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I haven't done this in a few years but I figured it's about time I get back to it. Couple things you should know about my mock draft.

 

  • 1. This mock draft is going to be one of the few you will find where I will project trades. With the new CBA, the trading of draft picks (most notably high picks) is going to become the norm more than the exception.
  • 2. For these early mocks, I'm going to project more towards what I feel would be the best fit/pick/trade for the team considering what's available. As the process goes along I will begin leaning more towards who I feel the actual pick is going to be and not who I think it should be.
  • 3. I'm going to try to talk about team needs in the pick descriptions. However, some teams ignore need for the best available player. So the pick and the needs may not always match.
  • 4. I will add rounds as the process goes along but without knowing right now who is going to be in the draft, who is going back to school, etc. it's difficult to project two rounds let alone four.
  • 5. Feel free to comment!

 

HERE WE GO!

 

 

ROUND 1

 

 

1.      Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

I'm really not seeing any other options for the Colts. Now that both Polians are gone, the franchise appears ready to move into a new era and I don't believe that era includes Manning. From a football standpoint it makes sense to grab your quarterback for potentially the next 12 years. And as a bonus, from a PR perspective it makes all the sense in the world as well. You are not going to get a more golden opportunity to move past Manning than this. Luck is as close to a can't miss prospect as we've seen in a long-time, so even if he doesn't end up being on Manning's level, you can't really blame the franchise for making the move when every football guy around can agree this kid is special. If you don't make the move to Luck now, then when do you move on from Peyton? What if Manning slowly tapers off over the next 5 years? How/when do you make the decision to move past him if not now at age 36, coming off an injury, and with a GOLDEN opportunity to replace him with a draft pick.

 

This situation is similar to what happened to the Spurs in the 1996-97 season. The Spurs had been a consistent winner after drafting David Robinson in 1989. 55-60 wins in nearly every season. Then in 1996 Robinson went down for year. They land the #1 pick, take Tim Duncan, and enjoy 15 more years of success and championships. The Colts are in a situation to perpetuate the success of the franchise for 15 more years with this pick and they'd be foolish to do ANYTHING but take Luck. Unlike the Spurs situation, Manning and Luck can't and shouldn't co-exist. I'll get to that shortly. There really shouldn't be any other considerations here but if they decide Manning is their guy they'd be wise to trade this pick to the highest bidder (probably worth at least 2 first round picks, 2 second round picks, and a high level starter) rather than taking the next best player on the board.

 

2.      Cleveland Browns (trade pick #4 and pick #25 to St. Louis for #2 pick): Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

Neither the Rams nor the Vikings are in the market for a QB so they will no doubt be entertaining calls from franchises who are (Browns, Jaguars, Redskins, Dolphins, etc.). The Browns with their extra first round pick and the Rams only having to drop only two spots make this a no brainer for them.  The Browns make this move because they feel if they don't make the move up to #2, someone else will.

 

As for the Browns pick, if there was any doubt that the McCoy/Cleveland love affair is coming to an end, "concussion-gate" sealed its fate. The Browns offense is hard to watch. It's almost as if they believe that if they gain 7 yards in 3 downs somehow they'll get a first down out of it. They need playmakers and it starts with the QB position. Griffin has rocketed up the draft boards and some GM's envision a Cam Newton type of an impact on an offense. The Browns desperately need a playmaker and are willing to give up their extra first rounder for the chance to move up. Some McCoy believers will want the Browns to take a RB/WR combo with the two picks they have to give McCoy more weapons. I for one don't think he's a franchise QB. I see him as having a Trent Dilfer type of career: above-average backup, extra mediocre starter.  If they keep the picks they have, they have to go with a RB and WR.

 

3.      Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT, USC

The Vikings are in a great position to upgrade one of their two major need areas with one of the two or three best players available. They should be looking at three prospects with this pick: Matt Kalil or Jonathan Martin at OT and Morris Claiborne at CB. I really want to put Claiborne here because they play in a division with Rodgers, Stafford, and Cutler and their pass defense is terrible. However, with that being said, at the end of the day they will lean towards a franchise left tackle to protect their young franchise QB.  I believe the Vikings will be very tempted to take the DB here but will follow conventional wisdom that tells them you don't pass over a franchise LT for a franchise CB. Kalil as a prospect has the chance to step in from day one and become one of the best LT's in the game.

