This is my second mock draft, to follow up my last one. Before I took a look at the Top 46 picks, going all the way to the Falcons pick in Round 2. I will do the same here, but instead I’ll go all the way to the end of the second round. An asterisk (*) denotes an underclassman. Note that picks 8 and 9, along with 11 and 12 have yet to be determined due to a coin flip.
1. Indianapolis Colts – QB Andrew Luck, Stanford*
While you’ll hear some discussion and debate on whether Griffin is the better prospect, the reality is going to come down to the fact that Luck still has him beat. People will talk up Griffin’s athleticism and arm strength, but forgotten is that Luck grades very well in both as well. People constantly compare Luck to Peyton Manning, but his playing style much more mirrors that of Aaron Rodgers in terms of his ability to move around the pocket and make plays with his legs when need be. At the end of the day, Luck is going to be the No. 1 pick.
2. Miami Dolphins (from St. Louis) – QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor*
Ultimately, I think somebody will swap picks with the Rams to move up to get Griffin. While Luck is better, Griffin is a very good prospect that I personally think is at this point a better prospect than Cam Newton was a year ago. Griffin still needs some polish, but he does have a lot of upside based off how much improvement you’ve seen him make over the last year and his collegiate career. I think the Dolphins among the Redskins, Browns, and Seahawks are probably the most likely to bite on Griffin because those other three teams have decent stopgaps already in place, but Miami does not. While the Dolphins will probably sniff around Matt Flynn, I think they’ll ultimately favor going with Griffin. Trade Terms: Rams get Miami’s 1st (#9), 2nd, 4th in 2012, and their 2nd in 2013.
3. Minnesota Vikings – OT Matt Kalil, Southern California*
It would not surprise me if Iowa’s Riley Reiff moves past Kalil on many boards. But at this point, I’ll go with Kalil here. The Vikings need a left tackle after dumping Bryant McKinnie, and Charlie Johnson was no less atrocious for the Vikings as he was for the Colts. If/when Steve Hutchinson moves on, they can slide Johnson into his more natural left guard spot, plug Kalil in at left tackle and they should be able have a solid left side.
4. Cleveland Browns – WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State*
The Browns will be an interesting team to watch since they could easily jump into the Robert Griffin sweepstakes, but probably won’t be willing to offer the Rams quite as much as other teams since they won’t have to move up as high. They also have a decent young QB in Colt McCoy, so they probably could with two first round picks concentrate more on surrounding him with talent than starting fresh with a new QB. They need a No. 1 receiver, and while it might be smarter to try to find a veteran free agent, it’ll be hard to pass up on a good receiver like Blackmon here. Blackmon is not an elite WR prospect like A.J. Green or Julio Jones, but he’s a good one that should be a good fit in their version of the West Coast offense.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – CB Morris Claiborne, LSU*
Claiborne is not quite on par with former teammate Patrick Peterson as an NFL prospect, but he is not a far cry from him. Claiborne has excellent combination of size, speed, and his ball skills are second to none. New Bucs head coach Greg Schiano knows the value of a good cover corner, having coached the McCourty Bros. at Rutgers. The off-field issues of Aqib Talib, potential retirement of Ronde Barber, and the utter lack of solid depth at this position makes a player like Claiborne a smart pickup.
6. Washington Redskins – QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
The reason why there is not much buzz on Tannehill right now is because a foot injury kept him out of the Senior Bowl. But when all is said and done you can bet that Tannehill will be a Top 10 pick. His game combines arm strength and athleticism similar to Aaron Rodgers, and while he’s still young and raw, his upside is very good given how solid he’s been despite only playing a year and a half as Texas A&M’s starting QB. His presence will be one of the reasons why a team like Washington won’t go too crazy trying to move up to get Griffin.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – OT Riley Reiff, Iowa*
New head coach Mike Mularkey is going to have to find a way to keep Blaine Gabbert upright, as the young quarterback’s pocket presence is some of the worst I’ve ever seen. Improving the protection is a key, and plugging in Reiff on the right side makes sense. Eben Britton has struggled due to injuries, and Reiff briefly played some right tackle as a sophomore where he went up against the likes of Derrick Morgan, and contained him. If the Jaguars want to continue to work MJD as their primary weapon on offense, they have to get better up front.
8. St. Louis Rams (coin flip/from Miami) – RB Trent Richardson, Alabama*
The Rams certainly are happy to move down, picking up some extra picks and plugging multiple holes. Moving down, they will likely target offensive line help, but also with Richardson sitting here, it’s too good to pass up. The team needs to find the heir apparent to Steven Jackson, and Richardson is the perfect fit. His combination of speed and power, along with his potential in the passing game make him the most complete running back prospect in the draft since Adrian Peterson.
9. Carolina Panthers (coin flip) – DT Michael Brockers, LSU*
Brockers is a high-upside guy who was only a sophomore at LSU, but showed good potential. The Panthers run defense was atrocious this past year and rookies Terrell McClain and Sione Fua did little to suggest they are going to be big-time pieces going forward. Brockers was a stand-out run stuffer at LSU, manhandling guards in the SEC. He also flashes potential as a pass rusher, although he’s raw there. But he has the sort of talent to be a force in the middle that the Panthers haven’t seen since the heyday of Kris Jenkins.
