In partnership with CBSSports.com
Online Now 3460
On this Board 1964Record: 7394 (2/14/2012)
Online now 3451Record: 18710 (2/25/2012)
We aren't just committed to college football; we're early enrolling in it.
College football scuttlebutt and scoop- powered by Football Rumor Mill
Where the madness isn't just in March.
You have no favorite boards.
When I do mock drafts, I'm not simply giving my opinion on where players will go. In fact, I disagree with some of the picks I'm putting down. But the mocks are based on a combination of where players are being valued across the league, how I feel those players are valued by individual teams, what the top needs for each team are, whether they value need over the best player available and so on. It's not an editorial. For this, I was asked, "What would you do if you were picking?" So I gave it a shot. I've listed what I see as the top needs for each team, and I've made the picks that fill needs based on where I have players ranked. A few ground rules:
1. At each spot, I'm making the best pick for that team at that spot. I won't pass on an ideal pick for the Bills at No. 10 just because that player would be a great fit at No. 11.
2. There are no duplicates.
3. I will suggest good spots to trade down, but I won't rearrange the board.
4. This is for fun! One pick can derail a whole draft, so in no way do I think this is how it might look.
With that in mind, let's go through it. I'll discuss motives for each team in the analysis.
Top needs: G/C, CB, OLB, SS, DE, TE
Rd. 1 (14) S Mark Barron, Alabama
Rd. 2 (45) OLB Andre Branch, Clemson
Rd. 3 (81) CB Justin Bethel, Presbyterian
Analysis: The Cowboys need to shore up their coverage and get a lot of help here in the secondary and with an added piece in the pass rush. Barron makes too much sense. He has a good chance to be there at No. 14, and in this simulation he was. He provides an immediate upgrade. Branch is a guy scouts disagree on, but only on whether he's got the talent of a late-first-round grade. Midway through Round 2, Dallas can't go wrong, and he'll provide depth on the edge. You can't have too many pass-rushers. Bethel could be one of the sleepers of the draft. A star at Presbyterian, he has plenty of physical talent, and Dallas isn't out of the woods in the secondary because of the addition of Brandon Carr.
New York Giants
Top needs: RB, OL, TE, LB, CB, WR
Rd. 1 (32) TE Coby Fleener, Stanford
Rd. 2 (63) RB David Wilson, Virginia Tech
Rd. 3 (94) OT Donald Stephenson, Oklahoma
Analysis: I've liked Fleener to the Giants for a while. I think he just provides something that passing game doesn't have. Remember, Fleener won't just line up off tackle; you can split him out and use his size and speed to work matchups with smaller corners or slower linebackers. Teams will spend a lot of time looking at how to slow the momentum the Giants should carry over with their passing attack, and Fleener adds something new to account for. Wilson provides power and explosiveness in the run game, and Stephenson is the requisite pick this team needs to make to keep some semblance of depth on the offensive line.
Top needs: OLB, SS, OT, DT, TE/FB, QB
Rd. 1 (15) DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State
Rd. 2 (46) LB Zach Brown, North Carolina
Rd. 2 (51) TE Dwayne Allen, Clemson
Rd. 3 (88) QB Kirk Cousins, Michigan State
Analysis: He's not quite as high on my board as he is on Todd McShay's, but Cox is the real deal. The Eagles can get to quarterbacks, but they were awful up the middle last year. Cox can be a big part of the solution. So will Brown, who provides the linebacker they need with proper value in Round 2. Suddenly, if I'm Philly, I'm feeling a lot better about the interior of my defense, with Cox, Brown and the addition of DeMeco Ryans. Allen is the second-best tight end in the draft and a great value here. The Eagles have hinted that they could look for a quarterback to develop, and Cousins makes a lot of sense. He has the chance to be a good starter in this league if he gets some seasoning. He's coachable and has underrated physical talent; I love the value late in the third. I did consider tackle options, but the addition of Demetress Bell obviously shifts that need down a notch.