 

4.      St. Louis Rams (from Cleveland): Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

St. Louis lucks out in this scenario. By landing the #2 pick and with Barkley going back to school, Robert Griffin III becomes a very hot commodity. They will be getting a ton of phone calls but none more tempting that Cleveland's phone call. With this trade they acquire the 25th pick in this draft and by only sliding 2 spots they are still able to grab one of the two franchise LT prospects available. Bradford has started his career similar to that of Stafford in Detroit. Can't stay upright therefore can't stay on the field. I wouldn't say that he's injury-prone (yet) he's just been injured. The Rams need an anchor on that line. They still have Jason Smith at offensive tackle.  And although he has been a huge disappointment thus far, Martin would become the anchor and take some of the pressure off of a guy that probably wasn't worthy of the #2 pick in the first place. If Smith could reach his potential on that right side, the Rams become instantly 4-5 games better just by keeping Bradford on his feet. Other consideration may be given to a true #1 WR target for Bradford.

 

5.      Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

This is an easy one with the way things have shaken out. Claiborne would fill a huge need for Tampa Bay considering Talib's issues and Barbers age and at this point he's the best player available. I believe the Bucs will give some consideration to Richardson at the RB spot. However, smart money says they go DB here and grab a scat-back type of RB in the 2nd/3rd round to share carries with the bruiser Blount. Claiborne is a very good CB, the lockdown type, who will be a starter for Tampa from day one. He upgrades the secondary considerably and if Talib can return to the field it would give them a dynamic pass covering duo for years to come and allow Barber to bow out gracefully after next season.

 

6.      Indianapolis Colts (trade Peyton Manning to Redskins for #6 pick, 3rd Round Pick, and 2012 Second Round Pick): Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

WHAMMY! I mentioned previously that Manning will not be in a Colts uniform if they take Andrew Luck. Instead, Daniel Snyder (as only he can do) makes a huge splash in acquiring the veteran QB who still has 3-4 years of top-level football left in him if the neck heals properly. First, for the Redskins they don't just get a QB, they get what I call a talent magnifier. He takes average players and makes them good, good players and makes them great, and great players and makes them elite.  The Redskins have more talent on their roster than the Colts, they just lack consistency and a true difference maker. Snyder likes flashy moves and this one actually may work out. Manning is not going to get the two first round picks that Palmer got because of his age, the unknown of his injury, and it's not the Raiders. However, the Colts should be happy if they can land a top 10 pick this year along with an additional 3rd this year and a 2nd next year.

 

Now as for the Colts end of things. What better way to move on from a Manning-centered franchise than to take arguably the two best college football players in the country this past year at the two most glamorous positions.  With Manning gone and Luck in, the Colts have a chance to move away from the pass-only, finesse offense they've become accustomed to over the last 14 years and establish a respectable ground game. The best part about Richardson is that he's not just a ground and pound guy, he's a legitimate receiving threat out of the backfield: allowing the Colts to balance their offensive production a bit. A core of young guys Luck, Richardson, and Garcon mixed with veterans Wayne, Clark, and Saturday would make for a MUCH improved offensive attack going forward. They would also consider upgrading the OL or taking best defensive player available here. But Luck/Richardson potential will help fans grieve the loss of Manning.

 

7.      Chicago Bears (trade pick #19, 3rd Round Pick, and 2012 First Round Pick to Jaguars for Pick #7): Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

OK, OK, OK, everyone calm down and hear me out here. Jacksonville was the ultimate loser when Barkley decided to go back to school. If he comes out, they would have had a chance to grab Griffin or Barkley here. Instead they have 3 options: Keep pick and take top WR on board (Blackmon) to fill one glaring need, Drastically reach for the third best QB (Jones, Tannenhill, etc.), or trade back for more picks to create depth, and make a run at Barkley next year (he would look good in a Los Angeles Jaguar uniform). If I'm them, I trade back for depth this year to have more talent in place and give the Gabbert experiment one more year to flame out. Blackmon would be huge upgrade for them but it wouldn't translate to wins with Gabbert throwing the ball.

 

As for the Bears, this makes PERFECT sense for them. They were rolling before Cutler and Forte went down. They must sign Forte to long-term deal first and foremost. Cutler was a stud early in his career with a big-time WR to throw to (Brandon Marshall). Blackmon's performance in the Fiesta Bowl only solidified his position as the top receiving threat in this year's class. The addition of Blackmon allows the Bears to slot their receivers exactly where they belong (Blackmon #1, Knox #2, Bennett #3) and Hester can play a flex position similar that of Percy Harvin with Vikings. It gives Cutler a stud #1 to compliment his safety blanket in Bennett. Cutler, Forte, and Blackmon along with that defense instantly put the Bears amongst the NFC elite for the next few years. The Bears also have needs at OL but the line was playing much better before Cutler went down and they can address that need through FA or with 2nd/4th Round picks. I really see teams who feel they are close (like the Bears) making these types of moves to acquire a guy they feel can put them over the top. Plus, a new GM could come in and do what the previous regime couldn't, acquire a true #1 receiving threat.

