I want to give a big thank you to (Un) as he sent me the draft projections based on schedules and records.
And away we go.....
1. Indianapolis Colts select Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
While the Colts have been trying their best to not Suck For Luck anymore, they're still in the position to draft him. And as long as they lose next week, they hang on to the pick. And if they hang on to the pick, it's Andrew Luck. Really, it doesn't matter who has this pick, it'll be Andrew Luck, just depends on if it's a trade or not.
2. St. Louis Rams select Matt Kalil, OT, USC
I've been trying to rationalize the Rams drafting Blackmon, but in the end, I'm not sure it makes the most sense. Kalil is a franchise left tackle and those are impossible to pass up. It doesn't matter that the Rams have drafted tackles recently in the draft. They can move those around and take Kalil. The draft is deep with wide receiving talent and the Rams can grab someone later in the draft as a target for Bradford.
3. Minnesota Vikings trade the pick to the Cleveland Browns who select Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Allow me to explain this out...
1. The Vikings will be shopping this pick around. They really want Kalil and Morris Claiborne is too much of a stretch at #3.
2. RG3's stock is skyrocketing. When he goes through pro days and combines, it'll make scouts and GMs that much happier
3. Because of his rise in popularity, Washington, Cleveland, and Miami will be looking to move up in this draft.
4. In the end, Cleveland will win out because they have two first round picks, their own and Atlanta's from the Julio Jones trade. If you use the Draft Pick Value Chart, which is very useful and what the NFL teams use, the Browns current 5th and, based on this draft, 25th pick add up to 2420 points. The 3rd pick is worth 2200 points. There'd need to be some work done, but it's certainly doable.
As for the pick itself, RG3 would be a huge upgrade for the Browns. They could move McCoy for a late round pick and move on. Griffin would bring excitement to the franchise and his skills, as of now, match his hype.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars select Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St.
Quick, name me one Jaguars receiver. I'll wait.
That's what I figured. Blaine Gabbert isn't really set up for success with no passing attack in Jacksonville. Adding Blackmon, who is still the #1 WR in my book, would give them their first legit receiving weapon in a LONG time. Adding him with MJD would move the Jaguars in the right direction and make Los Angel....err Jacksonville fans happy.
5. Minnesota Vikings (from Cleveland) select Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
The fact remains that the Vikings offensive line is one of the worst in the league. Martin hasn't been as hyped as Kalil, but he'll still be a solid tackle and start from day one for the Vikings line. Considering the Vikings traded back to get him and gained a first-rounder, this is a great, great pickup for them. Ponder has shown signs of greatness when he's had time to throw and isn't suffering concussions.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
The Bucs offense isn't awful. The pass defense ranks 22nd. Shouldn't be too hard to realize where the Bucs need to address things. Claiborne is a Patrick Peterson-type of player from that incredible LSU secondary, and Patrick Peterson has been a stud this year. Given the fact Claiborne could learn from someone like Ronde Barber for a couple years makes this pick a good one.
7. Washington Redskins select Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
The Redskins will miss out on RG3, but still get a QB better than Beck and Grossman, which is not saying much. Jones' stock took a big hit after he lost Ryan Broyles and struggled down the stretch. His bowl game coming up will be a big measure for scouts at how good he can be. I think he did enough early in his career and this season to warrant a GM, especially someone like Dan Snyder, drafting him high. The Redskins need a good QB and could be a decent team with one.
8. Miami Dolphins select Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
This is an interesting spot for the Dolphins. Their biggest weakness is certainly quarterback, but after just seven picks, three QBs have been (rightfully) selected. There isn't a fourth anywhere close to warranting an 8th round pick and the other suitable options here are a RB, a LB, and DE. The defensive end, Coples, has been rather underrated and could turn into a stud for them.
9. Carolina Panthers select Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
Offensively, Cam Newton has made this team a dynamic one. He brings so much to the table. Defensively, the team is pretty bad. They locked up their top DE in Charles Johnson last year. This year, they can add probably the most sure and least-risky pick in Kuechly. He's a solid player, does everything well, and should turn into a solid player on the Panthers defense.
