NFL mock draft: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin appear to be only locks
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org April 24, 2012 11:02PM
Stanford’s Andrew Luck (above) and Baylor’s Robert Griffin III appear to be the only locks in the draft.
DRAFT ON TV (televised on ESPN and NFL Network) Thursday: First round, 7 p.m. | Friday: Second and third round, 6 p.m. | Saturday: Rounds 4-7, 11 a.m.
Updated: May 26, 2012 8:19AM
1. Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
Now all the Colts have to do is hit on a string of top picks like they did before and after Peyton Manning: Marvin Harrison, Tarik Glenn, Edgerrin James, Reggie Wayne, Dwight Freeney, Dallas Clark and Bob Sanders from 1996 to 2004.
2. Washington Redskins
Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor (bottom left) — The Redskins traded their second-round pick and three first-round picks (2012, 2013 and 2014) to move up four spots. Like the Colts, they need a lot more help than a quarterback.
3. Minnesota Vikings
Matt Kalil, OT, USC — GM Rick Spielman could trade down if he finds a taker, but it will take a heck of a sales pitch. LSU CB Morris Claiborne is a possibility, but Kalil — no sure thing relative to top-5 offensive tackles — is a safer pick and fills a sizable hole.
4. Cleveland Browns
Trent Richardson, RB, Auburn — After losing the Robert Griffin sweepstakes, Browns president Mike Holmgren probably would love to take QB Ryan Tannehill. But the Browns badly need a running back, and Richardson is too far ahead of the rest to pass up here.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU — The Bucs have bigger needs at defensive end (they were last in the NFL in sacks in 2011) and wide receiver (Mike Williams led them with 771 receiving yards). But while cornerbacks on great college defenses are risky, this is considered a pick they can’t pass up.
6. St. Louis Rams
Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame — The Rams, who lost leading receiver Brandon Lloyd to the Patriots in free agency, desperately need a wideout for Sam Bradford. Floyd has been gaining ground on Justin Blackmon and could pass him by draft day.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Justin Blackmon, WR Oklahoma State — Only the Jaguars had a worse offense than the Rams last year, and the chance to draft a weapon that Blaine Gabbert desperately needs might be too good to pass up.
8. Miami Dolphins
Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina — Ryan Tannehill, who played for Dolphins coordinator Mike Sherman at Texas A&M, is a popular pick. But instead of reaching for a QB, they can get immediate impact and a complement for Cameron Wake, whose sack total fell from 14 in 2010 to 81/2 in 2011.
9. Carolina Panthers
Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State — The Panthers were fifth in points scored but 28th in points allowed last season, so the best defensive tackle on the board would work for Ron Rivera.
10. Buffalo Bills
Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa — The Bills might be hoping for Michael Floyd at this spot and still could trade up for Floyd or Justin Blackmon. But if that doesn’t happen, Reiff is the next best way to make Ryan Fitzpatrick a better quarterback.
11. Kansas City Chiefs
Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College — The Chiefs need a stout defensive lineman more than a linebacker, but Kuechly might be one of the best inside linebacker prospects in years.
12. Seattle Seahawks
Melvin Ingram, LB, South Carolina — The Seahawks need a defensive end and a linebacker. Ingram has the versatility to be an effective pass rusher at either position.
13. Arizona Cardinals
Cordy Glenn, OT, Georgia — When you have Larry Fitzgerald at wide receiver and your offense ranks 19th in the league, you need help. In this spot, the offensive line is the obvious upgrade.
14. Dallas Cowboys
Mark Barron, SS, Alabama — The Cowboys haven’t hidden their interest in Barron, so there’s always the chance another team could jump ahead of them. Defensive linemen Michael Brockers or Dontari Poe are possibilities.
15. Philadelphia Eagles
Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis — The Eagles reportedly would love to trade up to get Fletcher Cox, but if that doesn’t work out, Poe — a workout warrior who fits the Eagles’ defensive scheme — might be Plan B.
16. New York Jets
Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois — While everyone else waits for Mercilus to fall to them, the Jets will reach a little bit further for one more shot at finding an impact defensive lineman.
17. Cincinnati Bengals:
David DeCastro, G, Stanford — All eight guards taken in the first round since 2000 have become starters, with four making the Pro Bowl (Steven Hutchinson, Logan Mankins, Shawn Andrews and Davin Joseph).
18. San Diego Chargers
Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina — The Chargers allowed 29 touchdown passes in 2011 — tied for the fifth-most in the league — and often fall for fast-risers such as this.
Michael Brockers, DT, LSU — The Bears could trade down and take USC defensive end Nick Perry, Syracuse DE Chandler Jones or others. But if they stay here, they likely will take a player more worthy of the 19th pick.
20. Tennessee Titans
Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse — The Titans’ defense was 31st in sacks with 28 in 2011. At 6-5 with long arms and good quickness, Jones has the potential to be devastating. However, he missed five games with a knee injury last season.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama — The Bengals need help at cornerback, and Kirkpatrick, once considered a top-10 pick, has the name, talent and character issues the Bengals seem to gravitate toward.
22. Cleveland Browns
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M — After failing to get Robert Griffin at No. 2 and passing on Tannehill at No. 4, Mike Holmgren won’t be able to pass up the touted prospect at No. 22.
23. Detroit Lions
Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford — The Lions will take a cornerback if they can get one, but they might have to settle for an upstanding offensive tackle who won’t embarrass them on or off the field.
Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama — A replacement for recently released James Farrior, Hightower could step right in and become an impact player as a rookie.
25. Denver Broncos
Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State — The Broncos have a big hole at tackle after losing Brodrick Bunkley in free agency. At 6-2, 308, Worthy has the right combination of size, quickness and aggressiveness to be a star.
26. Houston Texans
Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor — The loss of Andre Johnson to an injury last year exposed a lack of depth — and quality — behind the Pro Bowl receiver. The 5-10 Wright is a perfect complement to Johnson.
27. New England Patriots
Shea McClellin, LB, Boise State — The Patriots need a lot of help on defense, and the versatile McClellin is Bill Belichick’s kind of guy.
28. Green Bay Packers
Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama — After Clay Matthews’ sack total dropped from 131/2 to six last year, the Packers need to develop a better complement to their Pro Bowl linebacker.
29. Baltimore Ravens
Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin — The Ravens lost starting guard Ben Grubbs in free agency, and Zeitler is a good fit for the Ravens’ run-oriented offense.
30. San Francisco 49ers
Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech — The 6-3 Hill ran a 4.36-second 40 at the combine and put up such intriguing numbers out of a triple-option offense at Georiga Tech (28 catches, 820 yards, 29.2 average, 5 touchdowns) that he’ll go earlier than expected.
31. New England Patriots
Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama — Character issues will make Jenkins too risky for most teams in the first round, but not the Patriots, who need him almost as badly as he needs them.
32. New York Giants
Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford — The Giants have productive tight ends in their offense, but Fleener could give them the dynamic downfield receiver who can flourish in the NFL today.