 

8.      Carolina Panthers: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

Everyone take a deep breath after that flurry that took place in the first seven picks of the draft. Carolina restores some normalcy by selecting the best available player on the board in Coples. The Panthers hit a home run with Newton last year. He took that offense from pathetic to top 10 in the league in a single year. Now it's time for the Panthers to upgrade a defense that has been pathetic. They ranked 28th in overall defense and 25th in sacks this past season. They have struggled to rush the passer since the departure of Peppers. Charles Johnson has been good but he's alone in his effort to get to the QB and constantly faces double teams. Coples has the chance to be a double digit sack guy early in his career. And if this league has shown us anything, it's that a potent pass rush can mask a lot of other defensive deficiencies. Coples and Johnson could become a pass rushing duo on par with Freeney and Mathis in their glory years. Hardy isn't terrible but he would make a better back-up. They may also look to OL help or perhaps even a big WR target for Newton opposite of Steve Smith. However, if he's there, Carolina would be wise to snatch him up.

 

9.      Miami Dolphins: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

The Dolphins have put themselves in a very tough spot.  They won just enough to miss out on the top-tier impact players in this draft and are unable to land a franchise QB. So the Dolphins decide to shore up the right tackle position which has been dreadful this year by taking a guy that will start opposite of Long for as long they can re-sign both of them. With Long and Reiff as bookend tackles, Pouncey at Center, and Incognito at Guard the Dolphins will be well-equipped to protect the QB for years to come. Now the next step will be acquiring a QB worth protecting. Would consider adding secondary help or a pass rush if the right player fell down. Their secondary has struggled but they've actually been very good against the run.

 

10.  Detroit Lions (trade pick #25, 5th Round Pick, and 2012 First Round Pick to Buffalo for pick #10): Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

The Bills have their eye on several prospects here at the #10 spot but when the Lions come calling and dangle their 2012 first round pick, it's hard to ignore. The Bills actually can salvage something out of their terrible finish: the emergence of Spiller as a very reliable scat back. They need a second WR option next to Johnson and that could be addressed here if they stay. However, adding an additional first-round pick next year and sliding down 15 spots takes precedent.   

 

As for the Lions, they have two glaring needs remaining on this team: defensive backfield and offensive line. The offensive line needs addressed but without Martin, Kalil, or Reiff available, they turn their focus towards trading up for one of the two shut down CB's in this draft. Their corner backs have been dreadful this year. The offense is constantly forced to win shoot-outs and the play of the defensive backfield is the main reason why.  Kirkpatrick steps in from day one and becomes the team's best CB. This would allow the Lions to let Houston, Smith, and Wright battle it out for the #2 CB and Nickel back position or perhaps even add another CB via Free Agency. With Kirkpatrick and Luis Delmas, who is returning from injury, in the defensive backfield, the Lions secondary would be much improved over this year. Also, with the Lions needing to sign Megatron long-term as well as several other key young pieces in the next couple of years, getting rid of the 2012 first-round pick and the financial burden (although not as severe under new CBA) makes the decision to trade up a lot easier.

 

11.  Kansas City Chiefs: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

My gut tells me that Dwayne Bowe will not be in a Chiefs uniform next year. As a result, they draft Bowe's replacement. I really don't think Dwayne Bowe is happy in Kansas City and it appears they are undergoing yet another rebuilding process with a new coach so I believe he'll bolt for bigger and better. That leaves Kansas City with a gaping hole at that #1 receiver slot. Baldwin is a good young WR and could form a solid 1-2 punch with Jeffery while keeping Breaston in his natural position as slot receiver. Actually once Charles and Moeaki return, the Chiefs have a solid nucleus of talent on the offensive side of the football. That's if they can get better play out of their QB position. They will look for help on the OL but with Kalil, Reiff, and Martin off the board they don't reach.

 

12.  Seattle Seahawks: Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

This is a tough one for me. Seattle needs a franchise QB to build around. Their defense has played above expectations this year and their offense has been bad. All these signs point to them taking a QB at this position. But I'm going to operate under the assumption that Landry Jones goes back to school because that's what I truly believe he will do. That leaves a guy like Ryan Tannehill as the best QB option. Pete Carroll isn't ready to give up on Jackson quite yet; especially not for Tannehill. So in the end they take the best player available on the board. Ingram will give upgrade a defensive unit that has played well but is ranked 20th in the NFL in sacks this season. You can never have enough talented linemen and this is one guy that has pro-bowl ability as a pass rusher and they are able to snag him at the #12 spot.

