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.