Top needs: QB, S, RT, ILB, CB, G/C
Rd. 1 (2) QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor
Rd. 3 (69) OT Zebrie Sanders, Florida State
Analysis: Enjoy this first-round pick, Redskins fans, because it'll be the last one for a while. RG3 has shown he's no reach, however, and given the additions to the wide-receiving corps, he has a pretty good shot to get off to a good start as a rookie. That said, Washington surely can't buy into the idea that one adequate offensive lineman (Trent Williams) will be enough just because RG3 can run. This is a kid who wants to pass, show off his patience, see deep routes develop and show off that arm. Bringing in Sanders to start out on the right side will help buy a little more time. Sanders isn't incredible value at No. 69, but he's right about there, and need supersedes the value here if I'm making the pick.
Top needs: OL, DE, CB, WR, DT, S
Rd. 1 (19) DE Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
Rd. 2 (50) WR Brian Quick, Appalachian State
Rd. 3 (79) DT Devon Still, Penn State
Analysis: The Bears really need to shore up the offensive line, but they've expressed a lot of optimism -- particularly offensive coordinator Mike Tice -- and I can see them waiting around to add help. So I'll play along. Clearly, they've talked me into it, as I'm also looking elsewhere, targeting the pass rush in Round 1. Mercilus is a one-year wonder in terms of production, but the tape shows a guy who figured it out, and if he can play at the level he did in 2011 (I have no reason to believe it'll disappear), he fits the system in Chicago and can close on quarterbacks when he gets the edge. Quick is another huge target (6-foot-4, 220) for Jay Cutler, and while I think Chicago needs to go O-line here, the way the board lines up for this Quick is a steal, and a couple of O-line options I can see here look like reaches. I'm not married to this pick, but it wouldn't be a bad one for need and value. Still is a steal this late, and I might have left him on the board too long. The Bears do want help at defensive tackle, and Rod Marinelli can do a lot with Still.
Top needs: CB, RB, OL, LB, S
Rd. 1 (23) LB Lavonte David, Nebraska
Rd. 2 (54) CB Trumaine Johnson, Montana
Rd. 3 (85) S George Iloka, Boise State
Analysis: Remember, this is my draft. And in my draft, David is unquestionably a first-round pick. He played undersized, but I can see him piling up tackles as a weakside 'backer. He plays sideline to sideline and has the explosiveness to cause problems in blitzing situations. He also can dip and run with running backs flared out, or tight ends. The Lions like what they have up front; it's now time to find some playmakers in the secondary. Johnson is a bigger corner who will make plays and is a solid value in Round 2. Iloka, a safety out of Boise State, is a little overrated for me when you talk about a second-round grade, but I love the value in the third. Offensive line is also a huge need, but this is the way the value lined up for me, and I consider this trio to hit three needs.
Green Bay Packers
Top needs: OLB, FS, DE, RB, CB, C, QB
Rd. 1 (28) OLB Shea McClellin, Boise State
Rd. 2 (59) DE Jared Crick, Nebraska
Rd. 3 (90) S Antonio Allen, South Carolina
Analysis: I originally had Upshaw of Bama here, but I like the McClellin fit better and have moved Upshaw to New England because Green Bay picks first. McClellin might be a little big to drop and play in space like a traditional 3-4 outside linebacker, but if Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers allows him to make getting to the quarterback his primary goal, he has a chance to help early and develop in other areas. He's a really smart player and will pick things up quickly, and provides help for a pass rush that is desperate. Crick might be a bit of a reach on some boards, but if he's fully healthy (he will be after tearing a pectoral muscle during the season), I like his fit here. Green Bay's pass rush was as bad as any other team's in the NFL for much of last season, and Crick and Upshaw are solid additions to the front seven. Allen is a good developmental safety prospect.