 

13.  Arizona Cardinals: Andre Branch, DE, Clemson  

Arizona is an odd team to figure out. They are essentially middle of the road in all statistical categories with a "franchise" QB that has started 16 games in his 5 year NFL career and one of the top-5 WR in the game. They have talent all over this roster it has just yet to translate into wins in the post-Warner era. At this spot they will give consideration to a WR that can complement Fitz the way Boldin did or an OT to replace the disappointing Brown. However, in the end they decide to upgrade the under-performing OLB/Edge Rusher position. In any 3-4 defense you must have impact rushers on the edge and I just don't see that from Arizona.  Insert Branch who is a great value here and you have a college DE who knows how to get into the backfield.

 

14.  Dallas Cowboys: Devon Still, DE/DT, Penn State

The Cowboys have the necessary weapons they need on the offensive side of the football, especially after the emergence of Murray (assuming he can return to form next season). They have a secondary that has performed horribly under Rob Ryan (mostly Terrance Newman) and upgrades are thought to be needed there. However, the highest ranked player on the board is a perfect fit as a 3-4 DE and is too good to pass up. As this process goes on I think Still will end up going higher than this but at this point if he makes it to #14, the Cowboys will pounce on him. The addition of Still would give the Cowboys perhaps the best front seven in football when you consider he'd be playing alongside guys like DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee.

 

15.  Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

This guy is the Eagles #1 target heading into this draft. This position is overwhelmingly their largest need going into the offseason (assuming they retain Jackson or find his replacement...Bowe). Because teams are hesitant to take linebackers (especially inside linebackers) in the first round, the Eagles get their guy at #15. This pick is simple for the Eagles: insert Kuechly from day one and defense gets better. Their offense will be just fine next season, their success will depend on how much they upgrade that defense.

 

16.  New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw. OLB, Alabama

This pick is going to be spent on someone who can apply pressure to opposing QB's. More than likely they will target the best OLB/Edge Rusher on the board and that is Upshaw. Upshaw can step in from day one opposite of Calvin Pace and give Rex Ryan a dynamic 1-2 punch off the edge. The Jets may also look into a DE and if Devon Still would fall this far they would take a serious look in that direction but in the end Upshaw makes the most sense and gives Ryan another toy to make Brady's life miserable.

 

17.  Cincinnati Bengals (From Oakland): Mark Barron, S, Alabama

With their first of two first round picks the Bengals pick up a guy who isn't flashy but is going to be a long-term starter for this franchise. He provides an immediate upgrade in the secondary and becomes another playmaker in that defensive backfield along with Leon Hall. Barron has the ability to be a pro-bowl type of player within a few short years and the Bengals should be happy if he falls to them at #17.

 

18.  San Diego Chargers: David Decastro, G, Stanford

This pick has to be an offensive lineman if you're the Chargers. Their line was destroyed by injuries and Rivers paid the price. The problem with those injuries is that two of them are career threatening. They must re-sign Hardwick and draft both an OT and an interior lineman that can step in from day one and start. They get one of the better OG prospects to come along in years. He will start from day one of camp and help to bring some stability to an O-Line that has been a big reason in the team's regression this year.

 

19.  Jacksonville Jaguars (from Chicago Bears): Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

The Jaguars end up in a great position with the Bears #19 selection. They pick up an extra 4th round pick this year, a first round pick next year (that they can use to package something together to move up for Barkley if necessary), and still end up getting a true #1 WR. Floyd is a prospect that is rated as high as 10th overall on some boards. He may not be quite on the same level as Blackmon but I believe he's going to be a #1 receiving threat for someone in this league. The Jags give Gabbert a big-time target and when he has a terrible year at QB they can move on from that failed first round pick and focus on next year's QB class with two first round picks to play with.

 

20.  Tennessee Titans: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

This one may be the easiest pick so far. Here's a head coach that has come out and blasted the play of his offensive line for not helping out Chris Johnson. So if he's serious about blaming the O-Line, this franchise better put its money where its mouth is and draft the best available OL at #20. Fortunately for the Titans there's a lineman here worth the selection. While he's not a tackle which is typically the type of player you see going this high, he's worth the selection. Konz comes from school known for producing good offensive lineman and he will become captain of this offensive line early in his career. They will consider a pass rusher at this spot but in the end they plug a huge hole on the O-Line.

 

21.  Denver Broncos: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

The Broncos have a lot of different need areas on the offensive side of the football.  They could use an impact receiver, a running back that can take over the rushing duties from McGahee, and offensive line help. They have been good defensively but they could also use a defensive tackle and a young corner. In the end they decide to grab the best player available on their board and take Dennard. He can play opposite of Bailey from the start and help to improve a defense that's going to need to carry this team regardless of who is taking snaps next year.

