With the results official on this weekend’s wild card games the top 24 picks for the 2012 N.F.L. draft are now set. The rest of the results will be based of course on what occurs going forward. The Cleveland Browns got great news today with the Steelers loss, which pushed the Falcons down one more slot because of their record.
There is a ton of speculation that the Colts will eventually release Peyton Manning if they do where does he end up? There are many things to take into consideration. I think the best spot for him is clearly the 49ers, teams like the Jets and Redskins play in a tough division and outside in cold weather why would he choose those places if all options were open.
But for fun’s sake let’s say he ends up in Miami, the Dolphins clearly want stars and they have enough pieces for them to make a real championship run if they can continue to add to their offense and they had a Peyton Manning type at quarterback.
1. Indianapolis Colts (2-14)-Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford Cardinal
The only pick here. Colts owner Jim Irsay has reportedly already decided on Luck and for good reason. The new G.M. will have to be on board with that decision if he wants to be the Colts general manager.
2. St. Louis Rams (2-14)-Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
I’ve mocked Matt Kalil here forever, but maybe the team decides they desperately need a WR (I don’t think that terribly with Brandon Lloyd if he stays and if they improve their OL their passing game could look much better). I think Kalil offers better positional value and is a better overall talent and fixes a more immediate need, but Charlie Casserly yesterday said he would take Blackmon and maybe the Rams general manager will feel pressure to do the same.
3. Minnesota Vikings (3-13)-Matt Kalil, T, USC
Absolutely ideal situation for the Minnesota Vikings. They will sprint to the podium to select Matt Kalil if he’s available with the second overall pick.
4. Cleveland Browns (4-12)-Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Claiborne is a better coverage cornerback than last year’s 5th overall pick Patrick Peterson. Peterson offers more upside and has dynamic return ability, but Claiborne is that good. If the Browns were able to pair Claiborne with Haden they would have the young best cornerback duo in the entire league which would only help their pass rush (which also needs to improve). Unless they are drafting Robert Griffin III or Trent Richardson here the value isn’t available at positions of need so they should just make sure they improve instantly.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12)-Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
This is not the typical pick, but I like to explore different options. Jeffery is a very talented WR prospect whose numbers took a big hit this season and right now this looks like a reach, but Jeffery has the entire pre-draft process to improve his draft stock up into this range. 6-4 229 WR do not grow on trees. But what are the great options for the Buccaneers here? They could take Trent Richardson. Whatever they do there really aren’t a ton of terrific options for them here.
6. Washington Redskins (5-11)-Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor Bears
Easy pick here. I just have a feeling as of today that the Redskins will really consider moving up to select Griffin so I can’t imagine them passing up on him here.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11)-Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
I don’t have a ton of confidence in the Jaguars ability to put up a similar year from their secondary next year as they did in 2011 because they don’t have great secondary talent. Kirkpatrick is extremely gifted with great size and has plus instincts. He has loads of potential and though has played inconsitent at times is worth the pick here at #7 overall.
8. Carolina Panthers (6-10) (coin flip)-Jonathan Martin, T, Stanford Cardinal
The Panthers will consider OT based on how the board shakes out and here without Claiborne or Kirkpatrick available, no DT worth the pick and the top two WR off the board. Tackle is an easy choice.
9. Miami Dolphins (6-10) (coin flip)-Riley Reiff, T, Iowa Hawkeyes
In this scenario they secured Peyton Manning, but want to make sure he has more than enough protection. With Long, Pouncey, Reiff they are well on their way.
10. Buffalo Bills (6-10) -Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama Crimson Tide
And Bills fans become irate! The Bills are in a bad position here and Richardson is the best player available on my board and it’s not even that close. If the Bills don’t resign Fred Jackson they will need another weapon on offense, they are not talented enough on offense to move forward with what they have.With the top three tackles off the board and no pass rusher worth this selection (or quarterback), the Bills should be choosing between Michael Floyd who comes with a lot of baggage or Trent Richardson who could be the next Adrian Peterson? Peterson and Spiller would be absolutely dynamic.
11. Seattle Seahawks (7-9) (coin flip)-Zach Brown, LB, UNC
I don’t love the talent in this draft class, but I like Brown. Brown is one of the few players who bothered to show up for North Carolina’s bowl game. Brown has tremendous speed you can’t teach and could appeal to the Seahawks. They could also consider making a play for Ryan Tannehill here. If not, maybe Coples?
12. Kansas City Chiefs (7-9) (coin flip)-Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis Tigers
The Chiefs need a nose tackle and Poe could be a guy who skyrockets up some draft boards leading up to the draft.
13. Arizona Cardinals (8-8)-Mike Adams, T, Ohio State
The Cardinals really need help along their offensive line. Adams is not yet in the top15 conversation, but if he has a good pre-draft process and can show better than anticipated agility he will be. He has massive arms and hands which scouts drool over (hand size and arm length are the “40 yard dash” for Offensive linemen).
14. Dallas Cowboys (8-8)-Devon Still, DE, Penn State
The Cowboys were rumored to be extremely interested in J.J. Watt last year and the pick was going to come down to J.J. Watt or Tyron Smith. They chose Smith who has had a good year for the Cowboys, but they are vulnerable at Defensive end still (as well as the secondary). At this point in the draft the Cowboys, based on this mock, have the benefit of adding whatever defensive linemen they have the highest rated which is a nice option to have and could be a realistic option come draft day.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8)-Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
It’s like clock work, but the Eagles add linemen almost every year in the first round. If Coples is available this could be no exception. Brandon Graham has been hurt and while they have a ton of sacks from their defensive front they lack size which has hurt them at times this year. Coples can play inside or outside. This pick could depend largely on who ends up coaching the defense for the Eagles. Spags was able to do a lot of terrific things with Justin Tuck and the Giants defensive line’s versatility when he was with them and Coples could give him a terrific option. He has some consistency problems, but based on the board available here the Eagles don’t have a lot of great options. DeSean Jackson seems to have backed off of his contract demands recently which means his return is much more likely which is why I’m off the Michael Floyd bandwagon here.
16. New York Jets (8-8)-David DeCastro, G, Stanford Cardinal
The Jets need to improve their offensive line one way or the other. The big problem spot is actually right tackle, but there isn’t a great option at right tackle available at this juncture so they take the best offensive linemen available. DeCastro is perhaps the safest prospect in this draft class. He does everything well, he doesn’t offer great positional value, but is a great player value here.
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