Top needs: CB, LT, WR, S, G, LB
Rd. 1 (3) OT Matt Kalil, USC (attempt to move down)
Rd. 2 (35) S Harrison Smith, Notre Dame
Rd. 3 (66) WR Marvin McNutt, Iowa
Analysis: Corner is a big need for me if I'm Minnesota, which is why I can see the Vikings being very tempted to select Morris Claiborne, but left tackle is equally important. If they don't protect Christian Ponder, they really won't be able to effectively audit his progress. I put trading down as an option because I do it if it's clear a team will give up a ton of value to get into that No. 3 slot, so the Vikings should be entertaining offers all the way. But if that can't happen, they should be plenty happy to add Kalil, a rare tackle ready to start right away on the left side. The pick of Smith in Round 2 shores up a significant need at safety, and McNutt in Round 3 fills a void at wide receiver. He gives Minnesota a bigger target and different dimension to pair with the smaller Percy Harvin.
Top needs: DE, OL, OLB, CB, TE
Rd. 2 (55) OT/G Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State
Rd. 3 (84) DE Olivier Vernon, Miami
Analysis: Atlanta fans might not be familiar with the names, but both guys should be able to find their way into the rotation because they play need positions. Osemele played left tackle at Iowa State, but he's a guy I'm looking to move inside to become a mauler in the run game. He has the size (333 pounds) to engulf smaller defenders, and you'll see that because he can get to the edge and flatten linebackers. He's a nice addition up front. Vernon is a 4-3 defensive end prospect who shows a good first step and can develop as a pass-rusher but also holds up pretty well against the run. Both guys are needs picks, but there isn't a value sacrifice.
Top needs: DT, CB, DE, WR, OLB, OL
Rd. 1 (9) LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College
Rd. 2 (40) DE Nick Perry, USC
Analysis: This is probably the first big surprise on the board. I don't have linebacker as a top-three need for the Panthers, but there are two things about this pick I like:
1. Kuechly is at No. 9 on my Big Board, which is extremely high for a guy who has played interior linebacker. He has incredible instincts, will help shut down the run and covers really well.
2. The Panthers have been decimated by injuries to their linebackers in recent years, and Kuechly can play right away and provide a lot of insurance. The Panthers need help up front, but you can build around Kuechly.
Perry is just major value in Round 2. It honestly wouldn't shock me if some team took him in the mid-first round, so getting a pass-rusher like him here is a huge get.
New Orleans Saints
Top needs: DE, CB, DT, OLB, WR
Rd. 3 (89) DT Akiem Hicks Regina (Canada)
Analysis: A lot of people won't know about Hicks, given that he played up in Regina (Saskatchewan), but he was recruited to LSU to be a difference-maker and could be a steal as an impact defensive tackle this late. He needs some technique work, as you'd expect, but he has pretty quick feet for a guy tipping the scales around 320 pounds. The Saints don't have a pick in the first round because of the deal that netted them Mark Ingram in last year's draft, and their second-round pick this year had to be forfeited.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Top needs: CB, RB, LB, SS, TE
Rd. 1 (5) CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
Rd. 2 (36) RB Doug Martin, Boise State
Rd. 3 (68) LB Demario Davis, Arkansas State
Analysis: I know the pick of Claiborne won't be a surprise to anyone, but it's just a really safe pick. Claiborne doesn't blind you with speed, but everything else is there to make him a Pro Bowl-caliber corner for a long time. I have running back as a big need for this team, and Martin makes a lot of sense to me early in Round 2. I actually have LaMichael James rated higher on my Board, but Martin is a really complete back and could become the lead horse if LeGarrette Blount is around for only one more year. It's also clear the team is looking for a complement to Blount in the meantime, and coach Greg Schiano hasn't been shy about Blount's fumbling issues. Linebacker is a need spot, and Davis is right about there in terms of where I have him graded.
Top needs: OT, WR, OLB, DE, S
Rd. 1 (13) OT Riley Reiff, Iowa
Rd. 3 (80) DE Tyrone Crawford, Boise State
Analysis: It's not a secret that Arizona needs to do something at tackle, and Reiff becomes a very good value if he falls to No. 13. I can see up to three teams taking him before this spot, but when I'm playing GM, this is where he lands. He could start immediately on the right side with the move to left as he develops. The Cardinals are out of the mix in Round 2, but I have them taking an intriguing pass-rusher in Round 3. Crawford will play between 275 and 285 pounds, and he has a lot of strength to stand up versus the run but a really athletic streak as well. What you like about him is the versatility, again becoming a bigger need as teams show more and more looks.
