[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="298" caption="Mo to Go #3?"][/caption]
This will likely be our final NFL mock draft of the season, unless we get some hot info on something and decide to move somebody up or down before tomorrow's draft. Some things have changed in this (possible) final edition of our mock, and it involves our hometown squad. It should be an exciting first round, and I look forward to breaking this thing down once we actually know what guys are going where.
1. Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck QB, Stanford
Well the fun of thinking about RG-III going #1 is over as the Colts have announced Luck is their guy. I never really had any doubts and it is probably the right/safe choice.
2. Washington Redskins - Robert Griffin III QB, Baylor
No real excitement here either. Though the NFL doesn't want the Redskins to announce it, in a lame attempt to keep us all on pins and needles on "who will the 'Skins pick?" Sorry NFL, not all that nervous, they are taking Griffin.
3. Minnesota Vikings - Morris Claiborne CB, LSU
I am biting on the steam, whether it is false or not, that Claiborne is going #3. Here is something I am thinking though. This could all be the Vikings front office throwing out the idea of taking Claiborne, just to make the Buccaneers at #5 nervous that their guy’s Richardson and Claiborne will not be there at #5. That will then force them to offer the Vikings something (2nd through 4th round pick maybe?) to move up two spots to lock in either guy. Then the Vikes pick up a pick and still get their guy all along in Kalil at #5. Either way, the Vikes make a good move there. Claiborne is an instant impact CB that they desperately need, just like Kalil is the instant starter LT that they also desperately need.
4. Cleveland Browns - Trent Richardson RB, Alabama
This one stays the same from my first mock draft. They go with Richardson, Hillis is now in Kansas City and the Browns hope McCoy makes a jump with a full off-season with the coaching staff, something he did not have last year with the lockout after a promising rookie campaign. Justin Blackmon is the other option and so far through free agency the Browns are yet to pick up a (significant) WR. At this point for me it is a coin toss between the two and I can see either being the choice for the Browns. To me though the reasoning is the same. Get McCoy some offensive firepower and help. I don't see the Browns making the rushed choice of ditching McCoy for a monster question mark in Tannehill
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Stephon Gilmore CB, South Carolina
Ouch. The Bucs are in trouble at #5 if indeed the Vikes go with Claiborne and the Browns go Richardson. They now are forced to reach a bit, but not too much, for Stephon Gilmore to fill in the CB position they need help at. This is why I think there is a good possibility the Bucs give the Vikes a pick (2-4 rd) to move up and ensure they get their guy.
6. St. Louis Rams - Matt Kalil LT, USC
What is a better pairing with a young QB? A great WR? Or great protection from a LT? Tough call, but at this point the value you are getting in Kalil at #6 is too much to pass up. Blackmon's free fall begins now that the Vikings, Browns and Rams pass on him. Bradford has been injury prone in college and the NFL, get him great protection in Kalil who falls to them after the Vikings go Claiborne.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars - Quinton Couples DE, UNC
Mario Williams has signed with Buffalo. The Jags were looking to possibly dip into the Williams sweepstakes but with him gone, they look to the draft and get the top DE in the draft in Quinton Couples. He isn't Mario, but he isn't going to cost 100 million dollars either (yet?).
8. Miami Dolphins - Ryan Tannehill QB, Texas A&M
Peyton Manning didn't follow Lebron and the many other stars of other sports flocking to Miami, choosing instead to head to the rocky mountains. Well at least they can get Matt Fly...oh wait he went to Seattle. Well that leaves them with either FA signing David Garrard or another run with Chad Henne, OR they go with Tannehill at 8. It is a bit of a stretch, but it is a huge need and with the aforementioned veterans they will have some time to groom the new rookie. I think it's a bad choice, but it is the choice they'll make.
9. Carolina Panthers - Justin Blackmon WR, Oklahoma State
The Panthers now benefit from Blackmon getting passed up in the top 6 picks. If Blackmon does go earlier the Panthers won't look WR, but since Blackmon is still there, again Blackmon is great value at #9. It also makes sense, as pairing Blackmon with an aging and injury prone Steve Smith will help Cam Newton's development.
10. Buffalo Bills - Luke Kuechly ILB, Boston College
I still think that Malcolm Floyd could be the pick here for the Bills. Yet, Kuechly will just continue to rebuild the Bills defense alongside Mario Williams. The Bills may have done the most to improve on the defensive side, and their offense was impressive for most of the year last year. Continuing their improvement with Kuechly is a smart choice and probably a better choice than Malcolm Floyd.
The Rest of the First Round:
11. Kansas City Chiefs - Fletcher Cox DT, Mississippi State
12. Seattle Seahawks - Melvin Ingram OLB/DE, South Carolina
13. Arizona Cardinals - Riley Reiff OT, Iowa
14. Dallas Cowboys - Mark Barron S, Alabama
15. Philadelphia Eagles - Dontari Poe DT, Memphis
16. New York Jets - Courtney Upshaw OLB, Alabama
17. Cincinnati Bengals - Michael Floyd WR, Notre Dame
18. San Diego Chargers - Shea McClellin OLB, Boise State
19. Chicago Bears - Nick Perry DE, USC
20. Tennessee Titans - Dre Kirkpatrick CB, Alabama
21. Cincinnati Bengals - David DeCastro OG, Stanford
22. Cleveland Browns - Jonathan Martin OT, Stanford
23. Detroit Lions - Cordy Glenn OT, Georgia
24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Michael Brockers DT, LSU
25. Denver Broncos - Jerel Worthy DT, Michigan State
26. Houston Texans - Kendall Wright WR, Baylor
27. New England Patriots - Alfonzo Dennard CB, Nebraska
28. Green Bay Packers - Devon Still DT, Penn State
29. Baltimore Ravens - Peter Konz C, Wisconsin
30. San Francisco 49ers - Stephen Hill WR, Georgia Tech
31. New England Patriots - Kendall Reyes DT, UConn
32. New York Giants - Mike Adams OT, Ohio State
So there you have it STOB'ers, that is the entire 1st round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Let me know what you agree or disagree with in the comments section below.