 

22.  New York Giants: Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State

The Giants on paper have one of the most talented rosters in all of football. They have talent everywhere on both sides of the ball which is rare in the NFL. They could go several different directions with this pick: offensive line, linebacker, or wide receiver. Since I don't see an offensive lineman worthy of this pick this pick comes down to three players. Kendall Wright would be a great fit at this spot. I don't see them re-signing Manningham and they were ranked 21st in kick returns this year. Wright would be an ideal 3rd WR and returner. However, the Giants can't ignore their 28th ranked defense and decide an upgrade at MLB is more of a priority. This brings the decision down to Burfict and Hightower. Both players would be upgrades for the Giants but I give the edge to Burfict because he's slightly faster (Hightower is slightly bigger).

 

23.  Cincinnati Bengals: Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia

With the way the Bengals have played this year and the emergence of Daulton and AJ Green, they are in a tremendous position to upgrade their weaknesses with their two first round picks. The first thing they decided to do is add a playmaker to the defensive backfield. Next, they decide to upgrade an already solid O-Line. Glenn can step in from day one at LG and turn this line into one of the tops in the NFL. They have four linemen who have played well this year and one that has not. Upgrading the one weak link makes Daulton's job a lot easier knowing he has a line that's going to give him time to throw the football. That's a HUGE deal when you play in the same division as the Steelers and Ravens.

 

24.  Buffalo Bills (from Detroit): Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia

Here's a team that went from sure fire bottom-5 team in the league before the season started, to one of the hottest teams in the NFL through the first few weeks who signed their QB long-term, back to picking near the top of the draft this season. They have two glaring needs in my opinion: a pass rush and a WR.  While I believe the Bills will think long and hard about adding a WR at #10, the re-signing of Stevie Johnson will push them towards impact defender. And with the additional first round pick next year they are still able to upgrade their pass rush at #24. Jones will provide some speed off the edge and along with Marcell Dareus, give the Bills a huge upgrade in their front seven in the past two years.

 

25.  St. Louis Rams (from Cleveland who got it from Atlanta): Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

The Rams will waste little time getting this pick to the podium. The offense has been the worst in the NFL this year and the receiving corps is a large reason why (along with Bradford's health). Putting Wright alongside Lloyd gives the Rams some solid receiving options. It will also allow them to play Amendola in the slot. The bonus of this pick is that Wright can also help to improve the 23rd ranked kick return unit in the NFL. Picking up Martin and Wright in the first round shores up their two biggest need areas with two of the best available players at the time; that would make the Rams franchise very happy.

 

26.  Houston Texans: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers

This is more of a hunch pick than anything else. The Texans could go a number of different ways with this pick. They could take an interior lineman to replace Smith at guard, they could look for someone to compete with/replace/compliment Cody at nose tackle, or they could add a true #2 receiver. I believe that they will look to take some of the pressure off Johnson and snag Sanu. This pick allows the Texans to keep Walters in the slot and use Jones in a Percy Harvin type of hybrid role which is becoming more popular with teams. This pick completely changes if they are unable to resign center Chris Meyers.

 

27.  Pittsburgh Steelers: Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama

The Steelers don't draft for need very often. They definitely don't reach to fill a need. At this spot they could look to upgrade the offensive line but none of the available players fit. If Cordy Glenn would fall this far, they won't waste much time in selecting him. The offensive tackle position needs help as well but I don't see them reaching at this point for anyone; especially if Hightower is available. He's exactly the type of player that fits the Steelers D and has the attitude needed to be a Steeler. Farrior is getting old and he has been a vital part of that D for years but Hightower would bring a refreshing youthfulness to the position alongside Timmons.

 

28.  Baltimore Ravens: Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC

Jarrett Johnson is going to command a healthy contract to return and with Sergio Kindle as a back-up plan, they let them him go. They then turn around a draft a potential stud to play opposite of Suggs. Perry is a great fit for the Ravens and his quickness off the edge would be a nightmare when paired with Suggs. Provided he performs well at the combine, the Ravens will gladly snag him and allow Kindle to continue to play the role of backup.

 

29.  New England Patriots (From New Orleans): Fletcher Cox, DE/DT, Mississippi State

Who knows what the Patriots will do with these two picks. They SHOULD keep them and upgrade a pathetic defense with both picks. However, they may end up trading back/up several times since they have 4 picks in the first two rounds to play with. If they keep this pick they should count their blessings and take the best player available on the board. It looks as if they may go back to a 3-4 approach to defense next season, grabbing D-Linemen that fit the profile becomes a priority. Cox is a top 20 prospect that may be gone by this point come draft day but if he falls the Patriots would be wise to grab him here. Defensive back help and possibly receiver are the only two other areas they may look to with this pick.