San Francisco 49ers
Top needs: RG, WR, S, CB, RB, OLB
Rd. 1 (30) G Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin
Rd. 2 (61) WR Rueben Randle, LSU
Rd. 3 (92) DT Mike Martin, Michigan
Analysis: Well, I know 49ers fans won't jump up and down about the guard pick, but let's be clear about San Francisco. Regardless of who it adds in the passing game, it's clear to all that Alex Smith isn't going to become Aaron Rodgers, and if this team wants to be successful on offense, it simply has to be able to run the ball, and with power. In many years, Zeitler would be the top guard taken. He will come in capable of starting. I'm also really tempted by WR Stephen Hill in this spot. But instead of that, I get a nice value in the passing game with Randle, a guy with good size capable of stretching the field, late in Round 2. If Randy Moss provides something in 2012, Randle could develop late as a threat and then become a starter in 2013. Martin is insurance for the 49ers because Justin Smith played at such an incredible level in 2011 that the thought of him being injured should scare San Francisco. If Martin plays with Smith's motor, he could develop into a good 3-technique in that scheme.
Top needs: DE, LB, WR, RB
Rd. 1(12) DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina
Rd. 2 (43) LB Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma
Rd. 3 (75) WR Keshawn Martin, Michigan State
Analysis: Coples has dropped a bit in the past month, as I sense that a lot of personnel folks aren't of the belief that he has a really high ceiling. But at No. 12, you're still talking about getting the guy who most saw as the most complete 4-3 defensive end prospect in this draft class for the better part of two years. Coples can play. Lewis is a pretty dynamic physical talent who struggled a bit when Oklahoma asked him to play linebacker. However, coach Pete Carroll can work magic with these types. As a "Leo" LB, he can use his good size and athleticism in the same way Carroll has used Chris Clemons. Lewis can be a pass-rusher for the Seahawks. This defense is turning into something with these pieces. Martin is a quick receiver who could work all over. He's not a deep threat, but he turns tight spaces and press coverage into wide-open passing lanes because he's really proficient at creating space with quickness and smarts. Keep an eye on him.
St. Louis Rams
Top needs: WR, OL, CB, OLB, DT, RB
Rd. 1 (6) WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
Rd. 2 (33) OT Mike Adams, Ohio State
Rd. 2 (39) DT Kendall Reyes, Connecticut
Rd. 3 (65) RB Lamar Miller, Miami
Analysis: I know St. Louis has been listening on this pick and could move down, but if the price isn't right, the pick of Blackmon would be. He might not have the upside of a superstar, but he has the floor of a very good player. He's proficient at doing anything a receiver must: He'll get open, create space, fight for and work back to the ball and work underneath as well as over the top. Adams isn't a mauler, but he can really move his feet and could help at right tackle early with the upside of a pretty good left tackle, which is nothing to scoff at. Reyes is a steal at No. 39 if he's around and should fit well inside on this improving defensive line. Miller can be explosive and will take the load off the great Steven Jackson. Some help on both sides of the ball here, with a focus on getting a dreadful offense back on track.
Top needs: LT, WR, OLB, CB, QB
Rd 1 (10) WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
Rd 2 (41) OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford
Rd 3 (71) LB Mychal Kendricks, California
Analysis: Not in order, but I've hit my top three needs if I'm Buffalo. There are front offices that have Floyd as the top wide receiver in the draft, so getting him at No. 10 is pretty fair, given I've had him at about that spot on my Big Board. Floyd is a big target who will pick up the route tree quickly and give Ryan Fitzpatrick a much-needed new option. Martin is a guy who once carried a solid first-round grade and could be a total steal at No. 41. Kendricks has immense physical talent and could be plugged in immediately, something the team did with Kelvin Sheppard last year.
