"With the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the .... select..." Love hearing that phrase. Means the big day has finally arrived. When franchises can breathe new life into their teams and their fan bases. It's also where if you pick wrong, it can set your franchise back a couple of years. That's right, the NFL Draft is upon us and begins tonight with the first round which can be seen on ESPN and NFL Network at 8:00 PM ET. "The Stack" is here what my mock draft for the first round so let's get right to it and see who's going where the top players are going in "the stack" for today, Thursday, April 26:
1. Indianapolis Colts- Andrew Luck, QB Stanford
We know this is the pick already. Luck is a franchise quarterback and the Colts are hoping he can resurrect the franchise and do the same things that the last quarterback they drafted number one overall did. What was his name? Peyton Manning
2. Washington Redskins- Robert Griffin III, QB Baylor
Washington traded a lot to St. Louis to get into position to draft their quarterback of the future. RGIII has a ton of talent and is an elctryfing athlete, something the Redskins need and Mike Shanahan needs to keep his job.
3. Minnesota Vikings- Matt Kalil, OT USC
In doing this mock draft, we're going with no trades happening, even though some will be made. And should the Vikings stay at three, they'll take the franchise tackle to protect their franchise quarterback Christian Ponder. Morris Claiborne is in play here too and the Vikings can't go wrong with either pick, but Kalil will help solidify an o-line that was very shaky last year.
4. Cleveland Browns- Trent Richardson, RB Alabama
Unless someone trades up to steal Richardson before the Browns at three, the Browns will take the best running back in the draft and someone who can dynamically change the offense. Richardson's style of running will be great in Cleveland and he immediately gives the Browns a threat on offense they've lacked in recent years.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Morris Claiborne, CB LSU
Perhaps the Bucs will be one team that trades up, but if they stay at five and Caiborne is there, they'll take him to make a defense that was terrible last year, much better. Especially with Ronde Barber nearing the end of his career and Aqib Talib's legal trouble, Claiborne is a good pick here.
6. St. Louis Rams- Justin Blackmon, WR Oklahoma State
The Rams need weapons on offense that allow quarterback Sam Bradford to succeed. Blackmon will do just that. This guy is a beast. The other pick in play here could be DT Fletcher Cox, but the Rams need help on offense and Blackmon will help right away.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars- Michael Floyd, WR Notre Dame
Jacksonville desperately wants to trade down, but assuming they can't get a trade partner, they'll get their young quarterback Blaine Gabbert a weapon in Floyd who some say may be the best wide receiver in the draft. He may have some character issues with three DUI's, but he's the best player available here that will help the Jags right now.
8. Miami Dolphins- Ryan Tannehill, QB Texas A&M
He may be overrated, but the Dolphins are desperate for a franchise quarterback, someone to rally the fan base. Tannehill is the guy. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wants him and he'll get his wish.
9. Carolina Panthers- Fletcher Cox, DT Mississippi State
This guy is flying up the charts and the Panthers need someone to clog up the middle on defense. They were not good there last year. Cox is a perfect fit.
10. Buffalo Bills- Mark Barron, SS Alabama
I was debating linebacker Luke Kuechly going here because the Bills need some depth at linebacker, but Barron is a game-changing player at the safety position and was on a Crimson Tide defense last year that was the best in the nation. Plus when you go against Tom Brady, you need to be able to slow him down somehow.
11. Kansas City Chiefs- David DeCastro, G Stanford
The Chiefs will flirt with trading up to draft Tannehill, but will stay at the pick their at and draft the best guard in the draft in DeCastro to bolster the interior of their o-line.
12. Seattle Seahawks- Luke Kuechly, LB Boston College
The Seahawks would love if Tannehill slid to them, but they'll take Kuechly, a linebacker who lit up the combine and was a terrific tackler in college. His skills will translate quickly to the NFL and the Seahawks will love to get him.
13. Arizona Cardinals- Riley Reiff, OT Iowa
Larry Fitzgerald is going to be disappointed the Michael Floyd is off the board, but the Cardinals will address a need in helping solidify the offensive line with Reiff. All Iowa does is produce offensive lineman. If Kuechly is still here, the Cardinals will think about it, but because he's off the board, they'll take Reiff.
14. Dallas Cowboys- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB Alabama
The Cowboys are praying that Barron falls to them, but they'll take his teammate who will help a secondary that was pretty bad last year. With Terrence Newman gone, the Cowboys need some depth at cornerback and Kirkpatrick will provide them that. Memphis DT Dontari Poe could also be in the mix.
15. Philadelphia Eagles- Quinton Coples, DE UNC
Coples work ethic is a question, but he has a lot of talent and potential, kind of resembling the entire Eagles team and he will help the Eagles on the defensive line. Don't be surprised though if South Carolina DE Melvin Ingram gets called here though.
16. New York Jets- Dont'a Hightower, LB Alabama
This may be a bit high, but Hightower helped lead the Crimson Tide defense last year and will be a guy who eventually may take Bart Scott's spot. He's got a motor and and is a really good player. If not him, the Jets may take LB/DE Chandler Jones out of Syracuse or Ingram out of South Carolina.
17. Cincinnati Bengals- Stephon Gillmore, CB South Carolina
They may have signed Terrence Newman, but the Bengals need another solid corner after the departure of Jonathan Joseph last year. Gillmore can be that guy and his slide in the draft will be done.
