While I intend for this to be the final version of the mock draft, make sure to check back before Thursday night to see if any changes have been made. Also, check out my draft day blog at http://jimmyneil.blogspot.com/
Well, once again it's time for the annual flogging that's known as the the mock draft. I love doing them, but the second that a general manager has a different opinion about who the eighth best player in the draft is, I find myself cursing at the television. Yep, it's always that six to eight range that totally blasts my mock to smithereens.
Just so you know, I try to blend a combination of everything into my choices - my own evaluations, team needs, and rumors that I've heard and feel confident in. I do not factor in trades. This year could be really hectic with all of the misinformation and teams trying to trade out of their positions. The good news is that I should get at least two right...
1. Indianapolis: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford This just makes sense. The Colts get the only quarterback I know of that's more prepared coming into the NFL than Peyton Manning was in 1998.
2. Washington: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor Mike Shanahan finally gets the play caller he needs to run his offense. With his mobility, arm strength, and accuracy, he's the ultimate weapon for the West Coast system.
3. Minnesota: Matt Kalil, OT, USC The temptation to take Morris Claiborne to deal with the passing offenses in their division is outweighed by the need to protect their first round quarterback, Christian Ponder. Also, don't be surprised if Buffalo trades up to take Kalil here.
4. Cleveland: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama I'm hearing they're considering Morris Claiborne here, but I just can't see them passing on the best, and safest, player in this draft. Richardson immediately takes some of the pressure off of Colt McCoy.
5. Tampa Bay: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU This could not have worked out better for Greg Schiano in his first draft. He satisfies his team's biggest need with their first pick with a player who can make an immediate impact.
6. St. Louis: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi St. I know that Sam Bradford will be upset that they pass on Justin Blackmon, but this is a deep wide receiver draft, and they get the best player at another position of need.
7. Jacksonville: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St. The Jaguars are desperately trying to trade down, but I'm not sure they'll have any takers without one of those top five sliding. However, getting the best receiver in the draft to help Blaine Gabbert isn't a bad consolation prize.
8. Miami: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M The front office can deny it all they want, but their owner is going to "help" them make this pick. It's way too high for Tannehill, but the Dolphins are looking for someone to rejuvenate the franchise.
9. Carolina: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina They're really hoping that Fletcher Cox falls to them, but after he's gone, they're happy to get a great player in another area of need.
10. Buffalo: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College The Bills need offensive line help, especially at left tackle, in the worst way, and they may fill that need by shocking the draft and moving up to three to take Kalil. If they stay, they'll take Kuechly to aid in their change to the 4-3 defense.
11. Kansas City: David DeCastro, G, Stanford They need interior line help on both sides of the ball, and DeCastro is the answer with no defensive tackle worth the 11th overall pick available.
12. Seattle: Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina This one will come down to Ingram or Quentin Coples, but in the end, Pete Carroll goes with the guy he won't have to worry about motivating or living up to his potential.
13. Arizona: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa I think this is too early for Reiff, but the Cardinals need a left tackle by far more than any other need. They'll try to trade down, but there won't be any takers.
14. Dallas: Mark Barron, S, Alabama Barron is the guy they want, and if history's taught us anything, it's that what Jerry wants, he usually gets.
15. Philadelphia: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU The Eagles have needed bulk in the middle of their defense for a while, and Brockers fits that bill. Quentin Coples could also be a fit here.
16. New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw, DE, Alabama To be honest, Rex Ryan will be crushed when Melvin Ingram goes to Seattle. He compared him to Adalius Thomas, who he coached in Baltimore. Instead, he gets a less flashy but solid defender who will be his best pass rusher from day one.
17. Cincinnati: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame By this point, the Bengals have been chewing their fingernails for the last four picks hoping that Floyd would fall into their lap. One need down, with another first round pick left to go.
18. San Diego: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois I know that Barron is a target, and they'll hope to get a deal done with Buffalo. But if they stay here, they'll have their pick of a few of the best 3-4 OLB propects in the draft.
19. Chicago: Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse If you looked at my rankings article, you'll see that I'm nowhere near as impressed with Jones as others are, which is why I have him sliding to the Bears. Personally, I think this is still too high, but his name keeps popping up here.
20. Tennessee: Quentin Coples, DE, North Carolina And Coples uncomfortable slide ends here. He falls because of a questionable motor, but his talents, and the Titans need for a pass rusher, make this a convenient choice.
21. Cincinnati: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama And once again, the Bengals' war room rejoices!!! Two picks, two needs taken care of, and two coordinators thrilled with their new toys.
22. Cleveland: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor While I don't have Wright listed as my third receiver, I know that most people do. So, I think the Browns go with the "safer" of the remaining first round wideouts in order to bolster their absolutely pathetic offense.
23. Detroit: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State Martin Mayhew recently said, and I'm paraphrasing here, that he wouldn't be averse to taking a player who smoked pot. Thats one of the things that's hurt the Lions so far this offseason, but Adams would be a great fit for a team that needs to protect Matt Stafford.
24. Pittsburgh: Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama It's funny, even if they didn't need him, they might take him just to get under the skin of the Ravens. Seriously, they need help inside with play-caller James Farrior running low on fumes. Also, offensive tackle Bobbie Massie could be in play here.
25. Denver: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis I've seen a lot of people linking Poe to the Steelers, but I don't see it. His game isn't really suited to play the nose, but he is the penetrator that John Fox needs. Jerel Worthy could be their other option.
26. Houston: Andre Branch, OLB, Clemson I've seen picks all over the map for the Texans, who also need weapons on offense, and depth on the offensive line. But, since it's a deep receiver class and they don't need first round picks for the zone blocking scheme, they take someone who can put pressure on the quarterback.
27. New England: Nick Perry, OLB, USC The Patriots have had interest in Perry for quite some time, and Belichick loves players that can move around and play in mutiple fronts. Perry is perfect for a 3-4 under look and can move around enough to play outside linbacker.
28. Green Bay Packers: Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise St.Clay Matthews sack total dropped to six last year after his monster year in 2010. The reason: there was nobody on the other side. McClellin is one of the most natural pass rushers in this draft. Now if he can only grow his hair really long.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Peter Konz, C, WisconsinWith Hightower gone to the Steelers, this is one of the easier picks in my mock. Matt Birk is entering his final year, and Konz is the perfect replacement. He'll play guard as a rookie and learn alongside on of the game's best.
30. San Francisco: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech It seems like we say that the 49ers need help at the receiver position every year. Hill is the kind of burner that will take the top off for Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis to work underneath.
31. New England: Vinny Curry, OLB, Marshall They've been trying to find pass rushers for so long that they'll take two in the first round. Janoris Jenkins may also be an option here. He's a character risk, but Belichick's never let that stop him from taking a good player.
32. New York Giants: Bobbie Massie, OT, Mississippi The Giants could go several different ways here, but I think they try to beef up an aging offensive line. Running backs Doug Martin of Boise St. and David Wilson of Virginia Tech could also fit here.