Top needs: QB, WR, DE, T/G, S, OLB
Rd 1 (8) QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M (only if they can't trade down)
Rd 2 (42) WR Kendall Wright, Baylor
Rd 3 (72) G James Brown, Troy
Rd 3 (73) CB Brandon Boykin, Georgia
Analysis: Now, I know I've been down on Tannehill. He has immense upside, but I think the hysteria about Miami actually trading up to get him is a little ridiculous. I can't reflect trades down, but what I'd like to see is Miami move down and actually dare some teams behind them to take Tannehill. I'd feel a lot better about the pick further down the board. Still, this is a pick I can talk myself into, because in terms of situation, I can't see a better one. Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman knows Tannehill and head coach Joe Philbin knows how to develop QBs, so they should have a good program in place to make this work. This pick won't bother me -- if they moved up five spots? Different story. Wright is a total steal here, as he could be gone in the 20s. He can develop into the No. 1 target Miami now lacks with the departure of Brandon Marshall. Brown can step in on the O-line, which should be a strength for Miami, and Boykin can play early after a career dealing well with elite competition in the SEC.
New England Patriots
Top needs: DE, OLB, S, WR, CB, DL, G/C
Rd 1 (27) OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
Rd 1 (31) CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
Rd 2 (48) CB Josh Robinson, Central Florida
Rd 2 (62) G Brandon Brooks, Miami (OH)
Rd 3 (93) WR Chris Givens, Wake Forest
Analysis: This is a team that needed to make big strides with personnel on defense, and in Upshaw the Patriots get a talented, smart pass-rusher who could be scheme-versatile on the edge. And he can get to the quarterback. Jenkins is the shot to get extraordinary value with a little risk involved. (The Patriots did the same with Rob Gronkowski, with a different set of risks.) On a talent basis, this is an elite player. Get him in a team environment and he could thrive. Robinson is an absolute flyer (literally one of the fastest two or three players in the draft) at corner and has star potential if he cleans up his technique; he's also good insurance on Jenkins, and we've seen the Patriots double up recently with running backs and tight ends. Brooks is insurance on the offensive line, and Givens adds depth at wide receiver, something they really need.
New York Jets
Top needs: OLB, WR, S, RT, RB, LB
Rd 1 (16) DT Michael Brockers, LSU
Rd 2 (47) WR A.J. Jenkins, Illinois
Rd 3 (77) OLB Jonathan Massaquoi, Troy
Analysis: When it's all said and done, if I'm New York I feel like I may have gotten one of the two best defensive tackles in the draft in terms of immediate impact. Brockers is a big, high-motor player who can collapse pockets from the inside and move like a much lighter player. He'll thrive under coach Rex Ryan, and the addition of him and Massaquoi in Round 3 should have the Jets ecstatic about the possibilities up front. Jenkins is a very good wide receiver out of Illinois who some personnel people see as worthy of a late-first-round pick, so getting him midway through Round 2 is a nice value.
Top needs: G/C, OLB, WR, S, DL
Rd 1 (29) C Peter Konz, Wisconsin (or trade down)
Rd 2 (60) OLB Terrell Manning, N.C. State
Rd 3 (91) WR Joe Adams, Arkansas
Analysis: If I'm Baltimore, I look to trade down at least a few slots. When your top need is on the interior of the offensive line, you're in good position to pile up some picks and look for one of the top players available into Round 2. For this exercise, I'll take Konz and feel good knowing I have the best center in the draft. Matt Birk can still play, but this is a clear position of need. Baltimore lost Jarret Johnson this offseason, but getting a talent like Manning has the potential to soften that blow. Adams is a guy who can come in and work underneath; he'll complement the other wide receivers in that offense well.