 

30.  San Francisco 49ers: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

If there's a coach in the NFL that can straighten Jenkins out, it's Jim Harbaugh. The 49ers have turned into a no non-sense type of football team that has turned around Vernon Davis and Alex Smith's careers. Granted their issues were on the field problems while Jenkins problems come off the field. On the field he's a defensive back talent in the same class as Dre Kirkpatrick and Morris Claiborne. If the 49ers and Harbaugh can get through to him and keep him on the right path, this is a steal. Playing opposite of Rogers would give the 49ers an outstanding pair of CB on a defense that is already one of the best in the NFL. They have a need for a receiver but Harbaugh can't pass on this talent.

 

31.  New England Patriots: Jerel Worthy, DE/DT, Michigan State

If they switch to the 3-4 defense, Wilfork will become the NT again and Andre Carter would be moved to OLB/Edge Rusher, which means they are left without any decent options at DE. Cox and Worthy could start from day one and turn a weak front seven into one of the team's strengths. With Cox, Worthy, Wilfork, Carter, and Mayo the Patriots would have a chance to become a formidable front once again.

 

32.  Green Bay Packers: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

What do you get the kid who has everything for Christmas? In this scenario, you upgrade what has been an injury-ridden weak spot for the Packers. The Packers have very few holes on this team, especially on the offensive side of the football. However, they could use a dynamic playmaker at the RB position, who can also pound the football between the tackles in the 4th quarter of those games when they're up 14 with 8 minutes to go. There is some debate as to who the 2nd best RB in this draft is behind Richardson. Some say Miller, others David Wilson, some LeMichael James, and others Montee Ball. I believe it is Miller and by drafting him the Packers could add another dimension to an already potent offense.

 

 

ROUND 2

 

 

33.  Indianapolis Colts: Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State

Having the first pick of the second round you are going to be left with a handful of guys to choose from that are first round talents. Sanders could be a first round pick (perhaps to Steelers) but if he falls to the Colts they will gladly snatch him up. The offensive line needs upgraded with new franchise QB Luck taking snaps and Richardson toting the rock. Sanders fills a need and is best player available at this point.

 

34.  St. Louis Rams: Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson

The Rams have a ton of serviceable tight ends on their roster; but no difference makers. While Lance Kendrick (last year's second round pick) has shown flashes that he could be a good NFL tight end, his best game this year was 4 catches for 71 yards. If Allen somehow falls this far, the Rams will gladly give Bradford his third massive upgrade on the offensive side of the ball in this draft and take him here. Allen is far and away the best TE of this draft and the only true difference maker at this position which tells me he will probably move up in future mocks.

 

35.  Minnesota Vikings: Chase Minnifield, CB/KR, Virginia

After the Vikings filled their biggest need with the best player available in round one, they go with a need pick here and take the best CB on the board. Minnifield will be an early to mid-second round pick and the Vikings have a glaring need here.

 

36.  Cleveland Browns: David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech

With Hillis likely out the door, running back becomes a priority need for the Browns. Griffin and Wilson instantly become the two best offensive playmakers on the roster. They will consider a receiver here as well if they feel one is worth of the pick.

 

37.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina

The Bucs fill a need here with one of the best players available. Brown is an upgrade over what the Bucs currently trot out at outside linebacker. Good value with both Tampa Bay picks to this point.

 

38.  Washington Redskins: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

If the Redskins are able to acquire Manning, they will need to patch up the injury ravaged O-Line. Adams on the right side would look awfully good when paired with Williams on the left.

 

39.  Jacksonville Jaguars: Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech

The Jags have a lot of needs and they filled a huge one in round one. They will spend their second round pick on a needs pick as well. They need to add a CB in the middle rounds and decide Hosley is worth the pick here.

 

40.  Carolina Panthers: Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson

If we've learned anything in the NFL, it's that you can never have enough defensive linemen. Having depth on the line is a key to defensive success. Thompson probably starts at DT from day one and gives this team a potent front four. This type of defensive line could really mask some other deficiencies on that side of the ball. By the way, he's the best player on the board.

 

41.  Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

Matt Moore is not the long-term answer at quarterback. Tannehill has the chance to develop into a very solid starter and he's worth the pick here in the second round. However, once draft day comes he may end up going higher on potential alone.

