1. Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
Andrew Luck: “Hey Peyton, any advice on being the quarterback for the Colts?”
Peyton Manning: “Stay off Jim Irsay’s Twitter timeline. He has the discretion of a 14-year old.”
2. St. Louis Rams
Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
I will be 1-1 after the first pick and 1-2 after the second. This pick is too valuable not to trade to the highest Robert Griffin III suitor. That being said, I can’t see the Rams taking Griffin if the price isn’t right. And while Matt Kalil is probably the best available right here, St. Louis is in desperate need of an offensive identity that could be found in Blackmon.
3. Minnesota Vikings
Matt Kalil, OT, USC
A 6’7″, 295 pounds left tackle that can run a sub-5.00 40-yard dash protecting the blindside of your young quarterback? A must. If we only learned one thing from The Blindside (other than the fact that for the first time since Speed, Sandra Bullock’s agent could select a part she could play UP to), it’s that left tackle is the most important position in football.
4. Cleveland Browns
Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
With all the talk of a trade to get him, I can also see a scenario where Cleveland doesn’t give up anything to get Griffin. If the Rams don’t get the farm for their number two pick, why trade it? They won’t take Griffin and neither will the Vikings. What a great way to lull the Cleveland sports nation into thinking that a championship is close again! In all seriousness, selecting Griffin gives the Browns a higher likelihood of calling that moment in April, The Pick or The Trade rather than The Bust. I sort of feel like the city of Cleveland has earned one…sort of.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
First round running backs always seem to be home runs (Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson) or total disappointments (Ron Dayne, Ki-Jana Carter, Rashan Salaam). Last year, New Orleans auctioned off this year’s first-round pick to get Mark Ingram. He did not have much impact in his first year in the league. There just isn’t a whole lot of grey area for a performance player bought at such a high price. It goes without saying though that if Richardson is the home run, Tampa Bay makes a great pick here.
6. Washington Redskins
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
This all depends on what happens during free agency and with draft day trades. Taking Tannehill is a total reach until you remember the Redskins’ logic at the moment. The Redskins are coached by Mike Shanahan. Mike Shanahan is trying to prove he’s still a mastermind. The Mastermind loves HIS quarterbacks. The Mastermind doesn’t have great quarterbacks. Therefore, The Mastermind does whatever it takes to get HIS quarterback and liberate Maryland from its tribulations.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Cornerback might not be the Jaguars biggest need. Then again, they have needs all over the field and Claiborne falling to them at the seventh pick would be a huge boost for their fairly solid defense.
8. Carolina Panthers
Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
I’m sure many Panthers/Cam Newton fans would eye a wide receiver here but with Blackmon off the board by now, the Panthers could really benefit from a game changing defensive end since it was the defense that was the undoing of the Panthers’ rebound season.
9. Miami Dolphins
Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
A line anchored by Jake Long and Riley Reiff would be appealing to any quarterback whether his name is Moore or Manning…
10. Buffalo Bills
Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
With Buffalo transitioning to a 4-3, Coples is an excellent choice because he can play in both schemes and because of the pairing with last year’s first-round pick, Marcell Dareus.
11. Kansas City Chiefs
Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Versatile and big enough to play anywhere on the line. Kansas City should be thrilled if Brockers fell into their laps at number eleven.
12. Seattle Seahawks
Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
Adding another playmaking linebacker to a solid unit would be a huge boost for this defense. Unfortunately for Seattle (QB, WR), their biggest needs aren’t going to get met at the draft without reaching.
13. Arizona Cardinals
David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
However the Cardinals’ quarterback carousel plays out, the offensive line needs help. DeCastro isn’t the best take at this point overall, but he is surrounded by players who are in positions the Cardinals have covered.
14. Dallas Cowboys
Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
Things Jerry Jones loves: speed, excessive stadiums. Things Jerry Jones isn’t afraid of: off-the-field issues, drama. The Cowboys were abysmal in the secondary as the season progresses. Jenkins gives them a change to greatly improve if his headlines stay covering his play.