Top needs: RG, WR, CB, DE, SS, RB
Rd 1 (17) CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
Rd 1 (21) G David DeCastro, Stanford
Rd 2 (53) CB Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech
Rd 3 (83) G Tony Bergstrom, Utah
Analysis: A good session of checking off top needs. Gilmore is a big, physical corner who comes in ready to play. I'm thrilled if I'm Cincy and he's still sitting there at No. 17; he's a smart kid who will pick things up and can contribute to a team looking to take the next step in the playoffs. DeCastro is a big-time prospect at guard, and the Bengals can draft him and assume improvement in the run game, where they really struggled in 2011. He may be the best guard prospect since Steve Hutchinson, and guard is a big need for them. Hosley provides more depth at corner. He has the instincts of a Round 1 pick and can be a playmaker but doesn't have the size to get the elite tag on most boards. Bergstrom can play early if needed, but is good insurance.
Top needs: QB, RB, WR, RT, CB, OLB
Rd 1 (4) RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
Rd 1 (22) T/G Cordy Glenn, Georgia
Rd 2 (37) QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma St.
Rd 3 (67) CB Dwight Bentley, Louisiana-Lafayette
Analysis: Richardson is simply a home run at No. 4. You rarely say that about a running back taken so high, but he has such a high floor as a prospect -- the only downside is injury, and that's such a perpetual issue, one that extends far beyond the running back position if you're looking close. Glenn is a versatile player who Cleveland will move to right tackle. He can be dominant as a run-blocker and has great initial pop, and with his presence, Joe Thomas on the left side and Richardson in the backfield, Cleveland has to feel pretty confident in an upgrade for the ground attack. Weeden is capable of pushing Colt McCoy right away (he's a few years older) and could be a steal. So he's older -- if the Browns get 6-8 good years from him, will anybody really care? Bentley is a nice piece at corner, where the team can use some help, even though I consider this a pretty good secondary.
Top needs: G/T, NT, ILB, CB, WR, RB
Rd 1 (24) ILB Dont'a Hightower, Alabama
Rd 2 (56) G/T Jeff Allen, Illinois
Rd 3 (86) DT Brandon Thompson, Clemson
Analysis: Hightower fits like a glove in defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's system. This guy diagnoses plays at an NFL level already, then the physical side takes over. He's tall for a middle linebacker, takes away windows over the middle and packs an enormous punch, playing inside at over 260 pounds. The Steelers have built up some depth at linebacker, but in Hightower they're drafting a starter who can uphold the elite tradition. Since I'm the GM, the other guy I consider here is Bobby Massie, a rising tackle prospect. But I can take Allen later -- he could take over on the right side if Marcus Gilbert heads to the right side. Thompson would be an absolute steal that late in Round 3, and the Steelers need talent up front. While he's not a pure nose tackle in that system, they simply need upgrades on the defensive line, and he can play early.
Top needs: WR, LB, G/T, CB, NT
Rd 1 (26) OT Bobby Massie, Ole Miss
Rd 2 (58) WR Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina
Rd 3 (76) LB Bobby Wagner, Utah St.
Analysis: One of the quiet stories of the offseason is the work Houston will have to do on the offensive line to keep its very efficient run game rolling. Massie is a guy moving up my board, and if I'm Houston I know where my bread is buttered and make sure things up front are in good shape. As a caveat, I'll say I'm really tempted here by Coby Fleener, the tight end out of Stanford. Houston lost a good one this offseason in Joel Dreessen. In Round 2, Jeffery is there as a nice piece to put across the formation from Andre Johnson. Jeffery won't stretch the field by blowing by people, but watch the tape and you'll see a guy who often just physically overwhelms smaller corners and safeties. Houston's play-action attack will be able to create favorable matchups for him. The Texans moved DeMeco Ryans, knowing they could fill his role in the draft, and Wagner is a guy I think can do the job.
Top needs: QB, WR, DL, CB, OL, TE
Rd 1 (1) QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
Rd 2 (34) DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan St.
Rd 3 (64) WR Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
Analysis: I'm a pretty savvy GM, taking this Luck kid, huh? Really out in front of the pack! Needless to say, I think Luck is a lock on my board and Indy's as well. That's your Week 1 starter. Worthy runs a little hot and cold, but when he's on the warm side of that equation, he is a first-round talent at defensive tackle the Colts can say they got in Round 2. Roll the film when he's up against Notre Dame, Michigan or Georgia last year and see how hard it is for even some really good offensive linemen to keep him in place. The Colts have to stop the run, and it starts inside. Broyles has the talent of a Round 1 pick, but we'll take the chance here. He ran a 4.57 40-yard dash last week just months off an ACL injury, and when he's fully recovered he'll be just what Luck needs -- a wide receiver who flat-out knows how to diagnose, get open and operate in space.
