I know that technically bowl season has already started, but I’m not considering the Beef O’Brady bowl and the other bowls on Saturday much, though I did watch them all and there were some decent prospects in those games. Point is, the majority of the bowls still remaining for the stock of players to change dramatically. Here’s how I could see it unfolding now.
I took the order from NEpatriotsdraft.com
I’ll use our own big board to create value (though it has not been updated for players returning to school-those players Jarvis Jones for one are not included in this mock). Well that was the plan anyway, and I kind of strayed from that.
Be sure to check out all of these players scouting reports (and countless others) on our scouting report page.
And for this mock (because I’m an idiot and had an oversight) Morris Claiborne has returned to school to try to after LSU loses to get his National Championship next year.
1. Indianapolis Colts (1-13)-Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford Cardinal
The only question here is what to do with the 2012 N.F.L. M.V.P. Peyton Manning after the season.
2. Minnesota Vikings (2-12)-Matt Kalil, T, USC
Here is the biggest reason this pick will be Matt Kalil whether the Rams or Vikings are picking #2 overall: offensive linemen > WR. A franchise LT can be a player you rely on for 15 years. Kalil needs some techinque refinement, but he’s been compared to Joe Thomas by former N.F.L. Scout Dave Razzano. His upside is very high and he’s a good pick here.
3. St. Louis Rams (2-12)-Jonathan Martin, T, Stanford Cardinal
I just think Justin Blackmon is more Michael Crabtree than he is Dez Bryant so I think the Rams should avoid him at third overall. I imagine the Rams will be looking to trade down a few spots anyway with all of the teams that could be vying for quarterbacks, but in this scenario they take a franchise LT in Jonathan Martin, push Saffold to the right side and try to play Jason Smith at guard (or dump him). Possibly improving three positions at once. If Bradford spends all day on his back, it won’t matter who he doesn’t get to throw the ball to.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10)-Quinton Coples, DL, UNC
Admitedly Coples has had a down year, but he’s still the best defensive line prospect at 43 DE, 34 DE, and probably 43 DT as well. The Jaguars have average situational and rotational pass rushers, not an every down guy. I think Coples ceiling is more like Justin Smith than it is Julius Peppers, but not everyone will agree with me. I also think this pick will come down to who takes over the head coaching gig. If it’s a coach who wants to run a 34 defense they have to acquire the pieces for that, if it’s an offensive minded coach they could go Blackmon here. The reason I go Coples here is because the WR at the top of round two are going to be better than the pass rushers at the top of round two.
5. Cleveland Browns (4-10)-Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
The difference between the Jaguars and Browns for Blackmon is that I think Blackmon is perfect for what the Browns are trying to do with their offense. Blackmon might not be a command double team guy like Bryant, but he work well in the Browns offensive system in my opinion.
6. Tampa Bay Bucs (4-10)-**Trade to Buffalo Bills**-Robert Griffin III
Will the Bills be brazen enough to jump the other quarterback needy teams and snag Robert Griffin III? No. Should they? Yes. As Peyton Manning has proven this year, an elite quarterback is worth 10 wins all by himself. The Bills can make it to the playoffs with Ryan Fitzpatrick, but it’d be an uphill battle. Grab Griffin III let him sit for a year behind if they must. Getting Griffin III is the right move.
7. Washington Redskins (5-9)-Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No way the Redskins leave this draft without a quarterback. They would probably be the team that will trade up to take the quarterback of their choice. In this mock, they sit back and land Barkley.
8. Carolina Panthers (5-9)-Riley Reiff, T, Iowa Hawkeyes
The Panthers need to bolster their defense, but after Claiborne there aren’t any great defenders in this class. Jeff Otah has had a real hard time staying healthy and Jordan Gross is getting up in age. He’ll be 32 next year so I wouldn’t completely rule out a tackle, though admittedly they are more likely to go in a different direction here.
9. Miami Dolphins (5-9)-Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A and M
Last year no one thought Christian Ponder would go high and few though Blaine Gabbert should go high, but they did. What does that tell you, teams that need quarterbacks will reach for them. With all of the QB needy teams I highly doubt that Tannehill lasts to the second round. Tannehill is very, talented and has a lot of upside. The Dolphins can afford to play Matt Moore one more season next year as the starter while Tannehill develops.
10. Buffalo Bills (5-9)-Traded to Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama Crimson Tide
Whether or not running backs are worth first round picks is a very debatable issue (I think they are-or at the very least 1st or second round picks). But Richardson is a different animal anyway. He’s the best running back prospect to come out since Adrian Peterson with his combination of size, speed, strength, agility, and vision. I actually think highly of Legarette Blount, but he’s no Trent Richardson.
11. Philadelphia Eagles (6-8)-Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama Crimson Tide
Will the Eagles keep Asante Samuel and Dominque Rodgers Cromartie? Neither one seems particularly happy with the team and organization right now. If they jettison one of those players they could look cornerback. Andy Reid has shown a huge reluctance to take players at the linebacker position early, while that’s not necessarily the case with cornerbacks.
12. Kansas City Chiefs (6-8)-Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
Kuechly just seems like a Chiefs kind of player. The Chiefs need someone opposite Hali (is Justin Houston that player), but they could also use an upgrade next to Derrick Johnson. If the Chiefs can grab Kuechly and maybe hope Dontari Poe makes it to them in the second round they could have a really nice front seven next year to go along with their talented secondary.
13. Arizona Cardinals (7-7)-Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama Crimson Tide
Finally this pick represents decent value and fills one of the Cardinals biggest needs. A lot of their pressure comes from up front in their 34 , but that’s not idea. Upshaw is strong enough to hold up against the run and quick enough to rush the passer. He’s a bit of a tweener guy without a real position, but he has potential to play the 34 and 43 effectively (43 as a down pass rusher).
14. Tennessee Titans (7-7)-Alshon Jeffery WR, South Carolina
I think the Titans need to add another weapon to their offense. Even though players like Nate Washington, and Damien Williams have stepped it up in Britt’s absence, I wouldn’t count on their continued success. Jeffery would be a top 10 lock if he had a quarterback who could get him the football. Jeffery may lack ideal speed, but that doesn’t concern me as much. He’s fluid and he’s a guy who is open when he’s not open. Floyd might be the safer bet in terms of talent, but do the Titans want two knucklehead receivers?
15. Seattle Seahawks (7-7)-Zach Brown, LB, UNC
Seahawks fans might not like this pick because they might hear from some that he is similar to former Seahawks linebacker Aaron Curry, but I don’t think that should scare the Seahawks away. Zach Brown is one of the few defenders in this draft class who has uncommon ability. Great sideline to sideline speed, good in coverage, can blitz the quarterback and has plus instincts.
16. Oakland Raiders (7-7)(traded to Cincinnati)--Lamar Miller, RB, Miami Hurricanes
This pick makes so much sense I can’t avoid mocking him here. The Bengals need to find a way to take more pressure off of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. Cedric Benson has shown this year that he is not the answer.
The rest is continued on page two