15. Philadelphia Eagles
Mark Barron, S, Alabama
Last year, the Eagles were ridiculously talented at cornerback (Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) but didn’t live up to the expectations. A top safety could give their corners the confidence to press more aggressively.
16. New York Jets
Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
We’ve heard the legend of Poe from the combine: 346 pounds and he can run the 40-yard dash in 4.98 and finish the day with 44 bench press repetitions. If Poe is more than just a combine dog and pony show, he has the chance to be something special for whoever drafts him.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland)
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Wait, wait, wait! So Hue Jackson acquires Carson Palmer from the Bengals for the Raiders’ 2012 first-round draft pick that will probably be used to draft Kirkpatrick, who will be coached by new secondary coach Hue Jackson since he was fired from the Raiders probably as a result of the trade itself?!? This is too good!
18. San Diego Chargers
Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia
The Chargers’ line was a total patch-work process last year. With Chris Dielman making his retirement official, a great place to start rebuilding is with a big, versatile prospect like Glenn.
19. Chicago Bears
Michael Floyd, WR, Norte Dame
The Bears were hurting at wide receiver before the devastating injury Johnny Knox. With his status still in flux, expect the Bears to make receiver a top priority.
20. Tennessee Titans
Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
Cox is the best all-around defensive tackle product in a draft that is deep with them. While he didn’t but up the freakish numbers at the combine like Poe, he is explosive enough to make an impact right away.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
Another reach, but not far fetched. The Bengal’s running attack is aging and taking pressure off a young quarterback with a solid run game would be huge for the Bengals.
22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta)
Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Perhaps call it The Draft instead of The Pick? Cleveland’s offense has been lacking for a long time now. Why not infuse some energy and give your new quarterback (Griffin) a target he’s already got a rapport with?
23. Detroit Lions
Courtney Upshaw, OLB/DE, Alabama
Kyle Vanden Bosch, Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairly. Add Upshaw as a defensive end/linebacker hybrid and suddenly Detroit has a terrifying defensive front. Apologies to Jay Cutler.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
Pittsburgh was another team who played much of 2011 with a patchwork offensive line. Adams would provide another young, huge prospect to help shore up a weakness of the Steelers.
25. Denver Broncos
Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
The Broncos’ Achilles’ Heel for the past few years has been defensive tackle. Denver could also use help at cornerback, but the depth at tackle is too good to pass up this year. Devon Still would be another option, but both players have similar strengths and weaknesses, while Worthy appears a bit less injury prone.
26. Houston Texans
Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
Konz can play either center or guard. He will benefit from Houston’s strong running offense.
27. New England Patriots (from New Orleans)
Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
The Patriots are in desperate need of upgrade on defense. Not many teams can sustain a dependence on offense alone, yet the Patriots have seemed to do just that for a few years now. Imagine how good they could be by adding a couple of key pieces to the defense in this draft.
28. Green Bay Packers
Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
Despite looking unstoppable most of the year, Green Bay finished ranked 27th in run defense and in sacks. Like the Patriots, the offense is good to go, the defense needs some work.
29. Baltimore Ravens
Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
The Ravens aren’t getting any younger on defense, and while it’s the offense that needs the most work, if the level of play on defense falls off, Joe Flacco and company won’t have the luxury of being just okay.
30. San Francisco 49ers
Alshon Jeffrey, WR, South Carolina
Jeffrey’s stock has fallen off since his last college game, but the 49ers really need a possession receiver for Alex Smith if they are going to make strides as a football club. Some reaches can be justified with need.
31. New England Patriots
David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
The Patriots need defense, but shoring up a running game to take some of the load off Tom Brady just a bit has to be appealing for Bill Belichick…even though the running back position for New England is more of a formality.
32. New York Giants
Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
This is not the Giants’ biggest need, but if Martin is available he’ll be the best player on the board…and you know how the Giants feel about taking the best player available.