack leader in 2011. They drafted Christian Ponder in the 1st round last year and being a young quarterback in the NFL he struggled behind an OL that struggled in pass protection. The vikings have been dominant in the running game with Adrian Peterson so the addition of a solid LT seems to be a priority in Minnesota. It will not only help the passing game, but the running game as well.
Kalil is every offensive line coaches dream. Any team that doesn’t have a young, pro bowl LT would have a hard time passing him up. Because of his elite athletic ability, and excellent technique, Kalil started at LT over Tyron Smith (last years #9 pick in the draft) at USC. At 6-7 306 lbs he is the perfect size for an NFL tackle. He put up an impressive 30 reps on the bench and logged a sub five 40 at the combine. Anyone that has any respect for offensive linemen just needs to watch him in action. I could write a book on him, but my advice is just watch his tape. I could never put it in to the proper words. He is by far one of the best LT prospects to come along in years. ” NFL comparison: Joe Thomas”
4. Cleveland Browns
Trent Richardson, RB – Alabama
My Analysis: The Browns have struggled on offense of late and that is no secret. They ranked dead last in rushing TD’s in the entire NFL in 2011. Colt McCoy has struggled as a young QB not having the assistance of a solid running game. The Browns lost the opportunity for the #2 overall pick to the Redskins and drafting Tannehill this early would be a huge reach. With injuries plaguing their backfield, the logical thing for the Browns to do is grab Richardson here. It takes some of the pressure off of McCoy and is an immediate improvement on offense.
Richardson has been one of the most dominant running backs to enter the SEC since Hershel Walker. He is well suited to run between the tackles and has also shown the burst and speed needed to break to the outside. He has good instincts and the ability to be patient, read the defense, and make the necessary adjustments to run to daylight. He possesses excellent acceleration and the necessary dexterity to elude defenders. Richardson is the prototypical RB and shows all the intangibles to be a future pro bowl player at the next level.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Morris Claiborne – CB, Louisiana State
My Analysis: I see a lot of mock drafts that show the Buccaneers taking anything from a WR to a RB. Lets face it, Tampa allowed 62.6% of passes completed against them and a whopping 30.9 points a game in 2011. Anything other than an elite CB here would be just plain foolish.
Claiborne was the 2011 Jim Thorpe award winner as the nations top defensive back. He has all the intangibles to be a starting CB at the next level from day 1. He has fluid hips and a good back pedal but he tends to get his pads too high at times which limits his explosive burst. He is solid in man coverage and does well at bump and run coverage hindering the timing between the QB and the WR. He doesn’t possess the elite speed coveted in a top CB. He usually runs in the 4.5 range. However, his coverage and ball skills are way above average. His biggest downfall is in college he was able to rely on his athletic ability and this caused him to get lazy in his technique. He will need a coach with a strong emphasis on discipline/technique at the next level to break the habit.
6. St. Louis Rams
Justin Blackmon – WR, Oklahoma State
My Analysis: The Rams have invested a fortune, to secure Sam Bradford as their franchise QB. Now they need to get him some weapons. To me this pick is a No-Brainer. Blackmon is exactly what he needs. Especially with Amendolas’ injury issues.
Blackmon was a two time Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation’s top receiver and filled the role of the #1 WR with no no problem after Dez Bryant left for the Cowboys. In fact, he proved to be even more productive. He possesses excellent jump- ball ability and has the potential to be deadly as a red zone threat. Blackmon shows NFL type ability running drive and underneath routes, and can excel from any spot on the field. If he were used in the slot he would create some scary mismatches. He is a solid WR with good hands, uses his body well, and even though he is a bit slow off the line he has the ability to get separation once he gets moving. Blackmon is a starter from day 1 at the next level.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Quinton Coples – DE, North Carolina
My Analysis: The Jags over all had a pretty solid defense, but only put up a combined 31 sacks as a team. They resigned Mincy last year to ensure the fans that there would be some pressure from the DL. All they need now is a guy to compliment him.
Coples was on scouts radars long before the 2012 draft. He has the prototypical size, strength and athleticism to play DE in either a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense. He logged 17 sacks over the last 2 seasons and had a good showing at the combine. He posted a 4.78 40 and put up 25 reps on the bench. He has a good bull rush and initial quickness off the line. He doesn’t have the ability to dip around the edge like a traditional RE and his motor seems to only run strong in spurts. He has the ability to be a great player at the next level, but he will need a coach that can keep him motivated enough to play at his full potential for 60 minutes in 16 games.
8. Miami Dolphins
Riley Reiff – OT, Iowa
My Analysis: Miami has struggled in pass protection and the running game came in spurts. Columbo is past his prime and they need some beef on the OL. Some mocks show the Dolphins taking Tannehill at 8 but I feel that is a reach. With the signing of Garrard in FA and having a serviceable QB in Moore I think they will address the QB in a later round or in the 1st round next year.
Reif has a big body and uses his frame well in pass protection. He is a strong blocker. He rolls his hips in to his man to utilize his power. He has the speed to get out into space and seal the edge or to get to the next level to take out the LB. He is solid in pass protection and does well against the bull rush. He is an NFL ready tackle who shows day 1 starter potential at the next level.
9. Carolina Panthers
Michael Brockers – DT, Louisiana State
My Analysis: The Panthers had the 28th ranked defense in the NFL. They have an elite LB corp, but the DL is in need of some help.
Brockers has more value as a 3 technique DT within a 4-3 defense, but even at 6-5 322 lbs he has the athletic ability to play DE in a 3-4 scheme. Some even go as far as to say he can play NT in a 3-4 as well. He has strong legs and dominated nearly every lineman he faced in the SEC. Brockers has very long arms that he uses to play extended and work off his block towards the ball. He has a good bull rush and is solid as a run stopper. He is day 1 starter material at the next level.
10. Buffalo Bills
Melvin Ingram – LB, South Carolina
My Analysis: The Bills hiring of Dave Wannstedt, was an obvious sign they are switching back to a 4-3 defense. With the recent signing of veterans Mario Williams and Mark Anderson , it shows they are in need of a solid LB/DE for depth on a defense that has been struggling. Keeping that in mind, Ingram is a no brainer here.
Last season, Ingram made All-SEC after leading the Gamecocks with 13.5 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks. He also intercepted two passes and scored three touchdowns, including a 68-yarder on a fake punt in a win at Georgia. Ingram finished his career with 21.5 sacks, fourth in team history.
For sake of time and space, I wont be doing a full in depth analysis outside of the top 10.