10. Kansas City Chiefs select Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Right now, Reiff might be the best offensive lineman in the draft. From his first day on campus, he was starting for the Hawkeyes. He's a complete player and you have to love the durability. The questions, however, revolve around how much better he can get. For a Chiefs team that suffered a slew of injuries, they really don't have that many weaknesses when healthy. One of the few they have is the offensive line and protecting Cassel. Reiff will help right off the bat.
11. Buffalo Bills select Alshon Jeffrey, WR, South Carolina
The Bills were red-hot to start the year. However, they came back to Earth an now their true colors are showing. I'm convinced Ryan Fitzpatrick is a good quarterback. Adding a weapon like Jeffrey would really help them. With Fred Jackson back there, this offense could take a real big step forward next year.
12. Arizona Cardinals select Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
The Cardinals have a mess of RBs in the backfield, none of which are #1 backs. While an offensive lineman might be their biggest need, there isn't one here to pick. Instead, they'll help both Larry Fitzgerald and Kevin Kolb's issues and give them the best back they may have ever had there. For Richardson, look at the teams ahead of him and tell me one that should take him. He'll fall in this draft, I'll guarantee it.
13. Philadelphia Eagles select Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
In my opinion, Burfict is and will be the best LB in the draft. However, I think he'll be over-evaluated and fall in the draft. The Eagles biggest need is stopping the run and they could go with Brandon Thompson, DT from Clemson, but Burfict helps them more than Thompson does and fills a bigger need. They'll really like his effort in Philly.
14. Seattle Seahawks select Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson
The Seahawks biggest flaw is that Tavaris Jackson is their quarterback. They won't win a title as long as he's there. Hell, they won't win more than 8 games with him. As a Vikings fan, I'm glad he's gone. As an NFL fan, I'm sad he's still in the league. Regardless, the three QBs are gone in the draft and none before the mid-second round will be picked, leaving the Seahawks a chance to upgrade elsewhere.
15. San Diego Chargers select Devon Still, DT, Penn State
The Chargers are a team chock full of talent, but clearly under coached. I don't expect Norv Turner to be back next year and I expect a completely different result from the team. That being said, they could still use some talent and Devon Still has been steadily flying up draft boards. Again, I should have listened to Grue earlier this year when he said he'd be up here. He'll add some size in the middle of San Diego's line.
16. Chicago Bears select David DeCastro, G, Stanford
For many seasons now, it seems like the Bears could use offensive lineman and wide receivers. With Michael Floyd being the next best WR, the 16th pick might be a stretch for him. Instead, they can get younger in the interior of the line and take DeCastro, who helped protect Andrew Luck this year. This draft is also deep with WR talent, so later in the draft they could look for a WR.
17. Tennessee Titans select Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
I realize I just said Floyd was a reach here, but this is by far the biggest weakness for the Titans. When Britt went down, this team suffered. Pairing Britt and Floyd with Jake Locker will set up Locker for success in the future and, given how healthy Hasselbeck stays, could even put Tennessee in contention for the division title next year.
18. Dallas Cowboys select Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
By most accounts, Kirkpatrick is the #2 CB in the country. He was the leader of the Alabama secondary. His INT numbers are great, but his size is. At 6'3 and 200 pounds, he'll easily matchup or overmatch WRs physically. If he falls to Dallas, they should be thanking their lucky stars on this one as he'll be a big time impact player on this defense for Rob Ryan.
19. New York Jets select Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama
The 3rd Alabama player selected gives the Jets something they seem to lack - a pass rusher. They rank 17th in the league in sacks and don't seem to pressure the QB too often, or at least not on a consistent basis. This team could really thrive that much more if they don't have to send all-out blitzes to get to the QB or if they were more successful even when they did. Upshaw can do that.
20. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland) select Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
Really, the only other person who might be higher than Kirkpatrick as a corner is Dennard. And the Bengals could use him with the loss of Jonathan Joseph. The defense is already solid, but taking Dennard would solidify them that much more. With the young pieces they have in place, this draft could really be big for them and Dennard would be a great start.
The next picks is based on how I feel the playoffs will go and based off current standings. Entirely subject, I know. But this whole draft is....