18. San Diego Chargers- Melvin Ingram, DE South Carolina
A pick after his teammate gets picked, Ingram goes next to San Diego who is looking for some help along the offensive line, but can't pull the trigger. So they take a guy who is very versatile, has great speed for someone his size and can play both DE and LB. The Chargers definitely get a good value pick here.
19. Chicago Bears- Michael Brockers, DT LSU
Brockers and Poe are the best defensive tackles left at this point and the Bears need someone to be a force in the middle of that defensive line. Brockers is the pick here though the Bears will think long and hard about Dontari Poe here. They may also look to help the secondary here as well.
20. Tennessee Titans- Dontari Poe, DT Memphis
The Titans, like the Bears are looking for help at the defensive tackle position, so they'll take the player that the Bears don't and that happens to be Poe. Bama defensive end Courtney Upshaw may be an option here too.
21. Cincinnati Bengals- Chandler Jones DE/OLB, Syracuse
With linebacker Nate Webster facing up to 20 years in prison, the Bengals need to look for some help and a good player at the linebacker position. Enter Jones, who can play at both linebacker and defensive end. Jones perhaps should have gone earlier, but the Bengals don't care. They're happy to draft him.
22. Cleveand Browns- Brandon Weeden, QB Oklahoma State
The Browns pull kind of a shocker drafting the 28-year old Weeden to push Colt McCoy and maybe take over the starting quarterback position. He is more mature and a very accurate passer. This may be a bit high, but the Browns may feel that Weeden won't be around when they next pick at 37. This will be a good pick for the Browns.
23. Detroit Lions- Jonathan Martin, OT Stanford
Jeff Backus keeps getting older and the Lions need to draft someone who will protect Matthew Stafford for the rest of his career. Martin is that guy and he will be available when the Lions pick. If he could protect Luck, he can protect Stafford.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers-Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB Illinois
Pittsburgh drafts guys who fit their defensive needs and who can fit multiple positions. Given Mercilus can play both end and linebacker, the Steelers will draft Mercilus and havae him line up all over the field. This will be a good value pick fo the Steelers.
25. Denver Broncos- Cordy Glenn, G/OT Georgia
The Broncos could use some help on the defensive line here so don't be surprised if Michigan State defenisve tackle Jerel Worthy is the pick, but the Broncos need to make sure that their prize possession of free agency Peyton Manning stays upright. Enter Glenn who will be able to play multiple positiions on the line. Either way, the Broncos win with this pick.
26. Houston Texans- Courtney Upshaw, DE Alabama
Highly unlikely that Upshaw falls this far, but if he does the Texans will snatch him. Already with Watt, the Texans could have a fearsome tandem at the defensive end position for the Texans. They may look to the linebacker spot here after losing DeMeco Ryans, but if they can't find one on the board that is worthy of the 26th pick, Upshaw will be the pick.
27. New England Patriots- Shea McClellin, DE/OLB Boise State
Bill Belichick loves really good athletes and versatile players and McClellin fits exactly what Belichick is looking for. With all of the issues the Patriots had on the defensive side of the ball last year, any defensive player who can play multiple positions. Look perhaps for an offensive lineman or a secondary player if the Patriots could elsewhere other than McClellin.
28. Green Bay Packers- Harrison Smith, SS Notre Dame
The Packers would love to have gotten McClellin, but they'll take Smith, especially after releasing Nick Collins yesterday. You'll remember Collins was badly injured last year and his playaing career is very much in doubt. Smith will be a good pickup here for the Packers.
29. Baltimore Ravens- Peter Konz, C/G Wisconsin
The Ravens need to be more explosive on offense, but they also need to get better on the offesnive line, especially after losing Ben Grubbs to the Saints. They could go a number of different ways at widde receiver with Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill or South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffries, but I have tem taking Konz,the guard/center out of Wisconsin to fill a hole on the line and help shore things up for the Ravens.
30. San Francisco- Jerel Worthy, DT Michigan State
The 49ers may go wide receiver here or tight end Coby Fleener from Stanford, but Worthy is the pick here to make the 49ers defense that much better. He has fallen in our mock draft, maybe not tonight, but if he is there , the 49ers may be unable to pass him up.
31. New England- Amini Silatolu, G/OT Midwestern State
Assuming the Patriots keep this pick (highly unlikely), they'll take Silatolu who was a beast at little known Midwestern State. Mentioned that Belichick loves versatile players and Silatolu fits that mold. Also, the Patriots offensive line isn't what it used to be and could use some more young talent in there.
32. New York Giants- Stephen Hill, WR Georgia Tech
The Super Bowl champions may look to the defensive line if there is a good player on the board for them, but with Mario Manningham leaving for San Francisco, the 49ers need another weapon on offense and Hill will be that guy. He might not have caught a ton of passes in the option heavy offense at Tech, but the dude is a big-time athlete and will help the Giants offense. Otherwise like I said, the Giants will go to defense.
Well there you have it. "The Stack" has made his mock draft. If we get even ten of these right, it would be amazing. Enjoy the first round of the NFL tonight everyone and we'll be back tomorrow with the top headlines and more.
Comments and suggestions on what to write about are always welcomed and appreciated.