For the first time in a long time NFL fans were forced to fill up their Sunday with something other than football. That can be a tough weekend for some as the outlook of a long offseason can be depressing. Luckily for us however, the NFL offseason is one of the most active in all of sports and the 2012 NFL Draft is only a couple short months away. It has become an annual event that most fans look forward to almost as much as the season itself. The draft is a time of renewed hope for the followers of every team, and everyone watches closely to see if their organization can manage to find the next hidden gem who can lead them into the playoffs and beyond.
As with every team, this is a huge draft for the Denver Broncos. John Elway did very well during his first draft in the front office and he is going to need to string together a couple more in order to get this team back to the top. Add in the fact that the status of Tim Tebow is still making headlines across the country, and all Broncos fans will be watching very closely to see exactly what they do with their first pick.
So without further ado, let’s get to the 1st Round Mock Draft (version 1.0):
1. Indianapolis Colts
It has already become tiresome listening to the Peyton Manning speculation about whether or not he will be back in Indianapolis, but the speculation is moot. Manning is out and Luck is in.
2. Washington Redskins (Via Trade with St. Louis)
Robert Griffin III
If you are reading a mock draft that doesn’t have Griffin going 2nd overall, you need to stop reading because you are wasting your time. The question isn’t when Griffin is getting drafted, it’s by whom. It could be Washington, Cleveland, Seattle, Arizona, San Francisco, Miami, Kansas City, etc., etc. Your guess is as good as mine, but I firmly believe that if Washington doesn’t make a big move for Manning they will do so for Griffin on draft day.
3. Minnesota Vikings
OT, Southern California
Kalil is the 2nd rated overall player on some draft boards and Minnesota needs him to protect Christian Ponder so he can hopefully develop into a franchise-type quarterback.
4. Cleveland Browns
WR, Oklahoma State
The lack of playmakers on the Cleveland roster is obvious. They need to bring in somebody who can help out Colt McCoy if he is ever going to be the quarterback they want him to be.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Incoming coach Greg Schiano loves to run the ball and he may want to bring in the dynamic running back from Bama to complement the one dimensional LaGarrette Blount.
6. St. Louis Rams (Via Trade with Washington)
CB, Louisiana State
St. Louis could use some help on the offensive line, but cornerback is also a big position of need. Add in the fact that Claiborne is simply the best player available at this point and it’s an easy pick.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
DE, North Carolina
With Blackmon already off the board the Jaguars will look to fill their next biggest hole at defensive end. Coples is ranked as high as the 3rd overall player on some draft boards due to his versatility and elite pass rush skills.
I believe that Miami is the likely landing spot for Peyton Manning. If that is the case, they will look to the offensive line with their first pick in order to protect him.
9. Carolina Panthers
DT, Louisiana State
Brockers is the top rated DT in the draft and could help solidify the middle of a Carolina defense that finished near the bottom of the rankings last season.
10. Buffalo Bills
Upshaw is a beast and has the potential to be a nasty rusher coming off the edge. He would be a nice complement to Marcell Dareus who was the Bills’ top pick last year.
11. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs desperately need some help on the offensive line and Reiff is the best available. He is a very athletic tackle who excels in both the run and pass game. Reiff would almost certainly start as a rookie and could make an immediate impact.
12. Seattle Seahawks
ILB, Boston College
Word out of Seattle is that several of their linebackers will not return to the team next year. So unless Seattle reaches on a quarterback like Ryan Tannehill, they will go for the best middle linebacker in the draft.
13. Arizona Cardinals
ILB, Arizona State
Middle linebacker is a position of need for Arizona and Burfict will be the 2nd straight backer heading to the NFC West.
14. Dallas Cowboys
Kirkpatrick has had some legal problems recently, but he is a great talent and could be a difference maker in the secondary. We also know that Jerry Jones has not shied away from bring in troubled talent like Dez Bryant in the past, so maybe he won’t mind doing it again.
15. Philadelphia Eagles
What the Eagles decide to do here may depend on what happens with DeSean Jackson. The latest word on the subject is that the Eagles will place the franchise tag on him, so if that’s the case they will look to fill another hole.
16. New York Jets
DE, South Carolina
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets target Mark Barron here but a talent like Ingram simply can’t be passed up if he is available at 16.
The Bengals may have had one of the best drafts in the league last year when they brought in young offensive stars A.J. Green and Andy Dalton. They would love nothing more than to duplicate that success on the defensive side of the ball this year.
18. San Diego Chargers
DE, Southern California
San Diego has quite a bit of talent on offense (for now), but they haven’t had an impact player on the defensive front 7 since Shawne Merriman was on the team. A.J. Smith has struggled in the draft in recent years, so he needs to get this pick right or this may be it for him.
19. Chicago Bears
The Bears would love to get some offensive playmakers to help out Jay Cutler, so if Wright falls to them he will be heading to Chicago.
20. Tennessee Titans
The Titans need to upgrade the defensive line and will be hoping a player like Ingram or Perry falls to them here. If not, a player like Chandler Jones is a capable alternative. He has a massive frame that will allow him to add bulk and he has excellent speed for a guy his size.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
RB, Virginia Tech
Cedric Benson is an aging free agent so the Bengals will have to bring in a running back at some point.
Cleveland will look to beef up the edge of their defensive line having already addressed the wide receiver position earlier in the 1st round.
23. Detroit Lions
OT, Ohio State
The Lions could go in several directions with this pick, but their offensive line is aging quickly and protecting an injury prone quarterback entering his prime has to be a priority. I expect the Lions to grab either Adams or Cordy Glenn here.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
The offensive line has been a trouble spot for years, but this entire team is getting old quick so they could go in a lot of different directions with this pick.
25. Denver Broncos
DT, Michigan State
I, like most people, believe this is the year that the Broncos bring in a top flight interior defensive lineman out of college. It was a big weakness in 2010 and Denver largely ignored the position in that draft. Although Broderick Bunkley played superbly in 2011, they need to bring in some new blood to help him out. I believe the Orange Crush defense will return under the leadership of John Fox; it’s only a matter of time.
26. Houston Texans
I have a feeling Houston will draft the DT that Denver passes on at 25 to continue their impressive defensive turnaround.
New England will try to strengthen their secondary which was one of the weaker units in the NFL during the 2011 season.
28. Green Bay Packers
DT, Mississippi State
While the offensive unit was a machine during the regular season, the Packers defense gave up a staggering amount of yards. Look for Green Bay to draft a lot of defensive players this April.
29. Baltimore Ravens
Stud center Matt Birk is set to retire so that produces a glaring need for the Ravens.
30. San Francisco 49ers
WR, Notre Dame
San Francisco needs somebody to come in and help out the receiving corps since Michael Crabtree has been a bust.
31. New England Patriots
WR, South Carolina
Wes Welker is a free agent and Ochocinco is a bum. It’s time to bring in some new WR talent.
32. New York Giants
Losing 2 tight ends to significant knee injuries during the Super Bowl is obviously going to be an issue heading into 2012. I expect the Giants to grab the top rated tight end on their draft board with this pick.
Predominantly Orange will not only be providing full coverage of the draft itself, we will be helping you navigate the NFL Combine and all the pre-draft news and player movement. Stay with us over the entire NFL offseason to keep on top of the best franchise in the NFL. Go Broncos!
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