Top needs: DE, WR, CB, RT
Rd 1 (7) DE Melvin Ingram, South Carolina (or trade down)
Rd 2 (38) WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech
Rd 3 (70) CB Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina
Analysis: The Jags need pass-rush help so bad, even if Justin Blackmon were somehow still there at No. 7, I'm not sure they pull the trigger. Ingram, if he can do anything, can rush the passer. The guy is wonderfully versatile, and even with his short arms he disengages really well and falls back on an arsenal of moves. This is not an elite class of pass-rushers, in my opinion, but the Jags can say they got the one who grades out best as of draft day. You can do worse at No. 7. Hill provides help stretching the field in Round 2. He is remarkably explosive given his long frame (he ran sub-4.4 at 6-foot-4). Still needs plenty of refinement coming out of Georgia Tech's run-first (and second) offense, but he gives the Jags something they don't have on the roster, even with the addition of Laurent Robinson. Norman is much-needed help at corner, so the top three needs are punched out.
Top needs: CB, DE, C, OLB, S
Rd 1 (20) CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
Rd 2 (52) DE Vinny Curry, Marshall
Rd 3 (82) C Ben Jones, Georgia
Analysis: Knocking out the needs here, with good value at each spot. Kirkpatrick is ready to start. The star out of Alabama has uncommon length at near 6-3 and plays with an edge. He'll come in willing to take on top receivers. After some misses in recent drafts, the Titans need to keep going back to the pass rush. The addition of Kamerion Wimbley helps, but Curry will be able to add some punch. He's an awesome kid, works like crazy and played through the loss of his mother in 2011. He's also pretty versatile, so the Titans can move him around. I have center as a top need, and Jones is the best one in the draft after Konz. He can come in and start if needed.
Top needs: DT, RB, CB, WR, G/C, QB
Rd 1 (25) DT Derek Wolfe, Cincinnati
Rd 2 (57) RB LaMichael James, Oregon
Rd 3 (87) WR T.Y. Hilton, Florida International
Analysis: I'm the GM here, and Wolfe is one of my biggest sleepers in this draft. He is an explosive, scheme-versatile player and fills a big need on the defensive interior. I trust the Broncos with making talent work regardless of the "system" fit (see: Von Miller), and Wolfe could be a really good one. They simply have to add talent on the interior of the defensive line, and Wolfe makes sense. I love the idea of James keeping linebackers' eyes in the backfield on play-action fakes or swinging out into the flat for Peyton Manning. He's not quite Darren Sproles in terms of elusiveness, but he's in that category. He'll provide a change of pace the offense needs. Hilton is a good value in the third round and fills a need at wide receiver.
Kansas City Chiefs
Top needs: NT, LG, S, DE, CB, WR
Rd 1 (11) DT Dontari Poe, Memphis
Rd 2 (44) G Amini Silatolu, Midwestern St.
Rd 3 (74) NT Alameda Ta'amu, Washington
Analysis: The Chiefs really need a nose tackle, and while Poe is not yet a finished product, and might even be as good or more successful in a 4-3, it's really hard to pass on his potential at this spot on the board. Guard is a huge need for the Chiefs, and I'm going to take one of my favorite sleepers in the draft with Silatolu here. He'll be able to help them early, and anything the Chiefs can do to invigorate the run game will be key. Ta'amu is a wide body and good insurance piece for the Chiefs at NT. In fact, I can see Poe and him on the field at the same time.