21. New York Giants select Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia
The Giants offense isn't bad and neither is their receivers or ground game. Really, injuries have hurt them a lot, much like Kansas City. Despite that, they have persevered and, as of now, would be NFC East champs. However, they could use some offensive line help, which they would get here. Cordy Glenn can play either guard or tackle and protect Eli Manning.
22. Denver Broncos select Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
In the first few mock drafts I had, Denver selected Trent Richardson and Landry Jones. Both seem like silly picks now. They could really, really, really use WR, but Dwight Jones or Kendall Wright are reaches here. Instead, they can help bolster the already dominant defense and add some defensive line help. Worthy can help slow down the rush while allowing Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil to focus more on getting to the QB.
23. Detroit Lions select Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
Janoris Jenkins is most likely the most skilled corner in the draft, but has two things working against him. First, he doesn't have the size. At 5'10, 183, he'll be outmatched physically more often than not. And secondly, he has the infamous "character issues". He's been busted numerous times for drugs and was kicked out of Florida. But I don't think Detroit will care too much about those issues as they have a big need in the secondary, especially with having to face Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler 4 times a year.
24. Houston Texans select Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Wright is a hit or miss type of guy, it appears. I've seen him on draft boards as high as 16th and as low as 43rd. He did benefit a lot from RG3's big year, but he has things you like in a WR, especially great hands with his 101 catches on the year. Lining up across from Andre Johnson will open up this offense that much more.
25. Minnesota Vikings (from Atlanta via Cleveland) select Barrett Jones, OT, Alabama
The Vikings have a mess at the offensive. What was once considered the best in the business and the reason AP was so good is not likely the worst and shows how AP is good in spite of it. Regardless, it needs remodeled and Barrett Jones can help. Jones started at RG before this year and, with Jonathan Martin already selected, he could start at RG next year for the Vikings, giving them great young talent to build around.
26. Cincinnati Bengals select Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
Arguably the B1G's best defensive lineman this year was Mercilus. He finished the year with 14.5 sacks and 9 FF. For a Bengals squad that can get to the QB already, this is simply a pick of best available. By most accounts, Mercilus is a top 15-20 pick. If he slips to 26, the Bengals should jump all over him.
27. San Fran 49ers select Zach Brown, LB, UNC
This 49ers squad has very much surprised everyone. Alex Smith has become the QB no one thought he would be and has led this team to a #2 seed. However, there's still room for improvement. There's a possibility they could go for a WR, but Zach Brown is a great player who can play beside Patrick Willis for many years to come and complement him perfectly.
28. NE Patriots select Brandon Jenkins, DE/OLB, Florida State
The Patriots biggest weakness even in last year's draft was that they had no one to get to the QB. This year, the same thing remains. I don't think Andre Carter is that guy for the future, so the Pats need to stop pretending like he is and find someone like Jenkins who can be. Jenkins has 7.0 sacks and 11 TFL this year and could help the Pats.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers select Alameda Ta'amu, DT, Washington
The one thing the Steelers lack is a big defensive tackle on the line. They have the pass rushers in the linebacking corp, but they could use someone with Ta'amu's size. At 6'3 and 340 pounds, he'd fit well into their system. They might also look at someone in the secondary to start planning for life after Troy Polamalu.
30. Green Bay Packers select Don'ta Hightower, ILB, Alabama
This Alabama team is producing all kinds of talent. Hightower could join the Packers and help the the linebacking corp that doesn't have a lot outside of Clay Matthews. They could use someone like Hightower on the defense, or possibly another rusher on the edge opposite Matthews. Really, though, I only see them going for either a LB or OL.
31. NE Patriots (from New Orleans) select Kelechi Osemele, G/T, Iowa State
I wouldn't be surprised, honestly, if Belicheck doesn't trade this pick. While they could use the talent, I'm not sure anyone will stand out to them that might be worth this pick. Instead, in typical Belicheck fashion, he'll draft someone that doesn't really fill a weakness and take a lineman for the future.
32. Baltimore Ravens select Mark Barron, S, Alabama
To be honest, I wrote Barron's name numerous times for teams, but they didn't seem like good picks. I think if, as I predict here, that the Ravens win the Super Bowl, I fully expect Ed Reed and possibly even Ray Lewis to retire. If that's the case, the secondary has a HUGE hole and Barron can step in to start to replace it.