10. Buffalo Bills – DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina
The Bills need to solidify their defense and try to find ways to stop teams. Coples is a good prospect to try and help them do that. A big, athletic specimen that flashes the ability to be on par with guys like Julius Peppers and Mario Williams, that also hailed from his neck of the woods. Coples, alongside a healthy Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus could give Buffalo one of the most formidable fronts in the entire league if he can be developed. He’s a boom/bust prospect, but there’s no doubt someone is going to gamble on his potential high in the draft.
11. Seattle Seahawks (coin flip) – DE Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
Ingram is a player that really emerged from nowhere this past year to become a force on South Carolina’s defense. An athletic specimen, he is a good fit in Seattle because he gives them another pass rusher to play across from Chris Clemons. He also has the ability to play multiple positions and that should do well in Seattle’s hybrid scheme.
12. Kansas City Chiefs (coin flip) – DE Devon Still, Penn State
The Chiefs have invested highly in players like Glen Dorsey and Tyson Jackson to limited results. Both are decent starters, but neither is the caliber of playmaker that can really be a force in their 3-4 scheme. They are hoping that Still changes that with his combination of strength and quickness.
13. Arizona Cardinals – OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford*
The Cardinals need to bolster their pass rush as well, but a player like Martin makes a lot of sense because their blocking has been poor for several years. They were joking when they thought Levi Brown could be an effective left tackle. Martin can be, which can allow Brown (if he’s re-signed) to return to his more natural right tackle spot.
14. Dallas Cowboys – OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
The Cowboys are expected to let Anthony Spencer test the market, which is code for they are probably not going to bring him back. That means they will be on the lookout for a pass rusher on the outside that can bring pressure much more consistently. Upshaw has the potential to do that as well as be a force against the run and be effective in coverage due to his speed and athleticism.
15. Philadelphia Eagles – ILB Luke Kuechly, Boston College*
The Eagles probably don’t need another young linebacker, but given the ability of Kuechly, they’ll make an exception for him. Kuechly is a tackling machine with great instincts. He doesn’t wow people as far as his size, speed, or athleticism are concerned. But if the Eagles are trying to upgrade their porous run defense, plugging Kuechly into the middle makes a ton of sense.
16. New York Jets – S Mark Barron, Alabama
Barron is a smart, solid all-around safety that can defend the run and the pass well. With Jim Leonhard going down for the second straight year, it exposed the weakness of the secondary in the back-end, and they need to find an insurance policy to hold down the fort in case Leonhard doesn’t bounce back so easily this time. Barron has the ability to be a complement to a healthy Leonhard or a capable replacement as the leader of the secondary if need be.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland) – OG Cordy Glenn, Georgia
The Bengals need to continue to improve their offensive line. Bobbie Williams is a free agent and Nate Livings is just an adequate starter, meaning Glenn could come in right away and start at either spot for them. He’s a big, physical mauler that has the potential to be a player similar to Carl Nicks.
18. San Diego Chargers – CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama*
Kirkpatrick is a huge corner that can shine in a press coverage scheme. The Chargers are looking for an heir apparent for Quentin Jammer, who was a similar corner several years back when he came out of Texas. Kirkpatrick has the potential to be the No. 1 corner they need that Antoine Cason has yet to show he can be.
19. Chicago Bears – OG David DeCastro, Stanford*
The Bears still need to improve their offensive line. And while left tackle is their most glaring weakness, upgrading either of the guard spots with a player like DeCastro should be a major step in the right direction. DeCastro is often compared to players like Steve Hutchinson and Logan Mankins in terms of his potential, which is a definite talent infusion for the Bears front five.
20. Tennessee Titans – DE Whitney Mercilus, Illinois*
The Titans haven’t gotten big dividends from 2010 1st rounder Derrick Morgan yet, and with Jason Jones, William Hayes, and Dave Ball all becoming free agents this off-season, they might have to dip back into the pass rusher pool at the top of the draft. Mercilus was a super-productive player this past year, emerging from nowhere.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina*
The loss of Johnathan Joseph hurt the Bengals, but that didn’t get exposed until Leon Hall went down for the year with an injury. Gilmore hails from the same school as Joseph, which should make him an attractive player for the Bengals. He offers good size, cover skills, and the physical play that you need to play in the AFC North.
22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta) – TE Dwayne Allen, Clemson*
The Browns should continue to add weapons and playmakers to their offense this off-season by getting a tight end with the talent of Allen. They already have Ben Watson and Evan Moore, but Watson struggled with concussions, and Moore is more of an oversized slot receiver. But taking a page from the Patriots, having a player like Allen that can create matchup problems and coupling him with other quality tight ends can be a potent bunch of weapons to have offensively.