 

42.  Buffalo Bills: Whitney Mercilius, OLB/DE, Illinois

I'll say it again, this league is about getting a franchise QB, protecting that QB, and rushing the other team's QB. The Bills spend this draft acquiring an extra first round pick next year and two edge rushers who can turn a weakness into a potential strength. Good value here and he's probably the best player on the board.

 

43.  Kansas City Chiefs: Andrew Datko, OT, Florida State

The Chiefs need a serious upgrade at the OT position. Datko is an upgrade at the position and will have a realistic chance to start from day one.

 

44.  Seattle Seahawks: LeMichael James, RB, Oregon

James is a high level NFL talent if used in the correct way. He's not going to pound it between the tackles 20 times a game. He needs to go to a situation where he's the complimentary back catching passes out of the backfield and being used in the hybrid Percy Harvin position. Seattle is a perfect fit. Lynch gives them the Punch and James provides the flash to an offense that needs it.

 

45.  Philadelphia Eagles (From Arizona): Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska

The Eagles need help at LB and using their top two picks improving the situation would be a wise decision. David is extremely undersized being a former safety but he's a true playmaker. He'll need to add some weight to be physical enough in run defense but David and Kuechly give the Eagles two playmaking LB's that they lacked before.

 

46.  Dallas Cowboys: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

This pick needs to be used on a defensive back. I really don't think Newman will be back and after upgrading the front seven in the first round, the Cowboys look to fill a need here in the second round. Gilmore is the best CB left on the board.

 

47.  Philadelphia Eagles: Kelechi Osemele, OG/OT, Iowa State

The Eagles have had some issues on the offensive line this year. Osemele could start at four different positions on the line and he would likely finding a starting role somewhere along that line in his rookie year.

 

48.  New York Jets: Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin

I really like this pick for the Jets for a couple of reasons. Toon will come in and be a professional from day one as he has learned from an NFL father (also a Jet). It's something Santanio Holmes could learn from. He is going to make a great #2 or #3 option at WR in this offense.

 

49.  New England (From Oakland): Markelle Martin, S, Oklahoma State

After a dramatic upgrade in their front seven with their two first round picks, the Patriots grab an upgrade in the secondary here in the second round. Martin is an instant upgrade over either safety.

 

50.  San Diego Chargers: Brandon Jenkins, DE/OLB, Florida State

The Chargers have two need areas heading into the offseason: O-Line which they began to address in the first round and OLB/Edge Rusher. They address the latter here in the second round. Jenkins helps out a defense that has struggled all season to pressure opposing QB's.

 

51.  Chicago Bears: Michael Brewster, C, Ohio State

The Bears addressed by far their biggest need by grabbing Blackmon in Round One. With this pick they take Brewster with the intention of playing him at guard early in his career while eventually possibly taking over at center. He will compete for a spot on that line from day one.

 

52.  Tennessee Titans: Brandon Washington, OG, Miami

The Titans continue their overhaul of the offensive line. Munchak is going to everything he can to build this team the way he wants; from the inside-out.

 

53.  Denver Broncos: Dwight Jones, WR, North Carolina

The Broncos need more weapons on the offensive side of the football. A talent infusion at the WR position is needed in the early to mid-rounds for Denver.

 

54.  New York Giants: Reuben Randle, WR, LSU

With the emergence of Victor Cruz, the Giants will part ways with Manningham. This creates a need for a third wide receiver.

 

55.  Cincinnati Bengals: Chris Polk, RB, Washington

The Bengals continue their outstanding draft and get a talented running back that has the potential to play alongside Benson in the short term and to replace him in the long-term.

 

56.  Detroit Lions: Nate Potter, OT, Boise State

The Lions traded up in the first round to fill their biggest need with the best player available. Here they address their second biggest need and draft a potential replacement to Jeff Backus. Potter is a true LT whose strength is pass blocking which makes him a great fit for Detroit.

 

57.  Atlanta Falcons: Billy Winn, DE, Boise State

Without a first round pick this year the Falcons must narrow their focus with this second round selection. They decide to go need over best available and take Winn.

 

58.  Houston Texans: Alameda Ta'amu, NT, Washington

Here is a case where one of the best available players fills a need for the Texans. They will consider an interior offensive lineman here as well but Ta'amu could be a force at NT and they get great value at pick #58.

 

59.  Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Jones, C, Georgia

The Steelers need to continue to upgrade their offensive line. The thought here would be to move him to guard and allow him to compete for starting spot from day one.

 

60.  Baltimore Ravens: Levy Adcock, OT, Oklahoma State

The Ravens need a talent infusion on the offensive line. Adcock struggled at times for OSU but he has flashed talent worthy of a second round pick.

 

61.  New Orleans Saints: Ronnell Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma

This is again where need meets value. Lewis is a talented outside linebacker that has a real chance to start from day one for the Saints.