Top needs: DL, TE, WR, OLB, RB, LG
Rd 3 (95) OLB Bruce Irvin, West Virginia
Analysis: The Raiders are left with this one pick, a product of the Carson Palmer trade, and the decision to draft Terrelle Pryor in the supplementary draft last summer. Irvin is the quintessential high-risk, high-reward pick here. The Raiders need help in the pass rush, and Irvin has the chance to fill out a little more and still maintain a great first step and closing burst. The question is whether he can get stronger and take on NFL tackles without getting engulfed.
San Diego Chargers
Top needs: OLB, S, CB, RB, OL, DE
Rd 1 (18) OLB Chandler Jones, Syracuse
Rd 2 (49) S Brandon Taylor, LSU
Rd 3 (78) RB Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati
Analysis: The Chargers need an outside 'backer, and Jones is moving up as fast as any player in the draft. He has the size to hold up as a 4-3 defensive end, but I don't think he'll have a tough time working effectively in San Diego's scheme. The Chargers also need help at safety, and the way it lines up Taylor would be the best one available at No. 49. The way the board lined up when I was making all the picks had Pead as a steal in Round 3 versus the Chargers reaching a bit at corner. That's three for four on the top needs, and they can grab a corner later on.
This post was edited by squats24 105554 on 4/19/2012 at 12:48 PM
Of course they have us taking Sanders
love how he has Lavonte David going to my Lions
Thanks squats. I hope Carolina doesn't pick Luke in the first and hopes he drops to my Chiefs. I think he is going to be an outstanding player. I think he is your for sure pick just like Eric Berry was for the Chiefs. Poe scares me. Combine he was outstanding but he played in a weak conference and he didn't have stats that blow you away. If he does turn out like a Ngata (?sp, some analyst are saying his combine was a like of the same) it would be fun to see him and Hali on the same line. I think Pioli might go with that because you have seen the Patriots base their defense on the interrior lineman when he was there. They seemed to put a priority on it. Luke just seems like a guy that had an outstanding career at BC plus put up a great combine.
He originally had Upshaw going to NE and GB in back-to-back picks when he first released it yesterday. True beast.
Trumaine Johnson will be a steal in the 2nd round.
He played at Montana but he is the real deal.
Danielle Hunter, Jamario Rasco, Anthony FREAK Johnson.. DL wrecking crew of 2013.
although I root for my fantasy players or gamecocks more than a team in NFL, the Bears would be my team. I certainly hope the Bears dont waste another draft pick on a PSU player. Terrible luck with kids from there
squats24 1.0 said...
Rd. 1 (14) S Mark Barron
Rd. 2 (45) OLB Andre Branch
Rd. 3 (81) CB Justin Bethel
squats24 1.0 said...
Rd. 1 (14) S Mark Barron
Rd. 2 (45) OLB Andre Branch
Rd. 3 (81) CB Justin Bethel
That would be an epically bad start to the draft for Dallas.
That would be an epically bad start to the draft for Dallas.
Why? What's wrong with Mark Barron? He's played very well and we desperately need safety help. I know I'm biased as both a Cowboy and Alabama fan, but how can you call it a bad start?
So he has my Panthers using a 1st-round pick on a position that isn't a "need" per his analysis and then in the second round we get a player that he doesn't even expect to be there? I'm not sure how that would qualify as an "A" draft grade or how that even qualifies as analysis.
Why? What's wrong with Mark Barron? He's played very well and we desperately need safety help. I know I'm biased as both a Cowboy and Alabama fan, but how can you call it a bad start?
First and foremost, Dallas needs to address the problems on the offensive and defensive lines. Not doing so in the first 3 rounds, thus most likely taking a project who will require several years of development before they can contribute, is an epic failure.
Tyron Smith looks like he could be great and Doug Free looks like he can be solid, but both guard and the center positions need serious improvement. Ratliff, while productive in Wade's scheme, is horribly undersized and inefficient in Ryan's scheme and neither DE deserves a roster spot. Getting a DT/DE that can collapse the pocket thus giving Ware some help in rushing the passer, so he doesn't get double/triple teamed, will make even a horrible defensive backfield look halfway decent.
This post was edited by Rivver on 4/19/2012 at 6:32 PM
247Sports In partnership with CBS Sports