23. Detroit Lions – OT Mike Adams, Ohio State
The Lions need to find a replacement for Jeff Backus, an impending free agent. Jason Fox has done little to nothing. Adams would be a good pickup even if they keep Backus because he can be developed long-term as the left tackle of the future, but also potentially push Gosder Cherilus at right tackle as well.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – DT Dontari Poe, Memphis*
Poe is a massive nose tackle prospect that will be a smart move by the Steelers to get to replace Casey Hampton down the road. While Ziggy Hood will get an opportunity, he is not an ideal fit there long-term. And Poe, coupled with Hood and Cameron Heyward down the road could give the Steelers a very formidable front three for many years to come.
25. Denver Broncos – QB Kirk Cousins, Michigan State
The reality is that Cousins is at least as good an NFL prospect as Christian Ponder was, so that makes it hard for me to believe that someone won’t pick him in the first round this year. Cousins is a smart, capable leader with good, but not great passing skills. Tim Tebow will be the QB of the immediate future for the Broncos, but Cousins will be a nice player to develop to be the guy long-term if Tebow does not improve.
26. Houston Texans – WR Kendall Wright, Baylor
Wright’s explosive ability is a big reason why Griffin won the Heisman. He’ll remind some teams of explosive guys like Mike Wallace or Jeremy Maclin, with his combo of speed and quickness. He’ll fit best as a slot receiver, but coupling him with the big physical presence of Andre Johnson on the outside should help give the Texans another playmaker on offense.
27. New England Patriots (from New Orleans) – DE Nick Perry, Southern California*
The Patriots will need to make a decision on whether they stick with the 4-3 or move back to the 3-4. But with Perry he gives you options to play in either scheme. The junior is a good edge rusher that can be developed by the Patriots to bring pressure off the edge in either scheme, and should be a nice heir apparent to Andre Carter as a rush end.
28. Green Bay Packers – DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State*
Cox is a versatile playmaker up front that is a good fit to play in a 3-4. Mike Neal has been a disappointment for the Packers, and they will be looking for a pass rusher to replace what Cullen Jenkins meant to their defense. Cox has the potential to be that guy due to his ability to put pressure on the QB from anywhere on the line.
29. Baltimore Ravens – OC Peter Konz, Wisconsin*
With the retirement of Matt Birk, it opens up a fairly glaring hole in the middle for the Ravens at center. Konz is a good fit to slide in because he’s a physical run blocker and pass protector. Don’t at all be surprised if the Ravens make a move up come draft day to secure his services.
30. San Francisco 49ers – WR Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina*
Jeffery entered this year neck and neck with Blackmon as the potential top receiver taken in this draft class, but his stock could fall due to questions of his speed, quickness, and work ethic. Jeffery has elite potential and if he can be developed offers a similar skillset as Brandon Marshall. The 49ers are looking for another playmaker on the outside to team with Crabtree, and Jeffery is their best bet at this point.
31. New York Giants – OT Bobby Massie, Mississippi*
Massie hasn’t gotten too much love because he’s an underclassman. But Massie was considered the next big thing after Michael Oher left Ole Miss, and has similar skills and potential. As a right tackle prospect, he could be able to slide in fairly quickly as a potential replacement for Kareem McKenzie.
32. New England Patriots – DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State*
Worthy is a widebody with very good quickness, and should give the Patriots a much needed pass rusher on the interior to team with Vince Wilfork. They thought they were getting that player in Haynesworth, but Worthy while a bit raw does have the potential to be a similar force on the inside.
33. St. Louis – OLB Zach Brown, North Carolina
34. Indianapolis – WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
35. Minnesota – CB Chase Minnifield, Virginia
36. Tampa Bay – RB Lamar Miller, Miami*
37. Cleveland – RB Bernard Pierce, Temple*
38. Jacksonville – CB Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech*
39. Washington – ILB Dont’a Hightower, Alabama*
40. Carolina – CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
41. Buffalo – CB Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska
42. St. Louis (from Miami) – DT Brandon Thompson, Clemson
43. Kansas City – OT Zebrie Sanders, Florida State
44. Seattle – QB Brock Osweiler, Arizona State*
45. Dallas – OC Ben Jones, Georgia
46. Philadelphia – WR Rueben Randle, LSU*
47. N.Y. Jets – OG Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State
48. New England (from Oakland) – DE Vinny Curry, Marshall
49. San Diego – TE Orson Charles, Georgia*
50. Chicago – OT Matt McCants, UAB
51. Philadelphia (from Arizona) – ILB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State*
52. Tennessee – S George Iloka, Boise State
53. Cincinnati – RB David Wilson, Virginia Tech*
54. Detroit – CB Trumaine Johnson, Montana
55. Atlanta – TE Coby Fleener, Stanford
56. Pittsburgh – OG Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin
57. Denver – CB Brandon Boykin, Georgia
58. Houston – DT Alameda Ta’amu, Washington
59. New Orleans – DE Chandler Jones, Syracuse
60. Green Bay – OLB Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma*
61. Baltimore – FS Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State
62. San Francisco – OG Brandon Washington, Miami*
63. N.Y. Giants – WR Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers*
64. New England – OC Mike Brewster, Ohio State