 

62.  San Francisco 49ers: Devier Posey, WR, Ohio State

Here's a guy that will drop because he missed most of his senior season due to suspension. When he came back he blew the top off the defense against Michigan and could be a great value here for the 49ers opposite of Crabtree.

 

63.  New England Patriots: Vinny Curry, DE/OLB, Marshall

With two linemen in the first round who will start at ends in the new 3-4 and a safety that will start from day one, the Patriots get an OLB/Edge Rusher who can compete for the starting spot opposite of Carter and get to the QB. Mayo would move back inside in a 3-4. What an improvement their defense would show with these four picks.

 

64.  Green Bay Packers: Nick Foles, QB, Arizona

Flynn is leaving via free agency and after his performance again the Lions, he is going to get paid. So unless they believe Graham Harrell is that guy, they need another young QB who they can begin to groom behind Rodgers. Foles would make a nice backup and at this point in the draft he's one of the top players on the board.

 

 

January 5, 2012  07:51 PM ET

I would think the Colts could get more than what they got in this projection for Manning

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January 5, 2012  08:26 PM ET

I'm liking the Bears first round pick.

January 5, 2012  08:50 PM ET

Is the Peyton Manning-to-Washington trade a draft day trade or expected to happen earlier?

January 5, 2012  09:32 PM ET

Incase you haven't noticed Packers front 7 except for Matthews, Bishop, and Pickett is full of practice squad caliber players. Packers have plenty of runningbacks that are serviable for their offense an they have Harrell as a backup who has been developing for two years think.

TT picks best player over need but I think he would change that this year for a OLB and DE that can either get pressure, stop the run, or cover since none of the front 7 players except the 3 listed above can do any of those things.

January 5, 2012  09:45 PM ET

As a Jets fan, I like the Nick Toon pick. The offense needs a shake up, and while they can improve at all facets (o-line, RBs, and QB), I think WR is the most pressing need. Plax was good for a year, but he couldn't do anything when they weren't in the redzone. Holmes is good but inconsistent and has major attitude problems. I like Kerley, but he's not ready for a #1 role.

Obviously Toon wouldn't be the #1 guy, but I think it's definitely an area they need to address. Not in the first round, that needs to be used for a pass rusher, but I like him in 2nd.

Good blog, nice write up.

January 6, 2012  10:18 AM ET

One of the best drafts I have seen. And it is really refreshing to find one that is willing to predict trades.

I would hope the Bears will trade up to get either Blackmon or Floyd because with that upgrade at WR the playoffs aren't out of the question and they'd have an even later draft pick in 2013, so it's worth it.

Looking forward to see how yours progresses, especially if you put into account GM and coaching changes. But that may be asking too much.

January 6, 2012  02:43 PM ET
QUOTE(#6):

As a Jets fan, I like the Nick Toon pick. The offense needs a shake up, and while they can improve at all facets (o-line, RBs, and QB), I think WR is the most pressing need. Plax was good for a year, but he couldn't do anything when they weren't in the redzone. Holmes is good but inconsistent and has major attitude problems. I like Kerley, but he's not ready for a #1 role. Obviously Toon wouldn't be the #1 guy, but I think it's definitely an area they need to address. Not in the first round, that needs to be used for a pass rusher, but I like him in 2nd.Good blog, nice write up.

Follow his fathers footsteps from Wisco to the Jets.

January 6, 2012  02:45 PM ET

I don't see the Jaguars trading away a chance to get a weapon for their struggling young QB like Blackmon.

Packers always draft best player available and I think Green [who they drafted last year but got hurt] will see a bigger role next year. I would love to see them get another pass rusher as that is there biggest need.

Good to see Konz in the 1st round because he will be taken there.

January 6, 2012  02:45 PM ET
QUOTE(#2):

The Colts can get get more than that.Interesting blog.

For a guy who will play 2 maybe 3 years? I don't know.

January 6, 2012  03:04 PM ET
QUOTE(#4):

Is the Peyton Manning-to-Washington trade a draft day trade or expected to happen earlier?

Considering the Colts have to decide by March whether to keep him or not as that's when the deadline to his option is, I doubt they trade him on draft-day

January 6, 2012  04:15 PM ET

The Bears biggest need is OFFENSIVE LINE BEFORE RECEIVERS.

January 6, 2012  07:10 PM ET

Holmgren has never taken a high pick on a QB, and is more likely going to make a run at Flynn. He also said in a presser this week he's going to bring in someone to challenge McCoy, which doesn't sound like the #2 pick in the draft. Cleveland is more likely to trade down than up.

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